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Tips & Techniques

Get tips and techniques to become a better beader at Lima Beads.


Knitting on a Spool with Soft Flex Beading Wire

The Soft Flex crew put together this great tip for using knitting spools with their beading wire:

Not only are there 3 different styles of knitting spools available (3-peg, 4-peg & 5-peg) but there are several different ways to knit on each spool. I’ve learned 3 variations.

Style 1:

Click to Enlarge

Stick the wire down the center of the spool. When teaching this technique, I always describe the face of the knitting spool like a clock. So you can see below that the wire is running to the left of 12 o’clock.


Wrap the wire clockwise around 12pm, pass through the middle of the spool and then wrap clockwise around 10pm, then 8pm, 4pm & 2pm. You should have one loop around each peg. (In my design, I’m using 2 wire colors: Purple Amethyst Soft Flex® Wire & Pink Rhodochrosite Soft Flex® Wire, but treating them as if they are one wire.)

Simply repeat the pattern and wrap each peg a second time. And then, starting at 12pm, use your stylus (comes with the knitting spool) to pull the bottom loop up over the top loop and into the middle of the spool.

For a bracelet, knit about 5 inches of chain. When ready to remove from the knitting spool, cut the wire that you have been feeding in with about 2-3 inches to spare to create a tail. Carefully pull each loop off of the spool. Push your tail through each loop. Play around with it and cinch down as tight as you can get it. And finally, crimp the wire to an eye pin, pull the eye pin through a cone and wire wrap to the single strand clasp of your choice.

Style 2:

Is exactly the same, except you will wind 3 loops around each peg and pull the bottom loop up over the top two loops. More wire will be running through this design so it will be much more dense.

Style 3:

Click to Enlarge

The third style is also very similar to the Single Knit and Double Knit but yields a design that looks more like a Viking Knit. The basic instructions that come with each spool are for this variation.

You will only wrap the wire around each peg once. When you return to 12pm, you will not pass through the center but instead wrap the wire around the outside of the peg.

In this style of knitting, you will only have one loop of wire on each peg at all times (instead of 2 or 3). You will pull the loop over the top of the wrapped piece of wire and into the middle. Continue until you have created about 5 inches of chain.

Not only can you change your design by choosing a different style of knitting – you can also use different colors, different diameters or gauges of wire and different kinds of materials. I used Soft Flex colors in .019/Medium in these two designs.

Buy Products from this Technique

Read the comments (or add your own)

  1. No Photo
    Fenya says:

    I loved working with a stylus when I was a young girl. It is so exciting LB has this available! I already placed my order. Can’t wait to use it!

  2. K cadorette
    K cadorette says:

    i love new tools.i very much would love to try this,but not at those prices.great idea.

  3. Anita C aka PirateChick
    Anita C aka PirateChick says:

    Brings back fond memories – amazing that you can use wire instead of just wool/yarn! Thanks for the tutorial!

  4. No Photo
    joyfulhart556 says:

    Love the bracelets, cannot seem to find the beautiful silver cones you have used to finish the bracelets with. Could you tell me where on your site they are? I have searched all through the cones….

    Thank you!

  5. No Photo
    Dot J says:

    Brings back the old memories of wooden spools of thread

  6. No Photo
    Dot J says:

    Brings back the old memories of wooden spools of thread!

  7. Asia
    Asia says:

    Yes,the silver cones,when are you getting them!!!

  8. No Photo
    Annemarie S says:

    How about threading seed beads in different colours onto one of the wires in a specific colour combination that goes with the colour of your wire? I think one could really play around with a few interesting bead types as well! Thank you for getting the juices going.

  9. No Photo
    Tanja L says:

    Almost all that’s new is a well forgotten old. Here in Sweden and back home in Moscow this has been used since long ago. We tried this at school and made them ourselves. The amount of pins is up to you. Somewhere on the net I saw a variation made from a core of a toilet paper roll for kids to try it with some cord or cotton crochet thread. Here’s my collection and a couple of collars made one with crochet and another one with some fancy acrylic thread.

    Attachment Attachment

  10. puppychick  labratbecky
    puppychick labratbecky says:

    Tanja, we had the exact same thing when I was a child–big wooden spools from thread with nails in the top. recycling at its best! :)

  11. No Photo
    Deirdre R says:

    Interesting! A must try!!

  12. No Photo
    Jan D says:

    I too remember these as a kid… I love this idea of recycling… These are great! Thanks for the great memories !

  13. No Photo
    Lyone f says:

    Can you please do a video on this? I just don’t “get it”, from the directions that you have written here.

  14. No Photo
    Cara r says:

    How much Wire did you use for the bracelet?

  15. CreationsbyJoEtsycom
    CreationsbyJoEtsycom says:

    Oh dear, brings back many, many memories…of my coming home from school with a paper from my teacher with a message and a diagram. My dad heading for the basement to start up his saw and my mom heading for the 2nd floor of our house to find yarns for me to begin my new projects. I had several of these knitting “machines” some of which I gave to my friends so they could make some too. Such fun and so simple! Thanks for the happy memories!

  16. Blue Jeans 501
    Blue Jeans 501 says:

    I can see that the pins are made from cotter key type pins (available at hardware stores and automotive supply stores), but you will have to eyeball the right size. If you can get a wooden dowel about 3.5-4 inches long and have someone drill out the center with a drill press, ( 1/2-5/8 inch hole?)and maybe add the pins for you at the same time(?!)you can make one of these. We all had them as kids apparently, dating ourselves here girls! lol I am going to try it out and see if it works. What a wonderful idea…(smacking self in head) why didn’t I think of that?

  17. Rochelle P
    Rochelle P says:

    I have a group home with 2 mentally challenged ladies that use that type of spool. I didn’t even thinks of using them to make bracelets. This will be a new thing for them to try. They love bracelets!

  18. No Photo
    Jennas Jems says:

    This is something I would like to learn

  19. No Photo
    LauraW says:

    I love it-looks very relaxing, like kumihimo can be, I like the questions asked, but I don’t see an answer. Please let us know how much wire to use, as well as where you got the cones.Please let us know soon-looks like you have a lot of interested people, me included!I agree with K-prices could be lower. Thank you, and I look forward to your reply, which would help all the others before me!

  20. No Photo
    stylinga says:

    I thought finally I found something I can do. So I ordered all the stuff. I couldn’t wait to get it home. I followed the directions but, I am doing something wrong after I wrap the wire around all the pegs and pick the wire up from under the pegs. Something doesn’t look right. Help!

  21. CatPark
    CatPark says:

    The tricky part of working with the knitting spool is getting it started. The knot and “tail” on the wire go down into the middle of the spool. I held onto the “tail” for enough tension to keep the wire around the pegs. The knitted wire will start to move down through the center of the spool and come out of the bottom. I promise it is easy once you get the hang of it!

  22. Diana Toffoli
    Diana Toffoli says:

    perhaps it would be best to practice with yarn before trying the wire, it would be easier to handle

  23. No Photo
    M Pelech says:

    I to did this as a kid in Scotland and used a thread spool with nails in it and I made rugs with all the pieces of yarn my mom had left over from her knitting till I learned to knit myself But now you gave me the Idea of using wire sounds great I know they have the kits for childrens crafts with other shapes and sizes of bobbins very reasonably priced at Walmarts

  24. No Photo
    J Polley says:

    I was so excited to see this. knitting spool. I was just talking with my daughter the other day about my earliest memory of tatting lace with my grandmother
    on a wooden thread spool with 4 nails in the top that was over 50 years ago. I was telling her how sorry I was that, it was all I could remember. I could not remember how we did it. It is good to see that someone has taken and old idea and made it new again.

  25. No Photo
    J Cornnell says:

    I have looked for this loom and now I got it can’t wait to start

  26. No Photo
    Moogie says:

    I found a very good video on YouTube from Beaducation on how to knit wire. I finished one necklace & am working on 2 more using different variations. I have a 4 peg & 6 peg spool. I think it’s a lot of fun!


  27. Jeanne S
    Jeanne S says:

    The clasp is a JBB sterling clasp that I used years ago on a necklace. It is beautiful but not very secure. This is from the Softflex website. I was going to try Option 3 but their website says it needs 12 feet and I have 10 so I’ll try Option 1.

  28. No Photo
    Casimira K says:

    The spools and stylus is great. The idea is great too. I remember making miles of these years ago. My father used an old wooden spool of thread and hammered smooth nails into it. The new ones are great but I agree with K cadarette; way too expensive. I’ll use my handmade one and a crochet hook.

  29. RonnyJ
    RonnyJ says:

    We made these at Girl Scout camp years ago! I lost mine in a move and forgot about it. Then, I saw one at WalMart in the kids craft section and got it, and put it away. Now I think I’ll get it out. Got lots of wire to try this with!

  30. dolllady aka Pam
    dolllady aka Pam says:

    I just received directions for making one on Instructables using a paper towel tube, tape, colored Duct tape, craft sticks and hot glue. Someone on the sight suggested using a 4″ piece of PVC pipe scraps in the diameter of your choice. The smaller the diameter the smaller the knitted tube. They also used craft sticks and hot glue.

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