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Saturday, December 21, 2013

Enough With the Beaded Knitting Already!

I think I might now be a bit sick of working through Betsy Beads, fun as it has been.  I'm not too pleased with my latest effort - my fault, not the instructions or anything - and I want to move on to something else.  But I heartily recommend the book as it is chock full of fun things to try and good instructions.

This time I made a gathered beaded bracelet.  I think I twisted it accidentally at the end and I'm not wild about the way it looks, and unpicking the relevant bits don't really interest me.  It may be usable in another craft piece at some point in the future - nothing need be wasted.

This is lace weight cotton and size 8 beads.

I do actually have a major piece of beaded knitting still lined up, but not like this.  I want to do a shawl which will have some beads added to it using the crochet hook method.  But I don't want to start that for a couple of weeks as it's a biggish project and I don't want the distraction of Christmas and a possible holiday afterwards to get in the way.

And now for something completely different.

Just to prove that even big kids like construction toys:

'I was tidying up upstairs and I got distracted.'

And we have pigeons nesting in the passionfruit vine directly the side of our patio.  It is rather cute watching the little baby pigeons get bigger.  I took this photo a week ago and they are bigger already.  The mum is very devoted.

Owing to complicated family issues, Christmas is still slightly up in the air, though I am still intending that we will spend it with George's sisters-in-law and the children that are currently in Australia.  It will the first Christmas without their mum and that will not be too easy.

George and I are hoping to go to Adelaide for a week after Christmas, but again family circumstances make it a bit hard to gauge whether we can actually go or not.  Nothing is booked yet (except for a dinner date in Glenelg on December 28th!).

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Knitted Beaded Beads

More experiments inspired by Betsy Beads - I'm getting my money's worth from this book!

I made knitted beaded beads for this necklace, using instructions from the book.  Although there are several different types of beaded beads in the book, I essentially ended up using only three - rolled, beaded-end soft bead; rolled, knit-side-out soft bead; and rolled, purl-side-out soft bead. There is a cloisonne bead in between each knitted bead, alternating white and black.  I experimented with some others - there is one slightly larger rolled bead but I decided they used too many beads, considering that I had a limited selection of size 6 seed beads of appropriate colour ways to make this necklace look coherent. (Like the last necklace, this is made using 4ply cotton and size 6 seed beads).  I had a go at knitting bead covers for large round beads but couldn't make them look neat enough - I will have another go at that at some stage but there are other techniques in the book that I want to play with, so I don't know when I will go back to them.

This is an example of a rolled, purl-side-out soft beads.

On the left is a rolled, knit-side-out soft bead, and on the right is a rolled, beaded-end soft bead. And you can see one of the cloisonne beads.

And I hope to wear it tomorrow with a plain black Tshirt and the upcycled skirt from the last post.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Beaded Knitting Necklace, Dog Bed and Refashioning

I have actually accomplished a couple of things in the last week or so.

I am trying various things from the book Betsy Beads by Betsy Hershberg, as mentioned in a previous post about knitting necklaces.  This is the only thing I have completed so far, as now I am knitting a pile of beads to string together, and they are time-consuming.  This is knitted with 4 ply pink cotton and size 6 seed beads, in a purl I-cord (as opposed to the more 'normal' knit I-cord).  According to the book, doing I-cord in purl forces it to spiral.  My tension obviously isn't tight enough, even though I am using tiny needles (something like 1.5mm, can't remember exactly) with the cotton.  It did spiral a bit, but I still have to twist it a few times to produce the desired spirally look when I wear the necklace.  I didn't do a great job of attaching the magnetic clasp, sadly, though that doesn't show so much when you are wearing it, but it looks nice on and I am quite pleased with it.  Pictures of the knitted beads to come, eventually.

I've been meaning to make Sirius a new dog bed for ages, having bought this cheerful polar fleece some months ago.  She eats her beds, and I don't resent it when it's polar fleece, which is cheap, so I make her one every couple of years.  This is bigger than the previous ones, and it's a bit like a nest.

I think she likes it!  She likes to have a bed under my sewing table in the family room, even though she can't use it when I am actually sewing.

I also did a ridiculously easy refashioning project.  I was culling my wardrobe recently and picked a few summer dresses to donate to op shops.  This one was in that pile, but I realised that I really liked the fabric, and I was only ditching the dress because the top fitted badly (it either rode up, making me look heavily pregnant, or pulled down, which exposed half my bra).   So...

 Quick chop of skirt from bodice, and removal of a couple of inches of it to tidy it up and make it above ankle length rather than scraping the ground.  Pictured with trusty scissors and the roll of black elastic that will provide a waistband.

A quick pin, a careful zig-zag, and a skirt, voila!!

Saturday, December 07, 2013

The Bubbler

My Wordless Wednesday picture produced the comment that The Bubbler sounded like something out of a sci-fi film, and I must admit that it you saw the area and imagined it in black and white it could well have been the setting for one of those 1950s B grade movies.

Here's a bit about it:

Explore the natural artesian springs within Wabma Kadarbu Mound Springs Conservation Park, a true oasis in the desert. Blanche Cup and The Bubbler mound springs are the attractions of this park. Water from the depths of the Great Artesian Basin filters to the surface forming slowly bubbling ponds and mounds from the sediments and salts as the water evaporates.

Permanent wetlands created by the spring's overflow provide habitat for a variety of waterbirds. Nearby Hamilton Hill, a large hill in an otherwise flat landscape is an extinct mound spring and another significant feature of this extremely fragile and arid environment.

The park is a day visitor area only and there are no visitor facilities within the park. Entry fee per vehicle applies. Camping is available for a small fee at nearby Coward Springs. This privately run camping area, located next to the bore, provides toilets and showers.

Wabma Kadarbu Mound Springs Conservation Park is located 498 kilometres north of Port Augusta, access is via the Oodnadatta Track. The spring's entrance is about six kilometres south-east of Coward Springs. Vehicle access within the park is limited to the four kilometre long entrance road to Blanche Cup and The Bubbler mound springs.

Thanks, for helpful info.

Here's a few more pictures that I took:

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Knitted Armour?

When I was at the Fibre Forum in Geelong I was fascinated by some knitted necklaces that a couple of people were wearing, in a variety of colours and textures and lengths.  It turned out that they weren't I-cord (French knitting) as I thought they were, but simple narrow strips of stocking stitch which curled over on itself.  They had got the pattern from Dairing, a specialist yarn supplier in Melbourne - though 'recipe' would be a better word.  As it happened, Dairing were one of the suppliers selling stuff at the Forum and, although I had been told how to do it and variations that could be done and could have done it myself, I bought a kit from them containing several patterns, a cone of bronze metallic yarn, a cone of silver metallic yarn and a cone of  'yarn' that was a narrow ribbon of reflective tape (like the sort of thing you find on backpacks and cycling gear).

Basically you cast on 8 stitches and knit in stocking stitch until it is long enough for your purposes.  You can knit with one strand of yarn or as many as you wish - change needle sizes to make it tigh or loose, from necklace to necklace or within the same piece - use beads if you wish - and I'm sure there are LOTS more variations that I haven't explored yet. I've so far only used to yarns that came with the kit but I want to experiment with others now.

 This is actually a photo of the necklace below, but I used the flash and it really shows the reflective yarn!

This is the reflective and the silver yarn, heavily beaded with chunky bronze and silver coloured beads - they were actually a mixed bag of spacers.

This is both metallic yarns, knitted on two different sizes of needles to give textural differences between sections.

This is bronze with bronze bicorn beads.

This is all three yarns with the same spacer beads as a couple of pictures above.

And this is all three yarns together on big needles.

It proves to be VERY hard to photograph metallic yarns :(  Sorry that these don't show up very well.

They were fun to make.  I have a book to read called Betsy Beads : Confessions of a Left-Brained Knitter by Betsy Hershberg, which I bought before seeing the pieces at Geelong, which is about very similar things.  I even bought some knitting/crochet cotton and beads to go with them when I bought the book, and I am going to explore that now.

Oh yes, the post is called Knitted Armour because the other piece I have done, which isn't in this post, looks a bit like knitted chainmail.  It needs a chain applied to it which I haven't done yet, so I will photograph and post that one when it's done.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

The Painted Hills, Anna Creek, South Australia

I had never heard of the Painted Hills on the Anna Creek Station until July this year, when we took a scienic flight over them.  This is some official information about them:
Painted Hills 62

- See more at:

If you are ever in the area and have the opportunity, do take the scenic flight.  We did one that included flying over Lake Eyre as well - you can do individual flights that fly over one or the other, but the fully inclusive one is good value for money if you can afford it, and really breathtaking.

Thus followeth many pictures taken by me of the Painted Hills from the plane: