Tutorial: working with beads
- Let’s Knit
Find out the top tips and trade secrets for adding little sparklers to your latest knitting and crochet projects!
To bead or not to bead?
Hannah, from issue 72, has been such a popular pattern – and you can download it for free here! The pretty combination of beads and lace are perfect for brightening up the miserable weather. While some yarns are available to buy with beads attached, why not learn how to thread them yourself? That way you can be in control of how they look, and where they’re placed. This handy guide breaks down two of the most common techniques knitting with beads, and even tells you the best method for your crochet projects. So you can start embellishing with confidence!
Method 1: pre-threading
This technique involves a two-part process. First, you will be directed to thread all of your beads on to the yarn before you begin. These are then moved into place as you go.
Threading beads on to yarn
1. Thread a normal sewing needle with a short length of cotton and tie the ends together to create a loop. Thread the end of the yarn through this loop and fold it over.
2. Slide your bead on to the sewing needle then push it down over the loop and on to the yarn.
Placing a bead
3. When you want to add a bead, move the yarn forward between the stitches then slip the next stitch purlwise on to the right-hand needle.
4. Slide the bead into position as close to the other stitches as possible.
5. Take the yarn to the back, pulling firmly and making sure the bead sits in front of the slipped stitch. Knit the next stitch as normal.
On a wrong-side row: This uses the same method as on a knit row. Purl to where the bead is required, take the yarn backwards and slip the next stitch purlwise. Move the bead up then bring the yarn firmly forward, purling the next stitch as normal.
TOP TIP: If you are using different coloured beads you will need to thread them on in the reverse sequence, as the last one added will be the first one you knit!
Method 2: using a crochet hook
This method requires no pre-threading; the beads are added as you go along using a tiny crochet hook.
1. Slide the bead on to the crochet hook, then insert it purlwise into the loop of the stitch on the left-hand needle.
2. Slip this stitch off the needle and use the hook to pull the yarn through the bead creating a small loop.
3. Replace this loop on the left-hand needle and continue to knit as normal.
TOP TIP: It’s essential to use a crochet hook that will fit through the hole in the bead – we recommend 0.6mm. The hole must also be big enough for a double thickness of your yarn.
Method 3: crocheting with beads
1. Thread on the desired number of beads as described for Method 1. When the first bead is needed, slide it towards the hook, as close to the previous stitch as possible.
2. Wrap the yarn around the hook and pull through the loop as for a regular chain or double crochet stitch.
3. Using this method, beads are added while working on a WS row.
TOP TIP: “When pressing beaded fabrics, place the piece on a soft surface such as a thick towel. Iron the knitting with the WS facing upwards so that it doesn’t damage the beads. Beaded fabrics can be machine-washed providing both the yarn and the beads are machine-washable, but it’s very important that the item is placed inside a protective bag first.” – Debbie Abrahams, 25 Beaded Knits.
Check out www.debbieabrahamsbeads.co.uk for a great range of beads to knit and crochet with!
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