Knit Wit Living

Reflections, Beading, Knitting, Life

Archive for the category “Beading”

Beading Report

I think beading is more prolific than knitting.  There are more options of things you can do with beads, and the projects are a lot faster to complete (in some cases) than knitting.  Plus, bead designs are available everywhere – you are more likely to see people wearing jewelry than a knitted item.

It could become a daunting task to try to come up with new designs. Or maybe not? There are soooo many different types of beads and new bead types being produced that it may be easier to come up with combinations and patterns that are unique.

On the other hand, knitters may come up with new knitting stitches or yarn / stitch combinations more than noticed or publicized.

It is a fascinating world to be creative with so many choices.

So the really cool thing is that I’ve come up with some ideas and looked online to see how other people have done them…and I can’t find anything!  That is so exciting because it tells me that I am on to something new and different.

The first time this happened, I was making a necklace to wear to the opera in Milan. (I know, how lucky am I?!) I bought a fabulous dress and knew that I wanted to wear a necklace that was totally unique and made specifically for it.  I had read about creating large beads from small ones – a fairly common idea – but then I decided to hang them from the necklace like little pendants.  I could not find any advice on how to do that.  What fun!  Like recipes, patterns are usually just recommendations, so this was actually perfect. I could do what I wanted to make it work.

So amazing!

While planning the jewelry to take on my trip, I realized I had many necklaces but very few earrings. So I decided to take the major components of the different necklaces and make one pair of earrings that would go with them all.  Call it funky, definitely call it unique. This is what I ended up with – and love! because I don’t think anyone else would ever put this combination together!

Beading Report

Now, I’m playing with the herringbone stitch, which is a simple stitch but looks terribly advanced! For some reason, I enjoy doing the tubular rather than the flat stitch. I think it’s more interesting to watch the product develop as a tube.  This is a fairly standard spiral herringbone design, but in the middle section I have Swarovski crystals spiraling in the opposite direction.

I made a point to have both sides match up.  While not unique at all, this was a major challenge for an asymmetrically-driven crafter.  It was a gift for a very symmetrically-oriented friend, who appreciated my extra effort in this regard!

July & August 2015 Reading

Here is my report of my July & August 2015 Reading.  Lack of interest and summer activities kept me away from reading time.  However, I did stumble upon the book Florence Gordon by Brian Morton in my local (e-)library about an intelligent cantankerous 75-year old woman and her relationships with her family, friends, and herself.  I greatly enjoyed this book because it was so believable and I was able to relish, understand and empathize with each character’s perspective (and a few days after I finished it, I realized that Florence reminded me of my grandmother).

I usually end my reading posts by selecting my favorite, but this month is different.  It’s two months’ worth of reading and I’ve already shared the book I liked the most!

The others…

July & August 2015 Reading

TitleAuthorRating
Gourmet RhapsodyMuriel BarberyJust a few chapters in...
Funny GirlNick HornbyOkay
The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and OrganizingMarie KondoVery good
Food Journeys of a Lifetime: 500 Extraordinary Places to Eat Around the GlobeNational GeographicNot great - ended up just perusing it.
A Fall of MarigoldsSusan MeissnerOkay
The Man Who Loved Books Too Much: The True Story of a Thief, a Detective, and a World of Literary ObsessionAllison Hoover BartlettOkay
The Knox Brothers (a Sample)Penelope Fitzgerald Did not like
The Bookshop (a Sample)Penelope FitzgeraldDid not like
Freedom Fries and Cafe Creme (a Sample)Jocelyne RapinacDid not like
The Little Paris BookshopNina GeorgeDid not like
A Paris ApartmentMichelle GableOkay
Florence GordonBrian MortonLoved it
Consider the Fork: A History of How We Cook and EatBee WilsonDisappointed
Then and AlwaysDani AtkinsTERRIBLE!!!!
The Paris ArchitectCharles BalfourOkay
I Am PilgrimTerry HayesStill reading...
Mastering Herringbone Stitch: The Complete GuideMelinda BartaGood
Mastering Peyote StitchMelinda BartaGood
Favorite Bead Stitches, 2013Beadwork Magazine CompilationInspiring!
Stringing, Fall 2015MagazineEnjoying it

I have had Penelope Fitzgerald on my To Read list for awhile, so I downloaded  The Knox Brothers (a Sample) and The Bookshop (a Sample).  I enjoyed neither sample and was very happy I didn’t make a full purchase of either!

I also continued my Paris fascination  by finishing The Paris Architect and purchasing A Paris Apartment (that I had seen someone reading at a community pool) and The Little Paris Bookshop.  They went from Good to Okay to Un-finishable, respectively. The Paris Architect was good until the author didn’t know how to end it.  That just cast a pall on the rest of the story. A Paris Apartment was a light summer read.  I wouldn’t recommend it.  I had been looking forward to The Little Paris Bookshop from a book review.  Yet, I was not drawn to any of the characters and the story became so preposterous that I stopped after the first third.  How disappointing.

Consider the Fork: A History of How We Cook and Eat was on my Want to Read list for some time.  I really like reading about how necessity becomes tradition & how common behaviors are influenced by our surroundings.  Unfortunately, a lot of these food/society/tradition histories read like college thesis dissertations – which I’m betting many of them originally were.  I just can’t get into that style of writing, and had to put it down.

I was drawn to The Man Who Loved Books Too Much: The True Story of a Thief, a Detective, and a World of Literary Obsession because it was about a man who stole valuable old books.  In the introduction, the author speaks about people stealing books from their libraries.  GASP!  I can’t imagine!  Well, actually, I have a very old copy of Mrs. Gaskell’s account of Charlotte Bronte.

July & August 2015 Reading

Tell tale clue at the spine bottom

Tissue paper over the title page!

Tissue paper over the title page!

July & August 2015 Reading

From 1901!

I looked at it the other day, and in the back there was the little envelope where the date due card is inserted.  For the life of me, I cannot remember if I “just never returned it” (they won’t miss it!) or if I bought it or some other scenario.  I guess I could take it back and see if they want it.

July & August 2015 Reading

Egads! 4 cents a day since 1976!

I did not enjoy The Man Who Loved Books Too Much because there was just too much detail and not enough action or interaction so I did not finish it.  I was very disappointed because I really wanted to like it.

Then and Always – the worst book ever!  I borrowed it from the library’s e-collection.  One of the problems with e-books is that you can’t pick them up and leaf through them.  I felt like I was reading someone’s high school English creative writing paper.  (It reminded me of a really bad paper my BFF and I wrote in high school! [You know who you are, and you also know to which paper I am referring!]) The ending was so stupid that I realized it WAS probably self-published.  I sometimes judge myself of being a snob because I try to read only books that are published by a large company, but then I remember that at least those books have been edited and reviewed before being released.  Not to say that all books published by a large publishing house are good, but at least they’ve already been vetted.

Books Bought July & August 2015

TitleAuthor
The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and OrganizingMarie Kondo
The Little Paris BookshopNina George
A Paris ApartmentMichelle Gable
I Am PilgrimTerry Hayes
Mastering Herringbone Stitch: The Complete GuideMelinda Barta
Mastering Peyote StitchMelinda Barta
Favorite Bead Stitches, 2013Beadwork Magazine Compilation
Stringing, Fall 2015Magazine
Thai Slow Cooker Cookbook: Classic Thai Favorites Made SimpleRockridge Press
Flight of PassageRinker Buck

I was looking to expand my beading skills so picked up a few more books and magazines.  A report on the beading is coming soon…

The good news is that I read more books than I bought. Some months it’s been the reverse! The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing is compelling. I am reading it bit by bit, activity by activity. So far I’ve cleaned out the clothes in my house.  I got rid of 7 garbage bags of clothing, purses and shoes.  Finally, my closet has only the clothes I really wear and/or really love!  Books are next.

I Am Pilgrim is a venture into new territory.  My book club is reading it for our October session.  It’s a thriller and it’s longer than what we usually read.  My take on it so far (and I’m only at page 96 out of 785 at this point) is that I must like it a little because I haven’t picked up anything else to read at the same time.

Stringing Along


I thought that stringing would be super simple and almost didn’t even want to try it, but it is very appealing so decided to give it a go.
Well!!!
It is not as easy as it looks.
I started with an Italian-themed necklace for a good friend.
I arranged the beads, strung them, held it up as if I were trying it on, and it was just not balanced.
I unstrung them, tried two other combinations before being satisfied. Then, dealing with the chain and the clasp and the jump rings was very intimidating!
I’m glad I persevered – I was very happy with the results, and my friend loved the gift!

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The beads with the Italian images are made of paper and then shellacked. I found them on Etsy.  The round greenish beads with the dots around the circles are ceramic.  The green squares, triangles and green beads are stone (jasper).  The gold and light green beads are freshwater pearls, and the small pink beads are glass seed beads.  I found all these pieces in different places and loved putting them together.

I also made a thank you gift for a friend with whom I stayed over the Fourth of July weekend.
Again, balance, color, size, etc. all come into play, as well as the technical skills to attach the clasp.

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The long oval orange striped beads are vintage paper mache that I found on Etsy.  The pink dotted bauble at the bottom is glass.  The orange and gold beads are vintage glass.  Again, the gold beads are freshwater pearls, and the small yellow and pinkish beige are glass seed beads.  What fun pulling all these together!

I decided to combine the “off loom bead weaving” with the stringing.

I started trying out a tubular peyote stitch (sounds like I know what I’m doing?!). It really started out as a practice, but I decided to continue with it. I had a sketch of what I thought I might do, but creativity took over in the process. I added two pieces of Jasper (the turquoise) and then a vintage bead cage surrounding another piece of Jasper. On to a ceramic piece before completing the circle.

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When I made it, I thought the two pieces of Jasper would be the focal point at the bottom of the necklace. However as I wore it, it seemed to prefer to have the bead cage at the bottom.  And you know what? I like it better that way too!  Luckily, my hair is short so that the peyote and little fringe is still visible in the back.  I like that twist, a little surprise for people to see.
Stringing Along

While I was at it, I made a necklace for another good friend, who enjoys stone necklaces. I also used the stone shapes that I used in the Italian necklace, as well as some sparkly glass beads in the squares, and some agate chunky beads. Instead of chain, I used some glass seed beads that glitter next to the stones. She loved it. I did too, but gave it to her anyway!

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May 2015 Reading

Books Bought May 2015

TitleAuthor
A Replacement LifeBoris Fishman
The NightingaleKristin Hannah
The Prime of Miss Jean BrodieMuriel Spark
The BBQ & Outdoor Grilling BookScott Cooper
Wreck of the MedusaAlexander McKee
Knitting Yarns: Writers on KnittingAnn Hood
The Red NotebookAntoine Laurain
The Elegance of the HedgehogMuriel Barbery
Stringing, Spring 2014Magazine
Stringing, Spring 2013Magazine

Books Read May 2015

TitleAuthorRating
A Replacement LifeBoris FishmanThumbs down; could not finish it.
The NightingaleKristin HannahLoved it.
The Red NotebookAntoine LaurainLoved it.
The Elegance of the HedgehogMuriel BarberyStill reading
Stringing, Spring 2014MagazineGood ideas!
Stringing, Spring 2013MagazineGood ideas!
Calling Invisible WomenJeanne RaySo so.
First FrostSarah Addison AllenStarted, but returned to the library.
Need to check it out again.
Mrs. Queen Takes the TrainWilliam KuhnThumbs down (did not finish)
Dearie: The Remarkable Life of Julia ChildBob SpitzEnjoyed it, did not get a chance to finish.

May seemed like a long month in terms of reading in that I was able to read more than expected. I read a wide variety of materials and took advantage of my Book Bub emails to pick up some really good deals to add to my library and To Read list.

My May reading covered a span of choices with a great many surprises of what I enjoyed, and met my expectation of at least 1 book that I did not like.  Let’s start with that one.  My Temple book club selection has consisted of at least 4 books by Russian male writers in their 30s whose families have migrated to the US.  A Replacement Life by Boris Fishman is one such book (our previous book in this genre was The Betrayers, by David Bezmozgis).  A Replacement Life tells the story of an aspiring writer (employed by a magazine) whose grandmother dies and his grandfather asks him to write his grandmother’s story to submit for a Holocaust payoff.  I did not get very far in the book. I didn’t like the style of writing, and I couldn’t relate to the story or the characters.

Surprisingly, I voraciously read The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah.  The story, the characters and the writing had me hooked by page 5.  At this point, I checked to see how many pages were in the book (440) so that it didn’t end too soon.  I had been a bit reluctant to read another Holocaust book, but this one was absolutely captivating.  It is from the perspective of non-Jews, which was eye-opening at how much they also suffered, and a story about the bravery of women was so refreshing.  The characters’ relationships were fascinating, surprising, and moving.

The Stringing magazines were a break from reading about off-loom beading techniques. Originally, I thought that stringing would be too basic, but this style has interesting designs, and they also provide practice of standard skills, like attaching clasps, using different stringing materials, beads, chains, etc.  I made this glass bead bracelet and am quite taken with it! (My mom knit the scarf in the background.  She picked up knitting after about 50 years….apparently knitting is just like riding a bike, because she did a great job!)

Dearie and Mrs. Queen were library audiobooks to be able to “read” while knitting.  Dearie, about Julia Child, was good but I didn’t get a chance to get very far before I had to return it.  Mrs. Queen Takes the Train, a contrived story about a monarch’s attempt to use modern technology, like a computer, and then figuring out the public transportation system, was just dreadful. I only listened to a couple of chapters (if that) before stopping.

I picked up Wreck of the Medusa, the Prime of Miss Jean Brodie and the BBQ & Outdoor Grilling books through Book Bub, all for $2.00 or less.  Wreck of the Medusa: Mutiny, Murder, and Survival on the High Seas,  previously titled Death Raft (wow!), is the true story of a shipwreck in 1816.  My all-time favorite book, Dean King’s Skeletons of the Zahara,  is a similar recounting of a shipwreck near the Sahara Desert, where the sailors were captured and then sold, and many survived!  I am drawn to these survival stories.  Maybe some past life connection?  And who could resist a Muriel Spark at a good price?

I find that whenever I read a good book, like The Nightingale, the next book has to be extra special.  I did something right this time, because the next two books just pulled me right in!  The first, The Red Notebook, by the French author Antoine Laurain and translated by Jane Aitken and Emily Boyce, is about a woman whose purse is stolen and the man who found it.  It’s a story about fate, luck, possibilities, and relationships. I loved it.  I found myself moved by it even when I wasn’t reading it, and when I didn’t even realize I was thinking about it.  I recommended it to my book club and they’re reading it this month.  I hope they enjoy it as much as I did!

May 2015 Reading

I seem to be on a new twist of reading translated French authors. I am currently reading The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery. This book takes place in an expensive apartment building in Paris. One of the plots is about the super, who strives to meet her tenants’ expectations that she is slovenly and uneducated while enjoying the arts and philosophy in secret. The other plot is about a young girl who is tired of the stupidity of life and its inhabitants and is planning to end her life on her next birthday when she turns 16.

I bought this book as a hard copy and I am so glad I did!  It was one of those purchases of wandering around the bookstore and stumbling upon it.  I’m happy that I have the hard copy (paperback) instead of digital because it’s easier to share with others, and it can be kept on the bookshelf to be seen (by me!) and remembered, and picked up again, unlike on a digital device.  I was reading a bit before going to work this morning, and I thought that this might actually replace my favorite book, Skeletons of the Zahara by Dean King, that has been my go-to favorite for years.  Hedgehog is so well-written, amusing, believable, intelligent, and keeps me wanting to read more each time I have to put it down.  More on this book when I finish it in June.

Yes, my favorite book this month…well, I really thought it was going to be The Nightingale. Then it was The Red Notebook.  But now it is definitely The Elegance of the Hedgehog.

What a great month!

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Still beading

Knitting, beading, so many options!  One thing I will say is that it’s a lot less expensive to make “a little purchase” of beads than yarn!  Unfortunately, the bead merchants are just as prolific at sending out enticing emails as the knitting industry.

I haven’t really accomplished much lately.  I’m knitting a poncho for a friend so feel compelled not to do other knitting with such a large project on my plate.  It’s not particularly complicated, just time consuming.  More on that in another post.

I’ve been mulling about beading now. I really am inspired to do something unique – hard to do in this day and age!  I’ve decided that I need to understand the basic elements of beading so I’ve been reading a lot, and trying my hand at this new art. My problem is – and always has been – that I like to get ahead of myself.  I don’t like the tedious practice of learning, instead wanting to jump into the advanced skills.  I know it doesn’t work well that way…

Well, I want to share some ideas that I tried but came out rather clumsily. A lot of the beading patterns show rope like chains, so I thought what if I used an i-cord instead of a rope.  What if the i-cord had beads in it?  I tried placing the beads in different ways on the stitches.

beading

beading

I’ll admit it’s interesting, but I don’t like the end result.

I found a shop on etsy, where the woman knits necklaces, and knits the pieces to look like beads.

knitting beading

knitted beading

It’s interesting. I also saw this old ad/pattern of knitted beading

knitted jewelry

What’s old is (or can be) new again?

I tried stringing beads along an i-cord, but am not enthralled with this either.

beading

and with a decorative beaded element (on the left)

knitted beading

Luckily I have plenty of time and lots of ideas.  And a poncho to keep me busy.

My Intro to Beading

I have been talking a lot about beading and knitting, learning beading to incorporate with knitting, but I haven’t shown you anything yet. I think my Intro to Beading stage may last a while, here is my first report!

You may recall that I took Laura Nelkin’s introduction to beading as one of my classes at the Vogue Knitting Live event in NYC in January. She taught us the basics of (1) putting the beads onto the yarn and sliding them into stitches purlwise and knitwise and in placement on which “leg” of the stitch and (2) adding a bead onto a stitch without adding them all to the yarn first.

My Intro to Beading

Laura Nelkin Butin Collar Kit

From there, I bought her Butin collar kit, but was unhappy with my results. I had trouble with the cast on and thus ran out of working yarn, and it turned out that the color combination I chose (“Montane”) tended to look dingy.

Not deterred, I decided to play off her design and use it to play around with other beads and colors. I used two strands of crochet string – yellow and white – with the same color beads and a silver rose bead at the base. I drew out the design and strung the beads onto the threads.

My Intro to Beading

Beaded Design

My Intro to Beading

Stringing the Beads

Casting on was difficult because the pattern uses the backward loop cast on, which I find makes the stitches really tight.  I got around this by using two needles together. You can see that each stitch is two strands. I use a marker every 10 stitches so that it’s easier to not lose (or add!) any stitches.

I followed my pattern and then had some more fun with the clasp.  I decided to put some beads in the stitches that attached the clasp.   The hardest part was making sure that I was attaching the two pieces in the right direction on each side! I am happy to report I (concentrated, paid attention and) didn’t make any mistakes and only had to sew on the clasp once!

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I used the blocking wires I bought at the Vogue Knitting Live Marketplace in January. These are long bendable wires that are woven in the knitted piece and then pinned down for blocking.  They worked really well and helped maintain the curve of the necklace.

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And the final product!

My Intro to Beading

My Intro to Beading

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