Thoughts on Size Zero Needles and Other Musings on Knitting
As you may recall, I always knit something when I travel by airplane. Well, I just traveled to Washington State to my school reunion. I had an adventure with knitting needles right before I left on my trip, which was as follows:
Do NOT, I repeat, do NOT, use size zero needles. You will age faster. Your hair will turn very gray. Your kids will start taking drugs. Your cats will run away from home. Your husbands will have ejaculations so premature that you will both be very, very sorry you ever even looked at size zero needles. Now, aren’t you glad there are no negative one needles?
Size one needles are a joy by comparison. They actually have tips that don’t happen to slice you up every time you look at them. I dig size one. Ditto size two. I actually bought some “spare” size zero needles in case my other size zero needles got lost on the plane. Then I had lotsa toothpicks for my trip. I changed my mind and switched needle size after I knitted about two inches, disgusted with the toothpicks. It actually made no difference cuz my stitching was tighter on the size ones, at least twice as fast, and neater, too. Plus, I could SEE.
Now, it took approximately 2-1/2 minutes to do a row, and there were four rows to a round. But if there was a difficult or stubborn stitch, the row took 2:45. This included moving the hair elastic from one needle to the other. I used those to keep the stitches on the needles and not somewhere else. Then I found some wonderful Clover brand caps for the needles. You will need eight for a double-pointed needle project. These are silicone and they do stay on.
Six rounds will make a half inch of sock. That means it takes ten+ minutes to do a round, 120+ minutes to do an inch, which is two to four hours, not including breaks. Including breaks, it takes at maybe eight hours to do an inch of sock. I have done four and a half inches or so now. On four plane rides, I did only about an inch to an inch and a half. The pattern recommends six inches of sock before turning the heel. Arrgghh!!! And this is only sock #1!
Do you know just how hard it is to knit socks with tiny needles on a plane? First of all, you have to keep your overhead light turned on. Undoubtedly, you’ll be stuck sitting next to some arsehole who wants to sleep for the entire ride and is gravely offended by the light, and bothered by your periodic elbow jabbings (from dealing with runaway yarn) and swearing at stitches you nearly drop. Secondly, the light does no good, because your head forms a shadow over your knitting. This is remedied by leaning the seat back, but not without offending the person behind you and knocking over his coffee, spilling it all over his business suit. Then there is the well-meaning looker-on, who wants to tell you you are knitting all wrong, that you are too slow, too sloppy, that you don’t know what you are doing, and really, you don’t, do you? YOU’RE KNITTING SOCKS, AFTER ALL! THIS ISN’T SUPPOSED TO BE FUN!
So what did I do? When I got home, I decided to quit cursing, and put the project aside in favor of yet another hat, this one from Merino wool, bulky. I dig size 9 needles. Besides, when I bought the spare size zero and spare size 1 and 2 needles, I purchased more wool bulky yarn (couldn’t resist) for a new dog sweater, this from the Windsor Button Shop in Boston.
If you haven’t been to the Windsor Button Shop, I’d suggest going there. It is magnificent. What a gold mine. You are guaranteed to go home with something you love, but with a few dollars missing from your wallet. It’s worth the sweater you’ll make. Go there.
If you love knitting as much as I do, you will put up with the eyestrain, the dropped stitches, the frustration, the expense, the tangled yarn, the lost needles, the yarn that runs out at the last minute. You will put up with the fact that you’ve got three or four projects going at once. You know something? Knitting makes sense. And eventually, our projects–dog sweaters, hats, socks, mittens, scarves–do indeed get finished.
NOTE: the shoulder increase panel should be six inches long, not three!!!! So when you increase, do it only on the K rows, not the K and P rows both. We want Puzzle’s front leg area to fit into this sweater! Otherwise, she won’t be able to go for walks very easily! I fixed the pattern post (see post) to reflect this change.
I have a bit of ripping out to do now. No harm done.
I have had to make adjustments, because my gauge is slightly off. I have not changed the pattern as I have written it, but when I make it, I’ll use 62 stitches around, not 56, to make a 17-inch chest, which was what was planned in the first place, but for some reason that wasn’t what I was getting.
Puzzle has grown a tiny bit in the past year (she’s 3) and now weighs 17.4 pounds.
The main change is right after completing the collar. I found that in order to increase by 30 stitches in 3 inches, I had to increase by 2 stitches just about every row. This meant increasing in both K rows and P rows.
Here is a photo of what I have so far:
As you can see, the ribbing scrunched up quite a bit. It stretches, and does fit over Puzzle’s little head. I tried it. If necessary, I will block the collar section, and I will probably revise the pattern to make the collar 36 stitches around the whole way. I was quite surprised that the ribbing came out so tight. Maybe it’s the way I knit? I did the cast-on very loose, though, thankfully.
I have just designed and created this dog sweater. I am currently knitting it. I will keep you informed of my progress, and post photos, in future posts. Keep checking back for updates and changes to the pattern. I have made a few changes since first posting it.
NOTE: I HAVE MADE SOME REVISIONS TO THIS PATTERN SINCE FIRST POSTING IT!
This sweater is for a female dog! Male version coming soon!
Lamb’s Pride Braided Dog Sweater for Female Dog designed by Julie Greene
Fits my Schnoodle dog, *Puzzle.* Size M. Adjust to fit your own dog.
Brown Sheep Company Lamb’s Pride Bulky
You will need three skeins.
Gauge: 11 stitches = 3 inches on size 9 needles in stockinette stitch
Materials: Size 9 dpn’s, set of 5; Size 9, 16-inch circular needle (I used two of these circular needles for the rear band); cable stitch holder; stitch markers; tapestry needle; size 9 straight needles for chest piece, if desired, set of 2; small safety pin, two stitch holders.
Dimensions: Neck: 9 inches (will stretch considerably to go over head). Chest: 17 inches. Belly: somewhat smaller. Length: roughly 12 inches from shoulder to back of sweater. Sleeve width: 1-1/2 inch (will stretch). 3 inches between neck and shoulder. 2 inches between legs (will stretch).
Regarding color: I would suggest using a matching dark color for the collar, sleeves, and band. Use lighter colors for the chest panel, braid panel, shoulder, body, and end back.
Colors shown: Brown heather (collar), Oatmeal, Bronze (pinstripes), Sandy Heather
Pinstripes are not written into the pattern. If you want to make the pinstripes shown, separate them by 3/4-inch segments (four rows) of a lighter color.
Begin neck. Loosely cast on 36 stitches and knit K2 P1 for three inches. Put 10 stitches on a stitch holder, placing a marker in the center of the 10 stitches, and work with the other 26.
In stockinette stitch, work the 26 stitches, adding 36 stitches in 7 inches. Do this by adding 2 stitches every other row, by K both front and back of the stitch, every K row, or M1, in the each side of the row, near the edge. Do this for 36 rows and you will add the required 36 stitches. Keep going to make it seven inches. 62 stitches = 17 inches around.
Place a marker and join. You now have a marker on the top and bottom of the sweater.
Continue in stockinette stitch for two inches in the round. Then begin the braid, centered, 12 st before marker. It is a 24×26 panel:
R1: p2, k3, p4, k6, p4, k3, p2
R2: Repeat Row 1
Row 3: and all subsequent odd rows: k all k st, p all p st
R 4: p2, (SFC,P2, SBC) twice, p2
R6: P3, SFC, SBC, P2, SFC, SBC, P3
R8: P4, FC, P4 , BC, P4
R 10: P3, SBC, SFC, P2, SBC, SFC, P3
R 12: P2 ( SBC, P2 SFC) twice, P2
R 14: P2 K3, P4, BC, P4, K3, P2
R ,16 and 18 repeat rows 4 and 6
R 20 P4, FC, P4, BC, P4
Rows 22 and 24 Repeat 10 and 12.
Row 26: k all the k stitches, p all the p stitches
FC = sl 3 st onto cn, hold in front, k 3, k 3 from cn
BC = sl 3 st onto cn, hold in back, k 3, k 3 from cn
SFC = sl 3 st onto cn, hold in front, p1, k 3 from cn
SBC = sl 1 st onto cn, hold in back, k 3, p 1 from cn
Note: Braid will stretch width-wise when worn by your dog.
Meanwhile, at 5 inches past where you joined and started in the round (measure underneath), put the 6 center bottom stitches on a holder. Do this after an EVEN braid row, so you can purl back and work the next row by knitting the purl stitches and purling the knit stitches.
Work the remaining stitches as follows: Sl 1 K 1 psso K to last 2 st K2 tog. This decreases by 2, one stitch on either side. Do this every K row. Back will be 36 st, 10 inches wide. If necessary, adjust decreases so that there are 6 K stitches on either side of the 24-stitch braid panel.
Once you have decreased to 36 stitches, stop decreasing, and continue with the back until you have four more inches from where you stopped knitting in the round. Put on a stitch holder. Meanwhile, you have completed the braid panel.
Knit up 21 stitches on side of body, knit up stitches in both stitch holders and knit up 21 stitches on other side of body for rear band, in K2 P1 ribbing, for one inch. Bind off in ribbing.
Start chest with the 10 stitches from the stitch holder at the neck. Place a pin in the center of the 10 stitches, on the neckline. Also you have a marker in the center of the ten stitches. Work in K1 P1 ribbing. Within the first 3 rows, add 12 stitches. Now you have 22 stitches and are working in K2 P1 ribbing, starting and ending the front side row with a p stitch. After 3 inches, make slits for legs. Make sure the marker is lined up with the pin. Bind off 2 five-stitch segments on both sides, each 3 stitches from the marker, so there are 6 stitches between the slits, and then when you come back, cast on these 5 stitches, making two slits. Bind off and cast on very loosely. After two more inches, bind off.
Add sleeves. I would suggest 24 stitches around. Pick up these stitches with the right side facing you. Knit up in K2 P1 ribbing. Make the sleeves one inch long, then bind off loosely in ribbing.
Attach main piece to chest piece. This is tricky as they appear not to fit together. Stretch the main piece chest opening widthwise, so that the “V” is straight. Line up the “V” with the center of the long part of the chest piece. Remember, chest piece stretches.
Weave in ends. You are done!
I wrote a couple more patterns that you can find if you click on the tag, Dog Sweaters.
My wonderful new book, This Hunger Is Secret: My Journeys Through Mental Illness and Wellness is now available in e-book form from Chipmunkapublishing. Click here to download the .pdf file. To read excerpts at my home site, click here. The book will be available in paperback form in May 2011.
Increased Mortality in Bulimia Nervosa and Other Eating Disorders. Objective: Anorexia nervosa has been consistently associated with increased mortality, but whether this is true for other types of eating disorders is unclear. The goal of this study was to determine whether anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and eating disorder not otherwise specified are associated with increased all-cause mortality or suicide mortality. Method: Using computerized record linkage to the National Death Index, the authors conducted a longitudinal assessment of mortality over 8 to 25 years in 1,885 individuals with anorexia nervosa (N=177), bulimia nervosa (N=906), or eating disorder not otherwise specified (N=802) who presented for treatment at a specialized eating disorders clinic in an academic medical center. Results: Crude mortality rates were 4.0% for anorexia nervosa! , 3.9% for bulimia nervosa, and 5.2% for eating disorder not otherwise specified. All-cause standardized mortality ratios were significantly elevated for bulimia nervosa and eating disorder not otherwise specified; suicide standardized mortality ratios were elevated for bulimia nervosa and eating disorder not otherwise specified. Conclusions: Individuals with eating disorder not otherwise specified, which is sometimes viewed as a “less severe” eating disorder, had elevated mortality risks, similar to those found in anorexia nervosa. This study also demonstrated an increased risk of suicide across eating disorder diagnoses. Source: Am J Psychiatry. 2009 Dec;166(12):1342-6. PMID: 19833789.
According to my records, I am eating more now than I was before entering the hospital. I have been eating up to 75% of what I’m supposed to be eating according to the meal plan set out for me by the nutrition staff at the hospital, which is a good percentile. I may have gained several pounds, but it’s hard to tell. My weight seems to vary from day to day more than it used to. I’m not certain as to why this is except that I have been drinking copious amounts of water at times.
So far, I kind of like it. I like the meal plan because it is very simple and easy to follow. It is the same meal plan they had me on in the hospital–no surprises there. Frequently, I eat a meal and find that I am way too full, but this is to be expected, I have been told, after one has been restricting one’s intake over a long period. I tend to skip the next meal if this happens, though. I don’t like feeling way too full.
There are two allotted snacks, one in the afternoon and one at bedtime. This makes sense because breakfast and lunch are larger than dinner. My experimentation and experience tells me that contrary to popular belief, it will not give you any ill effects to eat late in the day. It doesn’t matter when you consume your food–intake is intake.
You should not go to bed on a completely empty stomach, and whoever told you to do so was simply misguided. If you do, you’re likely to a) wake up in the middle of the night starving, and eat, b) wake up starving and weak first thing in the morning, or c) who’s kidding whom? you might eat anyway, or binge, before you even hit the sack. I have not binged since getting out of the hospital, and feel the reason for this is that I am eating more, not letting myself get hungry at night, and having a structured, planned snack at night, instead of grabbing the first thing I see in the refrigerator.
What has caused this change in me? Why am I eating now? Have I turned the corner?
I don’t know. I might be going through a “phase.” But today I went to the gym and felt very strong and secure in my body. I didn’t feel like I was using up the last reserves of fuel that I had, and I didn’t feel like I immediately had to go out and get an energy bar to replenish myself. That’s a start. I know I’m not supposed to be exercising, but I am. At least I’m not overdoing it.
Before I left for the hospital, I believe it was Tuesday the 12thof January, I called maintenance about the leak in my bathroom that I believed was coming from the toilet. When I stepped on the floor, water came up from between the linoleum tiles, in little puddles. It may have been the 12th that I made the call. Meanwhile, I had already slipped and fallen twice from the puddles. They came the next day and looked at it, and said they’d send the plumber, Sean, who also works for the Watertown Housing Authority. They said the toilet was leaking. Then on the 14th at 9am I left for the hospital, and expected that the work would be completed within a day or two, and that I wouldn’t have to worry about it while I was gone.
Wrong-o, wrong-o, wrong, wrong, wrong. I arrived home on the 22nd to find that the leak hadn’t been fixed. Every time I stepped on the floor, a puddle came up. I felt like the bathroom was a swamp, and it sickened me to go in there. I couldn’t bear to brush my teeth in there, and instead brushed them in the kitchen sink.
Finally, on the 25th, after I had nagged the maintenance lady, Debbie, several times, Sean came and looked at the situation. He said he’d be back on the 26th, yesterday, to take the toilet off the floor and re-do the seal. He came in the morning while I was out. The procedure worked.
Problem was, because the adjacent bedroom parkay wood floor had been soaking wet for so long, when it dried up it buckled up and expanded, and now it’s in bits, and a mess, and hazardous to step on. There’s an area 3 x 3 feet that’s formed a big bump in the floor. Because of Housing’s negligence, it’s going to have to be redone. It is unsafe for me to walk barefoot there now. Here’s a photograph of the part of the damage that I could capture in an image:
I called maintenance today, and Debbie said she’d send Sean to “look at it.” I wasn’t home, so I don’t know if he came.
Living in a run-down apartment is a negative influence on my mental state. I don’t need this, especially not now.
Well, today I went there. I’m here. It looks like [the psychiatric unit I was last in]. Too much. Locked unit. I don’t like that. I do not intend on gaining weight or cooperating any further than I have to.
I miss Puzzle.
Friday, January 15
They treat you like a child in here with stupid rules. I fucking hate it here, and want to be discharged as soon as possible because it’s not helping. It was a mistake to come here. I’m pushing for discharge Tuesday. It’s true that the staff here are very nice but I can’t stand it any longer.
Saturday, January 16
I put in a “3-day” this AM. Not sure it was the best idea. My friend and everyone else plus my brother want me to retract it.
I do NOT want to gain weight!!!! I hate this fucking place!!!!
Sunday, January 17
I am so sad. I don’t know what to say. I hate it here.
Monday, January 18
Today I found out that my outpatient treatment team won’t see me anymore unless I gain weight during this hospitalization. They didn’t say how much (of course they wouldn’t) but I have to eat and gain weight otherwise they will stop seeing me. It sucks that they are telling me this now and didn’t tell me before the hospital. They tricked me!!!! Bitches! The weight gain has to be by the end of this hospitalization or they will cut me off. But I must verify this with them before I retract the “3-day.”
I fucking hate it here.
Sleep deprivation–they don’t let you sleep enough hours in the night.
Tuesday, January 19
I am getting sprung on Friday AM. Am I the least bit better? Probably not. I will start restricting as soon as I get home. I am not “recovering.” I am not even on the road to “recovering.” In fact I am resistant to treatment, maybe? I feel like an old, burnt-out, ugly anorexic. I feel like I’ll never get better. I need to get home, get my life together again, get Puzzle back, get back to the gym, get writing again, get busy, get into a routine, get through winter. I need all these things. I can’t stay here where it’s doing me no good except a temporary band-aid fix. I am so happy to be leaving, but sad that they did not give me a reason to give up my eating disorder.
Wednesday, January 20
Friday discharge is official, and I am picking Puzzle up @ 4pm. I have my therapist @ 11, right after I get discharged. Not sure what I’ll say to her. I feel kinda depressed about all this. She and Dr. P got what they wanted: I gained weight. Or so they think. I did not pee before weigh-in this morning. I know that was kind of a stupid idea but I need them to think I’ve gained a lot of weight. Plus, I think I have indeed gained a little bit of true weight. Today, I ate all my meals and one snack. Tomorrow I will not eat all that. No way. I don’t want this eating business to become habit. Or is that what THEY want???
Maybe if I stayed here longer, eating would indeed become a habit. That’s something to think about. Maybe I’m just not ready now. But maybe this hospitalization has given me a glimpse into what is possible.
Thursday, January 21
I am a liar, cheater, hypocrite, fool. What am I doing here? It has been a waste, this treatment. I am not even being honest anymore. And when honesty is lacking, treatment is ineffective. That much I know. My therapist would say that I have wasted my time here. But the truth was that I came here for the wrong reasons, and I was not ready. What have I learned? Have I learned anything at all? I have learned that there are anorexics out there more deserving of recovery than I am, because they truly want it, because they are working for it, and because they are honest and good people.
The AA Big Book talks about people who are “constitutionally incapable of being honest with themselves…naturally incapable of grasping and developing a manner of living which demands rigorous honesty.” Perhaps I am one of these “unfortunates” and there is no hope for me.
Friday, January 22
Well, I’m home. The first thing I did after setting down my luggage was to step on the scale and assess the damage: It is not too bad. It will take me about three weeks to lose the weight, maybe more, depending. I did not gain as much as they think I gained. This morning not only did I not pee before weigh-in, but I drank a fair amount of water in secret.