Beading is an easy and effective way of decorating your knitting.
Improve a plain stocking stitch sweater or cardigan with a beaded flower or a
beaded edging. An all-over sprinkling of beads can lift a garment from
'ordinary' to 'designer'.
You can even decorate fairisle patterned garments with beads to add extra
colour but without the additional floats.
Lace garments can be beaded by inserting the beads into the more solid parts of
Home furnishings can also be decorated with beads. Bedroom curtains, blinds or
lampshades, for example, create an impact with beaded fringes. Beaded fringes
not only look decorative but the beads, because of the weight, help a curtain
or blind to hang properly. Take care with beaded cushions - they can be
uncomfortable to sit on!
Beads are made in all different shapes and sizes, from very tiny glass beads to
great big chunky wooden ones. The secret is to select the beads most suitable
for the fabric you're knitting. Big wooden beads look great knitted into a
natural wool Aran sweater but not so hot when knitted into a fine lace shawl!
If you decide to use beads, make sure the after care of the garment is not too
difficult for it's owner. Beaded garments can be very tricky to press and may
need to be washed by hand with care or dry cleaned.
With a knitting machine, it's easy to attach the beads as the knitting
progresses, rather than sew them on afterwards.
If you have a punchcard or electronic machine, you may be able to use the
automatic patterning to select the 'beading' needles for you.
As a final note, for safety reasons, it's best not to decorate knitted items
with beads if they're intended for a baby or very young child.