Review: Little Bead Boxes by Julia Pretl

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Beadiecat wrote
on Feb 19, 2013 1:18 AM

Julia Pretl's book, Little Bead Boxes, is very well-written.  I'd suggest that you have some experience with peyote stitch before tackling it.  She does provide very clear diagrams and explanations for each step, so if you're an adventurous beginner you might still give it a try.  She also includes a word map for each design.  If you've never used a word map before, you're in for a treat!  They make following the pattern so much easier, although I still used the graph for backup.

She provides 12 patterns in the book, for different box shapes, sizes, and designs.  She also includes blank graphs for each shape so that you can design your own little boxes.  I got the design for my butterfly box (below) from her website, where she continually adds additional designs.  If you buy a design from the website, you do need to also have the book, as all that is provided with the web pattern purchase is the graph and word chart; no instructions for how to construct the box are included.

I have an older edition of the book, with just four boxes in it. (My dream is to get that one autographed someday)  If you have that edition, do yourself a favor and buy the newer edition as well.  I did and was very glad.  Julia has improved on some of the processes in the newer book, making the boxes easier to work, plus you'll be getting 11 additional patterns (one is the same in both books).

Julia recommends using doubled thread, but I used a single length of Fireline.  I recommend starting with 8lb for the base and sides, because I didn't feel the sides were firm enough with a thinner thread weight.  Then when I got to the hem I switched to 4lb, since you have to make so many passes through the beads at that point and the 8lb fills them up too fast with thread.

Also, I'll give you a big tip: Add the feet to your box when you only have about 3 or 4 rows of the sides done, otherwise it gets too difficult to maneuver the needle around in the box to add them.  Another tip is that even if you're an experienced beader, read the book through once before starting a box.  Some of it won't make sense until you actually have the box in front of you, but it's still a good idea to read it first.  You'll know where everything is and be able to refer back to an instruction when you need to.

Working on the boxes did get a little fiddly and frustrating at times.  There are some spots (like the HEM) where it seemed like almost every time I added a bead I broke one, and then had to replace it.  But any fiddliness I felt then was so worth it in the end!  All in all, I really enjoyed this book and making my little box, and I love looking at it on my dresser.  I plan to make more of them to give as gifts.

I know you will enjoy this book. The techniques learned in it can be carried over to many other types of projects. Little Bead Boxes should be included in every beader's library.


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