Tag Archives: Tess Yarns

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.

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

2009 Knitting Resolutions…Thinking about knitting and yarn

Since I got married earlier this year, my 2008 knitting resolutions were relatively succient and wedding related. I knitted the Essential Tank Top and started the Lily of the Valley Shawl (which now languishes as a UFO). As for the Silk Ribbed Corset, I decided to frog it after several attempts (and bought a beautiful Jenny Packham wedding dress.) That said, I knit the shawl for my wedding and a few other  tops for the honeymoon. I even have some wonderful pieces that I knit during our beach honeymoon in the Cook Islands. 

2008 was a year of serious stash enhancement mainly thanks to my husband who believes that I should never leave an important yarn establishment with regrets! The biggest contributions cme from the Joan Vass Sales (the knitwear designer decided to retire and sold her amazing yarn collection at $20.00 for box of 10 balls), the Maryland Sheep & Wool Fetival and the Rhinebeck Sheep & Wool Festival. Additionally, I visited some new wool purveyors during several trips with my friend Amanda including Tess Yarns in Portand and Loop and Rosie’s Yarns in Philadelphia.  The hubster and I made yarn stops at Chix With Stix, Webs and Purl By the Sea  as well. 

My 2009 knitting resolutions include the following:

1] Cables, cables and more cables. 2009 will be the year that I overcome my cable phobia. I have been avoiding cables since cabled projects caused me to abandon knitting twice in the past. (Of course, it’s possible that I may have moved onto other things without the cables.) I commit to knitting a sweater using cables most likely Elsebeth Lavold’s Hild.

 

2] Expand my lace knitting skills including a wonderful Estonia Lace Shawl for me. Having watched my mother wrap herself in the Triinu Shawl, I want one of my own. My knitting friend Georgia and I are starting a KAL for a pattern that I found online. For anyone interested in joining us, please drop me a line.

 

3] Finish my wedding related knitting. Instead of presents for those who helped with my wedding, I gave balls of wool. I still have one project in process and one to be started. Additionally, I plan to make a variation on a Jean Moss pattern for my husband as a belated wedding present.

 

4] Finally make the After Dark Robe and coordinated After Dark Nightie from Mason Dixon Knits in grey/white linen purchased at the Joan Vass sale.

 

5] Reduce my yarn stash by working with the wonderful fibers that I have acquired. Since I won’t be planning a wedding this year, I should be able to accomplish this. Of course, it will mean curtailing my stash enhancing activities!

 

6] Enhance my Ravelry profile and participation. Despite having been a member of Ravelry for over 1 ½ years, I mainly use it as a source of inspiration and better understanding of potential projects.

 

7] Visit new knitting establishments as well as the Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival and the New York Sheep & Wool Festival (aka Rhinebeck Sheep & Wool Festival). Of course, this will involve some level of stash enhancement.

 

I hope that by limiting my knitting resolutions I will be able to succeed at accomplishing them. Of course, keeping this blog up-to-date is the unstated goal as well.

Best wishes for 2009!

Purple Chevron Ribbed Sweater Stitched Up

Since we don’t celebrate Christmas, December 25th is a great time for knitting projects. This year, I spent the day sewing together my purple chevron ribbed sweater. I finished knitting and blocking it in mid November. For some reason, I wasn’t inspired to finish putting it together which is unusual for me. 

The wonderful sunlight streaming into my mother’s sitting room was helpful in proding me to finish this project especially given the dark color of the yarn. It didn’t hurt that I wanted to wear it for our Annual Kwanzaa Kocktails.  

I am so happy to have finished this sweater! The pointed bottom was a challenge at times to estimate sizing and I had to sew the sleeves together to get the approximate length in the ball park. (Although as with other sleeves I have knit lately, they are a bit snug!)

For the neckline, I added a border of single crochet which was a lot less work than picking up stitches and knitting four rows of garter stitch.

Chevron Sweater in Purple Twinkle Toes from Tess Yarns

Chevron Sweater in Purple Twinkle Toes from Tess Yarns

For those who are interested, I used Ann Budd’s Chevron Rib Tank as the initial inspiration. (It’s a free download!) I knitted the front and back with a point and added sleeves using another pattern for guidelines. I used three skeins of Tess Yarns Twinkle Toes (440 yards each) and knitted using size 2 circular needles.

Knitting on Fair Harbor Beach in September

We managed to get one more weekend on the beach to get away from New York City and enjoy the lapping waves. September is a great time to go to Fire Island since the beach is empty except for the few brave souls enjoying the peaceful rhythm of the sands.  Of course, since I’m always cold, it means layers of clothes and coverings! It makes knitting with wool a welcome pleasure.
Fair Harbor, Fire Island in September

Fair Harbor, Fire Island in September

 

Fair Harbor Beach on Fire Island - September 2008

Fair Harbor Beach on Fire Island - September 2008

Koigu and Tess' Yarns Projects Protected on Fair Harbor Beach

Koigu and Tess' Yarns Projects Protected on Fair Harbor Beach

Huddled beneath my layers of warmth (no swimsuits needed!), I worked on two projects, the Koigu Lace Ribbon Scarf and my Purple Chevron Sweater. It’s wonderful to work outside in natural sunlight which brings out the fullness of the colors. Here are some Yarn Harlot inspired photos.

Tess' Twinkle Yarn in Purple on Fair Harbor Beach

Tess' Twinkle Yarn in Purple on Fair Harbor Beach

Purple Chevron Sweater on Fair Harbor Beach

Purple Chevron Sweater on Fair Harbor Beach

 

Koigu Ribbon Lace Scarf Stretches on Fair Harbor Beach

Koigu Ribbon Lace Scarf Stretches on Fair Harbor Beach

From a creative perspective, the beach and environs are great sources of knitting inspiration from the undulating sands to the wild grasses.

Untouched Sands - Textured Knitting Inspiration

Untouched Sands - Textured Knitting Inspiration

Wild Grasses as Textile Inspiration

Wild Grasses as Textile Inspiration

Chevron Rib Tank Grows Sleeves

On the way home from dinner with friends, we walked past Eileen Fisher. In the window, there was  a ribbed long sleeve sweater in the new gold and brick red colors of fall.  The ribs met at an angle across the front.

This inspired me to make a long sleeve sweater with ribs using the purple Twinkle Toes yarn that I had bought at Tess Yarns. I decided to use Ann Budd’s Chevron Rib Tank as the basis for the front and back. (Note: For the tank, the back is just straight ribs.) I would then add long sleeves since I wanted a winter sweater.

Before starting, I did check out Ravelry which is a great source for discovering how other knitters adapt exisitng patterns. The comments had to do with where the bottom point fell relative to the crouch area.

I swatched and tested the pattern.  Based on my swatch, I wound up knitting with size 2 needles.  In the process, I realized that it was a difficult pattern to estimate since without knitting a sizable portion of the front (or back) it was hard to estimate how deep the point of the V would go.