I am relatively new to beading in general (mainly stringing bead bracelets) and totally new in "weaving" (right-angle weave etc). I have taken 2 classes so far and love doing right-angle weave! My question is this: when I am looking for ideas online, I have come across patterns but they say to stretch and wax the thread. I have not heard of this before (never mentioned in either class). What is the correct way to do it and is it as important a step as the patterns seem to imply?
Pre-stretching the thread is an important step that takes some of the stretch out of thread before you use it, rather than having it stretch after the project is completed, as can sometimes happen. When stringing beads on a thread of any kind, such as silk, Nymo® or Silkon®, and for use in any type of project, whether weaving or knotting, pre-stretching the thread before hand is always recommended.
To prestretch, cut the thread to length then try one of the following three methods:
Wrap one end over your hand a few times, slide your other hand down the thread for about 1 - 2 feet, then wrap the thread around a few times. Give two tugs on the thread. Undo the wrapped thread. Slide your hands down to the next section of thread and reposition your hands so they are wrapped around the thread again, with about 1 - 2 feet of thread in between your hands. Repeat the tug then continue down the length of thread until you've prestretched the entire length.
Wrap the thread around a pencil (or other smooth cylindrical object) and pull the pencil through once or twice.
Wet the thread with water. Attach one end of the thread with a pin to the top of a door or door frame (or other tall opening or object in your home). Attach a weight to the other end of the thread so it pulls on the thread while it dries.
All methods work great.
Once your thread is stretched (and dried), it is a good idea to coat the thread with beeswax. Beeswax helps provide smooth working action when knotting, helps prevent knotting when doing seed bead work and gives your thread protection against fraying and water damage.
To coat your thread, pull it across the surface of the block of wax while pressing on the thread lightly with your other hand.
One great suggestion a customer shared: melt the beeswax and pour it into empty lip balm tubes for easy application and use.
An alternative to beeswax is a product called Thread Heaven®. Thread Heaven is pliable without being sticky and doesn't attract dust or clog bead holes.