With so many Stringing Materials to choose from it can be daunting to select the perfect choice for your project. How thick is this one, how long is that one, what colors do they come in?? And what the heck is “tex?” We know, it’s overwhelming. The Stitchionary is here to help, now updated with more information than ever.
Perfect for macrame, Chinese Knotting Cord (CKC) is a traditional fiber also used for fancy knots, kumihimo, and bead stringing. It is a round, braided nylon cord. Traditionally labeled: “.04,” “.05,” and “.08,” the actual cord size can run larger than named size…read more below. Although the sizes may be similar to other stringing materials, CKC cannot be used interchangeably with others such as C-Lon or Tuff Cord.
Size .04mm seems to be the most consistent to the label. Used for centuries to create intricate Chinese Knots, the resulting macramé knot made in 0.4 is much finer than 0.5mm. With its smooth and silky texture, this cord is great for stringing 8/0 Miyuki Seed Beads and beads with a similar hole sizes. See how we use 0.4mm in Bollywood Earrings.
Our most popular size of Chinese knotting cord, the traditional “0.5mm” truly measures .06-.075mm. It luxurious for macramé, as seen in our popular Bollywood Bracelets. It is also great for Herringbone Wrap Bracelets and as a cord that stands alone. Its silky texture and array of color choices make it a fun material to work with. Size 6/0 Miyuki Seed Beads string on easily. We recommend creating “self needles” to aid in stringing on 8/0 Miyukis or small to medium glass beads. Add a dab of GS Hypo Cement or Zap Glue to a plastic baggie and slide the ends of your CKC through. Once dry, snip the ends at an angle, and presto! Self-made needles that make stringing a breeze.
0.8mm is one of the thickest macramé materials we currently offer, truly measuring between .08-1.0mm. It is a great thickness as a stand alone cord with a simple pendant hanging from it as a necklace. We recommend using this thickness for the increasingly popular Bollywood Bracelets, see how Kate used it in her Cardamom Free Tip Friday project. We also like using 0.8mm CKC for our Herringbone Wrap Bracelets.
We love this nylon stringing material! There are several members of the C-Lon family, we carry four “weights,” or sizes: C-Lon D, Micro C-Lon, Fine Weight C-Lon, and Regular C-Lon. These threads are silky, strong, and come in a wide variety of colors. We love using these for macramé projects, silk wrapping, stringing, and laddering. Below, find the size and tex of each weight, (tex is the mass in grams per 1,000 meters of thread…simply put, how much it weighs.) The higher the tex, the heavier the thread.
D C-Lon (skinny thread):
Tex 45, Size D. Sold on 78-yard bobbins.
Perfect for weaving and embroidery with seed beads, looming, and even laddering (use doubled). Small enough to fit up to Size 15 seed beads, this tough, floss-like thread is UV resistant and color stable. Compatible with Size 12 and 10 English Beading Needles.
Tex 70, 0.115mm. Sold on 100-yard spools.
Similar to Tuff Cord #1 in thickness, it is silkier in texture and has a greater color variety. We use it in micro-macramé (see Poetry), Bead Crochet, and in several Tricks to Laddering samples. If you want to ladder using a needle, we recommend a Flexible Eye Needle (for traditional laddering, you will need two needles). Micro C-Lon is the perfect thickness to use as warp threads in a loom project.
Tex 135, 0.4mm. Sold on 50-yard spools.
Fine Weight C-Lon is great for laddering beads with more generous holes, like small-medium semi-precious stones and medium size beads. To help create stiffness to the ends of your Fine Weight C-Lon thread, make glue self-needles or run some of our beeswax along it. This will aid in creating a needle-like end, keeping threads from tangling, and to ease the weaving process. If you want to use a needle, we recommend a Flexible Eye Needle (for traditional laddering, you will need two needles). Fine C-Lon is great for knotting between 6mm Stones, as seen in our Intuition Mala.
Tex 210, 0.5mm. Sold on 92-yard spools.
Regular Weight C-Lon comes in an extraordinary range of colors; the most of any stringing material we offer. We recommend this thickness for macrame (as seen in Prairie), laddering, and silk wrapping. C-Lon is also used in Herringbone Wrap Bracelets, Nicole's Five Stitch Wrap Bracelets, our Stackable Ladder Bracelets. It’s great for knotting between stones, as seen in many of our Malas, and as a warp thread or even a decorative weft thread in loom projects. In essence, we use it everywhere! We have a color for every occasion.
The classic cord used for traditional knotting and floats, Griffin has been making silk-on-cards in Germany since 1866. Starting with 100% natural silk, they twist the fiber three times to create their distinctive rope thread. Each card is 2 meters (approximately 79 inches) with a twisted stainless steel needle attached, expect to get 2-3 necklaces per card. String your beads all the way down the thread to the end, so you don’t waste all that good silk with the needle attached after your first project is finished. Matching bead holes to knot size is more of an art than a science. We suggest buying all four sizes and having the flexibility to experiment...often, it’s trial and error! Since silk can stretch over time, we recommend pre-stretching.
.45mm with a knot approximately 0.7mm. Sold on two-meter card.
Perfect for dainty float necklaces, #2 a good size to choose for Freshwater Pearls. As bead hole sizes vary, we can’t promise this size will work with all your fine gemstones or pearls, so we recommend also purchasing Size 4. Use with traditional end tips or bullion when attaching to a clasp.
.60mm with a knot approximately 1.0mm. Sold on two-meter card.
The most popular size for knotting an assortment of beads, from glass and semi-precious beads to some larger freshwater pearls. Use with traditional end tips or bullion when attaching to a clasp.
.70mm with a knot approximately 1.2mm. Sold on two-meter card.
This is a great choice for knotting and floats with most larger glass and semi-precious beads. We can’t promise Size 6 will work with all of your beads, you may have to experiment with other sizes of Griffin Silk or adding a little-holed bead on either side before the knots so your beads don’t slip off. Use with clamshell end tips or medium bullion when attaching to a clasp.
.80mm with a knot approximately 1.5mm. Sold on two-meter card.
This is a great choice for knotting and floats with most larger glass and semi-precious beads. We can’t promise Size 8 will work with all of your beads, you may have to experiment with other sizes of Griffin Silk or adding a little-holed bead on either side before the knots so your beads don’t slip off. Use with clamshell end tips or medium bullion when attaching to a clasp.
One of Janice’s all-time favorites, our 4-strand waxed linen is a traditional and versatile stringing material. Made in Belfast, Ireland by Crawford Thread Ltd, it truly is Irish Waxed Linen. From macramé to laddering and floats, it's a classic fiber that has found a renaissance. The waxed thread is great for silk wrapping since the thread is waxed, it has a “bite” and stays where you put it…exactly what silk wrapping needs. If needed, you can add wax by drawing the thread over a bar of beeswax. A needle is not often needed as the wax on the thread keeps the ends stiff enough for stringing. See how you can use this material for stringing, such as in Odyssey and in many of our Across Cultures bracelets. We have also used Irish Waxed Linen for knotting and silk wrapping, as seen in Janice’s Trails End Bracelets, and as a multi-strand base in several of our For The Guys bracelets. We sell our linen in hand-spun nests of 10 yards...Black, Natural, and Walnut come in three “ply” sizes...the rest of our colors are all 4 Ply.
2 Ply Waxed Linen
Appx .4mm diameter
2 ply is excellent for pearls, gems and many small-holed beads.
3 Ply Waxed Linen
Appx .55mm diameter
3 ply is excellent for average-hole beads from glass to metal and everything in-between.
4 Ply Waxed Linen
Appx. .7mm diameter
4 ply is excellent for average-to-large-hole beads. Whether you use the 4 Ply on its own or untwist it as we did in our Gypsy bracelet project, it is a great material to have in your studio.
KO and Hana Threads are our favorite go-to skinny threads for weaving and fine-bead laddering. We love using it doubled for Infinity Stitch. See how we’ve used it in Emily’s Seed Bead School Projects. Both are many of nylon, and with their smooth, consistent ply and incredible strength they're truly a necessity in every beader’s studio. Made in Japan, KO is available in 17 colors and Hana in 4. Use with a Size 10 or Size 12 needle. Sold by the spool, KO is 55 yards/spool and Hana is 100 yards/spool.
Tuff Cord, a synthetic nylon stringing material, certainly lives up to its name. It has a distinctive crispness to the fiber that creates a very unique knot. Unlike C-Lon and Chinese Knotting Cord, Tuff Cord has a well-delineated knot. We recommend Tuff Cord for laddering wrap bracelets, as the tight weave of Tuff Cord allows for the passing of two threads through the bead without the use of needles. One of its greatest attributes is that it will not stretch! We carry three sizes of Tuff Cord.
.274mm (.0108”), sold on 98-yard spools.
Compares to Micro C-Lon in thickness. It is great for micro-macramé projects using pearls, gems and fine crystals. For very fine gemstones and small pearls, we recommend using KO Thread.
.335mm (.0132"), sold on 66-yard spools.
Slightly thicker than Tuff #1 and Micro C-Lon, Tuff #2 is commonly used to ladder and macramé Swarovski Crystals, Czech Glass and other beads with small to medium holes, where the hole sizes of the beads will allow for the easy passing of two threads without the use of needles.
.411mm (.0162”), sold on 49-yard spools.
Comparable in thickness to Fine Weight C-Lon in size, Tuff #3 has a distinctive feel and texture; it has a stiffness that creates a more angular knot. Tuff is not as soft and pliant when knotting. Tuff #3 is commonly used to ladder and macramé and string glass, metal, and natural beads with medium-to-large size holes.