Stress Relief: Knit Away Your Worries
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Let Yourself Unwind
When the daily stresses of life get out of control, find a quiet spot and pick up some knitting needles. The repetition and rhythm of knitting (or crocheting) helps elicit the relaxation response in your body, say researchers at the Benson-Henry Institute for Mind Body Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital. It's the opposite of, or counterbalance to, the brain's flight-or-fight response to stressful situations.
Here's a stress-relieving project to help you unwind and take your mind off your daily diabetes routine. Here's what you'll need to get started:
Yarn: Biggy Print by Rowan, 100% wool, 3.5 oz. (100 g), 32 yards, super-bulky weight: 4 skeins #246 Razzle Dazzle
Needles and extras: Size 19 (12 mm) knitting needles, blunt-end yarn needle, crochet hook (size G or larger) for fringe
Gauge: 6 sts and 9 rows = 4 inches (10 cm) in pattern; take the time to check your gauge
Finished scarf measurements: About 7-1/2 x 60 inches
For more help, visit www.YarnStandards.com for a downloadable booklet with knitting information compiled by the Craft Yarn Council of America. The booklet contains standard sizing, abbreviations, yarn weights and sizes, and more.
Cast on 11 stitches.
Row 1: Knit 1, *purl 1, knit 1; repeat from * to end of row. Repeat Row 1 for pattern until work measures 60 inches from beginning. Bind off. Weave in loose ends.
Long Tail Cast On
Step 1: Estimate a yarn tail length that is three times the length of what the cast-on edge will be. Make a slip knot this distance from the yarn end and place it on a needle.
Step 2: *Position your thumb and index finger between the two strands of yarn. Close your other fingers into the palm of your hand and securely hold the two yarn strands.
Step 3: Moving in an upward direction, insert the needle under the yarn on the thumb and into the loop that's formed around your thumb. Take the needle over the top of the yarn in front of your index finger and guide it down into the thumb loop -- the yarn from your index finger will move along with the needle. Pull the strand through the thumb loop, making a new loop on the needle.
Step 4: Drop the yarn around your thumb, and spread your index finger and thumb to tighten the loop on the needle -- one cast-on stitch is made. (You should have two stitches on your needle.) Repeat from * to make as many more stitches as desired.
Step 1: With yarn in back, insert the right-hand needle from front to back into the first stitch on the left-hand needle. (Notice that the right-hand needle is behind the left-hand needle.)
Step 2: Form a loop by wrapping the yarn around the right-hand needle.
Step 3: Pull the needle and loop through the stitch so that the loop is in front of the work.
Step 4: Slip the first or "old" knit stitch over and off the tip of the left-hand needle, leaving a new stitch on the right-hand needle.
Tip: If you find that the first and last rows of your scarf pull in too much, try using a needle one or two sizes larger on those two rows.
Step 1: With yarn in front of the work, insert the right-hand needle from back to front into the first stitch on the left-hand needle.
Step 2: Form a loop by wrapping the yarn on top around the right-hand needle.
Step 3: Pull the needle and loop through the stitch to make a new purl stitch.
Step 4: Slip the first or "old" purl stitch over and off the tip of the left-hand needle, leaving a new stitch on the right-hand needle.
Step 1: Loosely purl the first two stitches of the row as shown.
Step 2: Taking the left-hand needle along the back of the work, *insert the tip of the needle into the first stitch. Lift the first stitch over the second stitch and drop it from the needle.
Step 3: One stitch remains on the right-hand needle. Purl the next stitch on the left-hand needle. Repeat from * until all stitches are bound off and one stitch remains on the right-hand needle. Cut the yarn, pull the tail through the stitch, and drop it from the needle.
To add 4-inch-long fringe to the scarf ends, cut 8-inch-long strands of yarn. Fold a strand in half, and use a crochet hook to pull the strand loop halfway through a stitch in the row above the bound-off edge. Bring both ends of the strand through the loop; pull to tighten. Repeat in each stitch at both ends of the scarf.