Knitting vs. beading
If you regularly read this blog, you know I love knitting and crocheting. I’ve also done weaving, macrame, and gimp-ing, and I sewed my wedding dress myself, which says I’m an all-around crafts person, right? Well, maybe. Or not.
Last Friday, I went looking for a tube bar clasp for a cuff (bracelet) that I want to knit. When I couldn’t find it in any crafts store, I tried a beading shop. It was a beautiful shop, its walls lined with tubes of beads in a lavish array of colors, arranged by shape and size. And yes, there was the clasp. But there were also lots of women sitting around a table beading some amazing pieces – necklaces, rings, belt buckles.
Naturally, I asked questions about their work. Naturally, the owner showed me the beaded cuff she was making. Naturally, I had to try.
She led me to the wall with little tubes of square beads. I picked a color I liked. Actually, I picked three different colors – six tubes in all, since each bracelet requires two tubes. I mean, these beads were too gorgeous to resist, and beading was a snap, right?
Wrong. The shop owner spent an hour with me, getting me started, letting me take over, showing me how to correct mistakes. And correct mistakes. And correct mistakes. But I loved the way it was looking. So I purchased all my supplies, along with the tube bar clasp I’d gone in for in the first place, and I headed home.
What happened when I got there wasn’t her fault. She was a wonderful teacher. But I kept making mistakes and correcting them, kept making mistakes and correcting them. I probably spent as much time correcting as beading, but still I liked how this cuff was coming. Mid-day Saturday, when I was two inches into what would be a seven-inch cuff and thinking about what clasp I would use, I went back to the shop. Well, there weren’t many clasp options – and the one I liked best really had to be added at the start – and putting her now-finished cuff around my wrist, I realized that it was really too wide and that mine should be not 11 beads per row but 9.
So I started my own cuff all over again, this time working the first row directly onto the clasp. I’ve been working on the bracelet now all week and, though I don’t like the flare at the clasp (see photo), I thought I was getting better and better at the beading. Then I made a mistake I couldn’t correct. I spent an hour at it, I swear. The last straw? After cutting the thread to just pull out the beads past my mistake, I couldn’t re-thread the needle. Could. Not. Rethread. The. Needle. It has a teeny little eye, and the thread is worked double. I even raced out and bought a needle-threader, but those double strands ruined the threader. I tried it with a second threader (there are three in the pack). Same thing. Gone.
Right about now, I’m thinking that beading may not be my thing. There are too many tiny parts and too many threads to keep straight. You can’t cuddle with beads like you can with a skein of yarn. You can’t watch tv while you bead. You can’t relax into the rhythm like you can with knitting, and as for softness, a beaded cuff can’t compare to a cashmere gloves.
Can anyone out there encourage me to stick with it? At what point does one throw in the towel and focus on what she does do well?