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  1. #1

    Question Thread/string advice needed

    Hi there. I'm a new member. I've been making jewellery for 2 or 3 years now; and freshwater pearls are one my favourite materials to use.

    Until now I've used 49 strand beading wire rather than thread but I want to learn how to use thread and knot between my pearls. More specifically I need to string a bracelet which consists of a mix of 8 mm rounds and similarly sized 'pearl ball clusters' (which I've woven from 1 x 2 mm rondelles).

    I've ordered a knotter (I struggled without), but I don't think the thread I have (which was left over from another project) is thick enough. How do you work out the appropriate thickness for your drill holes? The drill holes in the 8 mm rounds are 0.6mm while in the holes (or gaps) in the clusters are about 0.5 mm. I can't string through the clusters without a beading needle (they are hollow so it's almost impossible to guide soft thread through with your fingers) so whatever I get needs to be able to pass through the hole as a double thickness but the 0.15 mm thread I have doesn't produce a large enough knot.

    Also, I know people usually use silk thread for knotting pearls, but is there any advantage to this over using one of the non-stretch alternatives like dandyline? I find the prospect of the silk stretching and not being very water-proof a bit off-putting. There seems to be so much conflicting advice!

  2. #2
    Pearl Scholar Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert pattye's Avatar
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    Hello and welcome,

    How cool that you've woven your own clusters! And that you are learning to knot! I hope you will share some photos.

    1. How to know the thread is the right size: Credits to our forum member and expert knotter, Sarah of Kojima for this great tip which I use ALL the time! "Thread is the proper thickness when beads do not fall without a bit of help."

    2. For me at least, it is trial and error with some "trial" strings to see how a certain thread knots up and finishes off. Fiddley, for sure. I sometimes use silk, sometimes polyester. Have not used dandyline, however. Many of us knot with a a synthetic for heavier pearls and longer ropes. Powerpro is also popular and comes in many weights. I like to keep a variety of materials on hand to work with.

    3. I do use a needle, but others have had success with making a "needle" at the end of the thread with superglue. The directions from Narcissa are here "The Glue Needle". Another tip from Sarah of Kojima is to use a single wire from electrical cord and twist to make a needle.

    I have been knotting a couple of years, so do not have as much experience as others, but I hope this will give you some ideas to work on. The support and encouragement from other knotters here has been great for me. I'm certain others will have suggestions for you also.
    Pattye


    PatriciaSaabDesigns.etsy.com

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    SO MANY PEARLS, SO LITTLE TIME----

  3. #3
    Rare Pearl Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert Marianne's Avatar
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    Welcome to the PG You might want to try a wire beading needle, it should be stiff enough to get through your beaded beads and will be able to carry a cord of a weight to give suitable knots. Doubled 20wt Power Pro would work. Gutermann makes a button hole twist poly thread that knots nicely (Joann carries some of their colors). RioGrande carries a synthetic silk cord in various weights which also works well. Would love to see pictures of your work!

  4. #4
    Pearl Scholar Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert pattye's Avatar
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    Are you in the US? Your spelling of jewellery makes me think not.
    Last edited by pattye; 07-17-2012 at 04:05 PM.
    Pattye


    PatriciaSaabDesigns.etsy.com

    facebook.com/PatriciaSaabDesigns

    SO MANY PEARLS, SO LITTLE TIME----

  5. #5
    Pearl Maven Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert Caitlin's Avatar
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    Hi
    Dandyline is almost as good as powerpro. It is silkier and easy on the fingers, but not as easy to slide knots as power pro is. There are Japanese synthetic threads and also in Australia, the Kay Gee brand, I think it is.

    I can't remember how many colors dandyline comes in, I have only used the white and the "black" which is actually a dark silvery gray.

    If you use the thinnest beading needle and double the thread, you can pull the thread apart and tighten the knot into place that way, and you don't don't need a tool. I tried that tool and it was harder then using nothing and slower because you have to pick it up and put it down with every knot.

    We have a couple of videos on knotting in the resources section, and Henrietta Virchiks(sp?) book on knotting gives about every method you can think of- except the one with that tool!

    My trick for determining how thick the thread should be, is to go through the bead with a doubled thread in one direction, then go back through the other way. It tells you if the thread is too thin or too thick.

    I prefer power pro, and one reason is that it compacts going through holes (it is woven as an empty tube) so those beads at each end never have to be reamed out to pass the doubled thread through, twice. I have never had to ream since I switched to PowerPro, though it is rough on the hands, and only comes in white and a mossy gray-green that looks fine with dark pearls.
    Last edited by Caitlin; 07-17-2012 at 05:35 PM.
    Caitlin

    How to hand-knot pearls without a tool

    My avatar is a Sea of Cortez mabe pearl. One of a pair of Mexican handmade earrings.

  6. #6

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    Thanks for the replies everyone.

    Patteye: I live in the UK. I also have very thin wire collapsible eye beading needles so I'm sorted there! I suspect they're like the electrical wire ones you mention only for lazy people ;-).

    Marianne: I have a small gallery here: http://sarahorsomeone.deviantart.com/gallery/ If you click on 'handcrafted jewellery' in the bar on the left-hand side you'll find pictures of jewellery I've made, including some pearl examples .

    Caitlin: I believe Dandyline only comes in white and black. I've had a go at using four threads (treating them as two, just needing double to get the knot big enough) and knotting with a square/reef knot. I've had a lotmore success that way and it seems secure if I give the pearls a good tug, but I'm worried the knots will slip? Is there a particular knot that should be used with that technique? I'm just off to have a look at the resources section you mention!

  7. #7
    Pearl Maven Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert Caitlin's Avatar
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    I don't know about square knots, but a simple overhand knot is all that is needed to lock in the pearls. The technique is how to hold the pearls in your hand in order to pass them through a big loop before tightening it down. That takes a lot of words to describe, but only one diagram or photo is needed to understand it.
    Caitlin

    How to hand-knot pearls without a tool

    My avatar is a Sea of Cortez mabe pearl. One of a pair of Mexican handmade earrings.

  8. #8

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    Thanks Caitlin. Would you mind providing a link to such a diagram if you've got one to hand? Also, I couldn't find the resources section on here, though I'm sure it's right in front of my nose!

  9. #9
    Rare Pearl Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert Marianne's Avatar
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    Your work is lovely Sarah! Thanks for sharing the link

  10. #10
    Pearl Maven Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert Caitlin's Avatar
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    also enjoyed your multi-talented offerings!
    This video has a demo of how to hold the thread after the clasp in on, but it goes by very fast.

    I am back to looking. Jeremy put a video up. It is a sticky in the books and resources forum.

    Jeremy is also producing a video of Hisano knotting, but it got lost in all the other plans for this year. Maybe they will finish it soon, then that would be the easiest to follow. I'll be back if I can find something good.

    Wendy's video is very easy to follow, except she uses an awl to move the knot. But you will learn a perfectly acceptable technique very clearly explained for her video.

    Here is how you hold the thread to make a knot in the no-tool technique.
    Name:  pearl knotting 2 001.jpg
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    then you take the side with the pearls and pass it under and through the loop that creates. Tighten the knot by pulling the threads apart.

    I gave up on you tube, no one over there does this finger technique until Hisano's video goes up.

    I recommend you learn Wendy's way and maybe choose to switch when Hisano's video is done.
    Last edited by Caitlin; 07-18-2012 at 12:18 AM. Reason: said over instead of under
    Caitlin

    How to hand-knot pearls without a tool

    My avatar is a Sea of Cortez mabe pearl. One of a pair of Mexican handmade earrings.

  11. #11
    Museum Pearl Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert
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    Hi Sarah, I've only been knotting for about a year or so and started with the knotting tool...but I have to say that when I moved on the an awl my knots were much more consistent for some reason. It also seems so much easier to knot and following Caitan's advice (always very sound) I then separate the powerpro threads and pull to tighten then when I string the next pearl on I push it up against the knot to make sure it's snug. I've been using powerpro exclusively lately as most of the necklaces I've been producing have been long and it's very easy to knot..tho bit rough on the fingers with a long necklace! Good luck and Welcome!

  12. #12
    purveyor of pearls Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert pearlescence's Avatar
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    A customer once showed me one of those tools. It seemed mightily complicated. We just use a very thin darning needle here. If you are looking for a whole technique then you can see how we do it in the video we did (link under signature bottom left)

  13. #13
    Pearl Maven Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert Caitlin's Avatar
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    I should have said "darning needle" and the way you wield it is very good- thou I will never give up my two-thread pull-apart method.
    Caitlin

    How to hand-knot pearls without a tool

    My avatar is a Sea of Cortez mabe pearl. One of a pair of Mexican handmade earrings.

  14. #14

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    Hi there. My knotting tool came today and I've been having some success with both it and Caitlin's method. I'm not consistent enough to work on the actual piece yet but I'm at least making progress at last (and I still need some thicker thread, 4 strands of my very fine dandyline works but for a beginner like me it makes the whole process much more fiddly than it needs to be).

    I hope this bracelet turns out nice for all the effort that's going into it... oh well, I started it looking for a project that would keep my occupied for a while, I've certainly got that!

  15. #15
    purveyor of pearls Senior Pearl-Guide.com Pearl Expert pearlescence's Avatar
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    The good thing with pearls is that you can simply cut it apart and make again...and again....
    but don't be too harsh or exacting on yourself viz standards. I cringe at what I was doing eight years ago and cringe also at some of the stringing done by commercial jewellers who charge about four times what we charge.

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