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February 23, 2017

Comparing Delica Bead vs. Czech Bead Loomed Bracelets

When something catches my interest, I generally have to try it a couple (or more) different ways before I decide what I like best.

And so it is with looming.

Immediately after finishing my first bracelet on the Ricks bead loom, I warped it up to make another bracelet of the same design.  You'd think I'd be a little more adventurous, but I'm not.

loomed bracelets with Czech and Cylinder beads

Well, not entirely true - I did plan on changing things, but the pattern, width, and length aren't the parts that needed changing.  It was the beads.

I knew right away that my color choices on the first bracelet weren't quite right, but it was more than that.  It was also the shape and size of the beads that weren't thrilling me.

I thought that cylinder beads were the natural choice for looming because of their consistent size and shape - but it still felt like it was missing something.

This time, I went with Czech Preciosa size 11 seed beads.

traveling bead board

I started off by emptying out my travel bead board and adding a variety of Czech beads - mostly matte opaque colors since the last bracelet didn't have enough color differentiation.

Remember how much I loved this traveling bead case from my last post?  Well, I still love it when it is filled with the right beads.  When you have to switch the beads, not so much.  It needs to come with a scoop.  I think I'll stop at the local 7-11 today for some Slurpee straws.  That will probably do the trick.

Here's my looming in progress.  I'm happy with the colors and the beads right away.  I'd be happier with my pictures if the sun would start shining again.  Daylight light bulbs just aren't the same as the Southern California sunshine.

Ricks Bead Loom Bracelet in progress

I love the depth of color, and also the shape of the beads.  Reminds me of more traditional Native American style loomed beadwork.

This time I had some good and not so good experiences with my Ricks loom.  I love the magnet that is at the back to hold my needle.

Storing Needle on Magnet on Bead Loom

 What a fabulous idea!  I used it throughout the project whenever I had to step away.

On the not so good side, I had some minor issues with uneven tension of the warp threads.

Ricks bead Loom: finishing the ends

I noticed it most when I was getting to the end of the bracelet.  The picture above is after I removed the bracelet from the warp bar and squeezed in a last row of beads.

Ricks Bead Loom bracelet - no warp threads on this end

I did manage to smooth it out and distribute the difference over the length of the bracelet, but I suspect it could be a lot worse if I had more warp threads in my bracelet.  It will definitely be something that I look out for in the future.

Even though there are only four threads to weave in, it is still the part that I hate most.  That, and figuring out the clasp situation.

Ricks Bead Loom bracelet - threads to weave in

My last idea to just use bead loops to add the clasp worked fine, and I even got some compliments for it on the Ricks Loomatiks Facebook page, so I decided to finish this bracelet similarly.

Finished loom ends, ready for clasp

The loops are a little larger than the last one and I tried to keep the colors of the bracelet going in them - but it's still just a loop to attach the clasp using jump rings.

I added another leaf charm on the extender side of the clasp again too.

Ricks Bead Loom bracelet - all finished!

But I didn't like this leaf and ended up changing it for a longer, more feathery version.

Ricks Bead Loom bracelet - all finished!

In other progress, I warped my Little Ricky loom for a design that I made using the BeadTool 4 software.  I thought it would be a great way for me to try working with more warp threads but I ran into a problem.

After making this bracelet, I decided I prefer Czech beads, but the design I made is for size 11 cylinder beads.  Since you can't change the project size on a Ricks loom, I'm all warped and my design is going to be too large for the loom setup.  The design was for a loomed bracelet centerpiece, not a full bracelet so I can't really make adjustments to make this work.

Ah well, another unplanned opportunity to explore.

The Mirrix loom is warped and ready to go again, this time for 4 bracelets.  I like that you can warp it for multiple projects at once.
The Jewel Loom is also ready for a leather edged loom beaded bracelet.  I'm not sure if I'll use crystals or seed beads this time though.  Decisions, decisions...  I'll have to take some pictures of this setup - since I don't think I have yet.  Of course, the loom isn't really meant to be warped with leather, but I've come up with a way to do it that I like - probably better than doing it on the Mirrix loom.

One thing that I hate to admit is that I am feeling a bit discouraged by my lack of knowledge and experience looming.  I am trying to push through it, but there is so much to plan out!  That's part of the reason why I am not changing up the design too much.  Too many other things to learn and catch up on.  (For someone who's feeling discouraged, you've got to admit, I really commit on the tools and supplies part...)

Until next time...

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  1. So.....with all the looms you have, which is your favorite? And how do you like the Mirrix compared to the Rick's?

    1. I'm not sure yet - I think the answer is going to be that each loom is good for different things. I'll need to work with different types of projects on each one and then I'll let you know.

  2. Thanks for all the details you put in here, Lisa. I haven't made any jewelry in quite a while, but I'm bookmarking this for another time.

  3. Lol, you say you are inexperienced ; mostly this is Klingon to me...but I love that you explain everything, so even though I have no idea of the difference between each loom is, or the relevance of the difference (!) I still feel I could buy one, thread it up and make an awesome bracelet thanks to your blog. So...thanks 😉🌼

    1. Ugh - I know how confusing all the terminology can be. I'm glad you feel like you could just get started though. That is the idea!

  4. I have spent the last 3 days trying to get the tension right on my Rick's loom. It is very difficult. I had 20 warps and I almost lost my mind. I used wireline, then tried c-lon, then back to fireline. I finally did it today. It took another day to make the first line with the beads (11/0). So I have that done, but worry that the thread will get loosened again and when I try to tighten up the tension, they actually get more loose. Anyway...I am not giving up!! Thanks for your info. Now I know it's not just me!

    1. Yes - I am suspecting that keeping tension even with lots of warp threads may be more of a challenge on a Ricks Loom than say a Mirrix. I'll need to try a few designs to prove if that's true or not, but based on the differences in their design, I think it's a reasonable guess. If you learn some tricks on how to keep the tension consistent, I'd appreciate the feedback.

  5. Hi Lisa. I've found I prefer the look of seed beads for these bracelets as well, though I've seen lots of beauties on Pinterest using delicas - they have a more polished look. I've learned a lot from Jamie Eakin's new book on Loomwork.

    1. Since links don't always work well in comments. The book is Guide to Beading with a Loom: From Start to Finish and Beyond. I always look at the preview of the book when it is provided (it is for this book) and the comments to get a better idea of what people like and don't like about a book.

  6. I threw my Rick's away. Peice of junk. Right idea, poor design. The bar that is supposed to hold the tension is just too flimsy. I love my Mirrix tho.

  7. I bought a Mirrix Loom and thought I could start right out and bead away. I have not been successful at all. I gave up. It’s a lot of money to just give up. I have to try it again! It looked so easy but it’s not. I have wanted one for years and am disappointed in myself.