Wednesday, January 14, 2015

One Month to Valentine's Day!


And just in time, I have two sweet designs in the February 2015 issue of "I Like Knitting."

The arm warmers are knit in Debbie Bliss Rialto DK, a very soft superwash Merino wool. (By the way, I use this yarn in many of my blog swatches.) A panel of lace hearts runs down the outside and they've got beads hanging from the point of the bottom heart. I've written the pattern in three sizes for teens and adults.

The flower can be used as a hair ornament, as shown, or a piece of jewelry. This particular sample is worked in Patons Grace cotton yarn on US 5 (3.75 mm) needles, but you can try it in any number of reasonably smooth yarns. The stitch pattern is "Linen Stitch" so you will probably need to  choose needles that are relatively large for the yarn. The finished size, of course, will depend on the particular yarn and needles used.

Until next time . . .

Friday, January 9, 2015

Do you want beads with that? Part 1

I just had to add beads to the picot cast-on. It's pretty easy albeit fiddly. Start by stringing beads onto your yarn - more than you think you'll need. (It's a simple matter to push extra beads along until you are at the end of the yarn. It's not at all easy to add more beads once your cast-on is started.)

Using a crochet chain as the base for the provisional cast-on, pick up a st in the first chain. Slide a bead up against the waste yarn. Pick up a stitch in the next chain, slide a bead up against the waste yarn. Again and again. And again. (Don't put a bead after the last stitch, though.)

Work the first row in k1, p1 ribbing, then follow the pattern from Row 2. Continue working the pattern as written until it's the desired length and bind off. Undo the waste yarn.

I found in the swatch pictured above that the picots holding the beads wanted to twist very severely. I got a row of beads with their holes pointing to the front. Not attractive. I thought this might be a function of the tight twist on the yarn I've been using so I tried a yarn with less twist. There was still twisting of the picots.

The most obvious solution was to see if blocking would help. It does, but not as well in the tightly
twisted yarn (above) as in the more loosely-spun yarn which is used in the photos to the right.

I don't tend to use blocking wires because I find that they catch on my work, but here I was just putting a length through the holes in the beads. I stretched the other edges of the swatch as usual, and used T-pins to hold the wire in place.

Up next will be another take on the twisting picots, as well as some pondering on bead spacing. Until then . . .