Knitting and Beading Tips

An easy way to get beads onto the yarn

  • Thread up an ordinary fine sewing needle with sewing cotton, and knot the two ends together. The needle will then be hanging on a loop of cotton.
  • Pass the end of the yarn through the loop of cotton, and let it fold over on itself.
  • Then, pass the beads over the thin sewing needle, over the sewing cotton and onto the yarn. You might have to push the beads down firmly to move them over the yarn where it is folded over.
  • Push the beads down the yarn.

Count the number of beads that you need for the design you are knitting, and ensure that you thread on enough.

If the design has a lot of beads, it is best to thread on as many as you can work with comfortably, and then when you run out of beads, break the yarn at the end of the row, thread on more beads, re­join the yarn and continue.

How to read a beaded chart

Each square on a chart represents a stitch and each line of squares represents a row of knitting. When working from a chart, read knit rows from right to left and purl rows from left to right. A small circle usually represents a bead, but check this by looking at the key alongside the chart.

It is helpful if you can photo­copy the chart from the book or magazine you are working from. You can then use the photo­copied chart as a working pattern and make notes on the chart if necessary to help you. Also, you can strike off rows as you complete them, so you remember where you are. The chart can also be enlarged up if desired so that the squares are easier to see.

How to knit in beads using the slip stitch method

On a right side row:

  • With the right side of the work facing, knit to where you want the bead to lie.
  • Bring yarn forward between the needles to the knit side of the work, slip next stitch purlwise, slide one bead up yarn so that it is sitting close to the needle, take yarn back between the needles leaving the bead in front of the slipped stitch.
  • After working the next stitch pull firmly on the yarn to ensure that the bead sits neatly against the knitting.

Knitting in beads on a wrong siderow:

  • With the wrong side of the work facing, purl to where you want the bead to lie.
  • Take yarn back between the needles to the knit side of the work, slip next stitch purlwise, slide one bead up so that it is sitting close to the needle, take yarn forward between the needles leaving the bead in front of the slipped stitch.
  • After working the next stitch pull firmly on the yarn to ensure that the bead sits neatly against the knitting.

When working the next row after the beaded row, make sure that the beads stay pushed to the front of the work. As you work past them, some might want to slip round to the back, so push them forward with your fingers.

Caring for beaded fabrics

When pressing beaded fabrics, place the knitting on a soft surface, such as a thick towel. Press the knitting with the wrong side facing upwards so that the iron doesn’t damage the beads.

Alternatively, beaded fabrics can be sprayed with cold water and left to dry, omitting the use of an iron.

Beaded fabrics can be machine-washed if both the yarn and the beads are machine-washable. But it is very important that the beaded fabric is placed inside a protective wash bag (like a pillow­case), and that it is secured with string before placing it inside the washing machine. This will protect the beads and prevent them from banging against the drum of the machine. The knitted fabric should then be gently eased into shape and laid flat to dry.