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Thursday, April 19, 2012

Beaded Family Wrist Warmers

I am busily getting ready for my full day "Knitting with Beads" workshop that I will be teaching this year at the Estes Park Wool Market on Thursday, June 7, 2012. I am really excited about this opportunity to share my love of knitting with fellow knitters. And add to that a full day of play with beads! It can't get much better than that. :)

Besides learning how to read/create charts and finding out about the many different techniques for knitting with beads you will actually design and start knitting your own beaded Garter stitch wrist warmers!

Beaded Family Wrist Warmers
Obviously it would be a great idea for me to have a couple of beaded wrist warmers along as samples to show not only what works well but also what might not be the best choice. Don't we all learn from mistakes more than from successful projects? And I sure had some disappointments when designing these wrist warmer samples which I will be happy to share at the workshop. :)

But here is a successful design that I call the "Beaded Family Wrist Warmers".

It all started out with me wanting to use one of those traditional Norwegian patterns of dancing children or adults and convert it for beads. But as I was fiddling around with the beading chart my mind wandered off on one of its typical "what else can you do with this design" explorations and oh, boy, did I come up with lots and lots of other ideas. I wish I had more time in the day to keep up with my mind! :)

The one idea that made me pop up, literally, and was nearly a 'duh' moment was when it occurred to me that I could make a whole family circling the wrist warmer - just like you see on some decals on cars. I myself would LOVE to wear my family around my wrists and be constantly reminded of how lucky I am. :)


And as an added bonus, I would have a great Mother's Day or birthday gift for my mom that was coming up very soon. Ooh, I liked that idea.

Now, as I was thinking this idea through, it would make sense to allow other knitters to customize their family line-up to their needs to make it a really useful pattern. So, back I went to fiddle with the charts some more to allow a mix and match of the individual designs. I ended up with a chart for a

  • mother
  • father
  • son
  • daughter
  • dog
  • cat
that can all be put together so that they are holding hands, well except the dog and cat; they are free standing.
Chart for mother

I was able to size the designs so that a typical 7" cuff can accommodate 2 adults and up to 6 children! If you don't have that large a family, you would center your family line-up and have just the triangle edging around the back.

Then came the next decision: How wide should the wrist warmer be? I know that for at home use I like them to be on the shorter side whereas in fall/winter I like them to be longer to keep the draft out from my coat sleeves... So, I made one sample cuff shorter and one longer with instructions on how to adjust them to your need. And watch out when you work the longer version: depending on which side of the chart you will add the extra length will determine the direction the family will face - looking at you or at your fellow friends. :)

Writing the Pattern


Now that I had my samples knitted up it was time to tackle the pattern writing. It's always quite time consuming because you have to be so precise in your instructions and can't assume anything. I don't know the level of knitting experience the purchaser will have. Or, at least that's the standard that I am using.

The other thing I like to do with my patterns, besides precise instructions, is to add pictures to show visually a perhaps tricky spot or to help you double-check what your work is supposed to look like at a certain stage...and sometimes I forget to take those progress pictures while I work up the sample because I am so enthusiastic about finally knitting or trying to finish... that I need to knit another one just to take that important picture!

Yep, I should know by now to keep my camera close. But then I do knit all over the place, at my boy's soccer practice, waiting to pick them up from school, at knitting groups, late at night, etc. when the setting is not right to take that progress picture. What to do then? Obviously, I should stop knitting and set it aside until I can take the proper picture. But do you know how hard it is to stop and wait!? It takes a mighty dose of will power - at least for me. :) So it comes down to - is it really worth to finish now and then redo a portion - or - can you wait, take the picture, and finish then?

Pattern was written, charts were made, progress pictures and a short photo tutorial for how to work a "Bead Stitch" were in the camera, and now it was time to format everything and get that all important cover page photo - the one that represents your work - that sells the pattern.

A brainstorming session was in order to figure out what I wanted to convey with my cover photo. And how do you photograph wrist warmers so that you show enough of the design but don't give it away? It also can't be too busy, else it would distract from the design. So what items would help me tell the story without overpowering the piece?

That's when I realized that I LOVE to receive snail mail and it would be a great gift to my mom to write her a letter, take some time out of my busy day and just think of her. The photo shoot was set: a cup of coffee with great chocolates (received from a friend over at ButterflyForge.com), a nice letter paper, the cuffs and my husband to take pictures. :)

And there you have it - a finished pattern.

If you would like to purchase your own copy for $4, here is the link:

2 comments:

tjf said...

I love the way your wrist warmers turned out! They are beautiful - and I like that I can include all six of my kids - were you thinking of me? :) This is actually the first bead-knitted project I've seen that makes me want to try beading and knitting. I never really wanted to before. Thanks!

Nikki's Studio said...

Oh, boy, you make me blush! ;)

Yep, indeed, I did remember your off hand remark while working up the sample. It was an eye opener and something I didn't think of at all. It made me go back and reconsider the sizes of the individual designs - and had me redo my sample...Thanks!