How To Knit With Beads

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Posted: Thursday, August 6, 2009
Last Updated: Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Our very own Sandy stars in this knitting instructional video about how to knit with beads -- also known as bead knitting. We hope you enjoy it!

How To Knit With Beads

In this video, Sandy demonstrates two methods of knitting beads into your work.

Method A: Pre-Stringing the Beads

  1. Before you start knitting, string the number of beads you will be using onto the yarn you will be knitting with. If you are using a lot of beads and/or your yarn is easily damaged, only string part of the beads you will need. You will need to cut your yarn to add beads when you need more.
  2. Knit to the place where you want to add a bead.
  3. Yarn forward between your needles as if you were about to purl.
  4. Slip the next stitch purl-wise.
  5. Bring a bead up from those strung on your yarn and position it in front of the slipped stitch.
  6. Take the yarn to the back of the work.
  7. Use your thumb to hold the bead where you want it, so it doesn't slip to the back of the work.
  8. Knit the next stitch while still holding the bead in place. The bead should now be resting snugly on top of the work rather than caught up in the stitch or at the back of the work.

Method B: Using a Crochet Hook

If you will not be using many beads or if you don't know how many beads you'll be using, you can use a different method in which you don't have to string the beads in advance.

  1. Knit to the point where you want to place the bead.
  2. Using a small, crochet hook that will fit through the hole in your bead, slip the bead onto the crochet hook, as far down as it will go.
  3. Slip the next stitch onto the tip of your crochet hook.
  4. Holding the stitch on your crochet hook, push the bead from the hook onto the stitch, down to the base of the stitch.
  5. Transfer the stitch from the crochet hook back on to the needle.
  6. Knit or purl the stitch as usual, holding the bead in place with your thumb until the stitch is complete.


  • If your beads are too small for your crochet hook you can make a "beading needle" with a piece of beading wire folded in half. Slip your stitch off the needle onto one leg of your make shift needle and move it all the way down to the fold. Hold both ends of the folded wire together and slip them through the hole in the bead. Slid the bead down onto the stitch and replace the stitch on your left-hand needle. Knit or purl the stitch as usual.
  • Beads are oriented to the stitches differently with each of these techniques. The pre-stringing method allows the beads to lie horizontally to the stitches (holes left and right). Placing beads individually on a stitch with a crochet hook allows the bead to lie vertically to the stitches (holes top to bottom).

Tip: Be sure to be gentle with beaded garments. When knitting with beads, always make sure your beads can be washed without chipping or losing their finish. If both the yarn and the beads you are using allow for machine washing, Sandy suggests turning the item inside out and putting it in a lingerie bag for gentle washing.

There you have it, it couldn't be easier!

Posted by Doug of Jimmy Beans Wool

We hope you enjoy this article! This article and the associated photos are only for personal non-commercial use and are not for resale. All rights reserved. Permission granted by Jimmy Beans Wool and to copy and share this article for non-commercial personal use. Users do not have permission to display on any retail or wholesale website other than and without express permission from Jimmy Beans Wool.
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