After a major mishap with the beaded border on Undomiel, my Evenstar Shawl, the piece spent about a week on time-out with no border, no beads, looking pretty dejected. But as it was about the only work-approved project I had going on for a while, it wasn’t long before I pulled it back out. You may notice, if you look slightly to the left, that I’ve installed a ticker to track my progress on the lace repeats. This way, even when Bonita’s not around, I can still annoy someone – nay, THE WHOLE WORLD – by proclaiming it every time I finish a repeat of the border pattern. It’s going slow, and while I am committed not to shoving it into a corner and forgetting about it… there’s no way I’m staying monogamous on this one. The shawl seems to be okay with our transition to an open relationship. It knows it’s the only way we can make it work.
Since I know you care so much – and there’s not much else to do – I took a few pictures of the new beading method I’ve been employing. It’s amazingly simple, impressively fiddley, and pretty freakin’ slow. But it’s beading. What are you gonna do. I’m just glad there’s more than one method, so that when you’re doing this method you can say “Gah! I hate this! Next time I’m doing the pre-stringing method!” then when you’re pre-stringing on the next project you can say “Gah! I hate this! Next time I’m doing the crochet-hook method!” Better to vascillate in opinion than to decide I hate the whole process and melt all my beads into a pile of blackened slag.
So here’s how i do it:
1. On a chart or written instructions, there will be a square or instruction to the effect of “knit 1 bead” or “purl 1 bead.” Work until this is your next instruction.
2. Slip beads onto the crochet hook. There are 5 beads on every beaded row of this pattern, so I save myself a wee bit of time by slipping all 5 beads on at once. I can do this with the crochet hook wedged in a secure place under my leg (as shown), or, while holding both needles secure between the thumb and forefinger of my left hand, I can hold the crochet hook between the forefinger and middle finger of my left hand and slip the beads on with my right. (Another note: My crochet hook is a 1.25 mm, the smallest I own. About 1/3 of my beads won’t slip onto that size hook. So I’m saving the onesthat don’t fit – either I’ll buy a smaller crochet hook eventually, or you’ll get another tutorial later about the dental floss beading method.)
3. Hook the next stitch (the p1b or k1b stitch) with the loaded crochet hook.
4. Using the crochet hook, pull the hooked stitch off the needle, and slide 1 bead onto the loop of the hooked stitch.
5. Replace the hooked stitch, now containing a bead, onto the left needle.
6. Knit or Purl the beaded stitch, depending on whether the stitch was indicated as a K1b or P1b.
It’s a very simple concept. The fiddling comes in the fact that you are constantly picking up and putting down the crochet hook, putting beads on it, and trying not to drop your needles. It’d be the perfect technique if you happen to have three or four hands. The pre-stringing method of beaded knitting is less fiddly in the long run, I think, since all you have to do is slide up the next bead and work it. BUT with this method, you never have to stop, break the yarn, and pre-string more beads, and there’s none of that horribly tedious pushing of the beads down the yarn. That gets old, and it beats up the yarn.
The astute among you who are also working on the Evenstar shawl (*cough* Jonica *cough*) will probably notice that the first bead in the beading row should be a P1b, not a K1b as I was doing. You would be correct. This happened because, in the chart, K1b’s and P1b’s are distinguished with colors. K1b’s are distinguished as 1 color, and P1b’s are another. However, all the beading happens on the wrong side row. I wondered briefly whether that meant that all the beading instructions were switched, but I decided that would be stupid, so I just did them as written. It wasn’t until I was helping Jonica read the written instructions that there, plain as day, I saw I had been doing them all backwards.
Oh friggin’ well. I’m not doing it over. As we knitters like to say, if you repeat an error consistently, it becomes a design feature. And as some snarker that I said this to replied, “And if you do it inconsistently, it’s art!”