Posts Tagged ‘physical’

Too Many Choices

So I’m coming to the end of the knitting portion of an upcoming sweater design, and also find myself seriously lacking a purse project. I love picking new projects, but I have so many fun new yarns I can’t even decide which yarn to use let alone what project. Help me decide!

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I’ve been wanting to knit with my handspun more, and this single 90 gram skein of more-or-less sport weight pretty seems awfully tempting after a massive sweater. I think there’s about 245 yards of it, which is enough for a hat (I have way more than I need) or a cowl, or a couple pairs of boot toppers. Hmm…

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Then there’s the 324 yards of chunky alpaca that’s so radically different from what I generally knit with that I can’t help but be intrigued. It doesn’t hurt that it’s 100% alpaca, so I occasionally wander over to the stash just to pet it. I can make pretty much the same things from this as I could from handspun, but I definitely want the alpaca to go into something worn close to my skin.

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Then in a totally different vein is the Art by Eve yarn. It’s lace weight and in a sweater quantity, which is a little daunting so soon after this other sweater. On the other hand, siiiiiiiiilk. Also, it’s such a light shade of green, and everything else this time of year is so dang dark.

Then of course there’s all the rest of my stash. It’s not small. So, help me decide, oh wise readers.

 

Survival

Survival is definitely the theme of this week. I did manage to survive to Winter Break (obviously), although the virus I always seem to get on breaks from school showed up right on time. Unfortunately my schedule does not slow down for a couple days yet. The Winter Break Plague doesn’t seem to know about that particular part of my calendar!

tree skirt

“Christmas Tree Skirt No. 1971” by Carole

However, in addition to surviving 39 hyperactive ten year-olds the week before vacation and (for many of them) Christmas, I have also now survived the darkest days of the season. The solstice was yesterday, and each day from now on will be just a bit brighter than the one before it, literally.

apples

“Striped Apple” by Ala Ela

We’re also having a fantastically unseasonable warm spell, just days after our last dusting of snow. It’s supposed to be back to unseasonably cold by tomorrow evening, but for now I’m enjoying it. I’m clinging to little things like the warm and the returning sun to help me get through these next few days of being incredibly social while I’d rather be curled up in bed.

sharktopus

No pattern. Just Sharktopus.

Most of my knitting right now is samples and swatches that I can’t share with you, so instead I’m sharing a few of my favorite little holiday projects I’ve done over the years. Happy crafting is another great way to survive the “endless” bits!

Lookit!

Look look look!

spinning

 

My bandage is small enough to spin! The new wheel feels so super fast. In my head I’m definitely making “vroom” noises as I spin. The yarn I’m making is way more thick and thin (read: lumpy) than what I make on my drop spindles, and I’m having some issues with overspinning as I get used to the speed. Still…

spun

 

Yarn! Woohoo!

Why Does Knitting Make You Feel Good?

I mean, clearly it does. Otherwise why would we keep doing it? Have you ever wondered if the effects are “all in your head”? The answer is yes, mostly, but that doesn’t make them any less real. The positive effects of knitting can be divided into two main categories: those related to all hobbies, and those related specifically to knitting.

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All Hobbies

1. For those who suddenly have little to do with their time (say, the temporarily bedridden or the newly retired), hobbies provide just enough eustress to keep the mind sharp and feeling fulfilled. Learning something new (such as a new hobby) provides a similar effect.

2. Many hobbies also lend themselves to being conducted or discussed with groups, and it is well documented that social support and interaction is a great way to reduce stress.

3. Hobbies can play an active role in preventing job-related burnout, and people who actively engage in hobbies often feel less exhausted at the end of the day, in spite of having intense, high-stress jobs.

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Knitting

1. Rhythmic motions, such as those performed while knitting, have been shown to improve the mental function and well being of people suffering from dementia, strokes, and other brain disorders/damage. There is also evidence knitting can actually reduce the risk of some of these disorders occurring in the first place.

2. Repetition, such as in the motions of knitting, allows the mind to focus elsewhere, improving creativity and productivity, as well as producing a mental state of well-being sometimes referred to as the “relaxation response“.

3. The rhythmic, repetitive motion of knitting and other needlework actually changes your brain chemistry, causing it to produce more of the “feel good” hormones serotonin and dopamine.

4. Hobbies that produce a tangible result (again, knitting) also produce emotional gratification, important for your mental well-being. Hobbies which take a while to produce a finished project can teach delayed gratification and patience, which are important not only for the sake of maturity, because it enables us to hold out for the better options we might not otherwise get.

5. Knitting provides a physical and mental distraction from numerous bad habits and neuroses, ranging from overeating to smoking to anxiety disorders and eating disorders.

6. Regardless of actual physical benefits, knitters overwhelmingly feel calmer, happier, and smarter when they’ve been knitting frequently, and that can count for a lot.

Learn anything new? Just evidence of what you’ve suspected for years? By all means, please share!

Messy Cave

We have a room in our apartment I refer to as The Cave. It started out as my office space, and then mine and Hubby’s office space, and then it just sort of exploded. Between my expanding stash and Hubby’s brewing gear and Hubby’s military gear and all the books that no longer fit on our bookcases, there’s barely room to walk in there anymore. It’s become the cat’s favorite room, but I tend to stay out of it as much as possible.

The problem is, The Cave is where my stash lives. Or lived. It started out innocently enough, in two little boxes like this:

original stash

Not incredibly neat, but organized by fiber type and tucked away out of sight. Then the yarn and pattern books/magazines no longer fit in the same place, so I added this:

books

Eventually The Cave got to be such a maze than new yarn began to go elsewhere rather than having to navigate it.

stash spread

A friend got me a lovely little “yarning box” as she called it, which I put by my knitting spot on the couch, and that quickly filled with yarn too.

yarning box

Then it filled a little more.

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Of course, the needles and notions collection bred when I wasn’t looking too. It now requires two very messy boxes as well.

needles nest

Guys, my stash is out of control. Some of it is sweater-quantities for specific projects that are already planned. A few skeins are random pretties I just couldn’t resist bringing home. However, the overwhelming majority are partial skeins leftover from old projects. I can’t bear to waste most of a skein, but I can’t re-sell an open skein either and I just don’t know how to use them myself. I like the thought of a scrap blanket but I know myself well enough to know it’s probably not ever going to happen.

Luckily, I am moving next weekend. Our new home will have more room, and hopefully I can build myself a proper organizational system and start getting this stuff under control! Got any hot tips or suggestions?

Spinny Goodness

I’m working out some major changes to the shawl that leave me unable to really work on it at the moment, so I’ve been doing some extra spinning instead. I also started the sample for a new pattern, but I’m not ready to share that one yet. So, spinning:

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Pay no attention to my redneck lazy kate!

I’m managing to get 2 distinct types of singles, in spite of them coming from the same top. You can see the “bobbin” on the left is much darker than the one on the right. And yes, you can also see the cat supervising my spinning. He is a very diligent supervisor.

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Here’s a closer look at the colors.

I’ve been plying dark to light, and in the strand it looks very striking, but the effect is actually much more subtle in the skein.

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Here it is in the strand.

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Here it is all together on the spindle.

I think my favorite part is the absolute glow it gets from the silk content. Silk spins like a dream too, apparently. I think I can probably get one more skein out of the current batch. By then, hopefully, we’ll be moved and I’ll finally have space for a wheel! Getting really excited!

Spring Fever

It’s been crazy-pants around here lately, but of a productive variety. I’ve put together 4 different swatches since Friday, and have managed not to neglect the current WIP (not listed on Rav) too terribly either. I’ve also put in an embarrassing number of extra hours at work and fulfilled a bunch of family obligations as well. I can only blame it on Spring Fever. Mother Nature is so busy getting stuff done; I can’t help but try to get stuff done too. Look what all this gorgeous weather has gotten me:

strawberry blossom

Strawberry blossoms!!!

Book Review: Knit to Flatter

Last December I took Amy Herzog’s class at my local LYS and expressed excitement about her upcoming book. Well, it’s finally here! It only arrived today and I’ve already eagerly devoured the whole thing. A lot of it was simply recapping what we covered in her workshop, but it is nice to have it all neatly written in one place, with examples and photos for each concept.

knit to flatter

Book!!!

 

Another thing I really love about the book is that once you’ve figured out your body shape, there’s an entire section devoted to it – regardless of which shape that is. There are also mini-sections for other features you might need to consider, such as being larger or smaller than the industry standard B-cup, or having an unusually curvy or straight waist, etc.

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Not that any of those would apply to me of course. Nope, not at all. Ahem.

Also exciting is that each of the patterns included in the book is placed in the section for the body type it best suits, BUT with suggestions to modify it to fit the other body types. If there was any doubt in my mind about whether I’d gotten the right idea about my shape from the workshop, right there in the Bottom Heavy section was the sweater I’ve been coveting since December – Flutter. I’m in the unique position of already knowing for sure it will look awesome on me, because I’ve already tried it on! Time to go yarn shopping!

Warm Weather Knitting

Wow, I am impressed at how enthusiastic you guys were about yesterday’s contest! I will have to do another scavenger hunt in the future! I was a little worried there wouldn’t be much response since many people stop knitting as the weather warms, and my sales typically dip then too. Clearly I am not the only one who continues to knit voraciously in spring and summer! What do you like to knit this time of year? For me…

1. Shawls

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Ironically, I don’t really wear shawls that much. I LOVE to knit them though. They’re lighter and more delicate than say, a cabled sweater, so they’re great for knitting when it’s warm out. If you’re a shawl-wearer, they’re also immediately wearable in the springtime. For me, unless I’m knitting for a special event (like the upcoming new design for a friend’s wedding), I tend to wind up giving my shawls to a friend or relative. They’re one of the only things I knit that are more about process than product.

2. Tank Tops

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For a while I was seriously skeptical about knitted summer shirts. Something about knitwear and summer just seemed mutually exclusive. Then I discovered linen. From there it progressed to cotton, silk, bamboo…there’s just no stopping me! Sleeveless tops knit up fast, even with thin, light-weight yarns. They don’t weigh much or make you sweat as they sit in your lap mid-project. AND…instant wearability! While central air-conditioning does allow me to knit long-sleeved pullovers and blankets in the summer, there’s nothing quite like the reward of putting on a piece fresh from the blocking board.

3. Socks

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No, I’m not going to wear these right away. In fact, I try to wear as little on my feet as possible, for as much of the year as possible. However, the cold weather will return eventually, and it’s always nice to have a fresh new pile of socks waiting for me when that happens. Socks are fast, light, and easy to stuff in a purse or carry-on when I’m traveling (as I tend to in the summer). Again, they’re small and not going to make me sweaty while I knit them.

I’ve also very recently discovered a serious affection for summery cardigans, thanks to a phenomenon I call the Summer Deep Freeze. Sometimes American businesses are just a little too enthusiastic about air conditioning for my taste. My school seems to be especially guilty of this, so look for a lot of new cardigans to come from me!

P.S. If you can’t tell from the photos, yes, the seasons do influence my color cravings. Spring means greeeeeeeeeen!

Misty Morning

In the northern hemisphere, there’s still just about one pullover’s worth of cold weather left in this season. If you’re in the southern hemisphere, lucky you! You’ve got months of cold (or cool) weather knitting ahead! Either way, I hope you’ll consider my newest pattern, Misty Morning.

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Misty Morning

This time of year is full of cool, grey mornings that really call for an extra bit of cozy. What better way to get your “cozy fix” than cashmere? The recommended cashmere blend is knit at a loose gauge for a bit of drape and elegance in an otherwise simple raglan pullover. Combined with the extra length in the torso and sleeves, this sweater is as comfortable as pajamas, but a lot more stylish!

collar back

 

The dramatic collar, which can be worn multiple ways, also adds a bit of flair. The moodiness of mornings this time of year just sort of demands some flair, doesn’t it? It also keeps the mostly stockinette sweater from being an absolute bore for more advanced knitters (although honestly, cashmere kind of does that all on its own)!

collar front

 

So cozy on up to your next Misty Morning and make the most out of the season while you still can!

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