Monday, August 10, 2015

Knitting in the Beads

Friday afternoon I signed up for a Saturday class at The Wool & Cotton Company in Greendale on beaded bracelets. 

I found it at the last minute on Facebook.  My neighbor across the street mentioned that she was attending a sock class on how to knit heels.  I didn't have a sock at the heel point yet, so that was out.  I went to the website and they had this cool bracelet class.  Facebook said there were still open spots.

The pattern had directions to get the beads onto the yarn so that you can see them from front and the back.  A dental floss 'applicator' was included; a length of regular floss attached to a small length of fuzzy floss attached to an end that's kind of like strong fishing line for about 2 inches.  You use the stiff part to pick up the beads.  It's almost like a needle and thread all in one piece.

You string the bead or beads onto the stitch with the dental floss so that the stitch actually goes through the bead.  You can also use a very, very, very tiny crochet hook (size 00 to 0) to do this, but you can get more beads on with the dental floss thingy.

Twice I tipped over my bead dish.  Don't ask me how many beads I dropped, or how many of those went on the floor...

I also didn't have a size two double pointed needle.  If you don't knit, that is a crazy small size. Think 15-18 stitches PER INCH.  Think knitting on a toothpick!  Not really but it's nuts under some circumstances, like you're going to knit an adult sized sweater in under a decade...  but using sock yarn to make an inch-wide bracelet 8 inches long--that is possible!  I had a size three circular, so I used that.  I made a size large, and it turned out that I could have made a medium with the bigger needle.

The finished bracelet slides to the inside of my arm instead of staying put, probably because instead of using the clasp included, I stitched the two ends together.  It was just the right size without the clasp, slides over my hand without a problem, but the weight of the clasp would have kept it turned the right way.  I may sew in a small button or bead to add weight to the underside - keep it right side out.

I picked a teal kit, since I have a lot of that in my wardrobe.  The beads in the kit were in three packets, a teal matte finish pack, a dark blue shiny finish pack and an assortment of shiny finish beads that included teal, purple, pink and gold. 

Here's the finished project:

I didn't use any of the matte beads and added some silver ones from my Resource Center.  It just wasn't right with the matte finish, maybe not sparkly enough for me.  And the assorted shiny finish packet had some of the darker blue in it, so basically I didn't use that packet either.  (Dang, leftover beads!  I'll have to make another bracelet...)

I actually knit this same bracelet twice...  I was working on it on Saturday night, and DH said "Are you finished with it yet?"  I said "Oh, yeah, but I pulled it apart and now I started over."

I got the look... you probably know the one.  "Wait, you what??" 

The directions and the teacher said bind off loosely.  Nobody said Cast On Loosely.  So the first time I knit it, there was absolutely NO curve on the cast on edge.  The photo shows the second and final completion.  You can tell that the left edge is less curvy than the right, but at least it's not pulling inward and cutting off my circulation!  The bound off edge is definitely a little looser.

And I have a bone to pick with the shiny beads -- when you see them from the side they are one color, but from the edge they can be a different color.  So you think you picked a pink bead and it's purple, or vice versa!

An actual second bracelet is in process.  I cast on with a bigger needle this time, then switched to the size three needle, and I'm making a size Medium.  Hopefully the edge will curve more than it did the first time.  Practice makes perfect, right?

Knit and bead on...

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