Adding More String.

Q: I'm relatively new to this art, and I'm about to make my first beaded purse. How long a piece of string (for lack of a better word) should I start with, and what is the best way to knot together the additional pieces?

A: Start with as long as you're comfortable with. I use 14' for a single thread (28' for doubled), but many people find they're more comfortable at about 6'. In general, you don't need to knot at all. When you have a foot or so of thread left, prepare another thread and work it into the weaving you've already done, then continue where you left off. After you've worked another few rows, work up the discarded thread end, and cut. If you feel you really need knots, try to pull them into the beads. It occurs to me you may be knitting or crocheting, instead of weaving, in which case, forget all this. :) 14 FEET!?! Did you mean feet? Wowza, you had my admiration before, but now I'm truly awed. If I used more than about 4 feet of thread, I get "snangles and starls"...er..."tangles and snarls" in my thread. In general, I'll pull off a little more than one arm-lenth's worth of thread. To knot or not to knot is nearly a religious question (as is "to glue or not to glue"). Personally, when using peyote stitch, I prefer to knot. I use one of two methods, depending on my mood, the size of the holes in the beads, or the color of my panties (well, I'm kidding about the panties...maybe). One method is to thread a new needle and start below, and to the side of where the "old" thread is coming out of the beadwork. I weave up to that point, zig-zagging and changing direction (makes it harder for it to pull apart). Sometimes, I'll stop along the way and make a little quickie knot (like you'd do to finish the thread when you sew on a button), then continue weaving up so my new thread is coming out where the old thread is. Then, I either tie a square knot (if it's something I plan to wear, a lot or that needs the extra security) and continue with the new thread OR I continue weaving with the new thread for a few rows, then go back and weave in the old thread, weaving in the other direction (into the new beadwork). The other method I use is to tie a "weaver's knot" when I'm adding the new thread. I use a method taught to me by one of the members of the 'Upper Midwest Bead Society' - at the end of your new thread, tie a slip knot. You know what I mean, where you pull a loop into the thread (as you would if you were going to start crocheting or finger-weaving) - the kind that pulls out when you pull on the ends of the thread. Slip the old thread through the "slip knot" and slide the loop down close to the beads (I usually pull the ends of the new thread to make the "slip knot" very small). Making sure that the "slip knot" stays close to the beads (usually by dangling the old thread in my teeth, so I have both hands free), I pull the thread ends of the new thread away from each other sharply. If you've done it right, you'll hear an audible "click" as the knot locks into place. Tug on the new thread. If it doesn't move, you were successful. If it does, pull it off and try again. Weave the ends in later.