Thursday, December 31, 2009

Blocking Lace in the Round - Campanula Sleeves

I finished the sleeves for the Campanula top today. They were pretty easy, once I figured out the decreases for the shaping, and how many stitches I needed to cast on for knitting them in the round. But then I was confronted with the issue of blocking. I didn't really want to lay them flat. Two cookie tins and a couple of pieces of tape later, and voila!

Tools of the Trade - Snapware Snap 'N Stack Portable Organizer

To transport my bead project during the trip I used this portable organizer from Snapware. It has three stacking compartments that snap together with side tabs. I bought mine at Joann's ages ago, but haven't had occasion to use it until now.

In the top compartment I put my bead tray and the project itself, along with some of the tools. In the middle compartment I put my Beader's Companion and my Knitter's Companion.

The bottom tray has two covered compartments. The covers are rather ingenious. There are two depressions that you put your fingers into to remove the covers, but the depressions are open on the flat side so that if you want to you can pull out the entire compartment.

I put my beads in the compartments, separated by project. It's a very nice solution for traveling with your beads. But you don't have to just use it when you're traveling, it is also a convenient storage solution for working on projects at home, especially if you have a cat that likes to steal your bags of beads.

My only association with Snapware is as a satisfied customer.

Holiday Projects

Bruce and I drove down to St. Augustine, Florida to spend Christmas at his Mom's. I needed a knitting project for the car ride so I started this one. It is from Tahki Yarns Spring/Summer Collection 2004. The pattern is #4 Moving Cables Pullover. The yarn is Tahki Cotton Classic. I've had the yarn for quite a while, I love the yellow, so bright and cheerful and warm.

I also started one of the bead crochet ropes for my Larry Scott Byzantine beads.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Three-Quarter Sleeve Pullover - Finished

The original pattern for this pullover comes from the Winter 2008/09 issue of Knit Simple Magazine. The pattern was written to be knitted in the round, my preferred method. In the original the hem of the body was ribbed (2 x 2), as were the cuffs and the neckline. The cuffs were knitted separately and then stitches were picked up on one side to knit the sleeves. The neckline was also to be knitted separately and sewed on. I started out following the pattern, but didn't like the way the sleeves looked (see my previous post) so I decided to redesign the pattern somewhat.

I had already knit the body up to the shoulder shaping when I decided on the redesign. I started the redesign with the sleeves, knitting from the yarn in the body. When I re-knit the body I followed the same method as on the sleeves. I cast on (long-tail method) the 192 stitches the pattern called for and purled one row before joining. This allowed me to take advantage of the fact that one side of the long-tail cast on looks like a purl row. I then joined the round and knit 2 rows, continuing the purl 2 rows, knit 2 rows pattern until I had 4 purled ridges, including the cast on.

Once I reached the shoulder shaping I joined the sleeves and the body and proceeded with the raglan shaping as directed in the pattern. When I got to the neck shaping I used short-rows. After the shaping was finished I purled 2 rows and knit 2 rows twice. I continued the raglan shaping and also added decreases over the shoulder to get the collar to lay flat. To finish I purled one row and then cast off purl-wise on the second purl row.

After blocking the resulting fabric has a wonderful drape, and this pullover fits me perfectly. I love the belled sleeve and the open collar.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Campanula Update

I finished the body of Campanula. I've gotten a lot better at lace, having two lace shawls under my belt, and this pattern is now downright easy. I modified the pattern to knit the body in one piece, rather then three, but I do have a fake seam on the sides. I did this to make the stitches work out when I started the shaping. I charted out the top parts (where the shaping occurs) using Stitch Motif Maker V3 on my tablet PC. Now I just have to knit the sleeves, but first I have to convert the instructions so that I can knit them in the round and create the chart.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Pearl Embrace Collar - Finished

I finished the necklace this afternoon. I do love bead work, even though I haven't done a great deal of it. The color, the texture of the beads, there is a richness and sensuality there that touches me. As with knitting, simple stitches yield wonderful complexity and beauty.

- 136 Pearls, about 4.5 mm in diameter
- 3 grams size 11 seed beads (Beadcats stock # 2-11-437-14, bright gold opaque metallic)
- 3 grams size 15 seed beads (Beadcats stock # 2-14-438-70, 22kt gold electroplate on clear glass)
- 10 grams size 15 seed beads (Beadcats stock # 2-14-239-01, rose-gold iridescent)
- 23 flowers (Beadcats stock # N-F2-840-00, topaz transparent)
KO thread (gold)

Tools of the Trade - Dental Picks

When I was working on the bead crochet there were a few times that I had to rip out and when I was picking the loop back up I thought to myself that I could use something like a dental pick to get at the loop. A few days later I received an email from Duluth Trading Company with Dr. Klick's Kits dental tools, on sale. I ordered a set and have used them several times already. The set consists of 7 picks and 4 pairs of tweezers and comes in a nice zipper case. You might want to take some sand paper to the picks to smooth off any burrs, and be careful reaching into the case, the picks are very sharp. I got a little careless and impaled my thumb on one.

My only affiliation with Duluth Trading Company is as a satisfied customer.

Dragon Scale - Spiral Bead Crochet Rope

I finished the spiral bead crochet necklace last night. I really like the way the colors work together. The blue iridescent beads of the center of the spiral with the olive green purple-lined beads and the bronze all seem very organic to me. Once I got going with the crochet I didn't want to stop, and I wasn't sure how long a rope I would end up with, so I decided to put the clasp in the front, hiding it with the flowers. I borrowed the flowers from a project in the October/November 2009 issue of Beadwork Magazine (the project is edelweiss necklace by Melinda Barta).

- approximately 20 grams of size 11 seed beads, blue iridescent
- approximately 10 grams of size 8 seed beads (Beadcats stock # 2-08-507-90, light olive transparent lined with lavender)
- 10 grams of size 6 seed beads (Beadcats stock # 2-06-816-14, dark gold opaque metallic)
- approximately 1 gram of Toho Aiko beads (TBC-221A)
- 3 8-millimeter semi-precious stone beads
- one focal bead by Larry Scott
- Size E silk Guderbrud in dark green

Sunday, December 6, 2009

More Scarves

I've also been weaving. When I first started weaving (almost three years ago) I made a bunch of these rayon scarves. I made them in every color combination that they had. They have been a big hit with friends and family and I've sold and traded them at Bead and Button (you can buy them from my Artfire site). They have been so popular that I no longer have a complete set for myself, so I have been trying to rebuild my stash. Lately I've been getting up a bit earlier than I usually do and weaving before going to work. The fiber is Earth Guild Dragon Tale Yarn (rayon slub). The warp for this one is Purple Haze (variagated) and the weft is Royal Purple (solid). 8 dent reed, 16 epi, plain weave.

I also picked out some colors for bead crochet ropes for some of my Larry Scott beads. These are his Byzantine Beads. My favorites. When he was making these beads his wife told him that no one would buy them because the colors were so unusual. Larry's response? "Oh, Carolyn will buy them." I am an official Larry Scott groupy. I even have the button to prove it.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Pearl Embrace Collar - Part II

Well, I just couldn't leave it alone. That's what tends to happen when I start beading. I've been known to stay up half the night. I tried the lavender beads and they just didn't pop, so I went back to my bead stash and looked at colors and settled on a rose-gold bead, and a gold-lined clear bead, and found some gold flowers that would work for embellishing. I also picked out some rose and gold drops. I'm not quite half-way done with the initial embellishment.

Pearl Embrace Collar

Playing around with the beads and pearls got me itching to do more, so I pulled out some recent bead magazines and flipped through them until I found this pattern in the December 2009/January 2010 issue of Beadwork. The designer is Lisa Kan. I've finished the square stitch chain of size 11 beads and pearls and now need to do the embellishment. I'm thinking of using the pale lavender beads, along with the autumn spice beads, but I don't have the flowers I need, so I can't finish it this weekend. Maybe I should go find another bead project to start, or I could work on one of the two that I have in progress...

It is also the first snow-fall of the season. I love it, as long as I can enjoy it from indoors. This is the view from the deck looking into our woods.

Fun with Beads and Pearls

So I was sitting around this morning listening to NPR and thinking about colors for some of my lamp work beads and I was suddenly inspired to pull out my stash of pearls. Although this didn't end up being used with any of my lampwork beads, I think it is a sweet little bracelet.