Little Circles of Light

Have you ever worked beads into your knitting? I never have. I have often said I wasn’t interested enough to try such a fiddly thing but as with many techniques, I nearly always end up trying something just to see what it’s like.

I’ve viewed shawls with beads knitted into them with a mixture of admiration and uncertainty. I’ve seen the point – they look so delightfully pretty nestled in the middle of a motif, but I was just never sure I could be bothered.

Recently I met up with long time blog friend, Diane (who, by the way, furnished my growing fabric stash with an astounding array of fabric from her own collection! Oh my!) and she showed me many breathtaking examples of her lace work, including some with beads. Something in me stirred.

And now, here I am, knitting with beads. Let me introduce you to my new shawl – the Maia Shoulderette. It’s a relatively new pattern by Romi Hill.

maia shoulderette

Isn’t she pretty? Just a newborn, and yet this is at the fifth chart already! I am working on this with long distance friend Jodi in Alabama. The pattern comes from a collection, an e-book, called 7 Small Shawls, which Jodi gave me for my birthday. It’s an intriguing little pattern. I’ve never knit a shawl like it, quite apart from the beads – you change direction after the first, horizontal leaves and continue knitting, so far as I can tell, like a normal triangular shawl. Fascinating!

And yes, the astute among you may have noticed in the above photo that there are two beads on one side, and three on the other. I thought that was wrong too but I couldn’t see that the pattern asked for three on both sides. I really couldn’t. If I had my time over, I’d add another one for balance.

Maia beads - up close

As for the beading itself, I’ve taken to it quite quickly. I chose clear beads partly because I couldn’t find the right kind of red in any of the shops and I thought these clear ones, with the silver inside them, would stand out quite prettily. Do you agree? Do they work? I do like them – I do think it works but they strike me occasionally they stand out quite starkly.

I didn’t thread them all on toย the yarn. I was going to. I even got a special Big Eye needle for doing the job but in the end, I’ve gone with hooking them on one by one with my tatting shuttle. It’s the smallest hook I own – the only one I’ve got that fits into the middle of the beads.

I keep them beside me in this pretty little ceramic box.

bead box

Who knew such a thing could be so lovely to do? Sure you have to pause to put a bead on, but there’s a good run of knitting between each bead so it’s not been cumbersome at all. I like it!



28 thoughts on “Little Circles of Light

  1. Ha! I’m so happy to see yours is still hibernating on Ravelry. I think I’m close to killing mine with fire. ๐Ÿ™‚ Seriously…I’m tempted to make myself a red version of that purple one by Jodi something-or-other I made for you. I loved that one. And it was such a pleasure to knit. Also…no garter stitch. I wonder if my garter stitch would look better if I threw the yarn with my right hand instead of holding it in my left and kind of twitching/catching it with the needle? Advice, please! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  2. Beaded knits are great! Your shawl is turning out so well.

    I’ve only made one knitted thing with beads, and I threaded them all on before starting. Twas a good way to pass the time on a plane before the knitting needle ban was lifted.

  3. That’s absolutely gorgeous. I think it looks stunning, and I’d love to learn how to do it, but I wouldn’t have a clue where to start. How do you feed the bead on, when you haven’t got an “end” to thread through (what with it being in the middle of the ball of wool)?

  4. I’m very taken with that pattern too – and the beads just make it even more delightful! you’re doing a beautiful job of it there ๐Ÿ™‚

    Now I just have to get enough vision back to be able to knit lace again >.<

  5. Love it! I think the dewdrops on leaves analogy is perfect. I really do need to shift it into high gear to catch up after my numerous false starts. Am using my BEE-YOU-TEE-FULL new project bag, of course. Makes the whole process that much more enjoyable. ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. Really lovely & beads do add an extra feature to lace. You have chosen nice beads & clear beads do bring out the color of the yarn. I also have recently started knitting with beads & love the look.

  7. It’s absolutely gorgeous, Helen! And the asymetry (sp?) with the beads didn’t bother me at all…sometimes life is like that, ya know?!

    I tried once to do the prestringing of beads onto the yarn, but I worried the entire time that the action of the beads continually sliding back and forth on the yarn would wear them to the point of breaking the yarn, particularly since some beads are not perfectly smooth on the inside. In the end, I decided the worry wasn’t worth it, so I always place each bead one at a time.

    This little shawl looks really interesting…must have a look at the pattern. Thanks for sharing!

  8. I love beaded lace, and Romi’s designs are always so well made. You’ve got yourself a hit there!

    You might check out Sivia Harding’s designs as well, she’s another one who ‘gets’ the beaded lace in the best possible way.

  9. Sublime! I’ve got to try this. I’ve been knitting jewlery for a while – beaded, of course – and love it. But with fabric I’d been a bit afraid. Your lovely success has decidedly motivated me toward giving it a go!

  10. If that one missing bead bothers you, get some sewing thread the same color as your yarn, and just sew the extra bead where you want it. That’s going to be an awesome shawl!!

  11. I was never going to do beading either, until Idid. I don’t like beads on my clothes usually but there are some knit patterns that the beads just enhance so beautifully. I like your choice of clear/silver with the red.

  12. So pretty! Definitely something that’s been on my list lately, but I haven’t found the right pattern or the right beads yet.

  13. Is that the tatting shuttle you got from… was it your grandmother, maybe? There was a great story – I’m going to have to go look it up, now. The shawl looks pretty! Good for you for trying something new! I’ve done beaded knitting before (one of those little evening bags) but never on a shawl. I’m curious about how it makes the shawl feel/weigh when you wear it. Let me know!

  14. GAAK all the way. I love Romi’s patterns, wish I could keep up with her creating the ebook. Love the combo of yarns and bead you’re using, looks great.

  15. that is so beautiful! like raindrops on spiderwebs! i’m intrigued by the hooking method, pre-stringing has always put me off beaded knitting. lovely that your heirloom tatting shuttle is getting some use, and your wedgewood dish is lovely.

  16. A new skills – always something to cheer about. I’m still not sold on the whole beads thing – it’s very pretty and I love your work but it seems to be too much of a bother. But perhaps worth trying once – as you’ve discovered

  17. I was able to take a beading class from Lily Chin in 2009, and I’ve made several beaded items. I used both methods, and I really don’t prefer one over the other.
    Your beads work very nicely, and now I want the ebook!

  18. hey, your shawl is going to be so beautiful ๐Ÿ™‚
    this summer i’ve also tired knitting with beads for the first time (i made wrist-warmers with pattern made of beads). ..and now i’m just wondering, what took me so long, to try this technique ๐Ÿ˜€

  19. i think it looks just lovely. i think the right combination of beads and yarn can look really striking, and i think you have the right mix here. yummy red yarn too! yay for trying new things, i do believe thats called GAAK!

  20. I have never knit with beads either, and like you wasn’t that interested. But Ihave learnt from my steeking experience that with knitting I should never say never!

    I think the beads go very well with the yarn. I really love this pattern (knitted leaves!), am looking forward to seeing it done!

  21. I love knitting with beads! My new shawl pattern has beads knit in the edging, with the same technique of hooking them on as you go. I really like it this way. I tried one other project that began with pre-stringing all the beads. I never finished it. Having all those beads hanging on the yarn bothered me.

    I love the red of your yarn, and I like the way the silvered beads stand out against it.

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