When I went to the seminar, beading was one of the topics. Eileen Montgomery has written many patterns for beaded items, so she was the perfect instructor! And oh my, it is easy. Really, you are basically slipping the bead over the head of the stitch. But how?
She uses a 0.6mm crochet hook, and usually 4mm cube beads. Michaels' sells 4mm cubes beads by Toho, but there weren't very many colours. She usually uses a different brand, sold at a beadstore. I'm scared to go into the bead store that is located way too close to my house. I got some clear cubes by Toho, and a bag of assorted colours, round beads that looked like the holes were big enough for the 1mm hook, which was the smallest I could get. I used blue beads from the assorted pack on the pale blue scarf for my sister in law. I had no problem with the crochet hook and beads; the hard part was deciding how to fit the beads into the pattern.
I wanted to do more with beads, and thought the purple scarf I was doing at the club meeting would be a good option, since there were purple beads in the assorted pack. However, I had two issues. I thought there was just one shade of purple bead, but there turned out to be two different ones in the pack. That's okay. The other problem was that the yarn was quite a bit thicker, and I had difficulty getting it pulled through some of the beads. At the beading, I just put those ones aside and tried a different bead. But then I was running low on the purple beads by the time I got to the end.
I had just read a tip by a MKer who used dental flossers designed for people with braces, instead of a crochet hook. I haven't seen them, but it sounded like a short length of floss, and a plastic tip. He placed several beads at a time on it, then bent the tip into a hook shape. For a tutorial on this, check out THIS blog. I'm going to take a look for these flossers the next time I'm in the store. Previously when I had tried HK beading, I had used floss to make a loop that pulled the yarn through the bead. I wondered if I could do something like that. I grabbed a bit of beading wire that Lucy had abandoned since it was kinked and tangled, and cut off about 8 inches. I bent it in half.
I slipped one end through the stitch on the needle, up to the bend, and slipped the stitch off. Then I slid the bead over the two ends of the wire,
and pulled the ends of the wire so the stitch (in the bend of the wire), is pulled through the bead.
I pulled it through far enough to get enough of a loop to slip back on the needle.
Some of the beads took a bit of muscle, but worked REALLY well.
One good thing about this is that the yarn is contained by the wire, so textured yarns, or loosely plied yarns, are no trouble, like they were with trying to hook it all on an itsy bitsy crochet hook. You can probably also use smaller holed beads, but not too small :) Expect to see more beaded items here!
If you don't have beading wire, you can try a twist tie, fishing line, or probably even dental floss. The beading wire was stiff enough to poke through the stitch on the needle, but you could lift the stitch off with a transfer tool. Lucy has these neat J shaped, doubled wire "needles" for using in the bead spinner. You could snip open the top of the J (not the scoop part) and use it too. In fact, I think I'll pick up a pack the next time I'm at Michaels....