Sep 14, 2008

The Point of it All: Down But Not Out

It's been more than a month since I last posted. At first, I was reluctantly silent because I was working on a bag for my Twilight Swap partner in Ravelry. Only thing was I could not describe or show pictures of my doings because it was a secret until she received it. Boy, was it hard to keep loquacious me from chatting it up. But by the time I had finished the project at the end of August, I was in no mood to chat about crochet.

I haven't picked up a crochet hook for more than 3 weeks now and it's killing me. You would think it would have to be something really serious to keep me off the hook. But I'm almost embarrassed to tell what I've been suffering from. It just seems so
insignifcant. What I have is -- tennis elbow. Admittedly, I didn't take it seriously, for a while -- who am I kidding, I didn't take it seriously for a long time. I took Aleve when my left arm bothered me but it didn't keep me from crocheting and living my life. My doctor (I saw him twice) told me to wear a tennis elbow brace but it hurt like hell. I even thought about asking for a steroid shot but figured it would go away by itself. But this case of tennis elbow was proving to be intractable and just didn't want to heal. By Labor Day, I had been suffering for more than three months, the Aleve didn't help anymore and the pain was unbearable, keeping me up at night, unable to pickup even the weight of a pencil, or to zip my pants (did you realize women's zippers are designed to be pulled with the left hand). Don't even ask me how hard it was to put on and take off a bra. It began to affect me at work just when I needed my full focus and full use of my hands to complete projects.

After Labor Day, I was ready for alternative therapy. Ibuprofin alleviates some of the pain but only at high dosages. You can't take Motrin for too long without stomach problems cropping up. The tennis elbow strap just was useless. So, after much thought, I started looking for an acupuncturist. I found one just a country mile away. Today, SUCCESS! I had two treatments last week, and boy, what a difference. I've cut back on the Ibuprofin by 2/3 and can fully extend my arm. Running my hand across the hair on my arm no longer makes me squirm in my seat. God, it feels good. I'm almost tempted to start back crocheting but know I need to wait until I finish my sessions.

Now, back to my Twilight Bag. My first attempt at tapestry crochet done in black and red. I started two other bags before settling on a modified market bag in black with red apples worked in TLC Cotton Plus and lined in crimson red sateen. It evokes the temptations facing the book's lead character, Bella, a 17-year old girl faced with loving a vampire, hanging with a werewolf, or living a clueless but normal life.

As I worked the bag from the bottom up, I wanted to break up the sea of black with a touch of red. But the bag also needed texture so I created what I think may be a new stitch. It's like a bobble stitch, flat on one side and raised on the other. But what is unique is that it produces a continuous raised stitch that is flexible but firm. I'm calling it Victoria's Ridge stitch.

How to make Victoria's "Bobble Ridge Stitch"
ERRATA posted 25 Nov 2008 to correct obviously poorly written directions.
Simply, you put what may appear to be 2 double crochets into each stitch (traditional bobble stitches use 3 DCs separated by a ch st and repeated after skipping the next st). However, for my bobble ridge stitch, start as if to do a double crochet (YO, insert hook into stitch, draw through and YO again) but instead of drawing through two loops on the hook, YO and insert your hook back into the same stitch. You repeat this once again, leaving 7 loops on your hook, through which you YO once again and draw through all 7 loops. Do not seal the bobble with a chain. To get the continuous raised pattern, do not skip the next stitch. Just YO and start the stitch again. In addition, the stitch must be worked with the wrong side facing you. If you CH1 to seal the bobble, you will end up with 2 stitches for each bobble and the ridge will not be as prominent.

Directions: *YO, insert hook into next st, YO and insert hook into same st [you have 3 loops on hook], YO and insert hook into same st [you have 5 loops on hook], YO and insert hook into same st [you have 7 loops on hook], YO and draw through all 7 loops on hook.* Repeat for each stitch -- remember, do not skip a stitch.

Although you can do row upon row of this stitch
on pieces worked in the round, the final fabric will be bulky, which is okay for a trim on a sleeve or hem or as a collar. However, for all over fabric, I would recommend alternating the ridge stitch row with a row of slip st or a row of sc st worked with the right side of the fabric facing you.

When I can pick up my hook again (please, please, soon), I plan to play around with this stitch on a few items. Perhaps along the hem of a sweater. Hmmmm.

Wish me luck.

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