Archive for November, 2013
I will not add to my queue. I will not add to my queue. I will not- Nope, I give up. Andi’s latest pattern, Aiken, is just jaw dropping! Gorgeous and simple. She really knows how to flatter. I love her style!
>> How do you feel about granny squares? Top Shop is selling a turtle-necked, long-sleeved granny square dress for $580. I’m not sure I can get behind it (coming from a girl with furry shoulders, I guess I shouldn’t throw stones) but I’m definitely giving the side eye to it’s “Hand Knit Crochet” title…
>> This is kind of incredibly disgusting but also probably cool? Anna Dumitriu makes quilts out of MRSA. She also needle felts little lungs and infects them with TB.
>> H&M wants to pay all textile workers a living wage by 2018. While I’ve really come to detest fast fashion, they have seemed to step up and take responsibility. I’m still sticking to my buy less (I’ve only bought a few garments, most made in the US, over the past few months!)/make more policy but good on them for working a little harder to make their industry better. They should hurry up!
>> It’s not news to any of us that hand knitting is undervalued. But this post is a good reminder that it’s still happening. (I also love that she uses the word makar to describe herself!) Don’t under-sell yourselves!
>> I don’t think I ever gave too much thought to this sweater on Mad Men (gosh, was that season two!? Feels like yesterday) but I was wrong. It’s definitely worth a look.
>> And goats wearing sweaters!
Hope you’re enjoying your short week and holiday if you’re state side. And it’s Hanukkah, too! Many days of latkah frying coming up! What will you be knitting on before your turkey nap?
Shopping for knitters is simultaneously the easiest and hardest thing to do. We love yarn but we’re very particular. We could always use more needles but interchangeable sets aren’t cheap. We’re always searching for new patterns but with the enormous variety of books out there, it’s tough to pinpoint which might be right.
I tend to advise against buying a knitter yarn (unless they ask for it) as a gift. Usually, we’re all on yarn diets. Of course, no one has ever given me a skein of yarn that I’ve refused. And it’s easy for non-knitters to become sheepish, dizzy, and dumbfounded at a LYS. But around this time of year I like to put together a guide for what knitters really want, those little things that will let them know that you really thought hard about them.
And, don’t forget, knitters always appreciate gifts that are handmade, local, and/or independent!
What gifts would you love to get this holiday?
I was just thinking that if you absolutely had to knit holiday gifts, although this doctor strongly advises against it, that my Olivia hat pattern would be the perfect thing to make. I know, sorry, shameless self-promotion but what are blogs for? It’s comfy and soft and, most importantly, it knits up super fast. Fast knits are what the holidays are all about, right?
>> If you weren’t able to make it to the Knitting Yarns: Writers on Knitting talk the other night, check out this blog post. It was really lovely and tons of fun. Ann Hood and Elissa Schappell are hilarious and it was a great non-formal setting. Ann walked in and yelled, “Yay! Everyone’s knitting!” Can’t wait to really dive into the book!
>> Interested in reading more about the costumes on Fox’s Sleepy Hollow? Obviously, you do. This show is your favorite! Check out Frock Talk. I feel like this show is something I invented while I was drunk and that is why I absolutely love it.
>> Everyone is going crazy over the unicorn sweater that Sasha Obama wore to a basketball game. The Obama girls always have great style. Would be a really fun knit!
>> The Doctor Who 50th Anniversary is TOMORROW. I’m pretty psyched, obviously. Check out this clip about the “happy accident” that became the most iconic piece of Doctor Who costume (Sorry, Fez, it is not you). Imagine being the knitter who make the Doctor’s scarf. Can that be me?
I’ll just have to pretend the WIP I’ll be working on while I watch tomorrow is an important piece of costume. What are you working on this weekend?
I’m a sentimental person but I hate the obligatory “What are you thankful for?” that happens this time of year. I’m not really spiritual so I don’t know who I’m thanking for some coincidences in my life. At the same time, I’m well aware that I can’t take credit for all of the happiness that’s come to me. I really like to refer to the way I feel as lucky. Somehow the stars have aligned and things are good. That being said, giving up knitting last week was really difficult for me. By Thursday, I was having dreams about binding off intricate and gorgeous color work sweaters. Reading blogs or looking through knitting books made my heart heavy. But at the same time, sacrificing a little bit made me think about a lot of things and, in the spirit of the season, I am pretty thankful.
First of all, I’m thankful that knitting is in my life. I’m not sure I’d have the little sanity left in my without it. After I picked up knitting ten years ago, I went back and forth, sometimes not making anything for long periods of time. Over the past three or four years, knitting has become a huge part of who I am. I know I kept returning to it because I’ve always loved making things, be it with pen and paper or words or lights and film, I’m a maker. This is the best way I can make things and I’m so grateful that I’ve found it.
I’m thankful for how amazing and supportive everyone is. That means you lovely readers and all of my knitting friends. I’ve been complaining up a storm on Twitter (sorry, I’m Jewish. If something hurts, you’re going to hear about it) and not only has everyone tolerated me but they’ve given great advice. It really feels amazing that people I haven’t met in real life are asking how I’m feeling. You’re all fab. Of course, my family is always making sure that I’m not pushing it and Jon has been really strict so I don’t re-injure myself. As much as it’s driven me crazy, I’m grateful for that too.
And, as always, I’m grateful for my health. I’ve got plenty of issues when it comes to health but I’m really glad things aren’t worse. I’m so thankful that I’m not still having to take a knitting break. And if my wrists were still bad, if I had to get surgery or something (oh lord, knock on wood times a million), I’m thankful that I have healthcare and all of those things above.
I’d really be lost without my needles. And, as always, when times get tough, I know my friends will be there to help me through! I love the knitting community and I if it weren’t for you, I’d just be a crazy lady complaining about socks.
What’re you thankful for? (I mean, I have to ask.)
Thought I’d given up the gif? They’re back just in time for a little holiday present from me to you.
These socks would make a great gift, though.
“Didn’t you say you weren’t going to knit holiday gifts this year?”
It’s ok, it’s not like I had plans anyway.
It won’t be fair to just knit for one person. Ok, one more hat won’t throw off my schedule. I got this.
Wait. Chanukah is early this year?
Why do I even do this?
But I can only blame myself.
Miraculously, I somehow manage to finish just in time.
And everyone loves their gifts.
What are your holiday knitting plans? Did you start early this year? (No one will be mad if you buy them a Ricefield Collective hat instead.)
I just found this photo that I might have stolen from Amy’s Rhinebeck recap. I realized that I basically have zero photographic evidence that I was there at all. That has changed now! Here I am with Panda in her Long Sands cardigan and me in The Crash. That’s right! My sample made it back from Holla Knits just in time to be worn at Rhinebeck. I can’t tell you how many people caressed my shoulders that day and, honestly, I wasn’t even the slightest bit upset about it. My damned sweater is nuts.
>> Sheep in the small village of Grazeley, Berkshire are eating flowers off of graves in the churchyard and everybody’s upset about it. Come on, people, they’re basically being left a buffet. You should not be surprised!
>> My lovely aunt sent me this really weird commercial for walnuts. It’s kind of hilarious and totally bizarre so you know I’m on board. I want to knit you an afghan.
>> If you’re in Manhattan next week, you might want to RSVP for this event with Ann Hood on her book Knitting Yarns: Writers on Knitting. I haven’t read the essays yet (too busy knitting to read about knitting, I guess!) but it sounds like something I’d love and I’m excited to hear her speak.
>> Workers in Bangladesh are protesting the new minimum wage which still leaves them making 14% of what is considered a living wage. According to the ThinkProgress article, improving factory conditions would only cost consumers 10 cents more on each garment made in the factories. Think about that for a minute.
>> A fascinating article about vicuña garments – the most expensive wool on earth. It sounds like magic. I’d love to pet one in real life and see the shearing ceremony!
Hope I’ll be back to my needles this weekend. I can’t stand resting so long. What’re you working on?
It’s hard to help every time disaster strikes around the world but hearing about the enormity of the damage done in the Philippines is really shocking. The knitting community is always one of the first to jump in and make a difference. Often times it means monetary donations but we love making things for those in need. That’s something that I really love – we’re givers.
I just wanted to take a minute today and shout out some ways that knitters can donate to typhoon relief. There are a lot of wonderful people donating their profits for fundraising and I love that.
Osprey in Storm
First, Quince and Co is donating 10% of their profits today to NAFCON. I would definitely get in on that today if you’re not on a yarn diet. Apparently the wonderful people at Ricefield Collective suggested that charity so I’m sure they do great work.
Speaking of Ricefield Collective, if you’re not familiar with their amazing work, you should check them out. They are already doing great things helping women in the Philippines earn money by selling gorgeous (I mean seriously gorgeous) hand knit accessories. According to their blog, the storm missed them but Ricefield will be donating 10% of sales through Thanksgiving to send aid to the effected parts. They are also collecting toys which they plan to distribute through their networks in the Philippines.
Finally, Romi Hill is donating $5 to Doctors Without Boarders for each Brandywine and Sakaki pattern purchased. She’s used these patterns in the past to raise money for DWB after the earthquakes in Haiti and Japan and has already donated over $20,000 from the sales of these patterns. Pretty incredible.
Of course, there are many other ways to help. Donating money directly to reputable charities is always an option that I know a lot of people feel most comfortable doing. Unfortunately, in times like these, it’s sometimes hard to tell who’s doing the best work. That being said, it warms my heart to see how knitters are all coming together to help in the ways they know best.
Feel free to post with other fundraisers in the comments!
First off, I am in no way a medical professional so if you’ve found this blog post because you’re Googling pain associated with knitting, go talk to your doctor.
As I mentioned last week, my wrists have been pretty unhappy for a few days. I’ve been having some awful aches in my wrists, elbows, and sometimes a bit shooting into my upper arms. When I tweeted about my plight, I was immediately met with calls to rest, ice, and stretch along with a dose of Advil. I take after the stoic women in my family who refuse to see a doctor unless something is definitely bleeding or has been broken for three weeks so it is all the more reason to take care of myself.
I think it’s important to address this here because it’s something that I haven’t dealt with so seriously up until this point and something that less experienced knitters don’t tend to think about at all. We have to take care of our little mitts. These are the only wrists we’ve got. Knitting is a full contact sport and can cause long-term damage.
I’ve been in serious denial that I was having pain related to knitting until I had to give myself time off. I was under the impression that I hadn’t knit very much last week so I didn’t know what caused all of this trouble. I stopped knitting on Thursday and was feeling better Saturday afternoon. I decided that I’d knit a little bit but, big mistake, the pain was at its worst Saturday night where I couldn’t lift a glass of water without wincing. I often sleep wrong and pull muscles in my neck and I have a job that requires heavy lifting of cumbersome pieces. I like to think I’m always lifting with my knees and being careful but other people have been injured and I’ve definitely come home sore on more than one occasion. That being said, I do spend a lot of time with my needles and many designers have given me the side eye when I tell them this is definitely not a knitting injury. Whether it is or not, maybe I’ll never know but either way, it’s time to treat this the way it deserves.
In my research and reading, here’s my best suggestions for avoiding any wrist pains ever:
1. Posture – I knit after a long day at work. I knit on the couch, sprawled out while watching a movie. Sometimes I knit crammed on a packed rush hour train. It’s really easy to forget proper posture when I’m tired but that’s the first step down a long road to permanent wrist pain. Sit up straight with your feet on the floor. Having good posture is important for life outside of knitting, too. Sitting up straight at work and having a chair that is the correct height is a good start and will help keep knitting from exacerbating the situation. (There are great posture tips from a physical therapist here and here!)
2. Stretch – There are so many stretching guides for knitters. You know what to do, stretch your fingers out and push them back towards your wrists lightly. Squeeze your elbows down to your wrist. (Here are some great stretches to keep your fingers limber. Thanks for passing those along, Linda!)
3. Relax – Knitting all day isn’t good for you. It’s really tempting and, let’s be honest, sometimes you have to finish a sample in time or you haven’t had time to knit all week and Sunday is free of plans! Be careful! A lot of you have suggested switching between projects with different gauges but more importantly, just put the needles down. Give yourself nice breaks to stretch and relax. Go outside or eat a sandwich or read a goddamn book. I’m going to go ahead and say don’t switch from knitting to cruising Ravelry. Typing is not going to give your wrists a break.
Now, in addition to the top three suggestions, here’s how I’ve been treating my sore wrists:
1. Support Gloves – I was wearing my Lion Brand wrist support gloves (pictured above) after the pain initially started. They’re tight and feel like your wrist is getting a hug. Some people say that if they start to feel pain, they can continue knitting after throwing a pair of these. Now that the pain’s been with me for a few days, I decided to get some more serious gloves that are a bit rigid. I invested in these Futuro gloves that are very comfortable and seem to be helping me heal.
2. Serious rest – I’m not talking about a break here and there. I’ve stopped knitting for as long as I need. It’s really difficult. I don’t know how to sit on the couch without doing something. Non-knitters must live awful, boring lives.
3. Advil – My tolerance for pain is about zero out of ten. Research says that gingers are more sensitive to pain so it’s either genetic or I’m a gigantic baby. Either way, Advil brings down any swelling and I can at least go through my day at work without wincing so hard. Don’t forget that just because you’ve now forgotten about the pain that it’s gone. Don’t over do it!
REMEMBER, tingling or numbness is bad. You’ve definitely got to stop and see a doctor then.
Speaking of doctors, I should probably be visiting one myself. Not being able to knit is one of my biggest fears being realized over the last few days as being a complete possibility. I know that is very dramatic but even just having to put my needles away for one day has made me so sad. Knitting is the one thing that I look forward to every day. It makes me rush out the door at 5:00 and I spend every spare moment tweeting to knitter friends, reading craft blogs, and looking at Ravelry. You can’t realize how precious those moments of meditation and relaxation and fulfillment are until you’re without them even for a short period of time.
So I promise, knitting gods, if my little hands heal up quickly, I promise that I’ll never treat them badly again. I’ll keep the knitting spirit all year long. That’s a promise we should all keep.
What do you do when your wrists start to ache? Have you ever had any bad knitting injuries?
ps. Happy birthday to my mom! A wonderful knitter who knows a thing or two about over-doing it and hurting herself. <3
I’m all about minimalism and brights paired with neutrals so Elly Fales’ Plowline Raglan is right up my alley. It looks just perfect for curling up with a cup of tea or brunch on a crisp autumn morning. Hello, queue!
>> This is hilarious. Tell your muggle friends.
>> I’m so sad that I missed Norway’s “slow television” knitting show. I heard great things about it, too, even though I would totally watch it if it was boring as hell. If anyone knows where I can catch it, I’d love to check it out. I WANT MY KNIT TV.
>> I just came across this article about Damian Kulash (of OK Go) and his wife (designer) Ambra Medda. I’m kind of obsessed with how adorable and talented they are.
>> Um, this commercial is the best thing ever. Possibly the opposite of Slow TV.
>> If you love looking at pictures of fluffy sheep and misty mornings, you ought to be following benjaminhole on instagram.
Guys, I’ve been having such awful pain in my wrists this week. Everyone’s telling me I need to take a break from knitting and ice them. It’s really breaking my heart! Do you get wrist pains? What’s the secret to staying limber?
Alright, ladies and gents. If you were psyched about the Katniss cowl discussion, I have a treat for you. Lolly commented earlier in the week with her pattern for the cowl and I just had to share it with you.
I really love the look of Lolly’s cowl. It’s probably the closest I could imagine coming to the real thing considering that the original isn’t knit. I haven’t had a chance to take a look at the pattern yet but I’m loving the herringbone stitch and thick yarn. If you got started now, you could probably have one ready in time for the premiere later this month!
The pattern is available on Ravelry for free!
Occasions like these make me so excited to be a blogger! Talking to the knitting hive-mind can get you information in the blink of an eye. From Jess’s research on the cowl’s original designer to, just a few days later, Lolly’s pattern for her version of the piece, I’m reminded that the knitting community is absolutely amazing. Without the magic of the internet, we all may have just said, “That’s a nice cowl” and left it at that but check out the resources we have now!
Will you be knitting a Katniss cowl?