Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Evenstar - Beginning Beaded Border

Headed for the border
I'm just at the border of Evenstar, the lace shawl pattern by Susan Pandorf.  The shawl is knit with Findley, merino and silk laceweight, by Juniper Moon Farm. The yarn is one of my favorites for knitting lace. I had two balls of the Renaissance color in my stash, and this seemed like the perfect project for it.  Juniper Moon Farm has come out with some new appealing colors, too.

A peek at the central portion
A progress photo is below.  The beaded border is about 20 sts deep, knit perpendicularly to the edge of the shawl.  There are five beads added on every wrong side row, and nearly 3,000 beads are required.  I'm using size 8/0 glass Miyuki beads with this yarn, and a #10 steel crochet hook to add them as I knit.  I bought some of them from Twisted Sistahs at Stitches last year, but didn't have enough.  To make up the difference, I looked online and found a great bead supplier, Auntie's Beads. This was my first time ordering from this supplier. The beads can be purchased at a reasonable price, and they arrived in about four days.  You can shop by size or type, and I'm quite pleased with the overall ease of the experience.

Miyuki - Japanese glass beads
At first, the number of beads may seem daunting, but it's easy to fall into a rhythm while you're adding them.  I've done wider lace borders, but not with this many beads.  The beading does slow you down, but the results are stunning, and it's worth the extra effort. 

Starting the border
To work the border, I'm using a US4 DPN the same size as my circular.  One point protector stays on the end of the circular that's holding all the stitches. I crocheted a chain of about 25 sts from which to cast on provisionally the 16 sts required to begin the border -- the working yarn from the body of the shawl is not cut and is used to cast on this base row.  This may seem fiddly, and it may take a couple of tries to get the right tension to begin the border pattern.  I tried to cast on very close to the last stitch of the body of the shawl, to eliminate any large holes or gaps that would show when the final border row is grafted to the first border row.

For the beading, I purl the stitch that requires the bead, then I transfer it back to the left needle.  I pick up a bead with the #10 crochet hook. I pull the transferred stitch off of the left needle with the hook and slide it through the bead.  Then I move the stitch with the bead over to the right needle.  Then I tug the working yarn a bit to snug up the beaded stitch.  Like I said, the process will slow you down, but as you do more, it becomes a rhythm, and you will get faster and faster.

The work stays to the left as I knit the right side rows, and to the right on the wrong side rows.Using the DPN makes it easy for me to flip the work back and forth.  I tend to keep the crochet hook behind my right ear or resting on my lap.  The seed beads are in a flat, round container, about 2" in diameter that has a tight-fitting lid.  I keep a single layer of beads in the container and replenish as needed.  It's helpful to set the bead container on a cloth, or non-slippery surface, so it doesn't move around as you are picking up beads.

Ellie wants me to post photos of the completed shawl very soon so we can get back to our regular play schedule :)

Ellie hopes that I'll be finished very soon

1 comment:

Mereknits said...

I do not think I could fall into the rhythm of anything that intricate, I am in awe! Hugs to Ellie,