Stringing Tutorial with photos: Stringing on Serafil, Beaders Secret & Power Pro

Hello! Thank you for this excellent stringing tutorial! I usually string my pearls on silk thread, but I’ve been experimenting with Serafil lately. However, I’ve been having a real problem when it comes to finishing the project: my thread keeps tangling after I place my final piece of gimp and I go back through the last three pearls to knot between them. I have tried running my fingers between the threads to seperate them each time I string a pearl, as advised in the tutorial, but this hasn’t solved the issue. I also tried to prevent the kink by using the ends of progressively smaller crochet hooks to keep the threads from twisting as I try to pull them through the final pearls. I’ve attached two pictures of these kinks forming at the end of a project (these are just imitation pearls that I’m experimenting with). If anyone has advice on how to solve this problem, I’d appreciate the help! Thank you!
Welcome to this thread, @Pearls&Pugs!

I find it's helpful to be sure there is no twist at all in the thread before adding the gimp. Sometimes it helps to hold the thread with the needle down and let it untwist itself a bit before you gently guide your fingers through the doubled thread to finish untwisting it. I like fluttering my fingers a bit as I untangle the thread; it seems to help. Keep the doubled thread loose until any twist is gone. Otherwise you may get a knot or a worse tangle.
Be sure the needle isn't flipped over, either. I find that happens pretty often. Get it all straight, then add the gimp and pass the needle through the clasp.

Then be very careful to prevent any twist at every step of the way when back-knotting.
Don't be in a rush. Finishing a necklace can be tricky, so take your time.

When starting to back-knot through the first pearl, use your fingers to keep the thread loop straight and use fingers or tools to guide the gimp carefully to the right place, with the clasp centered over the gimp, before tightening the thread.

Now you are through the 1st pearl. Make your overhand knot.

After making the knot, if you see any twisting happening in the thread, straighten it out before passing the needle through the next pearl.

After you pass the needle through the 2nd pearl, use your fingers like this to maintain tension in the thread as you pull it through:

Using fingers to spread the loop, smaller.jpeg

When there is no more room for even one finger, if it seems like it is tending to twist, you can use an awl (or whatever else you have) to maintain the tension until all the thread has been pulled through the 2nd pearl.

Repeat as needed until you are through all the pearls.
Here's how I solved my "ending the strand" problems using Serafil.

Start: I cut one pearl off my old strand and thread it onto a length of Serafil 5 times the length of the final necklace. End of the thread is clipped to a hemostat. Other end of the Serafil goes through a large eye beading needle.

Cut a pearl, thread it onto the new strand. Repeat for all pearls.
Thread on the gimp and the clasp.
Determine the center point of the Serafil and position the clasp, gimp, and the last pearl there. Go back through the last pearl with the Serafil. Tie an overhand knot, and snug it up by separating the strands of Serafil and pulling in opposite directions.
Slide the next pearl down. Go back through the pearl with the Serafil. Tie an overhand knot, and snug it up by separating the strands of Serafil and pulling in opposite directions.

Repeat until there are 3 pearls left unknotted.

End: Slide the last remaining pearls next to the knotted pearls and go through all three pearls with the Serafil. Do NOT KNOT THEM.
The end of the Serafil attached to the hemostat is going to stick out the end of the last pearl. You'll use it to pull against to snug things up, but it is no longer part of the knotting process.
Go through the gimp and the clasp with the Serafil.
Go through the last pearl in the opposite direction (towards the strand of pearls).
Pull on both strands of Serafil to tighten everything up.
In between the last pearl and the pearl before the last pearl, use the Serafil in the beading needle to tie 2 half hitches.
Pull on both strands of Serafil to tighten everything up.
Go through the next pearl, and tie two half hitches.

Now use something like G-S HYPO CEMENT with a needle nose precision tip to put the tiniest drop of glue on both sets of half hitches.
After the glue is dry, cut off the Serafil next to the gimp, and next to the last pair of half hitches.

I quit double threading at the beginning of the strand because I'd always end up splitting the Serafil with the needle, and then I couldn't separate the doubled threads to snug up the knot. I I always thread one pearl at a time.

I quit double threading and then going back through the end pearls with a doubled thread because I'd invariably get stuck with loops and kinks and knots. By dropping one of the threads and just doubling back with one thread, my knots look the same size as the rest of the strand, and I don't have a problem going back through the last couple of holes.
Great tips, Pearl Dreams! Pearls and Pugs, just a few additional thoughts ~
Be sure to test your thread with a few beads or pearls to see how tight the thread is when doubling back at the beginning of your project. You might need to ream the end pearls out a little. Beads can be reamed, too, but not as easily. I often use an awl or darning needle to keep the thread from twisting on itself, just like Pearl Dreams suggests. Thanks very much for checking out Serafil thread!

I do like the thread end pulled through the last pearl. Some clients have a difficult time figuring out where the beginning and ending knots are.

BWeaves, interesting technique, thanks for sharing!
Thank you so much for your warm welcome, Pearl Dreams, and for the helpful advice from all of you!

@Pearl Dreams - Thank you for your suggestions! It makes sense that I’m perhaps twisting the threads up earlier in the project before I even put on the gimp. I will try to untwist them more frequently using the methods you suggest. I was also suspecting that my tight tension might be partially to blame: I always hold my thread with tight tension when I knot with silk, and maybe doing this with polyester thread is causing the inner cords of the threads to twist? Also, the picture of how you hold the thread when you pull it tight is very helpful! I tried to use crochet hooks instead of a jeweller’s awl to keep the thread from twisting as I pulled it tight, but it seems I should invest in one. I usually use needle nose tweezers to seat my knots, but an awl might also be helpful for this part of the project as well.

@BWeaves - I am very intrigued by your method! I’ve been struggling with working with doubled-over thread, as I find it harder to seat my knot snugly beside the pearl than using a single length of silk thread. Not to mention I’ve also skewered my threads a few times while passing back through the final pearls! I will definitely experiment with your technique, so thank you very much for the detailed instructions!

@pattye - Thank you also for your suggestions, and for your thread! It sounds like I might also be using a thread size that is a little too thick for the drill holes? I am actually practicing so that I can restring my baroque golden south sea pearl necklace on Serafil, as it is currently on silk thread. The drill holes are a bit larger than 0.8mm, so size 20 seems to work best for knotting in between the pearls (size 30 is too thin and my pearls slide over the knots, and I am terrible at seating jeweller’s knots nice and snug to the pearls). I am very reluctant to ream my pearls though (I just can’t bring myself to alter my pearly babies in any way!) but perhaps this is something that must be done…

Thank you all again for your helpful advice!

Three thoughts:

1. I use mini broaches to shave the inside of a drill hole to widen it slightly, when necessary. (See link below for Amazon listing.) I like these better than reamers; they taper more gradually. They are basically long thin razors in a triangular configuration, with a handle. You insert a broach into the drill hole until you meet resistance, then twirl the broach with your thumb and index finger. The razors will shave the inside of the drill hole slightly.
Dust from the pearl or the bead nucleus will accumulate on the broach as it shaves the hole; wipe it gently as needed with a damp cloth or paper towel-- never use fingers to wipe off the dust! (that's obvious, but it's all too easy to forget in the moment.)
Link to mini broaches on Amazon:

2. An awl helps when seating a jeweler's knot (or any knot).. I use an awl to "walk" the as-yet-untightened knot close to the pearl I will seat it against, withdrawing it carefully as I pull the 2 threads apart.

3. In post 52 (on page 3) of this tutorial I address the problem of skewering or snagging the thread with the needle when back-knotting.

When back-knotting, you are inserting the needle through a pearl that already has 2 threads going through it. The risk with a twisted thread (like Serafil or Beaders Secret) is that the needle can split or get snagged on those threads, making it hard to pull the needle through. By holding the thread that's already inside the pearl taut, you make space for the needle to pass through cleanly. Note: If the needle tip has frayed, snip it with the with wire cutters before back-knotting to reduce chance of snagging.

I seem to recall Pattye saying she sometimes uses a slender pin to hold down the thread and make a path for the flexible wire needle and thread to pass over it.
Oh yes. I also hold the pearl and Serafil like that when going back through the pearls to try to avoid splitting the original thread with the beading needle.
Thank you for the follow-up suggestions, Pearl Dreams. The mini-broaches are a great suggestion! It seems I can’t purchase these exact ones where I’m located, but I’ll search for a similar substitute. And that makes sense about pulling the threads down to stop the needle from skewering them as I pass back through the pearl.

Thank you all again for your helpful advice!