Friday, April 11, 2014

Publishment and Pontificating

In lieu of any actual travel tales, (although I am slowly plotting out my trip to England in June!) I have two big announcements to make on this blog.

Announcement the first, 24 Hours Dublin is finally up on, ready to order for $4.99 and have for your very own.  Follow this link to take a look, browse through the sample pages and read about all the different reasons why Dublin is the greatest city in all the history of all the world.  No exaggerations there, no sir.

See!  Look how happy I look there!  Look!  Everyone just go to Dublin - you will not be sorry.

Announcement the second, I am currently attempting to knit a tunic dress, loosely based off of the Liesl pattern by Julie Weisenberger only I've nixed the pockets and am making up the dimensions as I go, hoping that the finished product will fit a tall, gangly person such as myself.  The pattern required that I learn the selvedge stitch, which requires that you slip the first and last stitch of each row, but in such a way that you don't end up with any less stitches at the end of it.... it's all still somewhat of mathematical wizardry to me, but it seems to be working out well enough.  I especially love that my stockinette stitch doesn't curl at the edges now, something I had resigned myself to years ago as just one of knitting's inherent tragedies.

Otherwise, I've been reading a lot about all the secret health benefits associated with knitting and crocheting, which have been getting a lot of press recently.  And finding out there's actual scientific evidence behind how addictive knitting can get makes me feel like much less of a weirdo, which is always nice.

First of all, knitting offers some of the same benefits as meditation.  I probably lose some of the effect, since I generally knit to stave off guilt as I watch TV shows (currently Breaking Bad) or sometimes while I'm buying anti-guilt by listening to audio books.  But the simple, repetitive movements of casting on stitches apparently activate the same areas of your brain as reciting a mantra, decreasing production of stress hormones and increasing production of dopamine and serotonin.  Aside from the mental benefits this sort of "instant relaxation" technique can have, helping ameliorate symptoms of everything from ADHD to Alzheimer's.

In addition to the more esoteric benefits, you also get to enjoy the good old increased nimbleness in your hands, which can help stave off the onset of arthritis and carpal tunnel syndrome (the last one which occasionally worries me, as my job includes frenziedly typing a bajillion words a day).

And the endless ways knitting can assist with an emotionally and healthy lifestyle shouldn't be overlooked either.  Stereotypes of hermitly cat-ladies aside, joining a crafts club can be a great way to find a close-knit (!!!) group of friends with the same interests as you.  And, in these high-strung, adrenalin-fueled ADHD days of jumping from distraction to distraction and buying quasi-disposable clothes from monstrous super-mall warehouse-marts, it can be immensely fulfilling to wear something that you've put time and and effort into creating.  (Of course, no one but another knitter will ever realize you're wearing a self-made item, but you get mad respect from anyone who's in the club.)

Perk #1: Spending your money on fancy yarn and bamboo needles is better than spending it on drugs.

Perk #2: Wooden needles can double as stakes for vampire slaying.

Perk #3: You can give failed experiments  to your mom for Mother's Day and tell her it's a stylish scarf.  She will be overwhelmed.

Perk #4: Having some sort of demonstrable survival skill, such as hat-making, will make you a valuable asset to post-apocalyptic warrior societies.

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