Last week I went to a class at K2Tog called “Knitting with Beads.” I’ve see a lot of really nifty shawl patterns with beads worked through the pattern and I wanted to see how this all worked. It was way easier than I originally thought it would be.
To start, we threaded a bunch of beads onto the yarn. After doing this with maybe 30 beads, I’m convinced that I’d have to pay someone to do this for me if I actually decided to make a shawl. So. Boring. There was talk of another way of adding beads to your work that involved an impossibly tiny crochet hook (tiny enough to make it through the hole in the bead) and yarn fine enough to make it through the bead on the hook doubled over. I’m not sure I actually believe such things exist.
Anyway, we learned 4 different methods to attach beads to you knitting: Slipped Stitch, Purled Stitch, Knit Stitch and Yarn Over.
Of the four, I really liked the slipped stitch method. It holds the bead nicely in place and doesn’t protrude onto the wrong side of the yarn. Slipped stitch would be good for a hat cuff or anywhere where the knitting makes contact with the skin. This method doesn’t allow for continuous beading, though. I mean, you can’t slip every stitch. Eventually you have to knit something, right? (See bottom and third grouping in photo.)
The knit and purled stitches were my second favorites. The beads were a little bit more mobile that with the slip stitch method until you worked the wrong side of the work. That (finally) held those little suckers in place. (Second grouping are purls and fourth are knits.)
The yarn over method I’m not sold on. But, it’s a lace making technique and lace generally looks like junk until you block it, so it could be that I just don’t recognize it’s full potential on my little scrap of work. The idea is to get the bead right in the hole generated by the YO, but mine mostly just curled up to the back of the work. (Fifth grouping is YO. Only one bead in the row is really visible.)
Knitting with beads is an interesting technique. It adds a certain sparkle to the yarn. Those of you who know me know I like sparkle in my yarn. I’m often heard in my LYS saying “Oooh! Shiny!” or some variation thereof. What are you gonna do? You gotta embrace your inner magpie!