Last time we talked about where beads are born and bead shapes and sizes. This week we'll talk about bead colors and finishes and how to pick a bead that will work with whatever weight yarn you are using. We're going to focus on Czech and Japanese seed beads since they are the ones most commonly used in fiber work.
bead colors and finishes
Seed beads come in lots of colors and finishes. Japanese Seed beads come in about 350 colors with 15 different types of finishes. Czech seed beads come in over 2,000 colors with more than 18 different finishes, but exactly what is a finish? A finish is a coating, plating, tumbling, painting, or galvanizing that changes the appearances of a bead. It can be applied to the surface, in the hole, or a combination of both. Some finishes can be combined to create even more looks.
A matte finish is an example of tumbling which removes the shiny surface of the bead leaving a rough finish and soft appearance.
A color-lined finish is one in which paint or, in some cases, metal is put in the hole of a bead.
Here is a handy chart showing the most common finshes on seed beads.
How to match beads with your fiber
This is actually the easiest part. The first consideration is what size bead you will need for your project. Bead size is generally determined by yarn size. Here is a sizing chart showing which seed bead sizes will fit on which yarn.
We have tried all of these combinations and know that they work. There are beads which fit on bulky and super bulky, but they are a topic for another blog entry. We haven't talked about 11Â° seed beads here. They are smaller than 8Â° seed beads and will only fit lace weight yarn. They can be used with larger yarn, however they need to be sewn on afterwards or incorporated using a carry-along method.
The next consideration is what color beads to put with your yarn. In fact, "What color beads go with this yarn?" is one of the most common questions we get asked. There are many sites online which explain color theory, (This one is very easy to read and understand) but, ultimately, the choice of what colors look good together is a personal one.
Some people prefer things to match and blend together. They may want the beads to just add a little sparkle. Sometimes people want the beads to compliment the yarn without standing out at all. Others want a lot of bling. They want the beads to sparkle and shine and be a central part of the design. That's why we have such a large selection of beads.
All of that said, there are a few tips we can offer to help make choosing easier:
1) Always bring a sample of the yarn you are trying to match. Don't rely on memory when it comes to colors.
2) If you have any doubts about whether or not a bead will fit on your yarn, try it. You can always ask us to try it at the booth or send us a snippet of yarn and we will try it and let you know how it fits.
3) Make sure the lighting is good when matching the beads and yarn. If you need to, ask to take the beads to a spot with better lighting.
4) If you purchase beads online, make sure that you return them if they don't match your yarn.
5) Trust yourself. If you like the way something looks that's really all that matters.
If you have any questions about fiber and beads that we haven't covered in these 2 posts, please let us know and we'll do our best to answer them.
We're just a couple of bead chicks who found fiber and came over to the dark side. It's OK though, we brought cookies :)
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