Archive for December, 2010
Yes, that’s true – I used to crochet all the time. In fact, it was something I learned right after college and I crocheted all the time, pretty much right up until I had my kids. I taught friends how to crochet even, and they taught others as well.
I crochet in kind of an odd way. I tend to be left-handed in many areas, but when I took a crochet class, the teacher couldn’t figure out how to teach me lefty, so she suggested I learn right-handed. But I don’t hold the hook or move it in the ‘usual’ way. In fact, even though I hold the hook right-handed, I use my left hand to maneuver the yarn. It’s awkward – I never realized until I saw someone who crochets ‘normally’ just how slow my way is. But it works – or at least it used to.
Back then I crocheted a lot, mostly afghans. I made them for myself, for friends, for my mom, and I made one for my mother-in-law as a Christmas gift before my husband and I got married. When one of my closest friends got married, I crocheted a large table doily as a wedding gift and also made her a shawl to wear over her wedding dress since the wedding was in December. And my other close friend was pregnant at that same time with her first child – I made several baby afghans for her. For a while there, pretty much anyone who was having a baby got an afghan – and I made a couple when I was pregnant with my first baby too. One of those is still my daughter’s favorite ‘blankie’ that she insists on sleeping with every single night. I wish she’d picked something else to cling to though – this one is pretty much irreplaceable. It took me 6 months to crochet back before I had kids – since it’s all done in single crochet stitches. Nowadays it would be impossible for me to make something like that. Not just in terms of time either, unfortunately.
I first noticed the pain in my hand when I tried picking up a half-finished crochet project when my girls were small. So I put it down again, and didn’t try to crochet anything else for another few years. At that point, I won a beautiful baby blanket from a blog giveaway (right about the time I began blogging) – but it had a simple crocheted edging that was a ‘do it yourself’ kind of project. I finished the edging, but was in a lot of pain while doing so. It was about that time that I decided that maybe it was time to try something else instead – I remembered how much I liked working with yarn and creating things, but I thought perhaps knitting would be easier on my hand, so I re-taught myself how to knit, this time left-handed (I’d learned from my mom right-handed back when I was a kid, but it always felt awkward to me).
I haven’t tried crocheting since then, a little more than 3 years ago now. And knitting was pain-free at first – but over the past year I have noticed the same pain in my left hand now too. Mostly while purling – or on the socks I’m working on I really notice it when I’m trying to keep my stitches nice and tight to try to prevent laddering when switching between dpns. The pain is mostly in the fleshy part of my thumb – down near my wrist. It’s a cramping kind of feeling – not really like joint pain, but more like a tendon getting too tight or something. I asked my doctor about it earlier this year, but since it only was happening when I was knitting, she didn’t have any real ideas. But now, I’m starting to notice the pain when doing other things too – especially when trying to mix cookie dough the other day. My hands both cramped when the dough got stiff after adding the flower and I couldn’t grip the spoon well enough to stir it very well.
My mom tells me that arthritis in the hands runs in our family – but I am so hoping that’s not what this is. I’m also hoping that it won’t keep me from knitting – although I can’t knit for very long at a time because of the pain. That’s one reason why it takes me a little while to complete projects. I’ll go back to the doctor next year and see what I can find out. But no matter what, I’m planning to continue knitting – I’ve learned to enjoy it way too much. And maybe if I can find some answers, I can pick a crochet hook back up again too one of these days.
I seem to be on a mission lately – I’m having so much fun making socks that I really haven’t had any kind of motivation to try anything else. And there’s nothing wrong with that – because socks are not only fun and cute to look at, but useful when it’s 20 degrees outside. Right?
I finished my first kid-sized sock the other day and am very happy with how it turned out. With one smallish exception – the sock size was listed as for ages 4-8. I figured that it might fit my 8-year-old or my almost-5-year-old. Working on the sock, I thought it seemed a bit small, so I tried it on my youngest’s foot before I started the toe decreases. It kind of fit, but I added an extra 8 rows to the foot anyway, just in case. I’m glad I did – because even with those added rows, it still barely fits her. She can wear it – but the second her foot grows any (or if the sock shrinks when washed), it’ll be too small.
Guess I need to finish the second one soon then, so she can wear them at least a few times!
Here’s how the sock looks from both sides:
I love how the stripes turned out (loving the self-striping yarn!) and this was definitely better to work with than the stretchy stuff was. There’s still a little bit of laddering, but it’s noticeable mostly in the top ribbing without stretching the sock out. I knit this one on 4 dpns instead of 3, and I think that helped too. I definitely feel like I’ve got a good feel for how socks are structured now and by the time I finish the second of this pair, I think I’ll be ready to try something a little more challenging.
I keep looking at sock pattern books – there are so many different ways to make them! Toe-up, cuff-down, Magic Loop, 2 circular needles, dpns… I am somewhat overwhelmed when it comes to the different options and choices. I really want to see if I can figure out some of the ways on circular needles, but don’t know whether to try one long needle or two. I also would love to learn how to knit 2 socks at once so I can complete one whole project at a time.
A couple of months ago I did buy a book, called Knitting More Circles Around Socks: Two at a Time, Toe Up or Cuff Down (affiliate link) by Antje Gillingham. It’s a method using 2 circular needles and making 2 socks at once. I think I’ll try her basic sock pattern when I’m done with the second kid sock and see if I can figure it out.
Here’s how the first sock looks on my daughter’s foot:
I’ve started the second sock – just finished the ribbing and started the stockinette stitch part today. I’m hoping to get it done during Christmas break.