Thursday, September 18, 2008

Mystery Stole 4: Beads, Beads and More Beads

First of all, I must humbly thank you all for your kind comments on the Candle Flame Stole. Your response was most gratifying. Thank you all so much!

No sooner had I finished with the Candle Flame, than it was nearly time to cast on for Mystery Stole 4, hosted by Pink Lemon Twist. Unfortunately, it took me so long to get this post written that sign-ups for the Yahoo group have closed, so I can’t invite you to join me in the fun.

I’ll do better the next time, I promise.

The design calls for approximately 1100 yards of lace-weight yarn and 1000 size 8 beads. It’s to be knit in two pieces from the ends and will be grafted in the middle. I decided to work both ends at the same time, in an effort to avoid SSS (in this case, Second Section Syndrome).

I’ve never knit with beads before, and I must admit I was a bit concerned about having to string that many beads onto my yarn. Thankfully the designer, Georgina Bow, was quite emphatic about not stringing the beads onto the yarn. The beads are attacked as you knit, using either a crochet hook or a strand of Super Floss.

So, there I was on 6 September, with my skein of Baruffa Cashwool in Denim, my silver-lined green Toho beads, and my size US 6 (4mm) needles, casting on 113 stitches… twice.

It only took me three tries, which I think is pretty good, all things taken into account. Then I worked the first row using a US 2.5 (3mm) needle. The reason I used such a large needle for the cast-on was to ensure a nice stretchy edge, so that I’ll be able to get the most horizontal stretch out of the yarn when this project is done.

I worked the first row with no problem, and then I took a deep breath and started the second row. The one which has a bead placed on every other stitch.

Oh my.

Tedium and tension, all at the same time. It took me well over an hour to get through that row, what with taking a stitch off the needle, sliding a bead onto it, and then trying to get the stitch back into place without twisting it.

Georgina my love, I’m sorry for all the nasty words I may have muttered… they weren’t really directed at you. They were directed at my fingers, which developed a bad case of the fumbles.

Eventually, after about 10 rows, I settled into a decent rhythm of decreases, yarn-overs and bead placements. I put in a couple of marathon stretches on Saturday and Sunday, and finished Clue 1 a mere two days after Clue 2 came out.

Clue1All

Really, I must apologize for these photos. I’m having a very hard time getting the light and my camera to cooperate about showing the details.

Clue1All2

My only comfort comes from seeing that many of my fellow KAL-ers are having the same difficulty with their photos.

Clue1Half

Clue 1 seems to be all about the diamonds. There are two lace diamonds and three bead diamonds.

Clue1Center

I must say, doing a mystery project like this is quite an exercise in trust for a control freak such as myself. I find myself having to quell my instincts for tinkering and fussing about whether an edge stitch should be slipped, or if a decrease should lean right or lean left.

Perhaps I’m learning patience?

Mom? … Mom? … Mom! Stop laughing for heavens sake; it’s not that funny!

5 comments:

Bells said...

oh goodness me. I so wanted to do this but just didn't know if I could cope and I'm glad I didn't now. But watching yours and others will be inspiring. Good work. It's going to be stunning.

Anna said...

Well done on all the beads!

Looking forward to seeing how it all turns out!

essjay said...

You are such a brave woman! It looks wonderful & I can't wait to see the final product!

Anonymous said...

Yourmum says...
Watching the process and progress of your adventures with yarn is truly gratifying.
There have been few outright gafaws on my part, but I must admit to some stifled giggles now and again. I wonder -- Is it really patience,or the sheer determination of a perfectionist?
Each new project is a lesson in knitting and in life. MWAH!

Lieke said...

Well, it's totally worth your effort. It looks absolutely stunning!