By Dr. Gail H. Devoid, CPLP, PhD.
So you have some favorite beads that you want to put in a necklace together, but there’s one problem: Beads with different size holes. This presents a problem when a knot is big enough for one bead but not big enough for another. The knot will slipped into the bigger hole.
I faced this problem when I wanted to string some polymer clay beads that Bette Abdu had made and that I had won in a Yankee swap at the Bead Society of New Hampshire Holiday Party. The holes in the polymer clay beads were much bigger than the holes in the pearls that I wanted to use, ones that matched so perfectly. Betty had strung the polymer clay beads with spacers. However, the spacers also had holes that were too big.
I knew there had to be a way to get around this problem. One thing that I was taught during a knotting demonstration was that knots do not have to be on either side of every bead to make a knotted necklace. So, what I did was look for beads, small ones, that would not go through the holes in the clay beads or the spacers, but had holes themselves that were about the same size as the pearls. Then the design process started.
Getting my bead board, I laid out all of the beads, and checked to make sure that there would be enough knots in the necklace to keep the drape supple. What I wanted for the necklace was a string of pearls in the back, so that the necklace would be comfortable to wear, and then the other larger beads in the front, to showcase them.
I had planned to finish this necklace with silver findings, so what I chose for beads that would control the knotting were tiny silver round beads. This not only would incorporate silver into the necklace, but would match the findings.
I have done a lot of knotting lately, and have learned that one of the best things I can do before starting to string the beads is to check the silk thread or the silk cording that I’m using on a few test beads to make sure that when I knot the bead, the knot will hold and not slip through the bead.
After testing a few different options, I decided that FFF silk thread, doubled, would work the best. The silk cord that I had was too thin. So, confident that I had the right thread for the beads I was going to use, I started stringing the beads in the order that I had laid out on my bead board.
With all the testing done and the design completed even before I started, once the beads were strung all that was left was to knot the beads and attach the findings.
Here are the results:
Another picture shows a closeup of the knotting:
Notice the knots on either side of the pearls. Also notice how the silver beads fit slightly into the larger holes of the polymer clay spacers. The necklace has a wonderful drape despite the fact that some of the knots are about an inch to an inch and a quarter apart.
Even though I could have knotted just the pearls, I put a tiny silver bead in between to continue the design of the necklace itself. By using design techniques such as this, I ended up with the necklace that is a true memento of my friendship with Betty Abdu and a piece that will go into my personal collection.
If you have beads that you want to knot and face this problem, consider using this technique. You may find that you can make the knotted necklace you want. Have fun making it, then wear it, and enjoy!