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  • This Winter is Madness … that’s Cymbalic … February 28, 2019

    Well – I just gave myself heart failure – I just did a quick search to find all the new items for this week and the count was … 873. That’s definitely a new record for us!

    At first, I thought I had accidentally made some sort of horrible mistake. We have a name for that tiny instant of time between pressing enter and realizing that you have just made some horrible blunder, and when the results come back with half of your data deleted or translated into Russian or something. We call it the “oh-no second.” Like a nanosecond, but much, much worse.

    But no, it is a real number. 806 of these items are actually warehouse items, so we don’t have them in the store – but we have added Preciosa Bicones and Faceted Rounds to give you more options for your Crystal Cravings. If you don’t know Preciosa, they are a Czech company and have been making crystal beads for close to 500 years. Their quality is excellent, the sparkle is great, and the price point is more accessible. 😉 We like to give you options.

    Check them out here. Bicones, and Rounds (3-10mm)

    PBIC040001 Preciosa Machine Cut Crystal - 4mm Faceted Bicone - Crystal AB (40)
    PRND031101 Preciosa Machine Cut Crystal - 3mm Faceted Round - Capri Blue AB (40)

    Order online for delivery or, if you prefer, to pick up in the store.

    Also new this week, and very, very exciting, is the new Cymbal line of … Findings? Beads?

    What these are is a new line of … findings … from Greece … that are specifically designed to work with your existing two hole beads.

    s61222 Cymbal Finding -  Triades - Gemduo Bead Ending - Gold Plated (Pair)
    s61225 Cymbal Finding -  Kleftiko - Gemduo Bead Ending - Antiqued Silver (Pair)

    If you are getting to the point where you roll your eyes every time a new “two-hole bead shape” comes out – then I think you will be intrigued by these.

    They come in three broad categories.

    1. Bead Substitutes
    2. Bead Endings
    3. Side Beads

    The Bead Substitutes are fairly easy to understand. It is a metal equivalent of that bead shape, i.e. GemDuo, Honeycomb, SuperDuo, etc.

    s61235 Cymbal Metal Bead -  Plaka - Gemduo Bead Substitute - Antiqued Silver (4)
    s61254 Cymbal Metal Bead -  Galini - Honeycomb Bead Substitute - Gold Plated (4)
    s61326 Cymbal Metal Bead -  Varidi - Superduo Bead Substitute - Gold Plated (5)
    s61338 Cymbal Metal Bead -  Panormos - Silky Bead Substitute - Gold Plated (4)

    The Bead Endings are findings designed to fit at the end of the pattern, so that you can easily connect to a clasp or the next segment. I think the pictures do a better job of explaining …

    s61238 Cymbal Finding -  Vani IV - Gemduo Bead Ending - Gold Plated (Pair)
    s61288 Cymbal Finding -  Lakos IV - 8/0 Bead Ending - Gold Plated (Pair)
    s61302 Cymbal Finding -  Alona - 8/0 Bead Ending - Gold Plated (Pair)
    s61325 Cymbal Finding -  Vourkoti - Superduo Bead Ending - Antiqued Silver (6)

    And the Side Beads are designed to fit in beside the beads and finish the rows or enhance the pattern. It’s kind of a subtle distinction, so don’t worry about it, and just refer to the photos.

    s61231 Cymbal Finding -  Mitakas - Gemduo Side Bead - Antiqued Silver (6)
    s61376 Cymbal Finding -  Tourkou - Tila Side Bead - Gold Plated (4)

    We’re pretty excited about these and the possibilities that they open up. There will be more options coming, but for now, there are options for GemDuos / DiamondDuos, Honeycombs, Size 8/0 Seeds, Silky beads, Tilas and Half Tilas, and SuperDuos.

    Oh, and the subtle hint about Madness? – our March Madness sale starts now. For those of you who loyally read all the way to the end.

    You can Review all the new stuff here!

    Can’t find what you are looking for? Feel free to just email us and ask!

Our Class News

  • Discovering: Kumihimo

    Did you know you can create your own customized fibre ropes and cords for bracelets, belts and necklaces? Imagine creating your own patterns in colours that will enhance your pendants and other focal pieces!

    Kumihimo is a Japanese form of braid-making. Cords and ribbons are made by interlacing strands. Kumi himo is Japanese for “gathered threads”.

    Traditionally, tools such as the marudai and the takadai were employed to make more complex braids in shorter time. Weighted bobbins or tama held the fibres, typically silk, in place as the braid was made. These braids can be round, flat, four sided and hollow.

    The most prominent historical use of the cords was by samurai as both a functional and decorative way to lace their armour and their horses’ armor. Kumihimo cords are now used as ties on haori jackets and obijime, which are used for tying on an obi (kimono sash).

    A modern kumihimo disc made of firm but flexible foam plastic with notches can also be used as a portable marudai. The discs have 32 notches that create the tension that is usually created by tama on a marudai. The discs are convenient but are not as versatile as the marudai.  The foam kumihimo disc is lightweight, portable, and significantly more affordable than the traditional marudai. You can create complex braids up to 24 bobbins and incorporate beads. There are many sizes and shapes of foam discs available. Look for a disc that is sturdy and doesn’t bend easily, otherwise the you will experience uneven tension.

    You can use any fibre you wish on a foam disk – whether it is a single strand of satin cord or multiple strands of rayon thread. Different fibres will give you different results, textures and ‘feel’ to the resulting braid. You can even use wire! Experimentation is the name of the game! There are also various ways to finish the ends of your braids such as metal end caps or creating a fibre-based cap.

    Upcoming kumihimo classes at BeadFX:

    Wire Kumihimo Braided Bracelet
    Cindy Goldrick
    Saturday, March 16; 2:00 – 5:00pm

    Beginning Kumihimo: Fibre and Beads
    Instructor: Angela Peace
    Friday, March 29; 5:30 – 9pm

    Three Intermediate Kumihimo Braids
    Angela Peace
    Saturday, March 30; 9:30am – 12:45pm

    Knotted End Caps
    Angela Peace
    Saturday, March 30; 1:30 – 5:30pm

    Click on the class title to see more about the classes, including course description and applicable fees. You can also click on the instructor’s name to see more classes.

Our Latest Inspiration

  • Photo to Beaded Pattern

    A fun little tool from Miyuki to convert your photos to beading patterns

    We’ve seen a number of beading-pattern-makers over the years – by and large, they seem to not be much fun to use, and try to do too much.

    This, by contrast, does Miyuki Delicas, Peyote or Square stitch. That’s it.

    You can also use the Square Stitch option to create patterns for looming.

    The software is online, and runs in your browser, so nothing to download – except the pattern afterwards if you want.


    They have instructions in English here, but I’m going to run you through a brief intro here too.

    First, you will need to click on Peyote or Square to start, depending on which you want the pattern to be.

    Next, you will see a screen that asks you to input dimensions

    The maximum size is 370 x 370 mm. I had a fairly large image, and so I scaled it down by dividing the size so that it was a lot smaller.

    However, if you just playing with it, just enter the 370 in the height and width boxes. Where there is text in a box that is grey, it is a suggestion, not a default value, and you need to enter it yourself.

    Number of colours – well, as Miyuki themselves say,

    The larger the number of colors used, the more delicate expression will be.

    Fair enough, but there does come a point at which, needing to buy 2 beads of a colour is ridiculous, even in my humble opinion.

    So you can start with a low number of colours as Miyuki suggests, about 20 or so, and adjust afterwards. One of the things that I like about this software is that you can go back and forth and change things, instead of needing to have it all correct before you start.

    Click on import, and navigate to your saved jpg on your computer. Click ok.

    From here, you have some options to resize and scale and crop. Click on the blue line to resize, and use the scroll wheel on your mouse, or the zoom icons, to zoom in and out.

    And click ok.

    Now you get to modify the number of colors, with a preview of what it will look like. You can reduce or add to the number of colours by clicking on the rectangle above or below. Keep selecting a lower number of colours until the quality of the image falls off.

    When you think it is ok, click ok and go to the next screen.

    It will spin it’s wheels for a bit, and then give you a preview, that you can review or edit.

    Pretty awesome, huh?

    From here, you can edit the individual beads.

    Use the eyedropper icon to pick up colours from beads. Use the paintbrush to apply the colour.


    The coloured droplets let you switch to the full Delica colour palette to pick whatever colour you want.

    I don’t see anything that looks like a search and replace, however, so to get less complicated colour choices, just go back a step.

    I do think that starting with a less complicated image is probably a good idea too. Running your image through a filter an image editing software can make the image less complex. Look for a filter or process called “Posterize”, “Cartoon” or “Simplify” to get a smoother image.

    Or, click the back arrow and select a lower number of colours.

    When you are done, click ok, and it will ask you if it is ok?

    And then pop up the slightly scary warning …

    Don’t worry – it will give you the number again on the next page. You can write it down or cut and paste.

    You do have the option to download a pdf, which is a good thing, as I haven’t actually seen any of the emailed notifications from them, but maybe they take awhile.

    If you use the pattern online, it will actually keep track of rows for you, which I think is a lovely feature.


    Here I was playing with a much simpler image – beading a picture of beads is very meta.

    Here are the pdf patterns if you’d like to have a closer look. The “shopping list” is at the end, and lists the standard delica number, the quantity and the grams.

    And, btw, you are free to go ahead and use these patterns if you want – if you manage to bead up a picture of my wonderful old dog, do send me a pic and let me know! (Because you know I’m never going to get around to it … )

    The Dude – (my old German Shepherd) Complex 19031501260367278629

    The Dude – (my old German Shepherd) Simplified 19031501474795333579

    Black Beads 19031504040304327490

    If you get stuck at the “simplify the image” thought and need a hand there – fire me an email and I’ll see if I can’t help you out.

    This is a far from comprehensive tutorial, but I don’t think it needs it. The program is fun to use and play with. It’s not like you can do anything wrong, so just click and have fun!