Selected vendor: A Stitching Shop - CO
Location: Denver, Colorado

How to use silk & metallics in bead knitting & bead crochet

Not rated yet

You may not think that the thread shows much in beading, or matters much, but it does. We asked designers what they thought of Kreinik threads, and they offered helpful tips to share with you. Whether you're getting into bead crochet, bead knitting, surface embroidery, or other types of beadwork, Kreinik metallic and silk threads offer some benefits that you just can't get with other threads, such as:

1. 200+ colors from which to pick — "For beaded embroidery, the thread color should match the fabric or the beads," notes designer Kim Kotary. With the large range of Kreinik shades, you can find a color to match any bead.

2. Did we mention 200+ colors: With such a wide range, you have more complementary color choices when working a design where the thread shows around the beads. "Kreinik threads are SO PRETTY," says designer Vashti Braha.

Bead Stew "Fire Walk with Me" by Earth Faire

3. Metallics add elements of light to designs — "it catches the light" says designer Maria del Pinto, and it complements the color depth of dichroic and Venetian glass beads, for instance. "Metallic threads add a wonderful shimmer to the beaded knit," notes designer Brenda Franklin. She adds that a transparent bead on a metallic thread will have the shimmer and glow you look for in a silver-lined beads (lined beads often have smaller holes and lose their glow). Designer Betsy Hershberg says Kreinik Cable in particular "is a great choice for a true metallic jewelry look."

4. Kreinik metallic braids, cables, and ribbons are strong: Brenda Franklin notes in her book Beaded Knits Vol. 1 that "glass beads add weight, so the thread that is used for beaded knits must be able to support this extra weight." Brenda often uses Kreinik #8, 12 and 16 Braids for her projects. Vashti Braha uses the metallics "when I need just the right way to feature a dichroic glass pendant. Kreinik stands up to the kind of metallic color depth, and the sheer weight of the glass pieces."

Reversible Bracelet by Brenda Franklin

5. Kreinik silk threads are strong. Silk is natural and one of the strongest fibers you can find. Betsy Hershberg had this to report after trying Kreinik Silk Serica for projects in her book, Betsy Beads: "The silk is a joy to knit/bead with. I'm not sure if I can accurately describe one of its favorite qualities for me as a knitter, but it has to do with a certain amount of "stickiness" it has that allows it to hold for a very even tension i.e., the stitches stay the same size rather than slipping as a rayon thread might. And don't even get me started on the color range..... I am thrilled to have discovered it." About Silk Serica, she adds, "I just love the sheen and the hand of the silk and it stands up really well to the friction of being strung with quite small beads. The stitch definition is beautiful. And it is SO strong!"

6. Kreinik threads are flexible, won't kink: From Earth Faire, a bead and jewelry kit company, "These are very easy threads to use -- unlike most metallics, I haven't found in these a tendency to kink -- they lie smoothly and work well with just about all of the size beads that we use."

7. Kreinik metallics are hand and machine washable: Cotton threads tend to stretch, but with the Kreinik metallics, "stretching when wet is not an issue," notes Earth Faire.

8. They come in a variety of weights/sizes: About Kreinik Tapestry #12 Braid, for example, Vashti notes, "This thread seems to bridge sizes #10 and #20 cotton threads." Kreinik has six sizes of metallic braid, two sizes of metallic ribbon, and three sizes of silk thread, which means you can pick from several options to either match bead sizes or to create your own yarn/thread by combining with other thread types. Some of the thinner threads, like Kreinik Blending Filament and Very Fine #4 Braid work well as carry-along fibers.

9. You can get thread in a variety of spool sizes: Since Kreinik makes their own threads, we can spool or cone any amount. Working on a large project, for instance? Choose a 50m cone, or special-order a custom size. The standard Kreinik spool sizes - from 10m to 20m on a spool — are ideal amounts for most jewelry projects.

Examples of what you can make

  • Beaded earrings
  • Beaded brooches
  • Beaded necklaces
  • Beaded ornaments
  • Beaded pendants
  • Beaded purses
  • Beaded socks
  • Beaded embroidery
  • Beaded trim for garments, home decor, fashion accessories

Which threads to use


Consensus among bead knitters/crocheters is that metal hooks and needles work better than plastic or wooden ones. From designer Maria del Pinto: "You need a metal crochet hook because the plastic ones have surfaces that catch the threads which can ruin the finished look of a piece." Gwen Blakley Kinsler, founder of the Crochet Guild of America, adds, "Depending on the thread, I use a steel hook, sizes 6, 7 or 8."


  • Fine #8 Braid is great for crochet and fine needle lace work, and works well with size 11 seed beads.
  • Fine #8 Braid is frequently used by Earth Faire for beaded jewelry: "We have been using this thread with many of the Jewelry patterns from Brenda Franklin (see their "Jewelry Creations"  on web page). The color and sheen is fabulous and the hand as one works with it is extremely pleasing."
  • Tapestry #12 Braid is another favorite: "it is slightly heavier than the Fine Braid but we like its strength and it works with all but the tiniest of beads (and even sometimes with those)," notes the team at Earth Faire.
  • Medium #16 Braid: "Very firm knit structure, very strong braid that will support larger beads well," reports bead knitting designer Brenda Franklin. Some of the high lustre colors can be rough against skin, however.
  • Heavy #32 Braid and the 1/8" Ribbon are thicker metallics, both equivalent to a fingering/sock yarn, a Light Sport Weight and a size #5 cotton crochet thread, according to Vashti. Beads: "6/0 E-beads" aka "large seed beads" work with this size, but these thicker threads can be rough against skin.
  • Blending Filament is a soft, thin, tinsel-like thread. Rather than using the filament to string beads, we recommend that you use filament as a carry-along thread, worked with another thread type at the same time. It will add a subtle metallic shimmer.
  • Fashion Twist and Fine Twist: These two Kreinik Machine Sewing Metallic Threads are thin enough to use as a carry-along thread in bead knitting and crochet. They are strong, but also anti-microbial, offering added hygienic qualities for beaded garments. See the HeartStrings Fiber Arts knitting pattern #S33 "Glitz and Beads Socks" here: with video tutorial here:

Spyro Gyro earrings by Brenda Franklin


  • Silk Bella: "Wow, this is like tatting thread," notes Vashti, ".5mm hook seems just right. I guess equiv. to #40 or #50 crochet thread."
  • Silk Serica creates soft but strong stitches. "Silk Serica is fabulous with the beads," notes Gwen, "size 8 or 10 or larger [bead] is recommended because it [Serica] is thicker."
  • Silk Serica or Silk Bella offer a smooth thread for handling delicate beads like pearls.
  • Silk is a natural animal fiber, so silk thread complements creations with natural stones.


  • pearls
  • natural stones
  • semi-precious stones
  • glass: dichroic, Venetian, Czech, Delica, seed beads
  • crystal beads, Swarovski and other
  • sterling silver, gold, gold-filled, metal beads
  • bugle beads

Where to get more information or inspiration


  • Betsy Hershberg, Betsy Beads, XRX Books
  • "Kreinik threads could be used in place of any others these authors recommend," notes Gwen Blakely Kinsler: Bethany Barry's book, "Bead Crochet" Interweave 2004, Susan Lutz Kenyon, "Beaded Beauties to Crochet" by Leisure Arts, 2004, "Crochet with Beads" by Hazle Shake , Design Originals,2 005, Lily Chin, "Knit and Crochet with Beads"
  • Brenda Franklin, "Beaded Knits Jewelry and Accessories" volumes 1, 2 and 3.
  • Beading on Fabric by Larkin Jean Van Horn from Interweave Press

Related products