After a big hiatus, my knitting mojo finally woke up, and it was craving complicated stuff, not just the customary stocking stitch pattern.
I’ve a soft spot for lace shawls, particularly those by British pattern creator Boo Knits (find her by searching on Ravelry). Bev also allows knitters to sell finished shawls, as long as they credit her as the pattern author – very useful for a fibre business owner like myself.
I set out to knit a shawl named Out of Darkness. The lace pattern is beautiful, yet simple enough to not drive me mad (as long as I pay very close attention to the instructions and count my stitches frequently).
Lace looks very underwhelming when you’re knitting it. The stitches don’t look defined or “pop,” it’s as if you’ve gone through a lot of trouble for not much.
Once you block it, however, the magic happens.
Isn’t the transformation amazing? The pointy bits look on point (pun intended), the beads suddenly make sense and this is now a thing of beauty, luxurious even.
This was intended as the show stopper in my new online shop, so I went out of my way to create decent photos.
Finally, I also gathered up courage to take some “lifestyle photos,” as they say. I even managed a straight face…
You know how that classical novel ends with, “reader, I married him?” Well, my story ends with, “reader, I ended up selling this beauty before I finished setting up my shop!” Ah, well.
So here it is, my adventures in lace knitting. What have you created with your hands lately?
I haven’t done much other than make meat pies for the farmers market the last week. It seems with cooler weather people want comfort food. So many Steak and Mushroom pies and Tourtiere pies have been made.
I did finish my Guild poker challenge I told you about here: spinning-for-the-guild-challenge/ The beads really were not inserted very well and that showed up more in the plying but here it is finished.
You can see how the locks aren’t in well enough so they are very loose in the ply.
I learned a lot and I think next time I will ply with a thread with beads on it instead or maybe do some sort of core spun yarn with a beaded thread.
I have also been spinning on my spindle. I can do that anywhere. They are both thick and thin yarns. It will show more after they are plied. I finished this, it’s reds with gold super bright trilobal nylon I dyed. I don’t remember what colour I used to get it, maybe aztec gold. The first picture shows the colour best. The second picture is over exposed, so hopefully you can see how much sparkle is in it.
My current spinning project is also red but it has pink mixed in and white silk and undyed supper bright trylobal nylon.
After this spindle is full I will decide if I want to play them together or keep them separate. Later they will make their way into some felting. What have made to use later in your felting?
I’ve been trying some new things to work on that I could do easily and fairly quick. Right, haha.
I had seen some crochet and bead earrings online I wanted to try. I used the same Aunt Lydia’s variegated cotton thread that I used on one of the scrubbies I posted about recently.
It turned out out to be a little fiddly, but I got the hang of it and was pleased with the results. I especially like the variegated thread since it makes it easy to wear with several colors. My favorite ocean like colorway. Here they are lying flat.
But then I thought they would nice hanging. So I scoured my house for something to hang them on.
Can you see the beading?
I keep pulling out my felt scraps and wonder what I can do with them. I had some prefelt leftover from making business cards covered with throwsters waste to add a little bling and just enough to make two earrings. I cut out two squares and played around with how to use them. I like dangling earrings but not too big. Since it was prefelt I didn’t want to add beads on it and weigh it down.
So, I used a head pin put a few beads on it then attached the prefelt around it just sewing it closed in the back. And finally attached the hooks. They aren’t perfect but they are handmade.
I started another round pair with beads, but got frustrated and put it aside for another time.
I still have piles of scraps. I’ll have to play with them some more and figure out what else I can use them for. Unfortunately, many pieces are too small to match and are odd shaped. What have you done with your scraps lately?
This was another great demo weekend. It was cool to start and we got to wear our wool. Later we added it to the display. It was lovely and sunny.
I was doing beads again and spinning on my drop spindle. I taught Lynda how to make a bead, just for fun. She is a fellow felt lover at the beginning of her journey.
Jan got a shot of me with some kids. They came in waves so I either had non or more kids than pencils. I stole Jan’s picture from the guild facebook page.
The beads proved useful too. Lauri has an old wheel that she made some new spindles for. they were a little short but also a little wide at the orifice end. We solved it by cutting a bead and using it as a spacer. Sorry I didn’t get a picture.
Linda was not just slacking off making beads she was working on her cool Master Weaver loom. Invented not to many years ago by a man whos wife could no longer use the foot peddles or leavers on a regular loom. Lynda is adding some extra weft for interest. She is sitting on the back side of the loom
Lynda also brought her husband along and he was doing carding. He had a great time making batts and talking to lots of people. He wants to come to more demos. Lynda says she will have to get a family membership in the guild now.
Jan was spinning on Saturday. Here she is winding off single yarn into a wrist ball so she can ply it. Her husband (the blacksmith) made her a tool. She had been steeling his books to wind off her yarn. When she is done she turns it around puts her hand through the middle and takes it off onto her wrist ready to ply. The tool works really well, but it has no name. He calls it a pre-plyer. That is descriptive but not a great name. Woolly Winder would be perfect but that is already taken.
Mary was there with her circular sock knitting machine too. It is a very cool machine.
The most interesting thing I found while out looking at the displays was 2 dye tools. I can’t remember the name of them. They were in with a great cast iron display. I love the painted pieces. I was going to ask about them but the owner was not around.
That was my weekend. I hope I haven’t board you with to demo posts in a row. I will have to get on and make something interesting for next time.
This week I went to a Mini Maker Fair at one of the local universities. I went representing my Guild with my friend Elizabeth. there were some their guilds there but also lots of interesting science. There was R2D2. They were using him to talk bout robots.
There was a 3D printer, making some parts for something. I think it could make a cool spindle.
This one they were have in the computer make picture using pointillism. they seemed to be writing it as it went.
There was wood burning, print making and violin making.
And a fun one, Banana Piano. the size of the banana didn’t matter. They had hopped that they could line them up smallest to biggest but no luck. You play by tapping the bananas.
An now Us.
This is Elizabeth at her riged heddle loom and me teaching some kids show to make tube beads.
The beads are easy and fast to make. Just wrap some wool around 5 pencils, wet and roll in you hands. As it shrinks you remove pencils until you are down to the last one. When it’s tight around the last one, that’s it you have bead. The kids like it because its a bit noisy too with the pencils clacking away. Well it wasn’t just the kids. We had lots of adults wanting to make them too.
Do you know any other fast easy ways to demonstrate wet felting?
Mary Stori is a new forum member, but has extensive experience in quiltmaking and fiber art. She introduced herself to us in January as “‘ a wanna be felter living outside of Asheville, NC. For the past 25+ years I’ve traveled the national and international quilting circuit as an author, lecturer, workshop leader, cruise host…..bla, bla, bla. The focus of my work began with wearable art, fine hand quilting, whimsical and highly embellished quilts.”
She attended a class with Chad Alice Hagen a few years ago and is now “hooked.” Her focus went from quilts to felt. But one thing hasn’t changed — her love of embellishments, particularly beading which she has authored several books on. So, with her permission I have put together some of her tips from her blog on beading.
I’m often asked how I organize my beads……this method works well for me.
First of all……you won’t use them if you can’t find them, so take the time to gather them from all your hiding places, organize them, and then put them in a convenient place…no matter how many or few you have.
A location away from sunlight, heat, and excess moisture is best.
Because there are no closets in my studio, my teaching materials are stored in a large walk in closet in a guest room nearby. The bulk of my workshops in recent years have focused on beading techniques or projects that incorporate beads. Therefore, I purchase a LOT of beads in bulk from a distributor for my classes. They generally come as strung kilos, which I repackage into kits and store in boxes and plastic bins.
Above is my own personal stash…… One entire side of the closet is fitted from floor to ceiling with shelves…and almost all are used to store my embellishments. I could consolidate them if the space was needed for other things, but as it is now, I’m easily able to walk in and quickly find what I’m looking for without having to dig through dozens of items stacked on top of each other.
I like to use plastic fishing tackle boxes, or embroidery floss containers. Beads are stored by style and color in see-thru plastic tubes or small bags. Here you see some seed beads.
Besides using beads, I utilize many other embellishments, trinkets, charms, buttons, found objects into my work. This unit has plastic pull out containers with large divided sections which are more suitable for these items. It too goes on my shelves in the closet.
If tubes or small bags aren’t handy for you….try storing beads in small containers such as film canisters, pill bottles, or metal breath mint cases. If you glue a bead to the lid….you’ll always be able to quickly know what’s inside!
Another big key to beading……is making your environment comfortable during the task. A table top or floor model Ott light will save on eye strain. As will a pair of ‘cheater glasses’. I always tell my students that one of the biggest secrets to successful beading is ‘spacing’….and the ability to see the bead and to judge the placement of the needle into the fabric is vital.
Many people are unaware that beads may not necessarily be colorfast. For instance, this beautiful blue bugle bead below may appear as if it’s blue glass. Not so……it’s clear glass that has been dyed or painted blue. Often the color remains secure on the bead, other times not. So…..if you think there’s a possibility that your project will be washed, become damp, or even require high steam for pressing…..take a few minutes and test your beads for colorfastness.
Most of the time, there isn’t a problem, but for that heirloom project….you’d be devastated if during a final steam pressing, the bead color ran into your fabric. The pricier beads may be just at risk as the less expensive ones…..you can’t tell by looking.
Here’s how to test:
– Fill a shallow dish with hot sudsy water….drop in a few beads….let it sit for 15 mins.
– Remove them…rinse and let dry on a paper towel.
Note….sometimes color will be visible in the water, other times….the color will slowly eek out as it dries. As you can see….this blue bead has run…..red is another color I check carefully.
Don’t let this scare you…….we are all aware that colorfastness can be an issue with fabrics……now you know that beads carry the same risk. Even if the bead color doesn’t run….sometimes the fancy coatings……that make a bead’s surface shimmer with various affects, (like rainbow) can dissipate……and the bead will lose its luster.
I’ve tested very, very few beads that I decided not to use……or that I’ve used with caution……beading is worth any effort….hopefully with this hint….all your projects will continue to shine brightly!
I’m a stickler for good quality construction…..for me it’s not all about fast, rather…it’s about great design that has been executed to the best of my ability. If precautions aren’t taken, beading can cause fabrics to distort. Therefore, I ALWAYS secure my work in a Q-snap frame. The only exception is when I’m beading the bindings/edges of my quilts.
Q-snap frames are simply PVC tubes which come in a variety of sizes. This one is 11″ x 11″, my choice for smaller projects. The work is attached using clips that snap over the frame. Though you could use a round embroidery hoop…..I don’t because it pulls the fabric diagonally which can stretch the bias. I’ve found it’s best to keep the fabric ON GRAIN by using a square or rectangular frame when beading.
As for felt, unless the felt is super thick and sturdy, I always secure fabric (of any kind) in a Q-snap frame for beading and embroidery. However, I generally avoid using the plastic clips…….instead I attach the material using muslin sleeves or pin the fabric around the frame to avoid damage to the fabric and beads. There’s nothing more unattractive than distorted, stretched out wool!!!
However, as the beading design develops, requiring repositioning of the fabric, I avoid using the clips in places where they could damage the beads. Instead, if the piece is large enough as it is in this sample, I wrap the excess snugly around the frame, and secure the layers together using straight pins or by thread basting. This keeps the fabric on grain, and well stabilized to assure good thread and fabric tension.
My ‘artist’ inspired piece is now in the beading phase…. The piece is attached to an 11″x17″ Q-snap frame…note I used 1 clip at the top, where it didn’t interfere with the beads.
I also want to mention that I’m beading through 2 layers only…..the quilt top which has been stabilized with batting. This approach will hide and protect the threads once the backing is added later.
You can find more information on Mary’s website and blog. She’s also the author of “Beading Basics,” “All-in-One Beading Buddy,” & DVD – “Mary Stori Teaches You Beading on Fabric” & “Embellishing With Felted Wool”
One of the things I wanted to start doing was adding more video tutorials to the site. So I thought I would give making a video a try. My husband is running the camera and I am turning the pages of my beaded book. This is very primitive and we obviously have a long way to go. But it’s a start and I learned the very basics about how to edit and upload a video. I hope you’ll be able to see a few details on my beaded book.
The front page has a beaded cabochon and a single “zipper” beaded edge.
This page shows various ways of attaching rows of beads singly. The top edge is another “zippered” edge, the side is a single bead and the bottom is two stacked beads.
This page has various ways of stacking beads on top of each other. I have already forgotten what this edge is called but it makes a kind of diamond or vee shaped pattern.
This page is covered with brass washers. The ones on top are covered with buttonhole stitch and one is even beaded. The edge is a rope edge.
This page is various pieces of metal couched down with beads. The top and middle rows are couched down using raised chain band stitch. The edge is one I made up with two stacked beads and then connecting them with three smaller beads to make a “dome”.
This page I designed myself and is supposed to be an iris. It is a solid layer of beads. The edge is another one I have forgotten the name. I would definitely need to reread the instructions to remember how to do these all again.
This is the sequin page. A bit hard to get a good photo due to the shininess. The edge is a “wave” edge.
This is another page I designed myself. I wanted to use another cabochon and the long bugle beads. It looks like an Egyptian eye but the original design was from a birch tree if you can imagine that! The edge is two chains interlaced.
This is the scattered beads page. This is a “lacey” edging.
This page is making patterns with bugle beads. Again, a poor photo due to the reflection of the glass beads. The edge is a connecting type of short fringe.
This is the first fringe page. It shows a variety of ways to make fringe. The edge is a branched fringe edge. This edging took nearly a full tube of seed beads.
This is the last page and is another showing different fringes. The edge is made up of all different kinds of fringe and is a bit extravagant.
And here is the binding which is done with raised chain band and I added a bead between each stitch for spacing. The book weighs over a pound and I did add a beaded tassel after this photo was taken. You can see it in the video above. I enjoyed making this book but it is probably the only one I will ever make. I hope you enjoyed seeing it closer. It was part of my homework for my Level 2 Stitch Class at the Gail Harker Creative Studies Center.
I really don’t have a huge amount to blog about at the moment, but I have added to my tree project in my mixed media course. I”ve added some more stitching with some leaves and flowers in straight stitches and French knots and I did try to be very clever and create a picot stitch, ( on the right up the trunk ) I haven’t done one of them before but I want to do a vine going around and up the tree and in a 3d kind of effect, so this is my first attempt at that stitch and while I thoroughly enjoyed how it works I will more than likely take those few out and re-do. That was just a bit of practise, I’ve also added a spider web and the dreaded spider ( sorry zed ) he’s a friendly one lol. I know that its out of proportion but that’s ok to !
I am really enjoying this and although nothing is perfect and its not supposed to be, I’m loving how its all coming together. I still need to add more foliage and I’m not really sure what to do with the background but it does need something, maybe a shrub or to in the far distants. I’m just taking my time with this project and as things come to mind I’ll be adding them in !
I’ve also been working on another little note book cover , adding stitches and beads and I think I’m getting the hang of it more now. I made this sheet of felt a while ago and I’m cutting it up to make 3 covers , can I tell you how hard it was to cut into that sheet lol I struggled, held my breath, closed my eyes and made the first cut, let out a big breath and i’m OKAY !!!!
This one has lots of added silks, threads and sari ribbon !
This is the first of the 3, I’ve added stitches and beads and also a couple of my very own hand made beads. I think I’m getting a lot neater as I go and the reason I’m doing these are all in practise for my so called album cover that I still haven’t picked up again lol Once I feel that these covers are good enough I might even put them on Etsy lol it’s a long shot but we’ll see 🙂 otherwise i’ll save them for gifts !
I havent added any stitches on the back and i’m not sure i will either, I’m fairly happy with the way this turned out and i can only improve “right”
So thats it for me and i’d love to see what everyone else is working on !!!