Category Archives: beading

Crafty Moms 12.0, a guitar, and a Tauriel winner

Yes, the 12th annual Crafty Moms weekend! I looked back in my Shutterfly albums, and the very first crafty spring beach trip was in 2003. There were four of us moms then, and we took our 4th graders and our spouses with us. The next year we ditched the kids and spouses. The group has waxed and waned in the following years; this year we had 15 moms.

I love this time away so I can reconnect with friends, and also work intensively on projects. This year, I knit most of the second version of a shawl that will be published at the end of the month.

mimosa

I can’t really show you what it looks like, but here are several other things I’ve designed during past Crafty Moms weekends.

pacific
Pacific Shawl

breezy
Breezy Market Tote

2 way rockaway
Rockaway 2-way Beach Beanie/Cowl

I loved this group of young adults hanging out on the beach.

sunset love

It was a pretty rainy weekend, with a few sunbreaks.

seagulls

rainbow

lone seagull

I’ve done some songwriting on previous Crafty Moms weekends, too. Not this time, although I was hoping my new travel guitar would arrive before I left. Missed me by 4 hours! And I had too much knitting on deadline, anyway. But this is what I found when I got home.

Taki and Minnie

It’s the Limited Edition Holden Village Taylor GS Mini Guitar on the right. I’ve named her Minerva (Minnie for short), and she has a huge sound for such a little thing! The top is old-growth Engelmann Spruce from near Holden Village in the North Cascade Mountains in Washington. The trees were harvested as part of a mine remediation project that will clean up the creek there. Part of the proceeds from the sale of each of these guitars will go to El Porvenir and Living Waters for the World. El Porvenir has a special place in my heart since I worked on a service trip with them in Nicaragua in 2012. You can read more about the guitars here and here. The combination of a fundraiser for El Porvenir plus tonewood from Holden Village (a place I’ve never been, but a place that inspired Marty Haugen to write Holden Evening Prayer, a gorgeous piece of liturgical music that we’ve sung on Women’s Retreat and at church) pushed me to order this guitar.

inlay

Larry Breedlove designed a beautiful 12th fret inlay that portrays water flowing from between two mountains. There’s a lot of inspiration in this little package, and a lot of win for everyone.

Speaking of win: We have a Tauriel winner. There were 195 comments, wow! The winner is Lynne Phelps; I have sent her an email to get her info to Bonne Marie. Thanks all, for reading and commenting. And I hope all the rest of you download and knit this wonderful pattern!

How was your weekend?

Beading your knits

We’ve cast on for the RCYC MKAL, but it’s not too late to join the fun! You can find the pattern on Ravelry, here.

We had a cast on party at Twisted last night.

MKAL cast on party

Such fun to meet MKALers in real life!

And here’s my garter tab cast on tutorial, in case you need a little help.

I actually cast on at home so I could be available to chat and help at the party, and I got a little inspired. There’s an option to add beads in clue 4 of the pattern, but I had extra beads, and so I decided to add some here. I’ll post a picture at the end of this post, in case you don’t want to see a spoiler. For now, I want to share several different ways of adding beads to your knitting. These methods are all for beading as you go, rather than pre-stringing.

My favorite method involves a simple tool called the Bead Aid. It’s a bit of jewelry wire, bent in the middle and polished at the ends, so it won’t snag your yarn. You can see mine in my beading tin.

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Simple and elegant! You can find it in a few local yarn shops (I know Pearl Fiber Arts has them), and online here (video on how to use it is here, too).

It’s the same principle as this tutorial from Romi Hill. (She used it in her Ice Queen pattern in Knitty Winter 2007, and I remembered!) You can DIY, but I’m happy with getting mine pre-made and polished. Whatever works for you, works.

You can also use the crochet hook method. This involves a very tiny crochet hook; mine is size 13/14, 0.90 mm. That’s a hook head less than a millimeter in diameter! I tend to split the yarn when I use this method, so it’s not my preferred method.

Laura Nelkin demonstrates the hook method, and also a clever way to use pre-threaded dental floss, in this video.

I tried the dental floss method, too, but I didn’t love it. It’s a great way to corral your beads, but I didn’t like having them hanging on the end of the floss; I had a hard time manipulating the wire and at the same time getting the beads where I wanted them to go. Your mileage may vary!

OK, here’s the info on where I put my beads. The first clue is rain, and I wanted raindrops on the k2tog decreases, but didn’t want to fiddle with two stitches *and* a bead, so I put them on the next row on the purl stitch that was the back side of the k2tog, just before working the stitch. I’d never placed beads on the wrong side row before, but guess what? The bead shows up where it belongs on the right side anyway. Win!

And now that I think about it, you can get the same result by placing the bead on the k2tog on the right side row *after* working the k2tog, so that it gets purled on the next row. Whatever is easier for you to work. Knitter’s choice! I’m used to taking the stitch from the left needle to add the bead before working the stitch. If you add the bead after working the stitch, you’ll have to take it (and replace it) to the right needle, which might be easier if you’re a lefty, but not for me, a righty.

I’m using size 8/0 Miyuki Delica beads. They’re tube shaped rather than round. My local bead store only had size 11/0 (too tiny), so I found these at Twisted. I should have looked there first, but I thought beads came from a bead store. Go figure. These are exactly what I wanted.

Spoiler pic below…

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beads!

Knit on!

monogamous knitting

I’m back! I was traveling last week. I took two knitting projects with me. One was my Garland shawl, and the other was the beginning of a Filigree shawl.

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I guess I really am a monogamous knitter at heart. I only worked on the Garland shawl; I never even looked at the Filigree. I had been worried about trying to knit with beads on this trip, because we were spending a week on this 65 foot catamaran.

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(The Ouvea V)

Surprisingly, bead knitting wasn’t a problem, as long as I wasn’t knitting while we were actively sailing. Which is no time to be knitting, anyway.

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(hanging out at Monkey Point, Guana Island, a great snorkeling spot)

We were celebrating my mother-in-law’s significant birthday, and it was a blast. Our family of 10 spent a week in the British Virgin Islands on a crewed charter (captain, chef, hostess). It was a blissful week of sailing, snorkeling, and beaches.

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(The Baths at Virgin Gorda)

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(Above the Bubbly Pool at Diamond Cay, Jost Van Dyke)

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(DH getting away from it all, Benures Bay, Norman Island)

And sunsets…

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I found a couple of these little shells on the last beach of the trip (Benures Bay, Norman Island). So cute!

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It’s a coffeebean trivia (false cowrie). They’re about a centimeter long. They look like smiles on the other side.

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I brought them home and turned them into the centerpieces of a little keepsake project. Ankle bracelets, one for me and one for sis-in-law. These remind me of sand and the color of the sea when the sun is shining on shallow waters. (I had to drill holes in them to string them; I did that with a bead reamer.)

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The instructions for these beaded bracelets (or necklace, or whatever) are in my free Victoriana Bracelet pattern. They’re made with a crochet chain with a few beads worked in. Pick some beads and make one for yourself, and one for a friend!

Back to my Garland, and real life…

Managing your beads for knitting

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Still happily knitting along on my Garland Shawl for the KAL. Based on Sarah’s comment yesterday, I absconded with an Altoids tin from CollegeKid’s room. (He’s home for the summer. The tin has been there much longer…) It’s just the right size for a short tube of beads, a magnet, and my Bead Aid. The tube keeps most of the beads corralled, so if I spill, it’s just a few beads that go flying.

It was a little bit noisy with the beads rolling around in the tin, so I cut a scrap of craft fun foam to fit the bottom of the tin. Now the sound of rolling beads won’t disturb DH when I’m doing my night owl knitting. The foam also makes it easier for me to pick up a bead. The magnet holds my Bead Aid, and it also secures the fun foam to the bottom of the tin.

Perfect tool, and free! Thank you, Sarah!

Garland Shawl cast on options

I’m planning my cast on for the Garland KAL. My prototype shawl is very wide and shallow. I’d like to make my next one deeper, like test knitter Rachel’s, but also as wide as it can be with the amount of yarn I have. I was conservative with Rachel’s test knit to make sure the deeper shawl would be wide enough with about 400 yards of yarn, even though the Cashy Lite was 495 yards.

How do you know if you should make the wider, shallower shawl, or the narrower, deeper shawl? Part of it depends on how you like to wear your shawl.

If you have about 400 yards of yarn, your deeper shawl will probably be most comfortable worn centered on your back. The ends don’t provide a lot of overlap for wearing this like a scarf. Rachel’s shawl took 390 yards at 6 st/inch.

Photo May 13, 3 47 06 PM

Photo May 13, 3 26 34 PM

If you use those 400 yards to make a shallower shawl, you’ll get more overlap at the ends.

If you have 450 yards or more, the shallower shawl will be super wide like my prototype. This one took 455 yards at 5 st/inch. (I’m planning to aim for 5.5 or 6 st/inch next time, for a slightly firmer fabric.)

Photo May 13, 3 27 36 PM

Photo May 13, 3 29 09 PM

It’s luxuriously wrappable, but I don’t know that I’d wear it centered on my back. Maybe if I were taller…

I’m planning to split the difference this time and go deep *and* wide. How?

The pattern instructions tell you how many repeats wide to make your shawl, but you can easily customize this for the amount of yarn you have. This is because the shawl is knit from side to side. You start at the right end, increase towards the center back, and then decrease to the left end. With a little math, you can easily adjust the size of your shawl without fear of running out of yarn.

You’ll need a kitchen scale, one of my favorite knitting tools. Weigh your yarn before you begin. Half of this yarn will go to the increase section of your shawl, and half will go to the decrease section. Weigh your yarn after every 24 row repeat. (Weigh your yarn in grams, because it’s a more precise measure on the scale.) This will show you how much yarn each repeat takes. The amount increases gradually with each repeat, because you’re increasing the number of stitches with each repeat. You’ll need to figure in enough yarn for the center repeat, which has no increases or decreases, but the center repeat will weigh about as much as the repeat before and after it. When you are halfway through that center repeat, you need to have at least half your yarn left for the decreases! (You don’t really need to start weighing your yarn until the 7th repeat, but it doesn’t hurt to know the numbers.)

If you don’t want to do any figuring or customizing, go ahead and knit according to the pattern directions.

So, deep or shallow? What’s your Garland going to be? Beads? No beads? I’m going for beads! I like the bling, and the little bit of extra heft and drape they give the fabric.

I’m looking forward to getting my yarn, Knitted Wit’s Cashy Lite in Peacock. She’s dyeing today! Did you order yarn from Knitted Wit, or are you using your own? If you ordered from Lorajean, I’m tucking in a little goodie for you with your yarn.

KAL stitch markers

Looking forward to casting on, June 10!

Planning a KAL; knit Garland with me!

Thanks for the warm welcome for my new Garland Shawl pattern! It was even on Ravelry’s Hot Right Now list on launch day. I happened on it late that night, so who knows how high it went? It was a special thrill to see this!

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I’m really looking forward to hosting the Garland Shawl KAL. I’ve picked my yarn color. I thought I’d be knitting a narrower version of Garland in the same Spring Green as my wide version, but I changed my mind and will be knitting with Knitted Wit’s Cashy Lite in Peacock, another lovely green with blue undertones.

I’ve shopped for beads. There was an impromptu trip to Shipwreck Beads in Lacey, WA (quite the mothership of beads) last week. I was hoping for size 6/0 or 8/0 Delica beads (they’re little tubes), but they only had size 11, which are too tiny for this project. I bought 6/0 Czech seed beads instead. I’m hoping one of these two colors work. And I bought a few other things, too…

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I’ll be using my Bead Aid to place beads in my Garland. I like this method so much better than the crochet hook method because I don’t accidentally split my yarn while pulling it through the bead. Here’s a chance for a lucky someone to try Bead Aid: Sarah gave me a set of two to give away on the blog. If you’d like a chance to win them, tell me in the comment section. I’ll pick a random winner on May 31. If you don’t win, there’s still time to order some from her; we’re casting on June 10. You don’t have to be part of the KAL to enter, but I’d love it if you’d knit along with me!

I’m planning a blog post on how to get the most mileage out of the yarn yardage you have. And I’m hoping you’ll join my PDXKnitterati Ravelry group; it will be easier to have back and forth discussion over there rather than on the blog. We’ve already got the ball rolling over there. Come join the fun! Not a Raveler? I’ll still answer questions here, too, but it feels like a party on Ravelry.

If you’re ordering yarn from Knitted Wit, you should know that orders are due by June 1. We’ll ship on June 5 for a June 10 cast on. I’m planning to make some stitch markers to send out with those orders, just for fun.

Not sure about knitting shawlettes? Mary Mooney gives you seven good reasons to knit one. Hey, we’re a trend!

Don’t forget to leave a comment if you’d like a chance to win the Bead Aids. Or comment on anything else you want to discuss. Knit on!

Coming soon: Garland Shawl and KAL

Spring has arrived in PDX. The trees have gone through their pink and white blossomed glory, and are settling nicely into green. My knitting has, too.

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This is a sneak peek at Garland, my upcoming design. I was inspired by my awakening garden, and by Sivia Harding’s Sideways Lace Shawl Design class in March. Put the two together, and the result is a leafy lace border on a sideways crescent shawl. Optional beads along the leafy ribs add a bit of bling.

pendant

I am so happy that I finally found the perfect use for this gorgeous skein of Cashy Lite from Knitted Wit. It had been through two previous design starts. The first was nearly done when I saw a nearly identical shawl at my LYS. The second will require two skeins, and I only had one of this very special color from Lorajean’s first CSY in 2011. Third time’s a charm! And the yarn has held up like a champ, even after two froggings.

The pattern is written and is going through a final test knit. I’m hoping to publish it next week after photographs. And best of all, Lorajean and I are planning a June KAL. I’ll have a discount coupon code for participants, and an extra special coupon code if you’re ordering yarn from Knitted Wit. More on that next week, when the pattern goes live.

Place orders by June 1st, orders will ship June 15th in time for the June 21st cast on. You’ll receive one skein of Cashy Lite, 80/10/10 Merino/Cashmere/Nylon, 495 yards. Visit http://www.flickr.com/photos/knittedwit/sets/72157633152678746/ to see all the yarn colors available, write in the color name when checking out. If you want the same color as mine, ask for Spring Green. It’s not in the flickr set; it’s special for this project because I love it so much, I’ve convinced LJ that we should do it. It’s a great color, fresh and lively, and not too neon or acid. Think happy new growth green!

I love the added sparkle that beads give to this design. They remind me of dewdrops on morning leaves. I started by using the crochet hook beading method that I learned from Sivia way back at the first Sock Summit. It’s pretty efficient, but I tend to split my yarn with the tiny crochet hook while pulling it through the bead about 20% of the time. My knit nite buddy Sarah sent over some of her new Bead Aids to try out. I am a convert! I have not split my yarn at all since moving to this new method. It’s a great tool, and I highly recommend it.

I’m looking forward to publishing the pattern next week. Do you want to knit along? Have you ever added beads to your knitting?

Free and easy…Victoriana bracelet pattern

My crochet beaded bracelet class didn’t happen Saturday; not enough people signed up for it. I did these at a party last week with my Crafty Moms group, and we had a great time. I’m guessing that this project may be a better bead store offering than a yarn store offering, and that’s ok.

All dressed up and no place to go? I wrote a pattern for the class, but it’s so simple that I’m going to offer it as a freebie. You can download it here. Victoriana

These bracelets are simple and quick, and they make great gifts. The fun is in choosing just the right beads for your project.

I use pre-threaded silk cord, because it’s easier to thread beads with small holes (no doubling the cord back through a needle), but do as you like. The only stitch used is a crocheted chain stitch; we had several non-crocheters at our gathering and they had no problem learning this simple stitch. Gauge is not an issue; you just go until it’s long enough.

Enjoy!

Winner!

I’ve been knitting like crazy, but I had to step away from the knitting for a little bit. I can’t see my chart.

This is another Kerfuffle Cowl, this time in Knit Picks Swish Tonal; the colors are Inkwell and Pearlescent. I should be able to get two cowls out of the two skeins of yarn, but I may have to reverse the colors for the second one. The scale will tell me when I’m done with the first one! Do you use a kitchen scale for your knitting? It’s really helpful for me when I’m designing and need to know if I have enough yarn for what I have planned.

I’ve also been doing a little crochet lately. Just chain stitch. I’ve been making beaded bracelets, and I’m going to lead a workshop on these at Twisted on November 10, noon to 2 p.m. We made some of these at a birthday gathering of Crafty Moms on Sunday, and everyone did great, even the non-crocheters. Come to class and see how!

And the moment you’ve all been waiting for: The winners of the stitch markers are Katnipon and Judi. Congratulations! I’m emailing the winners.

I wish I had enough stitch markers for everyone. Here are links to my tutorials if you want to make beaded stitch markers of your own:

Stitch markers made with wire pins (flat head or eye pins)

Stitch markers made with flex wire

Have fun!

Beads and the C-word

I was inspired by Nancy Ricci’s Facebook post of a beautiful beaded necklace that she had crocheted. She made it with C-lon thread, a size 1.75 mm crochet hook, and lots of beads. I had to give it a try.

strung

You begin by pre-stringing all your beads on to the thread. The last bead you thread will be the first that gets crocheted in. I found that a dental floss threader was a big help for stringing beads, but it’s hard to get the relatively thick thread through some of those tiny bead holes, and using the threader means that it’s a double thickness going through.

Nancy crocheted one stitch between each beaded stitch. I decided I liked the look of two chain stitches between each bead.

crocheted

You can see my progress from threaded beads to crocheted beads here.

transit

I originally thought I was going to make three graduated strands, but I didn’t like the way they looked as singles. They kind of curl back on themselves, and I wanted stick-straight strands. I decided to make them all the same length, and braid them slightly to give them some heft. As I was finishing the last 4 inches of beads, my strands got straighter, so there may have been some operator error involved.

done

I finished the ends of each strand with knot covers (there may be another name for these clamshells that cover your knots) and connected them to a jump ring, which I then connected to a toggle set. (Like the gecko?) The knot covers aren’t quite the same color as the toggle set, but they’re close enough. They look like beads.

gecko

When I was done, I wasn’t sure I liked the necklace, because it wasn’t what I had envisioned. But I’ve been wearing it today to see how it hangs, and I like it more and more.

on

(Ah, yes, the bathroom mirror picture.) Too bad it’s not for me! If I were to do it again, I think I’d see about bigger beads (to give it more visual weight and maybe hang straighter? and then I could have my three graduated strands) or thinner C-lon (it comes in weights, but there was only one weight at the bead store) for these smaller beads. I wanted to put some freshwater pearls in, but the thread was too thick for the holes in the pearls. More fun things to play with!