Sunday, December 18, 2011

Easy to Knit 28X28 Fingerless Mittens

Haha!  You didn't know I could knit, did you?  Actually, I'm not an expert, but I do find it enjoyable to knit simple items.  Last Christmas I made fingerless mittens for my sister and my niece.  I was pleased with how they came out, although they were surprisingly time-consuming to knit because of the intricate design. 
Saturday night we had our coldest night of the season so far here in Vermont--it was only10 degrees around 10:00 PM and my husband said it was 2 degrees at 4:00 Sunday morning.  I have two little Yorkies who like to dawdle when they go out to potty.  I can't hook up the two leashes if I put my gloves on first, but then they get so excited to go out that they dance around making it almost impossible to get my gloves on afterward.  So I decided that I need a pair of fingerless mittens for myself.  I can put those on BEFORE I hook up the leashes.
Daffney is 9 years old and weighs 10 pounds.  She's big for a Yorkie.  That's a freckle on her ear!  She's the Queen--can you tell?

Oakley will be 2 years old next month.  He weighs 6 pounds, which is normal Yorkie size.  He's full of the devil!  That's the camera flash making it look like he has green eyes.  They're really dark brown, almost black.       
This is the logic of a lazy knitter:  I want to use big needles with chunky/bulky yarn and a really simple pattern so that my project works up quickly.  Chunky yarn can be warmer than finer yarn, but...if the needles are too big then there's open space between the stitches and the cold air gets in.  I already had some Bernat Softee Chunky yarn which is rated 5-Bulky and some large needles in various sizes.  I don't use wool because of allergies, but if you can wear it, wool is warmer.
I decided that, for a really simple design consisting of ribbing and stockinette stitch, I'd make my own pattern.  My first effort was with #15 U.S. needles, but the stitch was too airy and my small hands find it hard to get consistent stitches with such thick needles.  My second effort was with #13 U.S. needles and that was an improvement, but the mitts were too big for me and the stitches still a little too loose.  Rather than reduce the number of stitches, I decided to try my #10-1/2 (6.5mm) bamboo needles and those were the best.  I love the way those bamboo needles feel in my hands!
I prefer to use circular needles whenever possible, even when I'm knitting a flat item.  I find them easier to hang onto and they don't get in the way when one of the dogs decides to cuddle up in the chair with me.
If you can knit, purl, cast on, cast off, and sew a simple seam by hand, this project is really easy.  It only took me about an hour per mitten.  I call them "28X28 Fingerless Mittens" because you cast on 28 stitches and knit/purl 28 rows. 
This is what the fingerless mitten looks like when it's finished.  The thumb and fingers are free, while the rest of the hand, the wrist, and a couple of inches of the arm are kept warm.

If you need a little help with the basics I love this website:
The long-tail cast-on is my favorite because you don't end up with a loose strand of yarn between your needles that keeps growing:

There are several ways to sew seams.  Here's an easy one:
SUPPLIES--If you want to try this out, these are the supplies that I used:
  • 1 ball (100 grams) Bernat Softee Chunky yarn (100% acrylic)
  • #10-1/2 (6.5mm) Bamboo needles (I use 29" circular needles, but they can be much shorter for this project--or you can use straight needles)
  • A yarn needle for sewing the seam (I like the steel ones with big eyes for chunky yarn)
  • Scissors
  • A knitting counter (optional)  This is a necessity for me because of frequent doggy interruptions.

There are three sections:
  1. A long ribbed section (Knit 2, Purl 2) for the wrist. 
  2. A stockinette section (Knit a row, Purl a row) for your hand and your fingers up to about the first knuckle.
  3. A short ribbed section at the top
My Gauge for the stockinette area (the ribbed area will be a bit different):
    -  10 stitches to 3 inches
    -  10 rows to 2 inches
INSTRUCTIONS (For ease of following, there are no abbreviations in my instructions!)
  • Cast on 28 stitches, leaving a 10-inch tail to be used later for stitching your seam.
  • Rows 1 through 14:  Knit 2, Purl 2.   Repeat until you reach the end of each row.  This makes a long ribbed section that will keep your wrists warm.  If you want to cover more of your arm, simply add more ribbed rows.
  • Row 15:  Knit
  • Row 16:  Purl
  • Row 17:  Knit
  • Row 18:  Purl
  • Row 19:  Knit
  • Row 20:  Purl
  • Row 21:  Knit
  • Row 22:  Purl
  • Row 23:  Knit
  • Row 24:  Purl
  • Rows 25 through 28:  Knit 2, Purl 2.  Repeat until you reach the end of each row.  This makes a short ribbed section at the top.
  • Cast off (also known as bind off) in a pattern of Knit 2, Purl 2 until the end of the row.  Leave a 10-inch tail for stitching the seam.
  • This is what you have after you've done the cast-off/bind-off.
  • Fold the piece in half with the wrong side showing. 
The piece has been folded in half with the wrong-side-out.  I'll use the bottom tail to stitch up the entire lower ribbed section.  Then I'll used the top tail to stitch down as far as the opening for the thumb.  Don't forget to weave in your tails.
  • Using the bottom tail (the tail left over after the cast-on) stitch a seam from the bottom of the wrist ribbing to the top of the wrist ribbing.  Then leave an opening in your seam long enough to allow your thumb to fit through.  My opening is about 1-1/2 inches.   The opening starts where the long ribbed area meets the stockinette area.
  • Using the top tail (the tail left over after the cast-off/bind-off), finish stitching the seam from the top of the mitt, down to the top of the thumb opening.
  • Weave in both tails so that they don't show.
  • Now turn your mitt right-side-out and it's ready to wear!    

I have fairly small hands.  Before stitching up the seam, my mitts are about 8  inches wide in the non-ribbed (stockinette) area.  The mitts measure 6-1/2 inches from top to bottom.  They're still a little roomy on me, so next time I might make them 24 stitches wide.   I've also decided I'd like them to go further up my arm, so next time I'll add an extra 6 or 8 rows to the long ribbed section.
If you need bigger mitts, you can use bigger needles.  If you don't want to change the needles you can cast on more stitches.  If you decide to cast on more stitches, be sure to add the stitches in multiples of 4 for this pattern.  In other words, cast on 28, 32, or 36, etc.
If you have long fingers, you may also need to add some rows in the stockinette section--not the ribbing section.  For each Knit row you add, you'll need follow it with an added Purl row.
If you want the mitts to go further up your arm, simply add more ribbed rows to the long ribbed section.
Also, don't forget about gauge.  Remember that if you knit more tightly than I do, your mitts will be smaller than mine.  If you knit more loosely than I do, your mitts will be bigger.

© Copyright 2011 Linda's Art Barn. All rights reserved.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Daily Etsy Holiday Special

From December 11 through December 15 I'll be giving free shipping on a different, selected jewelry item each day.  I've also decided to include a hand-painted jewelry gift box with each of these special items.  Please check my Etsy store each day so that you don't miss out. 

December 15 Special

December 14 Special

December 13 Special

December 12 Special--includes necklace, bracelet, & earrings
December 11 Special

If you don't love any of these items for yourself, I'll bet you know someone who would love receiving them as a gift!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

First Few Rows of Flat Peyote Stitch

Just as I was wondering what I should write about next, Amber came up with a question in a Comment on one of my other blogs about the Peyote stitch: 
"I was wondering if you had any suggestions on how to keep track of the beads in the first couple of rows. My beads always slip around and I end up threading through the wrong beads. I use a toilet paper roll to keep them straight with tubular peyote but can't figure out what to do with flat. Any help would be greatly appreciated."  
I do have suggestions!  I have two different methods that could help.  So this is for you, Amber.
Before I talk about the two methods I recommend for starting the Flat Peyote stitch, I'd like to point out that anyone who is not familiar with the flat, even-count Peyote stitch really should practice making the swatches I talk about in my earlier tutorials.  Start with Tutorial:  Beadweaving the Peyote Stitch.  It will be easiest to learn if you make those practice swatches with 6/0 beads.

What I'm talking about here is how to work the first few rows in a real project, where you're probably using smaller beads.

I've gathered 3 different colors of beads for Method 1 and a piece of wire for Method 2.  I'm using 6/0 round beads because they're large and easy to photograph.  I 'll also need a #10 or #12 beading needle and some thread.  I recommend Fireline because it won't slip around like nylon thread will.
I think that the easiest way to start a Flat Peyote project is to use 3 different colors--a separate color for each of the first 3 rows.  Well, I'm sure some of you are rolling your eyes and saying, "But what if I don't want to use different colors?"  Trust me!  Use 3 different colors for the first 3 rows.  Make your third row the color (or pattern of colors) that you want  all of your work to be, then continue stitching rows in that same color (or pattern of colors).  The first two rows are only temporary--the third row will become the real first row of your piece. 

The pink Stop Bead is on the left.  Green beads are the Temporary Row 1 and red beads are the Temporary Row 2.  As you'll remember from my Peyote tutorials, I'm right-handed, so I stitch from right to left.  This piece has been turned in preparation for starting Temporary Row 3 (which will eventually become Row 1).
Blue beads make up Temporary Row 3 as well as the remainder of this piece.  This is the start of Temporary Row 3, which is stitched into Temporary Row 2, the red row.  That means that I pick up a blue bead and run the needle through a red bead.  Repeat as many times as it takes to complete this row.
Temporary Row 3 is complete.  Try to keep the beads snug and don't forget to turn the piece to begin Temporary Row 4.
Temporary Row 4 is complete.  At this point, your beads may look messy.  Just try to keep them snug.  Smaller beads, especially cylinder beads, will fit together better and look much neater.

Temporary Row 5 is complete.

Temporary Row 6 is complete.

Temporary Row 7 is complete.  I now have enough rows so that I can remove the Temporary Rows 1 & 2.  Carefully remove the  Stop Bead at the beginning of your first row and pull out red and green beads from the first two rows--the colors that you don't want in your work. Replace the Stop Bead if it feels like you still need it, but you probably won't.

You can see that the pink Stop Bead, the green beads from Temporary Row 1, and the red beads from Temporary Row 2 have all been removed.  This leaves 5 complete rows of blue beads.

There are now 9 rows of blue beads.  Oops, there's a defective bead in this piece.  Make sure you check your beads so you don't end up something like this in your work.

In this case you may use the same color beads in all your rows.  In addition to your stitching needle, you'll either need a piece of wire that will fit through your beads or an extra long unthreaded needle.  I've used a piece of copper wire. 
Beware--that same wire that will help you keep the rows separated can also get your thread wrapped around it as you stitch.

Here I've picked up a red Stop Bead and then the first two rows of beads for my piece.  Then I turned my piece in preparation for the next step, because I work from right to left.
I've run my wire through the Row 1 Beads.  This isolates them from the Row 2 beads, making it easier to see which beads are in Row 2, which are called the "up" beads.

Now pick up a bead and run the needle through the first "up" bead in Row 2.  Repeat this until you complete the row.  Turn your work in preparation for stitching the next row. 

Continue stitching rows  until you have enough work to hold onto comfortably.  Then slide the needle or wire out of Row 1.

Try both methods and see which one you prefer.
If anyone else knows another way to make it easy to begin the Flat Peyote stitch, we'd love to hear about it.
One more thing.  I mentioned above that Fireline won't slip around like nylon thread will.  Fireline is great for bead weaving because it "grips" and doesn't slip.  Personally, I don't like to use nylon thread for bead weaving because it slips and makes it hard to snug up the beads.
On the other hand, if I'm making fringe, nylon is my thread of choice.  It is much more supple and won't stiffen up like Fireline will.

Monday, November 28, 2011


This morning I finally built my light box and took better photos of some of my hand-made jewelry pieces so I could list them in my Etsy store.  I created the shop about 18 months ago, but I knew I had hours of research to do before I could get it off the ground, so I kept putting it off.  It took me so long to figure out shipping and shop policies today that I only got two items listed.  Pretty pathetic for Cyber-Monday, LOL!

Here are the two items that I listed today. 

1.  An Aurora Borealis blue crystal necklace.  You can see in the closeup how sparkly the beads are.

 2.  A beadwoven necklace of blue seed beads and clear drops.  If you look closely, you can see a tiny purple core in the drops.  Sandra Halpenny created this lovely design, but I put in hours and hours weaving it.


Please check out my Etsy site at  I wouldn't mind if you let me know how I'm doing.  Thanks!


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Three-Drop Peyote Stitch


Three-drop is another Peyote stitch.  I'm only dealing with even-count, three-drop Peyote here.  If you don't know anything about simple, flat, even-count Peyote, you should click this link to read about that first.

I'm not going to do a full tutorial for the three-drop Peyote stitch because it's so similar to the two-drop Peyote stitch.  See the two-drop Peyote tutorial here

If you know how to do the two-drop Peyote stitch and you understand the differences between the two-drop and three-drop Peyote stitches, that's all you need to know.


This is a swatch of 10 rows of the three-drop Peyote stitch.  In case you were wondering, the black and white beads are 8/0 Japanese seed beads and are very consistent in size and shape.  The pink beads, although also 8/0 seed beads, are not Japanese.  You can see the inconsistencies in the shapes and sizes of those pink seed beads.

There are really only two differences between two-drop Peyote and three-drop Peyote:
  1. The number of beads picked up at the start to create rows 1 and 2.
  2. The number of beads that are picked up, skipped, and run through with the needle in the stitching pattern, starting with row 3.

FIRST:  How many stitches do you pick up at the beginning to create rows 1 and 2?
  • Two-drop Peyote—you initially pick up an even number of beads that is divisible by 4.  So you can use 4, 8, 12, 16, 20, etc.

  • Three-drop Peyote—you initially pick up an even number of beads that is divisible by 3.  Another way to say this is that the number of beads you pick up must be a multiple of 6.  So that would mean 6, 12, 18, 24, etc.

This photo shows the first two rows of even-count, three-drop Peyote.  You can see that I picked up the stop bead first.  Then I picked up 3 white beads, 3 black beads, 3 white beads, and 3 black beads, for a total of 12 beads in rows 1 and 2.  Before I can begin row 3, I need to turn my work.
  SECOND:  Once you begin row 3, everything in the stitching pattern is done in multiples.

  • Two-drop Peyote—starting with  row 3, you pick up 2 beads, skip 2 beads, and run the needle through 2 beads.
  • Three-drop Peyote—starting with row 3, you pick up 3 beads, skip 3 beads, and run the needle through 3 beads. 

In this photo, you can see that I have turned my work.  The first row is black and the second row is white.  You can see by looking at the needle that I picked up 3 pink beads for row three, I skipped the first 3 beads, and I ran the needle through the next 3 beads.  I continue to pick up 3, skip 3, and go through 3 until the row is complete. 

Once you complete row 3, you'll see the beads in row 3 will stick up like zipper teeth.  Those are called the "up beads."

NOTE:  The beads in row 1 will also look like zipper teeth.  When you turn your work, be careful to keep row 1 on the bottom and row 3 on the top.  You don't want to accidentally start stitching into row 1 when you begin your 4th row.  This is another good reason to use a different color bead for each row, at least for the first 3 rows.

From row 4 on, you can continue to count as you stitch:  Pick up 3, skip 3, run the needle through 3. 

OR you can simply pick up 3 beads and run your needle through the next group of 3 "up beads."  You're doing the same thing, it's just easier to see which beads are which once you get to the fourth row and beyond.

© Copyright 2011 Linda's Art Barn. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Tutorial: Two-Drop Peyote Stitch


There are some who say that two-drop Peyote stitch is easier for beginners and I agree—BUT, I think a beginner should understand the concepts of the simple, flat Peyote stitch first.  If you aren't familiar with the simple Peyote stitch, click here to see my "Tutorial:  Beadweaving the Peyote Stitch."

I believe that this is called "two-drop" because within the stitching pattern you skip 2 beads instead of 1.  If you're a knitter, don't be confused by the word "drop."  It has a totally different meaning here.

I recommend that anytime you're learning a new bead stitch you make several practice swatches.
One of the benefits of the two-drop Peyote stitch is that it works up faster than the simple Peyote stitch.
In these photos below, I've used three colors, alternating the colors by row.  I don't need to use different colors for this stitch—I'm doing so to make it easier for you to see the rows.  When you practice, you'll find it easier to learn if you do the same.

Color A = white
Color B = black
Color C = pink

  1. black (B) for row 1
  2. white (A) for row 2
  3. pink  (C) for row 3
  4. black (B) for row 4
  5. white (A) for row 5
  6. pink (C) for row 6, etc.  
Two-drop Peyote is a form of even-count Peyote.  However, it isn't only sufficient to pick up an even number of beads to start—in this variation of the Peyote stitch, you must pick up an even number of beads that is divisible by 4.  That's why I picked up 12 beads to start my swatch rather than 10 beads. Another difference is that everything you do involves 2 beads.  When I pick up the beads for the first two rows, I pick up 2 beads of one color, then 2 beads of the other color in an alternating pattern.

ROWS 1 and 2:

Pick up the"stop bead" first, then pick up the beads for rows 1 and 2.  Notice that there are 2 beads of each color.

  • First, pick up a "stop bead" and run the thread through it a second time.  Leave a 6-inch tail and snug up the thread around the stop bead.
  • Now pick up the beads for the first two rows, alternating colors so that you can see the rows more easily.  With two-drop Peyote, you need to pick up 2 beads of each color.   Pick up:
    • 2 color A beads
    • 2 color B beads
    • 2 color A beads
    • 2 color B beads
    • 2 color A beads
    • 2 color B beads for a total of 12 beads across in this swatch.
  • Snug them up against the "stop bead."
  • Now turn your work in preparation for the next row.

*If you're right-handed, you'll pick up beads from right to left.  Note that the photos are from the perspective of a right-handed person.

*If you're left-handed, you'll pick up beads from left to right. 

ROW 3:

I'm now adding row 3.  Look at the needle and you can see that I picked up 2 pink beads, skipped 2 black beads, and ran the needle through 2 white beads.

  • Pick up 2 color C beads, skip 2 color B beads, run the needle through 2 color A beads.
  • Repeat until row 3 is complete (pick up 2, skip 2, go through 2).
  • Turn your work in preparation for the next row.

Row 3 is complete.    See how the new pink beads stand out?  They are the "up beads."  Don't forget to turn your work so that you're ready to start row 4.
NOTE:  Do you see how the black beads in row 1 also look like zipper teeth?  When you turn your work, be careful to keep row 1 on the bottom and row 3 on the top. You don't want to accidentally start stitching into row 1 when you begin your 4th row. This is another good reason to use a different color bead for each row, at least for the first 3 rows.

ROW 4:

This is row 4.  Pick up 2 black beads and run the needle through the 2 pink "up beads" until the row is complete.  See how easy it is now--pick up 2 beads and you really don't even need to put any more thought into the fact that you're  skipping 2 and running the needle through the next 2. 

  • Pick up 2 color B beads, skip 2 color A beads, and run the needle through 2 color C beads.
  • Repeat until row 4 is complete.
  • Turn your work in preparation for the next row.

ROW 5:

This is row 5.  For this row you're picking up white beads and running the needle through the black "up beads."  Remember, the "up beads" are the beads from the most-recently completed row.

  • Pick up 2 color A beads, skip 2 color C beads, and run the needle through 2 color B beads.
  • Repeat until row 5 is complete.
  • Turn your work in preparation for the next row.

Continue to follow the pattern, alternating the colors for each row until done.


This swatch has 10 rows. 

  • When you're finished with your swatch, run the thread through the beads in a zig-zag pattern several times to secure it.  Snip the thread close to your work, but be careful not to cut into the working thread.
  • Slide the "stop bead" off of the thread on the other end and put the needle onto that thread.
  • Run the thread through the beads in a zig-zag pattern several times to secure the it. Snip the thread close to your work, but be careful not to cut into the working thread.

I kind of like this airy, uneven look--the black and white beads are very uniform in size because they're round Japanese seed beads, while the pink beads are a little larger and a little unevenly shaped.  The pink beads also seem to be more cylindrical.  I'm not sure where the pink beads are from, but I'm sure that they are not Japanese because of the inconsistencies.  Despite the size and shape discrepancies, all the beads are size 8/0. 
If my pink beads had also been round Japanese seed beads, they would have fit together more tightly.  If I had used smaller beads, the swatch will appear to be more tightly stitched.  Japanese Delica beads, because they are cylindrical in shape, will fit very closely together.

© Copyright 2011 Linda's Art Barn. All rights reserved.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Tutorial: Beadweaving the Peyote Stitch

What I'm writing about today is an off-loom beadweaving stitch called the Peyote stitch.  The Peyote stitch is only one of many off-loom stitches.  Off-loom beadweaving simply means that you are stitching beads together in a repetitious pattern without using a loom.
The Peyote stitch, which can also be called the Gourd stitch,  has some variations:  It can be flat, shaped, or tubular; it can be even-count or odd-count; it can be simple Peyote, two-drop Peyote, or three-drop Peyote.  The simplest form is the flat, even-count Peyote stitch and that's what I'm going to focus on here.

Before, I begin I want to address the "stop bead."  Whenever you are doing a beadweaving stitch you need to load some beads onto a thread and something needs to keep those beads from falling off the other end of the thread.  We call that a "stop bead."  It's ideal to use a bead that is a different color, shape, and size from the beads in your project, but if that's not possible, at least make it a different color.    

This stop bead is a red, 5mm triangle.  It is larger than the the beads in my project, as well as a different shape and color.   I've used black thread here so that you could see it more easily.
  1. Start by running the thread through the "stop bead," leaving about a 6-inch tail.
  2. Then run the thread through the "stop bead" again in the same direction as the first time. Here you can see the loop that was created when I ran my thread through the bead a second time.
  3. Now, simply pull on both ends of the thread so that the loop snugs up against the "stop bead" and you're ready to begin your project.  Don't forget that 6-inch tail.

Beginning the Peyote stitch can be confusing because the beads that you pick up on your thread when you start are actually the first 2 rows—you pick up both rows at the same time. What makes that more confusing (at least to me) is that although they are 2 different rows, together they make the full width of your project in a staggered design, which looks a bit like zipper teeth once you get a few rows stitched.

I laid out the beads on my bead mat to show you how 2 rows are actually created out of the first beads you pick up.  You won't really see this happen until you've finished the third row.  Remember, you are looking at rows 1 and 2.  Also, these beads are on their sides.  If they were already on the thread, you wouldn't be able to see the holes.
Because I'm doing even-count Peyote, I picked up an even number of beads.  That's it.  Even-count Peyote is simpler than odd-count.

To make it easier for you to see the rows, I'll be working with 3 different colors.  To start, I'm using 2 colors, which represent the first 2 rows.

For the longest time, I thought that if I picked up 10 beads (rows 1 and 2) my project would be 5 beads wide. That is NOT the case, as you can see in the photo above. Because the rows become staggered, the beads in the second row act like spacers between the beads in the first row. The bottom line is that your project will be exactly as wide as the number of beads that you pick up on your thread at the beginning. In other words, it will be as wide as your first two rows combined. It was a huge “aha” for me when I finally figured that out.


As you can see in this photo, I've picked up the 10 beads on my needle.   Because I'm right-handed I pick up beads from right to left.  If you're a leftie, work from left to right.  I'm going to pull the beads all the way up the thread and and snug them up against the "stop bead," which you can't see, but is on the right.  After that, I'll turn my work so that I am ready to begin the next row.

In this photo, you see that the beads are on the thread and up against the stop bead.  Notice that I've turned my work around--you can't see it, but the needle is now on the right, so that I can again pick up beads from right to left with my right hand.  This means that the white beads are going to be row 1 and the black beads are going to be row 2.

ROW 3:
When you start to work on your third row (which feels like it should be row 2, but truly is row 3), you’ll stitch into every other bead, picking up a new bead between them.  The beads that you’re stitching into are technically the second row. This third row is the most difficult to stitch, but it gets much easier after that.

This is the start of row 3.  I used pink beads for row 3.  The pattern is:  pick up 1, skip 1, run the needle through 1. 
  1. Pick up 1 pink bead for row 3.
  2. Skip the first white bead.  This is a row 1 bead.
  3. Run the needle through the (next bead) first black bead.  This is a row 2 bead.
  4. Continue until the row is complete.
  5. Turn your work around in preparation for row 4.
Repeat these steps until you have the number of rows that you want.

Here you see 3 rows are complete.  Row 1 is white, row 2 is black, and row 3 is pink.  The pink beads are the "up beads."  Notice that the thread is coming out of a bead on the left.  That tells me that the work needs to be turned around so that I can begin row 4.

NOTE:  Do you see how the white beads in row 1 look like zipper teeth, too?. When you turn your work, be careful to keep row 1 on the bottom and row 3 on the top. You don't want to accidentally start stitching into row 1 when you begin your 4th row. This is another good reason to use a different color bead for each row, at least for the first 3 rows.


After you finish the first 3 rows, stitching even-Count Peyote is a breeze. The piece will be large enough for you to hold onto with your non-dominant hand and the zipper-shaped edge becomes well-defined, which allows you to easily see where your next stitch goes. The row most recently stitched looks like zipper teeth and those beads that stick out are the newest row.  They're called “up beads.” You simply pick up a new bead, and then run your thread through the next “up bead” in the row. When the current row is finished, you turn your work around and start the next row.  Don't worry about the curve in your piece at this point.  It will straighten out as you add more rows.

You're looking at 6 completed rows here. 
Notice that the black and white beads are the same size and shape, but that the pink beads are a little wonky.  If the pink beads were more uniform in shape, all these beads would fit together better.  I'm not bothered by this as it gives it a little bit more of an open look.  Another thing to consider is that size 11/0 beads, which are smaller, would fit together more tightly because of their small size.

This piece has 10 completed rows. 
The thing that complicates the Peyote stitch, or any other beadweaving stitch for that matter, is when you have a distinct design that is made up of different colors. For example, you’re stitching a cuff bracelet that has pink hearts along its length on a background of white. That’s when you’ll need to pay attention to which row you’re on and you’ll need a graph to help you choose the right-colored bead for each stitch. Wait until you’re comfortable with the Peyote stitch before you attempt to use a pattern.


Before you begin a real project in Peyote stitch you should:

  1. Practice with larger-size seed beads to make it easier to see what you're doing, like 8/0 or 6/0.  Remember that 8/0 beads are smaller than 6/0 beads.
  2. You must use the same size beads throughout or you’ll get a 3-dimensional piece that will be difficult for a beginner to work with.
  3. Make a few small swatches—10 stitches wide by 10 rows long. You can always take the swatches apart and re-use the beads later.
  4. Use three different colors (A, B, and C) and use a different color for each row. That means that you’ll pick up alternating colors (colors A and B) onto your thread when you start. That will help you to see the difference between rows 1 and 2.   Make row 3 in color C, row 4 in color A, row 5 in color B, row 6 in color C, etc.
You'll need:
  • Seed beads in 3 different colors.
  • 1 stop bead.   
  • A beading needle.  With larger seed beads, a size 10 needle should be fine, but a (smaller) size 12 needle would be OK here.
  • Beading thread.  I would probably use 6 lb. Fireline, but there are other good beading threads. 
    *Click here and go to the bottom of the May 31, 2011 blog for a list of some of other threads. 
  1. Start by threading the needle with about 2 feet of thread. Pick up your "stop bead" and leave a 6-inch tail.  Secure the "stop bead" by running the needle through it again. 
  2. Pick up an even number of beads—10 is a good number to start with—in alternating colors A and B.
  3. Pick up a bead in color C, skip the first already-strung bead (color B) and run the needle through the second already-strung bead (color A).  Repeat until the row is finished.  This row will be difficult to manipulate.  Take your time and make sure that your stitches are snug.  The rest of the rows will be much easier.
  4. Turn your piece so that the needle is back on the right if you're right-handed or on the left if you're left-handed.  You should now see the "up beads," which look like zipper teeth.  Pick up a color A bead, run the needle through the first "up bead," and repeat until the row is finished.
  5. Turn your piece so that the needle is back at the beginning.  Add color B beads between the "up beads" in this row (repeat step 4).
  6. Continue, alternating colors, until you have done about 10 rows.
  7. Weave the thread in a zig-zag pattern through the stitched beads several times to secure it and cut the thread close to the beads.  Be very careful not to cut into the thread that is holding the beads in place.
  8. Remove the stop bead and thread the needle with the 6-inch tail you saved at the beginning.  Weave that thread through the beads in a zig-zag pattern several times to secure it and cut the thread.
Save this swatch as a reference and make several more swatches until you feel comfortable with this stitch.  After you've done it a couple of swatches with a different color in each row, try to stittch a swatch using all the same color beads.  Once you can do that, you're ready to tackle a project with an actual design on it.

© Copyright 2011 Linda's Art Barn. All rights reserved.


Sunday, September 4, 2011

Irene, What Have You Done?

It has taken me a week to get to the point where I could write this.  It's been hard to focus for any length of time--my head has been spinning.
One week ago tonight Richard and I were sitting in the dark, due to a power outage caused by Hurricane Irene turned Tropical Storm Irene.  We knew in advance that we would get the storm.  We knew that Vermont would be just to the west of the eye of the storm, which meant that we would get more rain than wind.  We expected to lose power.  What we didn't expect was the incredible devastation to huge portions of the state of Vermont.  After all, it was only a tropical storm and it should have lost much of it's strength as it traveled so far inland.  We certainly didn't expect flooding.  For Heaven's sake, we live on a mountain.

As you can tell from my last blog entry, I was expecting our area to be inconvenienced with heavy rain and brief power outages and I was ready.  Boy, was I wrong!

Richard and I spent the day reading the Sunday newspapers, watching TV, working on our computers, and shaking our heads at how heavy the rain was...but we've seen full days of heavy rain here before.  The power went out a few times during the day, but came back within a couple of minutes each time.  The news said it was a "non-event" in New York City, so we thought that by the time it hit here, it would be very weak.  We were thinking that we've had snowstorms much worse than this.

Around 3:30 that afternoon we spoke to our friend, Vito, who gave us shocking news.  The house down the road from us, about 1/4 mile away, had been washed away.  WHAT????  We thought we had misunderstood him.  No, we hadn't.  In fact, Route 4 in front of that house-now-gone was also washed away for about 200 yards.  Route 4 is the major East-West highway in Vermont.  You've heard the old Yankee expression, "You can't get there from here?"  Well, we're living it now.

This is the house that was washed away.  I believe it was the oldest house in Killington, VT.  This photo comes from my friend Regina's Facebook page and was taken a couple of hours before I got there.  Notice the water rushing all around the house.  It's coming from the right of the house.  The only good thing I can say about this is that the house was for sale and unoccupied.

We lost our power for good at about 4 PM.  At about 4:30 Richard and I got into the car and drove down Route 4 to see for ourselves what had happened, because we just couldn't visualize it.  What I saw was almost beyond description.  There were cars parked all over the road, but it didn't matter where you parked because there was no traffic flow to block.  What used to be a house with a tiny mountain stream behind it was now an empty lot engulfed by a raging 30-foot wide river.  There wasn't even a foundation.  We couldn't see where the remains of the house had gone.  Amazingly, the church across the street was still there, untouched by the raging water.  In fact, the visibility was too bad to see what was down the road in front of us in the area called Sherburne Flats.  There should have been a couple of houses, the Kokopelli Inn, Goodro's Lumber, The Water Wheel General Store, Hemingway's Restaurant, and The Pasta Pot.  We didn't know if any of them were still there.  The "river" was rushing from the right of the road, from behind where the house used to be.  It seemed to be roaring down from a high cliff behind the house.  It crossed the road-that-was-no-more and turned the corner onto River Road, taking that road with it, too.  We couldn't see the rest of River Road either, but we heard that other houses were gone.  It was too dangerous to get any closer.

I took this photo with my cell phone.  I didn't have my glasses with me, so I couldn't see what I was doing.  Route 4 is in front of the woman.  River Road intersects with it on the left.  What you can't see here is the water roaring down from what appeared to be a high cliff behind the missing house.  Richard said it looked like the Colorado River.

We drove home and sat in the dark, with candles lit, absolutely stunned.  We wondered if there were other houses and roads washed away.  We had no power, no phone, no internet, no cable, and Richard's cell phone was acting up.  My cell phone was working, but we wanted to save the battery in case things got worse.  We did try to reach Paulette and Richie in Pittsfield, but couldn't get through to them.  We found out later that they lost 15 feet from their back yard, but their house was OK and they were safe.  Our neighbor, Kay, stopped in for a while and we had sandwiches for dinner.  We went to bed early because it was too dark to read.

The next morning we got up to a beautiful, sunny day.  Still no power.  Richard is an early riser, so he had already driven up the hill and found that nothing was open...not the markets, or the bakery, or any restaurants.  He said the roads he saw were kind of chewed up and undermined along the edges in places, but nothing was as bad as what we had seen on Route 4.  Vito and Susan made coffee for him on their camping stove.  After I got up we drove down to Route 4 again to get a better look.  This time I brought my glasses and a real camera.

This is the lot of land in Killington where the house used to be.  You can see the "For Sale" sign still standing and the rocks, boulders, and tree parts that were washed down from the mountain.  It almost looks like a beaver dam, but it isn't.  What you can't see is the water, which is still flowing very strongly behind the debris.  It was running across and under the heaved-up asphalt where both roads used to be.

The first thing that I noticed was that there was no cliff behind where the house used to be.  It must have been the sheer power of the water that made it appear that it was coming from a high cliff on Sunday.  We could now see that the businesses below us were still standing, but we had no way of knowing what condition they were in.  The water was still flowing heavily down River Road and under the first house.

You can't get a good look at the water in this photo, but you can see the eroded yard on the right.  Believe me when I tell you, the water was rushing onto this property where the yard used to be and underneath the house.  It's amazing that this house survived.  It isn't possible to tell from the road what kind of internal damage occurred. What you see on the left side of the photo is what remained of  River Road, which is paved underneath the rocks and dirt.  River Road is very important because the Killington Town Hall, Library, Recreation Center, and Transfer Station are there.

This is the view of the intersection of River Road and Route 4 on Monday morning.  You can see that the water is still flowing freely down the highway.  You can also see the edge of the road where it's washed away.  The pavement was nothing more than an overhang for a couple of feet along the edge , so it was dangerous to get too close.  The building in the background is The Kokopelli Inn, which is still standing, but took a lot of damage.

In this photo you can get a better look at the boulders and trees that were washed down the mountain along with the water.  The two-layered white sign on the left of the photo says that it is River Road and points to the Killington Town Offices.  The building you see in the background is Goodro's Lumber, which is on Route 4.

We found out on Monday that Route 4 in Mendon was also washed out, as was Route 100 toward Pittsfield.  Those are the only roads out of Killington, so we were prisoners in our own town.  The rumors were flying, and there was a good possibility that we could be stuck in town for weeks with no power.

On Monday afternoon, Craig Mosher of Mosher Excavation, brought his heavy equipment and workers up from the Sherburne Flats, where his business is located.  They began diverting the flowing water back to its natural path, which is beside Route 4.  I won't go into the details, but it took an amazing amount of work.   They also began moving the broken pavement out of the way; they filled in the gulf where the road was washed away by using the boulders and dirt that had washed down the mountain.  By the next day the road was safe for emergency vehicles.  That's astounding!

It's amazing how much progress had already been made by Monday afternoon.  The buckled asphalt was pushed out of the way and the top of River Road was filled in with boulders and dirt.  Notice the River Road sign in the center.  It's the same sign you see in the photo just above this one.

CVPS, our power company, sent ATV's from Rutland through the woods of Mendon and into Killington to restore power around 1 PM on Monday to the part of town where the markets and most of the restaurants are located.  We were amazed that they had done it so quickly.  Our friends, Peter and Kathy, live in the neighborhood with restored power and invited us to shower and have hot dinners at their house.  With communications restored, we began to realize that there were other places in Vermont that were even more devastated than Killington. 

By Wednesday morning Route 4 toward Bridgewater and Woodstock was patched up enough to allow the tourists to leave, along with any locals who wanted to get out of town.  The catch was that there was no way to return.

We finally got our power back on Thursday around 5 PM and cable/internet/phone service was restored on Friday afternoon.  Richard and I feel very blessed because we had no real damage to our house or property and we had good friends helping us out when we had no power.

We now know that our neighboring Pittsfield lost several houses.  Our friends, Richie and Paulette, took in a dog that was rescued from a mobile home that had been washed away.  Two men literally had to swim to reach the home.  The dog's owner had gone to the next town during the storm and couldn't get back home.

We live in the mountains.  Nobody has flood insurance here.  It's just heartbreaking to hear about the damage and loss of property.

Tonight we are having thunderstorms and it is expected to rain for the next few days, with predictions of flash floods. Our ground is already saturated and our rivers still swollen. I pray that there is no more damage from this new weather.


This link is to a website that has photos taken from the ground and the air, starting from Waitsfield, VT, which is near the Sugarbush and Mad Riven Glen ski areas, then into Stockbridge, Pittsfield, Killington, and Bridgewater.  There are also photos of Mendon where Route 4 washed away:

Here is another link to a site with photos taken from a Piper Cub.  All of the photos are labeled:

This link is to videos taken by the staff of the Rutland Herald, our daily newspaper:!/photo.php?v=1959164467732&set=vb.58365611478&type=2&permPage=1


Last night we had very heavy rain all night long, but as far as we know, this rain didn't cause any other destruction.  We're still looking at more rain and flash-flood warnings for the next couple of days.


It rained off and on all day yesterday, but it was just ordinary showers.  Overnight the rain got very heavy again, but we haven't heard of any further damage to the roads or people's property.  The best news is that the flash-flood warnings are over, at least for now.  We even saw the sun peak through for a little while today, although we expect more showers later today.  They say rain all day tomorrow.  I guess rain is heavier than showers.  The forecast for Thursday is light rain all day.


It's been raining steadily since last night and much of the time it has been very heavy.  We're still not hearing about any new problems, which is wonderful.  I saw a bunch of National Guardsmen outside the Killington Deli this afternoon.  It was about 55 degrees and raining and the poor guys were sitting at the covered picnic bench eating lunch. 


This is the 11th day since the storm.  I can't believe so much time has gone by already.  The rain finally stopped so for now, we don't have to worry about more damage.


For the latest updates on road conditions, transportation, food and supplies, prescriptions, and lots of other information, go to: