Most of my work, if I have to start a new thread, I will weave in the short working thread back into the bead work, doing half hitch knots along the way. Then, with my new working thread, I start back in the bead work and go forward doing half hitch knots until I come out of the bead where I started. This works great for peyote stitch, brick stitch, and other weaves where following the thread path and doing your knots is an easy thing to do.
However, there are sometimes when doing so is not the best course of action. If you’re using tiny Czech seed beads that have very small holes, weaving through those beads again with your thread may mean taking the chance of a bead breaking. To lessen that possibility, there are a few knots that I use that allow you to do very little thread weaving and yet give you a secure knot.
The Fisherman’s Knot is one that I use frequently. Be sure to leave enough working thread to make an overhand knot on the new thread. Then make an overhand knot with the new thread on the older thread further back. As these knots tighten, they march towards each other and each stops the other and becomes more secure as you pull on the new thread. I just keep beading and the two short ends of the threads work themselves into the beadwork. One caveat: both knots have to be small enough to go through your beads. Here is the knot done with cording so you can see it (Figure 1).
For some reason, you might find yourself with a very short tail that you want to lengthen. In this case, I would use what I call the Slipknot Knot. This one is also very easy. With your old working thread you make a slip knot. Through that slipknot you put your new working thread and tighten the slipknot as much as you can. You then work this short tail of your old working thread back into the beadwork by just continuing to bead. You will have to watch the short tail of the new working thread to make sure it is carried forward with the new working thread. You do that by threading your needle with both new short and long parts of the new working thread. This makes a smaller knot, which you can get through smaller holes. This knot is very secure and will not come apart if the old working tail is worked back into the older bead work and the newer working tail is worked into the newer beadwork. This technique is shown with the cording below (Figure 2).
Remember that it’s always best to weave in the tail and weave in your new thread without using any knots at all. But when that’s not possible, these two knots are easy to do, easy to hide, and very secure.
Now let’s see if you can find where I added thread in this piece (Figure 3).
Dr. Gail H. Devoid, Ph.D. is president of Need for Beads, Inc. and teaches beading techniques through programs at the Bead Society of New Hampshire. She also co-hosted a live, free, Internet radio show called The Jewelry Connection.