Saturday, November 13, 2010

Multiple Projects Help Carpal Tunnel

I was just reading Switching Your Stitching by Andee Graves (Crochet Uncut, Fall, 2010 Issue), who was suggesting that if we plan to crochet for a long period of time (say an afternoon or maybe the entire Saturday), you should switch between projects using different size hooks, or maybe even greatly differing stitch patterns. I've been doing this for a while now. I think I mentioned it in  previous post, but I usually have more than one project going at the same time.

This weekend, I'm working on three projects at the same time. The first, is a gift for my supervisor (who loves chocolate), I'm crocheting one of my Nubby Mitts in Sugar N Cream colors of Chocolate, one of their ombre shades. The mitt is actually a little browner than the picture shows. It really does look like white chocolate, milk chocolate and dark chocolate sections. Pretty wild! I'm using 100% cotton with a size "I" crochet hook.

The second that I'm working on is another of my designs, the Cabled Fur Hat, that I'm making for my charity project, cancer comfort hats. My co-worker donated a skein of Caron Simply Soft in dark country blue. I'm using a bit of Fun Fur (donated by my friend, Niki, in Dekalb), in citrus color. I start with a basic beanie pattern, but as I crochet down the sides, I create cables every three stitches (3 triple crochet cable stitches, 3 double crochet stitches). This creates a pretty hat and the splash of fur along the brim adds to the whimsy. I hope it adds a smile to the face of someone facing one of the hardest times of their life.

This project uses a size "H" hook, which isn't that different in size from a size "I" hook, but the intricate weaving of the cable requires an entirely different rhythm from the single crochet, popcorn stitch that I use in my Nubby Mitt. My hands feel less strain when I switch to this other project after crocheting a bunch of those, let me tell you. They're just single crochets, and the popcorn stitch uses the same motion as for double crochets. Plus the feel of the Simply Soft is so different than the 100% cotton yarn.

The last project that I'm working on simultaneously, is for ME! I'm making a luxurious Lacy tunic, from Lion Brand's free crochet patterns. I'm going off on my own with gauge and hook size, though. The pattern calls for a size "I" hook, but I'm using a big size "M" bamboo handle hook. The suggested yarn is silk mohair, but I was able to purchase skeins of Rowan Yarn's Cashsoft, which is a merino wool, acrylic and cashmere blend yarn that is yummy! My favorite online fabric source is now carrying luxury yarns and they had a blowout sale of fabrics and yarn. 70% off was just too much to pass up and I'm finally getting my cashmere top that I've always wanted. This pattern is a beautiful shell pattern with intriguing solid areas to make a pretty tunic top. Best of all, this pattern is crocheted in 2 rectangles and are just stitched up the sides leaving an area for the armholes and a turned down neck into a soft cowl. I've finished the first rectangle and now I'm working on the second. No need to tell you that the yarn is simply heavenly to work with. It's soft and warm and just downright pretty!

The change in hook is so drastic with this project, that my hand doesn't get strained by the repetitive motion. The bamboo handle provides an entirely different grip than my Clover Soft Touch ergonomic hooks, but it's still so comfortable. I love the smoothness of the wood.

So I guess I'm doing my hands a favor without really thinking about it. I mean, this allows me to enjoy seeing all of these projects transform into finished pieces. Not to mention this keeps me on track to finishing all of them without getting tired of doing the same thing.