To Bead, Or Not To Bead?

I said goodbye to the 85% complete Edward’s Socks after finally coming to terms with the fact that I never had enough yarn to finish them. I decided that the yarn needed to be re-purposed into something completely different, and so settled on a pair of fingerless mittens/arm-warmers, mostly because I already had the beads that the pattern called for rattling around the bottom of my knitting bag.

Knit in 4-ply sock yarn at 32st to 4″ I thought these would be a fun gift for my mother for Christmas, who likes this sort of thing (because she is still a teenager, it would seem).

I have never knit with beads before, and so used the ‘crochet hook method’ recommended in the pattern instructions. This method of beaded knitting is simple, if very, very fiddly, not helped by the fact that the beads are constantly jostling for position in the row. Sensing something wasn’t quite working I measured to make sure my gauge was still on and it was perfect, and then I measured to see how many beads would comfortably fit side-by-side in the same 4″ area. 28. So, you are required to fit 8 stitches to every inch in the pattern, but that same inch will only accommodate 7 of the recommended beads. The beaded motif is quite distorted where the beads are jostling so tight against each other and it is also causing the surrounding knitting to warp and balloon.

I am going to try and suspend my disappointment for a while and just hope that some creative blocking will help a little. I tried simply wet blocking the first mitten and easing it into shape by hand, but it was apparent early on that this wasn’t going to be sufficient, so I had to get crafty.

With the pins in situ the beads are laying in a much more uniform and orderly manner, but I shall not know the success of the experiment until they have dried and I can see if it has sufficiently coaxed the fabric around and through the beads into submission.

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