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·· Knotting pearls on silk part 4

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Beading Blog - November 2008

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Knotting pearls on silk part 4
posted by Colleen Shirazi, November 2, 2008 at 7:59 PM (Pacific)

Oooh! I'm excited...I just glued the ends of my four strands of knotted pearls. Tomorrow I'm going to get up early and try finishing the piece.

Normally it wouldn't take this long. I found the most difficult parts were getting together the right thicknesses of silk, and figuring out how to knot with doubled thread.

I started out with Griffin silk, with the "built-in needle," but ended up using Gudebrod Champion silk in size D, with separate needles. The built-in needle is handy for straightforward knotting, where you don't need to double the thread, but it's not the most practical if you're doing anything different.

With the Champion silk, I made my own built-in needle...just cut the thread twice as long as you need (it's about a yard or meter for a non-choker-length strand, so cut two yards), thread the needle on, and make a double thread. Knot the two ends together and thread on your clamshell. I put a tiny silver bead between the clamshell and the first knot, hoping that will keep the silk from fraying.

Then you string on a bunch of pearls and start knotting. It's not like the Griffin thread, where you have to string all of the pearls before you begin to knot, but it does go more quickly if you string a bunch, then knot them.

I had to do a slightly larger knot than a regular overhand I just added an extra "turn" on the overhand knot, if that makes any sense. With #0 Griffin silk I had to do more than one extra was a pain. But with Champion size D, just one extra turn did it.

I learned a few things...even if the knot feels right, you have to inspect it before making the next knot. If there's too much slack, you can still fix it by adding in another plain overhand knot and incorporating the slack knot into it...but if you've already knotted the next pearl, you can't do that.

I tried stretching out the silk while I was working with it. In fact I'm wondering now if pre-stretching the entire thread is a thought, the way you'd pre-stretch stretchy cord.

The knots don't actually have to be 100% perfect, I screwed one up and tried fixing it by threading in some extra silk and knotting that. It won't make it 100% perfect (were I doing a single strand, I'd restring the entire thing) but for this multi-strand piece, I was satisfied with it.

Once you have the materials and method, and your tool of choice (tweezers or awl), it goes pretty quickly.

I'm going to try my four strands on this clasp from silver toggle

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