Hello! As we’re now thoroughly into winter, I’ve been dreaming up knitting projects to keep me warm. I just finished an interim hat from scraps, which hopefully I will blog when I block it.* Next up is a jumper.
After the success of knitting with Zealana Rimu, a beautifully soft 60% merino, 40% possum blend (more on possum yarn here), I decided to try for another Zealana yarn. I chose Zealana Kauri based largely on the gorgeous grey colourway. It’s a lightweight 4ply yarn, a blend of 60% merino, 30% possum and 10% silk. Soft, smooth and crisp with a furry halo and a bit of natural wonkiness when knitted up, Kauri is a unique yarn and one that would make for some magical finished items.
Unfortunately, my wrists did not like Kauri as much as I did. In my quest to find a sheeny silk-merino blend, I’d forgotten that silk has an incredibly high tensile strength, one that the wrist and arm bears when knitting with it. After some choice swear words, I managed to exchange the Kauri for another Zealana yarn, Heron.
Heron is a simpler 80% merino, 20% possum blend. It’s described as “singles plied with binder”, which is accurate – it’s two singles bonded together, which come apart when washed (so darn in your ends before blocking!). I’m surprised, and impressed by how Zealana managed to make two yarns with a similar composition (Heron and Rimu) completely different from each other. Rimu is softer and fluffier, with a thick drape. Heron, their “workhorse”, has a more varied texture, with a bit more springiness and a subtle halo when blocked. It seems thinner and less stiff, despite being labelled as a worsted while Rimu is a DK.
I just adore the colourway I chose. It’s called “Raisin”, and from the product image I was expecting a medium burgundy brown. Instead, what I got is a symphony of Autumnal colour: shifting greens, yellows and burnt red/oranges on a darker brown base. The colours brought out vary depending on the light, and it’s more reminiscent of a lush, dark forest coming into Autumn than a raisin! It’s not what I expected, but is gorgeous nonetheless.
I began planning and knitting up a top-down, saddle shoulder jumper as per the instructions in Barbara Walker’s Knitting From the Top. The saddles are in garter stitch, with the rest of the jumper in stockinette to allow the yarn to speak for itself.
I had gotten as far as the back shoulders, until one cursed day when I was chopping pumpkin for soup. It was hard on the hands, I thought, but didn’t think much more about it – until later, when my right wrist was so weak and in so much pain, that I couldn’t even think about picking up the knitting needles. As I’d incurred a similar injury in August last year and it eventually got better by itself, I figured all I needed was a brief rest period. Can you hear my body laughing at me right now?
The next week, I injured my wrist further trying to cut – wait for it – a slice of cheese. Suddenly, not only was my wrist and hand screaming in pain, but it would not do what I wanted it to. It just flopped by my side, ignoring my requests for it to move. I couldn’t carry a bread plate or cup of tea, let alone actually perform any tasks with it.
My hand therapist tells me I have tendonitis, and the treatment is largely time and rest (with splinting and taping). Given I’ve had it for 10 months, it’s considered chronic, and now that I’m largely relying on my left (non dominant) hand, symptoms are starting to appear in that wrist too. So there will be no more knitting or sewing for me in the foreseeable future. Combined with the fact that I’m tapping away on my keyboard at a snails pace with my left hand, that means my posts here may be far and few between.
I do have some unblogged makes I want to share with you, so I’ll try to get them photographed and (somehow!) written up at some point. Feel free to join me on Instagram which is much easier for me to use right now, I’m @siobhansimper.
I am honestly stunned by how debilitating such a common injury can be. I had naively assumed tennis elbow was, well, a sore elbow! Not a painful, tired forearm, swollen hand and wrist, and an inability to grip anything. I’m devastated that I can’t knit, sew or type, which are basically the only things I could do up to this point. I certainly have a lot of sympathy for those who experience long-term wrist issues.
So if you need me, I’ll be awkwardly typing on my phone with my left hand, and sitting around watching a lot of YouTube videos!
*In about 12 months time.