Sunday, March 4, 2012


I went through a phase some years ago where all I wanted to do was bezel things. As usual, eBay and a slightly compulsive attitude left me with more cabochons than I could hope to use in any reasonable lifetime, but naturally, that hasn't completely prevented the acquisition of more bezel-able items from time to time.
Druzies of course are always exempt from any arbitrary limitations on quantity, or even the application of common sense (which as we know is hardly common), as they jump to the front of the queue almost every time.

The stereotypic plan of attack is to string the correct number of seed beads and start stitching in peyote stitch until the correct height is reached, then decrease either by using smaller seed beads or by reducing the stitch count so that the bezel hugs the stone and doesn't fall off.

This is all very well and good, but my experience is that what looks right as a string of seed beads is less right as a strip of peyote, so this time I tried starting with a strip of right angle weave, which turned slightly more successfully in terms of accuracy.

Its chief disadvantage is that if it doesn't fit, cutting it up is less fun than cutting a strip of peyote where you just slide the beads off the thread.
This was fun because the cab is of variable height around the edges and the usual decrease method just doesn't apply. Instead I added strings of a variety of decorative beads across channels (depressed areas) on the top of the druzy.

Sadly, the size of the bezel wasn't quite right, as can be seen by the not-perfectly-circular shape emphasized by the larger grey beads around the lower edge.
See the gaps underneath? Yeah, not perfect. Too bad so sad I'll just have to keep it for myself.

The square one turned out much better.
It's just a large clear glass tile, I think used for mosaics.

I guess I was a little dubious regarding the security of the bezel, so I decided on the overlay with pearls, which turns out to have been an engineering decision with an aesthetic benefit. I really like the way it emphasizes the depth of the tile.

I've done so little beading lately, so I WANT IT ALL FOR ME.

Luckily there's no one in charge to naysay.

I've been working long hours, getting home tired and wanting only to relax on the sofa, which translates to a decent amount of knitting in front of the TV, so I'm nearing the end of my purple cardigan and find myself in a position entirely unique to me.

Generally I knit different things each time. Technically they're almost all the same because the bulk of what I knit are sweaters for myself, but they're usually different in terms of how I think and feel about them, even across cardigans, pullovers, sleeve length, etc.

I start with a yarn and Do Something with it, or I start with a shape or construction technique or neckline and go from there, but I have never until 2012 been even slightly interested in doing variations on a theme, although over time it's possible that I could group my (ugh, this is going to sound pretentious but I can't think of a more apt phrase) body of work and find pieces that are in fact variations on a theme, but right now as I near the end of the second cardigan which is absolutely a tweak on the previous cardigan, it turns out I'm planning the third in the series and can't wait to get started already.

The green cardigan began with garter stitch triangles which were increased until they reached a certain size, a number of them were joined in a particular order, I worked across all of them until the armhole, did something until the front neck, did something else until the full length of the sweater was reached, and then worked the raglan sleeves down from the armholes.

The next and current purple cardigan is an attempt to use the same knit-to-fit technique with garter stitch triangles but with set-in sleeves and a ruffled shawl-type collar.

The sleeves and body had to be worked separately until the underarms, then the sleeves were joined and the sleeve caps were shaped while continuing to knit the front and back. The front and back were shaped via short-rows as they were joined to the sleeve caps, and right now I'm joining the shoulder seams as I complete the fronts and back. Once the shoulders are joined, I will complete the back neck shaping, and then extend the collar at the same time I join it to the back neck, and finally graft the collar closed at the back neck. These twenty-nine collar stitches will be the only sewn stitches in the entire sweater.

My next one will once again use the knit-to-fit garter triangle technique, but will include a twisted stitch (a two-stitch cable) at most of the increase/decrease points. It will be a double-breasted swing cardigan with a turn-back collar on a vee-neck in shades of coral, veering as far as reds and burgundies all the way through pinks, oranges and golds. I will again make set-in sleeves, but I'll do the sleeve shaping better than on the current cardigan, the sleeves of which are not as tapered as I'd like, resulting in a narrower upper sleeve than I usually like. A wider upper sleeve will also result in better (more attractive) armhole shaping on the body of the sweater.

Seriously, I'm ready to start the next one. The last few hours of the current project are always a mixed bags in terms of my enjoyment. On the one hand, there's the satisfaction of following through on the planning, design and execution, but when there's something pressing in the wings, there's the annoyance of having to actually do the work (and at this point it's a little like work, which is a word I don't like to use for things that I do because I want to, not because I'm getting paid to do them).

1 comment:

KipperCat said...

Hi Charlene,

As usual, I love your pieces! There are a lot of fabulous beaders today, but a few that also make me say "One day I want to be that good." You're one of those.

Today, your post also helps with projects I've been considering. I have some large beads that will need a front reinforcement for the design, but for some reason I had only considered a geometric design like with your glass tile. The more organic look you've used on the druzy will be much better.

And the other project? All the 1/2" glass tiles I've kept to bezel but are tucked away somewhere. Time to find them!

Thank you for sharing your work with me.