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A Range Of Beautiful Beads for Needlework

For quite a few years now, I have had the feeling that I ought to put a range of ‘needlework beads’ together. By ‘needlework beads’ I mean the following:

  • First and foremost, the beads must be good quality beads. There is just no point in taking hours, weeks and even months to work on a fine piece of embroidery or quilting only to embellish it with cheap beads that, quite frankly, can only be classed as rubbish.
  • The beads must be available in small packs because, on the whole, needleworkers want to use beads to embellish their work and create highlights, rather than create entire projects from beads.
  • The range of beads must include an array of shapes and sizes. Gone are the days of just using average size round beads when there are tubes, cubes, drops and faceted round beads, all of which create effects that vary. Effects that add value to a needle work project.
  • The range of colours must be varied and the price should be good. What’s out there is, to be honest, limited and over-priced.

So, bearing all of the above in mind, I would like to introduce to you our range of beads.

  • Most importantly you can find them on my website. Go to and navigate from there to see all the colours, shapes, finishes and prices.
  • If you are a shop or a teacher, we have trade prices for you and you should email us asking for the trade price list. But, please bear in mind that if we don’t know you, we may ask you to prove to us that you are a bona fide business.
  • If you are a Guild or a Club, we will give you a 25% discount for all group orders over R1 000.00. And that’s not just an introductory offer. We will always give you that discount.
  • All are 2 gram packs – what we consider to be the ideal size for needleworkers.
  • You will see that on the ordinary beads, our prices are really competitive.
  • You will also see that some cost quite a bit more. That is because they have special finishes or are special shapes. Some examples are the copper- or 24 carat gold-lined beads, the nickel-plated beads, the Delicas and the Tila beads. Whichever way you look at it, these are special beads and we believe that they should be available for needleworkers in small packs. But they are more expensive.

Over the next few posts I am going to tell you about them.

Let’s start today with shapes and sizes.


The ones that needleworkers are likely to use most often in both quilting and fine embroidery. Sometimes called ‘petites’, the size 15° beads are the smallest with the size 11° beads a little larger and the size 8° beads larger than those.

They can be used for stems, outlines and veins as in the image above, or stitched on individually as in the image below.

If it’s a perfect circle that you want, a round bead is what you would look for:

Using just one size, or a combination of sizes:

If it’s seed pods you would like, use a combination of beads. In the photograph below size 8° beads are being held down with 15° beads, giving the impression of the seeds that bulge out of a Jacobean style fruit.

In addition to the Round bead sizes mentioned above, we have a size 5° bead that is particularly useful when you want to cover a bead with thread, as in the image below:


Bugle beads are long skinny tubes that are under-used and under-rated. I find them very useful little things.

This is what I call bead seeding:

Combined with round beads in the images below, they form the border around either a leaf or a petal:

If you want to bead the edge of something, in this case a needlebook made from one of the designs in my new book, Crewel Intentions, out in June 2014, small bugles are just great.

That’s as far as I am going to go today. It’s 38 degrees centigrade outside, a really droopy sort of day and one on which it is hard to think in an inspired kind of way. When it gets like this, I start thinking of the frozen plains of the North. Of course, I realise that you northern ladies are now into autumn hurtling fast towards snowy winter, and that you think I’m a little crazy. I’m not. Ask yourself why productivity, generally, is much higher in the northern hemisphere? Because it’s cooler and you have more energy when it’s like that.

I’m off to sit myself under a fan and stitch. More about beads another day, so watch this space.