Thanks to a blizzard yesterday, I'm making headway on my knitted Christmas gifts, even if my right shoulder, arm and hand are feeling some of the after-effects of highly focused cable-and-lace activity. Sigh. And wouldn't you know it, the "Tuesday Tips" page for December 1 on my "Never Not Knitting" calendar is just this:
"Knitters are susceptible to repetitive-strain injuries. To reduce your risk, try the following:
1. Every 20 minutes, put down the knitting. Get up, stretch your hands, and move around a bit.
2. Keep changing things. Switch up your yarn, needles, and projects.
3. If it starts to hurt, STOP for a while. (This is the really hard one.) It's far better to take a break from your knitting than to be side-lined for a long time."
- Stephanie Pearl-McPhee
I tried switching up my knitting, moving to less complex projects on larger needles, but the arm's still a bit achy. Thus, I've taken some ibuprofen and switched to snow shovelling, spinning and embroidery today to give the arm a bit of a break.
What really aggravated the arm was "Verdigris", a pattern from Knitty.com (Summer 2009), which I'm making in Elsebeth Lavold's "Hempathy" from Diamond Yarns (Colour #17 - "Vivid Green"). I'm using bamboo needles that have curved under the challenge of all of the small cables and twists and knitting-through-the-back-loop that the pattern requires -- and done so more than once, as I've had to frog this work, at least in part, 3 times. I found the chart-within-a-chart method of construction rather challenging.
Due to my habit of transposing numbers and figures, and of dropping my eyes down rather than reading straight across, I usually use either a row of sticky notes or a ruler with these charts. Having to use 2 charts side by side for part of the mitt (gusset chart and main chart), I dug out my 12" metal one; nothing to see through so less confusion, right? Not so. In the end, I used both the ruler and a hot pink marking pen -- the former to read the row I was on, and the latter to cross it out, rather than merely ticking it at the side of the chart.
Was it worth it? You be the judge...