I love beaded shawls! Yes, they can be fiddly and even tedious to knit, but the finished fabric is so decadent and delicious. I just love running it through my fingers. And the sparkles - oh, the sparkles! In an effort to address the tedium of placing the beads, I've been experimenting with the different methods:
At top is a #14 crochet hook. It is by far the fastest and easiest method. The downsides are that you can only load about 5 beads at a time and the #14 won't accommodate anything smaller than a #6 bead. For lace weight yarn I usually use a #8.
In the middle is the super floss. This is the securest method, offering the least chance of having beads roll all over the floor. It also holds the most beads. It's a little slower and more fiddly than the crochet hook, and because it's floppy, it's hard to carry next to my knitting needle with my right hand. I end up dropping and picking it up a lot, which slows me down.
At the bottom is the new Fleegle Beader that I just got from the Gossamer Web. I was really excited about this as the perfect solution. I sat down to use it, and after about a hour was ready to chuck it across the room, to join all the beads that were already there after falling off! I tucked it away in its little tube and proceeded on with Evenstar's border using the floss method. This morning when I sat down to knit, I decided to give it another try, and doggone if it didn't work! There is definitely a learning curve and you have to get used to putting tension on the yarn and then pushing the bead up and over rather than pulling the yarn through, which is what you do with the other methods. So this just may work. I'll keep you posted. So far, 5 repeats of the border done - 51 to go!
With all this lovely beading going on, I had to force myself to work on Dark and Stormy, but I did and finished the knitting.
I'm not at all happy with it. As you can see on the right side of the picture, the shoulder area bunches up terribly! I've looked at other finished sweaters and I see that in some of them too. I wouldn't be adverse to ripping out the collar and trying again if I knew how to fix it. This one may have to simmer a bit before I figure out what to do.
In the continuing saga of Ben's sweater, he kept ripping out the elbow, so I finally relented and sewed on elbow patches.
I guess the upside of this is that he loves this sweater and wears it constantly. That makes it all worth it!
I can't believe that Isobel will turn 8 this week! Where has the time gone? She did her science fair project on the Australian Walking Stick. Hers is named Popcorn. Doesn't she look grown up?