Miyuki has released a new beading thread called Dura-Line. This 100% polyethylene thread is being marketed as an alternative to Fireline, Nanofil, and other Dyneema/gel spun polyethelene fibers. Polyethylene is the most common form of plastic on the planet, making everything from shopping bags to Kevlar thread. The advantage of this fiber for making fishing line and bead weaving thread is that it is very strong but thin and flexible. A supplier provided me with samples (at cost) for me to try out and offer this review. My opinions are my own and were not influenced by the supplier or the manufacturer. NOTE: I do not recommend this fiber for kumihimo, as it is too thin to support beads in a braid without a core, and it has a slick finish that may keep it from staying in the slots of a disk—I did not test it on a marudai so I am not certain it would support the weight of the tama or counterweight bag.
I received a sample of black thread in 0.15mm/0.006” diameter and crystal in 0.12/0.005” diameter. Each spool had 20m/22 yards on it. The spools are a clear plastic with a cut out to hold the tail of your thread in place after you cut it.
For my black Dura-Line sample I made a pair of earrings. Compared to smoke Fireline, this thread is smoother, more flexible, and does not have anti-stick dust. It is darker than smoke Fireline, but not as shiny and stiff as black Fireline. It cut easily with safety/children’s scissors or a thread burner, and I had no trouble flattening the end with my flat nose pliers so I could attach my needle. That is where the problems started, though. I was using a size 13 John James needle, and the black thread didn’t fit through the eye of the needle at all! While John James does have small eyes, this was something I’d never encountered before. I had to fray the end in order to get it through the eye. Once I got working, the thread was so slick my needle kept falling off, meaning I had to trim and fray the end again and again. Waxing the end didn’t help keep the needle on either. The black thread didn’t tangle or knot on me, and I got seven passes of it through my size 11/0 Czech seed beads with no troubles at all, and four through my Miyuki 15/0 seed beads. There were no issues tying off or ending the thread.
Like the black Dura-Line, the white is smoother than crystal Fireline, and doesn’t have that thick outer coating Fireline sometimes does. It also cut easily with safety/children’s scissors or a thread burner, but when I flattened it, it shredded apart immediately. It was extremely difficult to keep a needle on this thread, with or without wax.
The white thread knotted and frayed as I worked and tangled terribly.
Joining the thread was no problem. I used a thread burner to trim the shredded end and tried several knots, all of which held well. This photo is of an overhand knot that is not typical of what I use when joining threads, because it was temporary as I wanted to show the Dura-Line next to crystal Fireline. Without touching them it is hard to tell them apart.
This is the finished piece, a brick stich go-go pendant. I had no problem making passes through any of the beads, the results were the same as with the black thread, 7 passes through 11/0 Czech beads and 4 passes through Miyuki 15/0s.
Thread color impact
I neglected to use any transparent beads in this project so it’s hard to be definitive about this, but I found the impact of the thread color to be minimal. The black thread didn’t overly darken the beads and the white thread didn’t show in the rows where two dark colored beads were next to each other. Even in black and white you can’t easily tell which project was made with each color thread, unless you look at the 15/0 beads.
I don’t like this thread, and I don’t think I will use it much in the future. The shredding and fraying at the cut end of both colors is worrisome for the longevity of the piece, and I found both colors difficult to work with. Black Dura-Line was marginally better than the white, as it didn’t tangle, fray, or knot as I worked. If you want a stiff beading thread, stick with Fireline or Nanofil.