This is Kat's Writing.

Following are a series of words and imagery.
Do not be too alarmed at life nor too complacent in the world. There may be alarming things here. There may not be. Have I mentioned scatological yet?



Friday, February 11, 2011

Paintin' the Hooks Red! (With Beads and How-To)

So I'm a bit newish to beading. For the longest time it just didn't make sense. Then, I actually started to mess around with beads and hooks and yarn and bits of dental floss.

And I learned a few things.
First, it isn't that it is intuitive or that beading is hard. It is a bit unintuitive if you are used to using a crochet hook to actually crochet stuff. The dental floss thing makes sense after you do it.
Second. Beading projects tend to get messy. They are not travel friendly. Beads are small tricksy things that like to dive onto floors and scurry into the deepest darkest shadow they can... or at least the nook you have the most trouble getting them out of.
Thirdly, a single sized bead can be used on everything from fingerling to worsted.
Fourth, all steel crochet hooks look alike in the box..

I felt the second and fourth were issues that would impede my enjoyment of sticking bits of shiny glass on yarn. Must fix. 

So , everything I've learned from other places and trial and error and what I will call pure idiot moments is here. Maybe it will be usefully to someone else.

First, the tools of the trade.
Knitting with beads tools.

Don't mind my 5th hand crafting end table. It's a bit rough, but I don't feel bad if I spill paint on it.

The Basics
I use these items to knit with beads and or crochet with beads. You see here creamy beads in an old medicine container (keeps kids out), beads in a bead flat (works pretty good if you are somewhere with a table) and beads on safety pins.
Those pins are great if you want to bead in public or bead in a car or somewhere lacking table. You see a big bead on a pin, some dark shiny beads on a normal pin and a bunch of lighter shiny beads on a safety pin that I unbent. Depending on how handy you are with the pliers you can also bend the sharp tip of the pin into a hook and thus use your traveling bead holder as your beading hook as well. It's one less thing to drag around ya know? Just be careful not to jab yourself bending it...

Now for the things most people use for beading. Crochet hooks and dental floss. See the white thread there? That's floss. The travel size floss is behind the yarn. See the silver sticks with nail polish on them? Those are hooks that I have color coded. They are all about the same size. They range from 1.00 mm (the red one) to 3.5 mm (the black one). I use the tiny one to bead most yarns and the biggest one to grab dropped stitches in worsted projects. It was most annoying to grab the wrong one from my box o' crafting tools (because I can't be bothered to craft up a pretty tool holder.. I'd rather be making fun stuff!) So, I took some handy nail polishes and colored the end of each a different color. I marked the ones I used the most in the brighter/most noticeable colors. Now, it is very easy to grab the right one without having to always check the size. This was born of a pure idiot moment, heh. If you want to get all Martha on them.. you can do that too. I'd rather spend the time making other stuff though.

The yarns are Noro Kureyon and Rowan 4 Ply Soft. I have used these both with the same sized needle and bead. The Noro is a aran/worsted weight and the Rowan is a fingerling. Obviously, the bead was a bit tighter on the worsted yarn!

The Beads

Now, the beads I use are a size 6 bead. Seed beads have bigger inner holes I'm told; you can use a bigger hook with them, a 1.5mm steel hook (US 8, UK 4 1/2), and that combined with bigger hole means they are easier to get on bigger yarn. Regular sz 6 beads work better with a 1 mm hook (US size 12, UK size 6 1/2 and while you can use them with worsted, they slide better on smaller yarns. For most beaded knitting projects these sizes will do ya.
If you want a smaller bead on the smaller yarns or crochet thread (size 10 thread is what I've seen kicked around and it's roughly the same as lace-weight yarn or size 0 in the weight system), a size 8 will be what you need. You will need either a 1.0mm hook or possibly smaller. For thicker yarn, use a pony sized bead. Yes, they come in glass and other non-kiddie plastics. But, they are heavy. Use a regular small crochet hook or a 3.50/3.0mm hook.

How-To With a Hook

Making a sock..
Now for a little how-to lesson. With pictures! Because that indeed makes it simpler.. What you see here is Premier Serenity sock yarn on size 1 needles. It's a fairly fine yarn. It will also be our beading modal.

First you knit the stitch to be beaded but don't pull the new stitch tight. Instead pull it loose on the needle. Stick a bead on your hook.
black size 6 seed bead on 1.00mm hook
Replace the needle with your hook.
Your hook is now the needle.

Now slide the bead over onto the yarn.
The bead is now on the yarn. BEADED!!
 After sliding the bead onto the yarn remove hook, replace the knitting needle in the loop above the bead and pull the stitch tight as the rest.

For Dental Floss
I use this when my bead hole is too small for the hook or when the small hook would shred the yarn. It's not my favorite way to do things but it does work. Start the same way as with the hook method. Knit the stitch. Pull the loop loose and off the needle. Slide one end of the floss through the yarn loop. Pull taunt, but not so hard you are messing up the gauge.
Floss in knitted loop, bead waiting on table.
Stick the ends of the floss together. Feel free to lick the ends to make them stick together if needed. Slide bead onto floss.

And bead is on the floss!
Slide bead down floss and over onto the yarn.
Whee!!! You're beaded!

Now, just slide that loop above the bead back on the needle, tighten that stitch up and keep on trucking.

Now, I have yet to pre-bead yarn. I like sticking mine on as I go. I'm told one of the easiest ways to do this is to use a BigEye needle. They sell them where you get beading supplies. Or, you can use beading wire or dental floss. Instead of flossing onto one stitch, you just keep pulling those beads down the strand. One day I'm going to try this though.

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