Marlborough College Crochet Roundup

Hello again! I’m back from a wonderful couple of weeks teaching at the Marlborough College Summer School – exhausting, but great fun!

Week one was

Beginners Crochet

The ladies were complete beginners, but picked it up so quickly – I was very impressed! We started with a basic chain, then moved on to double crochet (making phone covers), working up to trebles where we made bunting, flower pot covers and a bag. The course gave all students the skills needed to be able to read patterns so that they can crochet at home with confidence.

They produced a lot of finished pieces!

I was amazed at the distance some of the ladies had travelled to take the course – I had ladies from Greece, Hong Kong and France! They all enjoyed themselves and presented me with a card and voucher for a local yarn shop on the final day.

They were truly a joy to teach.

Week Two was

Tunisian Crochet

Most of the ladies on this course were completely new to crochet, but were keen knitters. This meant ‘retraining’ them to hold the yarn and hook in a different way. Not an easy thing to grasp when the hook you are holding feels just like a knitting needle! They picked it up very quickly, and we were soon moving from Tunisian Simple Stitch (TSS) to colour work, wrapping the yarn and working with floats. A couple of Intrepid Beginners were eager to work different stitches, so we also covered Tunisian Knit Stitch, Tunisian Purl and Entrelac.

So much work was created in the week that I almost ran out of blocking boards for the Exhibition at the end of the course!

It was fantastic to see the experimentation and imagination of the students take flight. Again, the students enjoyed the course – I was presented with a lovely card and a box of choccies. With all the amazing food at the College though it will be a while before I can enjoy them!

I was delighted to meet one of the Week One students (a big shout out to Dorothy!) at the end of Week Two – she had continued to crochet and was well underway with a blanket she was making, having found a pattern on line and had the confidence and ability to follow it.

I was so proud!

I love to see the lightbulb moment with students.
I love to watch them fall in love with the craft.
I love to see them go from struggling with the initial chain to working stitches with ease. 

I love to teach.

I really hope I can offer more courses at Marlborough next year. It is an amazing venue to teach at. The atmosphere is amazing, the hospitality is second to none. The food (ohmythefood!) and entertainment are fantastic. 

And I’d love to see you there too. 

With love,

 

p.s. I’ve had some lovely feedback from the students and thought I’d share it with you!

“Very well taught – kept my imagination going and
the troubleshooting from Zoe was fab!”

“Excellent value – tutor worked very hard and
was very encouraging”

“Tutor excellent”

Order your brochure for 2016 courses here.

5 fantastic ways to prevent RSI for knitters and crocheters

As knitters and crocheters, we make a lot of repetitive movements.

Lots and lots.

Imagine you are working on a shawl, 43 in wide with a 23 in drop, and tension at 19 sts x 34 rows to 4in, we could easily be looking at a grand total of …

21,255 stitches!

HOW MANY STITCHES!!!!!

HOW MANY STITCHES!!!!!

Photo credit: Instant Vantage / Foter / CC BY-SA

Wowser.

That’s over 40,000 movements – the needle going into the stitch, the yarn going over (whether throwing or continental styles) and the needle picking up the yarn and out.

Each one of those movements results in a muscle or a tendon making tiny little movements and the poor things can wear out through use. Trust me, with tennis elbow in both arms, carpal tunnel and tendons that I can hear and feel snap, I know exactly how painful and life impacting that can be.
There is good news though:

You can help prevent injury. 

There are steps you can take to make your body work with you, to ease any aches or pains you may have and to help you keep knitting or crocheting for a very, very long time*. I wish I knew of these before I developed problems which are now lifelong and can only be managed, not cured.
So please, take time out to take care of yourselves.

It’s really very, very simple…

All you need is a can, your hands and a couple of minutes a day.

Exercise 1
Wrist Turn

Hold the can in your hand, with your palm facing up.

RSI avoidance for crafters170615_01

Turn your wrist so your palm is facing down, ensuring you gently grip the can – don’t squeeze too tight!

RSI avoidance for crafters170615_02

Turn your wrist back to the original position.
Repeat the turn 10 times with each hand.

Exercise 2
Wrist Lift

Hold the can in your hand, with your palm facing up.

RSI avoidance for crafters170615_03

Lift your hand, keeping your palm towards you.

RSI avoidance for crafters170615_04

Hold for up to 5 seconds, then relax.

Repeat the wrist lift 10 times with each hand.

Exercise 3
Reverse wrist  lift

Pick up the can with your palm facing downwards.

RSI avoidance for crafters170615_08

Lower the can so your palm faces your body.

RSI avoidance for crafters170615_07

Lift back into starting position.

Repeat 10 times with each hand.

Exercise 4
Wrist flex

I really enjoy this one! Flex your hand 90 degrees, so your fingertips are pointing upwards. Flex the fingers back (gently, please!) with your other hand.

RSI avoidance for crafters170615_06

Feels fab doesn’t it! Hold it for between 15-30 second then release.

Exercise 5
Reverse wrist flex

Flex your hand 90 degrees so your fingertips are facing the floor. Flex the fingers back (again, gently!) with your other hand.

RSI avoidance for crafters170615_05

Hold it for 15-30 seconds then release.
I love doing both flexes with my arm fully extended, so I get a slight bicep and elbow stretch too.

It feels soooo good!

They are so quick and easy to do – keep a can on your desk, by the phone, by the sofa – even in your handbag (or man-bag for all our male crafters!) so you can work out wherever you are.

Don’t forget to let your crafting friends know about these exercises too! 

With love,

* If you already have issues, you can do exercises too, but
pleasepleaseplease
seek advice from your GP or Physio first.

I’d love to hear your hints and tips for pain-free knitting and crochet,
so why not share them in the comments?