About 5 years ago, I began my transition from amateur to professional beader. I was selling loomed bracelets and amulets that I designed myself, and I was expanding my stitch repertoire. I knew brick stitch from making tons of Native American style earrings, and was struggling with starting peyote. I was completely self taught at this point.
I decided to go for a bigger project in the spring semester of senior year of college. Experienced beaders everywhere will gasp: I started making the front side of an amulet bag with size 11 Czech beads in brick stitch. I know, what was I thinking! For the beginners, here is why that’s ridiculous:
- You can use tubular peyote to create the front and back sides of an amulet bag at the same time, then just sew up the bottom and add fringe. It is much easier.
- Czech beads are just not the best quality beads. They are useful to achieve a rustic look, for fringe, and bead embroidery. This project needed some uniform beads.
- Brick stitch requires two stitches per bead, so it takes twice as long. Brick stitch is very good for stacking beads, but peyote stitch is superior for this amulet bag project. (Both stitches give the same “look,” the brick pattern.)
I worked hours on this project, and got as far as you see pictured before stopping. The line across the top was no longer straight, so my Nepalese eyes weren’t lining up properly! This is because I was using beads that were all size 11, but not uniform. What now?
I found a bead forum online, searched for “uniform beads,” and came across Delicas, also called cylinder beads. All were the same size and shape across all colors, and
thousands of 942 colors and finishes were available! To me this discovery was like discovering the New World!
How Delicas are different from other seed beads
- Seed beads have rounded edges and Delicas do not. With a flat edge, the hole in the Delica bead is larger and allows for multiple passes of needle and thread.
- Delicas are incredibly uniform, which means they fit together nicely when weaving with them to create perfect edges.
- All Delica beads are made in Japan, but there are actually three different companies that manufacture them; Miyuki, Toho, and Matsuno. Don’t confuse Delicas with round seed beads.
The ends and outs of brand differences is complex. Some people mix them, but I don’t. All of my Delicas are Muyuki, and I even have a spread sheet to keep them organized.
The following summer, I started on Reveille. She is the first lady of Aggieland, and the official mascot of Texas A&M. Reveille done with peyote stitch in 29 different colors of Delicas, and it took me over 60 hours to complete her. There’s quite a difference between that incomplete project and Reveille, and that is the power of Delicas!