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Spinning Beaded and Bobbled Yarns

Novelty yarn with sequins, dolls and beads

If you like a little outrageousness in your knitting you can make your own beaded and bobbled threads to knit along with your main yarn. If you know how to hand spin yarn and have a quill attachment for your wheel, or a large capacity drop spindle, you can then ply the beaded threads with your handpsun yarns for fabulous one of a kind yarns!

Here are some that I have made.
Click on the thumbnail images for a larger view and description.

These instructions are meant as a starting point for experimentation.

I have used everything from feathers to plastic baby dolls, loomed flowers and everything inbetween.

Try adding all sorts of things to your yarn on all sorts of threads and see what the effect is!

You will need:

  • Good quality cotton quilting thread in a colour to suit your yarn, or for very large felt bobbles and heavier items, use a "sticky" thread such as wool. Don't be tempted to use polyester or embroidery threads as they will stretch and leave big loops of thread hanging down your knitting
  • A sewing needle to fit through your bobbles or beads
  • A large cardboard tube for winding your beaded thread onto
  • Beads, charms, feathers and anything else you might want to add to your yarn. You must remember 2 things when you're choosing things to add to your yarns: they must be hand washable if you want to be able to wash you yarn and lumpy beads and odd shapes work best. Round beads tend to pop off the yarn unless you use jewellery head pins to make them into a pendant.
  • *OPTIONAL* A spinning wheel with quill attachment or a large capacity drop spindle for plying (if you want to ply your decorated thread with handspun yarn)

If you want to make felt bobbles you will also need:

  • Scraps of fibre for your bobbles. Wool works best
  • A couple of drops of dishwashing detergent
  • A bowl of water
  • A towel

Making the Felt Bobbles

Take a scrap of feltable fibre and tease it out into a thick sausage shape.
Wet with water containing a drop or two of dishwashing detergent.
Squeeze out the excess water
Roll between your hands until the sausage just begins to hold together
Cut into pieces roughly as long as they are wide.
Take a piece and dip it into the water, then roll between your hands until it felts into a fairly firm ball. Don't make it too hard or you'll have trouble threading it onto your quilting thread later on.
Make as many bobbles as you think you'll need, plus a few extra to make up for the ones that will roll away under the couch when you're not looking.

Next: Threading the bobbles & beads plus tips for spinning and knitting with your decorated threads


Copyright Sarah Bradberry. All rights reserved