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  1. #1

    Default Newbie beader making newbie mistakes (and making things illogically harder)

    Oh boy, where do I start...

    So I decided against my better judgment to make a lil pearl anklet for practice, using some cheapie pearls I bought off of ebay a while back. (http://m.ebay.com/itm/391709920558 these, to be exact. Not sure if they're actually biwa pearls or not, but I sure hope they are). That was my first mistake. Holy cow are these pearls SMALL!
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    Well this should be fun. Regardless, I was eager to attempt this practice strand with what I already had at home, so I pulled out my trusty 50lb PARACHUTE CORD that I used for my gemstone beading projects, and began running into problems right away.

    The fraying. Oh my god, the fraying. Turns out the parachute cord was barely thin enough to fit into the itty bitty pearl holes, single strand. Forget doubling up. The first couple pearls went on smoothly, but by the third the bitter end of the string was looking like an angry octopus. Wetting it with saliva barely helped -- if I tried to pass it through the drill hole even slightly off, smooosh. Angry octopus again. I had to cut off the darned thing. And that's when I came across another issue.

    Cutting the cord is ridiculously hard!! DUH, it's 50lb parachute cord!! But even my sharpest sewing scissors couldn't make a clean cut. Nope, everything sawed throigh it slowly with ample fraying. I might as well have employed a rat to chew through it. I finally minimized the fraying by sharpening my sharpest folding knife and using that to cut the cord.

    Just cutting the end off didn't stop the problems though -- it'd still fray after forcing it through a pearl! So I burned the end carefully to tidy up the fray, and dipped it in candle wax afterwards to stiffen the end and keep it tidy...and it worked! At least for a while. It wasn't exactly fray-proof so I'd have to saw, singe, and dip in wax several more times. I had the candle burning the entire time ; )

    The knotting part is probably where I learned the most....Getting an overhand knot right up against the pearl is tricky! But I quickly learned that forming the knot around a thin needle, sliding it in place, then slipping the needle out of the knot worked like a charm. Since I mutilated my hand several times with a sewing needle, I quickly switched to the closest needle-like object, which is this beading thing with a pinhead, used for making dangly earrings and such.
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    Apparently it couldn't stand the intense pressure of me trying to squeeze the knot as hard as I can, and wilted into this floppy noodle by the end of the anklet.
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    Anyways, for better or for worse, my first pearl knotting experience happened, and I got an anklet out of it (people won't look at it too closely anyways). Lesson I learned? Invest in the threads recommended by the pros, and for the love of God, get a threading needle!!!

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    The end!

  2. #2
    Museum Pearl Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert
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    HA! Oh yes...lesson learned. But..it turned out very cute!! Got to watch those mm measurements !!

  3. #3
    Rare Pearl Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert
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    All's well that ends well. Your anklet looks great.

    I've knotted a lot of pearls, and it still takes me three tries to get each project right.

    I even started knotting with proper beading silk with the attached needles and still couldn't get the knots where I wanted them. Pattye's needles and Beader's Secret really amazed me. I threw out all my real beading silk and wobbly beading needles.

  4. #4
    First-graft Pearl Senior Guide Member
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    You've learned a lot in a very short time - keep it up! I've just started on this journey, too, and found that the proper supplies really do make a difference! I highly recommend Pattye's Beader's Secret and her needles. That being said, I think you did really well and it's a super cute anklet!

  5. #5
    Pearl Scholar Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert pattye's Avatar
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    Cecaelia, Congratulations on a beautiful pearl anklet that will never break!! You made me smile, remembering my early attempts and frustrations! Every now and then a redo, even as much as I've knotted.
    Pattye


    PatriciaSaabDesigns.etsy.com

    facebook.com/PatriciaSaabDesigns

    SO MANY PEARLS, SO LITTLE TIME----

  6. #6
    Pearl Enthusiast Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert Pearl Dreams's Avatar
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    You had me chuckling at "I might as well have employed a rat to chew through it."

    I think you did an amazing job considering all the difficulties!!

  7. #7

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    Thank you, you ladies are too kind and encouraging. Beader's Secret and those nifty threading needles are definitely on my to-buy list! The hard part is whittling down what colors are must have! I also saw Pearl Dreams' recommending ThreadZap somewhere on this subforum -- I wish I had known such a thing existed! Anyways, next project shall be the baroque akoyas, but I shall get proper supplies for that first ; P

    I wore my anklet to work today (I work on a snorkeling tour excursion boat that doesn't allow shoes anyways, so plenty of opportunity to show off my stinkers!) and got a lot of compliments from my fellow mermaids I work with. Go pearls!

  8. #8
    Natural Pearl Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert amti's Avatar
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    Oh goodness, you made me relive a few of my earlier frustrations! But in the end, you have a very cute anklet! YAY!!! Those are some very small pearls. I'm not sure I'd have attempted to knot between each one but it sure looks cute!

  9. #9
    First-graft Pearl Senior Member
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    Default Using seed pearls

    Sometimes when I am working with seed pearls, I will use an instrument to slightly enlarge the hole. Sometimes it works and other times I lose a pearl. I use a size 10 needle with wildfire thread that is for 6-10 lbs. Name:  FullSizeRender 3.jpg
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    Last edited by bluidragon; 07-29-2017 at 04:25 PM. Reason: Additonal info

  10. #10
    First-graft Pearl Senior Member
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    Delicate. How did it handle in the water

  11. #11

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    It does look fabulous.
    Well done
    UK resident
    CPAA pearl diploma
    Photographer
    Pearl Admirer

  12. #12
    Pearl Journalist Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert GemGeek's Avatar
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    You have what it takes to stick with it! I know how frustrating it can be. And it's adorable.
    GemGeek
    The World Is My Oyster!

  13. #13
    Museum Pearl Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert
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    Bluidragon - very pretty ! Those are some tiny tiny pearls !

  14. #14
    Second-graft Pearl Senior Guide Member Naan's Avatar
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    Great job!

  15. #15
    First-graft Pearl Senior Member Narcissa's Avatar
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    Congratulations on your rich learning experience, your darling success, and *not* having to employ a rat. I think I re-did my first project maybe 6 times.
    You made me snort!
    Elizabeth
    Narcissa

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