Stringing Material.

Q: I make fused glass pendants and some lampwork beads and I've strung a few on softflex ( I think ) but I was wondering what you would all recommend? I want the pieces to be strong, but I'd also like to be able to knot between the beads.

A: Knotting between the beads is usually done with very soft stones and pearls. Also, silk is used. Illusion necklaces are knotted on clear nylon line. With lampwork, and most glass (other than illusion necklaces), I'd stick with the 'Softflex' and use small spacer beads rather than knot. I'm glad to know I'm doing something right... I guess one thing I forgot to mention too was that sometimes I string regular, nice glass beads (non-lampwork) and use a fused piece as the focal point; would you still recommend 'Softflex' in this case? Several people have asked me why I don't knot the other beads, and I explained that you can't knot 'Softflex', and it is stronger etc.. but I was just wondering if there was another solution for this too. Apparently 'Softflex' has a new product called 'SoftTouch' which is supposed to be even more drapey and able to be knotted. I haven't used it, so I'm not sure if this is true, but maybe someone else knows. The original reason for knotting between beads was so that, when the silk broke (which it eventually would), you would not lose all those expensive beads. It also protects the beads from rubbing against each other. 'SoftFlex' is strong enough that breakage is not a problem. If you want to protect the more valuable focal bead, you could put a crimp on either side of it and hide the crimp in a large-holed bead. For softer beads, like amazonite, malchite, opal, and of course pearls (there are other soft beads - ck a gem cutters reference for hardness levels), you might want to consider knotting on silk. Consider the time factor, too - until you get really good, knotting takes longer than stringing on 'SoftFlex'. You could also knot just 'cuz you like the look of it - I know a woman who makes designs where beads are knotted in "focal groups", so the necklace looks something like this: oxoxoxo0OOO0oxoxoxo0OOO0oxoxoxo where the "x"s are knots If you are working with just glass and not stone, 'SofFlex' should work just fine. I keep a spool loose at my display table to show customers: "Here, tug on this - that's what these necklaces are strung on". Remember also, that those "traditional" knotted necklaces belong to an earlier lifestyle - when most woman only owned one or two "classic" necklaces (that's why pearls were popular - they went with everything!) and kept them her whole lifetime. Today's pieces get more "wear and tear" on the bureau than on the neck!