beading, fiber arts

knitting and unused beads :o

So I’m getting more into knitting, now!

It isn’t as hard as it was before.  I haven’t made anything to wear yet — I’m in the process of making a series of swatches with different stitch patterns.  :D  In cheap yarn.  But I guess that is what cheap yarn is good for.  ;)

I did go to the store and got a new tiny pair of scissors (I lost the old ones) and some tags to label my swatches with.  ^_^  I’m proud of myself.  Even though I haven’t made any clothing yet, I’m still learning, and that’s the part that I think my brain craves.

While I was out getting the embroidery scissors (which I want to make a leather pouch for so I can take them places with me) I did also check out a number of different natural-fiber-based yarns.  I’ve been to a number of different yarn stores recently, enough to know that it’s entirely possible to overspend on yarn and then not have enough for a project.

I’ve learned from the bead stores — get a project in mind before buying materials for it.  In December I spent over $100 on beads.  That’s really too much.  And I haven’t been beading since New Year’s; the beads are literally just sitting on my desk getting dusty.

I really should get back into that.  But I’ve had other priorities.  At the least, I should put them away if I’m not going to play with them.  Bracelet v. 2.0 has been put on hiatus because the restringing showed me that I’d need some 4mm bicone crystals in a color I don’t have.  (This is the bracelet where I’m replacing the Alexandrite 6mm Swarovskis with Montana Blue 6mm Swarovskis.)  The project on indefinite pause on my desk is something that I’m trying to assemble out of a range of greens and soft violets, though I was interrupted in that by a friend’s arrival, and haven’t been back to it since.

I did note though…I have some smooth peridot lentils which are much more glittery than the glass beads I have.  Their refractive index must be higher than that of glass.  Possibly higher than that of lead crystal…

And while I’m at it I should note that I now have violet-opal and periwinkle (and pale green!) “Baby Bells” for a necklace that I can make in a modified Biva chain…which could be cool.  “Baby Bell” is just what my local bead store calls a very tiny Czech pressed glass flower bead; it’s kind of shaped like a bell.  They’re quite inexpensive.

Next time I do a Biva chain though…I want to increase the number of leaves on it.  But, I’m not entirely sure how I’d do this and still keep the leaves attached to each other.  I could have them at right angles to each other…but no, that won’t work…as I have to attach the flowers, too, and I can’t anchor those if the flowers aren’t beaded.  Free-floating leaves?  If I make many, maybe I could pull it off.  I wonder what it would look like if I attached the stems to each other at the bases…kind of spiralling around?

fiber arts

getting back into fiber arts

It’s been a long time since I posted here.  I’ve been largely studying in my free time, though I started up attempting to knit again, yesterday.  :)

I started out with simple garter stitch just as a refresher and moved on to seed stitch.  I hope I’m doing the purl correctly.  :)

I favorited a pattern over on Ravelry which seems to be based on stockinette stitch, so maybe it wouldn’t be too good for a scarf…it’s basically stockinette where you yarn-over every two stitches, on every other row, and then pull the yarn-over over the stitches being worked.  I thought it was a good idea (it certainly is pretty) until I realized that it may well curl and may not be reversible.

I’m still working out of Maggie Righetti’s book.  I have an idea to knit with two yarns together — a worsted and a sock-weight yarn.  I’m not sure how big my needles should be to accommodate this, though.  I can look it up now.

fiber arts

progress…sometimes you can’t see it, but there is progress…

It’s amazing how when I’ve followed pattern instructions, the resulting fabric turns out nearly exactly like the photographs.  That likely won’t be the case all the time, from what I’ve read.  Or maybe it will, and the photos are at a bad angle.

Have I just been lucky?  (Or unlucky, if I thought it would turn out better than the photo?  Or if the photo didn’t really show how poorly insulating the final product would be?)

I’m really glad I picked up those books.  It actually helps, a lot.  I think I have the American version of the knit stitch down.  I’m working on the American version of purling.  It just gets so repetitive sometimes (along with the uncertainty that comes with learning) that it gets boring, even though I *am* learning something.  I’ve gone back to working on the crochet out of boredom, but I suppose maybe this just says that I’m getting to the point where I don’t have to do straight garter stitch anymore.

I was working on a swatch which began as garter stitch (k) with all stitches twisted — this is before I figured out that it was the wording of how to do the knit stitch that was difficult to understand, and that because I was following what I thought they said, not what the picture showed, my fabric was physically twisting to the right.  It took comparison among four different sources to make sure that the image wasn’t wrong.  Then when I did what the graphic said, I could see how what the picture showed could be described in the words I’d hitherto misunderstood.

It’s kind of weird when you get to a certain point in your life, and instead of being the “smart kid” who has all the answers, you end up being a person who very definitely does *not* have all the answers.  Adjustment period.

Anyhow, the positive thing about having done that swatch is that I don’t think I missed any stitches (except for once, I had 12, until I cast on 4 more stitches and made it 16) though I did have to pull out several because I did something wrong and I didn’t know what it was.  That gave me practice with individually undoing loops — which wasn’t as hard as I thought it was going to be.  Just thread the tip of the left needle into the space where the yarn comes out, then when the stitch is slipped, pull the extra loop out.  Not hard…

I got my 20%-off coupon for the yarn store in the mail today.  Hahahahaha.  I should figure out the project I want to work on next, before I buy expensive yarn, though.  And I should probably finish my blanket and this cowl I’m working on.  I want to make something that will be somewhat functional, not just decorative.

I had been thinking about making something with mohair, but if I use the pattern I have, I’d need to xerox it and take it to the yarn store with me, so I know I’m getting the right weight of yarn.  As I recall…I think they had three different types of mohair last I checked.  Maybe I’ll work on that.  I could do one of the lace capelet patterns I have.  Only problem is that I may need giant needles…ugh.  Though maybe it won’t be as much of a pain as using a too-big hook.  The only thing is that I have no idea how I’m supposed to weave in a tail if what I’m making is lace.

Oh, right.  I want to learn the cable cast-on method and the long-tail cast on.  I know where I can find directions for the first; though maybe there’s another copy closer than I think.

I guess that’s about it.  I’m trying not to get too discouraged with the Wool-Eater blanket.  It’s just that it’s becoming so hard to see it growing that it gets a bit tiring.  Plus, I don’t know how long my yarn will hold out.  I did some calculations and apparently, even though I have most of a skein, I’m going to have to break a new one to finish this row of diamonds?  I can’t help but feel (or hope) that my calculations are off…I haven’t had to do math in so long.  And I really wanted to end the blanket on a maroon or navy row, not on green.  It makes a big difference to the way the entire thing looks.

I guess maybe I should stop worrying and just keep going and buy a new skein or two if I need them…and just rip out one or two rows so there isn’t a noticeable color change.  The worry is paralyzing, and I want to get this done sometime.  Sis said that I could stop at a certain number of rows and just add on to two sides to make the thing rectangular, which isn’t a bad idea.  I’d have to work out *how* to do that, though.

I suppose I could do gradual decreases and have the blanket come to one or two points…I could practice with the trial square I made and that bright green Vanna’s Choice that I got for some reason.

There’s the not-knowing-when-my-dye-lots-end-thing, and the fact that the yarn is cheap.  Big project, cheap yarn.  Kind of bites.  Not a pleasure to work with, aside from the color.  When I wash it, it’s supposed to soften.

(“You just keep telling yourself that…”)