Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Beading Knits 101

Well, let's see. I was actually asked to show pictures of how, exactly, I beaded my Icarus shawl. Well, since I'm not one to let a challenge go by, I pulled out the beads and the shawl last night and tried to take pictures of how I did it. (This was made slightly more difficult by trying to take the pictures and hold the knitting all by my lonesome, because I was too silly or stubborn to ask for help. And the cat didn't help. She hindered.)

But, silliness and stubbornness aside, here is a pictorial view of how I beaded the outside edge of Icarus...

(Click on the pictures to make them bigger. I don't want to take up too much space with huge photos.)

Icarus Shawl 16 - beads

First, thread the bead onto a small crochet hook. (I used a size 12 steel hook.) If you don't have a teeny enough hook, you can use a small piece of wire, such as a twist-tie that has the paper removed, or a piece of fishing line folded in half instead. I am going to go with the assumption that you are using a crochet hook; for the fishing line idea, you can read the instructions Miriam herself posted on how to bead Icarus.

Knit up to the stitch to be beaded. Hook the stitch to be beaded with the crochet hook. (You put the bead on the stitch before you knit it.)

Icarus Shawl 17 - beads

Gently pull the stitch off of the needle with the crochet hook. I tend to keep the stitch between the thumb and index fingers of my left hand so that I know I will not drop the stitch and lose it in the lace pattern, causing me to cry bitterly. (I am not doing that in this picture because I had to hold the camera. I was nervous, but the stitch behaved very nicely for me in this case.)

Pull the yarn through the bead. This can be either very easy or very hard, depending on the stickiness of your yarn and the size of the hole in your beads. I would recommend using beads that fit nicely. Not too loose, but not too snug either.

Icarus Shawl 18 - beads

Put the stitch back onto the left-hand needle. Try to put it on the needle facing the same direction it came off. If you don't, you will likely end up with a twisted stitch. (In some cases, this doesn't matter much. The beads I used in my shawl, for instance, are big enough that it is very unlikely that anyone will be able to tell if I twisted a stitch. I still try not to, however.)

Icarus Shawl 19 - beads

Knit the stitch, as directed by the pattern. (I do not recommend trying to put a bead in a pattern where you do anything except knit the newly-beaded stitch. Maybe you can purl it. But do not try to bead a k2tog, for instance. That just gets messy.)

Icarus Shawl 20 - beads

The bead will now sit nicely below the row of stitches you just made. Depending on the size of your bead, knitting the next row is sometimes a little tighter (because the bead is pushing the stitches around) than usual, but blocking should sort the slight difference out.

Now, I am not (by far) the first knitter to have up a beading tutorial. I doubt I am the best, either. For some other examples, you can either look at Miriam's link above, or try the following.

I think that's probably enough links to get you started. Hope that helps, and happy (beaded) knitting!