Why I Knit #1,039,475

This headache has not stopped since New Years Eve.

Okay, that’s a lie. There were about two days a month ago where my head was okay and those days were GLORIOUS. They passed and since then I’ve been back to wanting to gouge out the pain sensors in my brain.

It’s not a bad headache, it’s just persistent. It is making my life difficult while I try to concentrate and write and read books to meet my goal for the year.

Don’t worry, I’m getting it checked out. I’m severely anaemic and on all the iron – seriously at this point I might as well just eat a crowbar three times a day. I have a condition called IIH that could be causing it but I’m 90% sure it isn’t that, mostly due to the fact I can still see (though I had an MRI on Saturday just to check).

All of this is exhausting. All of this makes me want to bury under a large pile of fluffy blankets and refuse to emerge until someone figures out how to make my body function.

Instead… I knit.

Knitting doesn’t require much thought. Sure, you can pick up a lace pattern and grow a few extra wrinkles in your frowny forehead, but that’s not how I role this year so far. I’m knitting all the socks. Ones that I can do without needing to think too much or focus on anything more complicated than the occasional cable.

The movements are meditative and the yarn is soft and comforting. The colours (usually red or purple at the moment) soothe me. When I don’t have the energy or concentration to do anything else, knitting takes over.

There are many reasons to knit but it’s when I’m at my most vulnerable that I find the most satisfaction from it.

What else have I been writing?

Guys, you should check out Nerd Underground if you are even slightly a geek. I’ve been writing there for a few months and now I’m part of the core admin team it’s even more fun. The other writers are fabulous and we’re really working hard on making something decent of the site.

Most of my articles lately have been reviews of TV shows or comics; the lack of anything more substantial is due to some stupid health problems that leave me with no energy or concentration lately. Still, I’m on a lot of meds and should be back to my fighting self again any day now, writing as much as ever in my compulsive ways.

You can find my most recent articles here.

Other than that I have an article about knitting and mental health being published in an actual real life magazine. I’ll update on that as it progresses.

If you can check out N.U., let me know what you think!

Experiences with tiny needles

After knitting (and frogging) a pair of socks in the last week on my tiny circular needles, I’ve discovered something.

I’m not the kind of person that thinks ahead.

To people who know me that’s not the most surprising news ever to fall out of my keyboard. It’s not even news to me, although sometimes I forget that I don’t always think things through. In this case I was happily knitting away on my needles in my usual stitch counts, just a vanilla sock because it was self-striping, when I realised my error.

I was working on 2mm needles with my usual stitch count, yet usually I work on 2.5mm or above. Result? My already tiny socks (for my tiny ankles) were laughably small.

It wasn’t me who noticed; it was my coworker, the guy who sits beside me. He’s got pretty good at knowing what I’m knitting at any given time and asks interested questions about the yarn and whether knitting is cost-effective (oh how I laughed), and he said to me, ‘those look a little small, don’t they?’.

So I looked at the socks and then at my feet and then back at the socks. And I ripped it out then and there.

Anaemia and a headache that’s been going for nearly three months now has given me rather a short temper but I did not lose it here. I’m a process knitter and enjoy the motion of knitting more than the end product. My fits of rage were fleeting as I wound back the pretty yarn and tossed it into my filing cabinet at work (hey, we’re a paper-free office, what else should I use it for?).

Despite that little hiccough I have to say I’m enjoying the tiny needles. Knitting the heel is fiddly and a bit ridiculous but the rest goes quickly and looks neat and even with no ladders where the DPNs meet.

Still, I’m casting on a few more stitches this time.

I need to stop buying needles.

Lately I’ve been turning up at my knit night with my yarn in hand and no needles with which to cast on. Don’t ask me how I manage it buy I’m always either right at the end of a project or on a really fiddly bit when I get there, which means I’m forced to start another project (I know, my life is hard). Of course I am a complete sock addict so that’s usually what I pick up.

Two weeks ago I bought some 2mm needles. Usually I knit on a larger gauge – 2.5 or above – purely because I have the tendency to break anything smaller. What? I knit tightly, okay?

Of course I broke one of the needles about five minutes in but that’s okay, I had one spare. I’m nearing the toe on that project and have yet to destroy any more needles. They’re wooden ones because despite the advantages of being less easy to snap, I cannot stand metal or carbon for long.

Last week I went back to Martina’s and still could not knit without buying some needles. Not wanting to repeat the same situation as before, I decided to try out the Hiya Hiya 9″ circulars specifically made for socks. They have tiny needles which means you have to crunch up your fingers near the end but when you’re as tense a person/knitter as me, that’s not a problem. I was surprised how easy it was to adjust to them.

One of the biggest benefits of knitting with a 9″ circular is the lack of ladders where your DPNs meet. Now, I don’t know if I’ll ever completely abandon my DPNs, but I do not hate these circulars.

When I got to the heel my mind unravelled as I attempted to figure out how to knit the heel. Turns out I should have just used Youtube, but I never make things that easy for myself. I struggled and fiddled and cursed and somehow managed to turn a successful heel yesterday.

In future I’ll stick to googling videos like this one before I get tempted to throw my project out of a window.

Have you tried these needles before? What did you think?

Terry Pratchett.

Today I bought Men at Arms which has always been one of my favourite Terry Pratchett novels. Previously I didn’t need to buy my own copies because I used the Library of Dad – it was one of the things we bonded over and how he began to realise I’m a complete nerd. Terry Pratchett’s books have brought me so much joy over the years.

I am so, so sad to hear he died today.

It is often said that before you die your life passes before your eyes. It is in fact true. It’s called living. – Terry Pratchett

There is nothing out there remotely like the Discworld novels but that was not all Pratchett brought us. I remember the day Dad came in with two hardback copies of Nation – it was released on my birthday so he took it as a sign I needed my own copy. I remember watching Pratchett’s touching talk on euthanasia, something that was close to his heart thanks to early onset Alzheimers.

Fantasy is an exercise bicycle for the mind. It might not take you anywhere, but it tones up the muscles that can. – Terry Pratchett

My heart hurts for the loss of this man and I’m not usually the kind to get upset about ‘celebrity’ deaths. I’ve never met them, after all.

But Terry Pratchett was such a huge part of my formative years and I will always carry his (ridiculous and surreal but always poignant) words in my mind.

From Terry Pratchett’s own Twitter…

It’s a boy!

My little sister already has one gorgeous little boy who is the most hilarious, beautiful little nephew I could hope for. Except now my sister is pregnant again so I get another nephew!

I’m so excited. My little sister (Megan) is a fabulous mother and it’s great to see her growing her little brood. My other sister has a lovely daughter so she gets a new cousin too.

The only thing is that I’m on a different continent. I will not be able to meet my new nephew for quite some time. I’m trying not to think about that too much.

Of course for any knitter this is time to start creating cute little items for the upcoming sweetheart. I have already knit a cardigan (pictures upcoming) but it is not for my nephew; it was for my co-worker’s granddaughter. I started knitting some booties for my nephew but I can’t find a pattern I like this time and I don’t know why.

Maybe I’m just not in the mood to knit booties.

I did eye my current socks and wonder whether to frog my process to knit something adorable for him but managed to put it on time-out until I curtailed that instinct. I mean, really. This is the perfect yarn for this pattern, I can’t rip the sock back. For a moment it was tempting.

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I managed to keep going with the sock. I’ll work on the booties more when I find some adorable yarn.

My Cat Would Like You To Know…

…That she is the queen of being comfortable.

Sean is a fluffy puddle of loud meows. She has quite the voice on her but she makes up for it with the softest fur of all our cats (we have three) and being really good at making us want to be cats.

I mean, look at her.

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If that’s not the comfiest animal in the world, I’m a fish.

(Spoiler: I’m not a fish.)

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Sean knows that she’s pretty and uses it to her advantage. On our Sunday movie watching time Sean decided to sit right in front of the screen. How dare we ogle the Guardians of the Galaxy on our new posh TV I won from work when we could be cuddling Her Majesty?

There is no knitting in this post, just cat. Cats have fibre on them! That sort of counts, right?