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.
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
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.
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
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
Gauge is not critical for this project.
of standard abbreviations and techniques can
be found here]
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
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.
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
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
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
Drop by her
blog to see what she's up to these days!
|Pattern & images
© 2007 Rosemary