08 February 2011

Knit Inn, part 2

I took three classes during the weekend. On Friday afternoon, I took a class with Virginia on how to knit with beads. I've read a few books on the topic, but had never really sat down to try it. Not only did Virginia provide each of us with a spool of wire and some beads, but she also brought other beads to encourage our artistic play. And she says she recycles old necklaces she finds at yard sales and thrift stores. I don't know that I'm going to want to knit much with wire, but it was good to try it. Wire is rather stiff, so the kinesthetic feeling is like you are back in kindergarten and learning to write with a giant pencil.

This 3-row black bracelet was made as follows:
String 57 beads on the wire. (57 = 3 rows x 19 beads per row)
Sliding a bead between each stitch, cast on 20 stitches using backward loop. (Notice you'll use 19 beads, not 20.)
Turn. Do not slide a bead up between the last cast-on stitch and the first stitch of Row 1.
Row 1: Sliding a bead between each stitch, knit 20 stitches.
Turn. Do not slide a bead up between the last stitch of Row 1 and the first stitch of the bind-off row.
Leaving enough tail for a whole row, cut wire.
Sliding a bead between each stitch, bind off using Elizabeth Zimmermann's casting-on casting-off technique.
You should have a piece of wire at each end. Use that wire to attach the findings. Hide the wire ends down inside a bead or two.
I spent Saturday just hanging out. There were many wonderful goodies in the market, and I did show some restraint. I bought a beautiful necklace and pin from Pat at Bird Mountain Creations. I was drawn to the necklace in particular because it features beads in a deep mallard blue shade that is uncommon in jewelry. This is, however, a color I wear and a color that appears frequently in my yarn stash. The David Wright swirl pin was not expensive, and I liked the deep green color. But I didn't buy an interesting helical necklace. Well, I was very excited when later that evening, the necklace was one of the items in the raffle. I put quite a few tickets on it and won it! Glee!

On Sunday I took two classes. In the first, Terry taught us how to make copper shawl pins. These are surprisingly easy!And it was delightful to see how everyone came up with something different. Several of us felt that next year, the shawl pin class should be on Friday so that we could show off our creations all weekend. Lightweight shawl pins like these are also great for delicate shawls. As you can see, I ended up with two. One is very long, for when you want to pin to make a statement. The other is shorter, but I came up with two different types of closures for it.

My last class was on polymer clay buttons and it was taught by Michele from the Eccentric Peasant. She has played a lot with clay. I was a little burned out creatively by that point. Also, I didn't really have an item that needed buttons. I think sometimes I need a problem to solve in order for my creativity to really kick in. But on the up side, I was able to listen and take notes. Michele had many, many great ideas about how to use clay and shape it. For example, she cuts up paper clips to bake in as button shanks. I don't know if I'm really going to get into polymer clay because it isn't food safe, but I do know what to expect now. And who knows, someday I may have that perfect project for which I must make my own perfect buttons!

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