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Monday, October 11, 2010

Tila Beads

I took a class on Sunday, a rare event for me, being as paraniod as I am about copyright infringement.  Usually, I avoid classes, (along with more than cursory glances at beading magazines) because it means having a door opened that I feel I dare not ever walk through for fear of being accused of "STEALING!!!"   Sigh.  But this class was designed by someone who teaches people how to teach classes, and whose work as a teacher I deeply admire, Diane Fitzgerald.  And it seems to me that she is always presenting technique, as well as a design, which to my way of thinking is what a beading class should be: beautifully presented technique, with a possible take-home outcome, for those who do not design for themselves.

In this case, when I looked at the class material, the techniques were square stitch and herringbone.  WOO HOO!  I have never done square stitch and only rarely used herringbone.  Something about the texture of the herringbone stitch seems rough to me, and although I sometimes think, "hmmm... herringbone is probably the right solution to this problem," I only rarely move past the sample stage with it. But maybe Diane would offer a new perspective or improve my technique with the stitch sufficiently to make it more usable for me.  Plus, Diane's class focused on a new bead from Miyuki, the two-holed Tila.  I signed up, thrilled at the idea of an introduction to a new bead, having a new stitch to play with, and a new piece of jewelry to wear by the end of the day.  I so rarely make things just for me, it seemed almost decadent!

When class began, Diane demonstrated square stitch and showed us a lovely collection of possible Tila bead projects and a good selection of Tila beads to choose from.  I loved a necklace project, made in the square stitch.  It required increasing and decreasing, so I set out first to make a sample doing that in a regular way, to confirm that it would not overwhelm me.  I realized after several increases and decreases (which I creatively improvised) that I was not really understanding the stitch, and at about the same time, Diane suggested we should perhaps all begin with a simple bracelet or straight sample.  Yes, mam! 

I started on a bracelet, and the comprehension of the stitch fell neatly into my mind and hands.  Because I tend to keep my head down and bead, rather than chatting, and because I have the smallest wrist I have ever measured in my lifetime of measurement-taking as a dressmaker, I finished a bracelet. The Tila beads are BIG, compared to my usual 11's and 15's so the speed of visible progress is a really fun change.  Diane had a selection of clasps from Claspgarten, a German company, and sold me a magically perfect slide clasp for my bracelet.

Later in the day, we worked with herringbone stitch and combined other beads with the Tilas.  I have not yet finished my herringbone project.  I am working on another piece that has been taking my full limited-beading-time-per-day at the moment, but I am feeling a little pull toward finishing the herringbone necklace today...  so we'll see what happens when I pick up my needle tonight.

In the mean time, Diane, thank you for a lovely and fruitful day!


  1. I know that this post was about your bracelet - which I just love, but for me, the CLASP caught my eye. Can you tell me the 'real' name or what vendor you got these from?? They would work well with peyote too!!! Thanks!!! ~Krafty Max

  2. Wow, cute bracelet. That will go with a lot of things.
    I'm glad you had such a great class experience. I want to take a class eventually, it sounds like a great way to learn.
    I can't wait to see what your herringbone necklace looks like!

  3. Krafty, you are so right. I should have posted a link for Claspgarten. Diane has a bead shop of her own and purchases in bulk from the company. I believe she said a 100 Euro minimum applies to orders, since they are a wholesaler, which should be about $145 in US currency. I think there are several retailers in the US that carry this brand, because I had heard the name, but I will ask Diane if she has more she wants to sell as well, and let you know. Here's a link to the wholesaler in Germany:

  4. Sounds like it was a fun clasp Marsha. You now have me curious about those tila beads. I bet you could do a lot with them including bead embroidery. Do you know if they are being sold yet? I will look around on the web. Thanks for a fun and informative blog!

  5. Sandy, I understand that these beads were due for release to retailers this fall, so they should be out there somewhere, BUT, I must admit, I have not seen them at either of my two local favorite bead stores. If you find them, let us know where!

  6. I love your bracelet! It's always fun to walk out of a class with a finished piece.

  7. Wow, Diane Fitzgerald?? I'm so jealous!!!! Very cool bracelet. I have heard of the new Tila beads, and since I'm a big Myuki beads fan anyway, will probably try these out in something. Good luck with your herringbone; it's one of my faves when done in a tube and with Delicas...

    Chris :D
    (aka Tapdancer556011)

  8. I love the bracelet and can't wait to see the necklace!

  9. Love the bracelet. The clasp is an excellent choice. Just recently I completed a bracelet with that style of clasp but narrower. Tried it on my left wrist and closed the clasp with my right hand with difficulty. I looked at it, admired it and wondered how I was going to take it off. I couldn't. I went next door to my neighbor who could use her 2 hands to pull it apart. Much as I like the look of that clasp I won't be using it again for a bracelet for myself.

    1. My bracelet is a little loose on my wrist, and I am able to put it on and take it off by myself. The clasp is from Claspgarten. Maybe they are not all created equal, or maybe a little wearing ease helps with that? Thanks for the input and for reading and commenting! Diane's designs are always simple and elegant, making the most of the beads. :)