Although, I like to play with a wide variety of beads, and there are some very beautiful beads out there; not all of them will work with my designs. The biggest problem I run into is hole size. Some of my designs require as many as 4 strands of cord to pass through.
Through trial and error, I have found beads that work. My "Basics" as shown in photo above are seed beads (top row, in boxes) and faceted Czechoslavakian fire polished crystal rounds (bottom row). My favorite source is Fire Mountain Gems.
Note: In the descriptions below, I refer to C-lon beading cord and Omega nylon crochet thread. See post "Cord" for more information on these cords (and others) .
Size 11 - With C-lon cord, I can use most any brand. Delicas are very uniform and have a very nice hole size. Dynamites are a bit varied in size, giving a more organic look. Ornela Czech seed beads are quite beautiful, but their hole size is a bit smaller than the other brands. They still work with the C-lon beading cord, but not at all with the Omega nylon crochet thread.
Size 8 - Will accommodate 2 strands of cord (C-lon or Omega). Very useful as accent beads.
Size 6 - Will accommodate 4 strands of cord (C-lon or Omega). Very useful.
Czech Glass Beads:
Fire-Polished - I most commonly use 6mm and 8mm beads. Occasionally, I also use 4mm and 10mm beads.
- 4mm - will accommodate 1 strand of C-lon, but not Omega.
- 6mm - will accommodate 2 strands of C-lon (or Omega but it is a tight fit).
- 8mm - will accommodate 4 strands of C-lon or (or Omega but it is a tight fit).
- 10mm - will easily accommodate 4 strands of either cord and come in handy as focals.
Pressed Glass in various shapes - I really love to experiment with the different shapes, but the holes are typically small. Some of the smaller sized beads will accommodate only one strand of cord and the larger beads will only accommodate 2 strands (of either C-lon or Omega cords). The smaller teardrops and flower cones work especially well in tassels; and I do love tassels!
I have recently been experimenting with gemstone chips. I love the colors and the organic look. Chips offer a bit of chaos that I believe adds interest. The hole sizes are typically small, but will accommodate 1 strand of C-lon cord. So, I have had to develop designs (like "Criss Cross" and a variation of "Nouveau") just so I can use these beads.
There you have it, my most commonly used beads.