Saturday, December 23, 2006

Mistressing the technique

There are people who craft because they like the results, and there are others who just like the process. In the best of all possible worlds, you craft because you like doing it AND you like the results. I am more of a process person. I usually like the results, but I am a junkie for a new technique. You can learn anything if you have the right instructions, so a good book or video with good instructions opens a world of new things to try.

It begins with the book, and the desire to try it. Then you gather the materials. With materials in hand and book open, you awkwardly try and understand, follow the instructions, and make your hands do something quite unfamiliar. It feels like you are all thumbs. Your hands and fingers get cramped, your shoulders are tight, you squint, rip out, drop stitches, swear.

Then gradually, slowly, you discover that if you hold the wool/thread/beads/shuttle/knitting needles just SO, and if you put this finger just HERE, and twist ever so slightly as you make THIS stitch, it starts to go quicker. The facility increases, your new product grows, and eventually you whip along at great pace and wonder what on earth you found so difficult at the beginning.

Julie wondered in her last comment on this blog whether there were any beads in my future. When I stopped laughing, I thought about the next little project. There were still beads strung on crochet cotton left over from the beaded purse. Once beads are ON the cotton, it is too distressing to take them off again. I decided to re-visit bead knitting.

The beaded purse was simple - you slip the required number of beads, then knit a couple of stitches. With bead knitting, however, you push a bead into the knitted stitch. I've done this before. I started with a sample of 12 stitches of assorted purple and silver beads which had been strung in a pattern which was going to be a crochet rope, (another interesting technique) but with which I had lost patience. I knitted one bead into every stitch, twisted stockinette stitch. The resulting piece curled in on itself, so I added a clasp and it became a necklace for a friend. I liked the result so much I made another for myself. People often comment on it when I wear it.

I thought that I might have enough seed beads on the black cotton to do another necklace. So I cast on 12 stitches to my tiny knitting needles and began. Hmmmm. I had forgotten the technique. Off to one of my beading books. Couldn't find the instructions. Where was that other beading book??? Oh yes, that was a library book. Up to the Library. No, it was the other library, way up in Gordon. Hmmm. Off to the web, where I found and ordered a copy of the library book for my own collection. And I found this book/video on knitting beaded bags (divine) and ordered that too.

Back to my first beading book, looked more closely, and there were the full instructions. Yesterday was a struggle to re-mistress the technique. Today I'm getting faster and better at it. Here is the right side - you'll see some spots are beadless if you look carefully, and you'll see I am getting better at it. You can also see how it curls over to make a very effective rope. I might not have enough beads for a necklace but I'll keep going until I've knitted them all.

Here is the wrong side, showing just a peek of the bead through the knitted fabric.

Are there more beaded things in my future. You betcha! Happy Christmas, everyone.

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