Buying Beads Online: A knitter's guide

Since many of my designs incorporate beads (including my latest mystery KAL OPEN MINDS I get a LOT of questions about where to buy them.  In this post I've rounded up some of my favorite online shops, to make it easier for anyone who wants to start incorporating beads into their knitting.  It's one of my favorite things!

I work with mostly Japanese glass seed beads, because they have the unique quality of being uniform on both the inside and outside of the bead, which makes them great for knitting.  There are three main bead manufacturers in Japan: Miyuki, Matsuno and Toho.

Japanese seed beads

First, a general guideline to help you estimate your beading needs:
For round size 8 Japanese seed beads there are approximately 40 beads per gram
For cylindrical size 8 Miyuki delica beads, there are approximately 32 beads per gram
For round size 6 Japanese seed beads there are approximately 12 beads per gram

For Miyuki beads, head over to Caravan Beads. They are a family owned business in Portland Maine and ship super quickly!

There's a great variety of Toho beads at Lima Beads. Get it? Lima Beads!?

Matsuno beads are plentiful at Beadweaver of Santa Fe.  My hands down favorite beads are square holed silver lined Matsuno Beads with a rainbow finish like these:

Square holed silver lined Matsuno Beads

In Canada?  Check out Beads FX.  I got to visit their Toronto shop once and I was in heaven!

If you're outside of North America, or looking for a more extensive list, check out this resource in my Ravelry group.

If you're trying to figure out what size bead you need for a specific project, you can refer to my earlier blog post about yarn weight vs bead size

And remember -- if sourcing your own beads feels like too much, remember that all the knitting kits in my shop include everything you need for a project (except the needles).
Beaded needles and travel beading kits

Knitting on the go with travel beading kit
Knitting Brioche Bandido in Ireland with my travel beading tin.

Do you have a favorite place to buy beads?
Please share... I'd love to hear! I do love me some bead stash enhancement!


  1. Great instructional writing - thank you so much for putting this together for us!

  2. Beads FX is great! I normally check my local bead stores first and if I don’t find what I want I go straight to Bead FX. I find the on-screen colour to be very accurate compared with the beads I receive which makes me very comfortable buying from them online.

  3. A friend turned me on to Beada Beada for Toho seed beads.

  4. My favourite place in Canada to buy all of my jewellery supplies, including beads, is Bead Dynasty in Toronto. Maryanne is a lovely lady to deal with and is so very helpful.


Post a Comment