Thanks, Thrynity, the bag was a real pain!! It has a thick insulation lining plus to make it even more complicated it had a mesh pocket on the inside of the side I was determined to work on. At first I thought poking through the lining was going to end bad, but since I just throw my bag in the fridge at work it doesn't really matter. And I did stem stitch (I think that's what it's called?) as much as possible where I could work from the front and not deal with the lining/pocket thing.
And after spending a full day of watching videos teaching you the french knot, and trying EVERYTHING everybody suggests, and about a zillion pulled through attempts later NO MORE! Beads look just as nice