Thursday, May 5, 2011

What Do I Need to Get Started?

I teach weaving at various libraries on Long Island. The first thing people do when they show up to my class is start pulling out pliers. For weaving, it’s rare that you need them. I’m going to list out a few things that you must have and then a few things that would be cool to have.


Many weaving projects are no-needle-required. But most of the time you need needles and there are a TON to choose from. It’s really all about what you’re comfortable working with.

My favorite needle is by Beadalon. It’s flexible and has a large eye (easy for threading) that collapses when it goes through the beads. The only problem with needles in general is their color. They are EASY to lose. I think they should make them in really bright colors. I’m sure there are needles all over my house. I lose them a lot (don’t tell my husband).

Other needles go by length, stiffness, and size. If you’re working with small beads (11/0 and 15/0) you’ll want a skinny (fine) needle. I normally work with fine gauge needles but that means they’re also delicate and they don’t last too long. Needles are something that I buy all the time. Fortunately, they’re not that expensive.

Thread burner

Honestly, this isn’t something you need to buy right away. A really great pair of scissors works well too. But a thread burner is the way to  go if you’re going to a lot of detailed weaving.  A thread burner can get really really close to the beadwork and literally burns the thread. I know it sounds ridiculous, but once you’ve used one, you don’t want to go back to scissors.

Stringing Materials (Thread)

When reading directions you’ll see a lot of them call for NYMO or tell you to condition your thread. I am a fairly lazy person—conditioning thread sounds like a lot of work to me. I prefer to use Fireline. This stuff is SUPER strong. If you stitch with a lot of crystals, you’ll want to use a product like fireline. It’s a bonded material so the crystals are less likely to cut the thread as you’re stitching. Regular thread is not as strong and can break from crystals. Remember—crystals have sharp edges.

There are other threads that are nice too because they come in various colors which blends well with the beads. Fireline or Wildfire only come in white or black. So you’ll have to decide what works best. If your tension is good, often you don’t even see the thread.

Other Tools

IMG_2907When I work I use the lid of my storage bin and lay a piece of felt in it. I use that as my work space. I do a lot of beading while watching TV (on the train, on a plane, in hotel rooms, you name it). The storage bin holds my instructions and supplies and when I work I just use the top for my work surface. The felt keeps the beads from rolling around too much. But if they do roll off the felt they are caught in the lip of the lid.

Got any tips you can share?


  1. What a LOVELY blog! Boy, I'm having such fun on this Blogathon. Your designs are daughter is going to love you blog! Thanks!

  2. You are a wealth of knowledge! Glad you are blogging every day now.

  3. Great information Claudine!
    BTW I am totally in love with the Mother's heart necklace. What is the chain length?

  4. Christine, the chain length is 18." I modify based one what people want/need. I like 18 for myself. Thanks to all of you!