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Friday, June 29, 2007

Fight the black dog - knitters raising awareness of clinical depression

In the past week, someone has made the comment that my blog is, well, lacking in personality. I am certain that this was a comment that was meant to insult, humiliate and shame – but it didn’t.

You see, at times I think that, perhaps, my blog could be lacking in personality. Because, at times, I feel that my personality has up and left.

I happen to suffer a tad bit from mental illness. Well, that would be an understatement. I think the term my GP used at my last medical appointment was “severe depressive disorder” – I think I can understand why Churchill was so fond of the term “The Black Dog!”

When I was first diagnosed, nearly some 3 years ago I walked through life in a fog. Days, weeks, months – even years, all disappeared in a foggy blur. During one such blurry day I found myself in Kmart. I didn’t know they had a haberdashery section, or that they stocked yarn. I bought two balls of Magnum Print (8ply variegated acrylic) and 4mm needles. I went home and cast on as many stitches as I could fit on the needles – and started to knit. I do not know what I was making, but it seems in some way to help with the fidgets. To help with that need to do something, although I was unable to summon energy or focus concentration for anything else.

I didn’t have the energy to cook. The mere thought of having to stand up to shower was exhausting. I couldn’t answer the phone, or leave the house. I was a lump – sitting on the couch and watching television. I couldn’t do anything because of depression – or so I thought.


After a while I realised – I had made four centimetres of fabric from a single thread. I finished one 100 gram ball of yarn, tied on the second ball and kept knitting. It was a simple pattern – knit one, purl one – moss stitch. When I ran out of yarn I left the house to get more. I couldn’t go to the supermarket to buy groceries, but the need for yarn, the need to knit, got me out. I kept knitting, 6 balls in total went into that one project. There was a lot I could not do because of Depression, but somewhere along the way, all in one piece, I knit a blanket large enough for a cot.

I still needed to knit. This time I bought more yarn, cast on more stitches, still not really sure of how, why or what I was doing it for, but kept going in single moss stitch. This time I used 10 balls and had a blanket big enough for a single bed all in one piece. And somewhere, with each stitch and each row, I manage to build up a little hope.

For the next project I had a goal – not only did I have something I wanted to do, I thought it was achievable.

I started this blog, back in August, as a way for me to keep track of time and of my accomplishments, both are so easy to forget when you suffer from Depression. It was never meant to be a way to receive validation from masses of adoring. I have used my blog as a way to escape from this illness – to only focus on the positive. Since August last year (which was my first post) I have lost my job, my career, my relationship – all because of Depression. And not once did I mention this illness on this Blog.

And I think it is wrong. I know many people who have suffered with similar conditions to mine – and know that many find knitting to be a great comfort. I also know that people are afraid to talk about it. I was – but I am not anymore.

And I am starting up an internet campaign to raise awareness for mental health – I am asking anyone who has suffered from an illness like this, or knows someone who has, or even someone who has used knitting or crafting to work though grief and tough times – to take the time to talk about it. If you want to share your story please email me at ginger_nut(at)bigpond(dot)com and I will add it to my “Knit and Fight the Black Dog” posts. If requested I will not share personal details so you can tell your stories anonymously.

Please use the link below to create a button on your blog to link to “Knit and Fight the Black Dog” – I will put all the stories here. And please – feel free to steal my bandwidth with this button.

I am going to be starting “Fight the Black Dog” Friday where I will share links, stories and my own progress with this illness. And hopefully, I will be able to keep things positive around here still.

Please cut and past this code to your blog to create a button: (replace [ and ] with < and >)

[a href="http://pierretheyarnsnob.blogspot.com/search/label/Black%20%20Dog"][img style="margin: 0px auto 10px; display: block; text-align: center; cursor: pointer;" src="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_YFwMhNC-awU/RoSWtQShXGI/AAAAAAAAAyA/CUf-6qhXWjw/s400/FIGHT-THE-BLACK-DOG.jpg" alt="" id="BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5081351983791692898" border="0" />\][/a]


Tuesday, June 19, 2007

FO - crazy socks


THE STATS

NAME: Crazy Socks

PATTERN: Generic Cuff Down pattern with (i think) eye of partridge heel

YARN:Regia 6fadig crazy colour farbe5260 (2 balls)

YARN SOURCE: Littleknits.com

NEEDLES:40cm and 60cm 3mm knitpicks circulars

COMPLETED: 18Jun07

Monday, June 18, 2007

Stash Flash...

For those who requested a pic of my recent binge ... ta-dah!And I finished the collar on my sea-wool yoke today - I used EZ's short rows and made the back of the collar an inch or so higher than the front. That woman was an absolute genius - I will definitely be using more of her patterns in the future (and good thing too seeing as I have all her books and a couple of the DVDs :)) I also finished the bright crazy stripy regia socks today (toasty toes!) but the FO report will have to wait until tomorrow - Pierre reckons it time to get some sleep...

Sunday, June 17, 2007

ravelling

Hey everyone, I got my invite to ravelry last week, but only really getting around to playing with it now. Its AWE-SUM!

If your looking for me over there I go by gingernut (no underscore - they wouldn't allow it)

It meant that I had to (finally) learn how to use flickr as well. Needless to say - since I have been playing so much with these new sites my bright socks have become a little stunted.

I took the oppotunity today to snap a FO picture of the striped socks that began my downhill spiral to the 2-circs camp. Originally they were for Dad, but the cuff was a little small. No problem "Mum, would you like some stripey handknit socks?" I think she was hanging out for this offer because these sock have been on a constant feet, laundry basket, washing line cycle since they were finished. I don't think they have once made it into Mum's sock drawer!

I picked up the Lion Brand magic striped for $6.99 a ball at spotlight - again it is the standard 75/25 wool/polyamid blend and feels somewhere between the online and opal 4 and 6 plys (hehe, a 5ply sock yarn??) It was recommended to be knit on 3.5mm needles, but even though I am a tight knitter, it was way too loose for socks. I jumped down to the 3mm and only just got a comfortable pair of womens size 8.5 socks out of the ball. I mean just - there is about 3 yarns of yarn left - kinda makes me feel better I didn't make these for dad because he would have had very cold toes..

Yes, the socks are fraternal twins because I worked one from the inside and one from the outside of the ball. It certainly doesn't worry Mum (she wears them with her ankle boots) and I kinda like the contrast - these are handknit quality, and although different, definately a pair (besides, I may have run out of yarn if I tried to match colour repeats). I have two more balls of this yarn (in different colours) and am very happy with it - considering its about a third of the price of the Opal/Online stuff.

Onto bigger things....

This is the sea-wool yoke sweater so far. Yes, miles of stockinette! This replaced mindless DPN sock knitting for a while and made it too Shrek the Third with me last week - knit, knit, knit in the dark. I was very good and made no annoying clicking noises with my knitpicks! I was worried I was going to end up with something a bit too short, so when I got to the length I thought it needed to be decided I needed to knit for an extra inch or two just so I didn't end up with a ridiculous looking article - same for the ribbing. Now I just need to get the arms the same lenght :S Oh - and the body is a solid black, it has just picked up some Pierre hair.

And speaking P, he has become incredibly fixated with Mum's biiig fishtank. It is quite cute to watch him watch the fishies, flinching when they swim right past his nose!

And finally - just in reply to the comments:-

A photo of my recent, ahem, stash additions is coming.

and,

Doni mentioned that she is offering 10% discount on knitpicks to all bloggers, and will cover postage in June and July for orders over a certain value???? I may have got the details wrong, so don't take my word and get in touch with her if your looking to get some shiny new tools. This is a pretty good deal - Tapestry Craft had (has?) 20% off for their midyear sale, but unless your in Sydney you probably lose the difference with your postage (oh - and they may go via an indirect route, I put in a big order and only half was in stock, they came to me no problem, but when the other half got sent out it went to my old Sydney address - only a 1000 odd miles from where my home is these days. I believe (hope) they are on their way to me now...) Anyway - it's a good chance to help strengthen the knit-blog community!

FO - Mum's MagicStripes


THE STATS

NAME:Mum's MagicStripes

PATTERN: Generic Cuff Down pattern

YARN:Lion Brand Magic Stripes

YARN SOURCE: Spotlight

NEEDLES:40cm and 60cm 3mm knitpicks circulars

COMPLETED: 06Jun07

Saturday, June 16, 2007

some WIPs and more knitpicks!

I have been having some real issues trying to post recently - I thought it was Blogger having issues, but after trying a different browser, I think it may be iexplorer that is a bit retarded.

Anyway - lots of knitting has been getting done - I have finished the body of my sea-wool yoke sweater, and think I may complete the collar while waiting for my 40cm fixed circular 3.5mm knitpicks needle from Doni. Seeing as the smallest cable in the options set is 60cm, I was tossing up whether to use DPNs or magic loop for the arms, when Doni announced the new knitpicks sizes that are now available here. And you can see that I have also started another pair of socks - in crazy colours. I went a little crazy when littleknits.com had a big special on whole bags of Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Superchunky (I bought 6 different colours*) and saw this yarn for US$2 a ball (I think it may be still on special). Its a 6ply self-striping regia in very bright colours! Its the standard 75/25 wool/polyamid blend, but feels a tad bit cushier and softer than the ONline and Opal 6plys I have used in the past. I am becoming a handknit sock convert and decided I must have more NOW, hence again on the two circs (to avoid second sock syndrome) and yup - you guessed right, more knitpicks. I didn't get around to reviewing the fixed circular, but they are da-Bomb! Just like Addi-turbos but with that nice sharp point.

Oh, and I also got some feedback from Prestige Yarns (the distributors for Knitpicks in Oz) thanking me for the positive review of the needles. You may remember in the review, after doing a little math, I pointed out that the smaller needle sets weren't good value for money - it appears that someone else also played the numbers game because these sets have been repriced so it is more cost-effective to purchase needles that way now.


*yes, for those of you playing at home that is 60 balls of designer yarn... but it was US$65 (approx AU$80) a bag, compared with AU$22 a ball (or AU$220 a bag) here, so I couldn't resist. And yes, it was also over 6kg of yarn that I have been waiting nearly 3months for - I went surface over air mail to keep the costs down! I'll think about getting off my butt and taking a piccie for you all.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

unfaithful?

As you may be able to tell from my last couple of posts, I have been branching out to the two socks on two circs world. I also have made a couple of socks *gasp* cuff down... what would cause such a departure from my norm of toe-up on 5dpns????

I think it is very obvious that I am not a monogamous knitter - I like to have many projects on the go at once. This causes problems when you want to use your 3mm DPNs and they already have a project attached... what to do? what to do?

Well, luckily, I took advantage of the Tapestry Craft sale to broaden my knitpicks range to include their small diametre circulars in a range of lengths (I have bohus dreams and thought if I had the right tools, perhaps, one day...) I figured at 20% I wouldn't get them much cheaper. I was going to magic loop socks, but seeing as I had two 3mm circulars, would give the two socks at a time a go. After getting rather irate with the figure8/ turkish cast-on, I decided to go top down.

It's rather more fiddly than dpns, and not quite as mindless, but I have finished two pairs of socks in 8 days. Of course, that meant that I haven't done any other knitting at all! Socks are usually travel knitting - but I have dedicated tv knitting time, usually set aside for big projects, to socks this week.

Worth it? You betcha - but I'm not ready to throw away my dpns just yet... They feel so much more comfortable to knit with.

And finally - I wasn't a big fan of the monkey pattern at first, but with the perfect yarn I absolutely adore it. And, oh, my feet are so warm!

Here's a picture of how fantastic my feet looked all day today while I was out and about!

FO - Little Monkey Foo Foo



THE STATS

NAME:Little Monkey FooFoo

PATTERN: Monkey from Knitty.com winter 2006

YARN: Socks that rock mediumweight in 'Little Bunny Foo Foo'

YARN SOURCE: Blue Moon Fiber Arts

NEEDLES:40cm and 60cm 3mm knitpicks circulars

COMPLETED: 10Jun07

Thursday, June 07, 2007

new tricks!


Friday, June 01, 2007

FO - Vintage Hues Cardi

THE STATS
NAME:Vintage Hues Cardi.
PATTERN: Cleckheaton book 952 - design 9a
YARN: Cleckheaton Vintage Hues - shade #1269
YARN SOURCE: Spotlight
NEEDLES:7mm knitpicks options
COMPLETED: 01Jun07

I made this one a size bigger than I normally would - I wanted something comfortable I could wear as an outside layer. Of course, given that my Mum likes the same colours as me, she'll probably think I made it in her size so she can wear it :)

And from the back - just to show that I got that lace edging to sit down nicely! Doncha love the spirit fingers (jazz hands)!

Kate has been working on the same pattern, but in a different yarn - pop on over and check out her progress!
And here is Pierre - he has been quite a devil living with his cousins, Toby and Elvis. He likes to grab on to Elvis's tail and get dragged around the place. Quite funny when Elvis is trying to chase him while he is doing that - they end up going round in circles.

PS - I know I need a haircut, suggestions welcome.