Its fairly easy to add beads on a knitting machine and although you can do it on any gauge machine, beading really looks best on standard gauge fabrics because the beads are in better proportion to the stitches. That said, the example in my video was worked on a mid-gauge machine (6.5 mm).
You’ll need a tiny latch tool to transfer the beads onto the stitches. Notions counters may sell a hosiery/knit mending tool or I have handmade, wooden handled beaders available for sale on my web site.The ones I sell have a fairly long shaft and you should be able to stack on 6-8 beads, depending on their size. Just be aware that these tiny latches are very fragile and need to be treated carefully.I ship them with a protective cap and you should replace it whenever you store the tool.
You simply insert the hook of the tool into the stitch on the needle – or one row down – then release the stitch from its needle. Close the latch of the tool and slide a bead over the latch and onto the stitch, tugging gently to pull enough of the stitch through the bead to replace it on the needle. I usually work with the stitch one row down for larger beads so that they do not distort the fabric. The carriage will knit more smoothly if you bring the needles to holding position before knitting the next row.
You can combine beading with tuck stitch patterning or with cables or other hand manipulated stitches. For the example at left, I manually enlarged a single stitch in the middle of each cable so that the beads sat right on the surface of the fabric.