I use a floss threader to string beads when the crochet hook method doesn't work. They can be found at the drugstore with the dental supplies. Floss threaders have a stiffened end at the tip, and the loop part is very flexible and fits through small beads. I've just discovered that there is a way it can be used to add beads to a picot as well.
Then your beads are on the picot, and a paper clip or safety pin can hold them on until you are ready to join to that picot.