Placing beads in knitting can be done in two ways, one way is stringing the beads onto the yarn and then working them into the stitch. I'm not a huge fan of this method since I think it is hard on the yarn to pass thousands of beads down it's length while knitting. I also find that it slows down my knitting considerably, and inevitably I have to add more beads which means cutting the yarn and threading more on, no thanks!
For the Samarran shawl I use the other method which is to place the bead onto a stitch using a very tiny crochet hook. The size of hook that I am using is a 0.75mm hook and it works well for Size 6 beads.
Using a crochet hook to add the beads means that the beads sit neatly on both legs of the stitch. The beads follow the direction that the stitch is worked in and are more centered and secure on the stitch. Placing the beads with a crochet hook also means no wasted time pre-stringing beads, you can start knitting right away and just add beads as you knit.
This method of placing the bead requires you to work the stitches as indicated by the chart (or written if you prefer to follow the written directions) and then place the bead.
To place a bead on a regular knit stitch, begin by knitting the stitch.
'Load' a bead onto the crochet hook.
Insert the hook into the stitch, and remove it from the knitting needle.
With tension on the stitch and using your finger tip slip the bead from the hook onto the stitch.
The alpaca is fuzzy enough that the stitch with bead is pretty solid, if using a smoother yarn keeping tension on the stitch with the crochet hook will help keep the bead on.
Replace the stitch back onto the right knitting needle, you already worked the stitch so it is now officially finished.
If your bead is placed on a decrease then work the decrease as indicated, and then follow the steps to place a bead onto the decrease.
Tips for adding beads to a stitch pattern:
- If you are adding beads to an already existing pattern then one of the most attractive spots to add them is onto a decrease.
- Try highlighting the decreases you want to add beads to on the chart, then squint your eyes and see if the arrangement looks pleasing.
- Adding beads directly above each other on stacked decreases every RS row results in a LOT of beads in one area, that might be what you are looking for.
- You can count the number of beads worked in one repeat of your chart and multiply that by the number of chart repeats to estimate your bead number needs.
- Size 6 Toho beads are a great size for lace and fingering weight, TOHO is a brand that makes very consistent sizes of beads with openings that are about 98% accurate (and fit the crochet hook).
- I like to purchase beads from www.artbeads.com since they have a great selection.
- Don't have a crochet hook? You can also add beads to your stitches with these flossing threaders, just split the threader open insert into the stitch and thread through the bead.
Check out the Samarran Shawl: a perfect pattern to try beads on!
I love knitting lace, I don't do as much of it as I would like to but when I can really get into a project I am so very happy. Lately I have been really enjoying patterns with the combination of a large area that has a simple repeat, and then a small area with that 'wow' factor which of course is a bit more involved. I love being able to work through the simple repeat section that has enough going on to keep me interested but not so much that I have to pause the show. And then finish it all off with the striking border, or edging or whatever it might be.
Samarran was designed with this 'recipe' in mind, it has a center section with an 8 row repeat. Some of the wrongside rows are worked as knit rows for an extra little touch of texture but mostly the pattern is a simple diagonal lace pattern. Then when the center is complete you pick up stitches (and place held stitches onto holders) to work the border in the round.
Increases are worked in the corner sections using the same pattern as the middle area, and the remaining stitches are worked in a graphic and romantic design that has a series of ovals finished with points. The sample is worked with 3 skiens of Alpaca Prima from Plymouth Yarn Company, this fingering weight yarn was a dream to work with and the slight halo from the alpaca fiber almost makes the shawl seem like is glowing.
There are a few beads in the border, not enough to overwhelm but just enough to highlight the aspects of the lace pattern and give a bit of sparkle and weight to the design.