Tag Archives: Lace

Fushia Nightsong Shawl Runs Out of Beads-FO

Nightsong Shawl with Beads Detail

Fushia Nightsong Shawl with Red and Pink Beads

Adding beads to my Fushia Nightsong Shawl made it a knockout knitted object and gave me a new appreciation for the work involved in beading.

While adding the red glass beads to my shawl, I realized that I had been more ambitious about beading than a realized. What looked like a small decorative addition was a significant amount of work (related four letter words, at least at first).

After my third row of adding four clear red beads per pattern repeat, I realized that since the holes of about a third of the beads made them unusable I was going to run out of beads. Unfortunately, I had purchased the last tube of clear red glass beads from Bruce Frank Beads. I used size 6 beads with a size 10 crochet hook.

With my shawl tucked in my bag, I returned to Bruce Frank Beads and found a pink bead that sparkled and coordinated with the clear red beads and my fushia-purple yarn. I bought a tube of these beads.

Since I had already put a lot of work into the beading that I had done and I was afraid that undoing the knitting and beading would weaken or make the yarn unknittable, I decided to modify my design for beading so that it looked like I intended to add a second color bead all along. My advice for those who considering adding beads to your work–over estimate the number of beads that you will need. Like extra stash you can always find a place to add them. Also, include a percentage for beads that are poorly made.

Submitted by Knitted Yarns Editor-in-Chief

4 Hints When Knitting With Beads-Nightsong Lace Shawl

 

Bruce Frank Bead Shop - West 83rd St, NYC 10024

Bruce Frank Bead Shop - NYC

The Nightsong Shawl is a great pattern for a skein of sock yarn. (The fact that it’s a free pattern encourages it’s use!) It creates an oblique triangle so that the shawl is longer than it is deep. As a result, it goes around the wearer’s neck allowing enough length to grace the front of a jacket.

 

Having made a Nightsong Shawl this summer out of cashmere lace weight for a friend, I was eager to make one for myself. While at Tess Yarns in Portland, Maine this summer, I bought a skein of wonderful fushia and purple sock yarn. I wanted to buy more than one skein but alas that’s all that they had. So the Nightsong Shawl was the perfect project. I loved the way that the repeats organically grow and diminish with this pattern. Working in sock yarn was much quicker than the laceweight cashmere! While knitting a second shawl shortly after finishing one can be boring, the knitter does have a good feel for the pattern repeats which adds to the speed and satisfaction of knitting.

Not being one to leave a pattern alone, I decided to add beads to this shawl. While in Margaretville, I purchased some tiny headed, old crochet hooks despite the fact that I don’t crochet. I planned to use them to place beads on my Fushia Nightsong Lace Shawl.

Living in Manhattan, it’s possible to find just about anything that you need within a subway’s trip away. I was in the west 30s, also known as the garment district. I used the opportunity to check out the strip of beading stores which have cropped up along Sixth Avenue from 39th to 35th Streets.

While I had my shawl in progress tucked in my purse, I didn’t have a clear idea of the bead size that I needed. I learned that bead sizes can vary significantly and the larger sizes are difficult to find. The larger the bead hole, the smaller the number. The array of beads was confusing so despite 45 minutes of shopping, I was still without any beads.

I consulted a friend who suggested trying Bruce Frank Beads on West 83rd Street between Amsterdam and Broadway. This time, I brought my crochet hook and project with me. I found beautiful clear red beads from the Czech Republic that contrast with the yarn.

Being new to beading, I limited my use of beads to the edging. I selected the floral pattern where there are plain knit stitches which makes placing the beads easier. I used a highlighter to mark where I was going to place beads. Remember,  if you’re first starting out, beading will significantly slow down the process.

Here’s what I learned about knitting with beads:

1] If possible, test placing one bead on your yarn. While you can buy a wonderful looking bead, it may not reflect the light the way that you anticipate. In my case, the wonderful red glass beads where too similar to the yarn to be seen.

2] Where bead size matters, use Asian made beads which tend to be more consistent in the size of their holes. About a third of the red glass beads had holes that made them impossible to use without hurting the yarn.

3] Consider how the knitted piece will be used, since beads, glass ones in particular, limit how the item is washed and worn. It’s more fragile as a result. Also, it may have an impact on how the lace blocks out.

4] Place loose beads into a small container so that they are easier to nudge onto the crochet hook and stay in one place rather than flying all over your knitting area.

Catskill Adventure – Mountain Yarns

Peaceful knitting on the deck in Margaretville,NY

Peaceful knitting on the deck in Margaretville,NY

Friends of ours have a cabin in the woods in upstate New York near the town of Margaretville. Surrounded by trees, it’s a wonderful respite from the statuesque buildings of Manhattan.

The wrap around porch has inviting chairs that allow visitors to take in the natural beauty while reading, surfing or knitting. It could star in one of those Verizon Wireless ads since it’s in the center of a mobile dead zone.Don’t worry –our friends have gotten a landline for communications and internet access to stay connected.

My girl friend was excited that we were visiting since she wanted to show me “Mountain Yarns” which is a great yarn, knitting and weaving store nestled inside of a larger building of boutiques.

The owner, Tina Harp, is a multi-talented fiber artist who spins, weaves and knits. The store spills out into a cafe area where visitors can purchase homemade baked goods and coffee.

Welcome to Mountain Yarns

Welcome to Mountain Yarns

For Sale - hand woven goods

For Sale - hand woven goods

Cashmere Lace Shawl - Hand Made with Love

Cashmere Lace Shawl - Hand Made with Love

Old fashioned knitting needles and accessories

Old fashioned knitting needles and accessories

Hand weaving in progress at Mountain Yarns

Hand weaving in progress at Mountain Yarns

Tina Harp of Mountain Yarns and Store Mascot

Tina Harp of Mountain Yarns and Store Mascot

The shop isn’t for crafters only. Tina has filled it with hand made items for purchase as well as yarns and other materials. In particular, there was a collection of hand woven guest towels and scarves. The centerpiece was a circular lace shawl in cashmere lace weight. 

I was enticed by the collection of knitting tools from yesteryear at yesterday’s prices. I love the older plastic circular needles which are difficult to find, even on eBay. So I stocked up on one of every size as well as some tiny crochet hooks and other accessories.

My girlfriend  spent her time weaving since she’s taking lessons and needed more time to finish a piece that she was working on. 

If you’re in the neighborhood, Mountain Yarns is a treat and well worth the visit.   

Submitted by Knitted Yarns Editor-in-Chief

Maine Bound Knitting

Visiting our friends in York, ME has become a mid-July event where we combine great friends, ocean air, good food and knitting. 

As a surprise, I brought my friend Amanda the set of Heirloom Lace Placemats. Unfortunately, I miscalculated my knitting time and was shy of finishing the last placemat. Despite my efforts to knit on the bus, I wasn’t able to finish in time. I still wrapped the blocked mats and plain black napkins as a house warming gift. To further complicate matters, I ran out of black yarn so that I had to rip back a few rows to make the mats match.

While the placemats make a decorative home-related gift, I found that knitting four of the same pattern got boring. I would suggest using related lace patterns in the same color yarn as a variation.

While the weather was uncooperative for a summer weekend at the beach, we used it as an excuse for heading up to Bath, ME to check out Halcyon Yarns. Halcyon Yarns is a great haven for fiber artists. It’s like a clean warehouse chock full of various fibers and related tools. The sales folks are really knowledgeable about the intricacies of knitting. Plus there’s a room filled with books like a small knitting library.

There’s so much wonderful yarn that it’s difficult to decide what to buy. I was swayed by a small producer named Swan’s Island which is a real location off the coast of Maine. My family stayed there for a summer when I was a child. I bought a skien of a blue-green sock yarn to make a shawl with.  Additionally, I bought a couple of books on making gurnseys which were difficult to buy elsewhere. That too was a hard choice but the women who helped me tracked down the books that they thought were best including a small one from the UK.

 

Welcome to Halcyon Yarns - Bath, ME

Welcome to Halcyon Yarns - Bath, ME

Outside Halcyon Yarns

Outside Halcyon Yarns

Knitted Garments on Show at Halcyon Yarns

Knitted Garments on Show at Halcyon Yarns

Swan Island Organic Merino at Halcyon Yarns

Swan Island Organic Merino at Halcyon Yarns

Isles of yarn-eye candy

Isles of yarn-eye candy

To my surprise, we made a stop on the way back at Tess Yarns. For anyone who hasn’t had the joy of experiencing the lush hand dyed colors, I strongly recommend a visit to the shop or a yarn festival. While the price of many of the types of yarns can be rather dear, there are some well priced yarns such as the merino superwash. My biggest challenge is finding enough yarn of the color I want. This trip I kept being attracted to by the same greens I bought at Halcyon. 

 

Tess Designer Yarns -Portland, ME

Tess Designer Yarns -Portland, ME

Welcome to Tess Yarns

Welcome to Tess Yarns-Weren't you here last summer?

 

Color, color & more color abound at Tess Yarns

Color, color & more color abound at Tess Yarns

 

 

 

In the end, I did something that I rarely do. I bought a single skein of a wonderful purple/magenta sock yarn for a small shawl. Despite searching the entire store, three wasn’t another skein to be had. In addition, I bought two other skeins of a blue for another shawl or short sleeve top. (I must confess that I have several other purchases from Tess lurking near the bottom of my stash waiting to be knitted.)

On the way back to York, we stopped for a wonderful lobster roll by the side of the highway out of Portland. It was a cute stand where we were the only patrons (which was no surprise since it was late by the time we finished shopping.)

 

Lobster Roll near the Portland Maine coast

Lobster Roll near the Portland Maine coast

Heirloom Lace Doily Placements on Long Beach

 

Knitting on Long Beach, NY

Knitting on Long Beach, NY

After being stalled on the train home from Montauk last weekend, my husband wasn’t up for making the trek out to the beach. Instead we went to Long Beach which is about an hour from New York City. This still allows us to get out of the city and experience the sandy beaches of Long Island without the 3+ hour train ride. The downside of Long Beach which is a short few block walk from the train station is that there is no delightful yarn store in the middle of town like Purl by the Sea. 

Since the Heirloom Lace Doily Placemats are a gift, I am on a deadline to finish them. While I set myself lots of deadlines with my knitting, I don’t like to feel pressured to knit something. Life’s too full of pressures to add to them voluntarily! 

Despite this, I’m knitting like a fiend to finish these mats. I think that the second sleeve of sweaters and the second socks are boring…with this set of placemats there are 4 of them!

Submitted by Knitted Yarns Editor in Chief

Hemlock Ring Blankie Ruffles – Opps!

Hemlock Ring Blankie Measures 36 inches

Hemlock Ring Blankie Measures 36 inches

My Hemlock Ring Blanket is making s-l-o-w progress. This is attributable to the fact that as the blanket grows so do the number of stitches.  

Further, since the Hemlock Ring Blanket has gotten too large to be contained on my longest 10.5 needle, I have switched to Denises where I can keep adding to the length. The bad news is that the joins have a propensity to come undone in the middle of rows. As a result, I have to stop and readjust the needle and stitches. Fortunately, there haven’t been any lost stitches yet (fingers crossed!)

While I was chugging along on the train back from Montauk, I had ripped and had the needles break. Leaving me too frustrated to continue.

After undoing one row twice (an evening’s work each time!), I have decided to take out the needle and lay it out on the bed since I think that there is a problem.

 

Hemlock Ring Blankie Ruffles

I was right (I am sorry to say. I would much rather put the stitches back on the needles and call it a day! But my stitch counts were off by way TOO much and I couldn’t get the pattern in line with the previous stripes.) There are ruffles where the YOs gather. Opps!

My husband counseled me to declare victory but the lap blanket is a mere 36 inches and there is more than 2 balls of yarn left which I wouldn’t use for anything since it’s very thick.

So a careful frogging we will go and hopefully I will only need to undo one stripe! This time I am going to be careful about counting the number of stitches in each repeat (reminder to self!)

Knitting Hints:

  1. Consider the length of the largest edge of live stitches to ensure that you have needles that can comfortably accommodate your work. Flexible needles such as Denises or KnitPicks can be very helpful.
  2. Check your stitch count at regular intervals to reduce frogging. Had I counted the pattern row (which is every 5th row, I wouldn’t have needed to rip. The time re-doing and ripping far exceeded the time saved by not counting each pattern.)

What do you do when you get into this type of situation? Declare victory? Rip? Let it sit in your knitting bag?

Until next time, happy knitting.

Submitted by Knitted Yarns Editor-in-Chief

Shiri Mor’s Botanica Medallion Sweater from Vogue Knitting

   

Shiri Mors Botanica Medallion on Vogue Knitting Cover

 

Shiri Mor's Botanica Medallion on Vogue Knitting Cover

When I started knitting lace doilies, one of my friends suggested that I check out the pattern on the cover of Vogue Knitting Summer 2009. It’s an unusual pattern by Shiri Mor. It’s more of a vest than a sweater. It consists of a center circle knit in the round like a doily and a separate border knitted with a variety of lace stitches so that it is larger at the outer edge than the inner edge. 

 

Interestingly, the sample is knit in Blue Sky Skinny Dyed Cotton for summer wearing. Given the way that the pattern is knit, it is a strong candidate for a Noro type yarn which would add a wonderful pattern to the center and stripes to the outer circle.

When I first thought about doing the top, I wanted to combine several colors. I wanted to use the watery blues and greens that have been showcased in Eileen Fisher’s windows on Fifth Avenue this spring.

Due to the fact that I’ve been on a yarn diet (of course, those of you who are regular readers know that I allow myself yarn treats and occasional splurges like MDSW and Webs Tent Sale.)  Therefore I decided to use some Tahki Cotton Classic from my stash. The 4 1/2 balls of white Tahki Cotton Classic (or 432+ yards) that I got at a yarn swap  wasn’t enough to make the top.  Combined with one or two other colors, it was a good start.

Tahki Cotton Classic in White, Aqua and Blue-Green

Tahki Cotton Classic in White, Aqua and Blue-Green

After studying the Botanica Medallion pattern, I realized that it was difficult to adapt to multiple colors in the way that a vintage doily might be. Therefore, I bought 5 skeins of aqua at Purl By the Sea (or 540 yards) in Montauk.

Flower Medallion of Shiri Mor's Vogue Cardi

Flower Medallion of Shiri Mor's Vogue Cardi

32 rows of Botanica Medallion in Tahki Cotton Classic

32 rows of Botanica Medallion in Tahki Cotton Classic

While it’s a rare event that I get gauge (of course, I was using needles that were 2 sizes smaller), I set out to knit the  medallion centerpiece of the sweater. After knitting about 34 rows of the 54 rows needed, I realized that, while my gauge was on target, the piece even after blocking was way too small to work for me.

Given that the centerpiece of the Botanica Medallion consists of close stocking knit and reverse stocking knit, I chose not to increase the needle size to make the piece larger. Also, I am using 100% cotton which should be knitted tightly for garments. Therefore, I decided to look for another doily to use in lieu of the flower / starfish pattern medallion of Mor’s piece. 

Having made several different doilies, I estimate that I will need a pattern with about 70 rows. Although a pattern which allows me the flexibility to add more rows to reach my goal is optimal. Further, it’s important to take blocking into consideration. For example, my Heirloom Doily Placemats grew from 15″ to 17″ in diameter when they were blocked. I assume that the piece will grow about 10-20% due to blocking the lace (which is different from non-lace blocking.)

While some of you dear readers might be upset at this change, I am thrilled since it will allow me to use a variety of colors and to have a unique design at the center. I am thinking about making the border striped but I am not sure that I will like the color changes. I will need to test knit them.

P.S. For those NYC based knitters, Shiri Mor is teaching a class focused on making the Botanica Medallion at Knitty City.

Submitted by Knitted Yarns-Editor-in-Chief