Sunday, November 18, 2012

Stories in Stitches

To the casual observer, knitting is just knitting. It's a shawl, a scarf, a  pair of socks, whatever. They keep you warm.

To the knitter, there's quite likely a lot of stories embedded in the final product. Maybe in the colour of the yarn, or the choice of the pattern. There are stitch patterns with universal meanings and stitch patterns with personal meanings. Maybe the knitter took the yarn to a festival or a coffee date, and knit those happy memories into the project.

I'd like to tell the story associated with one of my recent project.

It starts with Doctor Who.

But not all of them, just one.

Isn't he delicious? But not him.

More delicious! But not him, either. We're talking season six mythology.

Specifically, the mythology of Melody Pond.

Whose name was embroidered onto a prayer leaf for Amy Pond.

And the inspiration for a gorgeous skein of yarn.

And there's the mysterious phrase, "The only water in the forest is the river."

I decided to bring them together in a pair of socks.

It took a lot of paging through stitch dictionaries, and several attempts to get it right. The above picture shows one iteration, with leaves on the left, separated from the pine trees on the right by the river in between.

And here are the results. Socks that are supposed to say "The only water in the forest is the river."

I wanted to enter them into the State Fair, but I was concerned they wouldn't display well.

Confession: I haven't worn them at all, except to take pictures. I love them so much, I can't bear to have them eventually wear holes.

Maybe I should have chosen a different medium than socks to tell the story.

Disclaimer: all Doctor Who images are property of the BBC. They own Doctor Who. The rest of us just admire it.

A Finished Object--beads and handspun

Last spring, I blogged about beads. I had a lovely skein of single-ply handspun and a tube of beads, and I put them all together to make a shawl.

At the end of every row, I placed a bead. At first I used a crochet hook, but the handspun has delicious variation in the strands, and the hook didn't always work well. I soon switched to using a small piece of wire to place the bead on the stitch.

This shawl used over 600 beads. This was the project that might have broken my bead habit. I haven't beaded a thing since.

The finished product is sensational. I love this shawl. It gets a lot of wear!

Hello blog!

Hey, look, I have a blog!

The way I access the internet has changed dramatically this year. Getting access to my own computer is difficult, and I don't really blog through any other medium. So, less blogging! Maybe that's the way of my future, but I'll just have to see.

This is a knitting blog, of course, and of course there's been knitting.  However, the methods, amounts, and output have all changed.  I've been experiencing a lot of RSI--Repetitive Stress Injury--pain, and this has changed a lot. Overall, I'm knitting less, but I'm also still doing a lot of work to make sure I can continue this beloved pursuit.  Strategies to keep knitting despite RSI include:

  • Significant breaks. If my hand and wrist hurt that much, I need a few days without knitting. While I might really want to knit, if my hand is in no shape to knit, I've gotta deal with it and not knit.
  • Reduced knitting time. No more can I spend all evening or all weekend knitting. There will be no sock wars in this condition. I can only do a maximum of an hour of my usual style of knitting per day.
  • Exercises. These have made the biggest difference. A smattering of these helps, too.
  • Night wrist brace. Oh wow, do I love this thing! It keeps my hand in the proper position, it's all padded and comfy, it provides warmth and compression, and my hand always feels remarkably healed in the mornings. I'd wear it always if I could, but I can't do anything with my hand while wearing it.
  • Loosen up. I seem to grip the needles very tightly while knitting socks. For a while, I thought I was done knitting socks forever! I made a conscious decision to not grip so tightly, and socks no longer cause me crippling pain.
  • Lever knitting. I am adding a new tool to the knitting tool box. Lever knitting won't replace the kind of knitting I presently do, but rather add another method I can use when I've finished my daily allotment of my usual style. It allows me more knitting time in the day. This will be the subject of a different blog post.
But! Despite the difficulties, there is still knitting, and of course, there's always yarn. So many pretties!  Here's a few samples, to pretty up this wordy post:

This is all Tri'coterie yarn. It's hand dyed in France! Tri'coterie. Top to bottom, we have Jack Harkness, Claire and Henry, and Canth . When she did her Time Travel month, it became apparent that I consume a lot of time travel fiction. And love it all.

Also from Tri'coterie, these are Cinna and Gale.