Thursday, October 17, 2013

The Perfect Connection

Hello and thank you for visiting.
My first post for Bead Mavens I want to share some of the "tricks" I use when working with FireLine.

I started beadweaving in 2007 and was taught to use Nymo.  I became pretty proficient with Nymo but was not happy with how it shredded, how hard it sometimes could be to thread the needle and I didn't like how you always had so many threads to sew down when you had finished your creation. Then I purchased Diane Fitzgerald's book Shaped Beadwork and she talked about using a thread called FireLine. 

Berkley FireLine is a nylon thread used for fishing, can be purchased in 1lb, 2lb, 4lb, 6lb, 8lb strengths which are ideal for bead weaving and even higher strengths which can be used for bead stringing. FireLine fishing line comes in Crystal (white), Smoke (grey/black), Fluoro Lime Green, Fluoro Pink and now Berkley is releasing reels in limited colours aimed at beaders. I am primarily a beadweaver so I will talk about the main threads I use - 4lb and 6lb weights.

Diane Fitzgerald taught - on pages 14-15 of her book - how to not have a tail in your beadwork, securing a knot by melting the ends of the thread with a cigarette lighter. I used this technique one day, started weaving and almost finished a round when I realised I had the wrong count. Frustrated with the mistake I tried to pull the ring of beads apart. It would not come apart and I came close to cutting my hands.
That was when I realised a way of joining two pieces of Fireline together and I have been doing it ever since.

HOW TO JOIN YOUR FIRELINE  


Things to remember:
1) when melting, take the FireLine end towards the base of the flame, NOT the top
2) do not make the 'blobs' of melted FireLine too large. 
3) do not allow the FireLine to catch alight as it becomes brittle and breaks easily
4) the reef knot does not need to be tight, just loosely pulled together.
If you are having problems seeing the video above try the link below:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JdHD23yzB-I

When I teach this to my students often they are unable to pull the blobs together fearing breaking the thread. Give it a good tug and it should slide together. If it still won't slide then the reef knot you tied is possibly not allowing it to happen and you may need to try again. 

A 'blob' join in 4lb FireLine will travel through size 15s - yes size 15s!!
HOW THE JOIN TRAVELS THOUGH SIZE 15/0 SEEDS 



NOTE: if I already have a lot of thread passes I do not use a 'blob' join as you may break beads pulling the join through. Be discerning when to use this type of join and when NOT to use it.

I have also used a 'blob' join with 6lb FireLine and size 15/0s but I don't like to push my luck as you may have success for nine beads and then the tenth bead may break - very annoying. A 6lb Fireline 'blob' join is fine for size 11/0s and larger seed beads.  

Which brings me to my next "trick" - JOINING IN MORE FIRELINE.

If the area won't take a 'blob' join I melt a blob on a new thread, thread my needle with the other end. I choose an out-of-sight area, sew through a few beads, pull the thread through until the blob catches - do not tug it through - I sew a half hitch knot, pass through a few more beads, sew another half hitch knot and continue to exit where my old work thread is. I then tie the new and old threads with a reef knot and sew down my old work thread. The blob will not pass through the half hitch knots and you have a secure join.

I get pretty frustrated with 'tails' when I start beading, without fail I seem to get the tail tangled in my work. Whenever I can I make a join that does away with tails. 
HOW TO AVOID HAVING TAILS


FINISHING AND SEWING DOWN. As we know some ending threads manage to unravel after a period of being worn and handled. When sewing down FireLine I do the usual few half hitch knots, when I cut my thread I cut leaving about 3-4mm showing (1/8") I then use my lighter to quickly melt that small amount into a blob which disappears into your work. This melting hinders the thread from unravelling. NOTE: I do not use this ending near galvanised beads as I have had some change colour. Again be discerning when to use this method and when not to use it.

Every beader I have taught these methods to has never looked back and I am always thanked for sharing this information.  Give it a go on a practice piece and see for yourself how it really does work.
You have nothing to loose and everything to gain.

Happy Beading

Patrick

All videos were taken by my dear friend Neva Brown of Nifty Creations, also a talented bead artist.
http://www.niftycreations.com.au

26 comments:

  1. This is perhaps the single most useful tip I have read and seen in ages! I won't even admit to the amount of extra work I have done to join and hide my Fireline ends. Thank you so much! I'll be utilizing this method from now on!

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    1. You are very welcome Therese. Glad you will benefit from this.

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  2. These ideas are sheer genius, Patrick! I've returned to Nymo after years of Fireline use, because I love the Nymo colors. However, seeing these tips on your videos, I want to give Fireline a whirl again! Thanks so much for sharing these!

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    1. Hi Callie, Funny you should say working with Nymo, I have to admit I wanted to use a Swarovski crystal the other day and did not want multiple smoke Fireline showing so I went back to Nymo. They have their times when to be used.

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  3. Wonderful, Patrick! It's really secure and won't come out over time? I have a method for working without tails in the round, too! I think I'm gonna try your way though. :D Love your voice, too!

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  5. Excellent blog post, Patrick. Very informative. I shall have to try your blob methods because I hate weaving in tail threads.
    Also, loved hearing your voice and Aussie accent.

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  6. Have not watched the video yet. Do you use a thread burner?

    I will look forward to colors from Fireline- it is about the only thing I miss about Nymo.

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  7. What a great way to hide ends! Nice videos too! This would be very good for clear and translucent beads, as there would not be the 'darkness' created by multiple threads passing through the clear beads.

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  8. I'm having 11 beady friends here for a long weekend of beading--I'm going to show them these videos using my tablet. Super tips--I hate weaving in threads!! I'm also wondering if this wouldn't work using any of the nylon threads like SoNo, even Nymo, One G because they also form a blob when heated. These 'blobs' might break off more easily than those formed by FireLine but I'm going to experiment anyway!!
    OH--and on the subject of colored FireLIne--I have some. At a reatreat we had in July we dyed some crystal FireLine--got about 8 different colors now.

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    2. Thanks for your comment. I have tried this with Nymo, in theory it should work, however it is not as waxed as FireLine and the blob knot doesn't slide as easily as FireLine. If you have success with the other types of thread, please let us know.
      I have not thought of dying the Crystal FireLine, I have used a permanent market to get another colour but it gets too 'tacky/sticky' when working with it.

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  9. Unfortunately the videos don't come up on my ipad... Is there. Link you can post to these videos?

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    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    2. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JdHD23yzB-I

      is another way you can see the first video, the others will be done soon

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  10. Wonderful posting and such a great tip! It is so frustrating to create a beautiful piece only to have your cut threads showing. I will pass this tip along for sure.

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  11. Excellent videos, Patrick! So nice to hear your voice!

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  12. Great tips! Saving this for future reference....

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  13. merci beaucoup Patrick : je viens d'essayer sur un collier en netting et... j'adore
    amicalement
    Linda (Paris)

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  14. Excellent post, Patrick! thank you for very detailed, orderly explanations. I have struggled with these tails for years.
    For someone who commented that this is a surgeon's knot - not quite. In a surgeon's knot, the threads would be looped twice around each other in the second part of the knot, rather than once. This creates a much sturdier knot. (how do I know? aaahhh, well, I cut myself once rather deeply, and got to watch the ER doc sew part of my hand back together again, wry grin!)
    One other tip. This has to do with the shorter end of the thread (the tail thread) emerging from the needle as we are beading.
    As I work with Fireline, the tip of this short thread end wraps itself around my working thread and ties a knot. Again and again. It drives me nuts!!!! A tip sent in by a beader to one of the major beading magazines solves this problem:
    tie a single overhand knot at the very tip of this end of the thread. Pull it tight with your fingernails so it's tight and small. It will pop easily through even 15/0s, just like Patrick's blob. Mysteriously, this end of the Fireline no longer ties itself into knots around the working thread.
    Best to all, Mary Alexander

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    1. Hi Mary, we have both had the FireLine cut, me almost and you for sure. Yes I am most grateful each day when I can sew without a tail.Thanks for the tip on the thread end, that sounds really simple and effective. I get annoyed when running out of thread and it keeps coming out of the needle until you do something about it and add another thread. I will try your suggestion.

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  15. Love, love, love this tip as I absolutely hate adding thread. Thanks so much.

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  16. I have been searching for kind of a bracelet and finally found it in your blog. Thanks!
    Vintaj Products

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  17. I've only beaded once using Nymo and hated it so much I never used it again. I switched to Fireline and have used it ever since. If I want to use a coloured thread in the future, I'll try one of the more expensive Japanese threads that aren't supposed to fray. I was so frustrated with using Nymo, I ripped the piece apart and did it over with Fireline. I jokingly call Nymo 'The Thread From Hell'.

    I never learned to knot or burn the ends of thread when I first learned tips and tricks from another experienced bead. Instead, I learned to weave back and forth through the beaded piece to end old thread or join new thread. They've always been strong and never showed signs of coming undone. I use a new very sharp blade (meant for razor blade scrapers) to cut off the thread when finished. Of course, I cut AWAY from the bead into the air so there's never any chance of nicking or cutting into the thread in the beaded piece.

    Your methods sound very good and practical and only serve to illustrate that there are often more ways of doing something than one! :)

    Jude

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  18. Forgot to check the notify button. Please let me know if you reply.
    Jude

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