To say that I like to add beads to my knitting would be an understatement—I simply love working with beads. Those tiny little nuggets of happiness can add a bit of sparkle to any project, add lovely weight and drape where needed, and even add interesting texture to plain stockinette.

There are many types of beads available but not all are suitable for knitting. Some have sharp edges that could shred the yarn; others have openings that are too small for yarn to pass through. In general, seed beads, with their rounded edges, are a safe choice and can be placed anywhere in the knitted fabric. These are available in shapes as well as the classic rounds; cube- and triangle-shaped seed beads have smooth facets that catch light beautifully. And some fun, new shapes, like the elongated teardrop-like Magatama beads, just beg to be placed along the edges of a project. A plain crystal bead is lovely in itself but there are also many gorgeous colors and finishes available, with new ones coming out all the time. Beads can be made from clear or colored glass, have shiny or matte surface, and pearlized, metallic, or rainbow (AB) finishes. Some have metallic or colored linings that help them stand out from the background yarn color. The possibilities are truly endless. You can choose beads that match your yarn perfectly for just a hint of elegant sheen, or you can go all out and choose a highly contrasting bead for a pop of unexpected color.

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