Beading Woes and Odes

Thus far in the process, I’ve mentioned beading for this dress in a mostly off-handed way. Like “Ah, yes, that will happen.” I thought it was as simple as “That, but just add some beads…”  Honestly, this has been one of the most challenging aspects of design and execution.

Here were some of my decisions and struggles.

Pre-Stringing v. As-You-Go

I’m a little surprised first that there isn’t a more polished name for these techniques. You may see them called other things in patterns or other places.

Pre-Stringing makes the bead lie on one leg of the stitch with the hole oriented from side to side. The bead typically sits mostly on one side of the fabric. The number of beads on the string needs to be decided before you start, otherwise if you run out you have to cut the yarn, join a new ball, or add to the end (if possible).

As-You-Go can be added where-ever at any time. The whole stitch runs through the bead. The bead sits vertically and is in the middle of the fabric (can be seen on both sides). Reading a pattern can be a little more difficult because the bead is placed on the intended stitch AFTER it is knit. Usually as you get ready to knit it again on the next row.

I wanted the control and like the look of…

Decision: As-You-Go

How to String

How do you actually execute the As-You-Go method? The easiest way is a crochet hook. But guess who ordered a complete set down to tiny, tiny 0.6 mm hook and it was still too big to go through the bead? This girl.


I tried embroidery/ sewing thread which wasn’t stiff enough to pass easily through the bead and then dental floss, which works, but loses its wax pretty quickly and starts unraveling.

My last hope was flexible beading wire. It’s made for the right?

By process of elimination, I am using…

Decision: Beading wire

Storage (on the Go)

Beads are tiny. Tiny things get lost. Especially if you get bumped or happen to drop it and it rolls away. Crystals are clear- hence nearly invisible.

Storage needs to be secure, but also easy to open so beads do go flying out. I also need the different sizes to be separated and labeled.

Decision: Individual plastic cases within a bag


Slow Process

Stopping in the flow of knitting to do this very finicky movement- pick the stitch up with the wire, slide both ends of wire through the bead, slide the bead onto the stitch, pull the yarn through and try to get it back on the needle, remove the wire… It is lots of tiny, precise movements and slows down my flow.

Decision: Oh well. This is what I signed up for.


O self doubt, how you run rampant in the fields of thought.

I’ve tested a few methods of placement in my swatches. I’ve changed my mind a few times throughout this process. Having such little experience beading and knitting is taking its toll a little bit.


Shiny and Beautiful

As I mentioned in the selection process– beads are pretty and shiny. I like them. That is all. I don’t want this post to sound too complain-y.

What about you?

What do you like purely for aesthetic reasons?


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