by Sandra Lupo, Jewelry Designer and Instructor and Swarovski crystal Ambassador, Exclusively for Fire Mountain Gems and Beads®
Hand-knotting with thread places evenly sized knots in between each pearl or bead in your design. The technique outlined is done by forming the knot with your hands then finishing it neatly using a pair of finely pointed tweezers. It assumes a silk thread needle is already made, and French wire and the first half of the clasp are already in place.
Add one pearl bead to the silk thread (so it rests against the French wire for the first one strung).
Place the strand on the back of your non-dominant hand, with the needle end facing down the back of that hand. Pass the thread around the front and cross the thread over itself. Return it through to create a loop. This is your loose knot.
Tighten the loose knot slightly and then pass the strand to the dominant hand.
Lay the bead side of the thread to the side of your work surface, and lay the loop on top of the bead.
Notice that the threads are even so that as you prepare to tighten the knot, the threads will feed evenly.
Pick up the tweezer with your dominant hand and place the fine tips into the loop, onto the thread coming out of the bead and up against that bead.
Pull the thread firmly with your non-dominant hand and remove the tweezers only when you're certain the knot is as tight as it can be around the tweezers' tips and against the bead.
Gently separate the threads, pulling the new knot tightly against the bead.
Repeat Steps 1 - 5 to continue placing knots between the pearls.
Ideally, there should be no play between two knots. The tweezers method can achieve that nicely with a little practice.
Do not make a knot in between the last two beads you string on.
Add a piece of 3/8 inch French wire and the other half of the clasp.
Pass the silk thread needle back through the last bead. Gently pull the thread through and ease the French wire and clasp up against the last bead.
Form a knot between the two last beads.
Flip the strand over to make a second knot on the other side. Add a dab of adhesive to the knots only (not the pearls).
After a short drying time (few minutes), use a fine pointed scissor to trim the excess threads close to the knot. Use an awl to tamp the thread ends as close to the knot as possible. Let dry thoroughly.
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