Category Archives: beading

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

Stitch markers, redux

I made some new stitch markers this week. I needed some markers with smaller loops for smaller needles. The round ones that I made before are great for knitting with worsted weight yarn on 7’s or 8’s, but they really stick out on a size 2. Rather than trying to make smaller loops with wire, I opted to use flex cord this time. Here are the new ones.

blue markers

purple green markers

Do you want to make some, too? They’re a bit easier than the round ones I made here because you don’t have to finesse the round loop and twisted end. You’ll need some flex-cord (fine weight), some beads, and some crimp tubes in a size appropriate for your cord. You’ll also need something to cut the cord, and either a crimp tool or pliers. Ready?

Cut flex cord in 4 inch (10 cm) lengths, one for each stitch marker.


Put both ends of the cord into the crimp tube, and slide the tube until your loop is the size you want. Then crimp the tube with your crimp tool or pliers.


Add the beads, again putting both ends of the cord into each bead.


Add another crimp tube, make it snug up to the beads, and crimp. Trim the cord as close to the bead as possible.

stitch markers

That’s it! You may want to add crimp covers over the crimp tubes, but I think these look fine. (And I fail at getting the crimp covers on without either dropping them or destroying them.) One marker is different; I like to make one out each set different so I can use it to denote the beginning of a round, or the beginning of a right side row, or whatever.

While I had the beads out, I made this necklace.

bw necklace

Time to get back to knitting!

Single Skein Club is leading me down the path to Sock Summit

It’s June, and that means it’s time for the next installment of Twisted’s Single Skein Club. This club has updates every other month. I still haven’t knitted April’s project, a cool toe-up sock by Chrissy Gardiner. But I will conquer my toe-up aversion soon. Sock Summit is coming!

Enough chit-chat. If you don’t want to see what’s in June’s package, avert your eyes.

Still here? Let’s see!

june pkg

Look at this yarn! Malabrigo Lace yarn, one skein (of course). The color is “glazed carrot,” and that’s a great description. It’s not plain orange. There’s a depth to the color that looks like it has a brown sugar glaze.


The exclusive club pattern is the Seedling Sampler Scarf by Sarah Pope. It has three lace patterns in it, and best of all, it has beads! The beads are a bronzy color (I thought they were purple in the shop, go me) and look like seeds. The beads are strung onto the yarn before knitting. How? With this cool collapsible bead needle! I’m going to be using this needle for my other beading projects, too, so this is a great tool. And there’s a sweet SSC stitch marker to round out the package.

june goodies

I think the gals at Twisted are leading me down the garden path to Sock Summit. First there’s that toe-up thing. Yup, need to know that for a couple of my classes. Now there are the beads. I’m taking a bead class at Sock Summit, too, but I think we’re adding beads as we go, instead of pre-stringing. But still…

Speaking of Sock Summit, DH is bemused by how excited I am about the prospect of a knitting conference. I’ve gone to other conferences before (Stitches and TKGA) but the buzz around those is nothing like the Sock Summit buzz. I keep telling him that it’s the power of personality (Stephanie and Tina), and it’s almost like a cult. DH has also been fascinated by the whole Sock Summit registration ruckus. He’s in marketing, and you can see his take on it here.

And because it’s the beginning of June, I have to show you where that pile of bark mulch ended up:


front flowers

Two thirds of it is in the front and side yards. The last third has made it to the back yard, but it’s in a pile! Soon and very soon…

School supplies

Remember how thrilling it was to get your school supplies each fall? The smell of new pencils and crayons…

Now imagine buying supplies for Sock Summit classes. Even better, right? Especially with a friend! Anna is taking two classes with me, so we went bead and yarn shopping this morning.

Here’s what I have:


Both yarns are Louet Gems sport weight. Yes, sport is as thin as I’ve knitted for socks. And I figure I’ll get further, faster with a fatter yarn!

The lilac yarn is for Star Athena’s Sock Design Workshop. The supply list said sock yarn, not too busy and not too dark. Perfect. Even more perfect is that this is the same color I’m using for Kai-Mei, and if I run out before I’m finished with the toe, I’ll just borrow a little of this. It may not be the same dye-lot (I haven’t checked), but it’s better than nothing! And it was very fun shopping for supplies at Twisted, because Star was there and now she’s met Anna, too.

The white yarn is for Hooked on Beads with Sivia Harding. And the beads are for…yeah, you guessed it. I think that some plain white yarn is fine, because I want to see what’s going on with the beads! You may find it boring, but remember, it’s just practice! Perhaps a cute sock cuff, or fingerless mitts. By the way, Dava Bead in Portland is a place of great temptation. I buy a lot of my beading supplies there.

And for Cat Bordhi’s Dancing with Socks class? I’ll probably just play with some natural colored worsted that I use for teaching. Or go shopping again. I was much more restrained than Anna, so I may have to catch up…

Sock Summit: I’m in!

That was a wild romp with the Sock Summit server this morning! It kept timing out, but the clock was still ticking, and I'd go back in and see that whatever it was that I tried to add didn't make it, so I had to try again. I finished registration with 48 seconds to spare (they gave a 15 minute hold).

I’m sorry that it didn’t go as smoothly as planned, after all the hard work into the wee hours by Stephanie and Tina. (Stephanie’s updates on twitter were quite informative.) If you didn’t get in, try again; classes that were being held during those 15 minute hold periods go back to the queue if the registration doesn’t go through, and apparently there was also a server glitch that made things look full when they weren’t.

Here’s what I’m taking:

Dancing with Socks with Cat Bordhi
Sock Design Workshop: Know the Rules, Then Break Them with Star Athena
Hooked on Beads with Sivia Harding (one hour wonder)

I’m looking forward to these classes, and to just checking out the market and hanging out with knitters!

And because I can’t run a post without a picture, here are the stitch markers I made to use in Cat Bordhi’s class. The picture is a re-run, but it’s a picture!


Birthday bumper crop

April seems to be full of birthdays! I’ve been making all sorts of jewelry gifts this past week, and I’m not done yet.

spirals bracelet

I fell in love with these lilac colored spiral beads at Dava. The spiral is kind of a bronze color, and the bronzy beads were a perfect match. But the bracelet was boring with just the two beads alternating, so I added the white ones. The white ones have square holes lined with something shiny; it doesn’t show that much but it adds a little zing. And the white beads meant that I could use silver findings that I already had, rather than bronze. I like this piece so much that I’m going to have to make one for me, too.

pink pearls

I really like knotting pearls on silk cord. The more I do, the better they get. It was hard to photograph this correctly, but these pearls are pink, and the cord is purple. Very girly for a 7 year old girly-girl! I hope she likes it. I also made a green on green set for Carole, but forgot to take a picture.

pearl crystal necklace

And fresh water pearls and Swarovski crystals for DH’s 17 year old niece. A bit casual, a bit grown up. Just like her.

Beading is faster than knitting! But I’ve been knitting, too. Just not enough to have any FO pix yet. Last night was knit nite, and I helped Sarah turn her very first sock heel. The first one is a leap of faith, and suddenly it goes from flap to heel, a little miracle. Sarah won one of the Lantern Moon needle cases, so I brought that to her last night, too. I’m not sure which was the bigger thrill, the heel or the case! Pretty happy all around.

Knit? Knot!

Not knitting, knotting. I learned to string pearls! Pretty cool. I had a choker length necklace that broke, and it’s been waiting for about a year for me to fix it. I finally decided to give it a try. New silk cord (comes with needle attached), an awl, really pointy tweezers. Check.


It looks as good as new! There is a knot on either side of each pearl, and about 1/2 inch of silk cord between each pearl. Here’s how it goes: Start with a length of cord twice as long as you want the necklace. Too much is better than too little! Tie the non-needle end of the cord around a seed bead. I can’t tell if I have a square knot, or not! It’s too small for my eyes. So I tied 3 or 4 times. Then add the bead tip (the clamshell shaped thing that the bead sits in; this will also attach to the clasp). You don’t have to tighten it at this point; just let it hang there.

*Make a simple overhand knot about 1/2 inch away. I used the awl to slide the knot close to where I wanted it, and then just my fingers to tighten the knot in place. Add a pearl. For the knots after each pearl, I used the awl to place the knot, and then used the tweezers to slide the knot against the pearl. The tweezers were really helpful in getting the knots snugly against the pearls. Repeat from * until the strand is the desired length.


Add another bead tip, and then tie cord around another seed bead about 1/2″ away. Dab some glue (Elmer’s is fine, according the the helpful woman at the bead store, but superglue is not; it cracks) on the end knots (the ones on the beads). Let dry, clip the excess cord. Close the clamshell bead tips around the beads. Attach clasp to the hook on the bead tip; pinch closed. Voila!


I did have to do this twice. The first time I got to the end, I put the end bead on before the bead tip that it sits in. The end beads should always be LAST. They’re the ENDS. Oops. I couldn’t get the knot out to fix it. And of course this happened 15 minutes after the store closed last night. I had to wait for morning to buy more cord and re-string the whole thing. Practice makes perfect.

I think I could actually do this without a little bead in those end thingies, if I tied a triple or quadruple knot to go inside the bead tip. That would make it easier to close the clamshell completely. My original necklace didn’t have bead tips at all; the cord was just tied around the jump rings. I don’t trust my knots enough to do that, yet.

I completely winged this, so if there’s a “right way” that’s different, I don’t know. But I liked it so much that I made a necklace for my sister’s birthday, too!


I also made these stitch markers with goodies from my trip to the bead store. Cat Bordhi suggests stitch markers labeled by letter for some of the socks in her New Pathways for Sock Knitters book. I plan to use these soon!



I spent some time on Friday putting some things together.


These are the stitch markers for the January event at Twisted. I made 16 of each kind; they’re in school colors. I ended up not using the beads that I bought for the project, because they just didn’t look that good! So these are freshwater pearls on the top row, and blue crystals on the bottom row, plus some miscellaneous beads.

I also made a bracelet for a holiday gift (no names! no hints!).


I love this bead; the whole piece was built around it.


And one more gift. The shell in the middle is from our trip this summer.


You can see the sand inside!


That should be a nice souvenir.

Turkey in the oven. I’m using my Dad’s oyster/Chinese sausage/water chestnut fried rice stuffing. He’s been gone since 2001, but I remember him in little ways, always. Baba’s Bed Socks were designed for him, way back when. Mom’s coming for dinner. It’s Thanksgiving preview; she’s going to LA for Thanksgiving!

Weekend update

We spent last weekend at Black Butte in Central Oregon, with a couple other families. The house was spectacular; there was room for the 12 of us but could easily have accommodated more.

The back of the house overlooked a lake.


Here’s the view from the hammock:


It was a pretty busy weekend, biking, swimming, hiking. We stopped at the Camp Sherman general store:


Picturesque and well stocked. The gas pumps are just for show; they only have three digits, and one of them is a decimal!

The headwaters of the Metolius River are here. They come from an underground spring, but they don’t look very impressive at the head. The river is known for its excellent fly fishing. We hiked from the Wizard Falls Fish Hatchery to these springs, which come out of the river bank. It’s a strange and beautiful sight, a water fall without a visible stream behind it.


I knit three tiny hats over the weekend:


I re-strung my ankle bracelet, which was previously strung on thread but had frayed. Now it’s on wire:


And I made a new one, which includes a shell from last month’s trip to the British Virgin Islands.


I also started the back of my Central Park Hoodie.


Aside from my usual angst about gauge, it’s going pretty well. It’s blockable to the right size, but knowing me, I may start it again on larger needles. Even though I did make a gauge swatch. Sweater starts usually end up being my real gauge swatch!

All in all, a great weekend!