Last summer, I explored surface design with polymer clay by experimenting with metallic dye and paint. This summer, I cracked the cover of Betsy Hershberg’s book, Betsy Beads published by XRX Books in 2012. Sometimes, when I get so excited about a new project, I jump in feet first. Even though I know how to knit I-cord, I convinced myself to start from the beginning of the book with the first I-cord tutorial.
Beginning at the top slipping beads according to the directions: A) Knit five rounds, purl 1 round. B) Knit one round, purl one round. C) Same as B.
Betsy’s first and straightforward project, KISS: Keep It Simple Spiral happened by happenstance. “A Zen moment – recognizing that what you are looking for can often be found only when you stop looking.”
The shorter green necklace highlights KISS: Keep It Simple Spiral. The blue lariat necklace knit with sock-weight merino and 700 glass seed beads follows the all-over bead-knit tube technique, finished using the Zipper Technique for joining the cast-on to the bind-off edge.
Here are two more examples of the KISS: Keep It Simple Spiral knit with bamboo and Japanese seed beads.
The above Dorset button beaded bracelet is knit with tulle and glass seed beads using 5 rounds, purl 1 round I-cord. Also, the button was embellished with beads.
I also experienced my “Zen moment,” Approaching a known technique, which I’ve worked with, as if I were doing it from scratch gave me the opportunity to look at it from a different perspective.
I finally “threw caution to the wind” grabbed a spool of 28 ga. Artistic Wire, an interesting collection of beads, and began randomly stringing 450+ beads. The stringing happened over a few days, in between sewing a skirt from my pattern sloper, which by the way fits perfectly. I digress for a minute…
I decided to line the skirt, and for the first time, use a Hong Kong finish for the seams cutting my own bias strips out of silk taffeta.
After the random order of beads were on the wire, I faced the hardest part of casting on with wire.
I took a deep breath and got in my zen place and relaxed. I let the wire do the work and realized I could bend the wire any which way I wanted. At first, I wasn’t sure I liked the unevenness of the knitting and texture of the different sizes and shapes of beads.
The more I knitted…the more I began to like the piece.
The advantage of knitting with wire provides a perfect opportunity for manipulating the surface. The sculptural possibilities are endless.
Last Thursday, I met a wonderful group of women with an eclectic mix of experiences and talents. I was invited to join the Knitsters for their monthly knitogether and discuss knitting with beads. The afternoon began with a tasty lunch of salad, freshly baked bread and dessert.
Even though we spent the afternoon knitting with beads, our conversations covered a multitude of subjects. Planting succulents in hollowed-out squash, a memory study at UCSF, spinning and local community activisim.
Thank you Susanne, Elaine, Karen, Phyllis, Hsiao-in, Rene, Kathryn, Moni and Nancy C. for a wonderful afternoon.
I’ve been asked to be a guest at one of our local knitting groups in Los Gatos, CA. Our attention will focus on knitting with beads. While sifting through the stacks at my local library, I discovered a wonderful resource entitled, “Knit One Bead Too,” expertly written by Judith Durant. The visual instructions are well-documented and the written instructions are understandable. “The “Knitter’s Palette,” a workbook of color, explained by Kate Haxell offers an interesting section on adding color with beads, pgs. 60-61. Last, but definitely not least, “Betsy Beads,” confessions of a left-brained knitter, Betsy Hershberg. A book full of inspiration which pushes the limits of knitting with beads.
Here are a couple of samples I’m working on for the class on Thursday.