.Dragon's Lair Beads.
 
Hi Beaders,

When we send out our e-mails updating our  friends  on what's new in the store and what's coming up we also like to include a beading tip.   So here is a somewhat random assortment of hopefully helpful hints for you.
Magnetic Clasps - Great for people with limited  dexterity  

If there someone in your life who is having difficulty doing up their jewelry? If so, you can change clasps over, usually without restringing, to a magnet. Make sure the magnet is nice and strong as they are not all created equally. Also a short chain attached to the same jump ring as the magnet will save it from falling off if it does happen to get caught (on the dishwasher for example). You can use this idea for bracelets or necklaces. Not for use with people who have pacemakers.


Buying Lampwork Beads
Try not to be tempted by Inexpensive, Imported Lampwork Beads.
These beads look beautiful in photos but can have holes that are chipped or cracked due to poor manufacturing techniques. Chips and cracks can cause threads to fray and break. Support your local artisans and buy your lampwork from a reputable lampwork bead seller preferably where you can see the quality in person.


Tila Beads
When working with Tila beads they have a tendency to want to sit on top of one another as apposed to beside one another. To get around this issue hold the beads flat between your fingers when adjusting the thread. This way you will not pull to tight and your bead will not buckle or overlap as it will have the thread room it needs to lie flat.


Bugle Beads
Things we love - Bugle Beads, they are fun to use and add interest and texture to beading products.
Things we hate – Bugle beads that slice through the thread and we have to start over grr...
But how do we prevent cut threads?. Add a small seed bead to both ends of the bugle bead it will protect the thread and not overly impact the pattern. Or you can make it a contrasting colour to make a feature of the bead.



Wire Cutters 
One type does not fit all. Never use scissors on wire, it will dull and nick them. Never use wire cutters on Memory wire it will destroy them. Either use  old heavy duty cutters or proper memory wire cutters. Hold you wire cutters flat against the bead and pull up on the tail, then cut. Do not point the wire cutters down into the jewelry as you may cut the main wire of your project. 


Consider scale.
When envisioning a necklace (for example) make sure that if you are using mostly small beads that your findings also match. Chunky necklaces deserve a bigger clasp such as a toggle. Really big and really small just don’t work as well, unless you have a focal bead/pendant in the front supported on a fine bead strand. If you have other thoughts on this I would love to hear them and will add them into our next e-mail.


Cylinder beads  are Delica Beads
When you see a referral to Cylinder beads in a pattern they mean Delica beads which is a brand name of Miyuki. When used in Peyote, Brick or square stitch they produce a smooth, flat surface.


Old Magazines
Don’t get rid of old magazines because as your skills grow and your interests change they become interesting again.


Beading Thread Length
Don't use more than 3 feet of thread or you end up doing the beaders back stroke. Not good for the arms or shoulders – or the person sitting next to you.  You can just have about 3 inches of thread through your needle , any more and you create a weak spot.


Ergonomics
Is your favourite beading spot causing you problems, sore back, shoulders or wrists -try out some simple solutions.

Put a small cushion behind the small of your back to keep you more comfortable and upright. Add a small foot stool to prop your feet on.
Make sure you lighting is in the right spot so you are not on a funny angle trying to get to the light.
Keep your arms down and elbows in line with your body.
Make sure that your table is low enough or your chair high enough to keep your arms at a comfortable level.
Cleaning Silver
Avoid dips if you can, they remove a layer of silver off your piece. We have heard horror stories of people leaving jewelry in the dip too long and stripping all of the Silver off thus ruining the jewelry. Our recommendation is to use a small amount of water to wet the item some Sunlight liquid dish soap, a soft tooth brush and some “elbow grease”, you can buy that at the hard ware store (Kidding). Brush the piece with the Sunlight soap and soft tooth brush till it is cleaner. Rinse under warm water and dry well with a soft cloth.
Traveling with Tools
As many of you are traveling over the next few months I thought I would check and see what beading tools you can really take on board a plane. According to the TSA web site you can take the following on board;
Scissors - metal with pointed tips and blades shorter than four inches
Tools (seven inches or less in length)
Wrenches and Pliers (seven inches or less in length)
NOTE: Any sharp objects in checked baggage should be sheathed or securely wrapped to prevent injury to baggage handlers and Security Officers.
For more information visit the www.TSA web site. You may still get someone who will confiscate items but as long as they meet these criteria you should be fine.
Are you into Kumihimo?
If not, why not? It’s fun and versatile. No big up front costs although you do need a board. You can use everything from wool, thread, wire and beads. So many options, just set up your board (which can be a bit long winded) then off you go. To get started set up your board with inexpensive threads then do 2 inches in one pattern, move your threads and do 2 inches in another pattern. Keep a piece of paper handy to you know what threads you had where and keep track of what you loved and what was just OK. This is a great way to practice. When you get comfortable move on to beads, wire and gorgeous metallic thread.