Posts filed under ‘Stringing’

WHY KNOT???

One thing you might like to know about me and my beading habits is that knotting is my specialty.  I learned to bead from Henrietta Verchick, author of Pearl and Beadstringing with Henrietta, so the first technique I ever learned was knotting between the beads.  I still teach knotting lessons using Henrietta’s techniques, and one of the questions I am asked most often in these classes is, how do you know when to knot, and why do you knot?

The only real hard and fast rule is that you ALWAYS knot good pearls.  The reason is two-fold:  The first is, if the strand breaks, you won’t lose your pearls.  Secondly, the substance that makes pearls so beautiful is the nacre, the beautiful coating on the pearls.  If your pearls rub together (or against another bead,) the nacre will wear off and your pearls will lose their value and their luster.  The organic nature of pearls is also why we use silk to knot pearls – you want the natural pearl against the natural silk, not a synthetic.   That being said, I don’t always knot the more inexpensive freshwater pearls.

Another reason to knot is that knotting gives a soft, drapey look to your necklace that you will not get with straight stringing.

I also like to knot because silk comes in an amazing array of colors that can enhance the look of your necklace.   Because the knots show, you have the opportunity to use the beautiful colors of the silk thread to add to your design.  For instance, you can use a soft green with Fancy Jasper, and it will just fade into the background, which is fine.  But if you choose a lilac or tanzanite-colored silk you will see the lovely lavender colors of the stone “pop.”  You can even use two colors of silk for extra zing – I once used an olive-green thread and a peach thread when I was knotting Unakite beads.  Fantastic!

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March 6, 2008 at 6:34 pm Leave a comment

Toddler Beading

In my store, I often have customers who are young mothers. They need to bead, but they have a small child who needs to be entertained, and who is also fascinated by mommy’s beading. Here are some ideas for those of you who have the same problem.

Cut yarn into 2 foot long strips. Give the children a big bowl of cheerios and fruit loops and tell them “these are YOUR beads!” Let them string their “beads” onto the yarn, and when they are happy with their beadwork (be sure to lavish the praise along the way), tie their yarn into a knot, let them put on their beautiful creation, and then let them eat the necklace while they watch TV or play.

Use this opportunity to teach your child to respect your beads and know the difference between their beads and yours. VERY IMPORTANT: Make sure they understand that your beads do not go in the mouth! Some of our beads are delicious looking. And…tying something around your child’s neck can be a strangulation hazard as well. Be sure your child is well-supervised while wearing his or her necklace, and throw away or cut open the yarn when the “beads” have been consumed.

Even more fun, use licorice ropes to string the cereal on. This will eliminate the concerns about choking on the yarn…and it will make your dentist very happy. 🙂

Another idea is to use those big wooden macramé beads. For small children, though, make sure the beads do not present a choking hazard. Square beads are really great for this. Plastic pony beads, large animal-shaped beads and so forth can be added to the mix. Along with this, give them long shoe-strings in bright colors (check the closeout section of your local variety stores.) Children can make necklaces, pull-toys and so forth with their creations.

For older children, try making beads from dryer lint, potatoes and other materials. There are lots of “recipes” for these available. If any of you are interested in more recipes for hand-crafted beads, please let me know and I will include some of these recipes in a future blog entry.

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January 24, 2008 at 7:50 pm 1 comment


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