Technique Thursday – Hand Stretches

For some time, I have suffered with numbness in my hands and arms. At first I thought it was carpal tunnel brought on from excessive knitting, but I later discovered (after lots of trips to doctors and specialists) that it is due to thoracic outlet syndrome since I was born with extra ribs in my neck. About 1 in 200 people are born with an extra rib called a cervical rib and about 1 in 10 people who have a cervical rib develop thoracic outlet syndrome.

This can be extremely frustrating when I have a lot of knitting to do, so I decided to look into exercising and stretching before I begin long periods of wielding the needles.

Stretching Hands
© Theroadahead.co.au

However, you don’t need to have thoracic outlet syndrome to look after your hands. Sitting in one position while concentrating on your knitting / crocheting for any period of time can make your shoulders and neck ache. Plus, holding the needles and making small movements with your hands can make your fingers and wrists cramp up so  it’s important to remember not to strain or overwork them.

Five ways to relax your hands and wrists

  1. Stretch your fingers as widely as you can and hold them there for 10 seconds. Then ball your hands into fists and hold them that way for another 10 seconds
  2. Place your palms together in a prayer position and keeping them that way, rotate your wrists away from you. Point your fingers downwards until you feel a slight stretch. Hold them this way for 5 to 8 seconds without tensing or lifting your shoulders up.
  3. Bend your elbows and push them together, then interlock your fingers. Rotate your hands and wrists ten times in a clockwise direction, then ten times in the other direction. (This  feels awkward at first, but it works.)
  4. Extend your arms straight out in front of you and bend your wrists back, bringing your fingers straight up. Hold this for 10 seconds. Then bend your wrists down, pointing your fingers to the floor. Hold this for another 10 seconds.
  5. Again, extend your arms in front of you and slowly rotate your wrists so the backs of your hands are touching. Hold this position for 10 seconds feeling the stretch.

At the end of your stretches let your arms hang loosely at your sides, then shake your hands and wiggle your fingers.

Five ways to remove stress from your shoulders and arms

If you start feeling tightness in your shoulders or arms, take a few minutes to do these exercises:

  1. Bring both shoulders up to your ear. Hold for 3 to 5 seconds, then relax them down to their natural position.
  2. Interlace your fingers and stretch your arms out in front of you with your palms facing away from your body. Hold this for 10 seconds.
  3. Keep your fingers interlaced and your palms facing out. This time stretch your arms over your head. Stretch up, up, and up until you can feel the stretch as far down as your upper rib cage. Hold for 10 to 15 seconds and breathe deeply.
  4. Still with your fingers interlaced, cup the back of your head. Bring your elbows back and pull your shoulder blades together. Hold for 5 seconds, and then relax.
  5. Place your right hand on your left shoulder, then use your left hand to grab your right arm just above the elbow. Look over your right shoulder and gently pull your right arm to the left until you feel your muscle stretch. Hold for 10 to 15 seconds. Change sides and stretch the other shoulder and arm.

Doing these exercises regularly will help ease the pressure our craft puts on our bodys. It is meant to be relaxing, but if we don’t look after our fingers and muscles, it will soon be far from it.

One last tip: Sometimes, knitting with straight needles for long stretches of time can make wrists sore, esp with large, heavy projects. Try swapping to circular needles instead. The slight difference in wrist position and weight distribution when using circulars can make a big difference, particularly if you have carpal tunnel or a similar condition.

WiP Wednesday – Mam’s Jumper

I need to start this post with an apology for this weeks missing Technique Tuesday. I was pretty tied up yesterday and didn’t have time to sort it out. I will have one tomorrow for you though so we’ll have Technique Thursday instead.
But, today is Wednesday and I want to tell you about my current WiP’s!

Joelle JumperI am currently working on a Joelle jumper for my mam. In the Christmas of 2013 I wrapped up a few balls of this sparkly blue yarn for her and promised her a jumper. She chose this one. A very beautiful pattern by the super talented Annekin Allis. Unfortunately, it took me almost a year to complete since I was so busy with design work and, (I really hate to say this), it was really boring to knit. I just didn’t enjoy it at all, which made it take longer than I had hoped.

My Mam finally got her Kate jumper a few weeks before Christmas 2014… and hated it. At the time she had fractured her shoulder so my Dad was helping her dress each day. When he put this jumper on her, he put it on upside down! No reflection of the design I’m sure, just my Dad being such a great follower of ladies fashion! cough!

So, she sadly gave me the jumper back and 1 years work was ripped out in less than 30 minutes.

I told her that this time, I was picking the jumper she was to have and decided on my own design of Joelle since I had had that in mind when I originally bought the yarn. I started it in the beginning of January and we are currently over the shoulders and about to cast off the sleeves. I have altered it slightly to a round neck instead of a boat neck since my Mam hates boat necks. Other than that, she has seen the work so far and is happy with it. Fingers crossed this time it works out well!

Joelle Jumper 2

 

So that’s my WiP apart from some cute ones I can’t tell you about yet since they are a surprise for my friend. I’ll tell you very soon.

Oh and this arrived a few days ago:

Ella Rae Phoenix DKIt is for a secret project I can’t tell you about until released but it’s the first time I have worked with or seen Ella Rae Phoenix DK in person and wow! It is such a beautiful yarn. I LOVE this colour and I’m so excited for it to become the thing it is intended for. As soon as I can tell you about it, I will! I promise!

See you tomorrow for Tech Thursday!

 

 

Stitch Pattern Sunday

I would like to start adding a catalogue of stitch patterns to the blog. Not only will it help me, it may help others too as a resource.

The first stitch pattern I want to share with you is Trellis, a pretty lace work pattern.

Trellis Stitch
Trellis Stitch

This would be lovely for a an accessory set like hat, scarf / cowl and gloves or a blanket.

Techniques Used:

Knit
Purl,
k2tog
yo
slipped sts
p2tog
psso

Skill:

Intermediate

Stitches Needed:

Work on a multiple of 7sts + 1 edge st on each side.

Instructions:

Row 1 (RS): k1 (edge), *k2, k2tog, yo, k3, rep from * to last st, k1 (edge)
Row 2: k1 (edge), *p1, sl1 purlwise, p1, psso, yo, p1, yo, p2tog, p1, rep from * to last st, k1 (edge)
Row 3: k1 (edge), *k2tog, yo, k3, yo, sl1 knitwise, k1, psso, rep from * to last st, k1 (edge)
Row 4: purl
Row 5: k1 (edge), *yo, sl1 knitwise, k1, psso, k5, rep from * to last st, k1 (edge)
Row 6: k1 (edge), *yo, p2tog, p2, sl1 purlwise, p1, psso, yo, p1, rep from * to last st, k1 (edge)
Row 7: k1 (edge), *k2, yo, sl1 knitwise, k1, psso, k2tog, yo, k1, rep from * to last st, k1 (edge)
Row 8: purl

Rep rows 1 – 8 until you have your desired length.

Conclusion:

Trellis stitch is a pretty lace stitch which is quite easy to read once you have a few rows under your belt.
It would definitely make a beautiful blanket or scarf!

I hope you like this stitch and hopefully I can continue to add them each week!

WiP Wednesday – Terry’s Hat

Hey everyone!

My knitting this week has been monopolised by writing patterns instead of working on them, but I have managed to fit in a new hat for Terry.

Terrys HatHe has been complaining for weeks about how cold his ears are getting while walking the dog so I figured it was my duty, as a knitter, to fix the issue.

I chose Graham by Jennifer Adams, a free pattern knitted in aran weight yarn. It’s a pretty fast knit and is worked completely inside out, which is cool. I have extended the brim since Terry likes his hats pulled down almost over his eyes and folded double.

I will show you the finished hat in a couple of days I expect!

What are you knitting up lately?

 

Technique Tuesday – Counting Rows

This weeks Technique Tuesday, we are going back to basics to talk about counting rows.
If you are knitting a pattern that requires you to knit a certain amount of rows, you can use a row counter, like this one from deramores.com

img_0006_3_1
or just keep checking your knitting.

When working a tricky lace work pattern like this one:

Lace knitting stitch 1

I would definitely advise a row counter, but while working with stocking stitch or something equally simple, I find knitting a while and then checking my rows to be my best option. So how do we know we are counting the right part?

With basic stocking stitch, the right side is a series of v shapes while the wrong side has lots of connecting n shapes.

Stockinette StitchA

On the right side of the above diagram, we have knitted 6 rows.

Row one is the red V, row two is the yellow V, three is the green V, four is purple and row five is blue. The final row is white and still looped as though on the needle.

St st

Can you can see the knitted V’s in the above fabric? There are 10 rows here.

If you find it easier to count on the wrong side of your stocking stitch, that’s ok too.

Reverse Stockinette Stitch- A

Here we have knitted 5 rows, with each colour depicting which loop to count for each new row.

Reverse-Stocking-StitchAgain there are 10 rows here.

Personally I barely every use a row counter. I have them but I find that I forget to turn them or click them when I should and then I get lost in a whirl of “where am I?!”. I find it easier, when knitting tricky lace, to draw a tally. Somehow I don’t forget to pick up the pen and mark down a row on a scrap piece of paper.

Do you have an interesting way of keeping a check of your rows?

 

Technique Tuesday – Buttonholes

When making buttonholes, there are a number of methods to use. Some knitters will use the same process every time, others will try a different one for each project. Here I will show you the three main methods for buttonholes, it’s up to you if you want to be adventurous or stick to the one you prefer.

Yarn Over buttonhole:
This one is probably the simplest of buttonholes.

Yarn Over Buttonhole in Stocking Stitch
In Stocking Stitch
Yarn Over Buttonhole in Garter Stitch
In Garter Stitch

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How to achieve it:
Knit to your desired location, yarn over (yo), knit the next two stitches together (k2tog), then work as normal. Your button-hole will be small, ideal for kids clothing or a garment that requires small buttons, but it will be neat and tidy if done correctly.

Two Row Buttonhole:
This is an easy to do buttonhole which can be worked to your required size, but it will stretch over time. Make sure you work the buttonhole to as tightly as you can for the button.

Two Row Button Hole Stocking Stitch

Two Row Buttonhole in Garter Stitch

 

 

 

 

 

 

How to achieve it:
Row 1: Work to your desired location. Bind off your required number of stitches, (the photographs above have two stitches bound off), work to the end.
Row 2: Work to the bound off section. Cast on the same number of stitches you bound off earlier using the backward loop method.

 

One Row Buttonhole:
This is the trickiest of the three buttonholes but is worth the effort. This buttonhole is much more sturdy than the others and has less chance of stretching over time.

One Row Buttonhole in Stocking Stitch
How to achieve it:
Work to your desired location. Bring yarn to the front and slip the next stitch purlwise. Place yarn to the back again and leave it there. *Slip the next stitch onto the RH needle and pass the second stitch over it as if casting off. Repeat this until you have worked the required amount of stitches. Slip the next stitch from the LH needle onto the RH needle and turn your work.

Using the knitting on, cable or backward loop cast on, cast on the same amount of stitches you just bound off, plus one more stitch. Turn your work again.

Slip the first stitch from the LH needle onto the RH needle and pass the second stitch (the extra stitch you cast on) over it. Work to the end.

Conclusion:
Personally I prefer the yarn over buttonhole for children’s garments, and the one row buttonhole for adult pieces. It is the stronger buttonhole and will withstand the test of time. All of them do come in handy for their own occasion though so don;t be afraid to switch it up a bit.
I have to add my apologies for the lack of photographs here too. I did take a lot of in progress ones but they didn’t turn out right for one reason or another. I will re-do the photos and add them in asap.

Which buttonhole is your personal favourite?

Monday Mumblings

Since I have not blogged in such a long time, many of you may not have realised (or care) that I have had a revamp here. I decided that I needed to get everything together properly in one place and make the most of this site, plus I wanted it all pretty!

So, I have been thinking through a few things to help me to blog more since I don’t do it enough and, if I’m honest, I struggle to come up with any content for you guys.

From today on I am going to attempt Technique Tuesday where I will show you how to do some knitting technique that you may or may not know already. WIP Wednesday (Work In Progress Wednesday), where I will show you whatever I am making that week, even if it is an encrypted, secret type post where you don’t really know what it is due to magazine obligations. FO Friday (Finished Object Friday) which will more than likely be a monthly thing since I can’t show so much of my work. Stitch Pattern Sunday where I will show you a new stitch pattern which you can use and bend at your will.

I think…just maybe, that will be enough! Some things may be difficult to keep up with each week, but others should be ok. I will also do a few more Monday Mumblings to tell you bits of what is going on and, of course, there will still be me breaking down the patterns from the mags to show you the process of how it got there.

I also intend to work on more self published designs this year so they will be easy for you to access.

All of this and still sleep at night! How will I manage. Only time will tell and hopefully I won’t disappear again around February time :/

My apologies. Such a bad blogger.

I leave you with some inspiration. It works for me…

Imagination Poster