Knit Wit Living

Reflections, Beading, Knitting, Life

Archive for the month “October, 2016”

Beading Novice

I guess I can no longer consider myself a beading novice as I’ve been beading for over a year.  Thanks to a class at Vogue Knitting Live, I learned the basic technique of placing a bead on a stitch.

Ho hum.

There had to be more to do with beads! I have since been teaching myself how to bead using YouTube and books and a lot of trial and error.

I’ve discovered that, really, anything goes when beading even though it has defined stitches. It’s nice to have a solid background of already recognized stitches, but there are so many variations that you can do.

For my very first project – a necklace to wear to the opera at La Scala in Milan (and I have to interrupt myself to mention – how lucky am I? –  I don’t take this for granted, nor is it said with any sort of snobbery) – I went online to see how to do what I wanted to do – have beads dangling from beaded tubes. I could not believe that I invented this! However, it’s true. I could not find any advice online, and I have not seen anything like it anywhere. (Go Me!)

Beading Report

A night at La Scala

There are many beading stitches. The “basic” ones (or at least the ones that I learned first) are peyote, spiral and herringbone.   I find it easier to learn and manipulate the stitches as tubular even though ALL the instructions direct one to learn the flat technique first.

The circular diagonal direction of the beads in the “Opera” necklace make this design recognizable to beaders as peyote.

Currently, I find myself drawn to the tubular herringbone stitch.

Here’s one of the first herringbone designs I made. The primary orange beads are vintage Venetian.  These Vintage Venetian glass Seed Beads were manufactured between the late 1800’s and 1920’s and are an exquisite example of fine Venetian craftsmanship. Vintage materials provide a link to the past and allow for further appreciation of materials that could have otherwise been lost.

No longer a novice at beading

Here’s a necklace I did using different sized beads and with a wonderful druzy pendant.

No longer a novice at beading

Here’s another herringbone piece with a handmade lampwork bead, purchased on Etsy, as the focal.

No longer a novice at beading

This one has peyote as the main part of the necklace and then little herringbone tubes closer to the stones.

No longer a novice at beading

Weaving loops of beads around a spine creates the spiral stitch.  I made this one with a holiday theme in mind.  The silver and copper bugle beads accented with red beads really sparkle and shine!

No longer a novice at beading

More to come!

The Poncho / Ruana is Complete

The Poncho that took me over a year to knit is finished!  It’s not really a poncho, but a ruana – a free form cardigan, perhaps.

I made it for a friend, at her request.

She kept asking me if she had overstepped the friendship line by asking me to make it. I did not, and do not, feel that she had, even if it took longer than she expected.

When I accepted the request, I should have said – if I did not say it – I am not a prolific knitter. I do not knit quickly.  I knit in my spare time, and balance it with my other spare time activities.  Perhaps I did not make this clear.

Regardless.  The ruana is done. Delivered to its owner.  Who told me she likes it.

Here it is.

3 different yarns knit together to make its own fabric.


My friend picked the yarn (and was taken aback at how expensive yarn can be). I merely knit it.  And then sewed the pieces together.






(And I’m ready to knit something else now.)

August & September Reading

The August & September reading report is a little short, especially considering that it represents two months.  I just finished a book that I really enjoyed – A Dictionary of Mutual Understanding – but will adhere to my rules and not talk about it till the next reading post.

August & September Reading

I currently have three books that I am reading among any others that grab my attention:

Whenever I pick up the How to Bake Pi book, I almost feel my children (who both are very good at math) rolling their eyes. I happen to like baking and other activities that are mathematical (like knitting and beading), but I am truly math-phobic. I am hoping that this book removes some of that inner belief that I am not good at math.

The writing style and the story of The Door remind me of The Elegance of the Hedgehog. Both are about a woman who does not share herself with the public, and keeps secrets about who she is and what she thinks. I’m not that far into The Door yet, but so far so good!

I’m really just in the second chapter of S.P.Q.R., having read about it in a NY Times book review. I visited the Roman Forum ruins in Rome a couple of years ago, and then saw J.M.W. Turner’s painting of it at an exhibit in the Getty. What struck me was that Turner had visited it about a century before I did, yet it looked exactly the same! How old was this setting that it was actually a ruin over 100 years ago?

August & September Reading

S.P.Q.R. is a difficult read because it’s almost like reading a research paper and the author tries to be fair and bring in many historians’ perspectives, but it’s still fascinating. And it is still relevant to today’s world as I’ve already had the chance to use some of the material in everyday conversation!

But all 3 of these books take concentration, so I do get distracted by lighter books.

Books Read August & September 2016

The Shadow of the Wind (The Cemetery of Forgotten Book 1) Carlos Ruiz ZafonNot interested after the first few chapters
The Boy in the Suitcase (Nina Borg Book 1)Lene KaaberbolGood
Before the FallNoah HawleyGood
I'll Drink to That: A Life in Style, with a TwistBetty HalbreichQuite good
SweetbitterStephanie DanlerDidn't make it very far
Eight Hundred GrapesLaura DaveHo hum
I'll Take You ThereJoyce Carol OatesCould not get very far
Dear Committee MembersJulie SchumacherCould not get very far
How to Bake Pi: An Edible Exploration of the Mathematics of MathematicsEugenia ChengEnjoying it
S.P.Q.R: A History of Ancient RomeMary BeardA little hard to read so far, but still fascinating
The DoorProfessor Magda Szabo, Professor Stefan Draughon (Translator)Liking it so far

Because my reading pleasure was a bit lackluster, I am happy to report I did not buy many of them!

Books Bought August & September 2016

The Shadow of the Wind (The Cemetery of Forgotten Book 1) Carlos Ruiz Zafon
The Boy in the Suitcase (Nina Borg Book 1)Lene Kaaberbol
I'll Drink to That: A Life in Style, with a TwistBetty Halbreich
How to Bake Pi: An Edible Exploration of the Mathematics of MathematicsEugenia Cheng
S.P.Q.R: A History of Ancient RomeMary Beard
The DoorProfessor Magda Szabo, Professor Stefan Draughon (Translator)
When in French: Love in a Second LanguageLauren Collins

I had downloaded a sample of I’ll Drink to That: A Life in Style, with a Twist and liked it so much that I bought it, and then sent it to a friend when I was done. I enjoyed Betty Halbreich’s sharing of her personal story – the memories, the recounting of a childhood, her growing up and young adult life, as well as the inside story of the fashion industry.

When in French: Love in a Second Language was a gift for a friend who is kvelling that her son is learning French in high school.  Les Français est vraiment coule on her Facebook page and text messages! (Mes excuses à toute personne d’expression française lecture de ce post.)

Finally, I just have to share about The Boy in the Suitcase because I had that book on my wish list for the longest time and finally read it. I also like to read books that are part of a series, so if I like it, I know there are more to read. This Nina Borg series is not on that list. The book was well written and believable. The ending was a bit of a surprise, but not in a “that author just threw that in there” kind of way. The reason I won’t be reading any more is that Nina Borg is a narcissistic, unthinking character. She makes choices that are not in the best interest of her family or herself. I had to push myself to finish the book because I did not want to share my spare time with a woman who made poor choices. The story line, save for the main character, was good. Don’t you hate that?

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