Am back in states at parents house. Desperate to get sewing room set up. I miss sewing.
I just finished knitting a summer-y project with beads. As there are hints of spring in the air all around the Norther Hemisphere (it’s in full bloom here in Rome), and beaded knitting is wonderful for all manner of sparkly spring and summer knitting, I thought I would share how I got the beads on the yarn.
The beads I found for this sweater were pre-strung.
The first time I worked with pre-strung beads, I actually took them all off the string and re-threaded them onto the yarn. As the bead store had provided me with some floss threaders, this wasn’t actually all that bad.
At my next visit to the bead store, I saw one of the employees transferring beads from one string to another. It was an “A-HA” moment.
The string for most pre-strung beads is usually two strings, tied together. This means you can use the string itself as a threading too.
The basic idea is that you turn the string the beads are on into a “string needle” by making a little “eye” at one end. In this case, I had to cut the knot, unstring a few beads, and re-tie it into a smaller knot to make space. This is not always necessary – usually there is an extra inch or so of string and only the knot needs to be re-tied to be small enough for the beads to slip over it.
Then you thread the yarn through the “eye.” (There are beads on that string, they just aren’t in the picture).
Then you simply slip the beads from one string to another. This can be a little tight, but as yarn is mostly air it will compress a lot and allow the beads to slide on. In this case, the yarn was a silk/linen blend without much air, so it was harder than it would have been with a woolen yarn. It still worked.
Beads are now pre-strung onto the yarn, and ready to knit with.
If you want to try knitting with pre-strung beads but don’t have a good pattern, I recommend the MaryElla pattern from Knitty. It’s really fun. I made bracelets using this technique for myself, my mother, and my best friend, and we all wear them. I had fun choosing from the many kit suggestions from Earthfaire. (If you’ve been around my blog for awhile, you’ll know she’s my favorite bead supplier, both because of her products and customer service).
If you have any other tips for knitting with pre-strung beads, leave them in the comments!