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Article: Knitting with beads


You like to knit?
Have you ever given a thought to adding beads to your knitting projects?


It’s easier than it looks and it adds this special touch to your creations. Indeed, adding a few beads or a beaded pattern to your knitting projects increases the possibilities by tenfold and will revamp your favorite scarves into cute trendy accessories! :)

Whether you are a rectangular shape knitter (hurray scarves!), or an accomplished knitter, these few illustrated steps will allow you to learn with ease how to add beads to your knitting projects.

We aren’t knitting pros, far from it! However, beads we know! This is why we wish to suggest and guide you in your selection of beads, to make sure that from the get go your projects are successful!

Which beads to choose?

The beads mostly used when knitting are seed beads.

Seed beads are small round and stocky glass beads. They are called seed beads for their similarity to the (plant) seeds used by natives to make jewels.

Why use this type of beads?

Because they are small, they have a large hole and the edges of the hole are smooth. These last two characteristics are important in order to be able to thread a stitch in the bead without damaging the yarn.

Seed beads come from various origins and come in a range of quality.

Japanese seed beads

Japanese seed beads are beads of a very high quality. The Japanese company Miyuki launched the Delica beads, which often are called Miyukki or Delica. These seed beads mean to be perfectly calibrated. Some are cylindrical like on this picture, others have the traditional shape of seed beads, round and stocky. Since they are well made, they are more expensive than seed beads of other make.

Czech seed beads

Czech seed beads are quite uniform in their size, shape, color and finish. Because they aren’t as expensive as Japanese seed beads and they are often sold in larger quantities, they are the most popular type of seed beads used by amateur weavers.

Chinese seed beads

Chinese seed beads are of lesser quality, however they are much more affordable. They aren’t as uniform as Czech or Japanese seed beads but their irregular shape gives them an aspect that is slightly less neat, which can add an nice imperfect touch.

What size should you choose?

You have to choose a thin yarn, so that it can be threaded twice into the beads. For the beads, choose either of the following sizes; 6/0 (3.3mm) and 8/0 (2.5mm).

Different finishes

There are multiple finishes; transparent, translucent, frosted, opaque, iridescent, pearled, aurora borealis (AB), silver lined, colored center, metallic, galvanized, etc.

Aurora Borealis
Silver lined
Colored center

How to proceed

There are two ways to proceed to add beads to knitting projects. Beads can be threaded on the yarn before starting to knit or they can be inserted on a stitch while knitting. Be careful, the two techniques have different results, which is why we would suggest that you try both to see which one you are most comfortable with or which result you prefer.

Technique: Beads strung on the yarn

This technique is a quick one to execute, however, it implies that you have to choose from the get go the number of beads you will use for your knitting project. Furthermore, since the beads are strung on the yarn (instead of a stitch), they remain more mobile than the beads strung on stitch. The resulting pattern is a bit less precise than with the other technique.

To string beads on the yarn, we recommend that you use a big eye needle.

The technique consists of knitting (knit stitch, right side) until you reach the desired spot, bring the yarn forward, slide a bead near your knitting project, slide a stitch off the left knitting needle onto the right knitting needle without knitting it, pass the yarn with the bead facing the slid stitch to bring it backwards, then knit the following stitch.

Technique: Beads strung on a stitch

This technique consists of sliding a bead on a stitch, while knitting. Therefore, you will need a tool to facilitate the stringing of the bead on the stitch.

You can use a nylon string, a copper string (small gage, like 24) or a thin crochet (metric: 1.5mm to 0.75mm, CA: #4 ½ to #7, US: #8 to #14)

With the string folded in two

Insert the stitch on the string then make it slide off the knitting needle. Insert a bead on the string then on the stitch. Then, place the stitch back on the left knitting needle and remove the string. Knit the stitch.

With the crochet

Add a bead on the crochet, grab the stitch to knit with the crochet then, make it slide off the knitting needle. Then slide the bead on the stitch and then replace the stitch on the left knitting needle and remove the crochet. Knit the stitch.

Warning: Be careful not to twist the stitch. If needed, look at how the other stitches are positioned on the left needle.

There we go! It is as simple as that! See how beads can change your knitting’s look!

Show us your knitting projects with beads on our Facebook page!

Admit it, you really want to try now! ;)