I intended to order a tiny crochet hook when I ordered my yarn for the Secret of the Stole, but as so often happens around here, I was distracted while working on the computer and forgot what I was doing. With yarn in hand, I was too eager to get started to run to the store, so I improvised. (My philosophy in life is that success is 10 percent preparation and 90 percent improvisation.)
Here is what I came up with - a very cheap and easy alternative. I used a thin wire folded in half. I hook the wire into the loop I want to bead and lift it off the needle. I then slip the bead over the wire and down over the loop. Next, I put the loop back on the needle and continue knitting. I don't know if it's as fast or simple as a crochet hook, but it works in a pinch. I used a headpin for making beaded earrings and clipped off the tip. I found that the best length is about an inch long. Any longer is unwieldy. I also found it's best to fold the wire in half so that both sides are the same length.
The yarn is Shadow from Knitpicks - It's called Sunset, but it's more the color of a tasty glass of Merlot.