I love knitting beaded lace. Obviously, since Nouveau Beaded Capelet has 5082 beads. But knitting with beads can be tedious because it requires constantly stopping and starting to deal with the beads. If the beads are pre-strung, then you have to keep pushing them down the yarn. If you are placing them individually with a crochet hook or Super Floss, you have to stop to but each bead on. This usually means putting at least one needle down. For a pattern where the beads are more spread out, this is not too bad. But if the beads are placed closely and frequently, it is really hard to get into a rhythm while knitting.
While working on my latest pattern, I decided that I needed a better method that disrupted my knitting less. It took me awhile to come up with this method. First, I was using a sz 14 crochet hook. I would put 5 beads on it at a time and then was holding it in my mouth so that I didn’t have to pick it up every time. But it was hard to hold it at the right angle so that the beads didn’t fall off, and it tasted weird. So then I tried just keeping it in my right hand while knitting. That didn’t work at all. I ended up putting it in my left hand behind the knitting when it wasn’t in use. This worked ok. But then the next time I came to do some knitting, I couldn’t find the hook anywhere. I suspect collusion between the toddler and the couch. So I decided to switch to Super Floss, but my big pack is missing. Then I remembered that I had beaded with beading wire before. And I was able to find the beading wire!!! We had a winner!
I got to work, but it was still tedious. It was great that I could thread 50+ beads on at a time, but I still had to pick up the wire every time. Then I had a eureka moment.
Beading wire is really thin. Thin enough that I could pin it through my shirt. That made it so that it stayed attached to me, but I still had to pick up the other end. I tried holding it in my mouth again, but that was awkward. Then I determined that I could leave the wire hooked through the last stitch until I needed it again. Now my shirt and the knitting were keeping the beading wire in place. I wasn’t having to drop the yarn while placing the bead, so I was able to get into a better rhythm or flow.
Here are some pictures describing my new beading trick.
First, cut a piece of beading wire about 12″/30cm long. I used .015″/ .38mm Tiger Tail wire which is nylon coated braided stainless steel. Fold back a section about 1″/2.5cm at each end and crease.
Then, use a floss threader to thread the beads onto wire. Leave some space at the end of the wire so that there is room for the beads to slide over the folded over piece.
Next, thread the wire through the fabric of your shirt along the neckline. You can also use this method using Super Floss and a safety pin to attach the wire to your shirt.
Thread the hook at the free end of the wire through the next stitch that needs to be beaded.
Pull the stitch off the needle and onto the wire. Then slide a bead down over the bent back piece of wire.
Slide the bead off the wire and onto the stitch.
Place the stitch back onto the left needle. Leave the wire in the stitch.
Work that stitch, still leaving the wire hooked in the stitch. This leaves the wire in a place that is easy to get to while still holding onto your knitting later.
Here is a picture of the wire loaded with beads hanging between my shirt and my knitting. Leave the wire threaded through that last beaded stitch until you get to the next stitch that needs to be beaded.
Another advantage to this trick is that if you get interrupted and have to get up for awhile, but will be coming back to knitting later, you can thread the other end of the wire through your shirt as well. The beads can’t go anywhere, ie. safe from cats and toddlers. And it actually looks kind of like a beaded brooch.(I apologize for the poor quality on this picture. The front camera on my phone is not very good.)
I hope this helps you feel more comfortable with knitting with beads!