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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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Adventures in Fiber: 365 days immersed in my passion

Many creative disciplines invite their artisans to spend a year immersed in their passion. Photographers have invited people to take a photograph every day for 365 days and see what beauty they can find. Artists ask those who love art to draw or paint something everyday and watch their skill develop. As a passionate yarnie, I invite you to spend a year in fiber. Many days will be exciting and fun when you wish it won’t end, others day will be frustrating filled with frogging and choice words and yet some will be mundane and boring. What will you discover? The possibilities are endless….

I encourage you to keep a journal in whatever format you choose , here’s my entry for the day!

Day 1:
Activity(-ies):
Pattern writing, email reading, fun knitting and creative inspiration walk
Location:
My house , friends house, mall, parents house, car
Mood:
Jovial at times and exhausted at others
Thoughts:
Today was quite a jam packed day in my first yarn adventure of the year. It started actually at 12:01 am on my way home from a great New Years Eve celebration with family. An email had arrived in my inbox stating that a local yarn shop was closing its doors. Sadly, due to the recent economic hardships and Hurricane Sandy she could no longer keep her doors open. Earlier this week, Trisha Malcolm , editor of Vogue Knitting had posted an article on her Facebook page on how a small local baby shop located in Brooklyn had to close its doors for similar reasons. Friends need I urge you this year while on your many fiber adventures, SHOP LOCAL and SHOP OFTEN. (Sorry for the shouting) There are so many great shops across America it’s up to you to help keep them often. When you travel find them, when someone talks about one listen, many of our favorite online retailers are attached to brick and mortar shops like Jimmy Beans wool, Kaliedoscope Yarns and Metaphor Yarns choose those that support their local economy. You’ll be thankful you did.

As your can all see I am a very passionate yarnie, on a lighter note, I was able to enjoy some leisurely knitting at my friend Annie’s house this morning while we had brunch and watched our children play. What a great time to enjoy some easy breezy knitting. ( I was knitting with Cascade’s Lana Grande, a fun quick knit). I stopped to read a book to the girls and then returned to my leisurely knitting.

When we returned home, my sweet little one settled down for a great nap so hubby edited photos and I started sorting out the see of patterns to be written. Hopefully you will all enjoy the many patterns to come out of the fruits of my labor.

Won’t you share your adventure in fiber with me ? I’d love to hear it!

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Christmas Countdown Continues-Happy Thursday ! Two patterns

I was in such a great Christmas mood that today I chose two patterns, the Putney cowl using Green Mountains Spinnery’s mountain mohair and Tangerine Crush using Brown Sheep’s cotton fleece.
Here are the links remember no coupon code is necessary:
http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/putney-cowl
http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/tangerine-crush-cowl

Merry Stitching!

Suzy’s Christmas Countdown day 2

Day two of our Christmas Countdown is here and what a special treat we have for you!!! One of our most popular patterns using Cascade’s Casablanca, the Autumn Sunset Shawl is just a dollar on ravelry. No coupon code necessary the price adjusts automatically at check out. Merry Christmas and Happy stitching to you!

http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/autumn-sunset-shawl

(Reli)ef Bear

Since the end of Superstorm Sandy,we at Chain Two have been diligently trying to see how we as the stitching community can use our passion for good!

Many have donated the proceeds from their pattern sales, others took to the needles to stitch as fast as they could.

We were lucky enough to help coordinate a stitch in at the gorgeous Lion Brand Yarn Studio in NYC. At the end of the event we had 47 hats, 40 scarves, three shawls, 6 pairs of mittens and 4 blankies!!!! Amazing job everyone. World vision was to pick them up today!!!

So our next step is to make sure that everyone knows that the relief effort is very much still happening and help is still needed!

We have partnered with a hand dyed indie yarn company called the Fiberists ( http://www.thefiberists.com) and designed a knitted bear for children effected by Super storm sandy! Many families are now displaced from their homes while the relief efforts continue. We are using the money raised from the pattern to go to World Vision and if you’d like to make a bear and send it our way we are looking to give them to children effected by Hurricane Sandy!

So what can you do;
1) Buy the pattern at: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/relief-bear
2) Make bears and send them out way, email us for the location to send them
3) Volunteer to be a drop off point for bears made in your area
4) Invite us to your guild and we will bring Reli bear patterns so we can get bears to kids!

Regards
Suzy

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I swatched, now what?

The dreaded words every crocheter hates…gauge and swatch! Yup 5 letter words that make us cringe! Let’s put down our fear and learn to love them…
So really why must I do this?
+ Uniformity of your stitches-
When I start a project, I often notice that the starting couple of rows are tighter than once I get going. If you swatch out your project, yes I do mean all 4 inches or more, you can establish the uniformity in height of your project.
+ Sizing
If you achieve gauge in your gauge swatch it helps you to better predict that you will achieve the specifications of the garment that your designer has so lovingly chosen.
+ Helps to get used to the stitch pattern
I like to swatch to know what I am getting into. Sometimes I love a complex stitch pattern, other times I do not. If I swatch properly I can assess what I am getting into.

Help…my swatch has too many or too few stitches…
1) Don’t panic it happens to all of us
2) Let’s assess the situation
– If you have too many stitches per inch–> Switch to a larger hook
– If you have too few stitches per inch –> switch to a smaller hook
3) Check your pattern to see how important the gauge is…
– Some patterns it is not as crucial, for example if your gauge is close to the pattern it is called for in an item like a scarf, bag or baby blanket its not a huge deal just realize you may need more or less yarn then the pattern calls for
– Gauge is ALWAYS important in a garment. (Can’t blame the pattern writer if your gauge is off)

So now I have all these gauge swatches what do I do with them?
In Lily Chin’s Crochet Tips and Tricks book, she suggests to
1) Start a crochet scrapbook and log what yarn with what hook and what project
2) Give the swatch as the gift if the bigger item isn’t finished yet (Brilliant Lily… now why didn’t I think of that
3) Make something new out of your swatches like a baby blanket, clutch or bag
(My two cents: I really like the idea of making coffee cup cozies and coasters- the summer brings ice coffee and I hate when it drips on my desk)
Some of my ideas
4) Make them into little doll blankets and or security blankies- My daughter can literally take my yarn swatches and play with them for hours
5) Bring them to your local stitching group so you can brag I mean share about all the cool techniques you are using
6) Frame them and decorate your craft space or studio with them
7) Use them to make a charity project-
Just remember when using them for a charity project please make the color choices cohesive crocheting for charity does not have to be ugly.
8) Make a patchwork scarf and then pin it on pinterest ! lol

What do you do with your swatches?

Respond and you will be entered to win the summer issue of Chain Two
http://www.chaintwo.com

Check us out on Ravelry
http://www.ravelry.com/designers/suzy-allen

Check us out on Facebook
http://www.facebook.com/ChainTwoZine

Check out our Etsy shop:
https://www.etsy.com/your/shops/ChainTwoEZine/

Awesome Swatches on display at Purl Soho