Wednesday, March 27, 2013

WIPW: An edge, a yoke and some swatches

Before diving in the heart of the matter, a big thank you to all of you who have left comments throughout my Try-it-out sweater adventure.  Yes, I will knit another sweater trying to correct all the problems I found with the first one, but not straight away.  I, maybe not surprisingly, needed a break from experimentation and wanted to knit something "real". without asking myself too many questions.

The Swatches
There was, however, something I needed to check first.  Perhaps the most enlightening lesson of the tr-it-out sweater was to realize that my gauge was not consistent throughout the garment.  The body gauge was much looser than the swatch.  The sleeve gauge was much tighter.  So, to figure out what was going on there, I made.... another experiment.  I knitted 6 swatches:  in the round on a small circular, in the round on dpns, in the round with the magic loop, flat with the Half-Loop method, flat with the Whole-Loop method and flat back in forth,  If you didn't think I was a nut bag after the try-it-out sweater, now, you're probably convinced.

I swatched keeping my gauge constantly in mind.  Even so, there were differences.  When I knit using the Magic Loop, my gauge is definitely tighter, both on the stitch gauge and the row gauge.  The swatch made flat, knitted on the right side and purled on the other side is tighter than the others, but on the stitch gauge only.  From this, I take that I do have to swatch using the Half-Loop of the Whole-Loop method when I am going to knit in the round.  And I also take that I should get properly equipped with dpns, because not only do I prefer them to the Magic Loop, but my gauge stays the same when I use them.

The Edge
I took one more step towards finishing the little cardigan for Gabrielle.  I knitted a rolled stockinette edge all around the cardigan and I am very pleased with the result.  Now I really need to make it to my craft store to buy the right zipper because it's the only thing that stands between me and a FO.

(That cartoon on television was so interesting that I couldn't get a smile or even a look...)

A Yoke
My Icelandic lopi is the last yarn that made it into my stash and it will be the first one to leave.  My fingers have been itching to get started on the Craftsy Top-Down Icelandic Sweater, mainly because I want to have a go at a steek.  The cardigan is intended to the godmother of my daughters - my best friend - to whom I promised a knitted something a long time ago.  I am almost done with the colorwork, which was incredibly fun and easy to do.  The yarn is very grippy, which I expected, but also very light, which somehow surprised me.

A Photo or Two

In the recent years, I've learned a lot about knitting but also about photography.  It all started after feeling ripped off by a photographer to whom we went to for pictures of my oldest daughter Gabrielle when she was 6 months old.  I felt very angry and it prompted me to buy a good camera and take some lessons so it would never happen again.

Of course, my daughters are my main subjects.  Here's my most recent picture of Sarah, 4 months old.  I am very proud of my little girl, but also very proud of this picture!  So proud, in fact, that I couldn't resist blogging about it.

If I post a picture of Sarah, I have to post one of Gabrielle too, no?

To see more great knits and other projects in progress, follow the links to Tami's WIPW, Ginny's Yarn Along and Nicole's KCCO.

Friday, March 22, 2013

FO: The Giant Swatch

Today, I am linking with Tami's Amis and Fiber Arts Friday.

The Try-It-Out Sweater, a. k. a. the giant swatch, is completed.  The idea behind this sweater was to use inexpensive yarn to knit a sweater and in the process of doing so, try many techniques that were new to me.  Techniques I would probably not have dared to try on a piece of "real knitting" with yarn I like.  A good thing, because I would have had to unravel it all: a few things did not worked as planned.

Actually, the problem is mostly a problem of fit.  The body of the sweater is really baggy, the sleeves are a little too tight, the waist is lower than it is supposed to be and the armhole depth way too large.  However, the new knitting techniques that I tried worked very well for me.

This is going to be a long post.  In fact, I write it mostly for me because to make the most out of this experiment, I have to write a proper "lab report".  I am going to put a big title to each section, so skip ahead if some stuff is of no interest to you.

The Gauge
I did my gauge swatch using the Whole-Loop Method as explained by the TECHknitter.  It was a new way of doing a gauge swatch, so maybe I was a little nervous.  The gauge I obtained was 21 stitches and 28 rows  for 4 inches.
When I measured the gauge on the sweater, I had 19 stitches and 28 rows on the body, 21,5 stitches and 27 rows on the left sleeve (which was knitted with the magic loop method) and 21 stitches and 28 rows on the right sleeve (which was knitted using dpns).  The row gauge is pretty consistent, but my stitch gauge varies.
Lesson learned:  I need to be mindful of my gauge.  I realized this as I was knitting.  When I am cruising through on a large circular piece of knitting, my stitches because really loose.
Follow-up experiment: swatch a large circular piece, a smaller one using dpns, another small one using the magic loop, a flat piece with the Half-Loop Method, a flat piece with the Whole-Loop Method and, while at it, another flat piece back and forth.  Check for differences in gauge.  Get to know my knitting....

The Measurements
I took my own measurements.  That's probably the first mistake and the reason why the sweater waist is not at the right place (since row gauge was not much of an issue).  I also realize that I took my upper arm measurement with my arm in the air.  Maybe the circumference is larger when my arm rest against my body.  I need to check.
I also need to re-take the measurement for horizontal bust darts (see below).

The Design
The overall top-down raglan approach described by Barbara Walker is great.  It is completely seamless and you can try it on while knitting, which can greatly help (see the Bust Story).  I just need to adjust a few things:

I like the little cables at the raglan seams and going down the body.  However, the stripes are not a good idea with this stitch pattern.  On each side of the mini-cable, there are two purl stitches that are showing spots of color at each stripe beginning and end (see picture).  Not nice - to avoid in the future.

The sweater I had in mind had no ease.  Most of the sweaters I own have no ease.  Despite this, in my calculations, I have put an inch of ease on top of the bust, waist, high-hip, armhole depth and upper arm measurements.   Beside the upper arm which came out too small for other reasons, all the other parts of the sweater felt too large.

I wanted a boat neck, but I ended up with some sort of collar because I didn't want to increase in the ribbing  at the top of the sweater.  Clearly a mistake.  When I realized this, I decided to compensate by adding more rows to the yoke, which has probably contributed to the armhole depth and waist to be out of place.
The Bust Darts
Getting a good "fitted fit" for my shape requires some special maneuver (isn't it the same for everyone?), especially at the bust.  I've got a small waist and a large bust.  With the current breastfeeding, the difference between the two is even more pronounced.
Horizontal bust darts add length to the front of the sweater so that the hem/ribbing of the front and back fall at the same place.  When I took my measurements to make the bust darts calculations, I had the measuring tape follow all my curves rather than simply holding it at the top and bottom.  As a result, I added way too much fabric to the front of my sweater.
Moreover, I should try to include vertical bust darts as well, as the horizontal ones do not help with the waist/bust circumference difference.  The vertical bust darts would allow me to add more stitches to my rounds in the bust area, rather than have "an average shaping" done throughout the mid part of the sweater.

The Ribbing
Once I completed the ribbing at the bottom of the body, I understood that something was wrong.  It was completed flared, rather than bringing the fabric in a little.  I forgot to change for needles of a smaller size.  Not only was the ribbing completely loose, but the rolled stockinette edges were also enormous.
I knitted the right sleeve cuff in exactly the same way.  For the left sleeve cuff, I went down two needle sizes.  In addition, I used a slipping technique described by the TECHknitter which helps fixing the loose knit column I sometimes had in my ribbing.  I also have to mention that I knitted this cuff with the magic loop (which, it seems, makes me knit tighter) as I didn't have dpns the right size. 
The result: although the right-sleeve cuff looks flared, it feels comfortable.  The left-sleeve cuff is waaaayyy too tight.  And it was highly unpleasant to knit!  I think going down two needle sizes was enough to make things right.
I also tried a technique to improve the transition zone between the stockinette and the ribbing, but since the yarn is really dark, it is hard to see if it makes a big difference.  I guess I'll have to try this one again on lighter yarn to see whether it makes a big difference or not.

The Cables
I do like the little cables running along the raglan seams and down the body and sleeves.  However, I noticed that sometimes, the transition from knit to purl was a little sloppy.  I used the slipping technique on one of the sleeve.  See the difference?  Nice and tight on the sleeve at the top of the picture, a little sloppy on the body below.

Picking Up Stitches at the Underarm
Barbara Walker suggest to cast-on underarm stitches for the body, and then picking up these stitches when knitting the sleeves (rather than casting on more stitches and then sewing or grafting).  It works well, except that there is something wrong with my picked up stitches:  they seem twisted.  I'll need to pay close attention next time I do this.  Maybe even swatch it beforehand....

Phoney Seams
I have included phoney seams - as created by Elizabeth Zimmermann - on both the body and the sleeves.  Phoney seams are great, and so easy to make!  They make the garment fold properly, and add a very discreet tailoring effect to the sweater.
I didn't really need such seams on the body of the sweater because of the small cables running down the sides, but I had planned for them anyways because I really wanted to try them out.  I really like the end result!

Other Techniques
  • Slipping the first stitch when joining round and knitting it with the long strand of yarn that gets created on the second round works very well for me.  That one is adopted until something better comes my way!
  • I like the rolled stockinette edges, but they must be knitted on needle of a smaller size and made a little shorter, I think.
  • Knitting jogless stripes and weaving my ends "as I go" is great.  The problem is that I sometimes forget to slip the first stitch of a new color on the second round, so some stripes are jogless and others are not!

The Next Step
Wow!  You read it all the way here!!
Now, have you guessed what I am going to do next?  Yes.  I will knit another sweater, trying to do better.  I don't want to rip this one for two reasons.  Firstly, I don't think the yarn would survive it.  Second, I want to keep it to compare with the next one, which will be green, the color of hope!

If I haven't completely overwhelmed you, check out other finished objects at Tami's Amis and Fiber Arts Friday!!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

WIPW: The good and the bad

Remember my Try-It-Out sweater?  This top-down sweater knitted according to Barbara Walker instructions in cheap yarn and in which I am trying out many techniques that are new to me?  It has been my main project in the last two weeks and is almost completed.

The bad:  this project started as a learning exercise, then transformed itself into a real sweater I could wear and finally went back to a giant swatch after I tried it on last.  A few things went very wrong.  But that's ok:  it is made out of six skeins which cost me $1.29 each, so total (even including taxes and shipping), it is still a self-taught knitting class much cheaper than a Craftsy class!

The good:  while I was knitting the first sleeve, I found new techniques to try.  Most of these techniques come from  the TECHknitting blog.  When I started the sweater, I was reading this blog from the alphabetic index, and I was around letter "J" - for "jogless stripes".  I then moved down the index and started letter "R" - for "ribbing".  I am therefore trying to improve my knit column in the ribbing and my ribbing transition.

To complete this sweater, I still have to make one last phoney seam on the sleeve, finish the last sleeve cuff and make sure all my ends are properly weaved in.  The most important step, however, will be to do a thorough post-mortem for this exercise.  I want to identify all problem and try to fix them in....  the Try-It-Out Sweater #2 (yes!  I still have some of that cheap yarn!).

I still have Gabrielle's cardigan to finish.  I finally made my trip to my LYS to buy the zipper I needed....  but was such in a hurry (with my 4 month old and my 3 year old) that I bought a zipper open at one end only.  Zut!  Must go again....

Finally, I will need to fight myself to finish these projects before casting on this wonderful yarn received from Iceland this week!

I want to make the Top Down Icelandic Sweater and featured in the Craftsy class for the girls' godmother.  I promised her a sweater a long time ago.  I finally got her measurements down and chose this sweater for her.  I am sure she'll look fabulous in it!  I can't wait:  that will be my first steek!!

So tune in Friday for the Try-It-Out post-mortem!  In the meantime, check out other projects in progress through Tami's and Ginny's blogs!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Design Envy: Leaves Skirt by Jenise Reid

I love Ravelry!  Isn't fabulous to be able to discover so much about knitting (and crocheting) in one central place?  You can easily find new patterns, discover new yarns, learn new techniques and meet new people.  I just love browsing patterns, finding one I like, and move to the designer page to see what else that person came up with.

That's what happened to me this week.  I stumbled across the Twist Sweater by Jenise Reid.  I find that sweater really cool, yet simple (cool and simple - my favorites!) with that twist stitch going all over.

I didn't know Jenise, so I check out her designer page, and several things happen to me then.

First, design envy.  Right next to the Twist Sweater is the Leaves Skirt.  Wow.  Isn't it pretty?  I just love the look with the brown belt and shoes and the green jacket.  Organic and stylish!

The skirt seems simple enough to make.  The only measurement you need is you hip measurement (or wherever you want to "hang" your skirt) and the flaring is done through the leaves getting bigger and bigger.   You just need to get the hang of the lace pattern!

It is make with KnitPicks Cotlin, a nice mix of cotton and linen, perfect for the upcoming summer!

From what I've seen, Jenise doesn't have a webpage or a blog.  She, however, host Ravelry group called Feminine by Design where the testing of her new designs is discussed, among other things.

While browsing, I then discovered that Jenise is a fellow Canadian, from British Columbia.  Canada being pretty large (very very very large), bumping into someone from BC doesn't often happen to me.  But on Ravelry, it is possible!

I WILL visit BC on day, if only to see those big giant trees like this one!  What a pretty picture!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

WIPW: Try-It-Out Sweater Part 4

I am so happy of the progress I have made so far on my sweater!  The body is almost done, with something like half a sleeve.

Next week, I'll probably blog about it on Friday as I suspect it will be finished.  This Try-It-Out Sweater is basically a simple sweater knitted with inexpensive yarn as a mean to try various knitted techniques I read about or saw in my Craftsy classes.  I've listed a few last week.

Here they are again, with a few comments:

  • I am knitting top-down, in the round, as suggested by Barbara Walker in Knitting from the Top.  The great thing about  this knitting method is that you can try your sweater on as you go.  This came in very handy for me - see my bust story below.
  • I've slipped the first stitch when joining the initial round and performed a "knit repair" on that stitch at the beginning of the second round using the long strand of yarn that gets created when joining.  I have learned that from Amy Detjen in her Craftsy course Custom Yoke Sweater.  So easy to integrate in all  objects knitted in the round.  And effective too:  it really reduces the gap you usually get.
  • I've swatch in the round using the Whole-Loop Method.  It worked out great for me in the end, but it took me some time to get used to.  I often ended up with too much or too little yarn at the end of a row, forcing me to increase/decrease.  The result was a very uneven side to my swatch, but as it was fairly large (6 inches), I still had plenty of space to take my gauge measurement.
  • I've incorporated rolled stockinette edges.  It looks great on the collar!!  I'll do the same after the ribbing.
  • I've made jogless stripes and have woven in my ends "as I go".  I believe I'll need to re-read the TECHknitter's posts on this topic because sometimes my joins look good (that is, you cannot really see them), and other times, something is going wrong.  That is besides, obviously, the one or two times where I simply forget to slip the stitch like I was supposed to!!
  • I've incorporated bust darts.  Once you get the maths and the wrap-and-turn twist, bust darts are easy to incorporate.  I cannot wait to see what it will look like once my sweater will be blocked.  

The Bust Story

When I started my sweater, I was worried that I would not have enough beige yarn to finish it, so I decided to randomly throw in some brown stripes.  I did so when I was working the yoke.  I then split the stitches between sleeves and body and continued on the body.  A few rounds later came the time to add bust darts.  And so I did.  So far, so good.

Once the bust darts were done, I thought it would be a good time to throw in some more brown stripes.  I continued in this fashion for another 20 rounds approximately, and decided to try my sweater on.


I had basically framed my bust with brown stripes.  Adding the effect of the bust darts to this was truly scary.  A flashing sign saying "hey! look at my bust!" would have been more discreet.

There was only one way to go:  frogging.  As I was contemplating - with a fair bit of discouragement - the frogging of 20 or so rounds, I remember this Craftsy class, Lace Shawl Design, in which Miriam Felton demonstrates a way to frog lace.  She picked up stitches a few rows below where she was at with a smaller needle.  It was impressive: she was doing so in curvy lace, full of k2tog and yo.  It looked so difficult that I thought at that time that I couldn't do it.  However, with a Try-It-Out sweater mostly done of stockinette stitch, I thought I could give it a go.

I remembered that Miriam said to pick up the right loop of every stitch.  She also said at some point that if you couldn't figure out which one was the right loop, you should just pick any loop.  That's what I did.  I then frogged the 20 rounds and believe it or not, I was ready to go again.  All my stitches were on the smaller needle, all ready to be knitted again, except my tiny cable stitches which were mounted backwards.  I was amazed!

That sweater is probably not something I'll wear a lot, but it has been a fantastic learning experience so far.  You should try something like that to!

If you want to read more great work-in-progress stories, visit Tami's and Ginny's blogs!

Monday, March 11, 2013

On Mothering

Blogging about knitting has opened up a completely new community for me.  The Work-in-Progress Wednesday and Finished Object Friday "open houses" held by Tami and Ginny every week allowed me to discover other knitters around the globe and get to know them, a bit like bumping into a neighbor in the street.  Needless to say that this has been really good to the soul during the harshest months of winter where going outside with a newborn baby is not necessarily a good idea.

I have discovered another "open house", this time on mothering.  Lydia is holding a "linky" every Monday on the subject.  Monday is almost over, but I nevertheless feel like linking in.  I read Lydia's post in the morning, and it stayed with me all day.  She talks about JOY, that is, how you put Jesus first, others second and yourself last, and how a lot of mothers never make it to the Y and therefore feel completely overwhelmed.  I felt like that - really to pick up my purse and leave everything behind - a few weeks ago, so her words went straight to my heart.

It is hard to say that Jesus comes first to me.  It has been years since I went to church.  It has been years since I prayed, although the silent conversations I have with my mother, who died when I was two, might count like a prayers.  I have nevertheless been raised in the catholic faith, and that faith is still with me, alongside the teachings about love, charity and justice.  These values are still fundamental to me, so yes, in a way, Jesus is somewhat there first.

Others second, well, almost every minute of the day!  With a four month old baby, a three year old running around, and an aging surrogate mother, there is always someone who wants my attention!  I profoundly love the three of them, but they can make me pull my hair out at times!

And yourself last.  That's a difficult one at times!  We have a saying here (in Quebec) that says something similar.  We say Charité bien ordonnée commence par soi-même, or well-ordered charity starts by oneself.  You cannot give charity if you are yourself in need - you need a minimum for yourself before you can become useful for others.  It is with these thoughts in mind that, this afternoon, I told my eldest daughter. who wanted to play with me during the baby's siesta, that mommy needed some time on her own, to knit.  Usually, I would have put down the needles to play with her, feeling her sense of loneliness (especially since the baby came in the house, taking a lot of her mom's attention), but I understood that I needed that time in my bubble to be available to her during the rest of the day.  I felt horribly guilty saying so, but rather than throw a tantrum, she said "OK!" and went back to her toys.

Am I not the luckiest mother?

On a high note, spring is upon us.  Soon, I will not be as locked up in the house.  Here's what spring looked like in our back street two years ago:

This little girl is now much taller, but she will still run from one puddle to the other.  The other one will be in the stroller, probably frustrated of not being able to do the same!  I believe that walking with them outside, on the first day where you can open up your winter jacket will be a moment of pure JOY, the three letters at the same time.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Design Envy: Ivo the Seahorse

"You cannot have too many stuffed animals", says Stacey from FreshStitches.  Well, when I look at my daughters' room, I sometimes do feel we have plenty.  There are usually so many in Gab's bed that there is hardly any room left for her to sleep.

I think there are plenty, but when came Valentine's Day, what did I do?  I crocheted the girls (and hubby) amigurumis.  And it's Stacey's fault!  I took both her Craftsy classes:  Woodland Animals and Design Your Own Monster.  I crocheted the bear and the raccoon from the first class, and applied what I have learn from the second to create a duck for hubby.

What's great about these classes is that you don't have to be a very experienced crocheter to tackle Stacey's patterns.  You can create amazing stuffed animals if you can find your way around single crochet and backstitching.  I believe this is one of the two things that are behind FreshStitches' success:  giving everyone the possibility to pick up a crochet and some yarn and make a marvelous stuffed animal.

Look at the pattern page:  there will be something you'll like.  My favorite - with a pang of design envy - is Ivo the seahorse.

I love seahorses!!  They are truly amazing animals.  There is nothing like them under the sea.

Isn't Ivo amazing?  I believe you can create Ivo if you know how to single crochet, slip stitch and backstitch.

The other thing that I truly admire about FreshStitches is the attention to detail that Stacey gives to everything.  She created an environment that is beautiful, friendly and happy. The website is so nice to browse.  She must have spend a gizillion hours building it.  For every pattern, the material and skills required are clearly indicated alongside useful tips, again in a beautiful, friendly and happy manner.  And she blogs everyday!!  Finding something interesting to say everyday is quite something.  Writing it and illustrating it as she does is even more impressive.  No need to say that I am a faithful follower.

When I blogged about my finished amigurumis, I said that I would also suggest her blog to anyone wishing to start a web-based design business.  Many of her posts suggest that behind her happy-go-lucky character, Stacey is a very sharp and wise business woman!!  Today, I add "down-to-earth".  Read her post about the downsides to self-employment.

So, which amigurumi pattern is your favorite?

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

WIPW: having fun again!

Finally!!  No more sick people in my house!  Life has returned to normal, except maybe for the few hours of sleep I am still missing.  Knitting was resumed as well, and my Try-It-out Sweater is progressing fast.

(Yes, those are baby feet.  I just couldn't get them out of the frame...)

What have I tried out on this sweater?  Well....
I am done with the yoke and have started the body.  This sweater, which started as a scrap yarn exercise, is becoming a garment I am really looking forward to wear!

I have also finally received the yarn I needed to finish Gabrielle's cardigan.  I still need a zipper, but at least I can get started on the edges.

While retrieving these pictures from my memory card, I found other photos I took last week.  We had quite a snowstorm of sticky snow:

And that's perfect for a snowman!!

Go and visit others fantastic projects in progress through Nicole'sTami's and Ginny's blogs!


Sunday, March 3, 2013

Design Envy: Knoten by Stephanie van der Linden

I will not knit socks.  I can't:  I am genetically sock'ed out.  My grandmother and my aunts have knitted so many socks that they used my sock quota in addition to their own.  They have knitted so many that my daughters may also have been born sock'ed out.  They have knitted several pairs of socks for each members of the family, for neighbors, friends and for summer employees of the family farm.  During the First and Second Wars, they must have supplied half the Canadian Army with socks as well.

That does not mean that I cannot appreciate sock patterns.  I can even suffer from design envy in front of a very special pairs of socks, like the ones designed by Stephanie van der Linden, called Knoten, featured in the Twist Collective Winter 2012 edition.

Aren't they original?  I've never seen anything like that before!!!  I really wonder how she came up with that motif!  Moreover, when you look at them sideways, they look completely different!  Even the soles are spectacular!!


When looking at her Ravelry designer page, it becomes very clear that Stephanie knows about socks.  She has several sock publications out, including The Sock Knitter's Workshop in collaboration with Ewa Jostes and Around the World in Knitted Socks.  Her designs include beautiful lace socks, but the ones using color work are the most striking of all!

And if you look at all her designs, back to the early ones, you understand that Stephanie is also a mother.  She has made lovely designs for babies before she became a sock superhero.  Not to be missed!!

So, if you are not sock'ed out like me, you will definitely find something that suits your tastes in Stephanie's designs.  To stand out of the crowd, why not knit yourself a pair of Knoten socks?

Friday, March 1, 2013

Knitting to manage stress

When the day is over and the girls are (finally) asleep, I love to grab my needles and knit a round or two in my corner.  It relaxes me, even more than a bath or a stiff drink.  It seems that needles are the keys to my bubble of peace and quiet, in which I can heal all the negative emotions and vibes that life has thrown at me.

I remember, about 15 years ago, moving back with my parents because I had lost (unfairly, I still believe) my job.  It turns out that this was a very positive thing in the end, but at the time, I was enraged, to say the least. Well, I cross-stitched that rage over a few weeks until there was none left, until I was ready to move on.

I am not the only one who uses needlework for stress relief.  Look at what I have found while browsing on a blog writing by Sandra (re-posted with her permission - thanks Sandra!), a fellow knitter:

Doesn't it say it all?

My husband doesn't get it.  He says to me that if I stick two needles and a ball of yarn in his hands, his stress level could only go up.  Whenever we have this conversation, I like to refer to Jacques Plante, a famous hockey goalkeeper (6 Stanley Cups and first adopter of the full face mask goalkeepers wear today) who used to knit hats before jumping on the ice.  Hubby says Plante was weird.  I say Plante was wise.

In this 2009 press release, pain specialist Monica Baird explains that the action of knitting actually changes brain chemistry, decreasing stress hormones and increasing feel-good serotonin and dopamine".  Moreover, Dr Herbert Bendon, Director of the Institute of Mind, Body Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital and Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School notes that knitting is one method to create a "relaxation response" in the body, which can lower blood pressure, heart rate and helps prevent illness".

Why spend money on therapy or medication when you can spend it on yarn?


Yesterday was a bad day.  We were still fighting the last germs of our family cold.  My eldest daughter, who pretty much skipped the terrible-two phenomenon is catching up big time now that she is three.  My youngest one refused to sleep and wanted to feed continually.  But a ray of sunshine suddenly came in:  I won a prize!!  That never happens to me!  Margaret, a Fiber Artist, was holding a "one-a-day" draw for the 10th anniversary of her blog, and I won a lovely sunflower quilting pattern!!

I don't know much about quilting, but am quite eager to try.  Despite my lack of quilting skills and knowledge, I really like to read Margaret's blog.  I just feel a natural affinity with her and enjoy strolling in her quilting world.  I guess this is a sign that quilting, too, could make my stress level go down!