Category Archives: beads

Now to find a place to wear it

As it turns out, I finished my Tibetan Dreams stole at the end of December, one of the last finished objects of 2009. And then I realized that a lace stole is probably the least optimal knitted object to finish in the middle of winter, because then you realize you need to photograph it and any outdoor shots of you frolicking with the finished shawl draped elegantly around your shoulders are really really not going to happen in -10C temperatures. So I’ve been waiting for the opportune moment.

Happily, Lisa invited me out to the big city yesterday afternoon, for high tea at the Knit Cafe. (They do this once a month, and it is well worth it. Book in advance.) And after our tea there was a bit of a lull, and their front window was temporarily empty, and I got Lisa to snap a few pictures. (Thankfully, the Knit Cafe people did not seem to mind me draping a shawl all over their empty shop window.) I am extremely grateful. Check it out, man:

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Pattern: Tibetan Dreams stole, by Sivia Harding in ‘The Knitter’s Book of Wool.’
Yarn:
Tanis Fiber Arts fingering weight, in Deep Sea
Cast on: November 29, 2009
Cast off: December 27, 2009
Needles: 4.0 mm (one size up from the specs – in retrospect I could have probably done fine with the indicated 3.75mm, as the final stole turned out slightly longer than I might have liked. This is when being tall pays off.)
Notes: Can you knit a beaded stole in a month? Answer: yes, but only if you don’t knit much else, and are clinging to the project as a lifeline in the midst of grading hell. I made no modifications whatsoever to the pattern. There are, however, a few minor errata that slipped through the chart publication cracks, so do look those up before you begin this project.

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This is certainly a challenging project, well beyond beginner-basic lace, but is also a skills-building project. The lace pattern on the edges is a 20-row repeat, which will definitely ask you to step up your concentration. The central panel (worked first), also asks you to pay attention to your chart-reading skills, but I found it enjoyable to tick off the rounds one at a time as the mandala pattern blooms outwards.

Working with beads is still relatively new for me, but it didn’t take long to get the hang of it – in this case the beads are applied with the use of a (0.60mm) crochet hook, on specific stitches. They are spaced out just far enough to keep a bit of interest while knitting, but not to overwhelm the shawl with a huge amount of weight. The final effect is drapey and elegant, and I’m happy with my selection of beads that are coloured similarly to the yarn.

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Allow me to assure you as well, dear blog readers, that just in case you think beauty is the same as perfection, then keep on walkin’. There are a couple of places in the edges in particular where I goofed up big time and just fudged it to make it work, and changed my stitch marker placement so that it didn’t happen again on the next repeat. (I got better). Now, I would probably have to look very very hard to find that same section with the error. I am pretty okay with this. (A good reminder in general, I feel.)

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Sivia Harding, if I didn’t know for a fact what an awesomely nice person you are, I would think you were an evil genius. Thanks for the great pattern.

So what are you waiting for? Go out and knit yourself some badass beaded lace. Best time ever.

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Filed under beads, fearless knitting, finished object: shawl, lace

Parallel insanity

At the moment I have about ten zillion papers and exams still to grade (down from previous total of fifteen zillion), I have design ideas I’ve been wanting to dive into for weeks and months, my Christmas knitting is so far beyond being done that there is no point in even being stressed out about it, and have somehow chosen the month of December to undertake a complete sorting of my closet and non-yarn-related possessions.

So, naturally, I have cast on for a beaded lace shawl.

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This is the Tibetan Clouds stole, by Sivia Harding in the Knitter’s Book of Wool. (The yarn is Tanis Fiber Arts fingering weight, in her new colour ‘Deep Sea’.) It’s fantastic. I’m having far too much fun with it. It’s the knitting I can’t wait to get back to in the evening. The lace is moderately challenging so far but not dauntingly so, and the addition of beads every few rows makes it pretty exciting.This pattern does not pre-string the beads, but has you slip the beads onto specific stitches with the use of a 0.60mm crochet hook. (Which, as it turns out, is far easier to execute than it sounds.) I took Sivia’s class at Sock Summit this summer and learned all about the beaded knitting, but I’d been putting off getting more practice with it.

Well, sign me up for more beaded lace, man, because this is the fun kind of crazy. It’s similar to colour-work in that ‘just one more repeat/row’ effect – the beaded rows are like little goal posts, more so than intimidations. I chose silver-lined blue beads in a fairly similar colour to the yarn, for a more subtle ever-so-slightly-sparkly effect. Here’s hoping it all works out by the time I’m ready to block this sucker.

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The way the pattern is constructed is to work the central square panel first, and then pick up stitches for each side to work those one at a time. This is the point I have reached now. Come on 2009, you and me, we’re going to crank out one more lace shawl. Because, you know, knitting socks and hats and mitts in December, that’s just so…practical. Psh.

Screw practical, I want more beads.

Knit on, my friends. Knit on.

22 Comments

Filed under beads, fearless knitting, lace