Dripping Pearls !

Lynn Schoeffler © 2007

   
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Pat Winterís beautiful CQ slide pendants have long been on my Must Do! List*. So when I needed a special thank-you gift, these wonderful little gems immediately came to mind. Patís CQMOL article is here: http://www.cqmagonline.com/vol03iss01/articles/art239/art239.shtml, and she also has a slide tutorial here: http://gatherings100.blogspot.com/2007/04/miniature-cq-slide-pendant-tutorial.html

Take a look at Rissa Peace Rootís article for a different way to handle the stringing wire: http://www.cqmagonline.com/vol03iss03/articles/336/index.shtml.

To complement my pendant, I chose to add this necklace using a pearl knotting technique with a mixed palette of beads, pearls and crystals. Here are the instructions for the necklaceóit made a lovely gift that my friend was thrilled with.

Pearl Knotted Pendant

Along with all my other CQ compulsions, Iíve developed an affinity for those gorgeous strings of pearls you see in the bead stores. These pearls are usually fresh water pearls from mussels, not oysters, and they come in a huge variety of shapes, colors and sizes. For a quick reference guide to size and shapes, see http://pearlbeadsale.com/ . Although this is a wholesale on-line vendor, you can buy pearls in small packages at the retail site at: http://www.abeadstore.com/pearls.html

When purchasing pearls, there are a few things to watch for! The grade, or quality, of any string of pearls generally signifies how they will be priced, along with the size and shape. A great bargain for a necklace of this type are the lower quality strings that have pearls that are perhaps not as evenly shaped or as consistent in size. Because the sets of beads in this necklace are all different, irregular shapes help add variety. Recently, I came across strings of low-grade coin shaped pearls that had lots of nubby imperfections in the nacre coating. They are quite interesting because of the added surface texture and richness of color. Look carefully at each individual pearl, because a few will probably have pockmarks that are deep enough to see the shell nucleus inside the pearl; make sure there are no more than a few! You can sort these out and use them in button clusters, or nestled in a silk ribbon bouquet with the hole turned to the fabric where it wonít show.

Also, when you buy pearls such as potato, square, or stick shapes, look to see where the hole is drilled. Squares that are drilled from point to point will give you a nice diamond effect when strung, and for these necklaces, I prefer stick pearls that are drilled end to end. I also liked rice pearls rather than potato shapes, for the same reason: potato shapes are drilled through the middle, while rice shapes are drilled end to end. Pillow shape pearls have one flat side, and I found that shape the most difficult to use, design wise.

Getting Started:

Supplies:

  • Pearls! Glass Beads! Stone Butterflies!
  • Seed beads in sizes 11, 8
  • Small metal beads
  • Silk bead cordóthis cords comes in several weights. Size 4 should go through most pearls, larger beads and size 11 seed beads. If you have a pearl or bead that doesnít fit over the needle, try another.
  • Clamshell jewelry findings
  • Snap closure, or any closure suitable for a necklace
  • Jewelry glue
  • Large T-pin
  • Small double O ring (these look like tiny key rings)

Tools:

  • Needle nose pliers
  • Needle nose tweezers
  • Bead mat
  • A bead design board is also very helpful for laying out the different patterns of beads; they are available at most craft and bead stores.

Bead Cord from Germany is a silk cord that has a beautiful twist, is quite strong, and comes in a number of colors. One package of cord was enough to do two long necklaces, about thirty-five inches each. The twisted wire needle comes attached to the cord; you simply straighten it out. The cord will be quite bent from the packaging, but you can straighten it out by laying it out on an ironing board, and holding a steam iron about an inch above the cord. Pull the cord straight as you steam. Any minor kinks will smooth out from the weight of the beads.

This photo shows the snap closure with a clamshell findings to hold your beginning knot. Pry the clamshell open a little bit farther with needle nose pliers. Make a double knot at end of the silk cord. Draw the knot into the clamshell through the hole at the bottom of shell, so that the knot rests inside the shell. Test the knot by pulling it against the hole. If the knot pops out of the hole, tie another knot over the top of the first two. Add a drop of glue. Insert the hook of the clamshell through the loop of the snap closure. Bend the hook at the top of the clamshell with the pliers so that the hook end rests within the shell. Pinch the shell closed over the hook end and the knot with the pliers, and then carefully adjust the edges of the shell so that they fit together closely.

Make a large loop with the thread (as for a knot) and draw it close to the clamshell. Insert a T-pin into the knot, and draw the knot snugly to the edge of the clamshell by holding the pin with one hand, and gently pulling the cord with the other hand. Anchor the T-Pin on the bead mat as close to the clamshell as possible, then pull the knot tight. Slip the T-pin out of the knot; again tugging on the knot to bring it close to the clamshell. Ideally, there should be no space between the knot and the clamshell; you can use the point of the pin to force the knot closer. This takes a little practice; itís handy to have a pair of needle nosed tweezers for picking out knots if you need to.

Add a series of beads; I chose to keep smaller beads at the neck opening. Tie another knot, exactly as you did the first, at the end of the bead set. Measure about l l/8 inch to 1 l/4 inch for the spaces between the bead sets. Itís helpful to ink a couple of dots on the bead mat so you can measure your space every time without having to use the ruler. Tie another knot, and then add another few beads of your choice. For a random look, make every set of beads different. As you bead, check carefully to make sure you have a nice balance of sizes and shapes; this is where the design board comes in handy. I was so busy with the knots; my first strand wound up with all the heavy beads on one side!

Start adding evenly spaced sets of beads. At every other set or so, hold the necklace up to yourself and look in a mirror; itís easier to judge where you want each set of beads to go. For instance, I wanted the stone butterfly in the bottom photo to lay about fifteen inches from the back of the neck. Watch the placement of heavier beads like the stone squares. If they are at the bottom of the necklace, the weight will cause them to flip outward instead of laying flat.

At the bottom of your necklace where the pendant will hang, string two sets of slightly smaller beads. Add an O-ring between the two sets to hold your pendant.

This necklace is a great way to not only showcase your beautiful CQ slide pendant, but to use all of those one-of-a-kind beads and pearls you just couldnít resist at the bead store!

Resource:

For a great start for your slide pendant, Pat Winter has kits for sale. Pat has gathered up everything youíll need for the front and back of the pendant, including a sweet silk print, lace and petite beads: http://www.etsy.com/shop.php?user_id=80476&section_id=5031820

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