Want to turn a plain piece of knitting into a work of art? It's easy: just add beads! Knitting with beads brings instant sparkle and shine to any project. Plus, adding beads to your project makes your stitching look way more complicated than it actually is.
Beads can be added to a project of any difficulty, whether it's a garter stitch scarf or a lace shawl with an intricate pattern. No matter what your skill level, check out these tips for knitting with beads, then start knitting something sparkly!
Photo via Bluprint instructor Laura Nelkin
1. Try a variety of beads
Seed beads are one of the most common types of beads used in knitting, sure, but there are many other choices. The Rippled Necklace pictured above, for instance, uses seed beads for the center of the necklace and fringe beads for the edges. You can also try sequins and any other sparkly bits that are lightweight.
2. Use tools to make beading your yarn easier
There are a couple of tools that can make stringing beads easier on you. A needle threader , for instance, is super helpful for threading thinner yarns. Flexible bead needles are also handy for threading. A thicker yarn will go right through the eye, but the flexible needle will help you scoot those beads along easily.
3. Try a bead yarn
I'll admit it: sometimes I'm too lazy to think about stringing beads onto yarn. But I'm not too lazy to drool over lovely bead yarns, like the Artyarns Beaded Mohair & Sequins Light pictured above that is pre-strung with glass beads and sequins.
4. Always string extra beads
If you're stringing your own beads onto the yarn, you'll want to add extra beads just in case something happens along the way. A bead could break while the project is in progress, or you could miscount and then end up with too few. Better safe than sorry!
Photo via Bluprint member Nikkis Studio
5. Plan a design
Knitting with beads doesn't always mean you're just stringing them one by one throughout a pattern. Instead, create a cool design like the one on these Beaded Family Wrist Warmers . You can also design your own beaded picture by using graph paper to chart it.
6. Pay attention to bead and yarn weight
I once thought I was being clever by stringing large seed beads — many large seed beads — onto a lace-weight scarf. What I quickly discovered is that there were two things working against me: both the weight and the amount of beads were weighing down the entire scarf, making it heavy and uncomfortable to wear. I also figured out that the weight of the beads might eventually cause the yarn to snap. Eeek!
If you're designing your own pattern or even substituting beads for an existing one, think about the weight of the beads on that yarn. If you're using a bulky yarn, for example, then it can probably take a bit more weight than a lace yarn. But you don't want to overdo your bead placement too much, else you'll end up with a mighty heavy garment or accessory.
Do you have any tips for adding beads to knitting? We'd love to hear your tricks!
Learn More About Knitting With Beads!
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