Monday, March 17, 2014

Beads, Dots, and Pandas

Beaded Lace Shawl
Have been having lots of fun lately. First was working with beads. Hmmm. Not really sure I'd call it fun. More of an adventure actually. If you haven't worked with beads before and someone knits something for you with beads in it, be grateful, very grateful, very, very grateful.
Beaded lace closeup

The plan was to make a crescent shawl using Wandering Wool's Udaipur fingering, which is a lovely silvery blue color. I explained my plan to another knitter who suggested that it would work really well with beads. I had used beads with one other shawl, just a few that hung on the points of lace. For that pattern, I slipped the beads on the yarn before starting the shawl. Fortunately, the lace was the first to be knit and so the beads were soon off my yarn and onto the shawl. However,
I really didn't want to do that with this shawl because there was going to be over a hundred beads and these were smaller than for the previous shawl.

So I used another technique for adding beads. I used what seemed like the smallest crochet hook ever to add the beads on while I knit. When I was ready to add the bead, I poked the crochet hook through the bead, hooked the stitch I wanted to add the bead to on the left-hand knitting needle, slid the bead down onto the stitch, and then slid the stitch back onto the left-hand needle and knit the stitch.Whew.

It took a while to get the hang of this technique, especially since the crochet hook was so teeny and I didn't always catch all of the yarn threads each time. The rows where I added beads took five times as long to complete than the rows without beads. But I like the end product. And now I'm thinking about what else I can knit with beads! Socks?

Oh, the shawl was a version of my favorite Annis shawl. But where the Annis shawl is finished off with stockinette, I used a simple 4-row lace pattern. Odd rows were purled. Row 2 was k2tog (right-slant decrease), yo. Row 4 was yo, ssk (left-slant decrease). 

Random Dots Socks

One adventure completed, I turned to another new experience. Polka dots.

I still consider myself a bit of a beginning when it comes to color work, but wanted to give it a try. So I set to work on knitting a pair of polka dotted socks. I used four stash yarns for the polka dots, all of which were multi-colored. I knit a sample dot and measured how much yarn it took, then pulled out 6 lengths per color and rolled them around a holder. 

I call the socks Random Dots because I didn't hold to a pattern for the dots.I mailed them to a friend who needed a little cheer.
Mochimochi Tiny Pandas


When I'm thinking of a larger project, I tend to start socks because I find them easy and relaxing to knit. So while I've been working on a pattern for a sweater for a niece, I started a pair of brown tweed cabled socks for a sweater for my niece. 

Meanwhile, I picked up the Mochimochi Tiny Panda kit that I'd purchased for $10 at VogueKnitting Live in New York in January. Just finished the third panda today. The first panda went to a friend who hasn't been feeling very well. These are absolutely adorable. Too tiny for a baby, but you can make them into pins or just have fun with them. And that's what these were. Fun. And easy. It takes only an hour to make one.

Purling off for now!

Reah Janise