Suggested for an intermediate or advanced spinner.
You really need to be able to spin a fairly fine thread, so that the orifice has room to accommodate the yarn and the bead, but if you have a wheel for bulky wieght yarns, you may be able to use bigger beads.

A Glass E bead mix was used, they can be purchased from craft stores, but any type bead with a hole big enough to go around your singles will work.  I had the 28gr bottle, and I used all of them.  I would use more next time but the result is still very nice.

100% superfine Merino roving, hand painted in delightful pinks, grapes and tangerine, but any colors you like will also look wonderful.  The sample skein used about 1 ounce, but you may spin as much or as little as you like.  1 oz made about 40 yards at 10 wpi of two ply beaded yarn.

Color Tip:  Try to get a good contrast between your beads and yarn, so if you use light colored fiber, darker beads will show up better, and vice-versa.  With hand painted fiber, we chose mixed colored beads for variety in color.

The sample was spun on an Ashford Traditional with the regular flyer and bobbin, equipment for bulky yarns would work a little better.

Now that all that boring stuff is out of the way, let's get started!  This was REALLY fun to do, and I think this was a really easy way to spin beaded yarn.  To begin thread a few inches of beads onto a heavy cotton hand quilting thread.  Leave the thread attached to the spool, as you will use it to keep the beads from coming off. 

threading beads

 You can see here, that if you fasten the other end of the thread to the spool, you can just let the beads hang out while you thread on a few inches worth.  To start with you may just want to put on one or two, after a few times, I found I could handle about three or four inches of beads.

 Once you have some beads on the thread you are ready to transfer them onto your yarn.  Join to your leader and spin a short length of yarn, try for a thin enough yarn that the bead will go on it easily.

Tear off your fiber supply and split the singles a short distance of one or two inches.  Loop the thread around the yarn and down through the split.

 

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joining on beads

 

 

 Now treadle a few times, and spin the yarn and thread together nice and tight, but not over twisting.  This is the easiest way I know of to get the beads on the yarn.  There are other ways, and you can experiment with different methods if you like.

 

 

beads joined

 

 

As you can see, the thread and fiber have combined into an imperceptible join that the beads will slide over very easily.  Slide them on, and as long as your yarn isn't too big they should go on easily.  If not, pull the short end of the loop of quilting thread out of the yarn, then you can pull the whole thing out of the yarn being careful not to spill the beads off the thread.  Spin another foot of yarn, trying for a thinner run and join on the beads again.

Now you can just slide them up and onto the yarn. 

 

 

beads threaded on yarn

 

 

Once the beads are on the actual yarn, you can gently pull the loop and remove the short end, then pull the whole thread from the fiber supply.  It is a simple thing to rejoin the fiber supply and keep spinning.  Push the beads up and out of the way, and join on the fiber and spin a length of yarn, without allowing it to take up on the bobbin.  Now you need to space the beads out somewhat on your yarn.  The orifice and hooks will snag the beads and bunch them up, or my wheel does this, but they are easily re-spaced when plied.  Mostly you do this step now so that you get the proper amount of beads on the single and they are arranged along the length of it, even if they are somewhat herky squirky.

 

 

join on fiber supply

 

 

When you have a length of yarn, with beads arranged on it at your preferred distance, you can let the wheel take up the yarn.  Remember that the beads will be bunched up on the bobbin and along the hooks, and that is ok right now.  As long as they are passing through and going on the bobbin it's ok.  You can space them out again when you ply the single.

 

 

spacing beads

 

 

So keep on spacing, sliding and spinning until you have run out of beads, then repeat the process with a new string of beads on the cotton quilting thread.  Once you have spun your first singles you can spin a second one to ply with.

 To ply beaded yarn, one easy way is to wind your plain single into a center pull ball with a ball winder or by hand.  Put the other bobbin on a lazy Kate preferably with tension on your right side, and hold the ball in your off hand.  Ply as usual but slide the beads into their preferred spot before allowing the twist to travel past the place you want the bead.  I found the holding the ball in one hand and moving the beads with the other, that although it was a bit slower, it went along at a reasonable pace.

 

 

finished skein

 

 

Hope you enjoy! 

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