Knitting and bolus

Things have been going well in the past couple of weeks. I’m nearing a 3 week mark on the bolus and basal regime for my diabetes and my values are definitely doing better. I’ve got a good control on how to use the insulin, I track it really well and I keep in mind that I have insulin on board when I correct my values. I had to up my basal by 2 units but it seems to be doing its thing well now. I’ll have to figure out a good way to rotate injection sites; right now I just look for any red marks and try to inject a cm or two away from that on whichever side of my belly I’m on. I think I’ll divide my abdomen into 4 regions and rotate them clockwise every 2-3 days. (Is this where I’m thankful for a big belly because it means more space?)

have been dealing with a bad depression low. I isolated myself for a week or two and spent all of my time almost exclusively with one person who always helps me feel better. I’m slowly getting back on track now after that episode, so let’s hope things will look up shortly.

During these two weeks I focused on my ten stitch blanket for a while.

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I made more progress on it since taking this pic but it’s coming along super well. I finished all the yarn in this colorway and moved on to more scrap yarn. It’s 2×2 feet right about now, and I hope to knit it up to 6.5×6.5 feet at the end.

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Ten is the magic number

Last night I got the knitting itch. I have a pair of socks on the needles and a cardigan, but neither are what I want. Both require constant attention and focus, neither will allow me to zone out and just…. relax.

I rummaged through my stash and found a leftover skein of Ice Yarns’ Magic Light in the rainbow colorway, not enough to do much else with. I have quite a few stragglers like that just sitting around collecting dust. Then I remembered the Ten Stitch Blanket and knew immediately that it would be the perfect no brainer to use up leftover yarn, and allowing me to make a blanket/bed cover for the coming fall and winter. I don’t care much for any particular color combination, the crazier the better actually!

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I started last night and this is what I have so far. 4.5mm needles with a DK weight yarn is working out well! I don’t particularly care for the ridges on the other side because of the color differences in this yarn, but I like that the blanket can work both ways. I already memorized the pattern after the first double corner and it’s been a breeze from here on. I struggled a little with picking up the stitches the first two turns because I wasn’t sure which leg to snatch and knit into, but I quickly found one that I can continue to work consistently throughout the rest of the blanket.

I have some more Magic Light yarn laying around somewhere. Love the color changes and I will try to make these the center of the blanket for as long as possible!

Ask A Knitter Anything #1: The Appeal of Knitting

It’s been almost 3 years since I started knitting. During this time, I went from barely being able to properly knit a knit stitch, to knitting full adult sweaters, knitting fair isle with both hands at the same time and being able to read and write patterns. While I’m far from knowing everything, I do know a lot and people ask me questions often that I happily answer.

After one such question the other day, I toyed with the idea of starting an AAKA – ‘Ask A Knitter Anything’ series, where I answer questions people commonly (and less commonly) ask me based on my personal experiences. While I will start this series with a set of pre-collected questions, you are welcome to ask me any question you’d like to see answered by commenting on these posts! I’m keeping close tabs on this and try to get everything answered.

These questions will be spread out in a series of posts. How many that will be, I don’t know! But you can look forward to 1-2 of these posts a week. 🙂 Now, let’s get started!

What makes knitting so alluring?

I find it difficult to pin point exactly what keeps me coming back to knitting. I think it’s safe to say I’m an honest to god addict by now, and there is a certain charm that can be attributed to the yarn you use as much as the knitting itself. The pretty colors, the texture of the yarn and the idea of endless possibilities of what you can do with it certainly play a huge role in this.

More than anything else, the process of knitting became addicting.

Before I even started knitting on two needles, I was only curious. I saw what my friend did, knitting beautiful scarves, cowls and other goodies, and my brain kept poking me with the question ‘How is it made?’. I really wanted to find that out by doing it myself, and it’s this curiosity that prompted me to ask my friend if she wanted to teach me. I was excited and nervous. She made me start with a rectangular knitting loom because it was easier to finish a piece quickly and experience the satisfaction of finishing a project, rather than repeated failure from starting with needles.

Oh boy how right she was! I spent a whole day loom knitting away. I just couldn’t put it down. Once I had the hang of it, I immediately noticed I got better. It was a bit of a rush to see my simple little actions of wrapping a peg and pulling the yarn over the peg create an actual scarf. The motions tired my hands and tensed my shoulders, but I couldn’t just leave the loom laying on my desk. Every time I took a break, all I could think about was continuing.

I finished the scarf in less than two days. I was ecstatic! I had actually KNIT something, all by myself and with minimal help from my friend. I had a scarf that wasn’t just pretty, but also functional on my first try. Sure, there were some mistakes in it, but you couldn’t really tell because I chose a black acrylic. Looking back on it, I think it was this excitement of knowing I created something from nothing, being proud of the end result and wanting to make more that drew me to the craft.

I put the loom down for almost half a year after a couple of other pieces. I was busy and couldn’t dedicate enough attention to learning new things at the time. But at the end of the summer that same year, that same friend put me on the path of knitting with needles. This time, the challenge was a bit bigger. The learning curve was more frustrating because a lot more was going on with my hands at the same time than with a loom. It was the memory of accomplishment I had with the loom that kept me going.

The allure of knitting lies in the creation process and the goal of finishing a creation that is useful, for me.

Once you started knitting, what made it such a huge, driving force in your life?

The ability to create things from nothing is addictive. The motion of knitting has a highly meditative quality and once you work your way past the frustrating bits of learning the craft, you can sit down, zone out and keep your fingers busy while your brain does its thing. This is no surprise to anyone who knits regularly, but something that non-knitters tend to be skeptical of. 🙂

What knitting did for me was a way of coping with my mental health issues. When depression struck and I felt like I couldn’t do anything, I could knit and finish my project. The sense of accomplishment is a massive boost to my self-confidence and vital in maintaining my mental well-being.

Knitting also taught me important lessons, such as ‘it’s okay to let go’ and ‘mistakes are just things that happen and there’s no reason to be ashamed of that’. For someone who struggles with ‘not being allowed to make mistakes’ and ‘keep ramming your head into the wall until you get through it regardless of whether you hurt yourself or not’, that is huge. Coming to terms with the fact that nothing I knit (or do) will ever yield perfect results has lifted a weight off my shoulders I carried with me for decades. Learning that sometimes you have to start over by undoing all the work you did before, but understanding that you learned many things and can do better this time, has improved my way of functioning in everyday life.

When I found out that charity knitting is a thing, I did a lot of research on how to get involved. I struggle with social interactions and an avoidant personality disorder on top of my other issues, so finding something that could help me overcome some hurdles was important and scary. Having it be knitting lowered the hurdle, making it easier to find some ways I can contribute positively to the world even though I’m poor and limited in what I can do. Currently, I knit breast prostheses for breast cancer survivors and people in the versatile gender community who are in need of more comfortable and affordable alternatives than what is currently available.

What started out as a curiosity and a hobby has quickly become a lifestyle. Knitting is not just wrapping a piece of yarn around a needle and calling it a stitch, it’s a doorway into a world of possibilities, healing and socialization, even for those who feel they have very little to nothing to offer in this world. It gives my life meaning, and it gives me a purpose.

Going through the motions

This weekend wasn’t so fun. I’ve been experiencing late-night and early-morning nausea bouts that led to vomiting this morning. I try not to if I can avoid it at all because every heave risks my herniated disc getting worse. (The last time I was down for 2 weeks in bed unable to move, it was the direct result of throwing up actually!) That’s been less fun, and it ate into my knitting time. I think I might be a bit behind schedule on my cardi.

However, I also knit up a pair of knitted knockers for a neighbor of a friend from group. She had a mastectomy a couple of weeks ago and can’t tolerate the silicone prostheses. I started on them yesterday evening and finished them this morning.

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I rode my bicycle through the rain to the dollar store for a card and a cute gift bag to make it nicer. 🙂 The knockers are ‘overstuffed’, but the recipient can take out some of the filling from the back to get the knockers to her liking. (If you’re interested or know someone who might be interested in a pair, I knit these for free. You can get in touch with me directly or request a pair from KnittedKnockers.org)

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I’m super close to the last color change in the cardigan now. I think there’s only 2 or 3 centimeters left before I repeat the striping gradient with an orange color. It’s taking a lot less yarn than I thought, so I’ll probably have enough yarn of any of the three colors for a nice band all around! I’m considering making the cardigan buttonless the longer I work on it.

What’s on your needles?