A Trick for Knitting with Beads

I’ve really been on a beaded project kick lately – even adding beads to projects whose patterns didn’t already call for them. It can be frustrating and tedious. I don’t like the stringing method for adding beads, but I also haven’t been very successful with the crochet hook method. The holes in those little size 6 beads are too small/inconsistent, and I end up with lots of unusable beads.

So here’s my little trick for being able to use beads with very small holes. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still a slow process – but for me, it works better than the other methods.

I start with some very, very thin wire; it’s as thin as thread, but holds its shape. I’m not sure what gauge/size it is (it’s from my craft project stash and was purchased a long time ago), but I’m sure it wouldn’t be too hard to find something similar in the beading supply aisle at the craft store. I fold a piece of this wire in half, and then stick it through the loop where I’m going to place my next bead.

Knitting with Beads

Next, I thread both of the loose ends of the wire through the bead.

Knitting with Beads

I pull the bead down the wire and slip it over the yarn.

IMG_2211

I remove the wire, and I’m left with a bead on the yarn.

Knitting with Beads

Finally, I pull the yarn loop taut and continue knitting. As you can see, it’s still a bit of a fussy process – but it works for me. 🙂

Knitting with Beads

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Pausing to Note Progress

Too often, I focus my attention on the finished product – not on what I learned while in the process of creating something. That applies to a lot of areas of life, but in the interest of staying on topic, I’ll take a moment to pause and take note of what I’ve learned so far while working on my current project.

Shawl Progress

Using the right tool for the job.
If you’ve been following me on Instagram, you’ve already seen that I’m in the process of making the Monica shawl. It’s a gorgeous (free) pattern that’s knit with lace-weight yarn. I went through three different needle sizes when I was starting out, and got way too far into the project before I finally conceded that it wasn’t working.

None of the needles I tried at first (Boye Needlemaster and Knit Picks Caspian) were bad in and of themselves – they just weren’t right for this pattern. Luckily, my new set of interchangeable Addi Click needles (LOVE!!!) arrived while I was in the midst of frogging this for the umpteenth time. I chose a larger needle size, and never looked back. Note that the needles pictured are from my first attempts and are not the ones that I ended up using.

Shawl in Progress

New knitting skills.

I also picked up a few new technical knitting skills with this pattern – a win in my book, even if it was hard-earned because of all the failed attempts.

  • Comfortably (somewhat) reading lace charts
  • Knitted-on borders
  • Estonian knitting nupps – I used the crochet hook method in the video below, and it was so much easier!

Happy knitting!

 

Try, Try Again

As much as I’d like to share a post about a successful project that’s DONE (on the heels of my failed attempt to salvage an old project), here’s another cautionary tale. This time, it’s about the importance of counting your stitches when working crochet in the round… even when your pattern doesn’t provide a stitch/chain space count for a particular round. Especially when the pattern doesn’t provide a count. Do the math. Count the stitches.

If you zone out during a simultaneous Netflix/crochet session (ahem), you’ll make a rookie-level mistake that costs you hours and hours of effort. See that out-of-focus loop in the center of this (terribly blurry, so sorry) snapshot? Yep, that’s one skipped stitch that completely wrecked the tension and counts on every subsequent round.

Skipped Crochet Stitch

Which means all of the off-white stitches in the photo below have now been frogged – a process that took twenty minutes in itself. It’s times like these that it’s important to remember that the process, not the finished product, is what I really enjoy. 🙂 So help me feel better about this – what frustrating crochet/knitting mistakes have you made?

Table Topper

123 Little Stars

My current project is easily the biggest long-term project I’ve ever done. I feel as though I write that about every project, but that probably just means that I continue to build my skills and my patience. It’s a tablecloth that’s made up of many, many star motifs. One hundred and twenty three of them, in fact – or there will be, once it’s done. I finally worked up the courage to count.

Midnight Star Motif

I’m getting close(ish) to being done, and it’s made me think about how the project has mirrored other aspects of life lately. Lots of frantic activity, but the progress seems so slow. Everyone else seems to be getting through projects and moving on to others, but the comparison is useless – we’re all working toward very different goals.

But overall – I’m pretty happy with my project. 🙂 What are you working on?

P.S. I found this knitting blog challenge at Pixels and Purls and thought it sounded like fun. At the very least, I’ll refer to it from time to time if I need a topic. I’m going out of order, but I’ll still consider this post to be part of it, in response to “What is currently on your needles (hook, in my case)?”

A Study in Contrasts

My most recent projects are on opposite ends of my fiber-crafting ability spectrum. He’s a little bit bulky-weight and knit, she’s a little bit cotton thread and crocheted.

Crochet and Knitting Projects

I ran out of thread while in the middle of one project, and had to wait until my order for more arrived. (Booooo. Hisssss.) In the midst of the waiting, I started the other. This is rare for me – I prefer to work on my projects one at a time. I usually work until completion, even when the project gets mind-numbingly boring and I reach what I like to refer to as my “point of despair.” As in, “Will this project EVER be done? I cannot make one. More. Stitch.” But then I do, and eventually it gets finished.

Crocheting and Knitting Projects

The thread crochet project is the Wild Rose table runner by Elizabeth Hiddleson, which I waxed poetic about in a previous post. I’m making it with Curio thread in Comfrey. I bought the thread without a project in mind – you’ll definitely need two balls of it for this table runner.

Crocheting Project

My “killing time” project is a GAP-tastic cowl made with Brava yarn in bulky. (Noticing a theme? Both this and the thread are from my amazing box of yarn.)

Knitting Project

It seems that many knitters/crocheters work on several projects at the same time, so I’m curious – am I alone in only working on one project at a time (most of the time)? Which do you prefer – working on several projects or just one, and why?

Wintery Weekend Projects

I spent most of this weekend trying to stay warm. If I needed any proof that winter is here, I definitely got it when I left work on Friday. This is the view out the windshield as I waited for my car to warm up enough to scrape. And yet another reason why it’s good to have a portable hobby such as knitting or crochet. 🙂 Do you usually carry a WIP in your purse/bag?

ice and yarn

As you can see, I’m working on a project with my Rowan Angora Haze. It’s so fluffy! I decided to make the Judy Beret, my first knit hat. Wish me luck! I’ve already frogged it at least three times. It seems slouchy, but my gauge is pretty accurate so it must just be the design. Does anybody know how easy it would be to shrink it a little if it comes out too loose for my liking?

I just wish my skin wasn’t sensitive to this fiber. It’s not unbearable, but I don’t know that I will be able to keep the project for myself, and I don’t see myself working with angora any time soon. But.. I won the yarn, and it was just too pretty to resist. What can I say, I suffer for my art. 🙂

There’s No Crying in Casting On

Learning a new skill is incredibly humbling. I have crocheted for a long time, and feel fairly confident in my abilities when I start a new pattern. Knitting, though? A whole different story. I think it’s good to be put back in the position of a beginner – it makes you appreciate how far you have come!

I have no problem admitting that getting started (using a garter stitch tab) on my Haruni shawl was difficult for me. (If you recall, I had some Chroma in my stash that I wanted to use for this project.) Ironically, I used the crochet provisional cast-on method to get started – and that’s the part that gave me trouble!

haruni shawl in progress

In hindsight, I have no idea why creating a garter stitch tab was so darn tough. I just kept trying, frogging, and trying again. Finally, I watched the video below for help. It was incredibly useful. What did we ever do before YouTube? Oh, but it’s important to note (as the video’s creator does in the comments) that at the end, she should have placed the last three stitches on her left needle, then knitted them onto her right. Don’t worry if that doesn’t make sense right now – all will be revealed when you watch. 🙂

I’m happy to report that I finally made a garter stitch tab that I am satisfied with, and the Haruni shawl is done! Update to come.