How to choose the perfect beads for your sock knitting project

Whilst almost any bead can be applied to your knitted project using the crochet hook method, for the purpose of this tutorial we are discussing glass seed beads.

Glass seed beads are a wonderful choice, they come in a variety of finishes both on the inside and outside of the bead! From very shiny to matt finishes, the possibilities are endless.

choosing seed beads for knitting JANE BURNS

Image shows size 6/0 seed beads from Matsuno

Whilst my favourite beads are those from Debbie Abrahams beads, you could easily substitute these beads for any Japanese seed beads of the same size. Japanese seed beads such as those from Matsuno or Miyuki are wonderfully uniform in their shape and size (a must for this method of beading). They also have a smooth interior so they do not damage your precious yarn, cutting short the life span of your socks!

The sizing of the beads can be a little confusing, the small the bead size number the larger the bead! Size 6/0 beads are larger than size 8/0 beads. Both work equally well on 4ply (fingering weight) yarn projects.

Bead size to yarn weight guide

Size 8/0  – Lace weight yarn & 4 ply (fingering weight) yarn

Size 6/0 beads – 4 ply (fingering weight) & DK (sport / light worsted weight) yarns

Choosing which beads work best with a particular yarn is a matter of personal preference.  This is why inevitably you will end up with a sizable bead stash. I like to thread three beads onto the yarn and hold it against the skein to get a feel for how the beads work nestled in with the yarn.  You can see from the image that both the matt and the shiny finished beads work well with this sock yarn from Coop Knits.  Of course if you change your mind you can easily rip back removing the bead and try another (yet another benefit of beading with a crochet hook).

If you are looking for a little bead shopping inspiration, I can highly recommend checking out GJ Beads (UK) and Debbie Abrahams Beads.  Perhaps some of my USA readers could pop some recommendations in the comments for great bead sellers that side of the pond?

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Happy Beading,

jane burns

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