After I tell you my opinion on threads and beads, go test the possibilities for yourself for although certain things are kind of set in stone, some things are all about personal preference.
Threads for Just bead weaving
For example, we at Mirrix use c-lon beading thread exclusively for straight bead weaving. We realize there are other threads that can be used, but we believe this one is the best. It doesn’t easily break and resists fraying more than, let’s say, nymo. And it doesn’t stretch like silamide. Other folks like fireline. I think it’s really too thick for my taste and am not sure it would work well with the shedding device. But I do plan to buy some and test it further before fully judging it. And then of course there is wire. I have been using softflex but only in conjunction with the no warps kit because it is not possible to weave in wire ends. We are very excited to finally be able to use wire on the Mirrix!
Beads for just bead weaving
This is your choice. Cylinder beads were designed for loom weaving. They line up beautifully when woven and are very consistently sized. The most common size is the size 11/0, which is in fact quite a bit smaller than the size 11/0 seed beads. Go figure. I have no explanation for this. But you can use any size cylinder bead which range in size from a very small size 15/0 to a rather large 6/0. You can also use any size seed bead (those round ones) from an itty bitty size 15/0 to a huge size 2/0. And then there are all the other oddly shaped and wonderful beads from Tilas to magnatamas all of which can be woven on the Mirrix. I like to mix various bead shapes and sizes together such as in the no warps to weave in bracelet
which uses size 8/0 and Magnatamas. Abead soup of a variety of bead sizes is also possible. Space your warp to accommodate the largest beads and use multiples of smaller beads in the larger spaces. Which leads to our next question . . .
What warp coil to use for straight bead weaving
If you are using one size bead, put a linear inch of the beads in question on a needle. Count how many are in that inch. The number of the warp coil you will use will be same as the number of beads give or take one since the coils are even and you may have an odd bead count. If you cannot remember which coil is which, just place a coil on your loom and count the number of dents in an inch. That is the size of your coil.
Threads for bead and fiber weaving
We have three suggestions for warp to be used for bead and fiber weaving including C-Lon cord, silk yarn and softflex wire. Our tapestry cuffs use the cord as their foundation whereas the affinity bracelets
use the silk, giving them more drape and lovely tails to tie. You can use softflex for this as well but only when using the no warps kit. Determine whether your warps will show, such as with the affinity bracelets, or whether it will be hidden, such as with the tapestry/beads bracelets.
More Fun Stuff
Until recently, there hasn’t been much written about combining various materials on a loom. We have broken that taboo and very much encourage you to explore how beads and fibers and wire can interact on a loom. You need to retire old notions such as the thread that is the basis for a bead weaving cannot show. We have shown with the affinity bracelets that not only can it show, but it can also be a very important design and structural element in the piece. This is very exciting. And the tapestry/bead cuff broke new ground with the concept of using tapestry to create jewelry while also exploring the added element of beads. And then of course we’ve been having a grand old time using gold thread with all these new pieces turning on its head the concept that real gold has to be hard. This thread is anything but hard until you weave it and then it becomes almost like metal.
Explore. Explore. Explore.
Some of what we Mirrix folks do is traditional. Look at our ipod case:
You don’t get anymore traditional than that. But we go for the unusual too because that is what makes using a Mirrix fun. We encourage you to break as many rules as you can and see what it is that you want to make on your Mirrix. But we hope the above information has helped you figure out some of the more common relationships between beads and thread.