Guest Author - Kate Pullen
Adding beads to your crochet brings additional color and texture to your work. The beads can be sewn on afterwards, however it is easy to incorporate the beads into your crochet and add them as you go.
To crochet with beads you need to string the beads onto the yarn first. This of course means matching beads to the size of thread, delicate little crystal beads aren’t going to fit onto a super-chunky yarn! The beads are simply then dropped into place where required. This is done by pushing the bead down the thread at the start of the stitch, and then finishing the stitch as normal. Any crochet stitch will work well with beads.
When stringing the beads for a project, don’t string too many at one time. Too many beads on the yarn will make it difficult to work with, but also the constant moving of beads up and down a piece of thread might weaken the thread. Some beads, for instance glass beads, might have sharp edges and therefore cut away at the yarn.
When crocheting with beads, the bead will naturally fall to the back of the work, therefore if you are working back and forth in rows, every other row will be beaded otherwise you will beaded, which might be fine for some projects but not for others. It is possible to manoeuvre beads from one side of the work to the other, but this can look ‘clunky’ and uneven. When working in the round, the beads will fall on the same time throughout the work giving a more dense mesh of beaded crochet. Therefore when planning a project if you want a dense mesh of beads plan the work to be crocheted in the round.
It is important to pick the right beads for the project. Making sure that the beads are suitable for the purpose is important. If the item you are making is a garment which is going to require frequent washing in a washing machine, then it is important that the beads are not only water proof, but able to be machine washed. Some beads such as wood beads might not work well with frequent washes. Another important thing to remember about the care of beaded crochet is to watch any sharp bead edges that might pull or drag at the crochet fabric.
Tips for Crocheting with Beads
Choose the right beads for the job, ie right size and material
Remember the beads will fall away from you when you crochet so work your designs accordingly
Don’t use too many or too heavy beads on delicate fabric
Make sure that dyed beads are colorfast
Be careful about using beads on projects for small babies in case they pull them off and swallow them.