Peanut beads (major manufacturer is Matsuno, Japan) can sometimes be referred to as ‘Farfalle’ beads (usually Czech made). They are basically elongated seed beads that have been slightly squashed across the centre where the hole passes through the bead. This shape gives them their name – they do look a lot like natural peanuts as they come in their shell. These beads measure about 2.4mmm by 4mm, so they will fit with both traditional size 11 and size 8 seed beads.
I like to use peanut beads to give texture. If you use them with a basic bead-weaving stitch like cubic Right Angle Weave then they give a very tactile feel. The same applies when peanut beads are used for other stitches like Peyote. I experimented with circular Peyote using these beads and ended up with a very tactile flower pendant. The tutorial for that is available on my Bead Flowers website and it is a great pattern for getting to know peanut beads. If you are used to more traditional seed beads, then you will find these have a very different look and feel when you are using them to work in the basic stitches.
Their texture can be used to deliberate advantage as well. I made raspberries with red Farfalle beads using peyote stitch. If you keep the tension really tight as you work, these beads will slot into place so that their rounded ends are showing and this really gives the effect of raspberry seeds.
If you want to try any of the projects on this page, then you should be able to link through to the source of their tutorials by clicking on the photos.