Knit Wit Living

Reflections, Beading, Knitting, Life

Another Post about Beading

No apologies. It is what it is.  Or as I like to say, que sera, sera. So yes, another post about beading.

I am a late comer to Andrew Zimmern (on whom I had a celebrity crush after watching the episode I am going to tell you about, but the crush details are for another day [and has passed]). I first started watching him on his Driven by Food series, where he has taxi drivers take him to their favorite eating (and sporting/exercise) spots. It truly is delightful and a great concept for traveling and learning more about the local fare.

Then I segued into Bizarre Foods which is not really completely about eating insects and goat’s eyes as earlier commercials had led me to believe. And here’s a disclaimer, I am not against eating insects or goat’s eyes.  I just don’t know how many episodes I would want to watch about it.  Luckily it’s not just about “bizarre” foods, it’s about the cultures and lifestyles.  Well, I DVR’ed a bunch of the shows and was terribly moved by his visit to a Hunter and Gatherer Tribe in Botswana, in the Kalahari.

The tribe easily accepted the TV show crew after ceremoniously cleansing them and were willing to share their lives and culture with these strangers.  The tribe is extremely resourceful using what nature has provided.  Their lives are incredibly full without modern “conveniences,” and are so joyful and creative. The TV crew was allowed to watch a trance ritual that was incredibly powerful, and I was terribly moved just by watching it on TV.

But I kept pausing the show to take pictures.

Another Post about Beading

Men and women alike all wore decorative beaded headbands.  I was fascinated!  Andrew briefly mentioned that the beads are made from ostrich bones, I think.  They were incredible.

Another post about beading

Another post about beading

Another post about beading

These designs look so modern, yet these artisans have not been exposed to other cultures (except for visitors).

Another post about beading

I think I have multiple images of this particular headband. I am captivated by the design!

Another post about beading

Just gorgeous!

Another post about beading

Another post about beading

I couldn’t get a full view of the necklaces everyone was wearing, but they were bright colors! So pretty against their skin too.

Another post about beading

Here is a close up.

Another post about beading

Another post about beading

And finally, here is a photo with the show host. But honestly, the attention really goes to the headband detail.  Just beautiful.

Because the tribe has had visitors, one of the members was wearing a T-shirt with English writing on it.  It made me wonder if future designs will incorporate some of the letters.  That would be pretty cool, but at the same time disappointing. It would be disappointing because it would symbolize that they are slowly becoming integrated with modern society and losing their pristine world. That will be sad…though I did appreciate being able to enjoy their culture.

Before I end this post, I wanted to relay that I recently watched some of Season 7 of The Mary Tyler Moore Show. I had to pause the show many times to take a further look at the necklaces she was wearing.  It is truly becoming an obsession.

Ugly Beading Projects Abound During the Holidays

T’is the season….for ugly beading projects!  Have you noticed how many ugly crafting projects abound during the holidays?  It’s actually not just the winter holidays, but any holiday from which a retailer might make a buck or two.

Speaking of retailers, I really have to thank Fire Mountain Gems for the majority, if not all, of these creations.  I do buy supplies from them, but not for holiday designs.

Ugly Beading Projects

I was trying to decide if I’m just not in the holiday spirit or a scrooge, but the bottom line is that you don’t have to wear or make ugly jewelry to celebrate the season.

Ugly Beading Projects

There are so many suggestions for ugly beading projects out there!
Sometimes I wonder if the people who post them are really serious?
It must be reverse psychology or a challenge to make something better.
Or maybe it’s just the jewelry industry’s version of ugly holiday sweaters.

Ugly Beading Projects

The choices out there are boundless. Retailers don’t care which holiday you celebrate as long as you buy their products.

Ugly Beading Projects

I refer to these earrings as the corn on the cob holiday celebration.  I’m not certain which holiday this is supposed to represent, but it reminds of that picture where you’re supposed to see the old lady and the young woman.  I usually see the young woman first and have to remind myself where the old lady is.  I don’t see any holiday in these earrings, but happy corn on the cob day!

Maybe the retailers are going for those afraid to say NO, thank you, when presented with a gift with angels.

Ugly Beading Projects

Ugly Beading Projects

Liking angels and having good taste do not have to be mutually exclusive.

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So no matter what or how you choose to celebrate, I hope you do it wearing jewelry that pleases you, even it’s a secret smile to yourself waiting for someone to compliment you on pieces that you’re inwardly laughing about….Happy holidays!


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?


Did you ever feel like you lost your best friend? That’s how I’ve been feeling lately. 

I just came back from a whirlwind trip to Milan with a good friend.  Three days with a compatible companion in one of the greatest cities in the world was so much fun. Now we’re back to the normal routine, where she and I get together about every 6 weeks or so.  I guess you could say I’m going through withdrawal.

best friends

Another good friend just moved out of the area. I thought she had trained me to not miss her by getting together infrequently before she left.  I was wrong. Knowing that she’s not a short drive away anymore really makes me sad.

I was lucky enough to get together with my childhood and onward BFF last month.  We celebrated her birthday with other childhood friends and it was so much fun!  Texting, emails and phone calls just cannot replace spending time together in person.  We always manage to have some kind of adventure, or misadventure, that keeps us laughing and this time together was no different!

best friends

…and LD moved to the other side of the country after her college graduation.  It’s slowly occurring to me that she doesn’t live here anymore.

Here’s a toast to all the lovely friends in my life!  I love my friends…I just wish we could be together more often.

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