SharraOfSunhaven's projects
Verna and Verna-X Beadle Needle
Finished
February 1 2012
May 18 2013
Project info
Verna and Verna-X Beadle Needle
Knitting
Needles & yarn
Notes

Update May 18, 2013: The Verna Beadle needles are now completely obsolete. Lacis.com and earthfaire.com are selling the Verna-X needle, which has a hook on the end and not a notch. It is truly wonderful! Knitting with beads just flies now. I have used the prototypes, and love them.

To use them, you:

  1. load them with beads
  2. lift the loop of yarn off the knitting needle
  3. use the hook to pull the yarn through a bead
  4. put the loop back on the needle
  5. turn the needle half a turn so you won’t catch the yarn when you withdraw the needle
  6. pull the needle out and continue knitting.

These needles have hooks like a tambour hook, designed for bead embroidery. They are also descended from the cro-tat hook, which is a crochet hook with a long straight shank used for tatting primarily. The cro-tat hook is available down to 1mm in size, and 2.5” in the shank. The hook is a bit larger than the shank, as it is a crochet hook. These needles are also descended from the Tunisian crochet hook, which is currently available down to the 2mm size. Lots of old technology behind them. The size was chosen particularly for beading knitting without prestringing the beads.

Earthfaire.com will have them, too. There are two sizes: 1mm for the 6/0 beads and .8mm for the 8/0 and 11/0 beads. At 7.5” they are nice and long, too. They have the bead loading tail end, and the stoppers, just like the old ones. There are also version of this with a crook in the middle to keep them from twisting in the hand. I prefer the straight one, myself, but that is a personal preference thing.

I’m declaring victory in the campaign for the perfect beading tool for my knitting. I’ve now placed well over 1000 beads using the sample needle they asked me to test.




Update posted 2/27/2013: For those of you who want a longer crochet hook and don’t want to deal with the notch, there is something called a cro-tat hook. The smallest I’ve been able to find so far has a 1mm shank, so is not likely to work for 8/0 beads, but should work for 6/0. The shank is 60mm (2.3”) long. I’ve just ordered one. They are used for tatting, most commonly, and apparently are most popular in Japan. They are not exactly new, though. I’ve seen drawings of them dating to the 1800’s. I ordered mine from http://www.karpstyles.com/item_3573.html

Another choice is the tambour hook, which can be had down to very fine sizes, but is about an inch and a half in the shank. The hook on that is like a crochet hook, but with a depressed tip that catches in the yarn if you don’t hold it “just so.” They are available through http://www.lacis.com

I am continueing my campaign to get somebody to manufacture and supply something like this needle but with a real crochet hook instead of a notch.

Update posted 12/1/2012: There are now 3 different manufacturers for this kind of needle. You can get them from four places: http://www.lacis.com http://www.etsy.com/shop/TheGossamerWeb
http://www.earthfaire.com
http://www.etsy.com/shop/Sheknitsforknitters

The last two are the same needle and they have a loop rather than a bend at the back end, so loading with a bead spinner is harder. It can be done from the front, but it takes more patience and is more likely to result in sprayed about beads. They are good needles, though.

The first two sources have needles with bent tails for ease of use with a bead spinner.

I personally use all of these needles. What’s more, I have multiples of them so I can load a batch of needles and sit down to knit for half a day or so. Currently I’m working on a pattern that has 5500 beads and 70,000 stitches. Heavily beaded. In the unbeaded rows I’m knitting at about 24 stitches per minute. In the beaded rows (a bead about every 6 stitches) I’m knitting and beading at the rate of about 12 stitches a minute.

All of these needles take some effort to learn to use them, but with practice, they are very efficient to use. Be sure to push the bead over the yarn rather than using the hook to pull the yarn through the bead. If you try to pull the yarn through the bead, it will slip out of the notch and not go through the bead. I sure wish somebody would make one of these with a true crochet hook instead of the notch!

Updated how to use it:

You have loaded the needle with beads, of course. If you have a bead spinner, you can load it quickly. I load from the end with the notch so I won’t have to mess with the stoppers on the other end, but loading from the other end can be a little bit faster. Leave enough room between the notch and the beads to get a firm grip on the needle itself. This prevents it from rolling and dumping the yarn out of the notch.

Use the needle to lift a loop off the knitting needle. This is important, since it will help the yarn close around the beadle needle and stay in the notch.

Hold the needle horizontally with a single bead pushed up near the yarn. Make sure the notch is on top of the needle, and the yarn is in the notch. Pull down on the yarn to firmly hold it in the notch.

Once you have the loop in the notch, push the bead to the edge of the notch and then pull the bottom of the yarn loop towards the handle just a little. This braces it against the bead and pushes it into the bottom of the notch. The bead will keep the yarn from slipping out of the notch. Then when you slide the bead over the notch, the yarn stays in the notch and the bead goes on it. Do not attampt to pull the needle…push the bead. If you pull the needle, you will just unseat the yarn from the notch in most cases.

Do not pull the needle. Push the bead over the notch area. If the yarn is slanted back and reasonable tension is maintained, the yarn will seat itself more deeply into the notch and the bead will go right over it. The yarn should remain on the needle, but if it does not, pick it up again.

Slide the bead down, and replace the loop on the knitting needle.

I’ve now placed well over 20,000 beads with these and it is getting really fast. I rarely miss getting the yarn through the bead now. That slight slant back on the yarn loop makes a big difference.

Verna


This update posted 8 June, 2012: There is an upgraded Verna Beadle Needle available from Lacis. Those of you who bought previous models can get your old ones replaced with the new one if you send them without the stoppers in a plain envelope and include an SASE. If you go your needles before the this week in June of 2012, you have one of the old ones.

LACIS
3163 Adeline Street
Berkeley, CA 94703

This one works when a crochet hook works for 8/0 and 6/0 beads. It will work with lace weight yarn, and I’ve managed to use it with fingering weight yarn, but not for the really fat ones.

It has a larger notch, the notch is better shaped to hold the yarn, and it is slightly roughened in and around the notch. The notch is better placed to hold the yarn, too. This is now my “go to” needle for beading.

Comments on size selection:

The larger needle works best with 6/0 beads. That works with up to fingering weight yarn. Toho 8/0 with their large holes and a fine lace yarn can be worked with the large needle, but it will be a bit sticky and some beads will not work.

For 8/0 beads with lace weight, the finer needle, the one they have sold for 11/0 beads works better.

For 11/0 beads, well, I understand there is room in them for the finer needle, but no room for the thread, so you may not get them to work with these needles. Good luck if you try it!

Updated how to use it:

You have loaded the needle with beads, of course. If you have a bead spinner, you can load it quickly. I load from the end with the notch so I won’t have to mess with the stoppers on the other end, but loading from the other end can be a little bit faster. Leave enough room between the notch and the beads to get a firm grip on the needle itself. You need to keep it from twisting while you are using it.

Use the beadle needle to lift a loop off the knitting needle. This is important, since it will help the yarn close around the beadle needle and stay in the notch.

Hold the beadle needle horizontally with a single bead pushed up near the yarn. Make sure the notch is on top of the needle, and the yarn is in the notch. Pull down on the yarn to firmly hold it in the notch.

Push the bead to the start of the notch, then pull the bottom of the loop away from the tip. The bead will keep it from slipping out of the notch, and the yarn will be forced deeper into the notch.

Do not pull the needle. Push the bead over the notch area. If the yarn is slanted back and reasonable tension is maintained, the yarn will seat itself more deeply into the notch and the bead will go right over it. The yarn should remain on the needle, but if it does not, pick it up again.

Slide the bead down, and replace the loop on the knitting needle.

Notes on sizes:

The needle plus two lengths of yarn must be small enough to pull through the bead. If the hole is too small, the yarn will slip off.

The yarn needs to be able to fit into the notch. If it is too large for the notch, it is hard to keep it in the notch while placing the bead.

Lace weight should work with either size needle, unless it is really fat lace weight. Fingering weight with the smaller needle is hard to use, though I have done it. I was using 6/0 beads with it.

In general, I use the thicker needle with 6/0 beads and the thinner one with 8/0 beads. If I have a nice skinny lace weight, I can use the 8/0 beads with it and the thicker needle. I have actually used Muse (fat fingering, almost DK) with 6/0 beads with the thicker needle. The Nouveau Beaded Capelet was done with the thicker needle, an older model, and The Unique Sheep’s Ling with 8/0 beads. The thicker needle doesn’t bend as much, so if it can be used, I’ll use it. If it is too tight, the yarn can be damaged, so if a bead has a smaller hole than usual, drop it off and use the next bead.

Previous notes applying to the older needles:

These are notes on how to use these needles.

These needles are available only at Lacis (www.lacis.com). Look under New Projects, or under Needles. They are a new product under development by Lacis and made by them.

SIZES: I use the larger needle for 6/0 beads and fingering weight yarn. They can handle Toho beads with lace weight, but not Miyuki or other smaller hole size beads. I use the smaller needle (sold for 11/0 beads) with lace weight and 8/0 beads. They might well work for cobweb and 11/0 beads.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Most of these tools are too polished in the working region near and in the notch. This can cause the yarn to slip off. Take a coarse emery board and rough it up good if you experience slipping. It will work much better if you do. The region of interest is the short end from the notch to the tip.

This tool has a notch, not a hook. This means it is much less likely to snag in the yarn. However, this also means that you need to use a little tension on the yarn to hold it in the notch when pulling it through the bead. I actually push the bead over the notch and the yarn rather than pulling on the tool.

I am a picker, not a thrower, so you throwers may have to work out your own techniques. My technique is to scoot a bead to near the notch as in the picture. I’m holding the knitting needles, knitting and yarn in my left hand, and the yarn is still around my index finger of my left hand. I use the thumb and middle finger of the left hand to pinch the knitting needle and loop I am about to bead. In my case, this is on the right needle and has just been worked. Then I put the needle through the loop of yarn on the needle, with the notch upwards. I pull the loop of yarn up a bit to snug it and lift it off the needle. Then I pull the loop through the bead, or push the bead over the loop with the right hand thumb or thumb and middle finger. You throwers would likely still have the yarn over the right index finger, I suspect. Next I place the yarn back on the knitting needle with the bead below the knitting needle and beadle needle above it holding the loop. I usually twist the notch downwards while pulling and sliding, but this is likely a hangover from the crochet hook days. Very fast! Much faster than saying it, for sure.

If the needle keeps dropping the yarn as it pulls it through the bead, it may just be too slick. I had one that did this on almost every bead. I took a coarse emery board, the kind used for fingernails, and applied it to the surface from the notch to the working tip. The short end. The part in the picture with my fingers holding the needle and a single bead on the needle. It went right away to pulling the yarn through without a problem.

Now I can romp right across a row of the NBC and never put the knitting down, or even let go of the yarn. I keep the tool in a bead tube when I’m using it…sort of like a holster. It has a cap to keep the beads from falling off in storage. And the bottom cap slides up the needle, so I can keep the working beads near the tip where I need them.

Lacis is now selling a plastic tube to store these needles for $2. See the new products page, next to the needles. The needles are also classified under needles, rather than under knitting.

They are also selling a version of this with a bump on the side to keep it from turning in the hands. My technique involves turning the needle, so I prefer the straight needle. Others might like the bump.

I’ve now gotten the beading tool of my dreams. It all started when I wrote Lacis that their new beading tool had too short a shank, and described the beading tool of my dreams. They wrote back and asked me to send them some beads, so I did. We went back and forth with a few tools for me to test for them, and now I have the beading tool of my dreams. It carries more beads (8/0, 6/0…I have not tried it with 11/0 but suspect not …this refers to the 1.0mm one) than I would care to count. Works like a crochet hook. Loads in a minute or less by just stabbing the needle through the beads until it is full. Works with 8/0 and lace weight, or 6/0 and heavy fingering weight. 8/0 and lighter fingering weight works, too.

I have now used it with a bead spinner, and that loads it even faster than stabbing.

The photo with the two needles with a few beads on them are the latest versions of this tool. The upper one is GB77. It is .75mm and can handle up to 150 11/0 beads. The lower one is GB76. It is 1.0mm and can handle up to 100 8/0 beads. They have a 45 degree curve at the tail to allow them to be used in the bead spinner, if you have one. The curve is short enough that they should still fit into a bead tube, if you want to holster them that way. They also sell an inexpensive storage tube. You can find them at lacis.com. For now, just look in the new products section.

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Finished
February 1 2012
May 18 2013
About this pattern
Personal pattern (not in Ravelry)
  • Project created: May 20, 2012
  • Finished: May 21, 2012
  • Updated: June 23, 2014