Monthly Archives: January 2019

Well this week certainly encompasses the true nature and meaning of the Greek for “passing away the winter” – paracheimazo. (Hence, the name for my blog – cheimazoknits – as I love winter and one of the better things to do while stuck indoors is creating knit items meant for staying warm.)

While the midwest is in the grips of a polar vortex plunging temperatures to record below-zero readings, I’m finally finishing this afghan I started a couple years ago.

This pattern comes from the Boye book titled “I Taught Myself Knitting” and is the “1. Homespun Ripple Afghan” which is pictured on the front cover. I bought this book at least 10 years ago, or more, so it’s definitely outdated but the pattern is classic.

Having started this blanket, I was a beginner and not using continental knitting, so the first two skeins were painstakingly slow. Mostly due to my inexperience but also due to the “old shale pattern” which contains an increase/decrease row which tends to slow things down.

Initially, I was not very impressed with the Lion Brand Homespun as it seemed to easily separate and would often split. Undoing stitches was difficult due to the increase/decrease rows and the yarn itself lends the rows to camouflage themselves, making it difficult to tell which row I should be working (but is nice, however, for masking mistakes 🙂 )

Now, a year or more later, I’m finding the yarn not as difficult to work with as my knitting style has improved greatly. Because there are 114 sts on the needles, one row alone takes a bit of time, but is a great reason to learn continental knitting if you haven’t done so yet.

Right now I’m still working on the 4th skein and will use a total of 5. The old shale pattern looks something like this (creates the rippled effect):

  • Row 1:  purl
  • Row 2: k2tog (3x);  m1,k1 (3x);  k2tog (3x) – this is done in a combination of 18 sts
  • Row 3: knit
  • Row 4: knit

To work the entire afghan:

  • CO 114 sts
  • Knit 6 rows
  • Then start the above pattern, repeating those 4 rows until length desired.

NOTE: for each of the 4 rows, create a border using k3 at the start and end of EVERY row (it’s a good idea to place knit markers here, plus at every 18 sts after the first).                   To clarify: place stitch markers after the first 3 sts, then after every 18 sts, then before the last 3 sts – this should take you to the 114 total.

  • Knit 6 rows to end

Additionally, to help you remember which row you are working on, put a stitch marker in the bottom corner of the blanket for the side which begins the first of the 4 rows (the purl row). I didn’t do this until later but it’s quite helpful now.

 

Dairy allergies – the first round

My journey down this path stemmed from the birth of my daughter. She was born with an allergic reaction to cow’s milk protein. While it took a number of months to diagnose this as a baby, it took about 4 years before she was able to readily digest it without issue.

For any mom searching out there about how to calm a fussy, crying baby I want to tell you the symptoms we experienced in hopes that I can save you some of the anxiety and stress associated with this.

My daughter was born with what was described by other mom’s and the post-partum nurses as baby acne, cradle cap, AND eczema. And in the time after returning home from the hospital those conditions only worsened. She also cried much of the time at the hospital, even to the point the nurses commented on it…and could only offer sympathetic reassurances that things would eventually improve.

Upon arriving home, I began to log her feeding times, which side she was nursing from, and for how long she would nurse. Being a new mom I was terribly fearful she was not “getting enough”…which as I understand is common in new breastfeeding moms…even, I believe, in second and third-time moms! So while my confidence was not high, I was particularly detailed in documenting it all. Especially since the crying we experienced in the hospital was not improving.

Here is what I noticed (and I was strictly breastfeeding):

  • Her skin was not improving. Some days it appeared worse than others. (I began to wonder if it was irritating to her but I couldn’t see any indication of that, outside of crying.)
  • The cradle cap was very thick – on her eyebrows, ears, and scalp.
  • The baby acne covered her entire face.
  • She had “tough” skin on her shins and arms.
  • If she wasn’t nursing, she would begin to cry within 10 minutes or so.
  • I would put her back on the breast but within 10-15 minutes she would fall asleep….only to awake and begin to cry again(!)
  • She was never very “aggressive” while eating…she would hang out on it all day, going back and forth from gentle nursing, to sleep, to only short periods of being awake and then crying again.
  • Also, the crying, or “colicky” behavior that is most often read about was not occurring during the evening only – it was all day/night.

Along with logging her feeding, I was also working very hard on developing a sleep routine. She eventually began sleeping the longer hours at night, starting with around 4 hours at a time – then with the intermittent sleeping throughout the remainder of the time. I was working toward a morning nap and an afternoon nap – and for as long as I could get her to sleep, I would! (I didn’t wake her to feed because she was already sleeping so little anyway, and nursing the rest.)

After about 3-4 weeks of this, I took her to the pediatrician with my concerns. After the typical suggestions (on getting babies to sleep, feeding routines, etc…) and an assurance they could see nothing physically wrong (outside of the skin issues – addressed with creams or lotions), I was sent home with no answers. And not long after this, maybe a few more weeks, we noticed little threads of blood in her diaper. They were so difficult to notice but her Dad caught it one afternoon while changing her diaper. It was at this point I realized she was truly have stomach issues.

This was around her second month, and three pediatricians later,  after receiving negative results from an FOBT, we were blessed with another pediatrician, mom of 3, who suggested that I remove milk/dairy from my diet. After one week off dairy I started seeing a noticeable difference in her skin. It was almost night and day difference as the acne first started to disappear, then the cradle cap. But because it was so severe to start, it was easy to see even the slightest improvement.

The colic/crying/fussiness, however, was not as quick an improvement. As I learned, it takes about a month to eliminate cow’s milk protein from first, the mom’s system, and then followed by the baby’s. So it was suggested that to resolve the crying may take longer. And it was, truly, after about 2 months of eliminating dairy from my diet before she seemed to improve (sorry to say, for any mom out there looking for answers).

I returned to work at 4 months and the daycare provider felt things were going fine for her. And it was also around that time that I started to notice a “happier” baby. So it definitely seemed to be a good month that the issues she was having in her stomach began to subside – her skin, however, I believe was a good indicator that the milk protein was definitely an issue, which gave me hope to continue down that path for longer.

We both ultimately gave up dairy for at least another two years. While the story doesn’t end here, I’ll write another post of it’s recurrence and how it affected us and reinforced my original beliefs.

If you’ve read my post, this is recall from quite a number of years ago so I had to update regarding her stool, because I was thinking that didn’t appear until later….and my memory is not so good these days. That said, however, I have medical records to prove how good my memory probably is without having looked back at them, just might take a rewrite or two.

Which, by the way, every writer/blogger/speaker, etc, is human. It’s pretty much a God-given right to be allowed to filter your words. Meaning, personal journals, electronics, etc. should be a private space. Imagine if every thought of yours came out in public?….ah…not a one could imagine.

Thankfully, the Lord has many verses regarding this very thing and, while, there are of course reasons to clear impure thoughts from your mind, he also makes many, and more, reference to “guarding one’s mouth”, watching the words that “pass one’s lips” – the actual physical action of talking, blogging, tweeting, and facebook commenting to make your thoughts public. (Yikes.)
Proverbs 10:19: Where words are many, sin is not wanting; but he who restrains his lips does well.

Fiber

As noted on the sidebar, I really like trying to support local farms and I enjoy seeing the mills and testing out the yarn. I’ve found alpaca to be (surprisingly) the softest and SO smooth and easy to work with. The honeycomb stitch (also featured on the sidebar) is with my first test using llama fiber. It’s not as soft as alpaca and varies in thickness throughout (this is common among wools).

The thing I’m finding out, however, is that the stitch/pattern/project can work well with some fibers and not so much with others. From linen to wool, alpaca and llama – whatever you choose, you’ll want to find a compatible stitch, pattern, and project.

 

More to come…

 

Needles

 

Needles: whether using aluminum, bamboo, or some type of pressed composite – the make-up of the needles will affect how easily different yarns will move from needle to needle. Yarns tend to slide easily on aluminum but these are also heavier. Whichever you choose generally sums up to being that of personal preference but there are a few pointers to consider:

  • some needles have finer/sharper points than others. This isn’t something that’s documented on the needle packaging (nor have I seen much about this on various sites) so take a look when purchasing to see if there’s a difference between brands.
  • double-pointed needles (DPNs) come in various lengths so depending on the size of your project you may want a longer or shorter set
    • the new(er) Addi “broken” DPNs are really awesome to knit with, I just haven’t decided to spend the money on them, yet – try them out at a local yarn shop if you can
  • circular needles come in various lengths – so again, depending on the project – if you’re just starting out with hats, you’ll likely want 16″ as you can make newborn to adult sizes with these
  • there are interchangeable circular needles – where you can change out the cable length between, removing the need for multiple needles

 

I’ve done a lot of hats for my daughter and in newborn/toddler sizes but this is the first year I’ve tried a few for myself. The little newsboy hat was my first crochet project. The cream colored hat was my first with a newly-discovered yarn from Loops and Threads and makes a nice thick hat.

The brown was my first slouch hat and the yarn came from a local fiber mill – it is a worsted weight alpaca. If you’ve never used alpaca I would strongly recommend it – the threads seem loosely woven but it was surprisingly very clean and smooth to work with! The pattern comes from Sarah Keller at knotanotherhat.com – Carbon Copy.

Some template patterns

Maker:L,Date:2017-8-19,Ver:5,Lens:Kan03,Act:Kan02,E-YOld Shale Pattern

The Old Shale Pattern gives you a scalloped edge and wavy, undulating pattern. My first try was with this afghan (using the 18 st combination below).

I’ve also incorporated it into some fingerless gloves. For the gloves I used the 12 st combination, double-point needles and opted out the purl row for all knit.

Old Shale Pattern (worked over 12 sts)

  • Row 1: purl
  • Row 2: k2tog (2x), *m1 (by picking up strand between last st and next st and knitting into it), k1* (repeating between * 4x), k2tog (2x)
    Repeat these 3 sequences to end of row.
  • Row 3: knit
  • Row 4: knit

Old Shale Pattern (worked over 18 sts) (used in afghan)

  • Row 1: purl
  • Row 2: k2tog (3x), *m1 (by picking up strand between last st and next st and knitting into it), k1* (repeating between * 6x), k2tog (3x)
    Repeat these 3 sequences to end of row.
  • Row 3: knit
  • Row 4: knit

Honeycomb Stitch – The pattern speaks for itself!

Maker:L,Date:2017-8-19,Ver:5,Lens:Kan03,Act:Kan02,E-Y   Maker:L,Date:2017-8-19,Ver:5,Lens:Kan03,Act:Kan02,E-Y

Row 1: (RS) Knit each st across the row
Row 2: (WS) K1, *yo, k2tog; repeat from * across the row.
Row 3: Knit each st across row
Row 4: K2, *yo, k2tog; repeat from * across the row to last st, knit 1.

Repeat rows 1 – 4

Increasing/Decreasing

Sometimes I come across patterns which indicate to “decrease” or “make one” but it’s not always clear how to do so – and there are a variety of ways. Each can result in a slightly different appearance so I wanted to create a reference page (and maybe add pics soon). It took a couple years of learning how to knit (and to knit various projects) before I realized some of these basic techniques are sporadic, yet specific to every pattern.

Increasing techniques:

  • yo: yarn over – bring the yarn to the front if you are knitting, before a knit stitch, to gain an extra stitch (this leaves a small hole)
  • m1: (make 1) pick up a stitch by grabbing the joining stitch from previous row that joins two stitches together, knit into the back of it
  • kfb: knit front to back – knit one but without removing the knitted stitch from the left needle, knit again into the back side of that same stitch – resulting in two new sts (rather than only one).
  • ssk: Slip the first stitch on the LH needle (as if to knit) to the RH needle without actually knitting it. Do the same with the next stitch. Insert the LH needle into the front loops of these stitches (left to right).

Decreasing techniques:

  • k2tog: knit two sts together as one
  • sl1k1po: slip 1, knit 1, pass slipped stitch over
  • Left Slanting Turkish Rib Stitch
    • Cast on even number
    • Row 1a – Knit
    • Row 1b (WS): p1, * yo (in purl), p1-pass this back to left needle and pull next stitch over, slipping off the p1 and passing to right needle the new stitch (purl reverse, PR)* (repeating to end)
    • Row 2 (RS): K1, *sl 1, k1, psso, yo; rep from * to last st, k1