Wednesday, May 30, 2007

The Honeymoon Sweater

Purl Too suggested I post one of my favorite things that I have knitted in the past. That's a hard question. It made me think “What is the oldest knitting project that I still have?” My high school and college “sweater girl” sweaters are long gone, so I'm pretty sure that my husband's honeymoon sweater is it. We went to Niagara Falls on our honeymoon and stayed on the Canadian side. I went into a wonderful little yarn shop and bought some Sirdar yarn and a pattern. The yarn was a soft worsted weight wool tweed. I knitted the sweater in the car on the way home. It has held up beautifully. Let me see, I guess it's 43 years old in August. I still have the husband too!

Saturday, May 26, 2007


This is my version of the dread locks from the book, Knit 2 Together: Patterns and Stories for Serious Knitting Fun by Tracey Ullman, Mel Clark and Eric Axene. Check out this book! It is funny, has some great patterns, and some great knitting tips.

I used a cotton blend yarn in a brunette color and assorted wooden beads.The beads are strung on the yarn and knitted into a one stitch I cord. The strands are attached to a brown elastic hair band. It's so cool to have beaded braids you can wear anytime you feel like it. I can't wait to see what Purl Too does with this one!

Monday, May 21, 2007

A Tree in the Forest...

Perhaps our blog is like a tree in the forest. It doesn't make a noise because no one hears it. If on the other hand you are waiting with bated breath for our next post, I must tell you that Purl Too does 90% of the work on this blog . She is currently not feeling well. Hopefully this will change soon! This is the first of Knit One's Learn From My Mistakes posts.

1. Never leave your knitting in a chair! "Why is that? "you may say. When you go to the doctor's for your tetenus shot, they laugh. I have a nice set of size 3 puncture marks to prove my POINT. (There will be no pictures here, modesty forbids)

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Ooooooh Christmas Tree . . .

First off I'll tell you a mistake I made on this one. Always leave an unbeaded stitch at the beginning and end of each row. The wobbly edges on the side of this pin are due to this faux pas. I graphed my tree shape, and colored in "lights" with markers. When that was done I used the graph to string my beads from the top down. I made a couple of stringing errors and used the pliers to get rid of an extra bead or two. Once again I used # 6 seed beads for the background and tree decorations. The green tree beads were a gift from a dear friend's stash. She knew I couldn't wait for my bead order to arrive and came to the rescue. These beads are a lovely green and variable in shape. Once again exact duplication is impossible. I do want to try another tree. After all I have till December!

Wednesday, May 9, 2007


While Knit One is counting backwards, I am doing random. The yarn in this necklace is typical of a stash special. There is a wonderful article in Knitty, an internet magazine with many free patterns and informative and entertaining articles. In one called “It’s not a stash, it’s a collection”, by Kate Antonova she looks at a stash in a very different way than most, (such as one’s husband who is always tripping over bins of yarn). It truly is a wonderful read and anyone who has ever found themselves stroking a skein of yarn in a lys will definitely enjoy it.
This yarn I used is one of those which falls into the category of too expensive to purchase enough of to make anything but so beautiful that it has to be acquired. Once I started beading, I discovered that I could use some of these yarns and still have them to admire because it’s hard to use up a skein on a piece of jewelry. The yarn is hand spun in Peru and I found it in a Free Trade store.
The beads are from Fire Mountain and are mostly wood, although there are some crow beads there too. Working without a net, (I had no pattern), I fooled around with increasing and decreasing and strung the beads as the mood took me.
This is not delicate, it is very different from the kind of work required by seed beading but I loved doing it and being surprised at the end with the result. It always garners comments and I’m planning on going even bigger. There are some huge wooden beads just calling to me.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Be Still My Heart Pin

If you are just sticking your toe into the deep, deep pool that is bead knitting, the charted heart on page 136 of Lily Chin's book is a great place to start. You will need to string your beads from the top down. This is opposite from the way they are knitted. The last bead strung is the first one knitted. It is in the stringing of the beads that I found the most pitfalls. The heart is symmetrical . You won't end up with things backwards. (This is especially annoying when you try lettering!) I used the alternating twist method for this pin. It tilts the beads first one way and then the other. Lily’s directions are great, but things are decidedly different from your usual knitting. Concentration is needed. If you drift off into muscle memory, things will go awry. However with some practice the stitches become more normal. I made this bead patch into a pin by sewing felt onto the back and adding a sew - on pin back. It's a great pin to wear on your coat in February or in October on your costume if you are going as the tin man for Halloween.

Saturday, May 5, 2007

Two and counting . . .

Having read in Lily Chin's book that beads and variegated yarn give mixed results, I had to try it. This "Eat Your Heart Out Harry Winston" is the result. The yarn is cotton. I can't tell you the size. The beads are # 6 seed beads . Lily's directions for this necklace are fabulous. If you follow them you will do well. The small chart allows you to keep track of where you are in the 8 row pattern repeat by counting the beads. This project is a little addictive. Each one comes out a little different, but intriguing. I stopped at three, but if the right bead-yarn combination enters my sight , there could be more.

Fit For a Queen

Purl Too wanted to try knitting with beads. That called for a quick trip to Amazon. Lily Chin’s book looked good, and it is ! Sadly, I had no bead stash. Living in Tiny Town I can't just run out to the bead store. Fire Mountain Gems came to the rescue, but the choices were dazzling. I ordered lots of beads, nylon thread and the Big Eye Needle (You need this!) I did steal some of my husband’s dental floss threaders. They work pretty well and can be found at any drugstore. For my first Harry Winston I chose purple. I have no clue about the yarn, the label was long gone. The purple glass pebbles called to me. The holes in these beads were too small for the yarn. Undaunted I strung them on the nylon thread and used it as a carry along. As you can see , this one is different. If the Queen was stopping in Tiny Town, I would wear this!

Friday, May 4, 2007

Eat Your Heart Out Harry Winston

Knit One and I decided to start our beading experience with a pattern from a wonderful book by Lilly Chin. It's called Knit and Crochet With Beads. This book is lots of fun and Lilly Chin makes it all look so easy. The pattern we chose is called "Harry Winston Has Nothing on Me Necklace". Neither of us used the materials called for in the pattern, we just used what was in our stashes. For those of you who are new to knitting, a stash is something that starts as a basket, turns into a box, then a pile of boxes, then a closet then a room full of yarns and beads and needles you've collected. Knit One has a whole stash room. Mine is many many huge plastic tubs which have taken over a walk-in-closet. The thing about using yarn from a stash is that it frequently is a lonely ball with no label so we can't always tell you how to reproduce what we do. Most times, we can't reproduce it ourselves.

I used some black yarn with sparkles in it and some pearl-like beads which fit the yarn. When beading, it's important that the bead hole is large enough to comfortably move on the yarn. Don't know where I got the yarn, the beads were from a garage sale several years ago.

Lilly used very narrow silk thread and beautiful seed beads. Naturally, her necklace is very detailed and elegant. The great thing about this pattern is that it does work for different sizes and although the finished product is very different looking, it still is a very lovely necklace. I am presently working on one with the same beads (it was a very large bag) and some gold thread. It's looking good but not complete yet.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Joining in!

Doing things with close friend makes them more special. We drool over each others yarn and beads and give each other ideas. Purl too and I have more projects in our heads than you can imagine. We will see where this project takes us.

Getting Started

KnitOne has been knitting since her teens and is a fearless knitter. She will try anything. PurlToo (me) has been knitting for 6 years and was stuck on circular sweaters from the top down with no seaming. Hardly fearless. KnitOne has inspired me to try all sorts of things. Currently we are working with beads. Opening a bag of beads and rolling them around in my hands makes me feel rich. Looking at all the colors dazzles me. I have chosen to use larger beads with larger holes in random patterns while KnitOne uses seed beads and has to design her patterns and then string the beads backwards to make the pattern work. KnitOne is the clever one. I'm blessed with her friendship and I learn so much from her.