FAQs - Beads

Why don't you put the number of beads used for each color in your books?

I haven't included the numbers of the beads for a couple of reasons..... one is that I am too lazy to count each little oval in the patterns!!! The main one is that it's a moot point because even if you only need 5 beads you still have to buy a whole tube. Some bead stores sell in 5 gram tubes but I don't know any smaller quantities. This is very hard for a new beader but remember that this is the way you build your palette. The left over beads from one project can be used in another later and before long you will have enough colors to do anything you want.

How can I know how many beads to buy?

There is one way you can estimate if you want to...... there are approximately 290 Delicas per square inch and 200 Delicas per gram. This is not carved in stone because you may have to throw away some bad beads. My rule of thumb is to always buy two 7 gram tubes of the background color just to make sure I have enough for fringe, etc. For the big evening bags in Then & Again I would probably buy at least 3 tubes. Beads can vary in color from batch to batch just like the dye lots in yarn so make sure you buy more than you think you will need.

I have to order beads so how can I know which beads to buy?

The most important things to own are "bead cards". These have about 6 beads sewn on them next to the color numbers. I also have to mail order so I use my bead cards all the time.

Who do your order beads from and can I trust them?

I have ordered beads from most of the on-line stores listed on my Son of Lots O' Links page and have found them to be helpful and honest. Please note that I said "most" and if you want my opinion of one of them privately please me. If I have not ordered from the stores listed they were recommended by other beaders.

Can I use size 11° or 14° beads for your designs instead of Delicas?

You can use size 11° or 14° seed beads if you prefer. Keep in mind that there will be a change in the designs due to the more elongated shape of seed beads. The graphs below show how the design will change as well as the size of the finished piece. The Delica graph is approximately 1" square. All three graphs are shown double the actual size.

Delica Graph (200%)
Size 11° Graph (200%)
Size 14° Graph (200%)

Why do you use Delicas since they are more expensive?

I like the more uniform shapes of Delicas especially in my more realistic designs. I prefer the lighter weight when I am making large necklaces or amulet purses with tons of fringe. Delicas have thinner walls and larger holes which makes them lighter and easier to go through with my needle.

I am not convinced that Delicas are a whole lot more expensive than seed beads. Due to their more consistent shapes I cull less of them than I do with seed beads. Their lighter weight is also a factor since there are approximately 200 per gram and approximately 120 size 11°s per gram. For more information on bead weights and counts please see this page.

What is the difference between Delicas and Antiques:

Both should properly be called "Japanese Cylinder Beads" and are only slightly different in size. I do not recommend mixing the brands without testing the size compatibility by beading a small sample.

Why are Swarovski crystals more expensive and more beautiful than other crystals?

Swarovski uses a very, very secret formula to make their crystal beads and other products. Lead crystal by definition must contain 24% lead. The rumor is that Swarovski adds silver to the crystal. I think they are well worth the extra expense.

What do the different names and finishes for beads mean?

You can find this information on the Bead Cats web site!