Thursday, June 11, 2015

The Trouble with Toho...

I recently read Sam Wescott's "Wescott Jewelry" blog and she wrote about her woes with Toho seed beads. The article is called "I am a Miyuki Snob" and you can read it HERE. I agree with what she posted and I ran into the same issue myself while making a pair of earrings to go with one of my "Elinore Bracelets". Apparently I had always used Miyuki seed beads to make that particular earring pattern because I've never had this problem before. When I make the earrings with Miyuki seed beads, the bottom netting comes out gently curved as you can see in these three photos:

I think it's that nice curve that gives the earrings their Art Nouveau look. But, when I made the pattern using Toho seed beads last week, the beads were too large which caused the netting to come out rather wonky and too square looking on the sides. My only option was to try the pattern again omitting one seed bead on each side of the netting. That solved the wonky problem but I'm still not happy with how the earring looks. The Art Nouveau look has gone missing and the bottom of the earring is too pointy. It almost looks like a boat anchor. Below you can see my two Toho samples:

The earring pattern is from Nunzia Scalpore's YouTube video tutorial which you can watch HERE.

I also ran into a similar issue when I made my "Peyote Fan Earrings" pattern a few days ago. As with the other earring pattern, this was the first time that I used Toho seed beads with this pattern too. Well, I had used Toho beads for the accent colors before but not for the main "metal" color.

Below is a photo showing four earrings made with the "Peyote Fan Earrings" pattern. The earrings on the far left and the far right were made with Miyuki metallic seed beads. The earring with the mauve accent beads was made with all Toho beads and you can see that it's much larger and wider than the two made with Miyuki beads. I don't like that those 8/0 beads on the sides at the very top stick out so much and give the edge a choppy appearance. The earrings made with Miyuki beads are smoother along the outer edge.

I have to admit though, that Toho's 15/0 seed beads worked beautifully with the peyote stitch because they're shaped very much like Delica beads. They have very straight sides and a tubular shape like Delica beads. However, Toho's 11/0 seed beads are very fat and rounded. In spite of that, they still worked pretty well with the peyote stitch. It's when I got to the rows with 8/0 beads that things started going badly. Those beads are very large and irregular and again the sides are quite straight so they don't give the smooth, even appearance that you get with Miyuki's 8/0 seed beads.

I tried something a little different with the earring with the turquoise accent beads. I used the same Toho metallic seed beads but replaced the first and last 8/0 seed bead in that row with a pair of 11/0 beads in each position. That did help smooth the sides quite nicely. However, because I used Miyuki 8/0 accent beads, which are smaller than Toho's 8/0 beads, the earring curls under at the bottom quite a bit. I like how it looks but the beadwork is much softer for some reason even though I reinforced it very well. I guess that the trick to using Toho seed beads with some patterns is to experiment until I find something that works to my satisfaction.

You can download my free "Peyote Fan Earrings" pattern from THIS post.

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