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Monday, May 31, 2010

Double-Knit Headband

The May challenge description was:
This month, you were challenged to learn a new skill - and with that skill, design something that would be a good introduction to the skill for someone else.
As a longtime knitter, crocheter, needlework, lace, beading, etc. multi-crafter it was challenging to find a technique that I haven’t tried yet. Especially because I am always curious about new things. Double-knitting ended up being my technique to learn for this challenge.

I’ve learned quite a bit a long the way (different cast ons, bind offs, design considerations for the mirror image, what design features work and work not so well, etc.) and I am sure to use this technique for the upcoming fall/winter season.

After knitting now 4 headbands, I can nearly knit at regular speed of a typical k1,p1 ribbing (you knit the front side stitches and purl the backside stitches which makes for a k1,p1 knitting experience).

The resulting fabric is so nice thick, warm and squishy that you just love touching it. And the reversible nature of the fabric with its cool color play just tops it off! I love it!

Some notes I took along the way:

I was not quite happy with the cast on/cast off edges. It just didn’t look tidy enough for me, a bit too grungy (could be a look in itself).
 grungy edge

After a bit of experimenting and googling I settled on a 3-stranded long-tail cast-on. You hold your two colors over the index finger and the front color around your thumb.

The trick is to keep the double strand in the same order: red/white, red/white, etc. which will setup your front (red) and back (white) stitches.
3-stranded long-tail cast-on

Then came the cast off. I went with a single strand cast off with k2tog in the front color where I knit the first front colored stitch and from then on k2tog and bind off as usual, k2tog and bind off, etc. This makes for a nice solid front bind off and cute little bumps in the alternate color on the back side. Perfect!
 cleaned up edge

This was a fun challenge and very educational. How about you take the plunge and try a new technique as well?

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Beadstar Finalist!

I was so excited to find one of my necklace submissions for the Beadstar stringing contest selected as one of the 20 finalists in the "Designs with Heart" section: It's the lucky #13!

"Ribbon Heart" - Designs with Heart

You are invited to vote on the Beadstar site for you favorite design in 9 different categories. So head on over their and check them out. You can vote until June 9.

It was a lot of fun diving into my bead stash and re-discovering all the treasures that have accumulated over time.

Here are my other design submissions:

"Black Butterfly" - Metal category
Various butterfly themed burnished black metal beads and pendant with Olivine fire polished Czech glass beads. 18" long.

"Nearly Jaded" - Stones category
Aventurine carved focal bead and stone chips, interspersed with Cloisonne beads, gold metal discs, and crystals. 20" long.

"Squared Pearls" - Pearl category
Natural Lavender colored freshwater pearls and Hematite beads. 20" length.

"Double Dip" - Plastic category
Various black and white plastic beads with Turquoise flowers. 24" long.

"Candy Coral" - Under $25 category
Real coral beads with Filagree tubes. 16" long.

 I'll list them in my Etsy store over the next few days.