Beads are a fun way to add sparkle, color and visual interest to your knitting (or, according to my husband, “Beads are just fat glitter!” He has strong opinions about glitter). There are several ways to add beads to your knitting, and I will take you through 3 of them in this post.

Method 1
This is probably the easiest, but works best for smaller projects like hats or glove cuffs. Decide how many beads you will need for your project, string them alllllll onto the end of your ball of yarn, and begin knitting. Each time you need to place a bead, slide it up the string. If you’re like me though, there are two common problems with this method. One: none of your beads have big enough holes to just slip onto the yarn, and Two: I rarely know how many beads I’m going to need for a whole project when I begin it. This leads us to…

Method 2
This method requires a hook of some sort. A beading hook is fantastic, but a tiny steel crochet hook also works nicely. Whatever hook you use needs to be able to fit through the eye of the bead. To begin, first knit the stitch you are going to bead. Slip the bead onto your hook.

hooked bead

Then hook the stitch (taking it off the needle in the process) and push the bead down onto it.

hooked stitch pushed bead

Slip the newly beaded stitch back onto the right needle and continue knitting.

continue knitting

Method 3
If you don’t have a beading hook or a small enough crochet hook, and don’t bead often enough to justify buying one, don’t despair! The next method only requires a length of very fine string. Embroidery thread or dental floss will work fine; something stiff but flexible is ideal. Start by knitting the stitch you are going to bead, just as before. Thread a bead onto your string.

threaded bead

Some people will recommend threading enough beads for your row all at once to save time, but I am clumsy. I have learned the hard way that threading all my beads, then dropping the string, then re-threading, then dropping them again, then re-re-threading does not save any time at all, and often causes the cat to come bounding into the room to see what vicious monster I’m cursing and throwing beads at.

After you’ve threaded your bead (or beads, you overachiever you), slip one end of the string into the stitch. Hold tight to the other end so you beads don’t slide.

threaded stitch

Then, thread the near end of the string back into your bead again.

bead loop

Holding tight to both ends of the thread, push the bead down onto the stitch.

beaded stitch

Pull out the thread and return the stitch to the right needle. Continue knitting.

continue knitting

And there you have it, 3 different methods for adding beads to your knitting. Coincidentally, they also work for crochet. Whether you use one of these methods for a pattern that already has beads or to add beads to something totally new, I hope you’ll have some fun with beads and add beading knitwear to your list of things that feel good!

Need a project to practice on? Try my Catch.

4 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by craftsbythesea on May 13, 2012 at 5:06 pm

    Didn’t know about beading with a thread…thanks


  2. Thanks for posting about Beading in your blog. This is a very useful methods esp. for those who are not familiar about it and how to do it. Really and Great Job! 🙂


    • Thanks for the compliment! The floss method of beading is a fairly recent discovery for me, and I can’t stop beading now that I know about it. Figured I’d share the wealth!


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