By Erica Visocky
There are quite a few threads on the market for stitchers, and everybody swears by their own preferences. In taking classes at shows and shops, I've had the opportunity to work with several different threads over the years. I've found my favorite thread for most of my work, but I use a different thread when I use crystals in a piece.
My general thread of choice is SoNo. This is a beautiful, woven nylon thread, available in assorted colors. It is colorfast, doesn't tend to get knotted up, and it doesn't fray as much as some other threads. It was created by master beader Sonoko Nozue.
My choice for crystal-bead stitching is FireLine beading thread. It is one of the most popular jewelry-making threads. This polyethylene thread is known as the strongest fiber, per diameter, and it should be doubled. You can rely on its strength and durability over time, and it comes in clear for easy matching.
K.O. beading thread is getting a lot of great reviews lately. This pre-waxed nylon thread is available in a variety of colors and is abrasion-resistant. (The waxing helps beads slide, preserve the thread and create tighter knots.)
There are many other threads on the market like Silamide and Nymo. I suggest you try each and see what you think. If your thread does not come pre-waxed, you can use beeswax or a thread conditioner called Thread Heaven. Some beaders wax, and some don't. It's just another preference, and you'll learn through experience what works best for you.
A note on needles: Most beading needles are sizes 10, 11, 12 and 13 (the larger the number, the thinner the needle). Choose your needle size according to the size of beads you're using and by the number of passes you'll be making through each bead. For a simple peyote-stitch project with size 11 Delica beads or seed beads, a size 10 or 11 needle will work great.