Projects

Last weekend was the first Canadian long weekend of the spring/summer season. This year, as is our family tradition, we went camping. May long camping weather is always a surprise. Some years it has snowed  and others it was warm enough that we went swimming in the pool. This year is was kind of in between. It rained and was pretty cold at night Friday and Saturday but Sunday and Monday it was sunny and warm. All in all a good weekend.

Today I’m exhausted and I’ve hardly done any work except cleaning up camp supplies and repacking everything (think loads of laundry and dishes). I love camping but it has a strange effect on me. I’m excited to go, planning and packing and loving so many things about my time in good ‘ol nature but often coming home is my favourite part. Maybe it makes me appreciate things I take for granted like running water, quick cooking and being able to stay clean. Of course I alway appreciate my knitting whether I’m home or camping.

Here’s the second side of my Bertram Tank top.

Projects

Actually the warm weather has been here for a few weeks now and I’m so happy to blink my winter tired eyes in the warming sun of the spring. The last few weeks have just slipped by as I’ve been running around filling appointments and other errands. I wish I could say I’ve been busy with work but things have been slower than I hoped. On the upside I’ve partnered up with another local business and I hope to see an increase in projects soon. Speaking of projects I’ve finished the first side of my Bertram Tank Top. I took a break from the second side because I wanted to knit my Mom a pair of houndstooth wrist warmers for Mother’s day. The pattern will be coming soon. I have to knit another pair because I forgot to take pictures of the pair I knit my Mom!

Here’s the front of the tank top. There is a mistake. It doesn’t ruin it so I don’t mind it. Can you see it?

Projects

Normally this time of year it should be warming up, but for some reason mother nature has decided to prolong winter. Only a week ago it seemed like spring was here. It had been warm with a fair bit of rain and then on the weekend we had an ice and snow storm. It sucked big time. No-one left their house if they didn’t need to as the roads were ice rinks. The storm was worse than any of the storms we had during the winter. My girls had a snow day on Monday because of it – the only snow day they’ve had this year. It’s hard to believe that this time last year we were wearing short sleeves. Especially when it looks like this:

It needs to warms up so I can wear my Bertram tank top as soon as it’s done. I love the modular way it knits up. It’s something different from the usual way of making a sweater which makes it fun. I can’t wait to get to the next part of the pattern to see how it’s going to go together. The mitered square was cool to make, but I messed it up near the end. I ended ripping out several rows because, a few times I missed decreasing 2 stitches at the centre (I only decreased 1 stitch). The result of my error shifted the middle decreases over to one side and everything was off centre. If you decide to knit this pattern make sure to constantly check that you have an equal number of stitches on either side of your marker. It would have saved me a headache and a fair bit of swearing if I had been checking more often. Now that it’s fix it’s coming along nicely.

 

Projects

Yesterday I started a new project! It’s from Creative Knitting magazine called Bertram Tank. I’m excited about this one because I get to learn 2 new skills, mitered squares and provisional cast on. Provisional cast on is a method of cast on that you ‘unzip’ later on to give you an edge with live stitches which are picked up and knit. I love that the tank top is knit modularly making it more interesting to knit.

I wasn’t keen on the colours the designer choose – I look bad in yellow, so I decided to go with some very different colours. You can see them in the below photos. The first photo is my swatch and the crocheted chain for the provisional cast. The second is the chain again (you actually need two of these for the pattern). The third is the beginning of the cast on. The fourth is where I am on the tank top as of this morning.

Tutorial

I don’t liked the sewing part of  knitted projects and sometimes I want to knit a scarf in stockinette stitch and not have it curl. So when I discovered that you could create a hem and not have to sew it I did a little happy dance.

Today I’ve created a tutorial showing you how to make three different type of hems, stockinette, picot and ribbed. They are simple and can add a lot to a project. You will have a open ended tub that you can put a drawstring through.

You can download a pdf of the tutorial here.

 

And here are all three!

 

Projects

You probably guessed I’ve been busy since I missed posting last week. Work kind of exploded and I was putting in some good hours trying to get caught up. I’m starting to figure out the next article I want to write. I wish I had more time to do research. I have been making time to knit – of course! I’m trying to build up an Etsy inventory to help get me through the slow months of work (no pressure).

I loved the houndstooth fingerless mitts I made my niece for Christmas that I made a pair for myself. My daughter was kind enough to model them for me.

Blankets, Pet Knits

Such an adorable dog! I love this guy more and more everyday. I’ve always been such a cat person I didn’t know how I would feel about having a dog. They are more responsibility then a cat but they are also so engaged. The cat can take us or leave us but not the dog. Patches is my husband’s and my shadow – although if he has to pick my husband wins every time unless food is involved. I love him so much that I already knit him a blanket. It’s my favourite go-to pattern – Shadow Cable Blanket. The other two posts about this blanket can be found here and here.

I was happy to see Bernat has other colours of the chenille yarn for this pattern other then the baby pastel colours. I would love to knit a full size blanket out that yarn. It’s so damn soft.

Here are some more pictures:

 

Article

It’s said that you can’t have too much of a good thing, but is that true for knitting? In the last three weeks we’ve looked at the benefits of knitting mentally, socially and physically. As with most things, good or bad, knitting can be harmful when over done. The first problem that comes to mind is the physical injury that can be the result of repetitive behaviour. I remember when I was in art school and working on a knitted project my teacher warned me not to spend too much time knitting. She said that I could get repetitive stress injury or even carpal tunnel syndrome if I over did it. Knowing when to take a break and proper posture are key to preventing either of these conditions.

I find it hard to believe that knitting in public is still an issue, but it is. People in knitting communities often share incidents where they’ve been told knitting in class or at a social gathering is rude. Younger knitters report people saying things like ‘Aren’t you too young to knit? I thought that was what grandmas do.’ Not to mention the sexist comments made to men who knit. Which is ironic since knitting started out as something men did to keep warm as fishermen and soldiers (that’s another whole article). Studies show that the reason for this attitude comes from the fact many people view knitting a female and domestic thing and are uncomfortable with seeing that in public.

June 9, 2018 is World Wide Knit in Public Day. As knitter’s we can use that day to change stigmas attached to knitting. To show how knitting is a valuable thing and anyone can do it, old, young, men, women. That it is “Better living though stitching together”! – mission statement from World Wide Knitting Day website.

Stash, this word alone can be problematic, it’s a word used by drug addicts to describe their secret hoard of drugs. I’m sure it’s meant to be a tongue in cheek term for all that yarn we have stored in our basements, closets and garages, but it can also express a hoarding problem. Excessive yarn purchasing can become hoarding and financial problem if not kept under control.

If you often say to yourself “Just one more row” – stop and think if that’s actually true or can you put your knitting down mid-row and walk away? I personally struggle with this and have let supper get a bit over cooked more than once because, I just wanted to keep going. My personal take on this is that it’s like video game addiction which has the effect of the addict not engaging in other activities and procrastinating.

At the beginning of this article I discussed the mental health benefits of knitting so it’s fitting that I finish with a mental health disadvantage. Studies have found that some knitters come to rely on knitting so much that instead of relaxing them it causes anxiety. These knitters report feeling most anxious near the end of or between knitting projects because they don’t know what their next project will be. I also know from personal experience that anxiety can come from knitting deadlines for knitted gifts. You worry whether they will like and appreciate it and if you will get it done on time.

I didn’t want to end this article on a downer however it’s important to tell both sides of the story. At the end of the day I believe the benefits out weight the disadvantages. So go knit, share and teach others this wonderful thing. And enjoy all that warm, soft stuff you’ve made.

This is the fourth and final part of Knitting is Good for Your Soul. Part one can be found here , part two can be found here and part three can be found here.

Credits

Credits Psychology Today website articles
https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/open-gently/201311/should-you-knit
https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/open-gently/201506/knitting-is-good-you
https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/in-excess/201701/excessive-knitting-and-addiction

Article

In the first part of this article I discussed the meditative aspects of knitting as it pertained to mental health. In this section of the article I’ll look at how knitting as a meditative tool can be beneficial to your physical health. The rhythmic and repetitive nature of knitting keeps the mind in the here and now. Which moves the focus of the mind away from thoughts that make us feel stressed, depressed or anxious. By alleviating stress, depression or anxiety knitting helps lower heart rate, blood pressure and the stress hormone cortisol.

One obvious physical benefit of knitting is it maintains and improves hand dexterity. My mom suffers from arthritis but continues to knit. She might not be able to knit for as long as a duration as she once did, but the movement helps prevents her hands from losing their dexterity. There is a warning though as too much knitting can cause repetitive disorders like carpal tunnel syndrome. To prevent problems keep knit times to a reasonable length and stop at the first signs of discomfort.

Studies have shown there is a correlation between preventing dementia and knitting. People who knit earlier in life and continue to knit have a reduced chance of in developing dementia. How this works is that since knitting is a cognitive activity it releases an natural anti-depressant called dopamine. We know there is a link between depression and dementia, so by lowing depression dopamine helps delay diseases like Alzheimer’s.

The hand-eye coordination and math skills required to knit are key to reducing dementia as well. These skills help strengthen and build neural networks, protecting neural connections. By protecting and improving neural connections the deterioration of the brain is slowed. Knitting also utilizes attention span and memory which are specifically affected by dementia. When knitting these areas are used like a muscle strengthening the brain and reducing their deterioration.

This is the end of part three of Knitting is Good for Your Soul. Part one can be found here and part two can be found here. I will post part four next Friday. There will be four parts.

Credits will be included at the end of last the article.

Article

Knitting can socially connect even the most reclusive introvert. You don’t have to leave your house to find like-minded knitters. There are knitting communities online like Raverly that allow knitters to share and support one another across the world. You can find plenty of  Facebook groups, blogs, forums (Knitting Help), youtube videos, online knitting magazines like Knitty and knitting shops like Knit Picks. Online it’s all about knitters reaching out to knitters.

I made several online friends when I started my blog 11 years ago and I’m still in touch with some of them today. These days I keep up with my online knitter friends on Facebook, but I originally met them through forums, their comments on my blog or my comments on their blog. We talked about knitting, raising children and our lives.

Knitting is portable making it easy to take along anywhere (unless maybe you are making an afghan). You can go to a coffee shop to share, teach and learn with other knitters. Most knitters I know are a passionate and friendly bunch who love to talk about knitting, yarn and so much more. There are plenty of face to face interactions out there for knitters. Places like causal knitting groups, local yarn shop meet ups, yarn shows, craft shows and knitters’ guilds are all great ways to meet other knitters. These meet ups are often called a stitch and bitch. I however am not a fan of this name. I supposed it can be a time to knit and vent with friends, but I think it’s a bit negative. I would rather view a knitting meet up as a time to connect and catch up with friends old and new.

Okay knitting can encourage social interaction, but why is this important? Social interaction gives us friends and friends support each other through stressful and difficult times. Friends are people we share fun times with and should make each other feel good about themselves. Having good people in your life improves the quality of your life, often improves your outlook on life and helps alleviate depression and stress. So go out there and connect online or out in your community!

This is the end of part two of Knitting is Good for Your Soul. Part one can be found here. I will post part three next Friday. There will be four parts.

Credits will be included at the end of last the article.