About the Manufacturing of Thread - Each time a specific color of thread is manufactured minute differences may occur. The color may vary a bit even though the same dye lot formula is used, also known as 'dye lot drift'. The finishing or bonding process may also vary a bit, so one lot/batch of spools may have a slightly different hand or feel. When noticeable differences in dye lot or feel occur, I try to annotate them in the color close-ups. Actual dye lot affect the thread itself as well, so as a general rule darker colors have a heavier feel than lighter colors. The actual thickness of the thread is altered by some of the dye. White nylon thread for example is always a bit thinner and has a lighter hand than colored nylon thread as it does not have any molecules of dyes attached to the molecules of nylon.
#18 Confusion - Many different type of thread have the number 18 in their name. Thread terminology is often confusing, do not confuse this thread with Nylon Seine Twine Size 18 or #18 Nylon Seine Twine, a cord much thicker usually available only in white or bright yellow or Nylon Crochet Thread Size 18 used for purses mostly. If you are looking for Nylon Crochet Thread, two companies make this thread, Omega Hilo and JP Coats. JP Coats is only available in a few colors. The Hilo Omega La Espiga Nylon Crochet Thread comes in a wide variety of colors and many sizes. The best online source for this product is Crochet Style ETC in Columbus Ohio at
C-Lon Bead Cord - The breaking strength is approx 34 lbs. Thread diameter is less than 0.5mm (0.5 millimeter = 0.019 685 039 inch = 1.26/64th of an inch). It fits easily one time through the holes of standard 4mm gemstone beads and Miyuki 11/0 seed beads. Doubled with a beeswax self-needle it passes through most 6mm gemstone beads, but only through some of the 4mm and the doubled thread on a split-eye needle passes easily through Miyuki 8/0s. > Bead Sizes for C-Lon
Each bobbin/spool is approximately 1 1/8 inches in diameter and 1 5/8 inches tall and holds approximately 86-92 yards. (Metric: bobbin diam. = 28mm, height = 40mm, approx 78-84 meters of thread per bobbin.) Made in the USA.
About C-Lon Bead Cord Curling Up - When unwinding the thread, give it a pull one arm's length at a time and guess what: no more curls and the cord is pre-stetched - or use a warm iron to remove the curls. For more > Blog
C-Lon Micro Cord - Thin beading cord from C-lon similar to Nylon #69. Breaking strength 11lbs, approx 0.12mm thick. Use for detailed micro macrame, stringing with small-hole beads, crochet with 11s and 15s. Available in 32 colors. Economical packaging when compared with other beading thread per yard!
C-Lon Fine Weight Cord Tex 135 - This is the newer size of C-Lon Bead Cord, in between the Micro Size and the standard size. Introduced in February 2010. Breaking strength 24lbs, approx 0.4mm thick. Use for detailed micro macrame, stringing with small-hole beads, crochet with 8s and 11s. Available in 24 colors.
C-Lon Tex 400 Beading Cord - Heavyweight beading cord. 48 colors. Introduced in May 2008. Colors matches C-Lon Bead Cord colors. Diameter approx .9mm, just a breath under 1mm with my calipers. It is thicker than the Tuff Bead Cord Size 7 and in between the Omega Nylon Crochet size #5 and #6. Breaking strength approx 75 lbs. With a self needle, it fits through 4mm gemstone beads, Miyuki 8/0s once and passes twice through Miyuki 6/0s.
About Superlon or S-Lon Mac/Bead Cord - C-Lon is the original line. S-Lon/Superlon Mac/Bead Cord appears to be an exact copy or the same product, packaged in smaller, shorter and wider spools (77 yards versus 86-92 yards). For more on this > Read blog entry
D&E/Mastex - Genuine D&E/Mastex Nylon #18 is back in production once again under a different company D&E (March 2009). Mastex went out of business in 2010. The new stock of D&E is exactly the same as Mastex produced post 2005. It has a soft hand, minimal bond and is very pliable. Made in the USA.
Beadsmith Nylon #18 -The Beadsmith Nylon #18 was produced when Mastex went out of production for the first time in 2005. It has a heavier hand and it is more slippery, so a bit harder to knot.The color line similar to Mastex, has many variations. On the positive side the Beadsmith Black is a real dark black, the blackest black of all the thread available. I also really like Jade. As colors sell out, they are no longer reordered as Beadsmith has discontinued this product. Black & White may remain available. Imported.
Conso - The oldest American company producing Nylon #18, nowadays manufactured in India or China. The color chart has not changed since the 70's (other than a one year hiatus), dye lots and quality are sometimes an issue. For some use, this cord was fantastic and had its avid fans. One of my colleague swore by it for its durability and long lasting quality. It held knots well. I love its black cord... Newer production of Consohas moved to a new manufacturer and the quality of the new cord is not the same. It is no longer a good choice for jewelry making. It might be OK to repair a carpet or to stitch a couch. See notes on the Conso page.
About Nylon Whites - When comparing brands as to degrees of white, this is how they would compare. From snow white to off-white: Vintage Mastex Nylon #18, Conso Nylon #18 (old production), C-Lon Bead Cord, Tuff bead Cord, D&E Nylon #18 and Beadsmith Nylon #18.
About Nylon Blacks - Here is how they compare, from the blackest one on: Beadsmith Nylon #18, C-Lon Bead Cord, D&E Nylon #18.
About Nylon Greys - Please note that many of the greys are limited in availability.
From light to dark:
C-Lon Oyster, Very light/a bit creamy
D&E Nickel Dye Lot, Cool/bluish
C-Lon Nickel, very slight lavender cast
D&E Light Grey, neutral on cool side (out of stock I believe)
Vintage Mastex Dark Grey/French Grey Bluish/greenish-cool
Vintage Mastex Pewter Warm Reddish-purplish cast
D&E Pewter Just a bit darker and more neural but still warm
D&E Slate A bit darker and bluer, and a bit lighter than C-Lon Gray
C-Lon Gunmetal, nutral with a slight blue undertone
C-Lon Gray Just a bit cool, but a rich color with a bluish steel cast
Tuff Bead Cord Hematite Darkest Grey fairly neutral but rich color
C-Lon Bead Cord Charcoal
Classifications of Grey Tones:
Cool Grey Tones: D&E Nickel Dye Lot, Vintage Mastex Dark Grey/French Grey, D&E Slate, C-Lon Gray
Neutral Greys: D&E Light Grey, D& E Pewter, Tuff Bead Cord Hematite
Warm GreyTones: C-Lon Nickel, C-Lon Silver, Vintage Mastex Pewter
Other: C-Lon Oyster
Bluer Grey Tones: Conso Slate, too be considered a grayish light blue.
Vintage Mastex Slate, Slate blue, a rich color, darker than Conso Slate with a greenish, bluish cast.
Kanagawa 1000 Denier Embroidery Silk & Fujix Tire Silk - They are filament silks, not spun silks, so the fibers are strong and do not shed. They have a lovely feel and sheen. The filaments are sturdy and well plied. They handle manipulation well unlike many other filament silks. The two brand combined have a great color range!
I have been using Nylon #18, Nylon #69, the Kanagawa Silks, Satin Cords and many of the thread currently sold in this online store for over 28 years. My personal supplies include the C-Lon Bead & Micro Cord lines, D&E/Mastex, Beadsmith, Conso, Tuff Bead Cord in Size 1 and 5, and my 'museum or vintage colors': nylon #18 no longer produced and manufactured, such as Robinson, Macrawold and discontinued colors by Conso and Mastex. I intermix them, use them individually and in combination. Color is usually my first criterion when choosing a thread, but quality is also an issue as different brands have different quality better suited for some specific uses. At one point I considered dyeing colors myself, but in order to get a good quality permanent dye, harmful chemicals need to be used, better suited for industrial settings. In October 2005 when I found the C-Lon line and got so excited with the new bright colors, 32 colors at that time. Imagine 3 purples, a chartreuse, lots of different pinks and a color line growing from 32 to 58 and now to 88 colors, and soon 104. Wow, what fun!
C-Lon Micro Cord and Nylon #69 - I use nylon #69/C-Lon Micro Cord in conjunction with nylon #18. It is great for stitching, wrapping, finishing and hidden construction. I also occasionally use it to do part of a one of a kind piece, such as the micro-knotting of a mini cabochon for a very small gemstone with need of a very high count of knots per square inch. It is also a great thread for beading fine beads with small holes such as many of the semi-precious and precious faceted beads out on the market right now. Many of my customers use this thread for bead crochet and bead loom weaving. One of my customers made several wallets with beaded panels woven on a loom with nylon #69 about 15 years ago. Her wallets have been in use everyday for over 15 years with no sign of wear!
Griffin Silk & Nylon - I do not carry the Griffin lines, but lately I got a number of questions regarding Griffin and comparisons to the thread and cords I carry. The Griffin silks on cards are 2-ply cord with a needle attached. The Griffin nylon is not bonded, so softer than bonded cord. I found some nylon cards I bought a long time ago in my drawers but never used and checked diameters and thread quality. When comparing diameter, be cautious, the diameter on the manufacturer suggested list is fairly off. All of the plied nylon cords I carry are 3-ply and bonded; 3-ply construction makes a rounder cord with less of a diagonal pattern; bonded thread has better abrasion resistance.