A View from Sierra County

Small town life and politics, lots of knitting, and travels with and without my five burros

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Location: In the Sierra Nevadas, United States

I blog about rural living and social issues, and the creativity that comes from knitting, as well as post random pictures of the Sierras and my burros. "In order to be an artist, one must be deeply rooted in the society" - Simone de Beauvoir


Sunday, March 05, 2006

Knitting With Beads

I finally made the leap of faith necessary (as well as had the chance to do the bead-stringing in daylight so I could see what I was doing!) to start my Mrs. Beeton wristwarmers yesterday afternoon, and was completely captivated by the process. I am grateful to Sallee, for modeling her version awhile back and getting me hooked.

Using the dental floss threader allowed me to pick up and string the individual seed beads onto the fingering mohair, Rowan Kidsilk Haze, which is threaded through and folded over the loop.

Here, all of the beads for the beaded cast-on are threaded, in groups of ten to help me keep count. That fuzzy white thing isn't my tablecloth, but a special beading mat that my dear friend Leslie sent me, as well as the dental floss threader. It keeps the beads from rolling off the table and is a real lifesaver; I used to bead weave on a loom, and would always be finding lost beads stuck in the floorboards days later.

I was so excited once the bead cast-on was completed that I charged through the first wristwarmer:

One hand covered, one more to go... I love the two belled layers, and though this Victorian-era lighting might enhance the mood, it doesn't adequately show off the lovely beaded edging on the inner belled ruffle.

I do think that I would need to find a faster way to string beads if doing a larger piece, such as a knitted beaded purse. Leslie insists that there is a special bowl that spins and threads the beads onto the needle for you, so that such more elaborate work is possible! I am content with the beaded wristwarmers for now, and will reveal what the other yarn I used was tomorrow, for this week's Product Review.


Blogger margene said...

It looks fabulous and so fun. For beads I just pick them up by trying to scoop what I can onto the end of the needle from a box of beads. Scoop, scoop, scoop...you get about 5-6 and then thread them on. I did abou 1200 beads in 10 minutes that way once. Good luck!

7:35 PM  
Blogger Stacie said...

That is beautiful! I love the wrist warmer! I am a native to CA, and now I live in the o-so-flat Midwest. I love the pics of the mountians, I miss them the most! Love the gnome shot! Thanks for dropping by my blog, and howdy neighbor right back at ya!

9:18 PM  
Blogger Ruinwen said...

What a beautiful wrist warmer! The ruffle edging really makes it look very feminine and the color really is gorgeous!

I loved the pictures of your house in the snow also. It really looks peaceful there. :)


2:42 AM  
Blogger Kathy said...

Thanks for the bead instructions. I have done beading minimally before; I think I need to take the plunge again. The effect on your wristwarmers is perfect. Very nice very very nice.

7:22 AM  
Blogger KnitNana said...

Ok, Birdsong...you can give me credit for giving you the idea of wristwarmers - but I've not made Mrs. Beetons (yet). I have made Voodoo!
But wow! Your wristwarmers are just wondrous.
I suspect I'll have enough of my Kidsilk Haze left over from Branching Out to make Mrs. B's myself (maybe before next winter!). My local knit-buddy Indigomuse made her Mrs. B's in a lovely mid-range blue but used crystal beads which are just as lovely!

8:23 AM  
Blogger Jen said...

I own a bead "spinner", as the bowl you mention is called. You need a specially-shaped twisted wire needle to make it work, and you have to hold the needle just so as you spin the bowl.

As a former bead shop owner who prefers seed bead work, I actually did trials to compare rapid stringing techniques.

The two methods I compared were using the bead spinner, and the "scoop" method. The scoop method, basically, is putting your seed beads in a big pile and scooping your needle through the heap. You'd be surprised how many beads will align themselves with the needle's point and wind up strung!

My tests may not have been done to scientific precision, but my conclusion was that the two methods usually took just about the same amount of time. And frequently, because I was well practiced at it, the "scooping" method was actually faster.

My suggestion, then - don't worry about investing in special equipment for rapid bead stringing. Just put a pile of beads on a towel, and start scooping!

8:08 PM  
Blogger Anne said...

Those are on my list to knit too! They look very fun and would be perfect for using up odds and ends of things like soft, warm angora. I like small projects like that as the weather gets warmer.

4:15 PM  

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