Wednesday, January 16, 2013

beading confetti

My quest to find the perfect beaded edge for this shawl drew its inspiration from this book:

I got it out of the library on inter-library loan, so I didn't realize the contents until after I had checked it out. What a treasure trove! The edgings are beyond belief. Delicate and lovely; real works of art based upon the Turkish craft of oyalari, a beaded crochet edging that is usually made separately and then attached to the larger piece. In addition to the patterns for the edgings themselves, the book also has some great inspiration for various uses of the edges.

These patterns are not for the crochet beginner. You need to know the various stitches, and you have to be comfortable working with a very small hook, very fine crochet thread and tiny beads. I experimented a bit with a couple of the patterns, and found that it was absolutely critical to have the proper proportional match between each of these three elements, or the results were less than impressive. Still, there is a lot of food for thought here and it is a book I will add to my bookshelf at some point.

Even though I ended up not using any of the patterns in the book, the idea of a simple crocheted edging took hold. I found a bamboo blend crochet thread that had more drape than a traditional cotton thread, plus the natural color was a closer match to the silk in the shawl.

The hardest part was prestringing the beads onto the thread in the correct order. Because the chevron pattern was a mutiple of 10 plus 2, I decided on a dark bead on each end and then every 10 beads along the scallops of the shorter edges.

Working on the wrong side of the shawl (because the beads will sit on the other side), I started by making a slip stitch into both "legs" of one stitch of the crocheted border, to attach the edging.

I then slid a bead down next to the slip stitch...

.. and then made a single crochet stitch on top of the bead to hold it in place, which causes the bead to sit sideways (i.e., a horizontal orientation).

The process was repeated across the whole edging.

The beads sat quite firmly on the far side of the edging but looking at the "right" side, they appeared to be attached to the very edge because the single crochet stitch holding them in place is hidden on the back.

My favorite result from adding beads is the light weight they give to the edge of the shawl. It hangs and drapes so nicely as result!

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