On Beading (Part 1)

Stay Awhile

Stay Awhile, with beaded picots

I am often reluctant to write on technical subjects because there is so much already out here. However, I thought a handy one-page pdf might be useful addition to a project bag, whether you print it out or add it to your electronic library. So, you can download your handy one-sheet reference here – Beading tutorial –

Or…just keep reading. I know I don’t always want to go digging around in a pdf, so the information is also right here on this blog post. OK, so I’ve embellished (pun intended) the tutorial a little since I’m not so limited by space.

Adding beads to your knitting by using a crochet hook is surprisingly easy. This photo-tutorial takes you through the steps. You may need to experiment to find your ideal hook/yarn/bead combination. Make sure the beads you choose have a hole large enough to take your crochet hook. You will need:

For 4ply/fingering yarn:

0.75-1.0mm/US 10-13 crochet hook

Size 6/0 beads

I find that a light fingering with, say, 400m/440yds per 100g works really well for me on 0.75mm-0.8mm hook, and the size 6/0 beads fit easily on this. When I go up to a heavier fingering with more like 365m/400yds per 100g, I do find it a bit trickier. The yarn seems to want more like a 1.0mm hook to stop it from splitting, but at this size I find I have more beads that don’t want to fit on the hook – even with good quality beads. So, be patient if you’re trying a heavier yarn and hook. (And there will be a future blog post soon with other options for handling this kind of problem.)

For 2ply/Laceweight yarn:

0.6mm/US 14 crochet hook

Size 8/0 beads

Although adding beads to lace weight sounds more fiddly, I’ve actually found it easier. The yarn is so much finer and the hole in the bead is proportionately more generous, so the whole process is usually very smooth.

next stitch

1. Work until the stitch to bead is next on your left hand needle. (Here, the first stitch in the row)

bead on hook

2. Slip bead onto the crochet hook. Slide it down as far as you can away from the hook.

lift stitch

3. Using the hook, lift the stitch you want to bead off the left hand needle.

hook yarn

4. Hold the yarn firmly in the tiny hook, taking care not to split the yarn.

slide bead

5. Slide bead up hook, over the yarn. Push bead off hook, onto yarn loop.

legs through bead

6. Both legs of the stitch are now securely through the bead.

replace

7. Replace the beaded stitch on the left hand needle, ready to knit.

knit

8. Work beaded stitch just as a normal stitch. (Here, it was knitted.)

First beaded projects

Knit Night is a very easy pattern, for gorgeous yarns. You can go to town with beads all round the edge and on the eyelets, or just sprinkle beads around the edge. If you’d prefer intermediate-level knitting, with beads picking out the design, try the beautiful mitts & hat in the ebook Leaving.

Knit Night

Knit Night in Whimzy Silkie

Moving on

The best quality beads are Japanese and Czech. For a treat, try beads from Miyuki or Toho. The advantage of Toho is that they have large holes, while Miyuki has some real beauties but smaller holes. (I haven’t put in links because you’ll need to find a supplier who ships to your area.)

With practice, you may wish to move on to using a wire or floss to add your beads, instead of a crochet hook. This is especially helpful with yarns that tend to split, or if you are adding a lot of beads. Check out the next beading blog post: On Beading (Part 2).

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7 thoughts on “On Beading (Part 1)

  1. Your timing is perfect. I’m getting ready to start my first beaded shawl. I put your PDF is my file entitled:
    “Louise: Master”. 🙂 Many thanks!!!! d

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