Saturday, August 1, 2009

Beads Add Glam to Fall Knits

I wasn't prepared to love it this much. Knitting with beads, that is. I not only enjoyed my trip to a bead store to choose the beads but I also had fun knitting with them!



The hat I'm wearing is Soul from the Amber Collection by designer Kim Hargreaves. It is a slightly slouchy hat with a hint of glam provided by the fancy beaded trim.

Shopping for Beads and Things to Keep in Mind

I really had no idea what I was doing when I when in search of beads for this hat. I hadn't thought about the cost, for example. The first beads I spied seemed reasonably priced at 85 cents a piece. But consider the cost at 85 cents when you need 130 beads. Gulp. I decided to keep looking. I next spotted beads at a mere cost of 15 cents which, in comparison, seemed a bargain. Still, no bargain if you need 130. But, these beads were a perfect match to my yarn, so, on impulse, I simply pushed aside a handful of beads and told the clerk that I would take "that many" so long as it didn't ring up to over $10. I left the store holding a little bag containing 56 beads. At these prices I would simply make do with fewer beads. I suspect that purchasing beads from a "craft" store versus a "bead" store probably has a better selection of less expensive beads.


The other thing to consider is how to string your beads onto your yarn. To be fair, the clerk had mentioned to me that the beads I selected wouldn't work for the yarn I had brought with me (without elaboration). But, at the time, I had brushed aside her comment as a naysayer raining on my parade. It wasn't until later when I was trying to string my beads onto a worsted weight yarn that her comment came back to me.



It turns out that stringing beads onto yarn has two limiting factors. This may seem like an obvious point, but until I was trying to string my beads neither had occurred to me. One limitation is the yarn density and the other is the size of the needle eye. Trying to shove a worsted yarn through a needle sufficiently small to also fit through your bead is never going to happen. However, I discovered that if you thread your needle with sewing thread and then tie the sewing thread onto your yarn it can be used to pull the worsted yarn through the bead, which was fortunate for me. The other limiting factor is the density of your yarn. If your yarn is of a dense character no amount of pulling and tugging will make that yarn fit through a tiny bead center.

Lastly, you might considered the weight that the bead will add to the knitting itself. All things considered, I was much better off for having fewer beads for this particular project given the size of the beads I had chosen.



Adding Beads With a Crochet Hook

Instead of stringing beads onto your yarn and adding them pursuant to the directions of a specific pattern, an easy way to pop a bead onto your knitting wherever you might fancy is to use the crochet hook method. A great tutorial on how this is done can be found here compliments of a truly excellent knitter, FluffyKnitterDeb. I can seeing using this method to add beads to the trim of mittens, socks, sweaters, purses, shawls, really virtually anything that can be knit. The beauty of this method is that you do not need to decide in advance how many (or few) beads to add as you are adding the beads as you knit.


Particulars: Soul from the Amber Collection; 1 skein Rowan Kid Classic (shade 832); 56 large glass faceted beads (purchased at The Bead Lounge in Woodland Hills, CA); US 7 needles (circular; double pointed, and straights). If you don't have this knitting book, there is a similarly styled pattern I recently spotted called Indian Summer courtesy of Kalurah of While They Play. I made a number of small modifications to this pattern which I've noted on my Ravelry page. While I love the stitch design I don't think it's the most flattering fit on me and, while the pattern is extremely well written, it is more suitable to an experienced knitter.

Of Incidental Interest

The amber earrings pictured above, and that I'm wearing in the photos, were made by my crafty aunt who lives in England. Pam, like my mother, was a teenager during WWII and was part of England's Women's Land Army. She has written a short piece about her experience (as a lumberjack) for The Stratford Upon Avon Society, which can be found (here on the BBC website).

Enjoy the last vestiges of Summer and, until next time be well ~ love well ~ and happy crafting!

33 comments:

t does wool said...

beautiful *soul* experienced knitter...Claudia,you did a fabulous job...thanks for the insight on the beading ...and info about your Aunt...

sue said...

The hat looks beautiful with the beads. I havent experimented with beads as yet, as you mentioned I wouldnt know where to buy some at a great price, nor would I know what size to buy or how to thread them on. There are plenty of tutorials around I am sure and I have seen it in many knitting mags too. At least next time you will be better prepared, but you still did very well with what you bought.

Tracy said...

This little cap sizzles, Claudia...it is scrumptious! That eggplant/plum color is so rich and gorgeous...just the thing for fall. And given the size of the lovely beads, less really worked here to HUGE advantage. I love how take a pattern and play with a little and give us terrific tips! Your trick with needle and thread for the beads is brilliant. Bead stores are dangerously fun, and dangerous on the wallet too--I know from my jewelry creations and sales--LOL! The plus is that they often ofter something different compared to the craft/chain stores. But even the craft/chain store are now offering really great, cost effective selections. You looks so beautiful with that cap on... and those earrings are gorgeous. You aunt is one amazing woman--wow...a lumberjack! Happy weekend, my friend ((HUGS))

the casbah kitten said...

How lovely! I'd never thought of adding beads....but I'll certainly think of it now. Love the hat!

lucky knitter said...

The hat is so pretty with the beads. Thanks for all the tips on beading. Someday I'll be brave enough to try it.

Renee said...

Having never beaded knitting, I'm eager to try both methods now. I so very much enjoy your teaching posts and seeing your gorgeous knits.

Be well, Claudia and happy crafting to you too! :)

Monika said...

Excellent post! I really should give beads in my knitting a try already! I do have beads, and small hooks, but somehow I can't get myself to try it.
I like your hat, it does not look homemade, or handmade, but quite ellegant!

subliminalrabbit said...

i have yet to hop on the bead bandwagon... but beaded mittens... hmmm...

(after i finish a 6'x3' half of a blanket for a wedding. labor day. gahhhhhh!)

jillian said...

Not flattering???? You ARE kidding. It looks gorgeous on you. Really.

Fantastic job conquering the beads! That has always intimidated me a little. Brava to you for just jumping in and figuring it out.

Bubblesknits said...

Love the hat! And thanks for the link to the beading tutorial! :-)

betty said...

Great looking hat! Thanks for the link to the crochet hook method -- I'm bookmarking it for future reference.

I've been thinking about trying to add a few beads to some kind of knit item, but since I don't wear hats or scarves, I don't have that many options.

Channon said...

Lovely, as always - both you and your FO. I haven't done much knitting with beads because I find them so fiddly. The two projects I have finished with beads, I pre-strung. While initially tedious, it made it easier in the long run - I think...

Anita said...

I love the hat! I've had that same experience with beads, but somehow always seem to get them on there. LOL

I liked your aunt's article too. :)

Bridget said...

Your hat is lovely! I made the Odessa pattern by Grumperina a couple of years ago, and enjoyed knitting with beads as well.

Beautiful earrings - what talent your aunt must have.

Kate said...

Thanks for the excellent link on beading - I've been wanting to try this for a while, without having had any clear instructions of how to make it work until now.
The hat looks fantastic - job well done!

Willow said...

Yes, you have noted the limitations and considerations of using beads. I've never knitted with beads so I appreciated your information. Bead stores will have a better selection of beads, but the prices reflect that. (You might try a visit to the fashion district in LA if you want to use beads again in a knitted item.)

Anonymous said...

Thank you SO MUCH, Claudia,for the link to the bead tutorial. I have read many instructions in many books on this technique and no one was as clear as Debi. It takes a certain talent to explain things clearly, doesn't it? As I have many beads left over from my days of beading amulet purses, it would be nice to use some of them up in knitting.
Loved your aunt's remembrances of her World War II experiences, although I am sorry for how it compromised her health. At 17 in America these days, the biggest danger is getting the wrong haircut. Who is luckier (in terms of living life fully), I wonder. Ursula

At Home Mommy Knits said...

Beautiful hat Claudia! I love the Amber collection but have to yet to pick up the book. I just ogle it on her website :)

Your beading tips are fantastic and I know if/when I do some beading I will be referring back to this post!

Ginger said...

Oh...what a beautiful cap. Mum loves beads; especially the sparkling ones. But she doesn't know how to add them to her knitting. I must get Mum to read your post.

knittingdragonflies said...

I love the beads in the hat. It is smart looking, I am intimated by working with beads, but maybe a hat, not quite so overwhelming, It looks great on you, especially with the earrings.
Hat makes you look very hip
Vicki

amanda said...

I love the beads - you are right that they really add some glam. The pattern is nice, too. I will have to take another look at it in the book. Thanks for the info about beads. I've never tried knitting with beads, but the Bloom pattern in Amber strikes my fancy and I don't know whether I would go for the beaded version or not.

Mr Puffy's Knitting Blog: said...

Hi Ursula! I'm glad you found the beading link helpful. I too wonder about the young people who haven't had to face and overcome any real hardship ~ and maybe that is their life challenge. Although raised by well intended parents "the praise generation" struggle as adults.

Hilary said...

What a great hat! I love the little bit of sparkle the beads add. And thank you for all the knitting-with-beads tips. It is something I have yet to jump into, but it seems fun.

Marie said...

The hat looks fantastic on you!

After threading over 300 beads onto a cone of yarn, I promised myself that I would try the crochet hook technique next.

Lisa said...

Oooooh, shiny *and* pretty. It looks so nice with your hair (and the earring are to die for!).

Loved the article, too. Thanks for sharing. :)

Yarn It said...

gotta love bead work! the hat is fabulous. love it!

thanks for the advice with the thread. i have a dress i am knitting that is beaded and it has been on time out for a long time because i was having the darndest time trying to put the beads on the worsted weight yarn! problem now solved!

The Wooly Wumpus said...

Thanks for the bead tutorial, Claudia. The thread attached to the wool is a fanatastic idea.

Your hat looks beautiful and the beads really make it magic.

Thanks for introducing me to Aunt Pam! :)

raining sheep said...

What a lovely cap... And it really suits you. Good information on the beads. The beads really add that special something. I love that look. Very boho chic, my favorite style.

Kristen said...

Did I tell you already that I love this lovely hat? You wear it well.

tiennie said...

That is so pretty! I need to try knitting with beads!

Amanda said...

Hi there,
Just found your blog from BlogCatalog. All I can say is "Wow!" It looks like you sure do stay busy. Your work is beautiful. I'm gonna check you out on Ravelry, too! I love hand-knitted wear, but just don't have the patience to actually do it myself. Take care and keep up the good works!

lizzylanefarm said...

Good morning,

I received your email yesterday and will have your soap out to you next week.

I am in love with your hat and those beads! When my knitting skills reach the point I can try things other that flat and square I want to try this pattern. Beads are habit forming and they multiply quickly. There is also a needle that the eye of it is very long and bendable, this might work for you if you could find one.

Have a wonderful day.

Karyn

Lizzy Lane Farm

I'll be back to read more, busy day today but tonight with a cup of coffee will be good to spend time here. :)

Melissa Marro said...

What BEAUTIFUL work!! One of our members featured your work as an inspiration for some of hers (http://creatingthehive.com/blog-post/3055/soul-hat#comment4378) and so I had to come check your blog out... really fabulous!