Friday, June 13, 2014

Tool Review - Easy Knotter

It's the return of the Friday review!

I like the look of knotted necklaces but have shied away from them because of the whole "evenly spaced" thing.  Yeah, I'm sure I could have figured out a way to do it, but there were always other projects catching my eye.  Finally, the awesome power of the alphabet intervened and saw to it that I would get the chance to make evenly-spaced knots.  That will make sense in a moment.

You may remember Reenie Oliveto from Designs by Reenie and her Bracelet Valet from the video I showed you last week.  I also shot a video of her demonstrating her Easy Knotter and brought one home.  I'd been wanting one for about four years and since Reenie was my "next door neighbor" at Meet the Teachers (here's where the "awesome power of the alphabet" comes in - Oliveto was next to Otte), it was a good time to see the tool in use and to get to know her.  She's really nice, and I chatted with her some throughout the Bead&Button Show weekend.

Today I sat down with the Easy Knotter and made my first knotted necklace.

First of all, the tool is packaged very well.  It's in a compact 4" x 6" x 1.5" box (plus a hanging tab) with a bubble wrap envelope for extra padding.  That sucker isn't going anywhere.  I think for storing it I'm going to keep it in the box but not use the bubble wrap.

When you take the tool out, this is what you see:


It's made of durable plastic that's hard to take pictures of.  :)  Every time I tried to take a non-angled picture, all I could see was my lamp.  There are measurements on either side of the center so left-handers as well as right-handers will be comfortable.  Although I'm left handed, I tend to do a number of things right handed, and this is one of them.  I tried it the way a "normal" southpaw would, and I just got confused.  Don't take that as a flaw of the tool.  Take it as a flaw in my spatial anomalies.  (Sorry, Steve is watching Star Trek: Enterprise in the other room.  There are always spatial anomalies in those episodes.)

That round thing you see in the center of the tool is a cover for the post.  It's to protect the post against being bent during storage, I'm sure.  It doesn't screw in (because threads of a screw would fray your thread), so it's a bit loose.  My recommendation is to store your Easy Knotter in its handy-dandy compact box.

Here's the tool without the post's cover:


While there are detailed directions included with every tool (including full color pictures!), I'll give you a quick run-down here and show you a video.  Very simply, the steps are: tie a loose knot, put the loop on the post, slide the string until the last knot is at the right measurement, hold the new knot and remove it from the post, tug to tighten.  To add a knot on the other side of a bead: slide a bead down to the last knot, tie a loose knot on the other side of the bead, put the loop on the post, tug everything tight, hold the bead and the knot, release the hold on the string, lift everything up, and tug.

Yeah, I understand that might be a bit confusing.  Let's look at Reenie in action:

video

Isn't that much better?  I did need to watch it a few times for the instructions for the knot on the other side of the bead.  I don't know what was wrong with me.  I think I needed a nap.

Before starting your necklace or bracelet, you do need to string on all the beads first.  My recommendation is to choose beads with smaller holes.  I didn't think the holes of my first choice of beads were too large, but the knot slipped right through.  If you have spare string, you might want to test it first.  I wouldn't test with the string you're going to use because you might not be able to get the knot apart.  I know I couldn't.

The instructions call for 0.8mm crimping end caps and explain how to start and end the necklace with them.  I went to Knot Just Beads today, and they had knot covers instead:



After my first knot came unraveled because I trimmed too close to the knot, I triple-knotted and glued it just to be safe.  I guess I'm a bit neurotic.

I was very quickly able to get the hang of the evenly-spaced knots.  The instructions say to tug the new knot in the direction of the last knot.  It always feels like it's sliding while it tightens, but it worked perfectly every time:


I am finding it a bit awkward to hold the bead and the knot when "trapping" the bead.  If I didn't hold things correctly or if I rushed through the knot, I got this:


It doesn't look bad in the grand scheme of things, but it's not ideal.  I found that I could nudge the knots a little this way or that, which helped the beads not look so loosey-goosey.

When I took my time and held the bead and knot correctly, I got this:


In a very short amount of time, I had a nice long necklace:


I got a black silk string from Reenie, but I found I had a few white ones buried in my stash.  I'm glad I did so I could keep my black string for an "actual" project.  I know just what I want to do.

So, what do I think of the Easy Knotter tool?  It's very simple to use once you get the hang of it, and I don't think it needs to be any more complicated.  I've been seeing an ad for new tabletop knotter tool, and that one looks complicated.  It looks like it would take up a lot of room for storage, and nothing in the ad looks like you can measure spaces out between knots.  I like the simplicity and versatility of the Easy Knotter, and I'm certainly glad to not have to clear a space out on my shelves to store it.

To purchase the Easy Knotter, the Bracelet Valet, kits, or supplies (including wonderfully priced silk string and the correct crimping end caps), please visit Designs by Reenie and check her out at shows.  Tell her Traci says hi!

If you have a project made using the Easy Knotter and would like to share it here on my blog, send me pictures and what you think of the tool.  You'll also be entered to win a Xuron 4 in 1 Crimper tool for your other stringing needs!  The giveaway (which is good for all kinds of projects, not just Easy Knotter pieces) runs until June 30th - click here for all the details!

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