April 2021 Meeting Recap: Carson Demers of Ergo, I Knit Shares Tips to Knitting Longevity and Comfort, Official Vote on the Bylaws, Member Tips, and Show & Tell
by Melanie Chen
Guild President Kimberly Williams welcomed everyone to the April 2021 meeting, and noted that it has been a full year since we started doing our meeting via Zoom! Kimberly thanked lyric and Julie for their dedication and hard work in making the Zoom meetings happen so smoothly. We not only have raffles via Zoom, we have voting via Zoom! And our meeting attendance has been phenomenal. Much appreciation to everyone who has paid their dues, and a reminder for those who have not yet done so that we hope you will use our membership payment link today.
On March 31st, Ravelry retired its classic mode. As has been announced in the past, their new interface may cause issues for people living with light-triggered migraines or photosensitive epilepsy. If you live with these conditions, we suggest that you have a buddy access your account. Some designers, including our own Michele Bernstein and Shannon Squire, are making their patterns available on Payhip. Other options for pattern browsing and shopping include Etsy, yarndatabase.com, designers’ websites and yarn companies’ websites. Need a buddy? Want to be a buddy? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will match people up.
We are continuing our charity Winter Warmth knitting drive for Rose Haven through October/November of this year. Rose Haven is a day shelter and community center serving women, gender non-conforming folks, and their children experiencing poverty, trauma, and intersecting issues. Washable warm items, such as socks, hats, scarves, mittens, gloves, and even sweaters are being collected and please note that we appreciate having matching socks and mittens attached together. Good news with regard to our Sister Guild in Uganda; Katherine found a way to get the donated needles there, so they are on their way!
Vote on Bylaws. As announced in an email sent to all members, a brief business meeting was conducted to amend the portion of bylaws relating to the structure of the Puddletown Knitters Guild Board. Kimberly called the meeting to order officially, read the proposed new Article III regarding Officers and noted that the change is to add language for At Large Board members. The motion passed with a quorum as required. The approved bylaws can be read here.
Sharon Grayzel introduced noted knitting ergonomics expert Carson Demers as our April featured speaker. Carson is a knitter, spinner, weaver, physical therapist, and author of the book Knitting Comfortably, and his topic for the evening was Knitting Longevity and Comfort. Carson’s background as both a knitter and physical therapist combined with his own experience undergoing injuries that interfered with his life, led him to study and become passionate about ergonomics. He saw lots of knitters around 2000ish and realized that while their main physicians would tell them to stop knitting, they also had other manual work that was contributing to their problems. Carson undertook his own analysis of common knitting behaviors that interfere with good performance and developed some key tips to improve these behaviors. He looked at technique, posture, and chair selection in particular and cautioned that knitters might need to learn a method to implement change so that they can achieve optimal performance without overburdening their systems. Otherwise, discomfort and even injury might result.
Carson acknowledged that he is sometimes seen as something akin to a “posture nun”, and when he attends group events in person, he can tell who has heard him speak by the way they sit up straighter when he is around! Carson recommended that we consider using a chair for knitting that is designed for desk work. This is because when you are reclining, you have to flex your shoulders to see your work. To counteract this, you can do stretches that involve opening up your shoulder front. He advised us to learn to knit without looking down at our knitting, to remember to stretch occasionally, and to tension our yarn in a way that doesn’t cause us to pull our fingers far away from the needles. The overall objective is to minimize the force used in knitting because our tissues can tolerate less force over time as we age.
Finally, he said to remember to have fun! If you are interested in making changes to your knitting, go for the low hanging fruit. You can stay within your system and just add stretches to your knitting, or drink more water. And it is iImportant to reward even the smallest success (that includes noticing failure) and appreciate them. “No negative self talk--stay happy in the playground,” said Carson. Audience members obviously took great interest in his approach and asked many follow-up questions.
Our member tip from Anna Lorton was preceded by a short bonus tip regarding how much yarn to allocate for the long-tail cast-on (her advice is four times the desired length of stitches, and hold the tail over the thumb). Anna then launched into the main tip regarding Swatch Motivation and unveiled an absolutely brilliant Gauge Swatch Data Sheet to record the date, yarn type, cast on style, needle size, knitting style, etc. Best of all, Anna is sharing this so we can use it, too! You can download the PDF below if you just want to use Anna's form and/or the .docx version if you want to easily change it up, or use it only electronically.
Next month’s tip will cover the finer points of how to wind cakes and balls from skeins. Anna also said if anyone has a tip to share or request, please reach out.
Due to the enthusiastic participation in our Show and Tell portion of the meeting, Kimberly said the Board is hoping to put in some parameters to help us remain within our overall time limits: Each member is requested to show one item (or set), keep to one minute and cover a brief description of the yarn, pattern and any alterations. This month’s fantastic items were produced by the below knitters. What a treat to see all this eye candy!
Next month’s meeting on Thursday, May 13th at 7 PM will feature Faith Humphrey Hill of Dartily with a presentation on Mirror Knitting. Mark your calendars!