Stitch Pro: How to Start a New Thread

Apr 3, 2014

Now that my life is more settled down (son back home after training with the Marines...daughter on the honor roll after years of struggling with school...home improvements projects done for now...traveling for work is rare...), I find myself with the time and head space to bead for fun again! Coming back to the beading table is like greeting an old friend, as I stitch bead by bead, switching from stitch to stitch, knowing exactly what I need to do to get a desired result. Since I bead all day in my head for a living (as Beadwork's tech editor), I am often struck at just how many beading techniques are stuffed into this little melon of mine...

As I was beading today, doing some complicated cubic right-angle weave sculptural something, I was thinking about being a beginning beader and all of the questions I had about techniques. Really, it was the most simple techniques that stumped me the most: they weren't always explained in books or in classes. For instance, how to start/end a new thread? I discovered quickly that it's a very easy technique, but only after someone showed me how. So, you beginning beaders out there, here's a show-and-tell so you won't be left in the dark!

Starting a New Thread

1) First, cut a workable length of thread. I never use more than 6' at a time so you don't end up doing "beader's backstroke" (pulling endless amounts of thread through beads as you work). Weave the thread through beads to exit near the place you need your thread to start again. Note: You'll end threads basically the same way as starting them, so this is kind of a double lesson.

2) Pass your needle under the threads that are connecting previously stitched beads. In this case, I'm adding thread to a right-angle weave strip, so I am passing under thread that connects 2 beads in an end unit of the final row.

3) Pass through the loop you created by passing under the connecting thread. Pull tight to form a tight half-hitch knot.

4) Weave through beads, pulling the thread tight so the knot slides inside of the next bead, hiding itself.

5) If desired, form more knots on connecting threads, then weave through beads to exit from the place you left off.

Is this how you begin a new thread? If not, share your technique on the Inside Beadwork blog! Are there any other beginner techniques that stumped you when you began beading? I'd love to share them here in future posts.

Happy beading!

Jean Campbell

Senior editor, Beadwork magazine



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on Apr 5, 2014 12:30 PM

Thank you for this explanation of how to start a new chunk of thread. My question: how much of a tail (woven through beads) do you leave before you snip the end off? I worry that over time, that tail will work its way back out and look awful.

on Apr 7, 2014 10:41 AM

Jenny- I'm a bit lazy about tails, to tell you the truth! Some people leave a 4" tail and weave it into the work... But I know if I've properly knotted the beginning of the thread and woven through a bunch of beads, I can pretty much snip the tail off at the get-go.

salla2 wrote
on Apr 9, 2014 12:02 PM

I actually go in through the bead were my thread is coming out... so that my tail and my old thread are side by side... I can then tie them together and weave them both through a few rounds and snip them off! then I weave the new working thread around until it is coming out where I need it to and start going again! works with most bead stitches.

on Apr 12, 2014 7:18 AM

Curious on what size bead and color you used in this.  Thank you for your time.