Knitting with Beads – Problem and Possible Solution

I’m working on a knitted shawl that incorporates beads, and have a bead-related question.
I most often knit at night, curled in a big easy chair under a bright light, with semi-mindless TV in the background. Now that I’ve gotten one clue finished, I can follow the lace pattern well enough to not make too many mistakes with the TV on, but I’m still having a pesky bead-related problem.

Where to put the beads while I’m knitting?

Things I’ve already tried and what’s unsatisfactory about them:

1. Keeping the beads in the tube they came in with the lid on.
Problem: Every single time I need a bead I have to open the tube.

2. Keeping the beads in the tube they came in with the lid off.
Problem: Surely you can imagine.

3. Putting the beads into a glass, or a pottery mug or bowl.
Problems: The beads roll around the bottom of the glass. It’s hard to spear them.
I have to lick a finger every time, and dab at the beads till one sticks.
Plus, sooner or later (read: sooner) the bowl tips over and spills.
Proposed Solution:
Here’s my top secret plan: promise not to tell anyone.
I’m going to make my fortune with a cleverly designed
Bead Basket to Hold Beads While Knitting.
I’ve had a LOT of time to think about it and I have a plan:

Get some wool yarn and biggish needles.
Knit a circle.
Pick up stitches along the edge of the circle and start knitting upwards.
(so far, it’s kind of like knitting a glass.)
Increase so that the “sides” fan out and are bigger than the base.
(now it’s like knitting an upside-down lampshade.)
Bind off the upside down lampshade.
Felt it.
Now you have a dense upside down lampshade.
Make a loose drawstring with an I-cord woven through the top of the upside-down lampshade.
Wait, we’re not done!
I believe that, if the proportions are right, the beads will stay on the bottom (the felted circle), and that the drawstring can easily be loosened and, because the sides fan out, it should be easy to reach in.
But, there’s still one more problem!
Picking Up the Beads.
I can just picture the itty-bitty hook snagging on the felted knitting.
I have (mentally) considered every possible fabric, and most of them, if presented with a hook trying to snare a bead, would tend to make the beads bounce, roll, or generally be evasive.
I think the best/only fabric is …
Flannel will be soft enough not to bounce, and not slippery, shiny, fragile, or otherwise a problem.
So: Make another circle from a couple of layers of flannel.
Attach it to the bottom of the Bead Basket, being very careful not to leave some kind of teeny-tiny gutter along the circumference where sneaky beads can hide. I think I’ll hand-embroider the flannel circle to the Bead Basket in a way that leaves no loose ends.
And, Ta Da!

Whatcha Think?

6 responses to “Knitting with Beads – Problem and Possible Solution

  1. Very clever solution! I also count out the beads I’ll need for the row at the beginning of it, then leave them on a flat surface nearby, or load them on my crochet hook (six 8/0 beads will fit on my US 13 steel hook at one time).

    Yours is more creative, I think, but my solution has the virtue of not requiring any supplies other than my crochet hook πŸ˜‰

  2. krista Galitsis

    I love, love, love the method used by Laris Designs when knitting her beaded gloves. Its portable even when traveling in cars and you don’t need a crochet hook. As a beader and knitter of many years its functionality astounds me, simply but a roll of soft flex beading wire (easily available) cut off about 10″ (personal preference) and tie knot in one end (you will have to tie several and pull tight, so it is larger than bead hole) cut off extra length near knot. At the other end simply come down about 1 inch to 11/4″ and bend it; pinch it good so there is a crease. Now load it up 3/4 way with your beads. When needed slip bent end under stitch like a hook, slide bead over end of wire and onto stitch, slip out wire, reposition bead stitch on needle if needed, lay the beaded wire now and viola keep knitting! Beaded wire keeps beads ready to go, just reload as needed. I carry it around in my shawl and the hook on the end keeps the beads from falling off. When new wire is needed just cut a new length.

  3. krista Galitsis

    To be 100% accurate Laris Designs uses beading thread and a beading needle and not the soft flex wire, theory behind the technique is the same though, to slip the bead onto the yarn from a string of beads.

  4. Sounds great! – I bought a pack of little bead pots with screw top lids. They are small enough that you don’t spend an age chasing the beads around them and they are small enough to chuck in my bag if I take my beaded knitting else where – HOWEVER if you knock them on the floor, with the lid off the beads still go every where -ask me how I know πŸ˜‰

  5. I hope you can get a patent for this. πŸ™‚

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