If you have a special occasion or event to attend or happen to be bored with some old things in your closet, why not try shaking things up a little by doing some beading? It can be very easy and rewarding to add beads to a sweater or cardigan, sweater beading is a hobby you may find addicting!
First, be sure the sweater you plan to bead has recently been washed and dried. This will ensure that the knit of the sweater is even and tight. It's easier to bead a sweater with a tight, small knit than a loose one, and you wouldn't want to lose any of your stitches between the knitted ones.
Now if your design is particularly complex, such as with flowers or other shapes, plan it out on a sheet of paper first. Write down the colors of beads you'll need, the thread color which best blends in with your sweater, and so on. Having your entire project planned before you head to the store will save you a lot of frustration and may save you from getting sidetracked.
Go to your local fabrics and crafts shop and choose your beads. You'll likely want to use small glass beads, like seed beads, rondelles and bugles. Choose new, strong thread and thin beading needles, enough lightweight or medium weight interfacing to cover the back of your design, and pins to hold it in place.
Once home, trace your beading design onto the interfacing with pencil (if applicable). Pin the design into place on the wrong side of your sweater. Then thread your needle and begin your beading. The interfacing will help keep the shape of your sweater smooth and protect the stitches from pulling out of any loose or soft yarn. It will also help you remember your design.
You may find it helpful to pour your beads out onto a saucer, or to keep them in something with multiple sections, such as an ice cube tray or garnish or condiment dish. This will make it easier to slip them onto your needle or find the colors you need for each stitch.
Follow your beading design carefully and take your time. Patience is a virtue in all needlework projects. Perhaps you may also be interested in getting a group of friends together to bead your sweaters together. Sewing circles can be fun when surrounded by great friends and some snacks and a bottle of wine!