Tag Archives: beaded ball

You Talk, I Listen

Thank you to all who helped (almost 750!) with the recent survey about whether the layout of the January 22nd HeartStrings newsletter looked ok or whether it went wonky when received on your end. The fun stuff has been the drawing for the Mardi Gras Bead Ball kit. And also reading all your comments. And I AM reading every one of them. You talk. I listen.

You might be amazed at how much of my Designing Day is filled with activities that are not strictly knitting design. In fact, sometimes it could be days, or even weeks, between times when I get to pick up knitting needles. It goes along with the saying … “There is more to the business of designing than just design“.

For example, the recent journey I undertook to improve the process for producing my HeartStrings newsletters and email announcements has taken on a life of its own. If you recall, I wrote last week about The new look of news from HeartStrings. The response has been overwhelmingly favorable. Of course, I am elated it is being received so well.

But upon getting replies to me that included the original newsletter, I saw that some things might be going wonky and not displaying as intended on the receiving end. For example, some text shifted or spacing was lost. It doesn’t devalue the newsletter itself, but I really want to make it as easy to read and aesthetically pleasing as possible for readers’ enjoyment.

I couldn’t discern why the newsletter layout went wonky for some people and not others. So I decided to ask for help via a short survey. Those who pitched in to help me make the newsletter even better also got a chance to win a Mardi Gras Bead Ball kit.

As stated in the survey, the drawing for the kit was yesterday. Congratulations to Janet in Virginia. When I heard back from Janet with her mailing address, she wrote: “To say I’m shocked is not really enough.  I never win anything.  Thank you so much for this gift!“. I already have the kit packaged and ready to mail to Janet today. She should have it in her hands before the weekend if USPS cooperates.

Mardi Gras Beaded Bead Ball
Mardi Gras Beaded Bead Ball

So that was the fun side of things. Now back to work. There were 742 people who answered some or all of the survey’s 6 quick questions. Of those 742, there were 504 who took the time to write something in the comment field. Either to re-confirm that the newsletter looked great to them (and what they particularly liked), or to explain more fully about what looked wonky on their end, or in some cases to just offer other comments related to the newsletter, or even un-related to the newsletter. That is fine. I really appreciate the time that people take to share and make comments, whether via this survey or writing to me directly.

So I have a lot of data to sift through. And I AM reading every one of those comments. If you offered a suggestion, please know that I am paying attention and will be doing what I can over time to make the newsletter and your association with HeartStrings FiberArts as enjoyable as possible for you.

According to the survey, the new layout for the newsletter looked as intended for 89% of the readers, for 10% it went wonky in some way, and 1% read the plain text version of the newsletter (i.e. unformatted). Unfortunately, with all the multitude of electronic devices and computer software, it’s impossible to test for absolutely every combination. By understanding more about that 10%, though, it will give me more to go on. I don’t fool myself that I can please everyone, but I certainly want to please as many as I can.

If you talk, I promise I will listen.

p.s. If you missed receiving the January 22nd HeartStrings newsletter, you can read it in the online archive.

Knitting giant beads for Mardi Gras

I’ve been obsessed with making even more of the Beaded Stress Balls, but this time using Mardi Gras as the theme. I even worked up some simple variations to produce different geometric patterns on the surface of the balls.

Mardi Gras Bead Balls
Mardi Gras Bead Balls

Probably only people close-by in New Orleans, Louisiana will relate to these. Or those who keep up with Mardi Gras. Each year at Mardi Gras, it seems that everyone is trying to out-do last year’s largest throw-me-somethin’-mista beads of the carnival parades. I won’t be throwing any of these giant beads to anyone, though (I am keeping them!).

I’ve used Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sock yarn in color Funky Stripe. It is a purple and green yarn. With the galvanized gold seed beads, I think it carries off the theme of traditional Mardi Gras colors pretty well.

In progress
Completed balls vs. those before being stuffed and closed

If you’d like to knit some of these yourself, I’ve written up the variations to the original instructions at my Ravelry project page. But you will also need the original Beaded Stress Ball pattern to use for the basic instructions. Besides the overall beaded ball in the original instructions, the Ravelry page has guidance for these 3 variations:

  1. Alternating sections beaded and un-beaded
  2. Outer edges of each section beaded and remainder un-beaded
  3. The negative of #2: Interior of each section beaded and the outer edges left un-beaded
The 3 variations
The 3 variations

I love how such simple changes can result in attractive and interesting designs.

Each ball only takes about 25 yards of yarn. So, out of a single skein of yarn, you could make a bunch of balls. Or undoubtedly you probably have some partial skeins/balls in your stash for which this could be a fun use.

I can imagine in my wildest dreams to make an entire giant “beaded” necklace out of hand-knitted beaded balls like this, but I probably should get onto some other knitting now. What do you think?

Happy Mardi Gras
Happy Mardi Gras!

Dropping the ball to bring in the New Year

I promised myself that I would get this little Beaded Stress Ball pattern completed by the end of 2011. Well, here we are at the 11th hour! I should have my head examined for creating more stress for myself – ha! ha! I too often forget my own advice to take time to smell the roses. Well, that is what a new year is for, right? New resolutions and a new beginning.


Anyway, I’ve been having fun working up this pattern. And hope you will enjoy reading about it, too. If anything, I hope it brings a smile to your face. And you might even try it out yourself for some well-deserved relaxation in the new year.

The premise is that you can squish and roll this beaded ball around in your hands to provide relaxation and quick relief for stress, aching or stiff finger joints. Tiny pressure points of beads have a meditative quality. My idea for this was inspired by a small flexible bead-woven bowl I bought from a talented friend of mine, Brenda Harms. Not only was it a beautiful little container, but it fit in my hand and felt so good as a massage. That gave me the idea to come up with something bead-knitted that was both beautiful and fun that would function in a similar way for hand therapy.

When designing this beaded ball, I was really dredging up the old brain matter in trying to remember my solid geometry. It’s amazing how you can learn all those formulas in school, and then they just sort of want to vanish when you need them. I wanted the design to be symmetrical, uniformly beaded all over, and of course to look like a ball when completed. And here is the proof!


For those who are wondering what the heck the title for this blog article is about, it is a tradition to “drop” or lower the ball in New York’s Times Square on New Year’s Eve. This is my toast to that. 🙂

Have a happy and prosperous new year! (and don’t forget to Take Time to Smell the Roses)

p.s. Remember that stressed spelled backwards is desserts.