What size beads do you have?

Have you acquired some seed beads and you are not sure if they are the size you need for a HeartStrings pattern? You don’t need fancy tools, calipers or such, to find out. As a knitter, it is likely that you already have a knitting needle gauge. That’s all you need for determining what size beads you have. Here’s how —

Using your knitting needle gauge, find the closest hole that matches one of your round beads as shown in the following picture. The mm sizing on your knitting needle gauge is either exactly, or close to, the diameter of the beads you have. In this picture, I demonstrate with 3 different size beads that are commonly used in HeartStrings beaded knitting patterns.

Using a knitting needle gauge to determine bead size
Use a knitting needle gauge to determine bead size (click to enlarge picture because I know it might be difficult to see the beads, especially the smallest one!)

Looking at the largest to the smallest of the 3 beads in the picture, we have these diameters (and I’ll also go ahead and give you an alternative common specification that you are likely to see when shopping for beads):

  • 4 mm diameter = size 6/0 seed bead
  • 3 mm diameter = size 8/0 seed bead
  • 2 mm diameter = size 11/0 seed bead

I hope this helps you confidently proceed with using beads you have on hand, or when shopping to know what you are getting.

In case you had not seen yet, here are also some of my other bead information resources, such as estimates of number of beads per gram (really helpful since almost all beads are sold by grams rather than number of beads).

Happy knitting and beading!

p.s. If you love sheep-y things as much as I do, you’ll love seeing this cute Sheep Needle Gauge designed by Susan Pine, the Elegant Knitter at Goose Pond.

Written by Jackie Erickson-Schweitzer - Visit Website

5 thoughts on “What size beads do you have?”

  1. OH for goodness sakes-why didn’t I know that??? Much handier than using DH’s expensive caliper to measure those little things

  2. This is perfect timing for me. Thanks for sharing. I’ll be reading about beads per gram next! You’re right about the cute Sheep Needle Gauge. I have one and I love it.

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