Monday, October 12, 2009

Sometimes, Love Hurts

It's been a great weekend with lots of good Canadian Thanksgiving food and fun. I had dinner #1 at a friend's house on Friday, then made officially the best stuffing ever yesterday for the turkey dinner at my house last night. It was a good choice doing the turkey-thing on Sunday - everyone could stay late without having to worry about work the next day, and we could all just relax.

I've been plagued all weekend with a stiff neck and shoulders. Unfortunately, the likely cause is all the knitting and crocheting I do. I really don't know what to do about it, apart from having hot baths and regular massages. I try to sit up, try to work my core muscles and keep them strong, but the pain and weariness is still there. When I'm stressed, the muscles in the middle of my back bunch up, so much that, when I do get a massage, they literally pop while the therapist runs her fingers over them. Any suggestions for best practice would be deeply appreciated! Especially since I have no intention if giving up my hobbies!

I'm pretty sure that all crafters experience a bit of pain every so often - eyestrain, carpal tunnel, low back pain. I wonder if anyone has ever done a study on it? I know of older knitters who don't knit anymore because of arthritis in their hands. Am I headed in the same direction?

I feel so lucky sometimes to have this body that has arms that can embrace, hands that can knit and manipulate fine tools, and eyes that can see the tiny details of my work. I need to find ways to keep myself as healthy as possible.

I'm almost finished my Victoria's Secret Skirt. I decided last week that I would work the lower edge in beads, to add a little weight to the hem so that the skirt hangs well, and also to camouflage the slight colour difference at the end of the skirt (see previous post). I was inspired by Rosemary Hill's Waves of Grain (which I also intend to make sometime, probably with the left over Circulo I have from this skirt). I hadn't strung the beads before I started, but I used the technique suggested in the pattern, but required a tiny crochet hook. Well, I thought I had tiny crochet hooks, until I started placing these beads. Then, I realized I needed an even tinier crochet hooks. Off I went to the local Walmart (there is no LYS in this town) for a smaller hook.

First of all, I apologize for the terrible quality of these photos. You just can't take any pictures in my house after sundown without it looking like we live in an FBI interrogation room. Nevertheless, check these out:

The hook on the left is the hook I started placing the beads with, a practically GIGANTIC 1.3mm hook. The hook on the right is the one I bought today, a miniscule 1.0mm. It's amazing the difference it made! Those beads just slid on without any trouble. Now that I think of it, I suppose I could have just made a hook with the beading wire I have from my old jewelry business, but I guess I just felt like a trip to Walmart on a cold day. And hey, I also scored three sets of bamboo needles on sale!

I'm warming up to bamboo needles these days. It's one of those things that I just don't know why anyone would bother until they try. I have a big collection of Boye aluminum needles here, and thought of buying any more just seems ridiculous, but they all have their functions.

Boye and other aluminum alloy needles: multi-purpose, good for big acrylic-blend blankets and some cottons.

Denise Interchangeables
(too lazy for photos, but have a look) - great for seamless sweaters or big blankets, and grip silky and slippery yarns nicely.

Bamboo - also great for gripping the yarn so that it doesn't slide off the needles. I think they'd be great for beginners, although I started with the aluminum ones. A few false starts with some Bernat Organic Cotton had me wishing for them!

There are absolutely multitudes of knitting needles out there, which I won't get into, but until you try them, really, you don't know what you could be missing. There should be a knitting needle "try before you buy" event. I mean, I can test drive a car before I buy it, right?

Perhaps a change in needles might loosen some of the tension I carry with trying to hold the yarn on the needles, especially during a cast on or first row.

Or, I could just get a massage chair! Hey... there's an idea...

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