Knit Wit Living

Reflections, Beading, Knitting, Life

Archive for the tag “Crafts”

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!

 

Reading December 2015 – Books bought

WOW, what a month!  The desire to read has resurfaced in abundant measure!  Plus, it is gift giving time, books as gifts – for others and for me!

I feel like I was so impressionable and hungry for good reading this month.  My standard MO is to read a (primarily the Sunday NY Times) book review, look for the book’s review on Goodreads, and then notate it as Want To Read, or my own shelf – Get from library.  This month it was more: read the book review, look it up on Goodreads, see if it’s in the library Overdrive listing. What? No?  Buy it.

I have also started to lean back toward buying the physical book.  An e-reader just cannot replace holding the book, physically seeing the pages turn and having the pages move from “more to read” to “already read” to “so little to go” (which is sometimes a relief and other times sad because I don’t want to say goodbye to the characters.)  I’ve also learned that is very important to me to be able to re-read the back cover to recall what compelled me to read this book in the first place.

I’ve decided to break up this month’s Reading Report into two separate posts.  First, I have purchased more books than usual and have more to report in both the Purchased and Read categories.  Second, it’s December 30th.  I’m hoping that publishing this post today will end this month’s spending.  (I have two magazine subscriptions in the Interweave Store cart, and in the list below – a solid recognition that this coveting will soon end with a purchase.)

Books Bought December 2015

TitleAuthor
Stringing, Winter 2016
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Magazine
Betsy BeadsBetsy Hershberg
Chevron AfghansCaron Yarn Company
50 Hats & Caps to KnitKnit Simple Magazine
Superforecasting: The Art and Science of PredictionDr. Philip Tetlock, Dan Gardner
The Best American Science and Nature WritingRebecca Skloot (Editor), Tim Folger (Editor)
Tricky Twenty-TwoJanet Evanovich
The Girl in the Spider’s WebDavid Lagercrantz
The SportswriterRichard Ford
The Unfinished Work of Elizabeth D.
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Nichole Bernier
When I Married My Mother: A Daughter's Search for What Really Matters...Jo Maeder
Stringing, SubscriptionMagazine
Beadwork, SubscriptionMagazine
Say You're One of ThemUwem Akpan
Thrilling CitiesIan Fleming
How to be BothAli Smith
Black Box Thinking: Why Most People Never Learn from Their Mistakes--But Some DoMatthew Syed
Why Not Me?Mindy Kaling

First the gifts.

For Lovely Daughter – a Finance and Marketing major: Superforecasting: The Art and Science of Prediction, which is a chattily-written book that I thought she would enjoy because she is very smart in school but also street smart, common sense smart.  I thought this would meld with her brain perfectly. She had a different opinion, and allowed her brother to take it!  She received Why Not Me? as a replacement, at her request.

For Elusive Son, who made an appearance home for the Christmas week!: his sister’s gift – Superforecasting: The Art and Science of Prediction because he thought it would be interesting; The Girl in the Spider’s Web by David Lagercrantz, the new fourth installment of the Dragon Tattoo series.  It was a complete surprise to him that there was a fourth book, especially given that the author had died.  I also gave him The Best American Science and Nature Writing, which I thought would be right up his alley, specifically the Science part.  This is a young man who was upset that he couldn’t minor in Physics in college (due to course scheduling challenges). (Very different from his math-phobic, creatively-asymmetrically-centered mother.)

My spending strategy can be categorized as:

  1. Beading/Knitting/CreativityStringing, Winter 2016, Betsy Beads, Chevron Afghans, 50 Hats & Caps to Knit, Stringing Magazine Subscription, Beadwork Magazine Subscription.  The most delightful surprise of this collection is the Betsy Beads book – a woman who combines knitting with beading.  I am happy to have found this book, not really as inspiration for her ideas but as inspiration for doing my own thing.  The most disappointing surprise was receiving the Chevron Afghans book and realizing that it’s all crochet patterns.
  2. Book club related – our January book is Tricky Twenty-Two, selected as a light read for the busy holiday season; I had recommended The Sportswriter, and it was not selected.  So I bought it to read on my own instead.  Jennie from book club recommended Say You’re One of Them, but I have not read it yet. December 2015 Reading
  3. Kindle bargainsThe Unfinished Work of Elizabeth D. and When I Married My Mother: A Daughter’s Search for What Really Matters…. I have not started either one yet.
  4. Escape to a different reality genreThrilling Cities and Black Box Thinking: Why Most People Never Learn from Their Mistakes–But Some Do.  This is an odd category but both books really fit it.  Thrilling Cities is by Ian Fleming (yes, of James Bond fame) and was written in the sixties.  It’s his take on different cities. I thought it would be well-written and interesting – (1) to see his perspective and (2) to see how much the cities have changed since it was written.  I’m only a few pages in so can’t report on it yet.  Matthew Syed’s book fit this category in a different way – to see what mistakes I’ve made and how not to repeat them – give myself a different reality.  I’ve only read the introduction so far, and some of that may be that I’m not quite ready for it.
  5. NY Times Book Review Gotta Have It – Ali Smith’s How to be Both.  I’ve been drawn in to other reviews of this author, and have many of her books on my Goodreads Want to Read list.  I just jumped in and bought this one.  (I just looked for the article on the NY Times site, and I think it must’ve been mentioned in an interview – where someone is asked what he/she is currently reading.  Although there is an article from June 2014 with the title, “An Onion of a Novel, Demanding to be Peeled.”)  Oh, now I’m reminded that The Sportswriter is also in this category.  Someone did mention this book in an interview in the Book Review section.

All this purchasing creates a “burden” to read. Luckily, there’s time off for the holidays…The Reading Report will soon follow!

 

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!

VKL Marketplace

The VKL NYC Marketplace was filled with wonderful choices and never-ending ways to spend money!  However, having recently organized my stash, I was well aware of the multitude of projects already awaiting my attention.

Add to that two classes that left me uninspired, I wandered around on Saturday feeling that nothing was leaping out at me.

I had also very carefully planned my purchases ahead of time. I printed out 9 patterns from Ravelry and noted the yarn needs for each.  460 yards of fingering for one, 900 yards of DK for another, etc.  I was so proud of myself for creating a structure in which to shop.

Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.

Throw all that preparation and organization to the winds!

If I was tempted by something…I just had to find the right color and I was IN!

The icebreaker (my first purchase): I came upon the booth for Jill Draper Makes Stuff. I had really admired her yarns at the VKL Marketplace a couple of years ago, took her card with the intention of getting something later, and have also favorited her Etsy shop, but I have never made an actual purchase. Time to stop the procrastination!  I bought this skein of Esopus (fingering weight) in the color Caribbean with the intent to use it for one of the pieces in the Curls book I recently purchased.  But then in my Beading 101 class, this very yarn was mentioned as great for knitting with beads.  So we shall see how it ends up…

VKL Marketplace

Jill Draper Makes Stuff: Esopus – Caribbean

Then I purchased 3 skeins of Rustic Fingering from Neighborhood Fiber, one of my favorite shops.  The yarn names are after different neighborhoods in Baltimore: The purple-y one is called Lauraville,  the brown-orange is Lincoln Park, and the green-yellow is Fells Point .  I purchased these for the Color Affection shawl. I wanted colors in the same tone, but that you might not automatically think go together, which is what I think will make this shawl really pop (or go terribly wrong!).

It’s interesting to watch my own tastes in colors, fibers, and weights change over the years.  When I was growing up, my absolute favorite color was yellow.  Over the past decade or so, it has been gray (because gray goes with Everything!).  Since DDSO passed away, I gravitated back to yellow, as it was his favorite color.  Now, I find myself going more for pinks (!) (I know, what’s up with that?) and sparkly yarn.  I also bought only fingering weight yarn this year, whereas before I usually liked working with DK.  And prior to this year’s purchases, I would Never buy yarn with nylon or acrylic.  EEK! I have let down that guard too. But I had to because that seems to be a necessary component for the sparkly yarns.  It’s all about choices! (Inside joke/reference to a previous post about food.)

Next up: Sparkly fingering weight yarns. This is Holiday Yarns: Silver Sock Fingering in Muse (shades of blue) and Highlighter (great name! for this bright yellow). Each of which I thought could be used to make the Manhattan shawl.

VKL Marketplace

Holiday Yarn

VKL Marketplace

Manhattan Shawl

Okay, I was done. It was Saturday, after two classes and the gala dinner was going to start in an hour.  I decided that there was nothing really calling my name and that was it.

Well, wouldn’t you know.  My Sunday morning class was held in a room within the Marketplace!  Fate? <smile!> Sure.  So during our break, I rushed over to the Woolstock booth to buy these flexible rods for blocking.  Leslye Solomon’s company makes them and I have been tempted to buy them since the first class I took with her at the 2nd VKL.  Not a very exciting purchase, but it should make the blocking process a whole lot easier and more effective.

VKL Marketplace

When the class was over, I took a last stroll through the Marketplace. I thought about buying a swift but a handmade maple swift for $200+ was not on my list. But what was on my list was to get yarn for these socks (yes! I know! socks?! usually not my thing).  But I really like the creator and her blog, and the design, Shersocks,  is tempting (enough to do them!).

VKL Marketplace

Shersocks

Here’s the yarn I got for them.   It’s Simple Sock from Kismet Fiber Works in Michigan Cherry and Limoncello. I don’t think the photo gives the colors justice. I decided to do the heel in the design color (Michigan Cherry) and not purchase  a 3rd color. Hopefully the colors will turn out more vibrant when I take pictures of the completed project. (This year!)

VKL Marketplace

Kismet Fiber Works

And then, on my way out, I felt I just had to stop at this one booth at the “end cap” (from my merchandising days) where the guy always said hello when I passed by.  Turns out Molly Girl Yarn is from the next county over…so very happy to support them! I picked this lovely Diva Fingering yarn in the color “Alive for the First Time” to do some kind of beaded piece, having just come out of Beading 101.

VKL Marketplace

Molly Girl Yarn

Laura Nelkin, the Beading instructor, had given us coupons to buy knitting beading kits on Ravelry or her Etsy store, and I have indulged!  Those are not VKL Marketplace purchases, so I’ll save them for another post.

I have enough to keep me busy for awhile.

Cross Stitch Finds

One of my secrets for finding inspiration is just way too easy that I am always surprised that I haven’t seen anyone else mention this. Have you ever noticed that cross stitch patterns are easily translatable for knitting?  They use the same grid designs that are used for knitting patterns and I find that cross stitch patterns are more prolific than knitting design patterns.

This is the reason why I always try to include links for deals for cross stitch products on my offers page.  This post is about me not assuming you knew why they are included.

I have one of the best books – a Reader’s Digest Big Book of Cross Stitch Designs – that I bought for this very purpose.  Its designs are simple to follow and range from basic to complex in its colorwork.

Cross Stitch Finds

I also subscribe to Jenny Hart’s sublime stitching newsletter. Her designs are for embroidery, not cross stitch, but I have ordered some of them to incorporate into knitting as well.

I love the crossover from one medium to another.  There is a woman who displays her art of prints focused on yarn and knitting stitches at the Vogue Knitting Live shows. I can only wish that I were that talented! (I will update the post with her name and works when I find it – or after the next VKL if she is showing there again.)

Here are some cross stitch inspirations that I just love –

Cross Stitch Finds

Cross Stitch Finds

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Cross Stitch Finds

Where do you find inspiration?

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