Monday, March 28, 2011

Beads, Beads Everywhere

Our beading weekend was fantastic!!! We had such a good time that we are already planning the next one. Nancy graciously invited us to her cabin in Chesnee for the weekend. We headed up on Friday after I got off work.

Nancy has been a beader for years as well as an accomplished knitter and painter. She has also been waging a courageous battle against several types of cancer for the past few years. Millie another knitting friend who started beading last year was our driver and co-coordinator of the trip. I rounded out the group of three.

We stopped for dinner and picked up some goodies along the way and once we got to the cabin we settled our things, took over the dining room table and immediately started working on our projects. On Friday we visited Horsefeathers Bead Store in Campobello, SC which is right up the road and dropped some cash. It is off the beaten path but worth visiting. They have an excellent selection of Delica beads.

We also visited North Woods Farm Fiber and Yarn Store in Inman, SC. They have a wonderful selection of yarn, books, needles and bags. In addition to these items they also have an alpaca farm and process their own fiber. I was tempted several times to purchase yarn but managed to stick to the no yarn buying plan. I did purchase some ChiaoGoo needles to test since I have heard such good things about them and this is the first store I've been in that had them. They also sell KnitPicks and Blackthorn needles. I forgot to take my camera with me so I didn't get pictures of either place. I would have loved to get pictures of all of the alpacas especially the babies.

Once we got back and had dinner we began beading in earnest. I started my most time consuming project having found the perfect beads to complete the design at Horsefeathers. I purchased some Rivoli's from Fire Mountain Gems before we left and the colors were not what I expected when light reflected on them so I found some beads that coordinated better at Horsefeathers. This was my first time creating bezels but I was anxious to try the new technique.

We resumed work on our projects Saturday and I finally remembered to get out the camera. The first picture is Nancy, the second Millie and the last me.

I finished two projects and only need to add the button closure and loop on the last.

From bottom to top: Rivoli Square Dance bracelet, Triangle bracelet and Wave Ring

My favorite project is the rivoli bracelet but I learned from all of them. I feel the need to challenge myself with each project and I'm driven to learn all that I can about this new hobby. I'm sure that I'll eventually settle down with some favorite methods but for know I'm having fun trying new ones.

I did manage to get a little knitting done on the way up and back. My Adamas shawl has reached the point where I have to decide if I want to make it bigger or work the final chart. I have two full skeins of yarn remaining so I can easily make it larger. That's it for now. I'm off to put together some beads for some more Wave rings.

Sunday, March 20, 2011


This past week has been all about finishing. For the most part I'm really good about finishing things once they're made but every now and then I hit the wall where it can take me weeks or months to get something completed.

October 2010 was when I had my first beading lesson. Millie wore a fringe bracelet to our knitting guild meeting that month and also brought several other bracelets that she had made for show and share. I asked her if she would teach me how to bead and we've been meeting to bead since then.

Our first beading project was the fringe bracelet I had admired. I used 11/0 emerald silver-lined AB seed beads for the fringe and 8/0 emerald silver-lined seed beads for the core. It's funny but what I just typed made no sense to me at all a few months ago and now I am totally immersed in bead speak.

This weekend three of us are going to Nancy's cabin in the mountains to immerse ourselves in a weekend of beading, good food and friendship. I've been planning my projects and can't wait to get away.

Thursday I finished the first installment of the sock club.

Pattern: Split Reed Socks from Think Outside the Sox
Yarn: Mountain Colors Bearfoot Elderberry
Needles: 1 dpn's
Size: Womens large (10N)
Knitted: February 28- March 18, 2011

I made these for me and they feel fantastic. The only modification I made was to knit these toe-up.

Next up are two hats that had been languishing in the finishing line. First is the Cabled Chapeau which languished while I tried to figure out what to use to shape the brim. I purchased a hat kit at the Greenville Knit-Inn which contained a craft foam visor to use for the brim. I immediately went to AC Moore when I got home, purchased the foam and attached the visor. It then took me over another month to attach the strap and buttons.

Pattern: Cabled Chapeau
Yarn: Brown Sheep Nature Spun Worsted Deep Sea
Needles: 8 US
Knitted: December 1,2010 - March 20, 2011

I made this for my mom's friend Velma. It is part of a set with the Saroyan shawl/scarf made with the same yarn. She has seen it, tried it on and loves it.

Last up is Limpetiole which I originally was going to knit as part of a Wooly Wormhead KAL.

Pattern: Limpetiole
Yarn: Wool2dye4 Merino Silk Undyed
Needles: 5 US
Size: 20 (medium)
Knitted: January 2-10,2011

I knitted this for my oldest brother's friend Anne. I was a real slacker on this as I didn't get it blocked until this past Friday. I love the hat. It has wonderful drape and feels luxurious. I'm sure she'll love it even if she has to wait most of a year to wear it.

That's it for the project round. I always feel relieved once I cleaned up some of the loose ends.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Practice, Practice, Practice

The only way to become really good at something is to practice. While we all may be born with natural talents or gifts we still need to work at improving or perfecting them.

We try to have a beading get together once a month and each time we work on a new project. I usually finish that project and don't work on anything beading-related until the next get together. Today I decided that I need to work on my beading skills and tackle projects on my own to see if I can understand and interpret the instructions. To that end I started on some new projects.

The first project used the spiral peyote technique I learned last month. It is a pair of turtle earrings. I had some trials during the making of the first turtle but once I ripped it and started over I could clearly see what needed to be done.

For the first time I am making an entire set which will consist of the necklace, bracelet and earrings. This combination is more formal than all of the previous beading I have done. I started with a base of pearls and silver charlotte beads.

Once the base was completed the arches and picots were added in the same pass.

All went well until I put the necklace on and one of the threads broke causing two pearls to fall out. I put it aside until today when I fixed the part that started to come loose from the thread breaking and replaced the missing beads. I can tell that my technique is improving. For a long time I struggled with joining new thread and tying the old threads off. They wouldn't hold and the piece would fall apart. That wasn't my problem this time as it appeared that I'd actually went through the core of the thread more than once and causing it to ravel and break. Now I'm confident enough to go back and finish some incomplete projects I'd put aside for the above reasons.

I would like to thank Monica and Kathy for your responses to my questions. I've decided to use Saturdays and Sundays for sewing and working on the knitting machines especially now that it's March Madness. The beading and knitting projects are portable and I can carry them into the den and work on them while I watch the games. The other two aren't and since there isn't a tv in the craft room I'd rather work on the other two when I have more time in the day. I can bring the sewing machine into the den and set up in there if absolutely necessary so I have more leeway with my sewing projects plus some of them will require hand finishing which means I can bring them into the den.

I'm at a point in my life where I no longer want to sacrifice one hobby for another so it is essential that I find a way to work them all in. The only thing left to find time for is the cross stitch and the spinning or maybe it's time to give something up.

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Where's the Sock Club?

At the beginning of the year I created my own personal sock club. Last month I got out bag #1 opened it, assembled the pattern and needles and put it on the back burner when I got sidetracked by the Drip Candle socks. I realized that if I continued along this path I wouldn't get any of the socks done so I quickly cast on the Split Reed socks on the last day of February. I finally got things rolling Friday and have made good progress. The colors are much more intense than this washed out flash picture shows.

While knitting these I realized that this is the first pair of socks I've knitted for myself out of Mountain Colors Bearfoot. The other pairs have all gone to mom and I can see why she loves them. I tried on the foot to check the heel placement and it is soooo soft.

My mom is a hoot! She remarked yesterday that I've given up knitting for beading. As Flo used to say, "When donkeys fly!".

I promptly whipped out the sock I had worked on at machine knitting meeting and put it on. As much as I enjoy beading it will never take the place of handknitting. I doubt that I will find anything that replaces the calming meditative effect it has on me.

For those of you who also have multiple interests, how do you find the time to fit them all in? Now that I'm involved in a machine knitting guild once again I really feel the need to plan some time during the week to get on the machines and practice. That is in addition to also needing to practice on the spinning wheel and make bags for my nieces. Do you do them whem the mood strikes or do you have days designated to certain activities?

I've seen on other blogs where a certain day is designated for spinning or some other crafts. Does this really work? Any feedback is greatly appreciated as I try to figure out how to indulge in all of these things I like to do without neglecting something else.

Thursday, March 03, 2011


Today I get to post the socks I test knitted. Yippee!!!


Pattern: Ziprelaxagon by Kirsten Hall aka Spindleknitter on Ravelry
Yarn: Galesart Sock Moldy Pumpkin
Needles; 1 US and 3 US Knit Picks
Size: Medium
Knitted: January 1 - February 19, 2011

I test knitted these for Kirsten Hall designer of the cover socks on Think Outside the Sox and the Drip Candle Socks I am currently knitting. This is a challenging pattern but well worth the effort and had a lot of fun knitting it. If you're like me the second sock will be a breeze.

I will definitely make these longer the next time. They are the perfect length for my mother who prefers her legs shorter. I have enough left to lengthen them so I will eventually get around to doing that.