I made this sample to test which beads work with my yarn. The wrap pattern is going to include areas of lace, complimented by some accent areas of beads - it won't be beaded all over in the same way as this swatch.
Interestingly, I am struggling to select what beads to use, as they all give quite a different effect - I like more than one effect, for some different reasons.
I am conscious that my final choice will influence whether my wrap ends up being more day or evening wear. I have never owned a wrap before (but I picture myself using this on chilly summer evenings), so I have asked the question, 'When would you wear a wrap?'
The majority answer seemed to be, 'Evening'.
I also asked people which beads they would select (yes, my swatch has travelled around with me to work, family events and to knitting groups) and views are polarised equally between two very different beads.
So if you read this post and you would like to contribute your view in a comment, I would love to know what you think. Luckily, some of my beads ruled themselves out via the process of working the sample. I will explain why below.
Picture 1 Left: Gutterman Sewing Beads - ruled out - too small, they simply vanished into the fabric of the knitting.
Picture 1 Centre: Jaeger Frosted Red Knitting Beads - ruled out - once handled, they lose some of their frosted appearance (which is far nicer, actually) but again, they disappear into the fabric.
Picture 1 Right: Acrylic Beads - ruled out - simply because the shop advised that they lose their finish after a while. It is a shame because they are a good colour match and several people picked them out as their favourite beads. They glow like little Christmas Tree baubles. I sampled with them because I was sure that I could find venetian glass beads with a similar finish...nope, not found any yet.
Picture 2 Left: 3mm Red Glass Beads, combined with Gutterman Sewing Beads - Lead Bead and Configuration Contender Number 1! I am drawn to these beads because they are a sympathetic shape, a close colour match to the yarn and shiny without being sparkly.
However (to me), they start to vanish when you look at them in artifical or gloomy light so using these would make the wrap a little bit more day wear? Interestingly Robynn said that these were the first ones that stood out for her in the swatch (she saw it at 19:30 in the National Theatre Bar, gloomy and under artifical light) so maybe I am wrong!
Picture 2 Centre: 5mm Red Glass Beads - ruled out - actually I love these and this effect. I am just not sure that it works for this project. They were a bit too big to sit on a single stitch as they distorted the stitches around them but I love how they work on two stitches with the holes either side. The bead hole is a bit too small, so they are wedged in place. Hmm, glass bead Vs 2 ply cashmere? I think that they might saw through the cashmere fibres after a while?!
Picture 2 Right: Jaeger Frosted Red Knitting Beads - still ruled out - These are threaded on two stitches too. I think that they work better here but they are still not right for this project. They sit more loosely on the two stitches and as a result, travel easily out of position.
Picture 3 Left (Light Siam) and Centre (Siam): Swarovski Crystal Beads - Lead Bead Configuration Contender Number 2!
The siam colour looks okay in this picture but in real life, it is too dark and contrasty against the yarn. The light siam is a closer colour match to the yarn, so it is little less conspicuous during the day while twinkling happily at night.
Completely polarised feedback from people on these beads, compared with the other leading choice. They either really liked these, feeling that they stood head and shoulders above any other beads in the swatch - or they prefered the unfaceted 3mm red glass beads.
While I do not find the shape of these beads as sympathetic as the unfaceted ones, it cannot be denied that they are sparkly, both day and night. They stand out well against the yarn - are they elegant or would the result be a little bit chavvy?
Two very different contenders that give two very different effects. Stuck but I need to make a decision, so all input very welcome!
I have posted some more bead close ups on Flickr and the slideshow is here, if you would like to go see!