I’ve been making these for the last 14 years or so – with success smaller or bigger, but they do make a charming tree decoration and they are rather easy (and relatively cheap) to make.
The star I’ve made as the example for this tutorial looks like this:
So, to count what you’d need for a similar one:
6 bigger faceted beads for the center (here: 5mm brown)
6 medium seed beads for the center (here: 2mm pearly white)
36+36+6 small seed beads for filler/spacer and tips (here: 1,5mm bronze)
6 bigger faceted beads for the “arms” (here: 5mm brown, again)
24 smaller faceted beads for “arms” sides (here: 4mm lighter brown
6 smaller faceted beads for tips (here: 4mm lighter brown, again)
copper wire, about 50cm
So, now for step by step:
- Thread one “tip” seed bead more or less in the middle of the wire. Bend the wire so that the bead is at the tip of that bend. Thread one “tip” faceted bead on both ends of the wire – closing the loop with the seed bead.
2. On each end of the wire thread the same set of beads:
- three spacer seed beads
- two smaller faceted beads
- one bigger faceted bead
- three spacer seed beads
…and then pick the “centre” seed bead and thread the wire ends through it from opposite sides, creating a smoothed “X” (with the seed bead in the center of it)
Now ignore one wire end for the time being and on the other, thread:
- one faceted centre bead
- one white centre bead
- three spacer beads…
- bigger faceted bead
- two smaller ones
- three spacer beads
- one smaller faceted bead (“tip”)
- one smaller seed bead (“tip”)
- and now take the wire back through the faceted bead, from the same end, thus creating a shape like “—o” with the seed bead sitting in that “o” part
- make sure there is some slack in the way the wire is tightened, but not too much; just enough for it to bend a bit
Now add the same set of beads from the tip down:
- three spacer beads
- two smaller faceted beads
And now thread the wire back through the bigger arm bead that is already there on the first star arm created
Add the three small seed beads
And thread the wire through the white centre bead added at the beginning of this arm, thus closing the arm.
Repeat the operation of adding new arm until you have 5 arms.
In order now to create the last arm and close the star, the wires have to be again threaded in symmetry. First, add a bit centre bead on each.
Then add the white centre bead on one of the wire ends, and thread the other one in opposite direction (creating an X).
Add three seed beads on each wire and thread the wire ends through bigger faceted bead on respective arms.
Now, build the rest of the adm, adding two smaller faceted beads and three seed beads on each.
Thread them now together through the tip faceted bead (in the same direction)
And now thread them through the seed bead, in opposite directions
Tighten the end up
Now, with the wire ends hanging free, you can make them into a nice loop that may be used to hang that star. Wrap one end around the cover of a lipstick (creating a bunch of nice little loops) and then wrap these loops with the other end of the wire to make it stay in shape.
Choosing too ambitiously your first project in a specific craft may lead to problems with completing it, dissatisfaction with the activity and giving up. Sometimes up to long dislike.
How not to give up on knitting after first attempt?
1. Pick an easy project. Scarf is always a good idea. It can be done in easy, straight stitches, is always needed and you can stop anytime you want and still have something usable (even if it’s only a placemat).
2. Pick nice, thick wool with no fuzz and easy to undo. Preferably one that isn’t too costly.
Why no fuzz? Fuzz makes it harder to undo, and you will be undoing a lot in your first project. Wool usually has some fuzz, so keep away from it for the start. Cotton is usually good and smooth, but doesn’t come thick enough to make it a quick work.
Thickness again. Your yarn should be thick enough for you to see a result quick, and not work for hours just to have 2cm. I’d say 200m / 100g is a good idea (my personal favourite for most winterwear – made gloves, scarfs and a sweater with this one, also several pairs of socks). Don’t pick yarn too thick, as it will take more balls to complete a reasonable size.
So, pick a wool/acrylic, cotton/acrylic or other mix, or pure acrylic. Check them yourself in a yarnshop – does it feel nice? Will you like touching it for the next week or two all the time? Check if the thread is tightly spun or comes apart (easy to put the needle inside and spoil the yarn). Some yarns have additional information on the label (ie. preferred needle size or washing instructions), look for it. Don’t buy yarn that has no content given, ever.
To make your first project more interesting, pick a yarn dyed in different colours. Doing a drab brown or gray scarf will not make you any happier, and crafts are about being happy! So maybe pick one of these:
(links to Polish shops or producers’ websites, but you can probably google them in your local webshops, too, or take this list and go to a normal shop and ask)
Yarn Art Flamenco (special yarn to make boa scarf, comes with directionc, one ball, one scarf, VERY thick!)
Alize Dantela (Comes with directions on how to make a scarf, one ball makes one scarf, very thick!)
Eden (same as above, but no directions)
Alize Bamboo Batik Design (230 m/100g and has pretty colours)
Big Delight Drops (wool, but only a little fuzz, and has such nice colours)
Cotton Bamboo Batik (120m/50g)
Always Magic (mix, very nice to work with, knits quickly – made 3 pairs of socks and 2 pairs of mittens with various colours of this one)
Elian Merino (very nice to touch, 100% wool but only slight fuzz)
Other YarnArt yarns you may want to try out:
Magic Fine (a bit too fine, but the colours!)
Merino Garden (same as above)
Finnish Novita yarns you may consider if you can get them:
3. Don’t force yourself to finish. Don’t promise that scarf to anyone and end up hating it because you must complete it. Don’t pick a deadline. Just knit when you want.
4. Cast on (find a youtube video on casting on and try out different methods) 20-30 stitches maximum, this way you won’t get the feeling that your rows are unending.
5. Don’t try anything fancy. Just knit. No cables, no complicated stitches. Just. Knit.
As smartphones and other touchscreen gadgets need to be used during winter, too, there is a need for some way to use them without getting frostbite on our hands.
Option 1: buy special gloves with fingertips woven with conductive thread. Pros: easy and quick. Cons: they come in one-size-fits-nobody, have short cuffs and are usually quite thin.
Option 2: take your old gloves and stick a piece of alufoil in the appropriate places. Pros: quick, dirt cheap and you can use any gloves you want. Cons: doesn’t work that well and tends to fell apart.
Option 3: buy the special thread (see 1) and sew your gloves’ fingertips through with it. Pros: you use any gloves you want and it works ok. Cons: no idea how to google for that thread!
Option 4: knit yourself gloves with no fingertips! Pros: you can knit them whatever colour you like (if you play Ingress, you can make faction colours). Cons: still cold fingertips and it may take some time.
I will cover that last option (but if you find that thread, give me the link in a comment, I’d be grateful!). I’ve just knitted myself a pair of pretty gloves last week and I’m still in “yay!” mode over them.
Now, how I made them. If you follow the same steps, you will hopefully get a reasonably tolerable outcome.
1. Wool. I had two 50g balls of wool 100% yarn I bought in Finland a year ago. It has thickness of 100m/50g, so 200m/100g. This is a nice thickness to work on, as it allows you to get an effect quickly (unlike thinner yarns) and still the result isn’t too bulky.
2. DPNs. Really, gloves and socks just need them. You’ll need two sets, preferably. One thick (4,5mm) and one thinner (2,5mm). Knitting on them isn’t that hard, I actually learned it by myself when I just wanted to start a sock. You cast on on 2 of them and then just… work around :)
3. Check rows and stitches. Measure your hand around the place where you want to have your cuff. I got 15 cm there. Make a swatch of 2 knit 2 purl (20 stitches at least) and 10-15 rows. See how many cm you make out of it when it’s slightly stretched horizontally. Remember, if the cuff you make is too loose, it won’t stay on your hand, and if it’s too tight, it will leave marks on your skin.
If your hand is 15 cm around and your swatch gives you 7,5cm for 20 stitches, then you need 40 stitches. In general, the calculation is [needed stitches] = [swatch stitches] * [needed cm] / [swatch cm] (ie. [needed] = 20 * 15 / 7,5 = 20 * 2 = 40).
The rows will not be that needed, but noting down how many rows you actually made in the first glove will help with the second one.
4. Cast on your counted stitches (for me: 40). Pull out one DPN from the casting on pair. Now you can go on in two ways:
1. Just start knitting, and after 10 stitches leave that needle and add a second one, and so on. After finishing the fourth needle, the fifth you don’t start “back”, but go on with knitting from the “back” of the first one, closing the circle.
2. Move stitches in groups of 10 to the other needles, leaving one free, and start knitting from the back of needle 1, closing the circle at this point.
5. Knit one row, then change to 2 knit 2 purl to make the stretchy cuff. First 2-3 rows may look a bit loopy, but then the stitches will even out.
6. Knit as many rows as you need to get from your desired cuff edge to your wrist/thumb base. For me it was 8cm. Write down the number of rows.
7. Move the stitches around your needles in such a way that on one of them you will have 6 stitches. It is good if your yarn start is below them, to make it easier to remember.
8. Knit 1cm.
9. From this point, on every other row add 1 stitch at the end of the preceding needle and at the start of the next needle (use whatever way you like, just keep it consistent; I use my crochet hook to add stitches). this makes thumb space. After you add 6 or 7 rows like this (12 or 14 new stitches), knit until you get to the point where thumb separates from the rest of your palm. Write down all numbers, to make sure you can repeat it for the other glove. From now on write down all numbers of rows you knit for each finger and each needles’ change, all stitches cast on, reduced and picked up.
10. There are two ways to knit thumb and all fingers. One is flat (then gloves will be “any hand”) and the other is profiled, like our palms are. Whatever I try to do, my gloves always end up as the second type.
11. Put your glove on your left hand and count how many stitches you will need for front, back and “outer” side of your thumb. Leave these on needles, transfer all others to safety pins. Make sure you’re not pinning through yarn or losing any stitch.
12. Work first row around the thumb until you get to that point where thumb is attached to the rest of the palm. Cast on 6 stitches and knit on for 1-2cm. You can decrease 2-6 stitches to make the finger a bit tighter than at the base. When you’re 1cm from the base of your nail, switch to the thinner DPNs and knit the last rows with them. Finish the finger, making sure the tie off row isn’t too tight.
13. Transfer yarn from safety pins back to DPNs, again making sure you got all your stitches. One DPN put through the stitches at the thumb base, picking up 4 or 6 stitches there. Knit around, straight, up to your pinky’s base. Check how many stitches you need for pinky, transfer others to safety pins.
14. Knit first row, cast on 3-4 stitches for space between pinky and ring finger, knit until 1cm from nail base, switch to thin DPNs, knit, tie off.
15. Move stitches to DPNs from safety pins, knit 2-3 rows (depending on the difference between your pinky base and other fingers’ bases). In first row, pick up the pinky base stitches and knit on them, too.
16. Count stitches needed for ring finger, move others to safety pins, knit first row, cast on 3-4 stitches, repeat as for pinky.
17. Repeat 16 for middle and index fingers. For index, of course, there will be no casting on, just picking up the 3-4 stitches from middle finger.
18. Weave in all yarn ends. Turn right side out.
Now repeat the same for the other glove, making sure this time the thumb is turned the other way, or you will get 2 identical gloves. Best is to keep the first turned the right side out – both should look the same now.
Looks complicated? I know. It’s just to make sure you get a pair of gloves that REALLY fit you. Unlike abovementioned one size fits nobody.
(I have a pair of those. Their fingers are too short for me and the cuff is so short it doesn’t even touch my jacket sleeve.)
All numbers of additional stitches etc are made in relation to that 40-stitch measurement at the start. If your yarn is much bulkier, it will be less added and less reduced stitches in all cases. If your yarn is much thinner – more stitches.