Stringing Beads onto Yarn

The traditional way to string beads is to use a sewing needle and a piece of strong thread. I prefer to use a dental floss threader or a large-eye beading needle.

To string beads with a dental floss threader or a large-eye beading needle, thread the knitting yarn through the loop or needle eye and pick up beads with the single end of the needle. Slide the beads over the loop and onto the yarn.

To fit smaller beads onto yarn, you may need to use a different technique. If you are using smaller (size 10 or 11) beads, they may not fit over the double strand of yarn that is created when you thread the yarn through the beading needle or dental floss threader. In this case, shred the end of your yarn with your hands to make a tapered end. Then glue the yarn onto a single strand of the sewing thread and wait for the glue to dry. Thread a bead onto the sewing needle and push it onto the thread and then onto the yarn.

Repeat as many times as necessary for the number of beads you want to use. After a little practice you can string more than one bead at a time. You can just scoop the needle into the bowl of beads and several will hop onto the needle at once, or you can individually slide beads onto the needle and thread and slide six or eight at a time onto your yarn.

Counting the Beads

Normally, Lithuanian knitters will string all of the beads needed for the wristers onto the yarn at once. However, if your yarn is soft or fragile, especially if it’s an unplied single yarn, strand only 4 or 5 inches (10 to 12.5cm) of beads at a time. You can easily cut the yarn, string on more beads, and rejoin the yarn to continue knitting as needed.

If you do want to string all of the beads onto the yarn at once, put 100 beads on first. Measure how much yarn they cover, and then continue, stringing on another set of beads the same length as the first 100. This reduces the amount of counting you have to do. String on as many sets of 100 beads as you need for your charted pattern. (It’s a good idea to string on a few extra, just in case you’ve underestimated.)

Before you begin knitting, gently push each set of 100 beads up onto the yarn, so you have one or two yards of yarn (or more) between each set of beads and all but the last 100 are pushed 10 or 20 yards up onto the yarn.

Push the last 100 beads up about one yard onto the yarn, and spread them out over the yarn so you can pull a few down close to your knitting as you begin each charted row.

Lithuanian Knitting Techniques

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