For a while now, I've been a bit intrigued by the notion of adding beads to knitted things.
Intrigued enough that when I placed an order with Knit Picks earlier this year, in March, I threw in a packet of beads and a set of three small gauge steel crochet hooks. When my order arrived, I pulled the smallest hook - a 1.3 mm hook - from the packet and opened up the little box of 8/0 beads.
The hook did not fit through the hole.
Admittedly, I hadn't really done much research before adding those things to my order - I just sort of figured that the smallest hook would do the trick, that the store wouldn't sell beads without also selling appropriately sized hooks. (At the time, I didn't see any smaller hooks on the site. They're there now. They may have always been there, but I'm going to go on believing that they weren't there when I placed that order.)
A bit of Googling revealed that there were other options available to me, so I didn't get too upset, and just set that stuff aside, figuring I'd get there one day.
Now. I'm officially in the Tour de Sock. There is beading in two of the patterns - and the sock for stage one, code name Sock Echo, is one that requires a few beads. (The hint says 50.) I have some beads, not great ones for the yarn I wanted to use, but I figured I could make do in a pinch, but I'd need to figure out beads for one of the other patterns - code name Sock Bravo - which calls for a whopping 500 beads, divided between two colours.
So I knew I'd need to buy some beads. I looked at Knit Picks again, found the smaller hook, which is on a tiny sale right now, and added it to a virtual cart, and started tossing in beads and looking for other things to try and get up to the $7 USD flat rate shipping to Canada. The colour selection for beads is not fantastic, though, and I was having some niggling doubts about whether I'd really be happy with any of those colours combined with the yarn I want to use for both Sock Echo and Sock Bravo.
I had also been looking around the interwebs at videos for alternatives to the crochet hook beading method - the superfloss method, the twist tie wire method, the Fleegle beader - and had spent a bit of time seriously considering just buying a couple of Fleegle beaders to be done with it.
Today, though, I remembered something I had seen in the Fleegle beader how-to video. It noted that one type of bead, Delica beads, have larger holes.
I Googled, and found information indicating that 8/0 Delicas have a 1.5 mm hole.
I have a 1.3 mm hook. 8/0 Delicas have a 1.5 mm hole. 1.3 is smaller than 1.5.
Today, I made a trip to a local bead store that sells Delicas to try and get beads for my Tour socks. Their selection was rather poor, and the prices they were asking made my jaw drop. I ended up selecting a single vial of the lowest price Delicas - $4 CAD - and took it home. It's not a colour that I really want to use with my Sock Echo yarn, but it will work with pretty well any sister yarn, and I wanted to test out whether using Delicas would save me from having to hunt down a new tinier crochet hook.
I got the beads home, grabbed my hook, removed the lid, and...
It totally works. I found an online source and ordered way, way too many Delicas - like, six different colours - for a better price than can be had locally - even with the expedited shipping option I selected to improve the odds that I'll get my beads in time for the start of the Tour.
Now I'm haunting my own email inbox waiting for the shipping confirmation notice, and then I'll be haunting the mailbox waiting for my packet of beads.
That's normal, right?