It Wasn’t Supposed to do That.

flat-view-gold-and-purple-peyote-weave-bracelet_mphixI shall be honest and admit that I am a bit of a stickler for using the best quality products when it comes to making jewellery. You kind of have to be if you’re marketing couture, bespoke jewellery. You certainly don’t want your masterpiece to fall to pieces once it has left the soft feathered nest of the workshop. Unhappy customers are never repeat customers, and furthermore they can damage your reputation if they give you poor feedback. So, when I buy a product that claims to be the best on the market, I expect it to be just that.

For some years now I have been using a Japanese manufactured thread for all of my bead weaving designs. The Japanese have a reputation for manufacturing the highest quality beads and threading materials, and as such the extra cost is worth every penny. Usually.

The threading medium I use is a product known as ‘K.O.’. It is tough, durable, non-fraying, and pre-waxed, unlike many of the other main brands of threading mediums, which when you are doing complex weaving projects that require a decent length of starting thread perform terribly and can lead to a lot of hair pulling and frustration due to fraying and knotting. ‘K.O’ thread also comes in several different colours, a comprehensive enough colour palette to suit most projects.

Don’t misunderstand me however, I love ‘K.O’ thread, it is still the best threading medium out there. However, three times lately while working on a couple of bracelets the thread has snapped while I was attaching clasps no less, usually the finishing touch. It happened to me last night again while I was finishing a bracelet for my daughter, with the thread breaking off in mid button sewing, twice, thus leaving it unsecured. Now, you might think that simply re-threading and finishing the job would be enough, however, with size 11 seed beads and peyote weave, each bead has a limited capacity for thread. With a size 11 peyote weave I always use a double thread and a size 12 needle (a size 13 needle is more likely to snap with ‘K.O.’ thread), so at the most you might get 3, perhaps 4 passes, at a push before the needle jams, or worse still, the bead breaks. Believe me, I’ve had that happen often enough that when my thread snaps, as it did last night, I begin to sweat and worry that I might just have to start the whole project again.


It’s interesting that this has only happened at the end of projects when the thread has already undergone a lot of stress. I have also noticed that it has only happened with two of the colours, purple and gold. Now, despite the fact that I haven’t experienced this phenomenon with any of the other colours, remembering to re-wax the thread with a small block of beeswax at regular intervals is always important. It not only helps tighten the work, but it keeps the thread conditioned and stops it fraying. Yes, even this wonder thread will begin to fray eventually with enough twisting and pulling through the work, though like I said, it out-performs other mediums in that respect.

The overworking of the thread is possibly what’s been occurring, causing it to snap at the crucial moment. However, what I’ve noticed about the purple and gold thread in particular is that they seem not to have the same integrity as the other colours. They are somehow not as tough, and this seems to be true with every new spool. It could be my imagination, but I just haven’t had the issue of snapping with the other colours. In fact, as the product suggests, it seems nigh on impossible to snap them at all.

The other downside with using ‘K.O.’ thread is that it isn’t possible to use a fusing tool to fuse end threads, so it pays to rework the thread into the beadwork in order to secure it and prevent the weave from becoming loose and unravelling. Using a needle heated in a flame, with extreme caution of course, and heat-proof gloves, you can indeed fuse this thread, but it isn’t a convenient thing to do. The fusing tools, incidentally, just don’t get hot enough to melt the fibres.

I shall continue to use this wonderful thread simply because it is still the best threading medium out there currently, but perhaps beginning with a new thread before affixing clasps and buttons, or other embellishments is the answer. It’s a nuisance and risk to do that, because of the tension that the extra thread puts into the work, but ultimately it might just prevent disasters from occurring.




8 comments on “It Wasn’t Supposed to do That.

  1. Well written piece, M. 🙂 I’m trying hard to resist asking “Are you a frayed knot, now?” Oops, I asked anyway, didn’t I?

    This is the kind of work that makes me glad God gave me big, clunky fingers. I don’t think I have the patience you have to produce these lovely pieces. The bracelet shows up beautifully in your photos, by the way.

    Do you think maybe the purple and gold are made by someone else?

    • Thanks, honey.
      I don’t know what it is about those colours. Perhaps it’s something to do with the dying process and chemicals used that compromise the fibres. I have to think about it in a logical scientific way to make sense of it. In fact, from many years of working with dyed materials, some colour dyes are a lot more problematic than others, so it can only be something to do with their chemical properties, especially pertaining to synthetic dyes. Some dyes are just more viscous than others, and therefore a sign that they are just more chemically potent than others. But I don’t know enough about them to be honest to say definitively that would be the case.

      • It’s true, the risk of the thread snapping with those colours is enough to give me more grey hairs, and will probably deter me from using them in future for these particular projects at least. It kind of sucks.

      • Another thought is that the threads deteriorate over time. I’ve never experienced this problem until now. Admittedly I have had the thread for a few years now, so this might also be part of the issue, even though I have always had more problems with these particular colours than the others. The problem is that it doesn’t bode well for the shelf-life of the jewellery itself. Maybe I shouldn’t be too concerned. It’s not like I ever placed a lifetime guarantee on my jewellery.
        The thing about peyote weave is that it eventually works a little loose over time and with extended wear, as I’ve discovered. So if I ever decided to sell my jewellery again it would have to be something I would have to seriously address, or abandon altogether.

Pull up a seat. What can I get you?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s