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Archive for the ‘beadwork’ Category

I think this shawl is going to kill me

So, on Monday I actually wound the first ball of the lace yarn for Abby’s wedding shawl.  I used my trusty nostepinne and an amish swift.  It took basically the whole day.   Now, mind you, I have the time to do that at this point (the advantage of being between jobs).  There was a little bit of awkwardness at first, with that laceweight yarn trying to escape and tangle, but I kept an eye on it and it was fine. it was even pleasant and meditative, and I even got some Netflix in, but still…   I had to put the swift and ball up where the cats couldn’t get it in order to break for dinner.

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So I gave in and decided to use a ball winder.  Of course, my old one is broken.  I asked around to borrow one, but couldn’t get hold of it.  I decided not to get another decent one from Knitpicks (my go to) because it’s a lot of money to spend on something I only plan to use once.  So I got a cheap one on eBay.  It was about $12 (a fraction more than half the price of the KP version).  I figured it wouldn’t be as relaxing, but it would take me a couple of hours to do what it took all day to do with the first skein.

On Wednesday I called my sister Alice.  She’s both my beading guru and my lace knitting expert.  I asked her what kind of beads to get (I was thinking clear, silver lined, in size 6/0 or 8/0).  She said not to get lined, as the silver does wear away over time (yes, we both know, this shawl is going to be worn once, but it’s intended to last).  She also said that 8/0 was death on the eyes, even though 6/0 is a little big for laceweight, and that she thought Abby would really enjoy A/B (opalescent) beads.  Her thinking was that clear was a waste of effort, go for the matching color.  She also very strongly suggested Japanese rather than Czech beads, because the holes are more uniform.

So I went to JoAnne’s – no Japanese beads.  I went to Michaels – they had Japanese, but no A/B.  I was tempted to just get the Es and call it a day, but they only had 11’s and 8’s, and, again, it’s going to be a lot of work now, and probably a single photo shoot, but it’s something I really want to do and do right.

So I looked for a local bead shop.  Bead Soup is pretty close.  I called ahead, and she said that they had ivory A/B in both 6/0 and 8/0.  I went down to Savage Mill and took a look, the beads she showed me were a perfect color match, and I thought the 8/0’s were the perfect size (I have tiny crochet hooks, and if the holes are consistent I was confident).

Then I went home and swatched.  Got gauge immediately.  Added beads to the lace pattern, and I was happy with the color and the size of the beads, but the pattern just didn’t work.  So I cast off the swatch and started another one, with a slightly smaller and distinctly pointier needle.  This time it clicked (I just swatched the edging, the body pattern looks really straightforward.)

Two Swatches

I only used one row of beads, if you look closely at the rectangular swatch you can see just a hint of shine.

Then, yesterday, I wound the second skein of yarn.  Remember the ‘couple of hours’ plan?  Um…  Nope.  Not the way it worked.  The ball winder really wasn’t happy clamped to the table, and the yarn guide didn’t snap into place well, and so I had to keep an eye on it, and that start up weirdness with the swift?  Yeah…  HUGE snarl.  And I didn’t want to put it aside and risk the cats getting into it, so basically I was up until dawn this morning.  No, I mean literally by the time I went to bed the sun was up.  I’m definitely too old for this.  The second skein broke several times, so I have two yarn cakes.  The first one isn’t too bad, but the second one is full of slubby bits and knots…

The shawl calls for knitting two pieces and grafting them.  I figure if I knit them both at once on a long circ I can knit to the end of the second cake, if I’m in the middle of a repeat I can use just enough of the second cake to finish and kitchener.  It’ll work.  (I’m determined).

This is going to be a long haul project.  I usually have a ‘TV’ knitting project going, so if my brain turns to mush I can switch over to that, but I don’t anticipate having any knitting mojo left over.  Maybe I’ll spin a bit, but I’m not even sure of that.

I’m really preparing for this one. I’ve got two separate tiny crochet hooks (one for  beads, the other for the Chinese Waitress cast on and nupps) and I’ve learned the hard way (think tetanus shot) to be careful with those possibly falling on the floor, so now they’re capped with wine corks.  I usually want just the right amount of background stimulation when I’m concentrating on lace.  I have somepodcasts, several new Big Finish productions (and a library of old ones) and three new books from Serial Box.

I’m ready for this…  I’m ready for this…   Wish me luck!

Everything assembled and ready to go

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Stuff and More Stuff

It all started out simply enough.  I had an old Altoids tin with band aids and a tiny bead box of pills in it.  I picked up a tiny spray bottle of antiseptic to go in it, and it didn’t fit.  So then I got a tiny first aid kit for $2, which had its own band aids in it.  The first aid spray fit, but my pill box was too tall.  So I swapped it out for an Altoids mini tin, and it fit fine.

Little Boxes

But I didn’t like the way that the first aid box was labeled.  So I made my own label for it, and for the tin.  While I was at it, I decided to turn the old Altoids tin into an emergency sewing kit.  I had an old sewing kit, but it has a faulty catch, and I couldn’t get it open.

boxes

I found the clip art through Creative Commons.

Stuff Leads to Stuff

I had a spare set of sewing scissors, but they were too large for the Altoids tin.  So I took the folding scissors I had in one of my notions pouches.  I was able to trade around which scissors went in which pouch to find a place where the spares would fit, but they would have poked holes.

Not a big problem.  I looked around online for a sheath (Etsy has several inexpensive ones).  I found a lovely tutorial on how to make a scissors fob out of a knitting needle protector.  Since I have a needle protector I never use, and all sorts of beading supplies on hand, I decided to save time and money and just make it.

 

scissors-fob

I considered just making the bead loop go through the scissors handle, but I decided that I’d rather have the option of switching it to another pair at a future time.

Finally, Dottie sent me a picture of a necklace I made for Pi Sigma Phi being worn by one of her brothers.

 

psp-necklace

Also Still Knitting

I’m still working on the Walderton.  I’ve completed 38 repeats (out of 36 due in three days).  I’m just going to keep going until I run out of yarn or of time.

 

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Problem Solved

Some time ago I described a painful beading incident which occurred when I was working on the Belle Greene shawl.  I’m now working another beaded pattern,  the Diamonds in the Ruff collar (from Defarge Does Shakespeare).  This is the project which called for the Bead Biz purchase at the Alpaca Festival.  Once again, I’m working with small beads and a really tiny crochet hook.  I’ve made two changes in the process, which help with both speed and safety.

First of all, rather than working the stitch and then threading it through a bead, I’m just beading the unworked stitch and slipping it to the right hand needle.  As long as I do it consistently it works beautifully.

Secondly, I’ve got a new crochet hook.  One with a soft  grip and, more importantly…

beaded hook

Comet wanted to cuddle with the pattern

covered hook

Therefore, camera time

…it has a cover. Now, as long as I cap it before putting it away, there will be no more ‘painful incidents’, even if the cats do knock my project bag on the floor.

You can never be too careful.

But, seriously, it’s a stunning design, and I’m enjoying working on it when I stop the cat from lying on it.

In addition to the seed beads, I’ve gotten the ribbon and some focal beads for finishing

beads

I think it’s going to be stunning.  Now, if I can just be sure to finish by Christmas…

Blog Giveaways

I didn’t win the “Wonder Clips” from A Simple Homestead, the luxury yarn basket from Expression Fiber Arts or the pattern and yarn from Aroha Knits.  I did win the Arciform sweater pattern from Aphaia.

I entered the Expression Fiber Arts November/December yarn basket drawing (15 December) and the Knitting Pipeline drawing for Wool Baby Patterns ebook (26 November).

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It’s Good to be Polycraftural

So this happened:Broken MarkerThe Broken Row Counter

While I was using this over the needle row counter, the ring snapped off.  I ended up sticking it in an organza bag (which my Debra’s Garden gauge pendant came in) and keeping it in my notions pouch until that project was done.  I figured I had choices, either use this as an excuse to buy a fancy row counter (I’ve been eyeing the Ablet for a while), or see if I could repair it.

As it happened, I have a lot of beading supplies, some of which I’ve had plans for for a while.  I figured this was as good a time as any to try out a new method of making stitch markers, using very flexible beading wire:

Fixed marker One side is just a loop, the other side has a Darice brand rotating lobster claw, so it should work for knitting and crochet projects.  I’m not completely sure the loop won’t just pull through the bead with use, but if it does I think I know how to fix it.

Back Log of Beading

Charms and stuffThe necklace is for my husband (I’d promised him I’d repair it).  The bracelet is for my daughter, who is in Phi Sigma Pi.  I’m going to make a matching necklace, but I need to get more spacer beads.  I got those Greek letters from Bohemian Findings on Etsy – they have an amazing selection.  I also got the Theatre Masks and Fleur de Lis from there, as well as some charms for a project I couldn’t complete just yet.   I think I’ll be heading to JoAnn sometime soon to pick up a few things.

Blog Contests and Giveaways

I entered a giveaway for the Impeccable Knits Lissadell sock pattern on 100 Creations (2 September).

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WIPs

After reading through the Ravelry notes, I’ve picked up some 16 gauge copper wire for my mantis.  I also got a set of beading pliers and cutters and some stretchy beading cord.  I decided not to get the aluminum or silicone jump rings this time.  I’m holding off on another row counter until I can get hold of number beads, but one is in the future I do believe.

Past Projects

As I mentioned in an earlier post on Where’s George I had been having a little bit of trouble with the currency tracking project.  I invested in a couple more stamps, and got some less beaten up bills, and it’s going much better now.  At least, it’s going better when judged by the clarity of my stamps.  I’m still not getting a great record for actually tracking currency.

In Other Blogs

Vanessa has posted about an awesome Oriole FO, and how hard it can be to accept compliments.  In Cast-On, Brenda brought my attention to the Government Free VJJ Campaign. This led to some interesting conversation with DD#2, who is a bit of a prude at times.

Blog Contests and Giveaways

No news on the  Countess Ablaze yarn drawing yet.  The name the button contest has been extended until the 22nd.  I’ve entered the Ravelry library tour giveaway for 25 books (22 March deadline), and I’ve filled out my bracket for the March Madknits giveaway, and now that play has started I can say with some confidence that I’ve found my place in the middle of the pack.  I’ve also entered the All Free Crochet Bernat Mosiac giveaway (deadline March 28) as well as Truly Myrtle’s  homemade handbag giveaway. (March 23) and Phat Fiber’s Dawning Dreams spindle giveaway (March 26)

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Well, we’ve got the Etsy shop set up, with a dedicated e-mail account for it.  I’ve contacted an Etsy Street Team, and designed a minimal banner and avatar (which I plan to redesign once I’ve got some product pictures).  I went out and bought a mini tripod for my digital camera to take said product pictures, I used to own one but fidgeted it to death, so this time I’ll know what I’m doing…

I’m saving the ‘formal’ announcement until we’ve got something in the shop to sell, but even so I’m beginning to feel some excitement about this.  Now I’m just hoping I can turn some of that optimism into results.

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Thinking… thinking

My M-i-L is about to start her own Etsy story (still in the coming up with a name stage) to market her handmade jewelry.  She’s got some truly lovely stuff.  I’ve agreed to help with the setting up process, and make a few pieces of my own to add to her inventory.  She would very much like a partnership arrangement, but I’m a bit leery of going into business with a friend/relative.   I really want to set things up so that if I should lame out/become overwhelmed I’m not going to leave her in a bad position.

Wish me luck!

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