Nikki's Notebook

My journey as a fiction writer and a place for my projects, writing and otherwise.

Archive for April 2010

Seed bead obsession

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Does working two jobs give me a good enough excuse to have lapsed on my blogging a bit? Either way, that’s my excuse. It’s been busy around here, especially now that AmeriCorps at my school and I have taken on planning and IMG_1804fundraising for the school carnival. Today we were supposed to be doing a car wash fund raiser with some of the middle grade students to get money for the carnival, but it got cancelled because of dreary, windy, and possibly rainy weather. Since my day is now free, I figured I’d catch up on blogging! Even though I haven’t found time for the blog, I have still been able to steal some free moments to do some crafting. I’ve been doing a little bit of spinning, a little bit of weaving, a little bit of knitting, but I’ve also had the opportunity to learn even more stuff. As if I needed to.

Lately, I have been obsessed with off-loom seed bead weaving. One of the managers at Bobby Bead IMG_1803gifted me a whole bunch of seed beads so I could play around with learning new techniques. And play around I did! I sat down one night and taught myself how to do brick stitch out of the book The Beader’s Companion, which was also given to me by Bobby Bead when I started working there. Then I taught myself peyote stitch, and I was hooked. For a few days there, I was consumed by it. I would get up in the morning and stitch a little bit before I had to go to work. Then I’d sit down after dinner and watch a few TV shows while beading all the way till bedtime. It’s addictive! There is something about how tiny the beads are, and the fact that you are essentially making fabric out of them, that had me completely engrossed in it. Then I tried out tubular peyote as well. Here’s what I’ve made so far:


I don’t really know what I’m going to do with any of it, if anything. I’m hoping that the smaller diameter tube might become a necklace, but it’s gotten pretty boring doing a tube of the same color over and over. The problem is that I don’t yet have the knowledge or skills to make much out of what I know. I might do a few more samples so I can learn increasing and decreasing, and I’d also like to learn more about finishing techniques. Just as with weaving and fiber arts, there is so much to learn about beading! I’m glad, though, that there are always new things to learn, because it means I’ll never get bored.

Also, I got new glasses! Check it out. I needed new lenses, otherwise it would be physically impossible for me to do anything with seed beads without getting a major headache. I also wanted to replace my old black plastic frames that I’d broken in the winter. All I did was put them in my pocket while I was shoveling because they were fogging up! My frames were discontinued, but luckily I was able to find an almost identical pair. Thank you tax returns!
IMG_1792 IMG_1790


Written by nikkinbird

April 25, 2010 at 5:58 pm

Finished sweater and scarf.

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Well, I do have a couple of finished projects to post. I will post the disappointing one first in order to end the post on a positive note. Sound good? Okay. So, back in February, I think, or the beginning of march, I finished the Garter Yoke Cardigan I had been working on. It seemed okay, perhaps a little too big, but it needed some blocking for it to sit right. I think deep down I knew what was going to happen. I was a little afraid to block it. Sure enough, the sweater grew. And grew and grew. I tried to pull it into shape, but it seemed as if the only shape it wanted to beway too big sweater pulled into was looong. And it’s not even that I didn’t do a gauge swatch. I did! But I never washed it before measuring. I knew something was going to go wonky when I had to go up two needle sizes to get stitch gauge, but then discovered that my row gauge was terribly off. I made some minor adjustments to compensate for that, but it wasn’t enough. Here is a horribly unflattering picture of me modeling the giantness of this sweater. Yeah. Not so much. I think if the armpits weren’t so low compared to the location of my actual armpits I might feel a little more encouraged. For now, this thing is hanging out waiting for me to get up the nerve to rip it out and start again from the beginning. At this point, I’m not sure what adjustments to make to make sure it fits. I’m not good with math or experienced enough with sweater knitting, and even when I do try to figure these things out, I don’t trust myself. But I know I’ll learn if I keep trying!

My other finished object has been much more satisfying, though it too turned out longer than I had planned. This is a scarf woven out of Cascade 220, 100% merino wool. I originally bought the yarn to make into a hat to practice colorwork, but my loom was calling to me and it was some of the only yarn I had around. I love the fabric it produced and although it at first seemed at least a foot too long for my liking, it is actually just long enough for two wraps around my neck. I also successfully fixed a broken warp thread in the middle of this project, thanks to the book Hands on Rigid Heddle Weaving
Here are two pictures of the finished product:
Finished handwoven scarf Latest finished weaving FO

I have another warp ready for the loom, but it’s not warped. I need more yarn for the weft! I’ve been spinning lately but don’t have pictures yet. For now, we’re in Duluth and have plans to grill on the beach. We’re not sure which beach yet, but we have plans to stop at Yarn Harbor on the way to use up the rest of a gift card I had from Christmas, so all in all, it should be a great day!

Written by nikkinbird

April 1, 2010 at 4:24 pm

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