The Summer 2022 issue of PieceWork is all about embellishment. Knitted lace scarves and shawls with beaded edgings seem very modern, but this is a classic pairing. In the issue, Carolyn Wyborny introduces her newest design, a Shetland-style shawl with Weldon’s lace motifs and just the right amount of beads. I hope you love it as much as I do!
As I was researching bead knitting, beaded knitting, and the difference between the two for an article I contributed to the issue, I decided to try Thérèse de Dillmont’s stitch pattern utilizing beads. The early editions of her Encyclopedia of Needlework include illustrations and instructions for what she calls Turkish stitch, both with and without beads. I worked a quick swatch using a swoon-worthy cashmere-blend laceweight yarn and seed beads from my stash.
I find prestringing beads to be fussy but—in the end—well worth the time when adding weight and interest to scarf and shawl edgings. Slipping two beads onto each yarn over on both right and wrong sides of the work took a bit of adjustment, but that, too, felt less cumbersome when a few rows of the pattern revealed themselves. How would you put this stitch to use?
Turkish Stitch and Turkish Stitch with Beads
From Encyclopedia of Needlework (1890)
Row 1: Slip 1, knit 1, over, knit 2 together, over, knit 2 together, and so on to the last 2 stitches, which you knit plain.
Row 2: Slip the 1st, knit the 2nd and the 3rd plain, the latter having been formed by the last over on the 1st needle; 1 over, 1 intake with the stitch and the over, 1 over, 1 intake and so on.
Turkish stitch with beads: String the beads on the thread before you begin to knit. When you only use one kind of bead, thread a needle with your knitting cotton and run it through the thread on which the beads are strung.
When you use several kinds, you must count and thread them on in the required order. Beaded knitting is little in request now, excepting for tobacco pouches and purses for which you should use Cordonnet 6 fils D.M.C. Nos. 35, in any colour, and small beads.
For close beaded knitting, plain stitch is the best. Run the beads down singly at each stitch. The beads will fall on the reverse side of the work so that in knitting with beads, remember that the reverse side will be the right side. Run down 2 or sometimes 3 beads before knitting each stitch.
Kate Larson is the editor of PieceWork and Spin Off magazines.
Dillmont, Thérèse de. Encyclopedia of Needlework. Alscace, France: Mulhouse, 1890.
Thomas, Mary. Mary Thomas’s Knitting Book. London: Hodder and Stoughton, Ltd., 1938.
Yarn: Capitol Luxury Lace in Federal Hill from Neighborhood Fiber Co.