Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Tutorial Buying Tips Someone Should Have Shared With Me

Can we talk? (I loved the late Joan Rivers.)  It happens to all of us. You start a new craft and you want to buy anything and everything that is pretty, and you do. Then you get your awaited purchase and......

Yep you either didn't look at the pattern close enough or didn't read the list of materials needed and you are left just staring at your new awesome tutorial and no way to make it.

So today I am going to share with you a few tips I learned so that you don't feel you wasted your money or you have to do even more shopping.

I am going to use one of my absolute favorite designers Nancy Dale as my example for you. And this is the tutorial I will be referring to during this post.

Now that you have found a tutorial you really really love it is time to take a breath and read the listing. Nancy always put a description of the materials she uses in each listing, So many times I have just hit the "add to cart" without reading this and found out that I have needed some obscure bead or an insane amount of beads I do not have and what happens the tutorial sits often forgotten about.
Techniques used include right angle weave and picots, and bezeling a chaton. This tutorial is suitable for intermediate beaders, I wouldn't recommend it as a beginning project. Materials needed for these include size 11 and size 15 seed beads, 2mm pearls, 29SS 6mm chaton crystals, 4mm bicones, 2mm crystals (these can be replaced with size 11 seed beads if needed) and a single strand clasp of your choice.
Second step is also to read what level beader you need to be. Yes if you continue you will get to each level in due time but if you are not "advanced" you will get very frustrated and then it ends up in the UFO pile. No one especially the designer wants that to happen to you. Most designer especially Nancy would love it if you emailed them questions rather than have a bad taste about the design.
This tutorial is suitable for intermediate beaders, I wouldn't recommend it as a beginning project.
Third step and one that not many of us think about is know your bead sizes. How often have you found a tutorial, purchased it, started to make it and it is not what you were thinking. For instance this is one of the components in Nancy's design. Now I know how small the chaton used in the pattern is therefore I knew how dainty the design would be.

Knowing this information will save you disappointment.  I know it has happened to me that I thought a design was either larger or smaller than I was anticipating and that could also make the piece end up in the UFO pile.

Forth and one of the things not a lot of us do is to check with other beaders on what they think about the designer.  This will help you make the best decision.   For instance if you were to ask me about Nancy's designs and tutorials I would be able to tell you that for me they are perfect.  She has the right amount of words as well as photo descriptions for each step.  Her photos are very clear with showing thread paths.  She shares tips and tricks she has learned AND she totally inspires you to take her teachings and try something new with them. Another example is that after completing my version of the pattern I was inspired to create a matching necklace and finally bezel a tear drop that had been sitting in my stash for the longest time.

AND just to show why Nancy is one of my favorite designers here is a little bonus.  Someone asked her if it was possible to use a larger chaton in the design so she explored the possibility and then posted the adjustments on her blog.  A link is even included in the product description!

I hope this information is helpful when you fall in love with a design and want to make it for yourself.  I also thank Nancy for being my guinea pig so to speak in this post.


  1. Thank you Kristen. Not only is this great advice for those who buy tutorials, but also for those who write them! There are many aspects to think about, so thank you for sharing your experience. It helps everyone!

    1. Carol I never thought it would help designers but thank you for pointing that out!

  2. Kristen, I couldn't agree more! I love Nancy's designs and I own some of her tutorials! Awesome!!! Also, I have to say that I love your necklace version! I love the idea of breaking up beadwoven elements by interspersing with pearls or crystals. Sometimes a solid beadwoven necklace can be a little too much, if you know what I mean? Perfect! ~Val

    1. Thank you so much I was inspired to do something different.

  3. Very good advice about tutorials. Sometimes the designers do not list the materials that they use and this makes me think twice before buying a tut. I really do not want to spend a lot of money on supplies to make a one time project.

  4. Kristen, I shared a link to your post on the FB page of the Greater Birmingham Bead Society. I think our members will really benefit from your suggestions. Thank you so much!

  5. You're so lovely to give me such a wonderful shout out! Thank you so much, and I ADORE what you did with the tutorial for your necklace, it's a stunner!!!! :D

  6. Great article! Another thing I'd like to see mentioned in designs, especially when a pattern calls for beading several individual elements, is the amount of thread to begin with (including how much of a 'tail' to leave) so that the whole element can be done with one thread - or that you don't have a whole yard left over. I'm always happy to have to add the least amount of new thread in any design!

  7. Great post Kristen. I appreciated your tips.


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