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I learned to bead even before I could knit - at seven years old. And throughout my life, I've made jewelry in some form or another, using all sorts of different materials: wire, small bits of copper pipe and brass screws, crystals, silver, stones, sea glass.... My zeal for knitting grew with me as well: mohair was my first love at nine, and then I went on to dive luxuriously into wool, angora, silk, linen and alpaca. And, although my bead stash and my yarn stash were kept rather separate, it was only natural that at some point in time my two most passionate crafty loves, knitting and beading, would meld, and my mind would swirl with visions of sparkling knitted baubles.

Finally, it did happen. A simple "what if" question when I was playing with my bright sparkly beady toys one day. I happened to glance at my abandoned knitting needles. "What if I knit a strand of beads strung on elastic cord? How would it look?"

And so here, for you to share, is my first knitted jewelry design: a glittering cuff of beads.

model: Emma Monrad photos: Rosemary Hill


Measurements are taken with the piece unstretched.

Measured flat before grafting:
Width: 1.5 inches
Length: 7.5 inches

Measurements after grafting
inner circumference:
7.5 inches

outer circumference:
8.25 inches


Stretch Magic beading cord, 0.5mm diameter [11yd/10m per package]; color: clear; one package [cord can be purchased here ]
Size 11 glass seed beads; color: clear, silver foil-lined; approx. 1,650
Assorted larger glass beads, sizes 4 and 6mm; color: greens, aquas, blues and clear; approx. 150
8 different colors of large beads were used on the sample: clear frosted 6mm rounds, light blue frosted faceted fire polished 6mm, light and dark aqua faceted fire polished 6mm, olivine faceted fire polished 6mm, opalescent clear faceted fire polished 6mm, blue-green 6mm cubes, and silver metallic faceted fire polished 4mm.
1 silver crimp
Note: It is always a good idea to have extra beads when doing a project of this kind. Be sure you have more beads than are required, and an extra crimp or three.

US #6/4mm needles (see note in Pattern Notes re. needle selection)
1 pair crimping pliers (you can use chain nose pliers as well)
Coils for beading stops [see pic above right] - make your own out of heavy gauge wire or buy "bead stoppers"
Large-eye flexible beading needle for grafting

3 sts and 35 rows in garter stitch will yield a piece that is 1.5 inches by 7.5 inches.
Gauge is not critical for this project.

[Knitty's list of standard abbreviations and techniques can be found here]

I recommend using two bamboo double-point needles, because they are short and not very slick. Using these needles, I found it very easy to manipulate the beaded strand, and I had no problems losing stitches.

This is not a traditional beaded knitting pattern. It is important to forget what you know about beaded knitting and to think of the beaded strand as your yarn, as the entire cord must be completely beaded to get the desired effect.


Using color combinations that are aesthetically pleasing to you, string beads as follows: [1 large bead, 11 seed beads] approximately 150 times. The total unstretched length beaded cord should be 3.5yds (3.2m).

Leaving a tail of 4-5 inches of unbeaded cord, place a coil bead stop snugly on the elastic. Place another coil bead stop on opposite end of the beaded length so that the beaded portion is neither stretched, nor does it have open areas without beads. Do not cut cord.

With the beaded strand, use the backwards loop method to cast on 3 stitches. You will need to take some care that the end does not begin to unravel. This can be accomplished by using a large coil, or by tying something else to the end. Loosely knit approximately 35 rows of garter stitch without stretching cord, or work until the piece is the desired length for your wrist. Be sure to work an odd number of rows, so that you can graft the two pieces together and both ends of the cord will be on the same edge.


Cut cord, leaving at least six inches of unbeaded cord beyond the beaded portion that you will be using to graft. Remove the bead stop coil at end of beaded strand and replace it with large eye beading needle, making sure that cord is secure and the beads cannot move around on cord. Leave the bead stop coil at the beginning of knitted piece.

Graft the live stitches of the bracelet to the cast on row. This is more an aesthetic than technical exercise. The only really important issues are making sure the cord does not stretch and that the beads cover all of the cord, and that you like the effect.

After you have finished grafting, you will be crimping the two ends together to form a continuous strand. You may have extra beaded length when you have grafted the ends together. Remove any extra beads, ensuring that you have 11 seed beads left on the end. If you have a little extra length, weave the beaded strand through the bracelet in an aesthetically pleasing manner so that when you crimp the two cord ends together, there will not be any large loops hanging.

Remove the bead stop coil and needle. String a crimp on one side of the cord and run the other end of the cord through the crimp in the opposing direction. String either end of the cord through an extra two or three beads on both sides and pull tight, without stretching cord. Flatten the crimp bead using either crimping pliers or chain nose pliers. You may need to stretch the cord a little while you are crimping the bead so that you do not break the other beads; this is perfectly fine. Be careful not to "over-crimp", as that may damage or even cut the cord.

Alternate finishing instructions for those who don't wish to use a crimp can be found here.

Trim ends.


Rosemary lives with three wonderful men in wine country, where she is a graphic designer and illustrator. In 2005 she became a purveyor of shawl, scarf and sweater pins when she launched Designs by Romi. She's just happy to be mixing work with play.

Drop by her blog to see what she's up to these days!