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How to Add New Beading Thread Before Ending the Old Thread

Make a Smooth Transition When Adding New Thread to Your Beadwork


With many beadweaving projects, you'll use up your original length of thread before you finish the design. When that happens, you need to end the old thread and begin a new one where you left off. However, you don't need to complete those steps in that order. In fact, you can make a stronger, more fluid transition to a new thread if you start it before ending the old one. Here's how (be sure to click on the images below to make them larger):


1. Make a Tension Knot With the Old Thread

Tension Knot Diagram
©Chris Franchetti Michaels

When you get to the point where you only have six to eight inches of beading thread left to work with, it's time to end that thread and begin a new one.

First, bring the existing ("old") thread out of a bead somewhere mid-row, rather than at the edge of the beadwork. This makes it easier to hide the thread transition and maintain even tension.

Next, pull the thread to create the same degree of tension that you've used throughout the beadwork. Usually, this means tugging the thread taut — gently for looser tension, and tight for tight tension.

Then, use the thread to tie a half-hitch knot around the nearest existing thread in the beadwork. This serves as a tension knot.

2. Start the New Thread

The New Thread Has Been Woven-In
©Chris Franchetti Michaels

Now prepare a new length of beading thread and its needle. (This can be the same needle, if you don't mind re-threading it again in a few minutes.)

Weave-in the new thread: enter the beadwork a few rows away from where the old thread exits, and stitch through the beadwork, following the path of the existing thread as much as possible. Optionally, make one or more half-hitch knots over existing thread along the way to make the new thread more secure. Bring the needle out through the same bead that the old thread exits.

In this diagram, the stitch is peyote stitch and the new thread is shown in red.

3. Begin Stitching With the New Thread

More Beads Have Been Stitched
©Chris Franchetti Michaels

Continue stitching where you left off, this time using the new thread. In this diagram, the beads stitched with the new thread are colored pale green. Allow the old thread, shown in blue in the diagram, to hang down while you work.

Stitch at least five to ten rows of beadwork with the new thread.

4. Go Back and Weave-In the Old Thread

The Old Thread Woven-In
©Chris Franchetti Michaels

After stitching at least several more rows with the new thread, go back and end the old thread. Weave it into the new beadwork that you stitched with the new thread, as shown.

Then, use beading scissors or a thread burner to cut the old thread close to the beadwork.

5. Continue Beading

The Threads Are Woven-In
©Chris Franchetti Michaels

Notice that you now have woven the new thread into the old beadwork, and the old thread into the new beadwork. This creates a smooth, secure transition, and helps to keep your needle from getting stuck between beads. (When you weave-in more than one thread through the same beadwork, the bead holes fill up pretty fast.)

From this point on, continue stitching with the new thread, until you complete your design — or until the new thread becomes the old, and you're ready to switch thread again.

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