Matubo 7/0 - Seed Bead Revolution

Would you believe that all glass beads used to make this necklace come exclusively from Czech manufacturers?

Matubo Anyone who at least tried to weave something using beads knows (or at least suspects) that the more regular the seed beads are, the better it is to work with them and the better the result achieved. But where to get these regular beads? If you need regular seed beads not only for woven or crochet beads, you usually look for Japanese TOHO or Miyuki seed beads. However, you don’t have to search for high-quality seed beads in distant and foreign countries any more... Matubo is a new kind of beads made by Matura Beads s.r.o. (they are the same gentlemen who have come up with Rulla and Superduo beads). Matubo are pressed seed beads – i.e. beads whose shape, size and usage corresponds to classical seed beads, but unlike them they are produced by pressing. It is this technology that enables production of tiny beads with perfectly regular shape and size and a wide range of colours.

Doesn’t it sound interesting?

Comparison

First, let us compare with the competitors’ products – and, as a well-known cliché says that a picture is worth a thousand words, I will spare you of unnecessary words and draw my camera – have a look at what other beads of identical or similar sizes you can get on the Czech market (the samples have been selected randomly from my current stock).

matubo
Matubo size 7/0
Preciosa
Preciosa, size 7/0
TOHO
TOHO Round 8/0
Matsuno
Matsuno 8/0
gbbeads
Pressed rocail from GB Beads 8/0
delica
Miyuki Delica 10/0

Is that all? Really?

No ... it isn’t. There are still Chinese seed beads – unfortunately (or rather fortunately) there are none on my stock any more. I used the last pieces as spread on a slippery pavement in winter two years ago :D. Size 8/0 Miyuki round seed beads would also be worth mentioning – those ones are very rare on the Czech market and I don’t have them on stock. I also wanted to use Delica 8/0 beads instead of 10/0 ones – however, they are impossible to buy on the Czech market and I do not have them (unfortunately) on stock yet. I completely excluded any other seed beads than the round ones (so all farfalle, drops, magatama beads, triangles, hexagonal beads and other fancy shapes) as well as all two-hole seed beads (as there is going to be a whole article dedicated to them) and all classical “pressed” beads from the comparison.

EDIT: My wish has been granted and I have managed to obtain the size 8/0 Miyuki Delica beads. To be honest I was a little disappointed and surprised by the fact that the shape which looked so elegant and fragile in sizes 11/0 and 10/0 would look more like chopped pipes in size 8/0 and all the small inaccuracies which had been nearly invisible in smaller sizes would show up. Not that Delica 8/0 is bad ... but thank you, I would prefer Matubo.

So, let’s have a look at it

Well, I love to take photos, but I also like to chat. So:

An obvious advantage which Matubo beads offer compared to their competition is their regularity (even as compared to Japanese Miyuki Delica beads), precise size marking (which we have got used to with Japanese seed beads) and nearly zero defect rate. After all, a pressed bead is and will always be "more regular" than any seed bead. Probably the only possible competition in this sense are pressed seed beads from GB Beads, but these are not very widespread on the market (I have personally seen them only in GB Beads corporate outlet) and moreover, they have other disadvantages like too small holes with rough edges and the fact that they are made of not lower quality glass (and it happened to me several times that these beads broke when I was sealing the thread ends with fire).

Another huge advantage consists in large holes with "smooth" edges (larger than any competing products) which not only reduce the bead weight, make the weaving easier and almost completely eliminate the risk of thread snapping, but they also enable using Matubo in combination with stronger threading material, such as wires or knitting yarn. I can also imagine processing Matubo beads into chainmaille and it will surely be possible to use them to make luxurious bead crochet ropes (however, I will not provide any example, as the crochet hook is my sworn enemy).
However, large holes with smooth edges are actually a double-edged knife.
With some techniques (mainly the round peyote stitch, beading of balls or cabochons) it was pretty difficult to keep the right tension when working with Matubo (the stitches sometimes got loose even several rows back) and I personally blame the large and smooth holes for that. Thus, if you are not used to tightening the thread a lot, beading with Matubo beads may be a bit demanding for you and if you tie-off our thread “pre-emptively” from time to time, you will surely not spoil anything. You can also encounter problems if you want to make bead and wire chain with Matubo or combine it with smaller seed beads (e.g. TOHO 15 can fit inside the hole without any problems).

What is the weaving like?

Fantastic! I had the Matubo beads at my disposal for three months and I used them in several basic beadweaving techniques. The results are displayed below, sorted by technique used and supplemented with photos and wherever possible, compared with other types of seed beads.

Peyote stitch

Rolls woven using a peyote stitch. An easy classic. Compared to any other round seed beads, Matubo is more comfortable to tighten and the resulting piece looks very effective. It will work as well with classic flat bracelets woven using a peyote stitch where you can take advantage of the large holes in the beads to attach connecting rings.
Matubo
Matubo 7/0
Matsuno
Matsuno 8/0
Preciosa+TOHO
Preciosa 8/0 a TOHO 11/0

I was very positively surprised with a peyote triangle.
These triangles are very popular patterns and they are made of nearly all kinds of seed beads you can think of – the more regular the beads, the better, naturally.
I therefore had to try and make one using Matubo beads. The stitches could be tightened comfortably and after a few lines the triangle started to form into a three-dimensional shape. This effect can naturally be achieved with other seed beads as well (the most distinct being the one made with Japanese tube seed beads, such as Miyuki Delica or TOHO Treasures), but I can tell you I have never achieved such a magnificent "pyramid" with any other type of seed beads. There is a small triangle made of Preciosa beads for comparison. It is not bad, but if we take the shape and regularity of the used beads into consideration, it is rather flat and mildly rounded (sort of makes me want to say "a Reuleaux triangle") ;)

Matubo
Matubo 7/0
Matsuno
Stavíme pyramidu
Preciosa+TOHO
Preciosa

Herringbone steh

You can notice a straight herringbone tube of four beads on the perimeter at the triangle above. The truth is that herringbone tubes are generally quite tolerant to irregular seed beads but if you select quite regular beads, you can achieve spectacular results (see below).

Matubo
Matubo 7/0
herringbone
Matubo 7/0 at the top, TOHO 8/0 at the centre, Preciosa 9/0 at the bottom

A flat herringbone stitch also came out nice. You can notice not only the stitch structure but also the colourfulness in the photos – I used Matubo in hematite and jet with a beautiful violet lustre.

The whole bracelet which is about 21 cm long (which is suitable for a wide wrist) weighs 15 grams including the components.

Matubo
Matubo 7/0
Matsuno
Matsuno 8/0
Preciosa+TOHO
Matsuno 8/0 a Preciosa ca 10/0

In both cases the herringbone stitch structure is clearly visible and the threads only scarcely show up between the beads – which I think is thanks to the shape of Matubo beads.

Cabochons and Rivolis

Another field where we cannot do without regular seed beads is making beaded bezels for cabochons or other jewellery stones. This time I used Swarovski Rivoli, but as we work with larger seed beads than usual, I took a bit larger rivoli - 18 mm.

After weaving the perimeter (it was rather difficult to keep the right tension and it did not retain the right shape during the weaving, but later it turned out nicely after closing of the perimeter on both sides) I got an idea, that I would use Superduos instead of smaller seed beads and then use smaller seed beads to tighten the last row only (here I used TOHO Round 15/0). And the result was ... excellent. The Matubo 7/0 matches Superduo and available Japanese seed beads very nicely, but we will talk about it later.

The truth is that a large part of the rivoli remained hidden under the beads but it does not matter much with a stone of this size. Moreover, the shape and colour of the Superduo stands out – and that has never caused any harm.

Matubo
SW Rivoli 18 mm, Matubo and Superduo
herringbone
SW Rivoli 18 mm, Matubo, TOHO, Matsuno

The overall beading looks very compact and pleasant, but on the other hand it is rather massive. However, large holes allow us easy addition of other decorations (without us experiencing any problems when adding another row or without breaking the needles trying to put the thread through a hole in a bead which is way too small).

Matubo is not suitable for beading around smaller stones, due to its size. Maybe in the future when it is also produced in smaller sizes. However, it is ideal for beading larger and more robust cabochons. Moreover, the large holes in the beads may allow easy decorating, adding of loops and hanging.

Brick Stitch

Another stitch I chose to test with Matubo was a circular brick stitch. This technique is rather tolerant to slight irregularities of the seed beads and you can use any seed beads to create true works of art (even those terrible Chinese seed beads). However, I was pleasantly surprised with Matubo. The circular brick stitch was really round, the work was comfortable and the volume grew quickly. Given the brick stitch structure, there were no problems with keeping the proper tension either. The only drawback – visible threads at the edges – which is due to the bigger size of Matubo seed beads.

Brick
TOHO a Preciosa, sizes 11/0 to 8/0
Matubo
Matubo 7/0
Brick
Matubo 7/0

Beaded Beads

The first attempt for classical round beaded bead was not very successful. Well, it is not easy to find the correct procedure, number of rows and size of the inner ball and matching seed bead size and it usually requires a lot of time, stitching, unstitching and swear words. The second ball was slightly better (if we can call it a ball – I personally use "regular octagonal potato shape" and I am not going to make more of them), but it still seems to me that Matubo is rather big and angular for beading balls.

However, after short experimenting with the number of rows and shape of the core bead I had come to a beaded "rondelle" where the angularity mentioned above did not pose a problem and from the angular rondelle it was only a short way to lavishly decorated diamond-shaped cushions.

Even beaded bead lovers will thus enjoy working with Matubo beads – and what’s more – these techniques let the spectacular colours of Matubo show up.

Kulička
Regular octagonal potato shape
Rondelka
Rondelles
poduška
Decorated Rondelles

Combination with Superduo suits Matubo much more. I started from my previous attempt to make a round beaded bead from Superduos – it had turned out well but too visible threads in the central rows had irritated me a bit. However, if we add Matubo in the central row, it gives rise to truly nicely round beaded balls with a unique pattern.

duo-kuličky
Beaded Beads with Superduo
duo-kuličky
Beaded Beads with Superduo
duo-kuličky
Beaded Beads with Superduo

One pair of earrings with these Superduo balls (including components and inner core) weighs about 11 grams

Conclusion

While making these samples I found six defective beads only... I should probably not call them "defective" though – two of them were a bit deformed and the remaining four had "fins" of some sorts. Oddly, the beads with fins were in one colour only. Even so, I consider this score very good.

travertin The colour range is really fascinating. I was personally excited about the wide selection of vacuum coatings and lustre colours which are very rare in seed beads (well, you can get them in Preciosa – but a mere mortal can usually only get 50g packets without colour and size marking and they can choose from the current goods on stock only – and in limited amount in Japanese "hybrids" – i.e. TOHO and Miyuki beads with traditional Czech coatings). The colour range should be more or less identical to that of Rulla and Superduo, so we can look forward to matching Matubo colours to Rulla, Superduo or other Czech beads in "traditional" colours.

Photo on the right: Matubo, chalk with travertine colour. Yes, I am a travertinophile and I am proud of it!

As regards sizes, we have to do with size 7/0 (about 2.5 mm long, 3.5 mm wide and ca 230 pcs in 10 grams) for the time being, however, we might get smaller sizes in the future.
The currently offered size may seem too big to some people and you may not use the beads with some techniques (or you have to combine them with smaller seed beads of other brands). However, they perfectly fit everywhere where larger regular seed beads are needed.

How much is it going to cost?

As it is usual with fancy seed beads, it is not going to be cheap. Prepare for a price ranging between 40 and 100 CZK (and even more with fancy surface finishes) per 10 grams... which however is a reasonable price with reflects the quality in my opinion. (Compare for example with prices of Miyuki Delica beads)
By the way, 1 USD equals about 20 CZK ;)

This sounds good. Where can I get them?

Wholesale:
Beadsmith.com and many others

Retail
Matubo will be soon available at Beads Of Bohemia Etsy shop and many others