Sunday, October 31, 2010

Women's Support Network

In conjunction with The Woolly Mother is helping to spread the word about the online Women's Wellbeing magazine. is a well-respected publication for supporting and empowering all women around the world. It is creating a network of women from all walks of life to help and support those in need or not so fortunate. There are many thousands of women who desperately need extra support to help give them courage to either move on, face another day, work through an illness or constant pain, remove themselves (and/or their children) from abuse, recover from depression. These are just a few areas where words and thoughts can give much needed support.

In light of this, the magazine is currently seeking writers in a number areas, including the art and crafts section - Knitting, Spinning and other handcrafts have a place on the mag. Knitting is one craft that is gradually becoming renowned as a Therapy, (see here at The Woolly Mother it is whole-heartedly encouraged. Spinning, Needlework, or any of the handcrafts that supplies are relatively easy and cheap to get hold of could save a life.

With this in mind, anyone who would like to contribute either by telling their story, or adding to the craft or any of the other topics to help fellow women improve or change their life, please email to register your interest.

I am positive someone, somewhere, will thank you for your words!

         Brand New Scarf Pattern Coming Soon!

            In the process of design is a new lacy and lightweight scarf pattern for any occasion.

             Check our Knitters Den regularly for more knitting patterns.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Handspun Corridale/Alpaca Cardigan in the Making

Seems I am not very prolific on my blog at the moment - much of my time is being taken up with my online women's wellbeing magazine I have been updating and streamlining the article submission area to make it easier for writers to submit their work. And also adding a few things to the magazine.

One addition is "In the News" which is being hosted by Clare Hudd of A Krafty Catch. She will report on items of interest specifically relating to women, the new "Army Couture" currently taking pride of place.

On the knitting front, I'm still awaiting delivery of my knitting needles. Having discovered I needed the 5-set DNP's for the socks I am planning, and not the usual 4-set, and of course finding nothing in town, I proceeded with haste to Ebay where of course I found what I was looking for and duly ordered the item, via Hong Kong. Now it's a waiting game, with impatience running high, and patience running low.

It's weird having no knitting on the go, but I refuse to start anything else or will become sidetracked. This time I'm determined that is not going to happen!

In the meantime, I've been hand-carding and blending more of the corridale and alpaca for the next project, and spinning some along the way. The challenge will be adding the 'slubs'. Slubs in themselves are easy, but these are no ordinary slubs. These slubs are a different colour, in fact they will be of white alpaca, against the 'denim' blue of the main thread. It will be interesting to work, but fun.

The spinning process of hand-carding and blending is a time consuming, but worthwhile one. Starting with the blue base and a small amount of the white alpaca, blended until most of the white is absorbed into the blue corridale.

The resulting colour is a few shades lighter than the original blue, giving a mellow shade that will be enhanced with the planned 'slubs'.

Finally, enough has been carded and prepared for the next lot of bobbins. So far, one and half bobbins in a fine lace-weight thread sits ready for the next stage.

And this is BEFORE the cat decided to sleep on the prepared rolags and squash them again!

From now on, I will make sure the lid is firmly in place!

The 'therapy' is not just in the knitting, but also in the preparation and spinning, providing the atmosphere is relaxed and not all up in the air.

Now, all I need is the time to sit and spin...

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Knitting on a 'Go Slow'

Don't know about France being on a go slow with the new retirement age reform, but at this end of the world the knitting side of things is definitely on a go slow. Not from choice however, more from a case of being distracted with other happenings in the household. At least I have one mitten completed and the other well underway.

A bit of domestic news - thank goodness we missed most of the high winds and floods that seem to have found most people down the east coast - only a couple of showers of rain and very little wind.

With kids back at school, its time to get some semblance of order, though it seems a little slow in showing itself. Not for the want of trying, but distractions do seem to find their way into the mix and totally mess things up.

For instance, on Thursday I had it all planned out - edit and publish on Brandlady, one or two blogs on here, a bit of knitting and maybe some spinning if there is time....Noooo, not happening. I ended up dashing into town to find a birthday present for my eldest son and mailing it overnight express to reach him on Friday. It did. But by the time I got back from town, the enthusiasm had disappeared along with most of my day. Never mind, thought I, there is tomorrow. And still no knitting accomplished.

Friday dawns and moves along at a brilliant pace - the publishing happened, along with a little research and even a few rows of the mitten. Now if that could happen every day, I definitely would achieve a few goals.

So, today, I decided I would dedicate myself to 'the mitten'. It worked - for a while, until granddaughter got in on the act and wanted Nana's attention for every little thing. And then pinched my laptop to play on her iGoogle - this little girl is only seven years old mind you.

Oh well - there is always tomorrow...

Monday, October 11, 2010

Knitting for Therapy

Those of us who have been knitting for many years do not think about it as being a therapy, we just carry on regardless. But for newcomers, particularly those with pain or other health problems, knitting can be a lifesaver – literally. The advantages far outweigh any minor disadvantages, like cost of supplies.

When it comes to health, one always, or nearly always, does what is best for yourself. Knitting is proving to be one of the ‘must do’ practical self-help therapies. Besides which, once started, it becomes very addictive with some, if they can, moving on to dyeing their own yarn or spinning their own wool.

Not to get sidetracked – research is currently being undertaken as to how knitting has therapeutic advantages.

Picture left: Sick children from Bellevue Hospital New York knitting and weaving. ca. 1920-1925

Betsan Corkhill, a senior physiotherapist, and founder of, became interested in the effects of knitting on pain, memory, depression and post traumatic stress when she was editor for a knitting magazine. She decided to look into it further and is now working in conjunction with five universities in the United Kingdom researching the effect knitting has on brain patterns, dementia, pain management and depression to name just a few health issues it may assist to minimise.

Knitting also has other advantages in helping people come together, it transmutes languages barriers, helps quieten children and can reduce stress in the workplace.

More research needs to be undertaken to map the changes of brain patterns as to how the therapy re-generates and grows healthy brain cells. Some of the benefits are listed below. If even one of these apply to you, then the whole business is worthwhile:

* Helps alleviate pain
* Assists in gaining control over you life
* Improves hand movement
* Helps break addictions
* Stimulates brain patterns by using visualisation
* Creates a sense of belonging (in a group)
* Gives back the lost identity and self-confidence
* Creates positive thinking
* Improves memory through remembering stitches, patterns, etc
* It can teach goal setting and planning, anticipation and excitement that can all be lost through continual pain and illness
* Compliment medical treatments by occupying the mind and keeping it busy
* Reduce stress in the workplace
* Quiets over-active or violent children

There are many more positive aspects that can be added but these create a starting point.

While knitters do not normally think ‘therapy’, looking at myself over the years I can see where it has helped me during difficult times and one instance in particular comes to mind when I was staying with friends and I felt ‘compelled’ to knit, so I borrowed a pair of needles and some wool and started knitting. I did not think too much about it at the time, but looking back it did remove the stress and relax my whole being.

Betsan is currently looking for funding for research studies to:

* Explore the Effects of Knitting on Memory Scan, Memory Recall and on Local versus Global Attention.

* Knitting and the Knitting Group as a Complex Intervention for the Management of Chronic Pain – a feasibility study for a definitive trial.

* A Brain Imaging Study of Knitters - Centre for Integrative Neuroscience and Neurodynamics Reading.

For more information visit Stitchlinks

In the meantime, try it for yourself – knitting is an ancient, timeless craft and is achievable by all age groups, girls and boys, women and men.

But be warned – Knitting is Very addictive! So it might pay to ensure there is a well-prepared empty cupboard for all the yarn that will become your ‘stash’!

More websites where you can find support and friendship:

Crafting with Pain on Ravelry



Friday, October 1, 2010

Multicoloured Knitting Yarns

Shopping should be banned! It's the most time-wasting, no-entity there is on this planet. Whoever says they like shopping, food shopping that is, ought to be banished to Mars.

After the weekly drudge of trawling through the supermarket, waiting in loooong queues at the checkout, then having to drag the bags into the car, I think we all deserve the best glass of wine there is to offer. Plus it takes us away from the most important occupation - Knitting.

And talking about knitting, the 'quick scarf' I started last week is finished. A little disappointing and annoying as whoever was at the winding machine in the factory to create the balls of the yarn decided that a fast colour change was the flavour of the day. Hmmmm...

This particular acrylic boucle goes through colour changes and melds beautifully from one colour to the next, until I come to about three-quarters of the way through the ball. Here, someone decided it might be nice to have a change of pace and instead of the 100gram ball being one continuous length, the golden brown was suddenly changed to a bright blue. Ouch! Needless to say, I am not impressed.

It has in fact spoilt the whole look of the piece. As this happened near the end of the ball, I managed to manouver the colours to blend a little, using the purple against the brown, following through with the blue, then the rest of the purple flowing into red. The colour changes still 'stand out' too much.

The moral of the story? Beware when buying 100gram balls of blended-coloured yarn. Maybe buy two balls, just in case and you need to blend the colours yourself.