Friday, October 18, 2013

The Perfect Connection - working with FireLine


Hello and thank you for visiting.
I want to share some of the "tricks" I use when working with FireLine. I have already shared this on the Bead Mavens blog and thought I would show it here also for anyone not going to the Mavens. 

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  
video

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 trouble viewing the video, below is a You Tube link to try

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 


video


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


video

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

21 comments:

  1. Hope this is not too forward of me: I love you, will you marry me? :) In all seriousness, I've combed the web for hours and hours to learn how to tie Fireline. There is not much there unless you're tying a fishing hook on the end of it. I am so incredibly thankful for your videos. It is simple once you see it. I'm heading to my beading room right now! Thank you - Your New #1 Fan!

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  2. Hello Vixter K, thank you so much for your comment, I have a big smile on my face. I am very glad you
    have found this simple method for working with FireLine, and yet such a huge time saver in the long run.
    Another little tip i will be adding to my post. If you do come across the blob inside a bead don't try to push you needle through the blob. What I do is place the point of the needle on the inside wall of the bead and gently push through. That way you will be sliding around the blob join. Enjoy.

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  3. Dear, thank you very much! I work with the beads for years and I still had not figured out how to solve the problem additions of thread! thanks again, Carla

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  4. Just watched your video and it is so cool! We have a teacher at our beadstore that showed us this, but since I don't like knots, I didn't pay attention to it. Watching this now makes me want to run to my project and hurry to the end of my thread to try this! Thanks for the great tip!

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  5. Hi Patrick, I have only been beading for about a year, i have just watched all the tips with Fireline, WOW how incredibly easy I found it to do. You have pulled me from the deep depths of end tangles in my beads, and it is so much quicker. I did have to prove to hubby I had not taken up smoking though when he saw my lighter LOL. Thanks again for your tips....... Christine xx

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  6. Hi, Patrick. I just took a class on how to bead a spiral tube and after I took it home to finish it, I realized that, despite the huge amount of Fireline I'd pulled off the reel in the beginning, I was still short about four feet! Since it's fishing line, at least I knew where to start looking on splicing methods...but the methods the fishers use aren't so useful to beaders...and so I stumbled across this post. THANK YOU SO MUCH for sharing! I knew a simple knot was the best, but the step with the lighter was something I hadn't thought of. Yes, it does go through 15s and 11s...and it also goes through #2 bugles (well, the Miyukis, at least) as well! So thanks again! You've saved my bracelet project. =D

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  7. Genius! Thank you so much for the simple but important lesson Patrick. My work will be all the better for it.

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  8. Thank you Patrick! This is so very helpful

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  9. I just tested your tip and for me it is THE TIP. Thank you so much :) :) :) Anneli

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    1. ps. my time is 05 October, 22:39

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  10. This is AWESOME!! I added my own shortcut, I fire the ends BEFORE I do the knot and it works so much easier for me! I fire the ends, then tie the knot and pull the threads down right after. For me it was much easier firing the ends before because I kept losing my knot while I was firing the ends. I guess I'm super uncoordinated, but this just worked better for me! But I'd never have tried this had I not found it on YouTube! thank you ever so much!! :)

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  11. So anxious to try this!!! Great new tip.

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  12. Thank you, Patrick! Brilliant!

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  13. It is amazing how all the most wonderful people in our beady world are those who constantly GIVE if themselves. Thank you Patrick.

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  14. Patrick, thank you for an amazingly useful demo. Could I post a link to it on Pinterest? I would love to share it with other beaders!

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    1. Of course you can. That is why I shared the information

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  15. This is brilliant! Tail threads are my nemesis... they frustrate me to no end, for the same problems you describe. Ugh! I can't wait to try this on my project this evening. Genius!!!

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  16. Can you also do the reef knot and melt the ends with nymo? I'm a fireline girl, but have to use nymo on my current project.

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    1. Hello kmemho
      I have tried it with Nymo and the ends don't melt very well and if you try to then pull the ends together the thread breaks. So my answer is no, this join method will not work with Nymo.

      Patrick

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