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Bead Crochet
Samples Part I
II
Beadwork August/September 2002
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Reverse bead single crochet evolved in the late 1800’s.  Instructions for bags worked in rows were published in the early 1900’s.  Crochet patterns with continuous rows of bead crochet bags continued through the mid-1950's  and then seemed to decline.   Some of the bags of the late 1800's and early 1900'ss were sometimes worked in the round and then the handles or strap was worked in continuous rows of bead crochet requiring the use of reverse bead single crochet stitch.  Bags of the  late 1940's through the mid 1950's had pill box shapes, rectangular shapes and other shaping that required working in pieces of consecutive bead crochet rows while other sections could be worked in the round.  A pill box shape purse could have the body of the bag worked in the round and also the top section around the bag closing piece.  The top of the bag closure and the bottom of the bag body would be worked in continuous rows requiring the reverse bead single crochet stitch.  These pieces would be combined to make the bag and stiff cardboard or other material was inserted between the outside bead crochet and inner lining, making a very sturdy stiff bag inside.    A 1900 book by Home Needlework indicates the difficulties of making bead crocheted cardcases and tops of square chatelaines when you have to cut the thread after each row and instructions were provided to work reverse bead single crochet stitches.

Reverse Bead Single Crochet

Introduction
 Beads can be crocheted in every round to create a continuous beaded fabric.  Hpwever, when crocheting beads in rows, each time a row is finished, it must be turned and crocheted in the opposite direction.  Right and left-handed crocheters find it awkward to crochet beads back in the opposite direction.  There are many methods for making continuous bead crocheted rows.  I have included two methods for Reverse Bead Single Crochet.  Hook placement in the stitch and choice of the first or second yarnover for adding the bead will result in the beads setting differently.

 Crochet Abbreviations and Terms
ch            chain
sc            single crochet
bsc          bead single crochet
rbsc        reverse bead single crochet
st(s)        stitch(es)
T             turn
yo           yarnover

wrong side    side that has no beads added
right side      side that has beads added

Materials
11/0 Czech or Delica beads, one color
YLI Jean Stitch thread/contrast color to beads

Notions
steel crochet hooks, size 9/1.40mm/Czech, 11/1.10mm/Delicas

General Instructions for Both Samples
There are 21 rows down in each sample excluding the beginning chains.  There are 19 stitches in each row across; 16 rows down of combined bead and thread crochet stitches.  Each bead row begins and ends with two thread stitches and there are 15 bead stitches between.  This creates a border around the bead crochet.  Each row begins with a ch1, then place the hook in the first stitch to begin.  Every other row of bead crochet will be worked in a reverse bead single crochet.  For all thread crochet and standard bsc rows, work in the back half of each stitch.  For rbsc, the hook sets behind the beads and thread; for bsc, the hook sets in front of the beads and thread.  Leave a 3” tail on beginning chains and last row of sc stitches.  For the bsc stitches, put the hook in the next stitch, pull up the bead and yarnover, capturing the bead. With two loops on the hook; yarnover again, taking the hook through both loops on the hook and completing the bsc stitch.  This places the bsc in the first yarnover of each st.  The rbsc beads set differently in each sample.  Count the beads after finishing each row.
  Although the photos appear to have beads missing in some spaces, the beads are there.  I did not take the time to check and pull up any beads setting too low on the samples prior to making the photo images.

RBSC Rows, Sample 1 (beads placed in 1st yarnover)
For each rbsc row, work thread crochet stitches under the back half of the stitch.  For the rbsc sts, place the hook behind the working thread with strung beads, from the right side to the wrong side, under the front half of the stitch.  (From the wrong site, it is the back half of the st from the previous row.)  Pull up a bead next to the bead crocheted side, yo behind the bead and pull up a loop.  Make sure the bead stays to the right side.  There should be 2 loops on hook.  Yo again, taking the hook through both loops on the hook, completing the rbsc.  The bead is added in the first yo of each stitch.  Make a second sample with 2 bead colors alternating in rows, which will show how the beads set in bsc compared to rbsc. 

RBSC-1st yarnover-czech300.jpg (6225 bytes)
RBSC Sample with beads
placed in 1st yarnover - Czech Version
RBSC-1st yarnover-delica300.jpg (6702 bytes)
RBSC Sample with beads
placed in 1st yarnover - Delica Version
RBSC Rows, Sample 2  (beads placed in 2nd yarnover)
For each rbsc row, work thread crochet stitches under the back half of the stitch.  For the rbsc sts, place the hook behind the working thread with strung beads, from the wrong side to the right side, under the front half of the stitch.  (From the wrong side, it is the back half of the stitch from the previous row.)  Yo, pull up a loop.  There should be 2 loops on the hook.  Pull up a bead next to the bead crocheted side, yo above the bead, completing the rbsc. The bead is added in the second yo of each stitch. Make a second sample with 2 bead colors alternating in rows to see how the beads set in bsc compared to rbsc.
RBSC-2nd yarnover-czech300.jpg (6454 bytes)

RBSC Sample with beads
placed in 2nd yarnover - Czech Version

RBSC-2nd yarnover-delica300.jpg (6754 bytes)
RBSC Sample with beads
placed in 2nd yarnover - Delica Version

 

Pattern (Pre-string 240 beads for each sample)

Beginning Chains:  ch20

Row 1 T, 1sc in each st across
Row 2 ch1, T, 1sc in each st across
Row 3 ch1, T, 1sc in each 1st 2 sts, 1bsc in each next 15 sts, 1sc in each last 2 sts
Row 4 ch1, T, 1sc in each 1st 2 sts, 1rbsc in each next 15 sts, 1sc in each last 2 sts
Rows 5-18 alternate rows 3 and 4
Row 19-21 ch1, T, 1sc in each st across.  Fasten off.  Use a sewing needle to stitch in loose thread.

Blocking  Lay samples flat, bead side facing down on ironing board, wrong side up.  Lay a damp cloth over the samples and steam press the sample with an iron.  Remove the iron and damp cloth and let the samples dry.  After blocking, check and see if any of the beads are setting lower in the sample than the rest.  Take a needle through each bead that is recessed and tug lightly so they set up with the rest of the beads in the sample.

 Conclusion  My wrists get tired working reverse single crochet, so I crochet one row left-handed and the next right-handed with bead single crochet.  The beads will also set differently using both hands for alternate rows.  You can use the reverse bead single crochet methods for consecutive bead rows in purses, scarf edges and other wearables.  You only need the reverse bead crochet stitch for working rows.  All bead crochet worked in rounds creates consecutive rounds of beads working bead single crochet.

Resources For Bead Crochet

Borin, Lydia F., Beadwrangler's Hands On Crochet with Beads and Fiber, ISBN 1-891302-01-9, $14.95, Hooty Owl Media, December, 1997

Home Needlework Magazine, from book publication Crocheted Purses and Bags, page 328, A New Stitch in Beaded Crochet by Mary Ward  Shuster, 1900

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