Beads and pairs of stitches

I was having a conversation with a knitter in my Ravelry group about the difficulty of figuring out where to place beads symmetrically when all the stitches come in pairs. That is, there’s a lot of pairs of knit stitches, or a lot of double yarnovers. That conversation led to some experimentation on my part based on her ideas, my thoughts about them, and on my knitting reference books.

even beaded stitches

The first thought had to do with adding a temporary stitch between a pair of knit stitches, beading it, and then decreasing it away again. I tried several variations on this.

All of these use the two variations of the 3-to-2 decrease (also known as bunny ears and bunny ears back).

The 3-to-2 decrease I usually prefer is the one where the middle stitch is hidden in back. For the purposes of this post I will call it 3-to-2 back. The other will be 3-to-2 front.

  • 3-to-2 back: The goal of this is to turn the next 3 sts into 2. The middle stitch will sit in back and be decreased with each of the first and third. Here’s how: ssk the first two stitches. Put the back stitch back on the needle. K2tog.
  • 3-to-2 front: Again, this is a decrease that turns 3 stitches into 2. The middle stitch will sit in front and be decreased with each of the first and third. Here’s how: k2tog the first two stitches. Put the front stitch back on the needle. Ssk.
  • m1: pick up the bar between stitches and knit.

All descriptions refer to what I did in just the four stitches of the rib.

First bead:

even beaded stitches 1

Row 1: k2, m1, k2.
Row 2: p5.
Row 3: k1, slip 1, place bead on next stitch, return slipped stitch to left needle; 3-to-2 front.
Row 4: p5.

I like how this one looks a lot. The bead is framed nicely, and the two stitches flow up smoothly from it.

Second bead:

even beaded stitches 2

Row 1: k2, m1, k2.
Row 2: p5.
Row 3: k1, slip 1, place bead on next stitch, return slipped stitch to left needle; 3-to-2 back.
Row 4: p5.

This looks crowded. One more try.

Third bead:

even beaded stitches 3

Row 1: k2, m1, k2
Row 2: p2, place bead on next stitch and purl it, p2.
Row 3: k1, slip 1, place bead on next stitch, return slipped stitch to left needle; 3-to-2 back.
Row 4: p5.

I like this one a lot, too.

The other options have to do with prestringing beads on the yarn. (This can be a pain, and you need to make sure your beads won’t fray the yarn!)

Fourth bead:

even beaded stitches 4

This makes it quite easy to leave a bead on the yarn between two stitches, as you can see. Tidy.

Fifth bead:

even beaded stitches 5

This is really the only double YO option I’ve found. Leave a prestrung bead with a double YO. When working (k1, p1) in the double YO on the next row, make sure the bead sits on the double YO yarn so it is in between the knit and the purl stitches. It will be held in place quite neatly and will sit in front! I found the instructions for this in June Hemmons Hiatt’s The Principles of Knitting.

I didn’t think of it at the time, but it might also look quite nice left between the two stitches of the previous row that will bracket the double yo. It would sit quite neatly on that horizontal strand.

If you know of other options, please comment!

 

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