Old Crow Comes Out to Play


Recently, I got the itch to cast on something beaded.

Of course. Because my “old crow” mind won’t let me just settle down and work on just one thing at a time.

Beads & Yarn for Beaded Project

(Also because I’m teaching a beading technique class on the 25th and I need a little refresher for myself. Really. Not just because I get to play with SHINY BEADS!!! WAAAAHOOOO!)

After swatching a little design out, I pulled this skein out of my “very precious gift” pile. From YarnScout in Bozeman, Montana, it’s their fingering weight Sacajawea, made from 20% yak, 20% silk, and 60% merino in the Berry Stains colorway.

I’m in love. Just by touching the yarn, I know it will slide soft against my skin and be a lovely way to warm my hands during the chillier months here. If I have enough, I’m also going to make myself a hat. I think I can make it happen since I have 400 whole yards in this gorgeous hank.

Since I want these pieces to be beaded, I talked to all of you fabulous friends on the internet over the weekend and we picked the gray iridescent beads for an accent. I’m playing with the idea of adding some Swarovski crystals on the hat if I get that far (Oooooooh yes! And the Knitting Diva has them on a deep discount right now. They’re perfect for loading onto a thread and stranding alongside my main yarn for pops of sparkle in the main body of the hat).

After starting off with a rolled edge ending in a band of beads, I began a wide rib and added a bead in the middle every few rows. I wanted a simple and modern look to my mitts, even with the beads.

Then, my “old crow” mind took over and demanded a simple lace detail around each bead. Just a couple of yarnovers and a centered double decrease. I was wanting to stay simple but now….

Beaded Mitt Cuff/Swatch

I had this idea that I was creating something super simple, something that a true beginner could do. They’d need to know how to knit and purl and knit in the round, but that’s pretty normal for a beginner. I wanted them to just learn to add beads. Now, I’ve added lace.

I’m still not sure exactly where I’m going with this piece. I have a few more tweaks to make and this cuff seems to be ending up the real swatch as I play with bead placement and lace variations. Lace every other rib? Perhaps lace every other bead? Will the lace completely destroy the integrity of the ribbing?

All sorts of ideas and pitfalls are zinging around my mind as I contemplate these sweet little mitts.

Decisions, decisions. Experiment. Experiment.

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Working with just a swatch gives you the freedom to play with the beads – adding different colors of beads, playing with the placement, seeing how the beads play with the yarn, watching how the different colors and types work with or against the yarn. Experimentation and exploration turns into a creative beading playdate for adults!

My bead class, “Bead All About It: Three Techniques for Adding Beads to Your Knitting,” will be on August 25th at the Knitting Diva from 10:30am-12:30pm and the cost will be $50. Beads (and several other materials you need to add beads) will be provided. Please bring fingering weight yarn and a beading crochet hook (US size 14/0.8mm or 16/0.6mm).

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