Greetings, fellow knitterati!
I took one of the Butin Necklace kits home this weekend to give it a test knit. First off, the small device included in the kit to string beads, referred to as a dental floss bead stringer, is one of the most useful tools I have ever seen come in a kit. It is rigid enough to pick up beads, yet flexible enough to pull the yarn through the beads with nary a tug. It took me less than 15 minutes to string the beads at 7 AM yesterday.
The cast on called for in the kit is a reverse loop cast on. I am not a big fan of this type of cast on, especially with a very non-stretchy yarn such as the yarn in the kit. It makes the first row of stitches very difficult to knit, and that creates a messy looking cast on edge, so I decided to use a knitted cast on. After I cast on 66 stitches the directions call for 13 beads to be slid into place, and another 66 stitches to be cast on. The first stitch after the beads has to be a reverse loop since there is no stitch to knit into, but the rest can be knitted on. This cast on changes the look of the edge slightly from what is pictured on the package, but I think it compliments the necklace, nonetheless.
The next thing I felt needed amending was in rows 2 through 8 (the whole project is only 8 rows - how many things can you say that about?). The directions read "...knit x stitches, k2tog, slip y beads, SSK, knit x stitches..." I found that the k2tog just before slipping the beads was OK, but the SSK afterwards looked sloppy and was more difficult than it needed to be, so I amended this to "...knit x - 1 stitches, k2tog, k1, slip y beads, k1, SSK, knit x - 1..." This gives the same result but a neater edge on either side of the beads.
The other thing I question is the "clasp". This is a piece of metal with three loops on each side to attach to the ends of the necklace. The problem I have with this is the necklace really isn't stretchy enough to go over my head once joined. What I think I am going to do instead is I-cord and simply tie the necklace on. I still have to block the necklace (yes, it needs to be blocked), and will let you know how this works out. But overall, the necklace took me only 2 hours to knit, making it a quick and sophisticated Christmas gift. And it looks great.
Last week I received a shipment of Lantern Moon products: drawstring baskets, fan cases (for your DPNs or shorter circulars), Mindy cases (for tapestry needles, cable needles, and other short tools), and really roomy 4-pocket bags that not only have 4 large pockets on the outside of the bag, but an additional 2 open pockets and one zippered pocket on the inside.
There are also several new colors of Poems and Classic Shades this week, and several new books. And as of today there are 69 knitting days to Christmas.
Purls of wisdom: tough times don't last; tough people do.