Sunday, August 5, 2012

Beading Thread Analysis

I have beading and sewing for quite a few years now but I would definitely call myself a beginner when it comes to bead embroidery. I am teaching myself the little techniques through books and videos and discovering methods that I find I am most comfortable with that give me the results that I am looking for. There are no bead shops close to me and the closes craft store is Michael’s .if I am looking for serious beading stuff I would have to go off to New York but I rarely do that just because I have found that I can get a better deal shopping with online retailers. The stuff works out a lot cheaper and I can get more but then there is that trade off of having to wait for things to arrive. But then again going into shops and seeing things up close gives me a chance to compare things to see what I actually like instead of having to wait for my package to arrive to see if the picture on the website lives up to the image I have in my head.
But I am getting off course here.
When I was getting my basic supplies to start my beading journey I looked at different forums to see which thread got the most backing from people who have been doing bead embroidery and most people were talking about Wildfire, Fireline, Nymo, K.O and Silamide. I have not yet used the last two so I am only going to be talking about my experience with Wildfire, fireline and Nymo.

After reading through forums I decided to go with Wildfire 0.006”. Wildfire is thermally bonded thread and according to the description it cannot be pierced, it will not stretch and it will not fray. Since I had nothing else to compare it to, I thought Wildfire was really good. Wildfire is quite thick and in order to get it to go through the eye of a size 12 beading needle you would need to pull it a bit between fingernails to flatten out a little bit. the good thing about Wildfire is that it is very very strong but I have seen it stretch out and become week when its being pulled through beads a few times but it doesn’t fray and you have to really stab it in order to pierce it which well I have to say I have done on a few occasions but then I was a bit frustrated and I was being quite rough. The good thing about Wildfire is that it is more readily available in major craft stores like Michaels. Another good thing about this thread is that because of its thickness when it gets tangled up it is a little bit easier to untangle!

The second thread that I tried out was Nymo. Nymo comes in quite a few colours, which is a huge plus whereas Wildfire and Fireline only come in clear and black. in the case of Wildfire the clear is more opaque so it makes it more white that clear.
Nymo does have to be treated with wax, which can be a bit of a hassle and that doesn’t even stop it from fraying. I find that both size B and D are thin enough to go through size 15/0 several times without problems but there is a bigger chance of the needle piercing the thread which can cause major problems.

The last thread I tried was Fireline 0.006” and maybe that’s why I still haven’t tried K.O or Silamide. To be honest I haven’t bought any other thread other than Fireline since the first time I tried it. Fireline is braided bead thread made of gel- spun polyethylene and I am not sure if it is because of how its made or what but when compared Fireline 0.006” is a lot thinner than its Wildfire counterpart. Fireline does get tangled and because its so thin its sometimes very hard to untangle it. I do like that the dark Fireline (called smoke) is not an opaque black which makes it a easier to work with if there are lighter beads in the middle of the work but you don’t want to have to change the thread for them and the clear is definitely as close as you can get to a clear thread as possible in my opinion and when doing edges on finished pieces I find that I can hardly see the clear thread against the black Ultrasuede backing.
I only use Wildfire nowadays if I have run out of my other threads . The thread is just too thick even in its thinnest form and when you have make passes through beads a few times then it gets really hard to pull the needle through and I have broken some beads trying to pull the needle through after a few passes.
Here is a close up of the black Wildfire, Nymo and Fireline  thread next to each other for comparison:

If I really needed to match the colour of thread to the bead then Nymo would obviously be the choice but I think with the sort of work that I do and the colours that I use I can get away with using Fireline
I think it is obvious which thread I would choose if I only had to choose one to work with. Fireline is without a doubt my favorite for bead embroidery and the one I would recommend to anyone. It is by far the thinnest and easiest of the three threads to work with.

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