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Sunday, April 30, 2006

Colour, Design, Thrift and Threaders

So, it's the last day of April today and tomorrow will be the start of May's Project Spectrum' colour which is green. Participating in Project Spectrum is proving very interesting for me because it's got me really thinking about colour, what it means to us and how it affects us. Imagine a life without colour. If we lived in a world of only black and white, what would it be like? I began to wonder what it's like for people who are born blind. Do they have any sense of colour? It's been proven scientifically that different colours affect us emotionally in different ways and, yet, how often do we actually really notice colour. Yes, we may walk into a room and admire the colour scheme or enjoy a colourful garden but it's not often that we allow ourselves to really experience colour in a conscious way. I think it's more of a subliminal reaction that's going on most of the time.

I realised as I knitted the yarn I'd bought in April's colours of yellow and orange that they hardly existed in my wardrobe at all and yet I really took pleasure from and appreciated these colours as I knitted them and turned them into corsages and little amulet bags. I put the items into a basket as I completed them and left them on the coffee table as I enjoyed looking at them. They make for such a warm, bright and happy looking display. Orange, particularly, is not a colour I can wear but, looking around my home, I realised that there were orange and yellow items that I'd bought from time to time. As an exercise, I gathered some of them together and took a photo. This is my April Project Spectrum' collage and each different item reminds me of something or other whilst the whole gives me a feeling of warmth and wellbeing. No jokes please about the fact that alcohol features largely in my collage! LOL

To me orange and yellow are all about spring and summer, the sun, hope, energy and vitality. It's an interesting exercise to do but, if you decide to have a go, I suggest you only go for objects that you have a good feeling about or that elicit happy memories for you.

Yesterday, I had to go to Strood and, as I noticed a few charity shops around as well as a Pound Stretcher type shop and an interesting looking market, I decided to do a bit of thrift shopping for a bit of fun. Sometimes it's interesting to see what you can pick up for a few pence. Here is what I came home with.

The two bear ornaments are from Shelter, the larger one was £1 and the smaller one on the rocking horse was only 50p. Oxfam yielded a Percy the Penguin pattern for 30p and I picked up five balls of pink and fluffy yarn for the Charity Craft Fair bags from the market at £1 each. The drug dispenser is for my dad who gets confused about which tablets to take and when to take them and the pill boxes I bought because I love little containers though I hardly ever put pills in them as I avoid pills whenever possible. Both of these items were £1 each from the Pound Stretcher shop. Afterwards I went to BHS in Maidstone and paid 50p each for four necklaces to go inside the bags. I was also attracted to more orange items so bought the pot pourri and the candle.

I'm especially pleased with the larger bear as the detail of the stocking stitch and bobbles in the knitted jacket he's wearing is so clear. This photo doesn't do it justice but, believe me, the clarity is amazing. It looks so realistic that one could believe one was looking at actual knitting!

Turning to the subject of knitting, I've been concentrating on my beaded jacket design. This is how far I got before I decided that the stitch wasn't right after all and frogged the whole lot.

I decided to substitute the stitch pattern with this one which is, again, a butterfly stitch but this time it uses eyelets to create the butterflies rather than decorative loops. Like the original stitch pattern, I found it in that set of Creative Knitting folders that my MIL gave to me.

Click to enlarge

After some experimentation, I decided to place the beads between the butterflies and it's become apparent that more beads will need to be ordered as this pattern is hungrier on beads than the original design.

Who would have believed that the loss of a little tool for threading beads could cause such havoc! That little blue looped implement that you see in the photo below was the cause of the drama.

Having got used to using a beading needle which seemed to take an inordinate amount of time to thread before I could even get started (the hole being so tiny), I was introduced to the neat little gadget in the photo by Ellen at Earth Faire. It wasn't until I lost it the other day, that I realised how lost I was without it! When I lost it, I was sitting in that exact spot on the sofa in which I've sat when I've lost other objects which have never been retrieved. A consequence of this is that I've become convinced that somewhere in the vicinity of that seat on that sofa is a Philip Pullman type hole in the fabric of the universe which is just large enough to swallow up stuff like cable needles and my favourite needle for sewing my knits up. I swear that I covered every inch of the carpet as I crawled on all fours feeling around for my bead threader and all to no avail. Then, after I'd emailed Ellen at Earth Faire and she'd promised to put a few more in the post to me, there it was on the carpet as clear as day! Obviously, the bead threader wasn't any use to those on the other side of the hole so it got chucked back.

What I did find out about the bead threader is that it is, in fact, a dental floss threader and is normally used to help people who have a bridge or a brace to floss. They're available online at Express Chemist and, having been assisted in finding a source (thank you Nanatoo and Ruth), I ordered some before my original one was recovered. It's so easy to thread with that nice large eye and the plastic it's made from has just the right amount of rigidity for the beads to be slipped on with ease. Well, if it gets sucked through the hole again and they decide not to chuck it back, at least I've now got plenty of spares!

Edit: Please don't anyone order these threaders for bead knitting as, having received them, I eventually realised that they are, in fact, bigger than the ones Ellen sent and are too large to go through the holes of the beads I've been using.


  • At 9:53 pm, Blogger Marie said…

    I love your posts about colour. I find that after I started knitting, the range of colours that I wear has expanded a lot. Two years ago my wardrobe would consist only of brown, beige and black items, but my handknits are red, orange, purple, blue and green!

  • At 1:25 am, Blogger Rain said…

    Not saying anything about the amount of alcohol loitering in your post...

    Great shopping swag, the detail on the bear is amazing.

    My jaw dropped when I read that you'd frogged the lot, although when I scrolled down I have to say that I much prefer the stitch pattern you're using now.

  • At 10:51 am, Blogger nanatoo said…

    Strood? I love place names, lol.

    Yet again I admire your artistic eye. Nice photo. What would we do without alcohol, eh? Stress a bit more, I think.

    Excellent purchases too, that must have been satisfying :)

    Wow, that knitting looks hard and scary. Well done you for making something with so much work, it will look beautiful.

  • At 12:01 pm, Blogger acrylik said…

    What a great post about colour - it's overcast up here today and your picture really brighted up my mood. Just what orange and yellow are designed for, it seems :)

    Oh, I can't believe you frogged all that! But your new pattern does look lovely, and I now I see it I prefer to it the original!

    I could spend hours raking about charity shops and the pound shop - there's always something there to pick up and work with. I thought the bear was knitted at first glance - amazing!

  • At 1:42 pm, Blogger dreamcatcher said…

    Very interesting observations about colour. I've found that since I started knitting again, I'm paying so much more attention to colour. Not just in yarn, but everywhere.

    Our hallway and kitchen units are in the same pale yellow shade, and it's very cheering especially in the dark winter months. We wouldn't ordinarily have thought of painting the walls yellow, but when we moved into our previous house, with a *huge* hallway, it had been papered with a yellow striped paper and a floral border. It looked so good we copied the idea here :-)

    Excellent bargains from the pound and charity shops :-) I honestly thought the bear's jacket was a real knitted item!

    And many thanks for the buttons links, I looked at your December posting with the Debbie Abrahams buttons - her site is now bookmarked, as is Ronda Terry's. I may not have a big button stash yet but have to confess there is quite a big bead stash already lurking under my side table :-)

  • At 7:06 pm, Blogger Cherry Rolfe said…

    Thanks Hazel - i am definitely looking out for the floss threaders - it sometimes takes me longer to thread a beading needle that it does to make an entire bridal trousseau!

  • At 10:16 pm, Blogger blueadt said…

    I keep a sewing needle with a loop of sewing thread tied on in my chibi. The yarn which the beads are to be put on get threaded through the loop of sewing thread & the beads go on over the needle, down the sewing thread & on to the yarn. Or am I missing something?


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