Monday, July 21, 2014

An Afternoon In History

Civil War history has interested me, but especially after my brother and I started researching our ancestors. It turns out that we have ancestors on both sides!

I live in a region of the country (the mountains of east Tennessee) that is rich in both Revolutionary and Civil War History. On July 20, 2014 I went to a Civil War living history event at the Wheatlands Plantation in Sevierville, TN with some friends. We had a great time! The plantation was established in 1791 by the Chandler family who lived on the land until the 1970s. The house currently on the site was built in 1825. The present owners are restoring the house and grounds while giving tours and hosting events such as the one we attended.

The group of re-enactors was small so they didn't stage a battle. They instead showed a skirmish between Confederate soldiers trying to steal chickens, the women left at home when their men went to war, and a Union detachment pledging to protect and get the chickens back. It may sound comical but that happened often, I'm sure, with either side perpetrating the thievery.

A very interesting part was the presentation given by the "Doctor" in his medical tent. Some of the instruments don't differ a lot from those used today - thankfully medical practices have improved.

At the end of the skirmish the two leaders each gave talks about the units that they were portraying, explaining about the gear the soldiers carried, the hardships faced, and what a re-enactor needs to take part in a living history event.

President and Mrs. Lincoln were on hand as was General Lee (who was very happy to pose for pictures with the audience).
That will teach me to go dressed for comfort and not publicity!

It was a very enjoyable day. I congratulate the owners of Wheatlands Plantation and all of the Civil War re-enactors for a job well done!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Knitting With

Want to spice up your knitting and
try something a little different? Add beads! You can make jewelry,
Christmas ornaments or add pizzazz to your clothing.

There are three major ways to add beads to your knitting without
sewing them on a completed knit.

The first way is to thread the beads onto the
yarn. It is time consuming and means the yarn must go through the
hole in the beads. For jewelry and items with several beads added to
the same row, this is a good method to use. The stitch size
(controlled by the needle size) needs to be roughly the same as the
bead size.

      1. String the beads in the order needed for your design (or randomly if you want). Push the beads away from the end of the yarn.

      2. Cast on the correct number of stitches and work to the point where the first bead is needed.

      3. On the knit side of stockinette stitch insert the right needle into the back of the next stitch. Pull the bead down to the needle and pop it through the next stitch so that it sits on the front of the work. Knit into the back of the stitch.

      4. On the purl side of stockinette stitch push the bead through to the front side of the stitch and purl it as normal. Knit into the back of the beaded stitches on the next row.

    The second way is to use a crochet hook to pull a stitch through a bead. The hook has to be small enough to go through the hole. This method allows you to put a bead right where you want it which is an advantage if you are knitting a design using different colors of beads.

      1. Knit to the point where the bead is needed.

      2. Place the bead on the crochet hook.

      3. Slide the stitch off the left needle onto the hook. Pull the stitch through the bead.

      4. Put the stitch on the right needle, holding the yarn at the back. Purl the stitch as normal on the next row.

    The third way is to string the beads on a small thread and hold it along with your larger yarn as you knit your project. In this way you can add seed beads to a design. Thread that is clear or matches your yarn keeps the extra strand from showing. Carry the beads along the back of the work as you would a second color of yarn, catching the thread every inch or so to avoid long floats. When you reach a point where a bead is needed, swing the thread and one bead to the front between the needles. Knit the next stitch. Move the thread to the back and knit the next stitch.

Enjoy making different designs with beads in your knits! It's not
as hard as you might think.