The beads are highly irregular and come in a variety of sizes. Many of the larger ones seem to split apart when they are reamed out to get rid of the mold sand. The variety of color and shape are essential to the look of the finished piece.
The center seam has the irregular glass beads. You can see light filtering through like a lantern. The clothesline seams have rows of smooth seed beads worked into them.
The buttons came from a thrift store which is why they are mis-matched.
The whole thing is assembled in sections using four ply waxed nylon thread. You can find this material in the personal care section of a big box retailer. It's dental floss. Very strong, elastic and easily knotted.
The amount of time needed to make these varies. This project sat around for months unfinished while other projects took priority. All together there might the 24 hours or more needed to build the "frame" and infill with cord and beads.
Several other similar designs are listed in the design section on Etsy or the design section in Zibbet.
design and photographs © copyright 2012 WhatKnotShop