A knotty problem of pearls and needles
A friend who is a great dresser with a penchant for autumnal colours chose a strand of olive-bronze-avocado freshwater pearls from my stash to have made into a necklace. Determined to do her proud, I went in search of stranding silk and a knotting awl. My local bead shop stocked neither: awls are easily got in a hardware shop, they said. They did have a polyester non-stretching silk replacement, but advised me to use beading wire and a small seed bead to space the pearls, as they themselves do. Using the most flexible 49-strand beading wire and a small gold seed bead (the similar necklace above uses a metallic bronze seed bead which makes the necklace look considerably darker), I finished off the sumptuous pearls with a German vermeil catch which can be worn to the front. My friend's hazel eyes were enhanced by the toning necklace, she loved the smart modern look of the clasp, so she feels great when wearing it, gets many many compliments and has been a terrific advertisement for my work.
Another friend wanted a peacock pearl necklace made up for her. I was determined that this time I would master knotting. In the meantime I had acquired silk, fine needles and a Bead Knotter from an American vendor. The instructions for the Bead Knotter were far from clear, eventually after an inconclusive exchange of emails I realised that the vendor had omitted one vital step in the instructions, no wonder I was confused! But the needle, while able to take my doubled silk thread through the small pearl hole, could not cope when put back through the hole a second time. Four broken 72-inch strands of black silk later, I crossed to the path of least resistance and again used the wire and seed bead solution. The client again was happy.
Not one to lightly abandon a challenging bit of problem solving (aka being a stubborn old stick), I determined to have another go when we went off for a sunshine break in October. With me came pearls, silk, Bead Knotter and some ultra-thin twisted wire needles that were purpose-built for the job and which I had located at Rio Grande. A few days into our holiday, out came the supplies. "Up from this table I will not get until I have licked this problem", I declared. By the end of that long frustrating day, I had it licked. Seven or eight times that day the knot slipped off and pulled itself tight a good distance away from the pearl. Only exceptional persistence got those knots worked loose enough to reposition the knot beside the pearl and tighten again. Then to my delight, I discovered the relaxing, mesmeric effect of pearl knotting. Now, alas, I am a total knot addict! I have almost abandoned my lovely semi-precious stone beads as the call of the pearls draws me to them again and again, the lustre is gorgeous but the knotting is divine!
The difference it makes to the necklaces? The wonderful soft drape that makes wearing pearls an experience of exquisite comfort!