I started to do a lot of projects with seed beads when I got a Beading Bead-a-day calendar a couple years ago. The good thing about the calendar is that it has a lot of different techniques and the instruction cards are a useful size to keep on the table next to you while you’re trying something new. One helpful tip I picked up from the calendar was to keep swatches of your seed beads so you know what you’ve got to work with. As you can see, I’ve built up quite a palette over the last few years.
I recently got some vintage/antique seed beads. I just finished making swatches for all of them because although swatches are useful, they’re not terribly fun to make. Since older seed beads tend to be more irregular in shape, the swatches look kind of lopsided, so I guess I won’t be doing much bead-weaving with them. They’ll work as spacers, though.
I also recently got some vintage beading needles. I had some vintage beads that I hadn’t been able to do anything with because I couldn’t get a modern needle through them. The holes in these needles are almost non-existent, but they do go through vintage beads easily.
And I just included these to show how thread color can affect the way beads look. I initially made these swatches using black thread (top row), but I thought it looked awful and re-did it with white thread (bottom row), which I think looks much better.