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Dear Pat: Can you give us some tips on crocheting with beads? I want to copy a lovely - and very expensive - beaded crochet collar but don't know how to do the beading. - Suzie L., Springfield, Colo.

Dear Suzie: I once had a pattern for such a collar but can't seem to locate it anywhere in my files. So I'll just have to do the next best thing and give you a general idea of how it is done.You will first need to string the beads on the yarn or thread you will use for the crocheting.

Ideally, you should use a needle small enough to pass through the beads but with an eye large enough to accommodate the thread or yarn.

But this is not always possible. As an alternative, if the holes in the beads are too small to allow this, you can string the beads on sewing thread with a very fine needle and hold the sewing thread along with the other thread or yarn as you crochet.

Or with fine crochet cotton, if the needle won't pass through the holes, you can dip the end of the thread in quick-drying glue and dispense with the needle entirely. This little trick may or may not work with some yarns, so you would need to experiment to find whether it works for you. Your best bet is to search for beads with large holes.

Be sure to string an ample number of beads before you start to crochet, pushing them far down on the thread or yarn. Then work to the point where you wish to start the beading, sliding the beads out of your way as you go.

It is best to do the beading on a row of single crochet, adding them on the wrong-side rows.

When you want to add a bead, pull it up until it rests against the last single crochet completed before working the next single crochet. Each bead will be held firmly in place by the two neighboring single crochets.

You can work out the beaded design on graph paper in advance or you can just add the beads randomly across a few rows.

So much will depend upon the size of your beads that I suggest you practice on a sample swatch to find the most suitable spacing.

Sorry that I can't be more specific at this time, but I hope this will start you on the way!

I wonder how many of you have ever done the crochet edging known sometimes as the Shrimp Stitch, Crab Stitch, or more simply as Reverse or Backward Crochet?

It adds a lovely finishing touch on many items and is especially good for necklines, collars or cuffs.

As you know, you normally crochet from right to left. For this edging, it's just the opposite.

You should first work a single crochet row along the edge to be trimmed.

At the end of this single crochet row, do not turn your work. Instead, insert your hook into the last single crochet made and work a single crochet into it.

Now, continue working ``backward' from left to right, making single crochets in each stitch across.

After you have worked three or four stitches, you will see the unique rolled edge this creates.

Lots of fun and very effective, too.

Because of the large volume of mail she receives, Pat is unable to answer your letters personally. However, she welcomes all questions and hints, and will use those of general interest in the column whenever possible.

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