Monday, April 21, 2014

Using Seed Beads in Crochet Tutorial - 2 Methods

 I love working with seed beads. They are tiny and dainty so they don't take away from the crochet part of the work I do. I absolutely love the subtle and stylish look they add to crochet!

Below you will find two methods to get size 6/0 seed beads on regular, medium (4) sized yarn! One is for those who don't have the special needle and the other is for those who want to get it. The amount of time it saves you is amazing but this way, you'll have options! I live in a town that only has a wal-mart and had I not discovered this needle before moving away from the big city I would never have known about it!

The first method I share will be the easier method. The second method will be the trickier method but doesn't require the needle which is harder to find unless you have a good sized craft store near by. After the second tutorial check out a few patterns I have designed that either use this technique or would look amazing coupled with this technique!

The 1st Method (the easier way because the best should never be last ;):

My supplies

For this tutorial I chose some light colored yarn and beads because I have the darker brown contrast behind them. 
  • You'll need scissors. This pair I found at wal-mart for about $5 bucks and they are incredible. They are small so they fit into my hook case and they cut yarn perfectly! 
  • You'll need a big eye beading needle. Their are TONS of beading needles out there but this one is perfect for yarn because it is two super thing needles put together. You can pull them apart just enough to get the yarn through easily. I've used other needles before but I'd always have to split the yarn and put in one half first and then the other half second to make it work. This is SO much easier. I got this pack of 2 (because I get aggressive with my beads and break my needles LOL) from Jo-Anns for right around $5-6 bucks. If you have a 40% off coupon (and they aren't already on sale) you can get quite a steal on them! 
  • You'll of course need seed beads. There are a couple of different bead sizes and I prefer the 6/0. Any samller and I don't think they'd fit on the yarn. 
  • Last, you will of course need the yarn! I used Red Heart Super Saver (worsted weight medium/4) for this tutorial. 

This photo shows the first step you have to take in order to get the beads to slide onto the yarn smoothly. When you put the yarn through the needle, you'll fold it in half. That means you don't just have to get the bead over ONE piece of yarn, you actually have to get it over two. So, I stretch the yarn. If you look at the right side of the image you'll see that the yarn has been pulled tight and is half the size of the yarn on the left. 

To achieve this, pick a spot near the end of the yarn and pull. You do not want to break it, of course but it will feel like you're about to! What's great about this step is that if your yarn does happen to break (pulling it like this does make it more fragile), all you have to do is restretch the piece at the end and you're good to go. 

Because it is difficult to pull on the VERY end of the yarn, I pulled about a couple of inches from the end and then trimmed that part off. 

If you click the photo to enlarge it you'll see the little split between the two needles. It's a pretty neat needle! 

For the sake of the tutorial, I wanted to show an image of a single bead being put on the needle and pushed onto the yarn. It was very effortless. Seed beads are not all symetrical. You'll have some that are larger or smaller. So, if you get a bead that won't slide on with ease when most of them will, it's probably that bead. Just don't use it. I have a bead file where I can actually grind the inside of the bead just enough to make it work but even then, I usually will just discard it. 

You do not have to do one bead at a time! Of course, if you don't and one won't fit on, you have to take all of your beads off of the needle. It still makes it go much faster then doing one bead at a time though!

Also, as you can see in this photo, the yarn at the top together looks to be the same size as the yarn towards the side of the image. This really demonstrates the importance of stretching the yarn. When you double it, it doesn't actually double! 

Method 2 (if you don't have a way of getting a big eye beading needle): 

It's important to take note that this way is much more time consuming and tricker then the other method. I've broken my fair share of beads this way! But it will get the job done. The required material in this method is a small steel crochet hook that you should be able to find at walmart (and almost everyone has one of those! hehe) - I use a size 11 hook but you can change the size of the hook based on what you are comfortable with. I personally want to use the largest size possible because the larger the hook, the easier it will be to hook the yarn without tearing it. 

For this next step, check out the picture in the first method. You'll want to stretch the yarn. It will make the strands squeeze together better and give the hook a better chance of holding on. As you can see in the image, I literally fold the yarn around the hook and then I pull that through a bead. Sometimes I can get it to go through two beads at once to speed the time up but not always. And like in the first method, some beads will not fit. Its best just to not use those ones. 

And here it is, on the yarn. You can actually see in this image the stretched yarn opposed to the "normal" yarn. Stretching is key regardless of which method you use!! 

Projects you can use this technique on below: 

The free pattern for this beautiful ribbed sun hat can be found here

This beautiful hat would look beautiful adorned in a matching pattern of beads around the last round of the brim! This free pattern can be found here

This beautiful little pattern coems in three different styles/lengths and all in one pattern! This paid pattern can be found here

This technique works will with more designs then just hats and you can use it for other beads as well! These little pearls make these booties absolutely precious. This paid pattern is available in an eBook that can be found here

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial and are able to apply it to all sorts of different crochet projects! I know I sure have and will continue to do so! 

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