Tag Archives: Yarn

Spirals

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Yey!!! Finally! Finally, I can show you the very first pair of wristers with my original design!

Here they are πŸ™‚

First, a few facts:

  • the wristers are 13 cm long;
  • knitted in DROPS Baby Alpaca Silk (70% wool, 30% silk);
  • a total of 2032 seed beads 11/0 used (1016 for each wrister);
  • a total of around 20 hours of knitting (3 hours of stringing beads, the rest – pure knitting).

Now, beyond the facts: those who read my earlier entries might remember how I thanked all the higher powers after knitting the pair of wristers with simple double-colored bows for my daughter. I thanked that I chanced to start my creative experimenting from the relatively simple design involving merely a few hundred beads, because that process taught me so much. Now you maybe understand better why I was so grateful. My projects rarely lack in ambition and had I started from this project… well, I wouldn’t deny the possibility that I wouldn’t be here anymore at this particular moment πŸ™‚ I am patient but not that patient. Even this time I re-knitted one of the wristers (there was a blog entry about that as well – when I didn’t particularly like the way the design turned out) which meant that first I strung almost 1200 beads and knitted the whole wrister and then I had to take everything out and restring all the beads anew. But it was worth redoing because now I’m much more satisfied with the result.

The yarn that I used is actually kind of an experiment because traditionally wristers are made from pure wool – they say it’s stretchier and doesn’t change form so much after taking the wristers on and off many times. But the yarn with silk seemed much smoother and had a very subtle shine to it that I particularly liked. So, as wristers will be worn by me, I’ll see for myself how all the business with stretchiness goes.

Otherwise, a lot of work requiring a really concentrated attention, but that’s what I signed up for, isn’t it? I’m just a bit sorry that I couldn’t take photos of me actually wearing the wristers. But sun – or even a bright enough day that I could take the pictures at home and not go freeze my hand off in the -20 degrees cold outside – are very hard to come by at this time of year here in Finland, so only the “still-lifes” for now.

And now – for another “first”: I have my first commission! A very good friend asked for a pair of wristers for herself indicating the colors she wants, giving me a selection of beads she’d like to be used, and a general idea of what “mood” the wristers should be in. I came up with the design and we’ll see how that will turn out. Wish me luck!

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Family things

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One invariable feature of being a mom: when you want to have some time to be in peace and just do your own thing the most, something concerning children will always interfere. Always. But, at the same time, just as you want to focus on your own thing, there is no greater pleasure than take the time out of your busy day and, in result, see your kid lit up by a happy smile when you put a new slipper with a silly mouse’s “face” onto his foot. It may sound cheesy, but it’s true πŸ™‚ And so that’s the pleasure I’ve been experiencing this weekend.

‘Course, I wouldn’t have bothered “just for fun”, because I really do want to focus on my knitting. But it appears that my little one outgrew the slippers he had in his day-care and when even the patient teachers point such things out, there’s no way around – either I had to buy a new pair, or make one. As I had just brought home a pile of perfect yarn for making woolen slippers (and absolutely for free! Thank you once again, Ana Paula πŸ™‚ ) and all the other “ingredients” were on hand, guess which option I chose πŸ™‚

Here are the results of my home-y weekend: mouse-y slippers for my little boy πŸ™‚

I managed to knit two left foot slippers somehow – and not notice it until I took the slippers to embroider after washing them (four times!), drying and painting the anti-slip soles! – and the anti-slip soles aren’t really as neat as I would like them to be (I need a lot more practice… but do I? πŸ˜€ ), but overall I’m quite happy with how these cute things turned out. And my son was very happy with them! That’s really the main reason for taking the trouble πŸ™‚

If you want something just like that, the pattern is here (though you might consider knitting both left and right slippers after all πŸ˜€ ). I’ve already mentioned the DROPS Design website in one of my previous posts and I stand by my words – it really is an absolutely wonderful knitting resource page.

And now – the weekend’s over so it’s time to get back to “work” and to “my own thing” πŸ™‚

Ta-daaa!

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Ahm, maybe the fanfare’s too much πŸ˜€ I must admit that I myself was really looking forward to seeing my first design “in the flesh”… and it’s not that much to see. No, it is beautiful really and my daughter (whom it was made for) adores it, but it is such a small thing and it took me so much time to make… Well, not actual time to make – maybe rather find time to make. But, without further ado, here they are – Girly Wristers With Bows.

Now for those who would be interested not only in photos but in the actual process of making these pretty things, I have promised to tell more when I mentioned problems I stumbled upon, haven’t I? Here’s the list (and it’s not the full one, either): first, I thought I had suitable beads for the wristers – that’s basically why I decided to make the little girly ones in the first place: because I had a few batches of pink beads that I didn’t think I could find any other use for and half a ball of white yarn, but when I sat down to string the beads, I found out they had too small holes in them and the yarn simply didn’t fit in. So I had to go buy new beads. Second came the problem of stringing: the seed beads are so small and there’s a LOT of them (well, in this design there were only 306 beads in one wrister, but that was a really small design) and the woolen yarn, though I use quite a thin one, is not so tiny after all, so I had to find a good method to string them all together. When I knit wristers earlier for my own pleasure, I would just cover the end of the knitting yarn with glue and use it instead of a needle, but that was a slooooow process and having in mind that I’m planning to kind of make my living off of this kind of knitting, I had to come up with some more “productive” method. It took me four kinds of glue and a gazillion times of trying to glue yarns of differing thickness together, but I made it – the “productive” method was found! Then came the knitting itself that proved to be a bit more difficult because first, I was knitting with 5 needles instead of the usual 2, and as the beads were of differing colors for the first time in my whole “knitting history”, I found out the hard way that it does make a difference which way the beads are strung – you have to think where the beginning of the knit and the beads will be, and where the end will be (sure, I would’ve figured that out without actually experimenting if I’d thought about it, but I simply didn’t think about it. In Lithuania there’s a saying for such instances which could be roughly translated as “If the head doesn’t work, the legs [in my case – the hands πŸ˜€ ] suffer”). And, of course, there were lots of other small “light bulbs” along the way that I might not even remember now but I’m sure they will come to mind the next time I knit.

So there really was a great amount of experimenting, looking for “optimizations” (with the view of all the future work that would be easier when I found them), knitting and re-knitting in this project. I only thank all the higher powers that they steered me in the way of choosing something really small for my first design. Knowing myself – if not for those pink beads that I already had and the fact that I don’t wear pink but my daughter doesn’t wear anything but – I would have chosen to make long wristers for myself (it’s still – already! – winter after all) with some intricate design that would have taken me not a week but a few months to make with all this experimenting.

So you can guess what I’m planning to make next with all of my new-found knowledge, can’t you? πŸ˜€ Although I’m sure it is still far from the end of my adventures and experiments. So… To be continued!

What’s the Big Mystery

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Ok, I’m very prone to speaking in general terms like “making beautiful things” and lofty phrases like “journey to the handcrafts world”, I admit it. I love looong sentences, brackets (very very much! There will be a lot of them and I don’t intend to change in this respect), generalisations, exaggerations and sometimes my writings might get a tad bit pretentious (I hope that its only a “tad bit”, anyway!). But please don’t be put out by that – I’ll really try to write something more “down-to-earth” and straightforward at least sometimes. Today is one of those times, and I intend to tell you what my main idea for “journeying to the handcrafts world” is (really, I understood how comic this phrase might sound only a good deal of time after publishing it). And first of all I’ll give you a kind of lecture – or info-article – on a thing that I (please note this) will call wrister (it will be short, promise!).

Now let’s make one thing straight from the start: most of these items that I found on the World Wide Web are called “wrist warmers” and basically that is one of their functions. But “wrist warmers” is such a broad category: it includes both articles like fingerless gloves (of various length, materials and patterns) and articles like wristers that are essentially kind of band (also of various length/width, materials and patterns) that covers only the wrist. Here’s what Merriam-Webster online dictionary says about wristers (actually, there’s no such term as “wrist warmer” in this dictionary or definition of it anywhere on the Web, really! Try “define: wrist warmers” in Google, you’ll find lots of items themselves but not the definition. But maybe I’m just splitting hairs here? ):

“wrister (noun): a warm knitted covering for the wrist.”

And what I am interested in is an even smaller category – beaded wristers, where the small seed beads are knit into the wrister making a beautiful pattern. Here are a few pictures from the only book about exactly this kind of wristers that I know of (of course, there might be other such books somewhere out there in the world that I don’t know of) – Irena Filomena JuΕ‘kienΔ—’s “RieΕ‘inΔ—s” (surprise surprise, its in Lithuanian! – my native language – and if you’re interested, the word between the quotation-marks in Lithuanian means exactly that – “wristers” ).

It seems these kinds of wristers were part of a national costume in many Northern European countries in the XIXth century. They were usually made from wool and served both a practical function of warming the wrists (and sometimes holding very wide sleeves in place so the wind wouldn’t blow into them or they wouldn’t get in the way while doing some work) and decorative function of embellishing the costume. Usually the beaded wristers were worn only with the best/”Sunday” clothes and mainly for the decorative purposes (for everyday uses people wore much simpler wristers without beads, made from thicker yarn). And, by the way, these nice things were worn both by women and men.

Well, and that’s it for the historical excursion. I don’t know how you found the examples in the photos but for me – although the idea of the knitted-in beads is great – the wristers themselves look a bit dull (or maybe just the photos aren’t so good? But it is a rather old book)… I actually made quite a few pairs of them exactly like that – using traditional patterns but choosing more colorful, brighter yarns – and gave all of them away to friends. Some of these wristers even turned out quite nice and not so very boring (how can aquamarine colour be boring, huh?!). But my idea behind “making beautiful things” is to make the beaded wristers even more decorative and much more original. I’m planning on using a bit different technique from the traditional one (traditionally wristers were knit using two needles and then the ends were sewn together; I’m going to knit with five needles so there is no seem to mar the beauty of the pattern and there’s no “wrong side” of the wrister) and develop my own – original – designs/patterns for them.

Now you are (hopefully!) keen on seeing what my wristers would look like. Unfortunately, you’ll have to have a bit of patience. I will make my first original pair very very soon: the idea already lives in my head, all it needs is the execution – the transformation of my image into an actual working-pattern and knitting it (and then taking pictures). And as soon as it comes to being it will be displayed here for everyone to see and comment. But right now I must finish one of my current projects (it’s not related to the wristers and not yet related to the “potential items for sale” list in my head, but the list is still in the phase of development, so who knows); and maybe I’ll drop in some pictures of it (when finished) in the mean time, so you won’t get very bored waiting for my first “masterpiece” πŸ™‚ But the “masterpiece” will follow very shortly.

And – just for the record – wristers are my main idea for “sell-able” items, but not the only one. But let’s not get ahead of things πŸ™‚