Monday, 14 May 2018

I killed it !

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Stabbing. Right through the heart. Multiple times. No regrets.

Can you hear the silence? No groans, no swearing, no eye-strain either. 
That’s me at work happily stringing beads – lots of seed beads. 
Yes, that’s correct “happily” & eagerly.

Besides my recent bead-heavy bangle, I have been working up a lot of little patterns that have seed beads or to which I added some using the same method. I am finally free from the fear of stringing beads! The reason is a simple way to load them.

Grace Tan has always been encouraging me to try it – for years. She uses a needle to load beads out of packed vials. Try as I might, it never worked. Either the thread wouldn’t pass through the beading needle or the beads wouldn’t pass through the doubled up thread or ….

… till I recently tried it with this easily available threader! Voilà – magic happened.
This stabbing may not be ‘new’ but it works for me. And I love to share that excitement. 

I store my beads in little plastic lidded containers.

Stab at the beads in the container with the needle threader.

Inevitably it will pierce at least one bead (sometimes more).

Push this bead(s) behind and stab again. 

The wire eye is broad in the center, holding back the beads easily.
Repeat till you have many beads on the threader.

Then insert the tatting thread through the tip of the wire eye ....

...and transfer the beads.


My previous methods included
  • this threader (the blue one in the pic);
  • dipping a diagonally sliced thread tip in clear nail enamel to stiffen and use as needle ;
  • using sewing thread and slim needle to load beads and transfer to thread.
All required the use of my eyes. Until now …
Stabbing worked on the flat bead box too (in the pic above).

Now I can't wait to show you my new beaded projects, including the butterflies.

What is your go-to method to string/load beads? 

UPDATE : Please check out Grace's detailed explanation in the comments below, and also tips/options by my other readers. More options, more freedom!


  1. Well, your headline is fierce, I’m glad there’s no blood involved! I gave away my threaders, I wonder if I still have one lurking. I find that putting beads into shallow jar lids makes it easier to pick them up with a needle.

    1. Jane, with the amount of beadwork you do, you really do have your system in place already :-))))

  2. I don't make big items so I only have a limited number of beads to thread. They can prove nerve-testing though. I put nail polish on the end of my thread to make it stiff and sturdy enough (it becomes the needle in a way). And when I use very small beads, I turn to the big-eye needle. I use it seldom and with caution, because that needle does stab, but sometimes mistakes a finger tip for a bead... don't ask me how I know that! Your idea seems more effective and much safer!

    1. Ouch, stabbing oneself is way more hurtful, Sylvie ;-P You really do need to switch to a safer method :-)

  3. Replies
    1. Bernice, thanks go to Grace, actually :-)

  4. Several years ago I learned about a product that is battery powered and is rather magical to use. It is called a Bead Spinner and it's sold by Darice, which is a big supplier of craft products.

    You can see a demonstration of it on this youtube:

    The video was made in 2008, but the spinner is still available. It is used for the stringing of lots of beads of one color. I haven't used mine that often, but it does load a lot of beads easily. It costs about $20. Sounds like it might be a good investment for you!

    1. Thanks for the link, Kathy :-) I will check out the video & the product.

  5. I stab and it is very satisfying too :) and this works most importantly! I now use needle and thread though cause I wore out my threaders to quickly and they are too expensive :)

    1. Ah, Carollyn, a fellow-stabber!!! Tatters in arms ;-P
      I bought a set of 3 threaders few years back (online), so as long as they are easily accessible I don't mind.

  6. I will say, you made me look twice at your title! I guess I watch too much TV.

    I, too, use a bead spinner. I came across one long ago in a resale shop. Mine is manual, but it does not require good sight (something I am more grateful for by the day).

    Thank you for my smile today.

    Linda R

    1. Mission Accomplished, Linda :-D
      Keep smiling - muskaan means smile - so take my name for your daily dose :-)))

  7. I have also same type (first one) of threader and container too. For smaller container I use plastic bottles with lid which actually our Homeopathy doctor gives us with full of medicine once the medicine in it finished. Some times I will post it on my blog.

    1. Alka, those Homeopathy vials are a Splendid idea! With the advantage that they will be excellent even if one has less beads.

  8. I may have a better solution - a bead spinner and a needle. You put the beads in the bowl, spin it and put the needle in. As if by magic, the beads jump up the needle, not just one at a time either. it's really fast!

    1. That Does sound magical, Wendy !!! I watched the video Kathy recommended and it was mesmerizing to see the beads lining up on the wire. Thank you :-)

  9. I was surprised when you referred to me!

    Well, I use a Beadalon collapsible eye needle (
    It's not actually a regular needle. It's made out of two very fine wires twisted together, and the eye at the end is the same fine wire.

    You thread a doubled helper thread (just sewing thread) through the collapsible eye, then you thread the actual tatting thread through the end of the loop of helper thread. This can handle smaller beads than if you put the tatting thread straight through the collapsible eye. Then, as for the needle threader, you stab the needle into the beads. I have the beads in a small tube or a small ziplock bag. Keep stabbing until you have 10-20 beads on the needle, then push them down onto the helper thread, and on down to the tatting thread. For a pattern requiring a large number of the same beads, measure the length for 50 beads, then just continue threading multiples of that length. No need to count the beads.

    The bead spinner is indeed mesmerising! If I were actually doing beading rather than tatting, I would be sure to get it. ;-)

    1. Ah, Grace, I seemed to have forgotten the details, but remembered the stabbing ;-P Which is the important part, so I still give you credit. And it works Great even with this threader.

      Thanks for the link and also the explanation. I will update my post... That collapsible eye needle reminded me of a spring pogo stick!!!