Friday, 17 May 2013

Bead shop review: The Best Beads

Hello lovely readers. Today I am going to tell you about The Best Beads, an online bead shop based in the Czech Republic. I was recently contacted by them through my facebook page and they've sent me some lovely beads to show you and play with. The Best Beads also have their own facebook page which can be found here.

The Best Beads stock a range of Czech glass. They have buttons; fire polished in a variety of shapes; some lampworked beads; many shapes of pressed glass beads; seed beads; and table cut beads. All the beads are priced in US dollars. Due to Czech laws, prices have to be shown with and without tax but the price you pay is the one with tax regardless as to where you are from.

Whilst The Best Beads do not have a huge range of beads, many of the ones they stock are really unusual. These are the beads I was sent. If you click on each picture it should take you to those beads on their website.

Black with red flowers handmade flat circle lampwork bead 25mm; Preciosa rocaille seed beeds 11/0 in terracotta; blue and white double hole squares 6mm;  jet bottom drilled coned 13x5mm;  jet piggy double hole beads 8x4mm; green with marble stone bicones special cut beads 8mm; green with gold pattern leaves 12x7mm; violet props fire polished beads 8x6mm; Prussian blue rollers fire polished beads 6x5mm.

I am particularly interested in experimenting with the piggy, roller and props beads as they are not shapes I have come across before. The cones (spikes) are not a size I have used before either. The 2 hole squares are thicker than the Japanese tila beads that I am more used to so I'm also looking forward to experimenting with these.

The seed beads stocked by The Best Beads are at present are Preciosa rocailles, mostly in sizes 11/0 and 10/0 with a few size 7/0 and some of the larger striped beads. They also stock some Preciosa bugles and twin beads. Quality wise, Preciosa seed beads are generally not as consistently sized as Japanese manufacturers like Toho or Miyuki but Czech seed beads have been getting better more recently in my experience. Looking through the 10g of the 11/0s I was sent, they do look pretty consistent, definitely fine for embroidery or crochet. I will see how well they work in more structured beadwork and let you know. I'd love to see more sizes and finishes stocked.

I'd definitely recommend having a good luck around The Best Beads site as there are many more exciting shapes to be discovered than I have shown here, check out these rather yummy table cut ovals!

And do check back here regularly as I will be writing some more free blog tutorials using the beads I was sent above, once I've had chance to have a proper experiment!

Friday, 10 May 2013

April Crafting

Ooop! Its 10th May and I've only just gotten around to writing my roundup post for April. I've not been especially busy, just rather mind frazzled.

One of the things I made in April you have already seen if you are a regular reader. I made a crystal hairclip (in tutorial post).

I also made a couple of other beady bits in April. I made a simple crochet bracelet with 4mm cube beads and a pair of earrings for a friend's birthday.

I have also been knitting and crocheting for baby. I made 2 amugurimi animals from the book, Easy to Crochet Critters by Vanna's Choice; a crocheted star blanket from this Ravelry pattern; and a knitted hat from this Ravelry pattern with the left over yarn from the blanket.

I think that's everything I did in April. I've not been very creative so far in May yet so I wonder if I'll have anything to show you in the beginning of June. Hopefully!

Have a fab May everyone.

Sunday, 5 May 2013

And the winner is......

Alice! Congratulations Alice. I'm emailing you as soon as I've finished posting this.

Thank you to everyone who entered. Don't forget that you can still use the discount code on this post to get your own kumihimo set with 10% off!

Thanks also to The Bead Shop Manchester for running this giveaway with me.