Monday, February 18, 2013

Knitter’s Elbow and Birthday Yarn

It’s become kind of iconic in our household: Mama sitting on the couch, knitting. Sometimes when I put my three year old to bed, she tells me that I need to go sit on the couch, in my regular spot, and KNIT.  It’s like she feels safe knowing that I will be there, with my needles clicking, if she needs anything. So, knitting is kind of important in our house.  Which is why this next part is so hard for me to talk about.  But I’ve decided to tell you the truth...

I have... *sigh*...  Knitter’s Elbow. Sometimes called (ok, always called) Golfer’s Elbow, which is basically tendonitis which causes pain on the inside of the elbow.  (Tennis Elbow hurts on the outside.) It’s really, really crummy, because it means no knitting for me. They might also call it Carrying a Baby Elbow because that’s another thing that makes it worse.  I’ve tested it.

This pain has been nagging me for awhile, and now it has become unbearable.  If you found this blog because you googled “Knitter’s Elbow,” here are a few things I’ve learned along the way.  (I’m not a doctor, but I play one on TV.  No, not really... I’m not a real doctor or even a fake doctor. My comments are experiential only - take it for what it’s worth.)

1. Tendonitis is sharp pain, found on one localized area.  If your forearms are generally fatigued, that’s great news!  It’s not tendonitis. I saw several recommendations on websites for ways to massage your tired arms.  Do it GENTLY.  I think I did it too hard and made it worse.  Don’t do that.

2. Tendonitis gets worse if you keep knitting.  Trust me, I know how hard it is, but you have to REST.  Once they feel better, ease back in.  Don’t try to knit that baby blanket all in one night if you’re recovering.  REST.

3. Use ice and ibuprofen as needed.  It makes it feel better and probably reduces inflammation.

4. Save your arms: Carry the baby in a carrier. Tell the kids you’d love to watch them color, but can’t grip a crayon until your arm heals.  And watch how you sleep.  If you’re sleeping with your arm bent, then quit it.  Keep your arms straight or just slightly bent when you sleep. How sad would it be to reduce your knitting ability while you’re SLEEPING?!

5. Finally, (and this seems like common sense, but I haven’t tested it, yet) wear a brace to relieve fatigue on those poor tendons.  I just ordered one and will keep you posted on how it works for me.

So, for now I keep walking by my stash and feeling the yarn... holding it up and looking at it in the light and just generally admiring it.  And then I sit down and cry.  Which is a little ridiculous because not being able to knit isn’t like having a terminally ill child or something.  Some people have real problems.  But it’s still kind of a bummer.  

Anyway, on a lighter note, I have a birthday this month.  I’m turning 35.  “Halfway to 70!” as my husband likes to say. And I love that people give me yarn for my birthday...  Well, they give me money, which I spend on yarn (obviously) and gift certificates to yarn stores. Now I have a really ridiculous amount of yarn.  Enough for quite a few projects. This wonderful pile of goodness arrived in the mail yesterday.  How about that Madelinetosh Merino Light?  So beautiful... I would like to make about 100 Cream and Sugar Cowls.  Someday... I hope. 

Berroco Ultra Alpaca Light: Pea Soup Mix colorway

Madelinetosh Merino Light: Oak colorway

Madelinetosh Merino Light: Charcoal colorway

Sunday, February 3, 2013

The Collision of Hat Addiction and Sweater Anxiety

For some reason, the finishing of the Crooked Paths hat brought on some project anxiety.  Do you know that anxiety you get when you don’t know what to make next?  If you are a member of, like I am, you’ll understand that it wasn’t from a lack of ideas.  Rather, I have so many things I want to make that I’m overwhelmed with choices.  Do I make the quick little hat that’ll be done in a few days, or the big sweater that I’ve been dying to make forever?  To complicate this, the sweater is mostly simple stockinette, while the hat involves a cable chart that takes all my mental energy to follow.  (And after a day of homeschooling and caring for my three kids, there’s not much of that left.)

Before I go on, I’ll share my pictures of the hat I just finished out of some of the yummiest yarn I have come across.  This hat is for me, so it’s a little big on my daughter, but she just looks so darn cute in it.

There was some unexpected striping that occurred.  I’m not sure what to say about that...  What do you think?

As you may know if you read my previous posts, the only adult sized sweater I’ve made is the Top Down Shoulder Warmer, which was pretty simple.   I have been planning to make the Antler Cardigan ever since I saw this awesome pattern on ravelry.  Not only does this pattern come in every size from newborn to adult XXXXL, but it’s super cute on both the little boy wearing it in the picture and his mother.  I like the neckline that’s a little tighter than, say, the Tea Leaves cardigan, which was in the running for my first grown-up sweater.  And finally, I like that it has buttons all the way down the button band rather than just at the top.  (I know...  I could probably add buttons to any pattern I want, but I wanted to be sure they wouldn’t look awkward or something. Can you imagine knitting a whole huge sweater and finding out that your extra added buttons make it look terrible?)

So, here’s the train of events that led to my starting the Antler Cardigan and also casting on for a hat I never even planned to make.  (The one with the complicated cable chart I mentioned above.) I was a little daunted to start a sweater, and I found as I got started that I didn’t have the right size DPNs.  I thought, “No problem!  I know the Magic Loop technique, because that’s just how awesome I am.”  Then, as I got started, I remembered that I hate the Magic Loop technique.  Just too much sliding for me.  So, I set that down and proceeded to dive into my stash and come up with one skein of Quince and Co.’s Osprey in the split pea colorway.  (Is “colorway” just interchangeable with “color”?  I dunno... but it makes me feel fabulous, so I’ll just say “colorway.”) After an hour or so of clicking through ravelry, I had Brooklyn Tweed’s Rosebud hat pattern in my hand and off I went.

Here's the beginning of the sweater...

Madelinetosh Vintage in Baltic, and the beginning of a sleeve.  How many times do you think I've tried on this three inch sleeve?  About a hundred...

And here's the start of the hat...
This pic is a little awkward, but you can see the cable beginning to form in the Rosebud hat.  I sure hope this hat takes only one skein of Osprey, because I only have one skein!

Osprey Split Pea
So, I proceed two fisted in my knitting.  Which will pull ahead?  Which will be “cast” aside?  Only time will tell...