Wrangling long threads when knotting ropes?


Dec 2, 2023
Hi all! I’m a silversmith who has delved into knotting pearls and various gemstone beads. I’ve done about 20 so far in various stones/styles/techniques. My current project is a rope of 4mm faceted sapphires which I’ve sorted into a rainbow so that the (claspless) necklace is one continuous spectrum. I’ve done one of these previously with smaller beads and a few silver saucers (pictured). Please be gentle, like I said I’m a beginner- I do see that some of these knots are on the wobbly side. I think the globby ones in the fuchsia section are actually the join. Anyway! On to the question about my next riff on this!
Wrangling long threads when knotting ropes?

Far as I can tell, this rope should end up around 48” long. I’m using the knotting technique where I string all of the beads, then come back through them in the opposite direction one at a time, tying a half-hitch after each. I know many prefer the overhand knot technique where the already knotted portion is dropped through the loop of the knot- I’m trying a few projects in each technique to get a feel for what I will prefer. I’m seeing that this “backtrack” method might not be the best choice for super long strands since pulling that looooooooong thread through each bead involves a lot of fussing to prevent the silk from tangling, but I’m wondering if anyone else uses this method and has any tips or tricks for managing the super long threads. I’m having to do it standing, with the strand anchored to a dresser. Taking a step back to slowly, steadily, pull the thread through and then stepping up to knot the bead into place is almost a dance, but sheesh- I’m too old for clubbing. 😆

Other than changing the technique (or the thread), is there something I could be doing differently to make this process a little less fussy, or have I just taught myself a lesson about when this technique shouldn’t be my default?
I describe what I do with long strands in my tutorial beginning with post #31, here:

Try making a practice strand just to see if this works for you-- knot 10-15 pearls or beads and don't bother with a clasp for practice purposes.
I find I like this method enough that I now knot my shorter strands this way, too.