Beading Threads - Why (I Hope) Nymo Beading Thread Will Never Go Away

Jun 23, 2011

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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!

Bead Happy,

Jennifer


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Comments

kareng915 wrote
on Jun 23, 2011 1:27 PM

I've used Nymo for yrs.  Like you I found fireline too stiff.    I'm wondering though, it I was using to heavy a weight in the past.   I may have to try it again.   I have tried other brands, but for the price, I always went back to nymo.   I've been reading more about one-G and it's benefits, but haven't tried it yet.

Cindy Daniel wrote
on Jun 23, 2011 6:16 PM

I love Nymo - my work is soft and has a lovely drape, and I will never give that up. Fireline is just too stiff for me.

on Jun 23, 2011 6:17 PM

I have been using nymo for years too, it used to be the only thread I could find worth using.  I made one beaded sculpture with silamide.  I hated threading it so that was out.  A few years ago I was introduced to fireline, I also didn't like it at first.  Then I tried it for some sculptural pieces and woven jewelry items without fringe.  It holds a knot well and I can weave through beads multiple times.  Both those things sold me on fireline.

I hadn't read about wildfire yet and now I want to try it.  I still use nymo for fringe and certain projects.  It's nice to have a choice.

BeadsNWire wrote
on Jun 23, 2011 7:23 PM

I learned to bead weave using Fireline and so, I'm very accustomed to it, and I do like it... for weaving. When it comes to bead embroidery, I prefer Nymo... hands down. The range of colors available makes Nymo ideally suited to bead embroidered work, as you can match the thread to your beads and ultra-suede. Fireline changes the color of the beads somewhat, so I don't like to use it for embroidered work, but I do enjoy using it for bead weaving projects.  I also agree w/you about using Nymo for fringe... it provides a very nice drape. Thanks for your article!

mfgranny wrote
on Jun 24, 2011 6:30 AM

I personally can't use Nymo!  I've tried bc of the beautiful rich colors, but it splits too much for me.  I've used Fireline with crystals, but like others, I like the results but not the feel.  Tina Koyama, from Fusion Beads, with whom I took a wonderful class taught by Wendy Ellsworth, introduced me to SONO thread and #10 long beading needles and changed my beading life!  SONO has limited colors, but I find either the beige or black serve well, although I also have light blue and burgundy. I love it!

on Jun 24, 2011 7:23 AM

I learned bead stitching techniques using Fireline, then also tried Wildfire.  I found them to be similar, choosing Fireline if I had to make a choice.

I just started bead embroidery and the use of Nymo.  It has a different feel to me.  I love the choice of colors available.  I do worry about how it will hold up, compared to Fireline, which I think is much more secure.

I think it comes down to a matter of preference, and what you have on hand.

Now I just need to begin collecting the many colors and sizes of Nymo.

Meg4 wrote
on Jun 25, 2011 5:14 AM

I had actually never heard of Nymo before until late last year. I was (and still am!) using a beading thread from the craft stores around where I live. $6 for 100m, that was all anyone ever had. It's actually really good beading thread, I have to say. I have actually purchased a few spools of Nymo, but I haven't gotten around to using them yet...

runt410 wrote
on Jun 25, 2011 5:32 AM

I LOVE Silamide !!!!! I refuse to use Nymo . I hate the way it shreds every time I try it. Silamide works wonderfully  for everything I do. The only exception is when I'm using crystals, then I use Fireline. Silamide has a variety of colors so I usually have or can find the color I need. SILAMIDE FOREVER !!!!!!

grammajojo wrote
on Jun 25, 2011 8:37 AM

I gave up on bead embroidery and Nymo thread, because I had so much trouble with it fraying on me. (beginner, newbie, learner) You mentioned "conditioning", what is that and how do I do it?

traci staves wrote
on Jun 25, 2011 10:55 AM

I first started with Fireline, however I have quit using it for most projects.  It does not hold up for me and I have had to repair (or redo) projects that I have used Fireline in the past.  I do use it for small beadwork that will not have much wear issues like focal pieces.

I love Nymo - even with crystals.  I have not had any issues with projects falling apart with the Nymo as I have had with the Fireline.  

I just started using Wildfire; like it - especially for certain projects like beadweaving with lampwork beads.

I think there are benefits with each and they should be considered before starting a project.

on Jun 25, 2011 10:56 AM

Haha, I learned these lessons from the same people you did!

I took both Marcia DeCoster and Jill Wiseman's classes at Bead Fest Philly 2009, and almost immediately switched from nymo. I don't do embroidery or really need the drape for anything, but I've got tons stocked up that I still use.

on Jun 26, 2011 9:24 AM

Great post Jennifer.

So here is some history on Nymo beading thread. It actually comes from the Italian boot making industry. In the 1960's "00" and "0" Nymo thread became popular for quilt makers. Shortly after that for beaders. Yes I have been around that long. The most popular sizes then for beaders was size "A" Beading took off and the US part of the company began promoting the other Nymo sizes and colors for beading. I only use Nymo for all of my beading, and sewing. I find that some "new" beading teachers neglect to inform Nymo users to condition the thread. The tried and true is bees wax. This accomplishes two import things, 1, it takes out any stretch in the bonded cotton thread, and 2, it keeps the thread from fraying.  It doesn't matter what thread you use it all goes through tiny bead drill holes and wears down. In the end I tell my students to use what is most comfortable for them.

Nicole/Beadwright

SedonaSkye wrote
on Jun 27, 2011 12:46 PM

I learned with Nymo  when I was first introduced to beading about 30 years ago.  It never occurred to me to use anything else!  I do bead embroidery and some beadweaving for the necklaces of my smaller pieces.  I use beeswax to condition it as that helps it not to tangle and while I am waxing it I stretch it as well.  In my work I make some large art neckpieces and the Nymo B holds up well through all the stitching through the bead backing and even heavy ultra suede.  For me - I am not messing with success!

on Jun 27, 2011 1:48 PM

Thanks for this article! I think you made an extremely valid point; every type of beading thread has its perfect use. I'm so glad that I have Fireline for stiff, precise beading projects, Wildfire for strength and the fact that I don't usually have to wax or pre-stretch it, and Nymo (and K.O.!) for a soft, organic look that blends perfectly with my beads.

callyross wrote
on Jun 28, 2011 11:00 AM

I too started out with Nymo, same reasons- price, color selection,drape- but was frustrated with the shredding that happened sometimes, and with my work breaking. I tried Wildfire and am totally sold on it. I use my half-off coupons at Michaels to purchase the spools and that makes it more affordable, especially since i'm going through a spool or two a week! i like that i can undo mistakes or pieces i don't like, it also colors easily with a sharpie- either before or after stitching. i've not tried fireline but just may give it a shot. I think they each have their advantages and applications. Bead happy!

Tissie wrote
on Jun 28, 2011 11:15 AM

I wish I could say the same about my many experimentations with Nymo.  I prefer a size 11 needle for beadweaving and I find next to impossible to thread and once threaded I go into fits when I have to rip something out and rethread.  yes, I am a Fireline fan despite the price and I am FRUGAL.  Gwen Tisdale, Gd. Ledge, MI.

bryanbear wrote
on May 27, 2013 1:02 PM

I have never used Nymo but have it lying around near my beads, but have heard about its pros and cons. I like tsummerlee from youtube, prefer synthetic materials for jewelry making and beadembroidery. Synthetic thread ,beadbacking ,beadfoundations will last the test of time can get wet and if left in the sun for a few hours wont rot or fall apart! My father was a fisherman and I know powerpro and fireline and spiderwire fishing lines will stand up to anything! I also love using the new tulip beading needles from japan you can easily thread up to 10-12lb fireline in them with ease! No more fighting to thread your needles.  Ladies try them out! Also peltex70 is amazing beadfoundation  and cheap by the yd compared to lacystiff stuff!

slwaldon wrote
on Jan 13, 2014 10:36 AM

I have been beading for a few years now, but, I've been a fine artist all my life. I have learned a few things while living in the 'world of creativity'. There are MANY uses for many elements, one size never fits all, and every day is another creative adventure.

I own all types of beading threads and I use them all. Sometimes combined in the same project. If you have not tried a particular type or brand, the only mistake you can make is to be afraid to try something new. Thanks for the fine article. It has inspired us all!

S L Waldon

Islands Of Time Fine Arts & Gifts