Crafting Christmas Gifts? Beware The Injuries!

Repetitive stress injuries are fairly common among knitters and crocheters.  Personally, I hurt my elbow last year from knitting a lot with bad technique (which I have since corrected).  Unfortunately, the tennis elbow came back this year when I started spending hours a day crocheting a blanket (this one).  I’m pretty sure it was tennis elbow, but I was never officially diagnosed.  Probably because I don’t go to the doctor unless I’m dying or need a new contact lens prescription.  Actually, that isn’t a good way to maintain my health.  I drink a lot of green tea, though!  That helps, right?  Right?

Anyway!  Tennis elbow isn’t the only problem affecting crafters.  Carpal Tunnel Syndrome can occur from repetitive wrist movements, “especially if the wrist is bent down.”  For those who spend December frantically knitting and crocheting Christmas presents like I do,* Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and other repetitive stress disorders are a very real concern.

knitting, knit, purse, mattress stitch, stripes

Knitting this purse was what kickstarted my struggle with tennis elbow. Well, technically, the problem occurred when I knit it with bad technique. Who knew that bad technique could cause such severe pain? At least my mom loves the purse.

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My Literal Yarn Stash Is Figuratively Staging A Coup

When we moved into our new house, my yarn stash literally filled up the trunk of my car.  Yes, literallyNot figuratively.  Look!

wildblueyoshi, yarn, stash, trunk, car, acrylic, wool, cotton, too much yarn, you can never have too much yarn

I don’t think that even includes my Lion Brand knitting bag. It holds a couple of my works in progress. I think another shopping bag, which contains my in-progress Woodland Circle Afghan, was also missing from the trunk.

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Boring Update Post

I figure I should fill you in on what I did during my accidental hiatus.  I can’t think of anything better to write about at the moment, so why not?

cat, kitty, tortoiseshell, tortie, feline, speck, wildblueyoshi

“Why not?  Cuz I’m cute, that’s why.  You should pet me and feed me instead.” Thanks for the encouragement, Speck!

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Jo Hamilton’s Crochet Art Makes Me Jealous And Awestruck

I didn’t mean to go a week without posting anything.  I have things to say (mostly about Bulletstorm), but I’ve been doing research (by playing Bulletstorm) for the posts I’m planning to write instead of actually writing those posts.  My bad!

If, for some ungodly reason, you are dying to read something insightful from me right this very moment… Sorry.  Please accept my apology in the form of THIS LINK! to Jo Hamilton’s amazing crochet art.

Did you click the link?  I hope so, because that stuff is the bomb.  My favorite is Clockface.  Here’s the thumbnail image of it:

clockface, jo hamilton, art, crochet, crafting, yarn

Click photo for link to full image on Jo Hamilton’s website. It’s mind boggling.

I wish I could crochet like that.  Hell, I wish I could crochet at all right now!  Actually, I can crochet for very short periods of time, but after a while my elbow starts to hurt.  I think I need to wear one of those fancy braces for tennis elbow.  Sigh.

Looking at this crochet art makes me feel both jealous and awestruck at the same time.

I wonder if she makes a pattern or chart for her works before starting them, or if she just freehands it.  Either way… Wow.

I love how she gets so much detail into the pieces.  She uses color to show wrinkles and hair and shadows in such a neat way.  It looks very similar to her paintings, especially the faces, but the texture of the crocheted fabric adds a unique dimension that fascinates me.  She probably has to dye at least some of the yarn herself to get so many different shades, because you certainly can’t get all that at Wal-Mart.  Speaking of the yarn, what material do you think she’s using?  It looks like cotton to me, but I can’t tell without touching it.

I am so jealous, yet so amazed by what this woman has created with the simple craft of crochet.

What do you think?  Are you as impressed as I am?  If you aren’t, what’s wrong with you!?



Above: (hopefully relevant) ad to help Katy Bug feed her outrageous yarn habit. (Also to eat.)

The Crochet Bind Off: Love It!

One of my favorite things to knit is a headband.  They’re quick little projects that fit in my purse for easy transport.  I can work on them anywhere.  And, since I work them on circular needles, they don’t require much arm movement.  That sounds weird, but it’s an important consideration for my tennis elbow.

headband, knit, knitting, katy bug, wildblueyoshi

Here’s one of my favorite headbands. When I took the picture, I imagined myself looking really awesome and cool. Unfortunately, it just highlighted how frizzy my hair was that day.

I’ve always had an issue with making the bind off row way too tight on the headbands, though.  My head is really skinny (horse face FTW, apparently), so my tight bind off hardly matters when I make headbands for myself.  But for someone else?  No one wants to give her head a muffin top.

Thank goodness I learned about the crochet bind off.  You basically bind off the same way you would with knitting needles, but you use a crochet hook to do the work.  Instead of using the tip of the left needle to leapfrog one stitch over the next, you use the crochet hook to pull one stitch through another.  Since you’re not stretching stitches out by leapfrogging them with knitting needles, the bind off comes out looser.  It also looks nice and neat.

I you have a problem with a tight bind off, try this method out.  If you don’t know how to wield a crochet hook, don’t worry.  You’ll get the hang of it before too long.  For clarification, here’s an instructional video I found on youtube.  Check it out!

The crochet bind off is my new favorite bind off.  You should totally try it if you haven’t!  If you’ve already used it, what did you think of it?

I Made Yarn in the Dryer with Cat Fur By Accident

Hubbles’ grandmother gave us a beautiful woven blanket for Christmas.  It’s black and white cotton and has music symbols all over it.  After our cats, especially the super fuzzy Ibsen, spent way too much time laying on this gorgeous blanket, I laundered it to wash out their fur.  After going through the wash and after Hubbles picked off the felted wads of cat fur still clinging to it, it’s squeaky clean.  Check it out:

blanket, afghan, cotton, weave, woven, black, white, music

Hubbles’ family likes to get me fancy music related stuff since I’m a pianist. I’m lucky to have such wonderful in-laws!

However, an interesting side effect of washing and drying cotton blankets that are covered with cat fur is YARN!

yarn, cat fur, spinning, cotton

YARRRRN.

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World Wide Knit in Public Day Was June 8, But…

World Wide Knit in Public Day was Saturday, June 8.  And I missed it.  Technically it lasts until June 16, but I’m sad that I missed the big kickoff.

I have reasons, not the least of which is my tennis elbow.  Speaking of my elbow, I had the audacity to spend an hour crocheting over a week ago and my elbow has been extra hurty ever since.  Thus, I have avoided crafting, which TOTALLY sucks!  What am I supposed to do when Hubbles and I watch stuff on Netflix if I can’t knit? … Cuddle?

It’s June in Mississippi.  Please heal my elbow so that I can knit instead of cuddling with my husband.

My other reason is that we were busy last Saturday and I just plain forgot.  I did zero crafting, but cool yarnbombings occurred anyway.  Apparently June 8 is also Yarnbombing Day.  Or something.  Whatever you call it, it’s awesome.

Buzzfeed gathered some cool photos in this article:  24 Incredible Yarnbombs From Around The World.  If you’re too lazy to click that link, here are my two favorites below.  I shrunk them down, though, so you’ll have to look at the Buzzfeed article to view the larger images.  You really should check it out.

yarnbombing, buzzfeed, bicycle, bike, sculpture, fiber graffiti, guerilla knitting, yarnstorming, world wide knit in public day, lock and key

I want to make a necklace like that. I’d wear it everywhere.  My number one goal in life is to delight in being tacky.

yarnbombing, buzzfeed, adventure time, lady rainicorn, bike rack, fiber graffiti, guerilla knitting, yarnstorming, world wide knit in public day, lock and key

I want to make this when my elbow improves. Someone find me a pattern. NOW.