I am thinking about doing a knitted project with beads. I am wondering if there is a difference in stability between prestringing the beads and placing the beads. I would like for the beads to move as little as possible in the finished object. (If it matters, the finished object is likely to be a shawl.)

For the purposes of this question, please assume that the beads in question are large enough in relation to the yarn that both techniques are possible. My smallest crochet hook is a size 5/1.90mm. Purchasing a smaller one is not a problem.

  • Prestringing = Placing all of the beads onto the yarn and then knitting with it.
  • Placing a bead = Adding the bead when you knit the stitch.
  • 1
    prestringing means putting the bead on the string and stitching it in with the project and placing means looping it in with a stitch?
    – Sky
    May 16, 2016 at 2:46
  • @Sky - Yes, I'll add clarification to the question.
    – BSMP
    May 16, 2016 at 18:54
  • 1
    Placing is certainly easier... Interesting to think about... placing would have two strands of yarn running through it... strung would only have one... how disparate are the centers of your beads in relation to the diameter of your yarn? Is it even feasible to get the yarn through if it's doubled? Can you fit a crochet hook through the beads?
    – Catija
    May 16, 2016 at 19:13
  • @Catija I haven't purchased the beads yet, in part because I wasn't sure which technique to use yet. I can update my question with the assumption that both techniques will be possible with the bead size chosen. I have a 1.90mm crochet hook.
    – BSMP
    May 18, 2016 at 1:39

2 Answers 2


There are a lot of pros and cons to both methods of placing beads into your knitting, but when looking only at stability there is a difference between prestrung and placed beads. Having used both methods, I find the placed beads stay precisely where you put them whereas the prestrung beads can slip.

When you place a bead you put it on precisely the stitch required. It can't shift anywhere because the two yarns going through it split and go in different directions. When you knit a prestrung bead into your work, it can travel along the yarn. Generally this means if, for example, you place the bead on the vertical leg of a stitch, it could slip up or down to rest on the horizontal bar of the stitch. This sometimes means it slips to the back of the work. The looser the gauge, the more this problem will occur.

  • There are actually two methods for including prestrung beads. One of them is much more stable than the other as the bead is slip stitched in place, which prevents it from slipping to the back.
    – Catija
    May 19, 2016 at 13:42
  • That's true, I've not used the slip stitch method myself, but it is certainly an option. May 19, 2016 at 15:37

In my experience in doing both, I largely prefer to place the beads. Pre-strung causes a whole host of issues:

  • Sharp Beads may fray or cut your yarn
  • Beads (especially glass beads) can easily break. You will have to string extras to account for this.
  • The aggravation of having to move potentially hundreds (or more for a more complecated design) of beads down your yarn with each pull from the skein or ball. This can put additional stress on the yarn, causing halos or fuzzing.

For others that may not have a small enough crochet hook, a small piece of wire or dental floss can be used to "hook" the yarn, and pull it through the bead.

  • 1
    I didn't feel like this particularly answered the question regarding stability.
    – Nick Udell
    May 19, 2016 at 9:18

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