Pearl Knotting
(& Making a Bead Board for Knotting)
by Celia Martin

The original idea of using a static knotting pin came from the person who taught me, and she learned it from someone else.  She had placed a needle in the edge frame of a bead board, but it didn't always stay put. 

My idea was to permanently set a needle in a block of wood for stability.  I took a size 24 tapestry needle and hammered it eye-end first into a 1/2" thick piece of plywood (it may take you a couple of attempts to get it nailed in straight - be sure to take proper precautions).  Then I filed the tip smooth.

For my bead board, I cut out a section in an 11" x 14" piece of foamcore and glued the block in.  Then I made channels by gluing sections of 1/8" doweling onto the foamcore.  I finished it by covering it with grey nylon robe fleece.  Here's what it looks like (the cork is for placing on the pin when not in use):

For knotting, I usually use bonded nylon cord and Gem-Tac glue (it dries soft & flexible, is durable, washable when dry, and non-toxic).

Bead Board
To start, thread a beadtip and then your pearls, and another bead tip onto the spool of cord.  For most bonded nylon a needle is not needed. You can stiffen the end with a bit of superglue if you want. Clip the end if it frays. Make a double overhand knot & tighten, dab with a bit of glue.  Once it has mostly set, clip the free end of the thread close to the knot, then apply more glue to make a little "ball".  Let dry, then slide bead tip up against the knot.  Slide up the first pearl and begin knotting...
Step 1
Holding the cord in one hand, make a loop, then an overhand knot.
Step 2
Place the open knot over the pin.
Step 3
Wrap the thread in your left hand for tension, pull knot tight against the pin, snug it up to the pearl.
Step 4
Use the round-nose pliers to hold the knot against the pin and keep the cord tight while you pull it up off the pin.  I  brace my thumb against the pliers.
Step 5
Then finish snugging the knot against the pearls.
Step 6
You need a certain amount of "play" to keep the strand from kinking. Holding the strand as shown, move the newly-knotted pearl back & forth a bit to loosen.

*Don't loosen the next-to-last pearl - this will give you some leeway if the final knot is a bit loose.

Step 7
The last knot is the hardest! Slide the beadtip up against the last pearl and make a double overhand knot.  Place the loop over the pin & tighten.
Beadtip Step 1
Carefully snug it up using the pliers, and lift off the pin. 
Beadtip Step 2
Continue to tighten with the tip of the pliers.  If it's slightly loose, pull the second to last pearl to move the knot up against the last pearl.  You may have to pick it out & try again.  Needle-tip tweezers are very handy for this.

If your knot is good, dab glue on it and let it set, then trim cord close to the knot and add more glue.

Beadtip Step 3

Beadwork by Celia Martin
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