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Kumihimo basics: Stringing beads

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Because the cord used in kumihimo is generally thicker than beading thread, stringing beads onto the cords sometimes proves to be a challenge. Usually, using a Big Eye needle will work — the eye expands to accommodate thick cords yet the needle is quite thin and will pass through many beads easily, even with a double thickness of cord. However, small seed beads (15/s, 11/s, some 8/s, and many drop beads, for example) often prove too small for this method. When you encounter such stringing problems, try one of these solutions:

• Make a leader:  Cut a 6-in. (15 cm) piece of 4–6 lb. Fireline, and thread it through the eye of the needle. Tie the ends together with a square knot. Thread your cord into the loop of Fireline, and resume stringing.

• Apply a cord stiffener like Fray Check or super glue to the end of your cord, and allow it to dry. When it is dry, trim the end at an angle, and resume stringing.

Spinning beads

Spinning beads is a huge time-saver! One caveat — you can’t use a spinner on cords that require the beads to be strung in a specific pattern or orientation because the beads load randomly.

To quickly load your cords, pour beads into the bowl of the bead spinner, filling it to about one-third capacity. Thread your cord into the eye of the bead-spinner needle (using a leader, if necessary). Rotate the bowl by turning the spindle in whichever direction is most comfortable for you. As the bowl spins, dip the tip of the needle into the beads, pointing it in the opposite direction the bowl is spinning, and watch as the beads load onto the needle. Adjust the needle position as needed.

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