Wednesday, April 25, 2012

To Knot or Not?

Half Hitch Knots with Right Angle Weave

Beaders, I have a confession to make: I’ve stopped knotting my threads. That’s right, after years of steadfastly adhering to a 2-knot per thread rule, I have thrown caution to the wind.

Well, maybe not. I’m still using the essential half-hitch knot to secure threads on lightweight and loose stitches like netting. But when it comes to the tightly packed peyote stitch and herringbone weave, I’m going knot-free.

I can’t say for sure why I held on to the notion of knotting for so long. If you’ve ever tried to rip apart a piece of peyote stitch, you know that once those threads are set, they do not want to let go. What finally freed me was the unforgiving scrutiny of digital cameras. They pick up every flaw, including knots that don’t get tucked away into seed beads like they should. I got tired of noticing those little lumps of thread between beads in close ups, and realized that knotting is actually a pretty tedious job that I’ve always wished I could skip.

Indeed, since shrugging off knots I find that finishing beadwork pieces goes a lot quicker, both in perceived and actual time spent. I’m still weaving in 4 or more inches of thread every time for absolute security - and extra reinforcement - and the beadwork is no less sturdy without those pesky knots. In fact, pieces are a lot stronger, because I can choose whatever thread path I want, instead of having to follow a course that makes for the best knot positions.

Half Hitch Knots with Peyote Stitch

Before I encourage other beaders to take the no-knot plunge, I should mention that I’m strictly a Fireline user. Nymo aggravates me the second I cut it from the spool, and I’ve never taken the time to become really familiar with it. Even heavily waxed, I’m not sure that soft nylon threads will have the same ‘hold’ as Fireline, which kinks as soon as you complete a stitch, and keeps that shape.

Or do they? I want to hear what your thread and knotting preferences are. Which approach or combination works best for you?

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  1. I've stopped making knots as well not a while back, as they frustrated me and weren't possible to hide at all times.

    I used to use nymo, but it frays too much when working on some things. I still use it for bead embroidery however.

    Personally I prefer to work with soft nylon rather then with FireLine or WildFire. I don't know but I really like the feel of "fabric" then plastic.
    One thread I recently bought that is soft nylon is "SoNo". It's awesome! It really doesn't fray and you barely have to straight it out when taking it from the spool and you don't have to condition it, I just do it once in a while out of habit, lol :D

  2. The majority of what I make are rings. Flat peyote rings with very little embellishment. So, since rings get some much more wear and tear than other pieces of jewelry, I still knot. I generally try to make sure that my thread ends coming out the same bead that my tail went in. I can then knot the two together and it will slip into the bead. I then simply weave in the tail and the working thread.

    But as you said, with a lot of beadweaving, knotting isn't needed. The weaving secures itself. If you do it right.

  3. HI,Mortira:
    I can say-I use knots,where necessary,also worked out a special knotting-connection for the next thread I have to connect to the current row of stitching,when the previous one ends.Knotting,of cours this one,which planned and wanted doesn't spoil Your work,but contrary: it's hepful in many cases-is the very useful part of the beading techniques.I can say: I am strongly for knotting.Concerning threads-I cannot even imagine the use of other threads,than *Fireline*.I use only the 6 lb one and it gives me the guarantee for my pieces to be strong,because there are the moments,where I have to pass several times across one bead,ore one row of them.
    Nymo threads have the only one advantage: they are produced in colors,that You can fit exactly to the coloristics of Your current beading,but have too many disadvantages,that I am not so eager to use them at all.

  4. I stopped knotting a little while ago, although I'm still using a half hitch even in peyote just for my own piece of mind more than anything else.
    I like fireline too, I use it for most things, however I find that Nylon thread is best for beaded beads, i found that fireline made the work too tight for beaded beads. I guess i could experiment a bit and maybe try to relax my tension a bit and see what that does.

  5. I use OneG thread, which is a strong thread with the feel of Nymo. It's also much harder to shred or pierce than Nymo! The only thing I still know is a simple strung strand. I just got a threadburner, so I hope those tell-tale little thread bits won't show. I haven't done a loose net in a long time - not sure how I'd handle that.

  6. Hi Mortira,
    I also don't knot!! It's become such a habit of mine, that when I was with some other beaders one day I looked at one of them incredulously when they asked something about where did I knot the piece I was working my head I thought everyone wasn't knotting!! I am a nymo die-hard...but I am going to be trying OneG next. I like fireline, but I feel limited by the lack of color selection! Nymo definitely has it's challenges though!

  7. I am going to jump in here and say I use knots very sparingly, if at all. I use 6# fireline most of the time, and SoNo thread for projects where the fireline is too bulky. I do weave a good amount of thread back through, and I go more than one direction when I am doing that.

  8. Ok this may sound strange but I actually read a post where someone suggested plain old fishing line, I bought a spool of 4lb fishing line and I am hooked, it is like fireline but cheaper and just as strong in my opinion. I also use Nymo for embroidery but not much else, it is such a finicky thread.

    I am still a knotter but I have only been making pieces since last summer so while I am comfortable with the craft, I am still stuck on needing knots to secure my work, but I find the concept of not knotting quite intriguing.

  9. Clear monofilament fishing line does have some good qualities in the smaller diameters. I've worked with it a few times!

    One thing to keep in mind is that it isn't as durable as braided lines, and becomes brittle over time. It's very prone to damage from heat and even sunlight, as well.


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