In the beginning, there were seed beads. And the seed beads were good. As a matter of fact, the seed beads were great. And they were numerous – so many colors and finishes and sizes of seed beads to choose from! A new beader (me) quickly fell to the spell of all these wonderful seed beads and bead weaving stitches. And what did I use to do all my bead weaving? Nymo nylon beading thread, of course! Oh, I had tried Silamide a few times, but for some reason the beadwork I made with Silamide always fell apart after just a few wears, and I eventually abandoned it.
All that changed when I roomed with Marcia DeCoster at Bead Fest Philadelphia a few years ago. We started talking one evening about beading thread, and she asked if I had used Wildfire beading thread yet. I hadn't, being the stubborn beader that I am, and upon hearing that, she promptly gave me several sample spools of Wildfire beading thread that she had left over from her classes that year. The next night, alone in the hotel room, I stitched a beaded bezel for a huge Swarovski crystal stone using Wildfire instead of my usual Nymo.
I was totally hooked. I loved the feel of the Wildfire as I worked the tubular peyote stitch bezel. It felt like thread, but so much stronger than Nymo. The Wildfire beading thread was supple and flexible, and the peyote stitch bezel came out pretty darn near perfect.
I burned through those sample spools of Wildfire beading thread pretty darn fast, and then found a great source to get more. (If you love Wildfire, check out Jill Wiseman's website, Tapestry Beads, for the best price on large spools of Wildfire that I can find anywhere on the Internet.) The only thing that made me nervous about using Wildfire was when I did bead embroidery. I didn't like the idea of a thicker thread punching holes in my bead embroidery backing. (Although since I started using a new type of bead embroidery backing, I don't have those worries anymore.)
After a while, I decided to give Fireline beading thread a second chance. I had used it before and found it to be too stiff for my tastes. I didn't like the "plastic" feel it had – I wanted my beading thread to feel like beading thread. On the advice of another beading buddy, I pulled out my spools of Fireline and tried doing some flat peyote stitch bracelets with them. Sure enough, I loved the feel of the flat peyote stitch with the Fireline beading thread. Because it felt so much stiffer than other types of beading thread, I found myself experimenting with open-backed and self-supporting peyote stitch bezels. Pretty soon, I was scouring the internet and my local outdoor supply stores for deals on Fireline. (My husband was pretty happy with that, until I raided his fishing tackle box and swiped his last spool of 6 lb. Fireline after I ran out one evening!)
But here's the thing: I still love Nymo for my bead embroidery and for adding fringe to my bead embroidered pendants and earrings. I just don't like the way the Fireline or the Wildfire drape when I made the beaded fringe, even though I love Wildfire and Fireline beading threads for my structural bead weaving projects like bezels and flat peyote stitch, I still return to Nymo beading thread for my bead embroidery and my beaded fringe. And maybe this is way off, but I'm starting to think that Nymo beading thread will never go away. Here's why:
- Nymo is inexpensive. It's not a cheap beading thread, which in my mind equates to a low-quality beading thread, but in expensive. You can purchase a bobbin of Nymo in any color or any size for around $1.50 in most local bead shops. It's a perfect beading thread for a beginner because it doesn't cost much. A new beader can get a good variety of colors and sizes without investing a lot of money.
- Nymo is a good beading thread. It's not perfect by any means, but it's a good beading thread. It holds up well when used and conditioned properly.
- Nymo comes in a wide range of colors to match your beads perfectly. I've recently seen some colored Fireline available online, but it seems almost ridiculously expensive to me. (Back to reason number one.) If I'm looking for a colored beading thread that will blend in with my beads, I'm going to reach for the Nymo every time.
Do you have a favorite beading thread? Have you ever used Nymo? Do you use more than one beading thread in your beading projects? Share your thoughts with us here!