Monday, April 30, 2018


I can see by looking back in my blog that I made this sleeveless pullover for my husband Jack in December 2014. It spent last Winter languishing in the cupboard because the neck was shredded. Jack is constantly delving into his pockets for glasses, phone, notebook, which puts a lot of stress on the neckline. The thought of reknitting the neckband was unappealing. I ignored it. But on Friday I had a brainwave - crocheting a new band would be much easier.
And so it proved. The bottom edge was also beginning to look scruffy, so it needed redoing too. I snipped one stitch and unravelled one row to remove the bottom band, leaving a row of loops:

I worked a dc (sc in America) into each loop and then worked a few rows of tr (dc in American terms) to form a neat edge. Hopefully the pullover will be serviceable for farm wear for another Winter.

Friday, April 27, 2018

Practice Piece

When I saw this chart by Anita Artes, I thought it might work for beaded knitting. It does. I like it. I'm making a miniature version of the clutch bag I plan to make for competition. I'm going to try out the lining and construction as well as practising beaded knitting. I think it'll work as a purse or a holder for business cards, so it'll be useful as well as a practice run. 

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Beaded Knitting How To

I didn't find a lot of instructions for beaded knitting when I was researching it. So I've written a description.

Bead Knitting, worked from a chart
© Jane McLellan 2018

Knitting needles size 2mm, beads size 8, perle cotton no 8, bead needle, grid chart. Here I'm working with chart from Family Knitting by Kaffe Fassett and Zoe Hunt, page 43:

Threading the Beads
Follow the chart from the top right hand corner, working right to left. So first of all thread 12 white beads onto the thread
Then thread 1 black bead, 9 white beads, 2 black beads. Work downwards on the chart, right to left, row by row.

Abbreviations: K knit; Sl slip 1 purlwise, B slide bead into place

Cast on 3 more stitches than there are squares on the chart, in this case, 15 stitches.
Knit one row (right side)
Wrong side row: Sl 1, *K1, B, repeat from * until there are 2 sts left, K2.
Read the chart from the bottom left hand corner, left to right, to check that beads are correctly strung.

Right side row: Sl1, K remaining stitches.

Continue in this way, sliding a bead into place after every stitch on the wrong side and knitting the right side rows.
When chart is complete, cast off loosely.

Working From A Larger Chart
It's not a good idea to string too many beads onto the thread. They become unmanageable, and can damage the perle thread. If you're working from a bigger chart, you need to divide the chart into sections, thread each section from right hand corner, right to left and work each section from chart bottom left hand corner, left to right:





So if this chart was divided in half, begin threading at A, working at B. Then cut thread and begin threading from C, work this section from D.

A Few Tips
To help slide beads along the thread, put the ball on the floor – gravity!
Shallow jar lids work well to hold beads of different colours. It helps to put everything on a tray when beading.
At first, sliding beads into place feels awkward, but it gets easier with practice.

I'll make a PDF version and put a link on the sidebar, so that I can find it again. 

Monday, April 23, 2018

Beaded Knitting

The 'floating section' for next year's competitions is a handbag in beaded knitting. If you look for 'beaded knitting' online, you find everything from a few beads added to a scarf to items that look as though they're made entirely of beads. I'm not  sure which sort the judges are going to be looking for, I hope to find out more at an information day, tomorrow or next week. In the meantime I've been working on some samples and finding out what I can.

The most useful pattern I found was this one by The BeadKnitter. It is knitted with only one colour bead, but gives the clearest instructions for how to add beads. The little flower sample is worked from a tunisian crochet pattern, which I found here. Lesson number one: my first attempt came out as a mirror image; because the beads are added from the back, the chart must be followed right to left when threading beads. I worked it again with tiny beads. It faces the right way, but the pattern doesn't show up well with such small beads.

 I came across Julia Pretl on Pinterest. Her beaded bags are inspirational. You can see  some of them here.

The tulip pattern at the top I worked from a knitting pattern book called Family Album by Kaffe Fassett and Zoe Hunt. The original chart shows where to use different coloured yarns, but it works just as well for different coloured beads. I think cross stitch patterns would also work.

I hope this post is not too garbled. I'm just beginning to explore beaded knitting and this helps to bring together my research so far. Beaded knitting is not the same as the beaded crochet ropes I've been making, but some of the principles are the same and the equipment is the same.  I do think my crochet work will help me with knitting.

Saturday, April 21, 2018

A Short Spring

This is the first 10 rounds of Renulek's wiosna 2018, Spring doily or Spring napkin. Renulek gives the stitch count for a round every week on her blog, or you can buy the whole pattern in her Etsy shop. Mine is tatted in Coats thread size 40.

When I was working on round 10, I realised that I had made a mistake in round 4, and as a result was one repeat short. The number of repeats doubles in round 11, which would compound the problem. Rather than correct the mistake or carry on regardless, I decided to invent a finishing round and leave it at that. It measures 37 cm across, not a bad size for a doily.

If anyone notices the mistake without being told, I'd say they haven't enough to do!

Friday, April 20, 2018

The Decision

Thanks very much to everyone who responded to yesterday's post. Turns out there are quite a few possible ways forward! After some contemplation, I finished tatting round 10. I don't like it as an outer row, I think the outward facing rings make it look incomplete. I had a look at the photo of the finished doily on Renulek's blog  and took a design element from round 12 or so to create an outer row. I've only just begun and it's possible it'll need a bit of tweaking, but I think it will work.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

That Sinking Feeling

23 repeats? There shouldn't be 23 repeats. Yup, definitely 23 repeats. Now to find the mistake. Counting, counting, counting. And here it is, a ring missed on the fourth round:

What to do? Jack reckons I should carry on regardless, but looking at Renata's picture of the whole doily I don't think that will be possible, because the number of repeats keeps increasing as the doily gets bigger. I really don't feel like redoing all that. One possibility would be to leave the butterfly round as the outer round. Even with 23 butterflies instead of 24 I think it would look alright. Any other ideas welcome!

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Half Way Round

I'm half way round Round 10, feeling like the white rabbit in Alice in Wonderland!

Monday, April 16, 2018

Holiday Snaps

We're back from our holiday. I have a lot of catching up on cleaning and tatting the Spring doily to do, so here are a few holiday snaps to look at until I get my act together!

We traveled 4000 kms on our journey. To make sense of our route, have a look at this map. We spent the first night in Gaborone in Botswana, then went to Bulawayo and Harare. We then drove back to Bulawayo and up to Victoria Falls. We had planned a round trip, travelling by ferry along Lake Kariba, but the ferry didn't sail, so we had to go by road. The Victoria Falls were really spectacular. I've seen them before, but not with so much water going over them. There were huge amounts of spray, drenching the onlookers:

One evening we took a boat ride on the Zambezi River above the Falls:
We also went for a game drive through the national park near the Falls; here are a couple of the animals we saw:

Back to the map: we went into Namibia and along the Caprivi Strip (above Chobe NP on the map) and then into Botswana and southwards along the edge of the Okavango Delta:
We bypassed Maun and took the southern route back, through the Kalahari. We spent a night at a place called Kalahari Rest and then left very early to get back to South Africa:

Sunday, April 1, 2018


Some Afrikaans words are way more expressive than an English equivalent. Vatlap (fut-lup) translates as 'gripping cloth', which I think works better than hot pad or pot holder. Whatever you call them, I crocheted these over the weekend to give as a gift. I think I might make more while we are on holiday. We are leaving later today to spend two weeks in Zimbabwe. I won't be blogging until we get back. I'll have some catching up on blog reading to do then too.