Kunye & The Uncertainty Principle of Beads

I have been remiss. I finished my Kunye shawl exactly 2months ago and it has been dry on the blocking mats for a good long… oh, I don’t know… 3weeks probably. I have taken my sweet time to get photographs, that is for sure. In any case, after my very inspiring and fun interview with Jo of The Golden Skein on the Shinybees podcast I was totally inspired to participate in the TGS is One KAL and hellbent on finishing on-time. As soon as we wrapped up, I had my yarn wound and I even tentatively got some beads ready.

IMG_7720I chose one of my first Golden Skeins, Sylvan Tiger Yan Sock in the Autumn Leaves colorway and some beads I had lying about from an aborted mystery knitalong four years ago.

Let me be completely honest. I am pretty much completely useless when it comes to matching beads with yarn. I know a lot of people are awesome at this skill, but in my head trying to select beads to match yarn seems to fall under some crafter’version of Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle. In physics, this principle says you can’t know the exact position and exact velocity of an object at the same time. Simply put, there is a limit to what we can know about the behavior of particles in the smallest scales of nature — there is a grand ‘fuzziness’ in nature. Well, when matching beads & knitting what I see is pretty much just that ‘fuzziness.’ I just cannot look at beads & yarn and know where they are going when you stick them together. I feel like there is always this unknown quantity that may leap out at the last minute and make the pairing look awful.

So, true to form I spent pretty much this entire project second guessing whether or not I should use the beads, try to find a better match, or not use beads at all. First I set the tube of beads next to the ball of yarn. Then I started knitting and I dumped the beads into the container above and set the yarn and beads next to each. Then I’d walk away and knit. And then I’d pick both up and try a different spot with different light. You get the picture here. I was haunted by the ‘fuzziness’. It wasn’t a pretty process. In any case, I knitted away toward that March 1 deadline…IMG_7752(still worried about the beads)

IMG_7902And found Kunye to be a really, truly enjoyable knit. It’s a pretty basic crescent shaped shawl with a lace edge detail, to which you can add beads (if you are feeling daring). The designer, Clare Devine of the Yarn and Pointy Sticks blog, is prolific with 40designs available in her Ravelry shop and from my experience her pattern writing is always excellent. For Kunye, she even added in a complimentary guide for adjusting the size of your shawl to make the most of the skein you’re using. That means the pattern can easily be modified to work with any skein(s) from 325 to 650yards. Pretty ingenious, if you ask me!

The main body was simple enough. I flew through it and then I got to the beads…


At this point, I was pretty sure the beads would be ok, but that didn’t stop me — of course — from almost ripping back and pulling them all out every 15minutes. Aside from the bead drama, I found the little bit of lace to be a fun end to this knit and by the end of January I was done.

And happy with the beads.

For real. I’m not even kidding.

Let’s see if you agree, shall we?

bead detI think they are pretty spectacular.

colorway detailThe yarn itself is lovely in its range — from rich, greens with the tiniest hint toward the blues all the way to the yellow-green of olive…

arm detailAnd I think the beads pick up and enhance all those hues beautifully.

full shawlI really blocked this shawl out. I know these kinds of shawls often have a tendency to spring back to a smaller size, so I stretched it on the mats as much as I could and pinned the heck out of the lace. I simply love this shawl.

And since time was of the essence to finally get this FO shared, I recruited my favorite model to show it off — it cost me a cup of hot cocoa and some extra free reading time (because this model drives a hard bargain)…

model niceThe beads add just a little extra drape to the Sylvan Tiger Yan Sock.

model backAnd really, for all the uncertainty I had about them, they are just the icing on the cake of this lovely design.

Of course, I have to include an outtake because for every nice picture I get with my daughter, there are 10 like this…

model notsoniceThank goodness for the function on my camera that lets me take photos in rapid succession. Also, thank goodness that the dates for the TGS One KAL were extended to April 1st — I found this out yesterday when I popped over to check out how it had gone. As it turns out, even with my super slow blocking I’m apparently right on time — what a nice surprise!

I won’t say that I have necessarily gained any skills in matching yarn & beads here. I wish that were the case. No, I’m pretty sure the ‘fuzziness’ is here to stay, that in my world there is no defeating the Uncertainty Principle of Beads. Instead, I’ll view this successful bead-yarn pairing as more of a lucky win in a fantastic cosmic gamble. Seeing my finished shawl, that’s a win I’m happy to take.

13 thoughts on “Kunye & The Uncertainty Principle of Beads”

  1. It. Is. Flawless. Your knitting is beautiful! The beads are a perfect choice. If they ‘matched’ too much, we wouldn’t see them. These are a lovely complement to your yarn. I love your daughters hair ; h

    1. Thank you! I totally lucked out with the beads! And thank you for the compliment on my daughter’s hair. It was almost combed nicely in these photos. 🙂

  2. wow – shawl and model are so pretty! I think the beads are perfect, too. I know what you mean – sometimes beads and yarn complement each other perfectly, sometimes the beads disappear or clash. Sometimes beads that SHOULD match don’t. I am glad it all worked out for you, though. I really love this finished product.

    1. I love it, too! I’m not much of a beads on shawls kind of person to begin with (partly for just style tastes, but also because I’m awful with pairing the two), but this one I thought it was worth it to roll the dice.

      1. As you know, I knit a lot with beads, but not usually garments. I am planning a fancy scarf for a niece that will involve beads, and I like looking at beaded shawls…but never have made one. The long blue scarf I am working on is fro sale, so I don’t count that. I do have to say selling things gives me room to experiment with things I wouldn’t normally wear. Having a pile of young adult nieces helps, too. 🙂

      2. I felt the same way when I was teaching. It always had me teaching patterns & techniques that weren’t for me in colors I normally wouldn’t use. I think it kept things fresh. Without that excuse, now I like clubs because they do such a great job of mixing it up and challenging me, but those don’t force me to use beads…

        As for those beads, I like them in the cuffs and jewelry you’ve done – I just don’t really wear jewelry much (I don’t even wear my wedding band half the time which is not a statement about my marriage, just a sensitivity to my hands as they swell and ‘un’swell throughout the day) and occasionally in a shawl, especially when the yarn isn’t particularly drapey on it’s own. But yeah, they are a struggle for me. 🙂 we all have a nemesis!

      3. lol A friend of mine was helping me get ready for a craft show and said “you know, you should try knitting in some colors that you don’t like.” I guess everything was blue, green and red. lol So I try, but it is hard to see the possibilities sometimes.

  3. I love it!!! I just did a green beaded shawl too 😀 (yay knitting twinsies!) I think what made me want to bead everything was all the Yarn Harlot’s beaded projects. She throws all kind of colors together and it always looks amazing, even if you’re suspicious about the pairing originally. Maybe of you do a search through her archives it will intimidate you less! I adore your project, I think it’s lovely!!

    1. I love it, too!! And yay for knitting twinsies!!!

      Maybe. Maybe if I *really* tried I could figure this whole bead thing out. Maybe. I don’t know though — I may just be bead-yarn-matching deficient, like maybe I’m missing a critical element in my DNA that is linked to matching beads and yarn. I’m not saying I’ll never try it again, I’m just saying whether or not these skills can be developed remains to be seen. LOL!

Comments are closed.