1,735 Beads

Whew! I finally finished the filet portion of the Eolande Shawlette by Kathryn White from  Interweave Crochet Summer 2014


There is the final cut.
(But don't get so excited about the final cut that you forget the little added tabs, worked after the main body.)
The first round of the edging smooths out the jagged edges with lovely scallops.

The second round is where the madness magic happens, with the addition of many, many beads.

The first decision to make about the beads is the color. I worked the rose closure early in the process, using beads that I thought were lovely with the thread. But, as you can see—or rather can't see—they are completely camouflaged. And, really, if I'm going to add 1, 735 beads, I want the world to see them.
I went to visit my friend Cynthia Deis at Ornamentea, my source for all things Bead. We strung some different beads onto the thread, to see how they would pop. These pearl-colored beads were the winners.
I had visions about how I would avoid pre-stringing 1,735 beads. My first thought was the hoisting method. To hoist, you load the bead (or three) onto a much smaller hook (small enough to slide the beads on), then hook up the crochet thread and slide the bead(s) onto the thread just where you need it.

As evidenced, hoisting was a big Fail. The little hook could not withstand the stress.

My next method was an ill-conceived secondary method of hoisting involving threading the crochet thread through a, um threader, then sliding the bead onto the thread. Again, you do this just as you need the beads rather than prestringing them.
And as you can see, another Big Fail (well, maybe you can see—that barely visible diamond at the right is the threader; the bead is at the end of it.) Tiny bead hole; double crochet thread. Not happening.
And so. There I was. Beading needle + 1,735 beads. One at a time.
Up the needle, then down the thread.
I tried the pick-up-from-your-palm method.

I don't want to talk about it. (I think there are now beads in the ceiling-mounted light)

It is kind of pretty once it starts happening.
But then. Trouble.
The tinsel tensile was a problem. The shiny strand is wrapped around the plied cotton. If you try to slide too many beads down the thread, the shiny strand will break. And bunch up. Things get ugly. It took a lot of easing over a bit of bunched-up tinsel to get the beads threaded.


You may be wondering: How will I know when I have 1,735 beads loaded up? Good question. My friend Cynthia gave me this tip: Measure one inch and count the beads in the inch. (19 bpi) 1735/19=91.31. So I need about 91.5 inches of beads.

Which is longer than my table-edge measure. But I'm a little shy of the goal, so I make note of how many more inches I need …
and measure from there.
And that, my friends, is 1,735 beads (well, actually a few more than that) loaded onto thread and ready to go!
Ready to start Round 2 of the edging.

Now, that is lovely. And working them three-at-a pop should make it move right along, right?



The little darling dangles do take a moment.
Pre-stringing the beads was not, as it turns out, the end of the pesky beady biz. Because there are SO MANY beads, you have to keep pushing them down the thread; they won't do that on their own. And, if you have the shiny-wrapped thread, this is a dainty task. I could work only about one dangle before having to push the beads down the thread.

I did work out a method that involved a bed, a chair, and the width of a hotel room; sorry I don't have video of that. This allowed me to work about four inches of the edging without having to stop to move more beads down.

Kathryn White, who adores this work (obviously) kindly pointed out that this task gets easier as you use more and more beads. And, she notes, it is so worth it at the end.

I hope to be able to tell you about that. Some day. (I'm about a third of the way around the beaded border.)

If you've finished, I'd love to see your final project! Drop us a line.

Happy beading,

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