Knotting Question.

Q: I'm curious about people's preferences on knotting. Do you prefer double strand or single? What is your opinion of using a tricorder? I've recently learned to knot (recently introduced to beading; already completely addicted) and really enjoy it. While the knots have improved considerably, it's still very tough for me to get consistent knot size. So, I was considering a tricorder but can't find a way to determine the pros and cons.

A: I absolutely love the tricord knotter. I use the German thread that comes in spools for knotting, and I always use a double thread unless I'm doing one of those floating necklaces. Then I use the twisted silk that comes on cards with a needle attached. Even then, I think it's a double thread. A great book on hand knotting is "Pearl And Bead Stringing With Henrietta" by 'Henrietta Virchick'. Your bead store probably carries it. If not, let me know and I'll put you in touch with my local bead store which does. I learned to knot from one of 'Henrietta's' pupils. She taught us to use an awl or tweezers to knot without any tools. Then I learned to use the tricord knotter, but I think it helped to know the other techniques first. Hand knotting, to me, is the most elegant style of bead stringing. Have a ball! Wow! I loved the kudo to Henrietta's book! Henrietta was my first bead teacher, and last year I bought her company, 'Henrietta's Beading Supply Co.' I sell her book, the companion video, her silk thread, etc. I just had dinner with Henrietta last week. But to answer the original question (with my opinion...), I have never used the tricord knotter. Henrietta's method using a bead tweezer is quick and my knots are consistent. I use a double strand of silk thread, in the size appropriate to the bead (for instance, most 8mm gemstone beads would take a FF size, pearls usually take size E). However, once you learn to knot, you can double, triple, quadruple - you can knot 8 strands of silk as easily as 2. I know this because once I had the job of restringing a strand of cinnabar beads with HUGE holes. I used eight strands of FFF thread, and my knots were beautiful, and no harder to do than with 2 strands. I never use nylon for knotting. Always silk, and I prestretch my silk. I also make my own needle from the silk thread, rather than using (and usually losing) needles. The heavier the beads, the more strands I'd use. Just use a pair of sharp straight pointed tweezers to hold the thread next to the bead while you pull the thread to knot it. I don't use a tricorder; they seem superfluous and expensive to boot.