Knotty problems finishing an endless necklace

Gem Fervor

May 19, 2020
Hello, wonderful people,

I've been lurking here for a little while now, learning from your discussions and enjoying how generous you all are with your time and expertise. And I've been practicing knotting, after studying the excellent tutorial from Pearl Dreams and a video by LloydsJewelry. But I'm at a loss as to how to solve a problem I've run into:

A client asked me if I could restring a long jade necklace that had broken. It has a pendant and is quite heavy, so I ordered the heaviest Beader's Secret thread from Pattye's shop (thanks, Pattye!), plus some extra to practice on. I've gotten pretty comfortable knotting between beads, but when I've practiced finishing off a strand in the way Pearl Dreams's tutorial describes, I find that if I tug at the strand, the last five knots (between the first six beads I've strung) don't hold.

I'm not sure whether it's because the thread is slippery and would benefit from some glue to help secure it, or whether my knots aren't tight enough (though I'm separating my strands of thread and pulling very firmly), or whether I need more knots--or whether I should take another approach altogether. I could perhaps try to tie a square knot inside a metal bead instead, if that might hold better.

I'd really appreciate any advice--I want to do this lovely necklace justice! I'm attaching a photo in case that's helpful.

Many thanks in advance, and I'm very glad to be part of this community,

If the knots aren't holding, and it's for a client, I'd go ahead and use a little glue. Better safe than sorry.
I always add a dab of glue on the last 8 pearls when I make an endless strand. I have had the same slipped tread once. I also leave 8 pearls instead of 6, to be knotted last. Good luck
Thanks, Pearl Dreams. I think I'd have more peace of mind using glue. And thank you for the wonderful tutorial!
Thanks for your reply, Charlotta! I feel better knowing you've encountered this issue too. I was wondering whether I should leave more knots till the end--I'll definitely do that now.
Yes, I agree, time to use glue. Give it plenty of time to dry before testing. I dab a little on the last 1/4 inch of thread as it is pulled into the hole for those last beads/pearls. I've had the problem of slipping knots in the past. You've got this, Jennifer!
I'm never successful with endless stringing, so I always use a clasp. But even then, I've started resorting to glue, too, on the knots. Just the tiniest dab from a pinpoint nozzle will do the trick.
Oh, Pattye, I hadn't even thought of adding some glue to that little length of thread! Thank you for your advice.

Ms. Artsy, thanks for the suggestion. I like it, but I don't think I could fit anything larger through the drill holes.

And BWeaves, I feel much better knowing I'm in good company! I've got my G-S Hypo Cement handy. I appreciate your help.
It looks from that picture like you might be stringing from the pendant - but maybe that’s the original break before it was restrung? I’d start at the opposite side of the necklace (the section that will be behind the neck) just in case the final knots look a bit different or you can see where the thread is stiff with glue. But I agree that glue is needed - I find Beaders Secret so wonderfully slippery that glue is needed on any strand with a bit of weight to it.
It’s a gorgeous necklace.
Yes, SydK, and I should have clarified that this photo shows how the necklace looked when I received it. I appreciate your advice; I was hoping starting at the back would work best, especially since I will need glue. Thanks for your comments--being so new to knotting, I'd been concerned that I needed to work on my technique more. I'm glad to know this is a normal situation! And yes, it's a beautiful piece. :)
Square knots can be undone easily if both ends of the same thread are straightened. The whole knot capsizes and becomes a lark's head knot and slips off the other thread. I use this trick all the time when weaving when I want a knot I can quickly undo later. If you make a square knot and then snip the ends off, it's even more likely to come undone.

I usually use half hitches, or half hitches with an extra overhand knot attached, but even then, I still need a drop of glue. UPDATE, I did mean overhand knots, but made over the running thread when doubling back and finishing.
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From Pearl Dream's tutorial summary :

10. Knot between the end pearl and second pearl. Pass the needle back through the 2nd pearl from the end, make a knot, then repeat with the 3rd pearl, knot.
11. Pass the needle one more time through the 4th pearl, but do not make a knot. Just trim thread close to the pearl. The trimmed-off tail will thus be concealed inside the 4th pearl, for a neat look.
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From Pearl Dream's tutorial summary :

I think PD is referring to half hitch knots here.

Actually, no-- I don't use half hitch knots, ever, when knotting pearls. Just regular overhand knots (and sometimes doubled a..k.a jeweler's knots.) When finishing an endless strand I make a regular overhand knot over the thread on which the pearls were strung, same as I do when doubling back to finish a strand with a clasp.

I really have not had trouble when making an endless necklace with Pattye's Serafil, and I don't need glue. But if I were making something for a client and had trouble with knots unraveling, then I'd use glue just to be safe.
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I suspect you were thinking of larkshead knots, but I don't use those either. They look too asymmetrical to me.
I had to go online and look up the knots lol I always thought I was tying an overhand when finishing but now I think it's a double half hitch ? lol Now I'm off to read up on larks head knots !

And who knew there is an International Guild of Knot Tyers Forum ???

And while on the subject of knots.. can someone explain the knot shows on as the pearl knot he uses as for the life of me I cannot figure it out. I do have a terrible time with this sort of drawing .. knots etc .. I really need to see something on video.
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Sorry ! I wasn’t clear . It’s not a video it’s a drawing of the knot used . And of course now I can’t find it . I’ll keep searching , I just saw it again last week and was trying to figure out how the knot was tied as it didn’t look like half hitches ...but again ..I’m terrible with this sort of spacial challenge ��