April was a crazy month and I am falling behind. Participated in my first round robin and finished that for now, created a block for another project and had eye surgery to remove cataracts and astigmatisms in both eyes along with vision correction so I can toss the glasses. Hopefully I can catch up on things over the next couple of months. As you know I am participating in the Crazy Quilt Journal Project for 2015 (CQJP 2015).
My blocks are serving to journal new skills I am learning or studying each month. January was using metallic threads in embroidery; February I studied techniques using sequins, and March was focused on chicken scratch designs.
For April I chose to spend the month learning how to knit using #10 thread and 00 knitting needles and to then add beads. I had knitted a belt years ago and never picked it up again. In fact while I was trying to relearn knitting, using much smaller thread and needles, my hands were cramping up and I really was not enjoying the process. Finally something clicked and I began to enjoy it but was very slow. I patted myself on the back...until I added beads to the mix. I felt like I was working with ten thumbs but being one who rarely gives up on learning something difficult, I finally feel better about it but will be spending more time getting it perfected (more comfortable at least) when I have more free time.
The variegated knitted piece was my first attempt. If you look closely you will notice a few dropped stitches and rows where I forgot whether I was using the knit stitch or pearl stitch. Interruptions that happened didn't help.
The next piece I did was the ivory one with the blue beads ending with pearl beads. The bottom is where I started. One big problem I ran into was getting all the beads on one side and then getting them to remain on one side. A lesson I learned is to use good beads (like the ivory ones) that are more uniform in size and shape and to keep the beads to the side you want them to be as you knit. The directions I was following called for knit stitch and pearl stitch to be alternated adding the beads in every row. I later found a YouTube video calling for the entire piece to be done in the knit stitch and only adding beads to every other row. This is something I will experiment with at a later date as well.
I laid those out on the block and decided I needed something more interesting so I pulled out some toothpicks and knitted a small piece to add to the block.
I sanded the toothpicks and polished them with nail polish so they would look more like knitting needles and less like toothpicks. I also added what I hoped would look like the ball of yarn I was working with.
I have a beaded bag similar to the one on this block that is in disrepair so I thought while I was at it I would learn how these are created. I made this one in a much smaller scale, but at least learned the technique so I can explore that more later on. I thought the color was going to turn out much differently, but made it work by incorporating these colors into the seams. Casey (who has the most fun blog ever, especially if you like minis) was kind enough to send me this link which has some patterns, bags, beads and a few free tutorials for bead knitting, including this one. Thank you Casey!
Above you can see those same beads added to the vine in the upper left corner. The turquoise beads were added to the upper right side seam.
I haven't decided what I will do for my May block. I think I will choose something fairly easy since the month is already nearly half over. Although I didn't start out on CQJP with the intent of learning or experimenting with techniques, I am so glad it has worked out this way. At the beginning of the year I had a few new things I wanted to learn this year and by incorporating this idea into my journal blocks I am more disciplined. I choose something new each month and at the end of the year I will have a journal of what I've learned. Plus plus!
Thanks for following along on my journey. I love hearing from you whether with a comment about my journey or to tell me what you are doing or have learned. Also, most of you know this but if you click on highlighted words you will be taken to that link.