Category Archives: beading

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.

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.


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 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.



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.


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.


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


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.


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.


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.


(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!

Mad Knitting Skills: 1 Up!


Knitting skills: They’re cumulative! Each new skilled learned is another tool in the toolkit, leading to another idea. What else can I do with this skill? I love that!

One new skill that I’ve learned this past year is adding beads to my knitting. Actually, I learned the basics of this at a “one hour wonder” workshop with Sivia Harding at Sock Summit in 2009, but the new skill languished until I wanted to embellish a shawl I was designing, Pacific.



I love this method of adding beads as you go. It’s a little fiddly, but you only do it when you need to. That works for me. I once started a project that began with pre-stringing a hundred beads. I didn’t like the way it felt with the beads hanging on the working yarn, and I never finished it.

In case you’re interested, I’m donating 100% of my proceeds from now until April 30 from online sales of my Pacific shawl pattern to the Red Cross for Japan Earthquake/Tsunami relief. I’m paying the Ravelry and paypal fees myself; 100% of the purchase price is going towards disaster relief. I’m hoping the gentle waves on this shawl will help bring healing to our neighbors across the Pacific.


Pacific Shawl, published

I keep forgetting to post this, but the pattern is officially up!

Pacific Shawl, details here.


I saw Anna’s last night at book group. The lighting wasn’t ideal, but the shawl is gorgeous!

anna pacific

She used Blue Moon Fiber Arts Woobu, and it is a bit heavier, lovely and drapey. Anna’s shawl is the large size, and the yarn is heavier, too. It’s very cozy, but elegant.

anna pacific full

You can kind of see the beads on the left, here. They’re much sparklier in person.

anna beads

Thanks for knitting, Anna!

test knitting?

I’m looking for a few test knitters to knit my Pacific Shawl. I finished the final (I hope!) edits last night. The two smaller sizes take a skein or less of fingering weight yarn (440 yards or less), and some beads. It looks like this:


The beads are optional, but they’re fun! The small size is sweet worn as a scarf. The medium is…a little larger than the small, but smaller than the large!

If you’re interested in test knitting for me, either this project or another, let me know in the comments and I’ll contact you. I can’t offer you diamonds, gold, or even yarn, but you’d have access to a new design that will be fun to knit, and you get to keep the final project.

Knit on!

back from crafting, I mean camping…

I’m home, skeeter-bit, itchy, and happy. We were at Swift Forest Camp on the Lewis River in Washington. It was marvelous to look up and see this by day…


…and a million stars by night. Being away from city lights really changes the night sky. It’s too early for the Perseid meteor showers, but we saw several meteors streak across the sky each night, including a very bright one tracing the Milky Way. Gorgeous!

I brought my knitting, and I was completely engrossed in my ruffle tank. I ripped both front and back down to the neck shaping so I could adjust the depth of the neckline. I had a “duh!” epiphany: I needed to figure how far *down* from the shoulders I wanted the neckline before I could figure how far *up* to start it from the armhole shaping, since I was changing the depth of the armhole, too. That sounds like gibberish, but it makes perfect sense. I wish I’d thought that through the first time. I also decided to forego the keyhole neckline on the back, and give it the same shaping as the front. I finished front and back, and started adding the ruffles.


I love how this is turning out; the ruffles are fun to make and charming to look at.


I shopped for these beads for an ankle bracelet last month and hadn’t gotten around to making it. Carole designed and put this together for me since I was otherwise obsessed.


We had some bead stash sharing and swapping.


It’s a multi-family camp out, which makes it all the more fun. The teens woke up on Thursday and decided to try to make a sailboat with the inflatable raft. It’s amazing what they can do with sticks, duct tape, rope, and the rainfly from a tent.


And it worked! Mast, sail, working boom, and a paddle as a rudder.


We had a great time, even without our electronic toys. There was no cell service in the area, and sometimes it’s nice to be untethered. But I’m looking forward to my new iPhone4 on Tuesday!

Pacific, round 1

I love this so much more than the first try, it’s ridiculous. Lemons to lemonade…


It’s not rain; it’s the Pacific Ocean.


The waves are rolling. The sun is shining on the waves. It reminds me of Crafty Mom Weekend, watching the endlessly undulating ocean. (I wrote lyrics for a song that weekend, and the waves were in the lyrics, too. I sense a theme.)


I love working with beads. They’re so small, but they add such nice sparkle.

This is definitely a shawlette rather than a shawl. I had a fair amount of yarn left. I’m knitting this again with another skein of the same yarn, making it a bit bigger but still trying to keep it as a one skein project. I’m also fine-tuning a few things on it. I’ll eventually write up the pattern, and I’ll also do a video tutorial on adding beads. I like this “add as you go” method rather than pre-stringing all my beads at the beginning. Have you used beads in your knitting?


I had a lot of practice with tinking and frogging on this last project. I figured I should live true to the class that I teach at Twisted, ” Tink, Drop, Frog.” Yes, all those fixes really work, even on things more complicated than stockinette!

I frogged (rip-it, rip-it) 12 rows of lacy knitting when I realized that I didn’t have enough yarn to do an extra 16 row repeat *and* a border. And then I had to frog again when I messed up the border. While I was frogging that, I decided to take it back even further so I could have a deeper border. Here it is unblocked.


I love blocking. It’s like magic…


But I don’t love this shawl.

blocked piano


It’s pretty, but I think the pattern in the body is too bold for the more delicate border. And I love the undulating border, with its little sparkly beads.


This was my first experience with adding beads to my knitting, other than a one hour wonder class with Sivia Harding at Sock Summit last summer. I really like it! These are a little subtle with this yarn, but the blue on the inside of the beads was such a perfect match, I had to use them.

beads 2

When I first envisioned this shawl, it was all about the pattern in the body. I was inspired by raindrops running down a window. So maybe that part of it needs a different border, but for now, I’m going to knit another shawl and play with this border some more.

Raindrop Shawl (my own exploration)
Knitted Wit Superwash Merino fingering weight, 100 grams
US size 6 needle
Size 6/0 Toho beads