Winter weather turns our creative thoughts to warm and fuzzy sweaters, hats and scarves, and what better way to use the frigid months than to create one-of-a-kind beaded knit-wear? Some patterns allow for knitting beads right into the stitches, but they can be a little complex for a first-time bead user. Instead, you might play with adding beads to a piece as you knit it.
There are varying opinions among knitting experts as to the best or easiest way to bead knit-work. The simplest way, that requires the least amount of new technique, is to simply applique the beads to the knitted piece after it’s been completed. You can use a piece of the yarn or silk and a needle to directly stitch the beads onto the work. This method can be a real energy-saver when placing beads for eyes in an animal motif, or other design where placement is specific, and not very many beads are needed. The down side, however, is that appliqued beadwork is the least stable and sturdy of the beading options available, especially with a piece that will be worn and laundered.
Another way to add beads in a specific area of a knitted design is to use a crochet hook. Don’t worry, you don’t need to know how to crochet to use this method. After you’ve cast your stitch on the hook, you simply use a crochet hook (of a small enough size to spear through an individual bead, so it may need to be quite small), spear a bead with it, and use the hook as though you’re purling the left hook stitch; you pull it off the left hook, add the bead, and cast it back on the left hook, then purl and finish the stitch. This allows the bead to be knit directly into the design with less chance that it will wear away at an applique thread.
For beadwork that is in a repeating or scattered pattern, you can choose to cast beads directly onto the yarn, and knit with it. For this method you’ll need a beading needle, which is longer and thinner than most regular sewing needles. You simply thread the yarn or silk onto the needle, and spear the beads onto it before you knit. You can adjust the spacing of the bead placement within the stitching by simply moving the beads along the yarn as you knit.
We just love the idea of marrying two wonderfully creative outlets together. Be sure to come back and show us your beaded knit-wear by posting a photo comment!