Category Archives: Knitting

Knitting Rheumatoid Arthritis Type 1 Diabetes

Self Care

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This is a sponsored post for Self Care Catalysts. I have been compensated through the Chronic Illness Bloggers network. All opinions remain my own and I was in no way influenced by the company.

When I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis, I couldn’t stop asking “why?”. Why did this happen to me? What did I do to cause this disease? What could I have done to prevent it? The truth is, there isn’t a reason. I know that. But four years ago, I needed something tangible to tie my diagnosis to. The year right before my diagnosis, I was busy. Busy with a husband and two young children. Busy working full time in a job that required me to work early in the morning and late into the night. It required weekends and events that had me on my feet for almost 24 hours. In between meetings I would rush home to say goodbye to my daughter as she was getting on the school bus or quickly help with homework. I was exhausted but I never stopped.

I look back on the few months leading to my diagnosis and realize my body was trying, trying so hard, to tell me to slow down. I didn’t listen. Eventually, my body just stopped. I literally could not walk. It took another serious diagnosis (I already have Type 1 Diabetes) to realize that I needed to take care of myself. And that’s where self care comes in.

When I first saw the term self care, I thought it had to be a certain something. It had to be an appointment and it had to cost time and money. Like a spa day. Sure it can be a day getting pampered but that doesn’t fit into my life or budget. Continue reading

Knitting Rheumatoid Arthritis

The Worst Part

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Rheumatoid Arthritis sucks. But lately it’s not the constant pain and swelling or the overwhelming fatigue that’s got me down. It’s that RA is keeping me from doing things for other people. That makes me mad.

I love loved to knit. You wont find many of my knitted projects in my house. Why? Because I enjoyed knitting for others. Baby blankets were one of my favorites. I loved picking out bright, non-traditional colors of yarn and working them up into a soft, beautiful blanket. I love hearing from friends and family, years later, about how much their child loved the blanket from day one.

And then there are prayer shawls. I made my first one nine years ago when my Uncle died unexpectedly. I needed to do something so I started knitting. My Aunt wrote me the most wonderful letter a few weeks later telling me that my cousin, who was 8 at the time, had been falling asleep with the shawl every night since his Dad’s passing. Fast forward to less than a year ago when my Aunt was diagnosed with cancer. She texted me that the prayer shawl had been with her, in her bedroom, for all of these years. Now that she was facing another battle, she was using it more than ever. I can’t explain what it meant to know that something I made was cherished year after year.

My second prayer shawl was made for my dear Aunt Melanie. My Aunt Melanie was diagnosed with Stage 4 Lung Cancer in the Spring of 2013. Again, not knowing what to do, I started to knit. I thought of all of the colors she loved and surrounded herself with and made sure my yarn reflected that. I wrapped up the shawl and put it in the mail to her in Virginia. I was unprepared for how much my Aunt would come to love and depend on that shawl. My Aunt wore it nonstop..she would text me and tell me she had it on at chemo and again to watch football on the weekends. She absolutely loved it. My Aunt Melanie fought a short but courageous battle with cancer and passed away in November, 2013. She passed away wearing my shawl.


I think of knitting daily. I started knitting square blocks a few months ago, in hope that “little” projects somehow wouldn’t cause me as much pain as larger, heavier ones do. Every week or so I’ll pull my knitting basket out (which makes my cat ecstatic) only to find that nothing’s changed…my fingers fall asleep holding the needles, my hands and wrists ache after just a few stitches. And now knitting is 100% out until mid-November at least, since I have a ligament tear in my wrist.

I feel guilty that I’m not knitting. I have two people, who immediately come to mind, that I would love to make prayer shawls for and plenty of babies that I would love to go yarn shopping for. As each week month goes by, I lose a little hope that I’ll ever knit again.


Quick Knit Infinity Scarf

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Here in Baltimore, it’s cold. I have quite a few an enormous collection of scarves and although most are pretty to wear, they don’t actually provide much warmth. I have a bunch of extra Homespun skeins laying around so I grabbed one and made this infinity scarf in just a few hours over the weekend.


Here’s what you need:

– 1 skein of Lionbrand Homespun (or another comparable yarn of your choice)
– size 15 needles

Cast on 25 stitches. Work in the following pattern until the piece measures about 50 inches or so. Then sew the short ends together- ensuring that you’ve made one twist in the scarf before sewing.

Pattern- k1, p1, repeat from beginning, k last stitch



Great Stitch Counter App

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When knitting 2 identical pieces of work (such as the pillows I’m knitting for my daughter), I prefer to complete the same number of rows for each, instead of just measuring. Usually I have a scrap piece of paper and I jot down each row I complete. Not the best method considering I often have a lot of projects going at once which means a lot of little papers as well.

Today I found this great app for my iPhone and it’s completely free!

You literally just tap the area you’re updating, such as when you start a new row. And it checks with you before it resets your count, in case you hit it accidentally.


Let me know if you use a similar app or if you’ve given this one a try!


Mission Cowl: Complete!

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In the time it took me to watch Monsters University and the Ravens football game, I completed my cowl and I love it! And it kept me super warm yesterday, considering it was around 30 degrees all day.


As I wrote in my earlier post, I used size 13 needles and 2 strands of Merino Aran Wool held together (4 balls total). I also needed 4 buttons, as well as a needle and thread for sewing them on.

Here’s what you do:

  • cast on 17 stitches (you must cast on stitches in an odd number for the moss stitch)

Row 1: K1, P1 until the end of the row, ending with a knit stitch

Row 2: P1, K1 until the end of the row, ending with a purl stitch

Row 3: P1, K1 until the end of the row, ending with a purl stitch

Row 4: K1, P1 until the end of the row, ending with a knit stitch

  • then repeat rows 1-4 until you’ve reached the desired length (for me that was when I was almost done with 4 balls of yarn)
  • cast off
  • attach the buttons- I sewed decorative buttons going down one side and then one button on the reverse for function

**For placement and sewing of the buttons, take a look at this blog (where I got my inspiration to make the cowl from!).


I love my cowl so much (and got so many compliments on it), that I already started a second one last night. I’m using this soft and beautiful Cashmereno. Hoping to have it done this week!



Brrr! It’s Cowl Time!

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With the weather in Baltimore getting chillier and chillier…especially when your office still runs the air conditioning every afternoon..it’s time to start wearing stuff that will keep you warm. For me, it’s finally giving in to wearing flats with ugly pantyhose looking things socks, trading my puffy vests in for coats (still working on this transition), and wearing a scarf every day. But, what if the scarf just isn’t warm enough? Enter, the cowl. I’ve been pinning plenty of scarf and cowl patterns over the past few months. I think I’ve finally found the one I’m going to make. Tonight.


Visit the awesome blog: everything else we do, to see the instructions and more photos.

Why do I love this pattern?

  • Two words- Straight. Needles. Circulars and I just don’t get along. We’re working on our relationship.
  • The buttons! Did you see the buttons? I love them.
  • And because, of course, it looks super cozy and warm.

Stay tuned to see how mine turns out!

The cowl is finally in progress! I’m using this really cool bluish/dark green Merino Aran wool that was passed along to me months ago.


Only about 20 minutes into this project and I’m already loving this color with the moss stitch

In case you’ve never done a moss stitch, it’s super easy. If you can knit and purl, you’re good to go. Here’s a quick guide: