Especially with these irregularly shaped freshwater pearls! I had no idea what I was in for when I started stringing these. Armed with my trusty 3.5 inch long needle, I was ready for the attack. I know from experience that stringing beads of irregular shape such as these is very difficult. The beads roll all over the place, haphazardly, and you always seem to be chasing the hole. So this time, I tried to outsmart them, I decided I'd string the pearls onto my needle while they sat primly on the temporary string. Well, no can do! There's no way I can squeeze the needle between the pearl and the thread. NO SPACE!
Ah, but the ever resourceful Jewels had a Plan B, and here's how it went down:
Pre-strung freshwater pearls.
Everyone of these babies looks perfect, but as the years go by, you learn that they're not all perfect. I'm a stickler for good beads, and refuse to work with broken or uneven beads, so I like to cull them as I work. (I've also been known to 'waste' a whole evening doing nothing but culling, separating, and organizing my beads...) Well, when working with natural pearls, you tend to find stuff like this:
Irregular holes, double holes, broken holes, half-drilled holes, broken pearls, nasty looking pearls (Is that even POSSIBLE????) , which of course, need to be removed from the stash one at a time.
Self-portrait (timers are great!), too early in the morning to even attempt to look good, hat was handy, so this is what you get. Hah! I'm an early morning Gansta' Beada'! ;)
Sitting at the dining room table, stringing my pearls. I carefully dissect the knot of the temporary thread, hold the thread taught, and grab onto 5 pearls. That's all the pads of my index and thumb will hold. And for my next trick, I will try my hardest to keep the pearls as still as possible, making sure the holes stay aligned end-to-end without shifting, as I gently pull the thread out, and will then insert my needle, hopefully through all five of them.
And this little ritual will go on for at least an hour, maybe tack on an extra 10 minutes or so if you happen to get a knot in your stringing thread, and you have to juggle a 10 foot long piece of string as you try to untangle it.
Since the beads are pre-strung in a bead crochet project, you have to carefully push the bulk of the beads forward as you string the new ones on. This is done slowly, taking care to not scrape the beads too much, or tangling your thread beyond repair (which would cause a do-over that might take months to get to, due to the sheer frustration of it all). And depending on the size of the beads you're working with, this could exceed 15 feet of strung beads. Yup! Just like juggling a long string of wet spaghetti!
Thing is, the more you do it, the better you get at it. Everyone has their own technique. My friend likes her bead spinner, which isn't bad, but I find you lose a lot of beads due to the fast spinning of the bowl. Best part of a spinner, is that it takes a fraction of the time to string your beads. Like, 10 minutes as opposed to an hour. I like my trusty old olive dish, got it for a steal at the Dollar Store! If I'm using all the same beads, then it usually takes me about 15 minutes to string a project with my olive dish. But when you work with irregular beads, you have to do it by hand.