Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Beading on the Machine
(Click on photos to enlarge)

I’ve never done beadwork on the machine, so thought I’d give it a try.  I just finished a few pair of watermelon socks and spent a lot of time duplicate stitching the ‘seeds’.  I found that using beads for the ‘seeds’ did go some faster but it took me a few beads to get over the clumsiness and get comfortable with it.  But after a few, it went pretty well.  But I found that I had to watch each bead as I knit over it to make sure that it knit properly.  I had a couple dropped beads but was probably my own fault for getting too comfortable and not watching closely enough. 

I used size 6/0 glass beads and was warned not to use plastic beads as they may crack or break during laundry.   And I used about a 15” length of Berkley FireLine fishing line to string the beads on.  You don’t need to use this fishing line but I like it because it has a wire core which holds its shape and is easy to manipulate.

I’m not a professional beader by any stretch of the imagination but my method worked for me.   I used the garter carriage for patterning on this project but the method is the same while using the plain knitter.  

Beading has many applications and I'd say fun to do so I hope you give it a try also.

Here’s how I did it:

1)   First, tie several knots at the end of the fishing line, enough knots so the beads won’t slide off the end.  Then string several beads onto the fishing line.   Thread the other end through a blunt nosed tapestry needle.

2)   Determine which stitch the bead is to be placed on and run the threaded tapestry needle thru the loop of the stitch on the needlebed. 

3)   Pull the fishing line through the stitch, remove the stitch from the machine needle and then remove the tapestry needle.

4)   Then move the first bead up near the stitch.

5)   Thread the end of the fishing line through the bead.  You will have 2 strands of fishing line running through the bead and a loop through the stitch on the machine.

6)   Then hold both strands of fishing line up and move the bead down toward the machine and pull the stitch through the bead.

7)   Using a one prong transfer tool, place the stitch back on the empty needle and pull the end of the fishing line out.

8)  The bead and stitch are now placed on the needle and you’re ready to knit.  Be sure to check the beads after knitting the row to make sure they are all securely attached.

Here's the finished sock with beads used for the 'seeds'.  I'm happy.  The beads are hardly noticeable on my feet and they look more professional.  ♥

Disclaimer:  I just finished a pair of beaded socks for myself and must admit that I really don't like how the beads feel on my feet.  I wear Crocs or felted clogs most of the time and even as loosely as they fit, the top of my foot is irritated by the pressure on the beads.  So....I guess that beads might not be a good choice for socks in the foot area.  I would limit the beads to the ankle part only.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Door County, WI

(Click on photos to enlarge)

 Last week, we took a couple days off and drove to the other side of our beautiful state of Wisconsin to visit Door County.  For those of you not familiar with Wisconsin, Door County is located on the eastern side of the state on a peninsula that juts into Lake Michigan on its north and east side and is bordered by a huge bay on its west side.   We were hoping to see the cherry orchards in full bloom but were a few days late for the full bloom but several of the orchards still had some beautiful trees.  Door County is home to over 2,000 acres of cherry orchards and draws over 2 million tourists from all over the US.   Door County hosts a cherry festival in July when the cherries are about to be harvested.   Door County also has wineries, apple orchards, beautiful gardens and famous fishing so there's no lack of reasons to host festivals all summer long.

We drove up to the northernmost tip of the peninsula only to have heavy fog set in so our view of the lake was pretty much nonexistent.  We were hoping to see some of the lighthouses but the fog obscured their view too.  But we did see the ferry leaving for Washington Island, which lies north of the peninsula in Lake Michigan.  It just drove off into the fog....not my idea of a relaxing trip. 

The area off the peninsula tip is especially dangerous because of the many islands and the turbulent currents created by the waters in Lake Michigan meeting the waters in Green Bay.  There are several submerged shipwrecks in the area from the early days of the French explorers....I'm still thinking of that ferry that took off into the fog!

This is a picture of Green Bay from its western banks.  The next day was sunny and beautiful.

Egg Harbor is the largest city on the peninsula north of Sturgeon Bay and this beautiful church along the highway caught our eyes.  Its stone and brick architecture is quite unique.

I hope you all get a chance to visit Door County, WI.  It's a beautiful piece of our country.