Swatches and Braces

Filed in Just Stitches, Out of Our Head, Skill Building by on November 9, 2015 0 Comments

Good morning dear knitters! This week, my focus has, admittedly, been over on the photo side of my business pursuits. Some of that has been knitting photography for a favorite yarn maker, but most of it has been the busy fall portrait season. Families and high school seniors love photos in the gorgeous fall colors of the east coast of the US.

And it has been gorgeous. Up until this morning, we’ve had such mild temperatures that I still have flowers blooming in my yard. Days in the 70s have been at odds with the fading colors of mid-fall, but I’m not complaining.

Change it Up

In my knitting life, I have a couple of things to report about, starting with those swatches I promised you back in this post from two weeks ago.


The bottom swatch has only one difference: using a centered double decrease instead of a left-slanting double decrease. Not much difference from the original. The top swatch uses closed increases instead of yarn overs. At this point, you can start to see the mood and overall look of the stitch pattern begin to change. If I were to keep exploring, I might try changing the number of rows of stockinette and reverse stockinette. Changes beyond that would start turning it into an altogether different kind of pattern, but that would be fun, too.

Even though this was just two different variations and the changes weren’t revolutionary, I learned some important things that will inform future exploration:

  1. Closed increases will make the piece narrower overall.
  2. Decreases don’t need to be noticeable or a design feature if there is another dominant line, such as the stripes of stockinette and reverse stockinette in this pattern.
  3. Taking out the negative space created by yarnovers makes the overall fabric denser and have a different visual impact.

Not bad for an hour of making swatches. See? Swatches are not your enemy, but instead are the gateway to increased creativity and confidence. I encourage you to play with some yarn today.

Mischief Managed

Photo Credit: zmfg! via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: zmfg! via Compfight cc

The other thing we need to talk about is our hands and forearms. Are you taking care of yours? I was sure I was going to need carpal tunnel surgery because I was having numbness all the time in my hands, not just occasional twinges while knitting. When I went to the doc, I  was so relieved to discover that it’s not yet as serious as I thought. My muscles are still strong and there is no atrophy. The solution turned out to be wearing night braces on my wrists and elbows. Because I sleep all curled up in a ball, with my wrists and elbows in “praying mantis” position, the tendons were rubbing against the bones in my joints, getting inflamed and thus putting pressure on my nerves. The doctor promised quick relief and, after 2 weeks of faithful night bracing, the numbness is almost completely gone. I’m so pleased! It took a little getting used to, the sleeping in a new position, but the results are well worth it.

If you’ve been experiencing any problems with your knitting hands, getting a diagnosis will clear the way to solving the problem. It could be as simple as a change of sleeping position, support while knitting, or another simple solution. It’s also not as hard as you might think to change your knitting style. Check out these Quick Clips if you need a tutorial  to switch things up a bit and rest your hands.

Enjoy your change of seasons and don’t forget that doing something just a little differently can yield great results!



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