Spinning with Beads Part 2

I knit several of the first samples I made. First up was #2, the small sample of cabled yarn with beads on one ply. It looks better in reverse stockinette.


Fewer beads show on the stockinette side and it curls a whole lot (hence the scissors).


Another small knitted sample is of #5, which is the bright silk plied with itself. The colors in the yarn become more muted since it mixes in the ply. The orange beads provide quite a contrast for the now somewhat muted yarn.


The other sample I knit is #3. I started on #3 (3.25 mm) needles. About halfway through the sample I started to switch to gradually smaller needles every few rows, eventually getting to #0 (2.00 mm).



Next I tried to follow instructions. I used some merino top. To add the beads when you spin, you spin some and break off the yarn. Meanwhile, you have beads (such as size 6 seed beads) on doubled fishing line. You then take the fluffy end of the yarn and put it through the loop. You can then slide some beads off the fishing line onto the yarn. You then get back to spinning and place a bead where you want it, sliding the rest down until the next spot for a bead. I had no trouble with this part. My difficulty came in that the beads didn’t stay in place and the all bunched up on the hooks. I was fussing with the beads so much that I didn’t spin too well–in some places the yarn was terribly underspun and fell apart when plying. I plied it from a center pull ball and adjusted the beads across one ply when plying. The beads are about 5.5-7.5″.


I tried the same technique again using wool that wasn’t nearly as smooth. The beads still didn’t stay in places completely, but it was a lot better. I tried to space the beads when winding it into a ball. I put the beads all across the yarn and then plied it on itself. Center pull balls do not work well for this, especially for the strand from the center of the ball. I needed to do a lot of fiddly stuff to position the beads. This meant the center pull ball kept snarling up and so again, the plying stinks. The beads seem to be about 6-8″ apart.


I tried again, but this time all the beads are on one ply and the other is plain yarn. I plied off two bobbins. I still needed to adjust the beads but it was MUCH easier.


Next I made a very small sample. I used wool (which I was plying at the time) as a core and wrapped it with silk from a hankie pulled out quite fine. If I do this again, I shouldn’t make the silk so fine/thin. I then plied it on itself with a thread with some largish beads. This did not feed on at all well, getting caught on all hooks.


I then spun up the rest of the silk hankies and spun up some green merino. I plied them together with maroon size 11 seed beads on a thread. The beads are 7-9″ apart. The beads a subtle, but I think it might make a nice accent.


I had some extra wool, so I plied it on itself with some sparkly brown beads (that have been in the family craft supplies for about 25 years–they were in an old non-child proof medicine bottle) labeled by DJ. I wanted to try sparkly beads but I don’t know that the brown was a good choice (other than being what I had on hand). The beads are about 3.5-5.5″ apart.


A few things to keep in mind–think about the weight of the beads in relationship to the yarn and the use of the yarn. I think the distance of the beads needs to be based on the final use. How many beads do you want to show? Will you be knitting or weaving? What size needles will you be using and how much yarn does it take to make a single stitch?


One thought on “Spinning with Beads Part 2

  1. Pingback: Beaded hat | Wendelkate procrastinates

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