Friday, June 29, 2007

Ready, Set, Go...

Today the first clue for Mystery Stole 3 was released. I was ready... yarn purchased, swatches knit, beads ordered, tools lined up.

New tools for this project include new Addi Lace Needles, a crochet hook with such a tiny hook that it is practically invisible, and highlighter tape.

The Addi lace needles have lovely sharp points, but they are not so slippery that the silk yarn slides off promiscuously. So far, they seem perfect for this project.

The #14 crochet hook looks like something you might find on the dentist's tray. The hook is so tiny that it is nearly impossible to see with the naked eye. It has to be that small to fit the holes in the beads. Fortunately, it is possible to do this by feel rather than by sight!

The other new item, which I had read about but could never find locally, is Highlighter Tape. It is wonderful for lace charts – just put a strip of tape above the line you are knitting, and move it up as you knit. It is far superior to my previous solutions: Post-It notes, strips of paper held with a paper clip, and even magnetic strips on an old metal document holder. The tape comes in several colors, and it is easy to move when you want to move it, but it sticks well when you don't want it to move. I had looked for it locally but never found it, and I finally ordered it online. Highly recommended!!

The beads are beautiful, but they are tiny (size 8/0), silver-lined clear glass. I haven't figured out how to handle them without dumping them all over the floor... it happened once, though fortunately I had put a few of them in a little plastic medicine cup, so I didn't lose too many. Maybe some kind of little mat would work better than grabbing them from the cup with the hook – this is my first experience with beads, and some experimentation may be in order.

I did swatch for this project, but I knit the swatches before the beads arrived. I chose these beads to create a subtle effect against the silver-gray silk, but I am now wondering if the effect is too subtle. (They don't show up well in the photo, but they don't show up well in real life either!) I also have some larger (6/0) beads that I ordered by mistake, and I am considering using those in the center section of the stole. More experimentation in order...

This stole, like Mystery Stole 2, promises to be a challenging project but extremely engaging. It is compelling to knit "just one more row" to see how the design is evolving, even when there are other things to be done.

The first few rows did not get off to a good start. I was having a lot of trouble maneuvering the two ends of the needle, the yarn, the crochet hook, and the bead without dropping any of them. O to be an octopus! It is getting easier, but another hand or two would still be helpful.

Thanks, Melanie, for the opportunity to be part of this community of over 3000 knitters from all over the world working on a project that will be interesting to knit and will result in learning new techniques... and will, undoubtedly, be beautiful when finished.


Lise in NJ said...

The beads are added sparsely so you don't need to have many at hand at once. So one thing you can do is put a hand towel in place, and distribute a few beads at a time on it. They won't roll away and you can pick them up easily on your hook.

Your beads are very subtle, but I think they'll give a mysterious and unexpected sparkle to your kniting!

penny said...

Your beads are quite subtle, going a similar route as I have. I am using clear 11° beads left over from fixing my wedding dress (I borrowed it). I think they will add a slight amount of beautiful sparkle.

when i recharge my camera batteries I'll upload a photo.. (and try to remember to let you know).

good luck and your yarn choice and knitting is beautiful!

Kat said...

Hmm, I see what you mean about the beads not showing up well. It's so hard to tell in a photograph, but I'm going to go out on a limb and say that I probably would'nt use beads with that yarn.

I put beads on my Angel Pearls scarf, done with Kidsilk Night (the sparkly one) and you totally can't tell there are beads on it.

That highlighter tape looks awesome! I'm going to have to order some, I suspect.

Your stole is stunning so far!!

Lilleduck said...

The highlighter tape is looking great, wish I had some. Your shawl is looking great too. I can't really see the beads, but it's hard to see in a photo anyvays. I made my first try with clear pearls but changed it to the green ones in stead.

Leanne said...

I am also using silver-lined glass beads, on white yarn, and I'm also concerned that it may be a bit too subtle.

I have a few beads in a teacup, and that's working quite well. So far, I haven't spilled any, and considering I'm quite klutzy, that really is a miracle!

I just finished clue 1, but I'm out of town so I probably won't get pictures posted until Monday.