• The Magpie Knitter…

    ...trying to get from "Oooooh, shiny!" to a design.
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  • Jen Johnson began knitting in 2007 while pregnant with her daughter and does most of her knitting for her daughter and son. When she couldn’t find the patterns she wanted, she added designer to her job titles of Navy wife and mother. Jen loves the inspiration she gets from all the beautiful yarns available, as long as she doesn’t get distracted by—ooh, shiny!
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That was the stress of the last month or so draining out of me, if you were wondering.

Two days ago, my last design sample finished blocking, so I was able to take the pictures of it on Lexie (and no, I can’t share those either, sorry!) and then pack up all three samples and ship them off. I had no idea how tensed I was about the whole thing until my shoulders came down from where they’d taken up residence around my ears.

I’m no stranger to deadlines. In college and grad school, there were always deadlines for my assignments. The Navy lives for deadlines (although we called them by the much fancier name of Plans of Actions and Milestones (POAMs). And then once I was retired from the Navy, I worked as a contractor for the military with even more deadlines. But I’ve never knit to a deadline before. The closest I’ve come is knitting for expected babies…but you can always fudge those deadlines a little bit.

And not only was I knitting to a deadline, I was designing as I went. It would have been easier to knit to someone else’s completed and tested pattern in a given time frame, but I was doing the designing and testing and I knit. I mean, I had the patterns pretty well roughed out, but I had to make changes and improvements as I went. In the end, I finished with plenty of time before the deadline to mail the samples out, but I was still on the stressed side so I sent them express when priority would have done as well. I must have even looked stressed, because although I didn’t say anything about making a deadline, the clerk at the post office ran outside with my package and flagged down the express driver just before he left to make sure my box was on board.

Yesterday I took a much bigger step towards relaxation: I got a massage. I have a friend who is a massage therapist, Jessica LaGarde of Peace at Hand, and I’ve actually been talking with her for a bit about my wrists. I’m well aware of the dangers of overuse injuries in the wrists, and since my job now involves mostly knitting and typing–2 activities that can lead to carpal tunnel or other overuse injuries–I want to make sure I’m not finding myself forced to take a long hiatus to heal. I wanted to focus on prevention, and I knew Jessica was the person to talk to. She partners with The Yarn Spot, an LYS I frequent in Wheaton, MD, to teach classes on physical wellness for handcrafters, and I’ve taken one of them. She also give seated massage at The Yarn Spot and I’ve seen how takes careful note of what her client tells her regarding how they feel and adjusts her massage accordingly. So Jessica was clearly my best choice (and yours too, if you’re in the DC area, I promise).

We’d already been talking a bit about things I could do to treat the pain I was feeling in my wrists and the numbness I was developing in my hands, and I was already feeling better by the time I arrived for my appointment yesterday. My left wrist was pain free and had sensation back in my right hand, although my right wrist was sore and my left hand numb. Jessica and I talked a bit more about what was feeling and doing, and then she gave me a very firm neck, shoulder, arm, and hand massage. It was wonderful. There were times I flinched a bit when Jessica found some unexpectedly tender knots, but I left with most of them worked out. And even better, I left with a pain free right wrist, full sensation in my left hand, and information on where I’ve been tensing up and how to counteract that.

The stress (and tension) isn’t completely gone–I may have mailed out the samples but I have to finish the patterns. But that’s going to be the easiest part of this whole endeavor. So I’ll be fine…

…as long as I don’t start thinking about all the other work I’ve got ahead of me. Oh, my neck…


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