We’ve given you several ways to add beads to knitting, and we go into the pros and cons of each:
We suggest that you read all 3 (they each have their benefits) and even try each of them on a swatch.
We’ll be reviewing the crochet hook method in this tutorial.
How to Add a Bead with a Crochet Hook
This method is pretty simple! You just need an extra tool – a steel crochet hook in a very small size.
Often, these will have 2 ways to indicate the size – millimeters (pretty straightforward) and a simple number (like here, it’s 11). The 11 actually stands for 11 zeroes and the more zeroes, the smaller. So, think of it as DOT ELEVEN ZEROES 1 (0.000000000001). So, a size 11 is actually smaller than a size 6. That’s counter-intuitive so it’s good to know.
BTW, I first heard about this when learning about paint brush sizing from my mom (thanks, Mom!) and it’s served me well here too. Lesson – you never know when a seemingly random fact might come in handy, so soak up any information you learn because you never know when it might come in handy (and numerous studies show that continuing to learn as an adult is a great way to exercise your brain and stave off those nasty illnesses). So, you could learn something *and* be more healthy. A win-win, right?
Ok, back to what you came here for – beading with a crochet hook.
I actually have several sizes – started innocently when I realized that my hook didn’t fit into the bead I wanted to use (and then I just decided to buy a set so the problem wouldn’t happen again).
Although that also meant I had lots of sizes to lose around the house and in my notions boxes. IOW, I own LOTS more steel crochet hooks than I can find at any given time. YMMV and you’ve been warned.
I like to dump my beads into a small bowl with a lip that’s a good couple of inches tall. This keeps the beads from running all over the place, but also allows me to take a look at them.
Here’s the one I use.
Make sure that your crochet hook will fit through the center of the bead and also that you can grab the yarn with it without splitting it too much (it can be a fine line). Unless you’re using a laceweight yarn, be prepared for it to require a bit wrangling to get the bead onto to stitch, but it should be doable.
Once I’m done, I do return what’s left of the beads to its original container – so be sure to keep that as well.
Work up until the point where you need to add a bead.
Take the crochet hook and put a bead on it.
Take your crochet hook with the bead on it, snag the stitch from the LN and then slide the bead down so it’s on the stitch. Replace the stitch back on the LN so it’s ready to be worked!
Here are a few detailed pics in case you feel confused or overwhelmed.
Knit that stitch (with the bead). You’re done!
Here is our swatch after we’ve knit a few rows. You can see how secure it is.
And here is the WS – you see the bead on that side too.
See? Beading really isn’t that hard. Honest.
Pros and Cons
Pros of Beading with a Crochet Hook
- You don’t need to load a bunch of beads all at once. This is HUGE for me. I’m a person who tapes one wall, paints it, and then repeat for the next wall. This is the beading version of that.
- You can decide to add a different bead at any time.
- The same goes if you have multi-colored beads.
Cons of Beading with a Crochet Hook
- If the holes in your beads aren’t all perfect, you might have difficulty inserting the crochet hook into it.
- If you want to add beads to a lot of your knitting, you likely will need multiple crochet hooks.
- It’s easier to split the yarn with the crochet hook.
Practice makes perfect
As always, I suggest trying this first on a small swatch. This will give you the chance to familiarize yourself and get comfortable with the crochet hook.
My personal preferred method of knitting with beads
Given all the pros and cons, I still prefer using a crochet hook to add beads. But, if a lot of my beads were more organic (read – funky-shaped holes), I’d go to the Superfloss method.
About the Instructor: Jody Richards
Jody loves pouring over stitch dictionaries and trying out new stitches. And while she likes all things crafting (well ok, except that one thing), yarn crafts are her true love (and she has the stash to prove it).
She’s a serial starter-of-projects and has a serious problem with finishing things without a deadline.
And don’t get her talking about hand-dyed yarns. You’ve been warned.