Knitting & Crocheting Good for Your Brain

According to a study released by the Mayo Clinic, knitting and crocheting can decrease memory loss by 30 to 50 percent in our later years. It also has extra benefits such as managing stress, pain management and relieving depression.

I had the same reaction that the reporter in this CBS News piece did when I first started knitting, “When does the relaxation part start?” Take heart, it does! (click on image to watch videos)

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Holiday Project Round-Up

As the world’s slowest knitter, I should’ve started my Holiday gift projects last summer, but I get the impression that there is still time for those who knit at an average pace to get some gifts made and make loved and well-liked ones happy (and warm). Some of my favorite projects from around the Yarniverse:

Alpaca Mini Socks Pattern from Classic Elite Yarns – pattern for these adorable little socks is free. Make a bunch and create a nontraditional advent calendar.

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Pretty in Pink: Knit a Playful Pink Ribbon Hat – granted, this post and project idea was designed for October’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month, but each of my sisters would love something like this.

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Glass Flip-Flop Crochet Pattern – I was just at WineStyles this week and saw some wine glass flip flops that I thought were pretty cute… not quite as cute as handmade, though. These are adorable and come via The Crochet Dude.

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Puff Daddy is in the House – I would love this! It looks easy and quick and tons of fun. You can get the info and the pattern via Mason Dixon Knitting.

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Image via Twisted Knitter

Delores Park Cowl – A one-skein project that knits up quickly and I can imagine it in a variety of colors for mom, best friend, office mate… who knows! I might have to try this one.

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Image from Megan Young via Flickr
Image from Megan Young via Flickr

Right now, I’m leaning toward creating little “bath kits” with a knitted (or crocheted if I can get my act together on that) washcloth with a bar of homemade soap (not by me, but from my local crafter’s market) in a pretty bag of some sort. There are tons of patterns for washcloths and dishcloths on the internets.

I like the Bernat pattern for knitting.

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And finally, humorous look at “knitter’s calculus” from Mary Mooney at K2TOG.

Knitted Acts of Kindness: Junie Moon’s Bandage Brigade

The knitting and crocheting community is compromised of men and women with the biggest hearts I’ve seen. And Junie Moon is at the head of the class. In a previous post, I featured her knitted washcloths and touched on a few of her other projects. The response has been terrific and I asked June to share more about the Bandage Brigade with us, including a pattern for knitters and crocheters.

Junie hosts a knit (and crochet) along and the finished bandages are sent to hospitals in Vietnam and Africa. You can read more about Junie’s project here. Or the Touching Others with Leprosy Bandages blog.

The Bandage Brigade really kicks of the first of the year (so be prepared for a reminder then, too!). In the meantime, if you’re interested in joining, leave a comment (I’ll make sure Junie gets your email) and take a peek at the patterns below.

Thank you so much for your interest in joining me to knit bandages for leprosy patients. I truly believe that the love and care we send out into the world does indeed make a difference.

Knitting Instructions

Materials

  • Use size 2 knitting needles if you knit average or loosely, size 3 needles if you knit tightly. You may also use size 8 needles.
  • 3–4 oz “kitchen type” 4 ply cotton yarn: Peaches and Cream, Sugar and Cream or similar quality. Please use only 100% mercerized cotton yarn in white and ecru only (no colors as they contain heavy dyes).
  • Large safety pin
  • Zip-loc baggie for each bandage.

Pattern (2 options):

Option 1: Size 2 or 3 needles
Cast on 24 to 28 stitches so the bandage measures 3”-4″ across. Slip the first stitch of every row (as to purl, with yarn in back), which gives a very nice edge to them. Knit every row until bandage is desired length of about 4 feet long. Bind off and secure thread end by slipping thread through last stitch, tying a double knot, and weaving end back through stitches.

Option 2: Size 8 needles
Cast on 14 or 18 stitches. Slip the first stitch of every row (as to purl, with yarn in back), which gives a very nice edge to them. Knit every row until bandage is desired length of about 4 feet long. Bind off and secure thread end by slipping thread through last stitch, tying a double knot, and weaving end back through stitches.

Crochet Instructions

I do not know how to crochet but here are the instructions for working up bandages with this technique.

Materials

  • Use size D or E crochet hook (loose tension desirable).
  • No. 10 knit Cro-sheen, 100% mercerized cotton in white, cream or ecru. It’s bedspread cotton. (1 ball/skein will make two 4-foot long bandages.) Please no dyes. South Maid D54 is the suggested brand, although other brand names like JP Coats, knit Cro Sheen, etc. are welcome if they meet these specifications.
  • Large safety pin.
  • Zip-loc baggie for each bandage.

Pattern

Chain enough stitches to measure about 3″–4″ in width. (23 chains and an E hook take about 6 rows to equal one inch.)
Row 1: Single crochet into each chain. Chain 1 and turn.
Rows 2: Single crochet into each sc across row. Chain 1 and turn. Continue to single crochet to end, chain 1 and turn. Repeat row 2 until bandage measures about 4 feet long.
Finish off by pulling thread through last loop and secure with a knot. Weave end back through stitches.

Preparing for Mailing

When completed, please hand wash in Ivory soap and dry, roll the bandage and secure with a large safety pin. Put in plastic bag, remove air, and seal. Please include a piece of paper with your name, email address (optional), and blog URL (optional).

Mailing Address

Although I’ve very happy to collect the bandages and send them on to the coordinator, you can mail your bandages directly to Linda (Touching Others with Leprosy http://www.leprosybandages.blogspot.com/) at the following address:

Linda Stocker
Bandage Brigade
171 Mulkey Lane
Ariel, WA  98603

My mailing address:
Junie Moon’s Bandage Brigade
624 S. Rincon Rising Road
Tucson, AZ  85748

Sometimes People Make Strange Things From Yarn

I’m fascinated by the odd things that people make from yarn – whether it’s knitted or crocheted. I’ve found some interesting ones from the last week or so to share.

Henry VIII from Caffaknitted

Crocheted Bike in a Wooden Box

Ernie Eyeglass Holder (forum info and pattern)

Dissected Lab Rat (pattern or completed work)

Crochet BLT from NeedleNoodles

Around the Yarniverse: Links of Interest for Knitting and Crocheting Fanatics

It’s officially the end of summer, which means that it’s time to start those holiday projects, right? Well, if you need some inspiration, these posts tickled my fancy this week and thought you’d enjoy them, too.

K2TOG, A Knitting Blog (The Oregonian): Color Me Blue: This is a fun post about the fear of color that parents seem to instill in young boys and can be vexxing for the knitter who wants to create something colorful. What to do?

I have friends whose young son lives in an olive-green nursery with black furniture, spurring me to grudgingly knit a black layette and deal with well-meaning-but-horrified questions from fellow knitters and inquisitive fellow TriMet riders. (“Yes, it’s a black baby blanket. No, they’re not satanists — they’re hipsters.”) And I have a friend who doesn’t let her school-age son wear any shade not seen on a black-and-white TV.

The Lumpy Sweater: How Knitters Will Save the World: You may have seen the recent Time article that Google is making us dumber? Well, according to The Lumpy Sweater, because knitting (and crocheting and many of the fiber arts) take so much concentration and focus, it has the potential to create (or recreate) the ability to think deeply and thoughtfully. This quote, actually from the Cast On podcast sums it up:

“Knitters, when you bring them into knitting, there is something that rises through the knitting that is…it’s like a deep hum or a deep rhythm, something primal and simple and peaceful…*”

Knit or Crochet a Scarf for Special Olympians: For the 2009 Winter Olympics, Coats and Clark and its Red Heart Super Saver yarns are sponsoring a project to provide each Olympian with a handmade scarf. You can read more about the project here. Want to participate? Here are some patterns for your Special Olympics scarf:

CocoKnits.com: How to Cut Rags for Knitting: I’ve not knitted on anything larger than a #13, but I might have to try this. I love the bath mat!

Crochet from CraftGossip: Holding Your Crochet Hooks in Style: Some creative ways to corral your crochet hooks.

Around the Yarniverse: Links of Interest to Knitting & Crocheting Fanatics

I’m still struggling with knitting 101, so while I work out my issues, here’s a great collection of fun posts from the last week or so.

Fancy Tiger: The World’s Longest Crochet Scarf: At the Denver Art Museum’s monthly Untitled event, the Fancy Tiger (a Denver boutique that specializes in independently designed/made apparel, accessories and craft supplies) taught museum goers some crochet skills and created the longest crocheted scarf in the world (currently at 115 ft).

Sweater Surgery: Double-Sided Cable Scarf: Fall is right around this corner and this pattern from Stefanie Girard is a fix for the fact that cables don’t look so hot from the backside.

Manchester Evening News: Knitting Cosies for Trees: Three knitters in Manchester, UK, have been knitting cosies (or cozies for us yanks) for trees. The project is part of the New Islington Festival. The knitting trio plans more knitted “urban yarn bombs” to brighten up Manchester and Salford.

Knitting Daily: What Knitting Mood are You In?: This post and accompanying excerpt from Michelle Rose Orne’s new book Inspired to Knit will help you create a “mood board,” designed by you to identify what objects, colors, textures and patterns you’re inspired by and in the mood for right now. Sounds like a dreamy way to kick of a new project.

Stitch ‘N Pitch This Summer With Your Favorite Team

The National NeedleArts Association is partnering with local yarn shops and needlework groups to bring you Stitch N’ Pitch 2008.

Stitch N’ Pitch brings together two wonderful traditions — Baseball and the NeedleArts. Come to a ball game and knit, crochet, embroider, cross-stitch and needlepoint. Sit among friends, family and colleagues and cheer on your favorite Baseball Team. Beginners, intermediate and experts are all welcome.

These games are a perfect opportunity to play with your needles in public.