Category Archives: pain

Wintertime ‘flowers’

So I’ve been working along on the new hat for my oldest daughter (I’ll post an update on that soon) and that brought something to mind that I’d thought of a while back and then never acted on. I like the hats that I’ve made – but they’re fairly basic and simple. I’ve been going for warmth here, not style. But I’ve seen a lot of girls’ hats that have cute embellishments and such on them, so I’d been wanting for a while to find a pattern to be able to make flowers to put on the girls hats.

I went on Ravelry a few days ago and decided that I would look around on there – with so many free patterns available, I knew there was bound to be something I could use. What I discovered – is that flowers are apparently something that are much easier to crochet than knit, at least judging by the number and types of patterns I was seeing. So I figured that maybe it was about time to bring the crochet hooks back out and give crocheting another try. Flowers are small, so I thought maybe I could manage one or two without the pain I’d had before.

I think I’ve realized something… When I crocheted before, I never knew how to correctly hold the yarn to get tension. One of the convoluted things I used to do was to stop after each stitch and tighten the yarn – I would actually pretty much drop it in  between stitches. I never had the yarn running through my fingers until I started knitting. But now, when I crochet – I simply hold the yarn the same way I do when I knit, in my left hand, which works perfectly for crocheting right-handed.

I can’t believe how much easier it is to crochet this way! I still don’t hold the hook the way I’ve seen other people hold it, but my method is a lot more streamlined now – and so far I haven’t had any hand pain at all. I’ve only made two small flowers, mind you – but that’s still amazing to me.

So yes, I’m strange. I crochet right-handed, knit left-handed – and well, am pretty much ambidextrous in most other things, including writing. ;)

I started off with a flower to embellish my youngest daughter’s hat, which is in a variegated yarn in shades of pink, purple and white. I chose a couple of pink yarns that I had left over from making bunnies last spring and made a simple flower. I liked the look of the flower in general, but thought it needed something just a little – more – on the hat, so I went digging through my jewelry box and found an off-white button to put in the middle. I used the tail end of the yarn from beginning the flower to connect the button and flower to the hat – and I think it turned out really cute!

It may also look familiar – I used the photo below as a main ingredient in re-designing this site tonight… And the flower is featured prominently as well. I love how the site looks – and hope you do too! :)

FlowerOnBeccasHat 001

Here it is on my daughter:

FlowerOnBeccasHat 004

Tonight I made a second flower -this time I found a cool antique-ish looking gold button to put in the middle. And you can’t tell in the photos, but the white yarn is some of what I had left over from making the girls’ shrugs last year – it has a strand of glittery stuff going through it too.

This flower is for another hat that I made a while back for my 8-year-old. She hasn’t been wearing it lately – instead my oldest daughter has been wearing this hat while I get her new one made. But I have the feeling that my 8-year-old will reclaim the hat once she sees the cute flower I added to it tonight, lol!

FlowerForHannahsHat 004FlowerForHannahsHat 003

It’s a very simple pattern – called Flower Magnets. I can see a lot of other uses for these too – I’m already scheming on ways I can attach them to ponytail holders or hair clips. :)

Why I don’t crochet anymore…

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.  :)