Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Beading on the Machine
(Click on photos to enlarge)

I’ve never done beadwork on the machine, so thought I’d give it a try.  I just finished a few pair of watermelon socks and spent a lot of time duplicate stitching the ‘seeds’.  I found that using beads for the ‘seeds’ did go some faster but it took me a few beads to get over the clumsiness and get comfortable with it.  But after a few, it went pretty well.  But I found that I had to watch each bead as I knit over it to make sure that it knit properly.  I had a couple dropped beads but was probably my own fault for getting too comfortable and not watching closely enough. 

I used size 6/0 glass beads and was warned not to use plastic beads as they may crack or break during laundry.   And I used about a 15” length of Berkley FireLine fishing line to string the beads on.  You don’t need to use this fishing line but I like it because it has a wire core which holds its shape and is easy to manipulate.

I’m not a professional beader by any stretch of the imagination but my method worked for me.   I used the garter carriage for patterning on this project but the method is the same while using the plain knitter.  

Beading has many applications and I'd say fun to do so I hope you give it a try also.

Here’s how I did it:

1)   First, tie several knots at the end of the fishing line, enough knots so the beads won’t slide off the end.  Then string several beads onto the fishing line.   Thread the other end through a blunt nosed tapestry needle.

2)   Determine which stitch the bead is to be placed on and run the threaded tapestry needle thru the loop of the stitch on the needlebed. 

3)   Pull the fishing line through the stitch, remove the stitch from the machine needle and then remove the tapestry needle.

4)   Then move the first bead up near the stitch.

5)   Thread the end of the fishing line through the bead.  You will have 2 strands of fishing line running through the bead and a loop through the stitch on the machine.

6)   Then hold both strands of fishing line up and move the bead down toward the machine and pull the stitch through the bead.

7)   Using a one prong transfer tool, place the stitch back on the empty needle and pull the end of the fishing line out.

8)  The bead and stitch are now placed on the needle and you’re ready to knit.  Be sure to check the beads after knitting the row to make sure they are all securely attached.

Here's the finished sock with beads used for the 'seeds'.  I'm happy.  The beads are hardly noticeable on my feet and they look more professional.  ♥

Disclaimer:  I just finished a pair of beaded socks for myself and must admit that I really don't like how the beads feel on my feet.  I wear Crocs or felted clogs most of the time and even as loosely as they fit, the top of my foot is irritated by the pressure on the beads.  So....I guess that beads might not be a good choice for socks in the foot area.  I would limit the beads to the ankle part only.