Thursday, September 23, 2010

Beads!

I've spent a few nights this week working on stringing the beads for my Shipwreck shawl. As I said last time, the pattern calls for 5000 beads. I've strung about 1000 beads using a dental floss threader. It was slow going at first since the threader is rather flimsy and I wasn't able to just skim it through the jar of beads and pick them up. I was picking up a few beads between my fingers and more or less feeding them onto the threader. Very tedious. I've since discovered I can put a small pile of beads in the palm of my hand and pick them up with the threader pretty easily (note to self, get a big eye needle!) This has greatly speeded up the process, not to mention saved the fatigue on my fingers. The pattern calls for 8/0 seed beads, which is what I bought. I tested a few I had on hand before placing my order and thought they would work fine. Now that I have many strung, they seem a bit small. They fit rather snugly on the yarn. I guess that's good, they won't shift around when the are placed in the shawl. And with the number of beads needed, using 6/0 would add quite a bit of weight. I finished the Madeira pattern this morning. A few more knit rows then the stitch count doubles and I start the net. I'm excited to start beading. The shawl has been fun so far. The net is going to be tedious. 590 stitches per round. All yo/k2tog. For a jillion rows. For some people, this time flies, for others it's mind numbingly boring. I don't know which camp I'll land in, hopefully the first!!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Knitting roundup

Finally, a finished object.
These are the Purl When Ready socks from The Big Book of Socks knit in Liberty's Yarn Bluetopia Tea Party. The color defies photography, they are much prettier in person. The yarn is a light fingering with a tight twist. Knit on US 0 needles it produced a dense yet still drape-able fabric. The socks are very comfortable and I hope the combination of tight twist yarn knit at a firm gauge will result in a long lasting pair of socks. I am not a fan of knitting socks at this gauge because they seem to take forever. My current sock projects are the Hermione's Everyday sock in Wollmeise Twin and a plain vanilla sock in Knitter's Brewing Company Sockaholic. Both of are true to heavy fingering weight, much more pleasurable to knit.
Most of my knitting time the last week has been devoted to my new obsession, the Shipwreck Shawl. I have no idea what triggered this wild hare, but I am smitten. Shipwreck is a circular shawl knit in fingering weight yarn. The center is a lace medallion made of 3 separate designs. The rest of the shawl is a randomly beaded net pattern. I'm knitting mine as the pattern calls for in Knit Picks Bare Gloss yarn. After the shawl is complete you dye it. I intend to dye mine similar to the original, a stormy blue/gray.

This picture was taken a few days ago having finished the center strawberry pattern, bleeding hearts pattern and just beginning the final motif, Madeira. I am now 2/3 done with Madeira. The charts are pretty easy to follow, 10 stitch repeats. There is some trickiness with some of the rows where you have to move your starting row marker. This was confusing to me at first, especially the rows where you move the marker to the right. I've had 2 rows with mistakes that I had to tink back (un-knit each stitch, one by one) entire rows. This is very frustrating and time consuming, but in lace you just can't fudge over mistakes. It is pretty easy to spot mistakes on the next row, though, so I've not had to tink back more than one row. I hope to start the beaded net by midweek. I purchased my beads from Artbeads (love them). I couldn't find a bead mix anywhere that floated my boat, so I made my own using 10 different shades of blue and black.

They are all Toho rounds size 8/0. Colors include: Amethyst Gunmetal, Navy Iris, Rainbow Black Diamond, Rainbow Moss Green, Iris Gray, Matte Gunmetal, Metallic Hematite, Matte Metallic Navy Iris, Silver-lined Sapphire, Deep Plum-lined Aqua. I think the mix is beautiful and am anxious to see how it looks on the shawl. The pattern calls for 5000 beads. Most of the tips and hints I've read advise not to string them all at once. I'll probably work on stringing later today so I'm ready to go when I reach the net.