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Stitching with Healthy Hands: Identifying the problem

You just sat down to stitch, the baby is sleeping, the husband is busy and your project is calling you… You pick up your needles or hook and then you realize ouch that hurt. Really?… Yes. Really? How disappointing as you were finally looking forward to some time to relax.

So what are your options? Many stitchers put down their project, others work through it and others try another hobby. I am happy to say there is another choice. You can treat your injury. Yes you read that right your injury… Your hands are athletic… (yes you read that right too) Regardless of what the USOC says about knitting and crocheting, your hands are engaging in a long distance endurance event and they can get injured as a result. (Think about how many miles you have knit/crocheted!)

Injury can happen many different ways, Lets explore how:

1) A new technique:

Scenario: You just returned home from your latest stash enhancing trip to the yarn shop, with a new pattern in hand, freshly wound yarn (can you smell that wool…  heavenly?) and you sat down for a marathon of stitching which you do regularly… but there is a difference instead of your usual choice of cables you decide to learn how to knit entrelac or crochet entrelac.You sat intently and are making progress but now when you go to pick it up there is pain.

Cause: The new technique has changed the way you grip your needles and now your body needs to accommodate

2) Weather

Scenario: The storm of the season has rolled into to town to stay for a while and the change in weather has caused your hands to ache and your arthritis to act up.

Cause: A circumstance out of your control but maybe a little pampering can get you back to stitching in no time.

3) A new yarn weight:

Season: The season just changed and it was time to put down your favorite chunky yarn and have discovered a gorgeous lace weight yarn. The change changes the way you hold your needles and yes its time for your body to accommodate.

Cause: The new technique has changed the way you grip your needles and now your body needs to accommodate

4) Changing your style:

Scenario: You just went to your favorite knit night at your fave local shop (mine is the Village Knitter on Thursday nights in Babylon) and Ms. Jane Knitter was touting the benefits of knitting her way (Continental, English, German, Portugese, Combination) and you rush home to learn this technique so you can join the cool stitchers next week and the result is … pain.

Cause: The new technique has changed the way you grip your needles and now your body needs to accommodate

4) Poor Mechanics

Scenario #1: You got together this morning with your favorite tennis player and you play a killer game. Seriously you had to be there, you get home to stitch and now your elbow hurts….

Scenario #2: It’s report time at work and you have been typing all day long and when you sit down to stitch… bam… pain…

Cause: Changes in our daily routine that are not normal to our body and we need to accommodate

Possible solutions:

1) Ice:

The perfect remedy for a new injury, 10 minutes on and an hour off, repeat a couple times a day

WARNING: Please do not ice for more than 10 minutes its not good for your skin and may cause frost bite

How it works: It helps to decrease blood flow to the area and clear the area of inflammatory producing exudates (i.e.yucky stuff that makes us feel cruddy)

2) Heat:

Perfect for the ache that won’t go away. If its been persistent or you have a history of arthritis this is the choice for you

Tip: Moist heat is better than dry heat as it penetrates deeper into the muscle tissue.

WARNING: Please follow manufactures instructions on the proper usage of the hot pack you purchase and also do not use for longer than 10 minutes to prevent burning.

I hope that helps those suffering with stitching relating injuries. I will be blogging throughout the next couple days other ways to keep your stitching hands healthy.

Would you like to know more… I am teaching at the national TKGA and CGOA conference on Sunday July 27th from 9 am-12 pm a class called Healthy Hands which an experience based class that will teach you how to keep your hands healthy!

Register until June 30th and save!!! http://www.theknitandcrochetshow.com

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Happy National Crochet Month- Spring Garden Crochetville Blog Tour 2014

Happy National Crochet Month! I am so excited to be apart of the Crochetville’s 2014 National Crochet Month Designer Blog Tour! What an amazing time when many crochet designers come to together to celebrate what we love to do. Crochet is a unique art that is not only gorgeous but portable and super fun. It can tap into creative parts of your brain you never knew existed. I started crocheting after developing a love for handmade items I kept seeing. So while my boyfriend (now husband) at the time was in the hospital recovering from a splenectomy, I grabbed my first H hook and skein of yarn coupled with a Leisure Arts “I Can Teach Myself How to Crochet in One Day” and started my journey.

My journey has been more fulfilling than I could have ever imagined. Crochet has helped me to not only be creative, but has helped me finish grad school as I crocheted in class to help stay focused on what the teacher was saying, start my first creative career selling finished items on Etsy and then developed into my current career as an independent designer with a successful shop on Ravelry (http://www.ravelry.com/designers/suzy-allen ).

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Many ask me how do I find and stay inspired, so join me in my journey as I share with you what inspires me:

Nature:

Nothing to me is more inspiring than the colors, textures and experiences that nature affords to us. I often take my color wheel in my backpack along with my sketching book and head to my local nature preserve to go for a walk. I am captivated by the colors that are in an early morning sunset, ocean vignette or high among the treetops. One summer my local beach became my inspiration, a trip to Montauk Point, left me with a nautical feeling I could not shake. So out of that trip came my Montauk Beach bag (http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/montauk-beach-bag ), Yale Cowl (http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/yale-cowl ) and the Sea Shore Shrug (http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/sea-shore-shrug )

Also, the lines, the natural lace, branches, flowers and water features add a multitude of depth to inspire the crocheter. Many a stitch patterns have been chosen or developed after a trip to the park. Color plus texture equals a great fabric making a great canvas for design. To see how I took this inspiration and made it into designs. I will be posting a collection in my Ravelry Shop today! Check it out!

Runway:

This trip for inspiration is as close as your computer as you google crochet fashion to see the latest runway fashions or taking a walk through your local mall.  Crochet has been an integral part of the fashion world since its inception. Crochet lace, creative placement of motifs and accessories are everywhere this season. A great place to see this is by taking a trip to your local Anthroplogie, J.Crew, and Free People. I often find inspiration for home décor by perusing the catalogs of Pottery Barn, Urban Outfitters and Williams and Sonoma. Luckily, I live close to New York City as well so the streets of the city also serve as my own personal runway show full of inspiration.

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Friends/LYS/Crochet Social Media:

Another great source of inspiration for me is getting involved in the supportive community that is the crochet world.  My LYS, (local yarn shop), my local guild chapter (http://www.tkga.com/members/?id=16714646) , Ravelry (www.ravelry.com ), Facebook and of course Crochetville (http://crochetville.com/ ). I’d encourage you if your looking for inspiration to find a local yarn shop that supports and encourages crocheting. I’m very lucky to have one at The Village Knitter (http://villageknitter.com/ ). I love watching my friends creating awesome projects with gorgeous yarn. Often times, when one of us does a project inspires others to do the same.

As the Vice President of my local chapter of TKGA and CGOA, the Eastern Long Island Knitters Guild (http://www.tkga.com/members/?id=16714646) we try to bring in programming that is inspiring and encouraging people to continue their journey in needlework. Not only do I participate in my chapter, I also visit other chapters to either volunteer, collaborate on a project or gain inspiration as well.

Social media can link crocheters from around the world, Ravelry, Facebook, Twitter and of Crochetville has helped me to link up with other like-minded people to help celebrate and share my love of Crochet. Here you can often find a way to get involved with crochet related charities such as Halos for Hope website link , Facebook page . To help out all crochet hat patterns in my shop are 50% off (Code: ch2)

Lastly, taking classes at my favorite Crochet related show is a great way to ignite your inspiration. I have taken many a great classes with the greats of Crochet such as Marly Bird, Lily Chin, Melissa Leapman, Robyn Chachula and more. I am proud to announce that this summer at the Knit and Crochet Show in Manchester, NH I will be teaching for the first time on a national level. I would love to have you join me for Color Theory and Healthy Hands. (http://www.knitandcrochetshow.com/ ) (http://www.knitandcrochetshow.com/pdf/2014-KCS-Classes-At-A-Glance.pdf )

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For more great inspiration: check out National Crochet Month blog tour http://crochetville.com/blog/ . Also be on the look out for an ebook by all the designers on the blog tour with a great Spring Garden theme. Thank you to all the great people at Crochetville and CGOA. Thank you for being awesome !

Please enjoy 50% off all crochet patterns in my shop with coupon code: ch2

A sneak peak of my Spring Garden contribution to the ebook is included in the photograph below.

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