Sunday, January 27, 2008

Women and Heart Disease

Yes, I have knitted three more hats. Yes, I am half way to my goal.

This series, I used the cable knit cap pattern found on Like the other hats I used a size 10 ½” needle and knitted with two strands of yarn. The yarn was given to me by my mother who was feng shui’ing (my term) otherwise known as cleaning out her odds and ends yarn for a good cause.

These past two weeks have been filled with worry. Two of my co-workers ended up with visits to the emergency room; both with similar diagnosis – high blood pressure. Not that high blood pressure is contagious, but it does make me concern since they sit next to me. My family history isn’t pretty – filled with heart disease and strokes. My Dad had open heart surgery in his fifties.

According to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute coronary heart disease is the number one killer of American women regardless of race or ethnicity. One in four adults has high blood pressure; however 31.6% don’t know they have it. Untreated high blood pressure is the leading cause of strokes and serious heart disease.

Sadly, high blood pressure doesn’t have signs or symptoms or bells or whistles alerting you. So it is very important to have your blood pressure checked regularly by a health professional. This is one medical procedure that is painless, fast and you don't have to take off any clothes.

Several have suggested that I increase my goal. I will get back to you all on that idea.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Unrealistic Beauty Standards Part I:

I admit I’m a Bowl Game junkie. I knitted these two hats during the bowl games. I know this is terrible to write, but I am glad Michigan’s retiring Coach Carr won the Citrus Bowl. Personally, as an OSU grad, I wanted to go to the Rose Bowl. Call it Rose Bowl nostalgia or that I’m just showing my age, but to me if you win the Big Ten you should go to the Rose Bowl. I think this pretend college Super Bowl game is just a money maker. When was the last time a Southern team played in Madison during a freezing rain storm in November? If we want to see who the best is; let’s go to a college playoff schedule like the Pros.

Back to the hats – both hats were knitted on 10 ½” needles with double yarn. The yarn was again from my church’s yard sale. I made the patterns up based on previous hats that I have done. The flower is easier than it looks. You again ask where I got the pattern – I don’t remember but it is written on a slip of paper. Here are the instructions.

Materials:8” straight needles and yellow yarn.

Instructions: Cast on two stitches. Knit first row. Second row increase in first stitch and knit across. Third through twelfth row – continue to increase in the first stitch and knit across until you have twelve stitches. Break yarn. Repeat this 4 more times until you have 5 triangles. Don’t break the yarn on the final triangle.

I don’t know about you, but I hate this time of year. It seems to give me the urge to look into the mirror and scrutinize my body. I find that the television is blasting with multiple ads on how we can lose the holiday weight gain fast with “X” diet or some gizmo that will turn the fat into muscles. Admit it, you have seen the advertisements and wondered: “will it really work?” How can you miss them? I’ve stood in line at the grocery store and the cover stories on popular women’s magazines showcase how famous actress(fill in the blank) lost all that weight and now you can see her pelvis bone. One doesn’t have to wonder why 80% of US women are dissatisfied with their appearance.

Years ago, my Uncle Bob gave me pictures of my Great Grandmother. Talk about a big thump in the head. Naomi Griggs Herrick, on the right with her three sisters had the body shape like me – same breasts, same broad shoulders and square jaw line with thick glasses. She lived until her seventies. It made me wonder how my body can ever get to be like those rail thin models based on my genetic make-up without starving, going under the knife or having a liposuction needle (needle gage that has been compared to a size 10 knitting needle) plunged into my body.

What is healthy weight? According the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute and assessment of being overweight includes three measures: 1) body mass index (BMI), 2) waist circumference (risk increases with a waist measurement of over 40 inches in men and over 35 inches in women), and 3) risk factors for disease and conditions associated with obesity such as heart disease, high blood pressure or diabetes. You can calculate your BMI using this

Flower Instructions continued: Place all 5 triangles on one needle. Join together by knitting across. Knit two more rows. On the fourth row knit K2tog: repeat to the last stitch. Fifth row: K2tog: repeat to the last stitch. Sixth row: K2tog: repeat to the last stitch. You should have about 6 stitches. Break yarn and thread it through. Sew seams and weak threads.

Note: For those Buckeye fans, we still get our Rose Bowl game. OSU will play USC in LA on September 13th. Go Bucks.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Pink Hat with ball

Size 10 ½ ” needles circular needles
1 ball of Red heart kooky – pink
1 ball White yarn from the church’s garage sale

Cast on 60 with both yarns. Knit 2, Purl 1 for about 7-9”

My sister Heidi and I were talking about our Grandmother Lamb. Grandma was a knitter and textile handcrafter. She was also known for her pies, gardening, bridge playing and book reading. I shared with Heidi that the Ligonier library had her telephone number on speed dial. Whenever they purchased a new book, Grandma was first to be called. It seems fitting that the hat be started in Hannibal, MO home to one of America’s greatest writers Samuel Clements. Heidi says that this hat reminds her of the ones she knitted us. It figures that Heidi should still have her hat (pink with white ball).

When I was in my early twenties, Grandma was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. I remember the diagnosis to be a relief for our family. It was a concrete explanation regarding her behavior changes and losing items.

The Alzheimer’s Association recommends that in order to “maintain your brain” you need to exercise it. Recent studies confirm older people can improve their memory and problem solving skills with practice. Stimulating your brain can increase the number of brain cells and the connections between brain cells and strengthen your current brain cells and connections between them. Crossword puzzles, playing board games and interacting with friends were examples of helping to reduce the risk.

Additional studies are showing strong evidence between heart health and brain health. There is a growing body of research that shows a connection between rates of dementia and a lifestyle that includes a healthy diet and regular exercise.

* Decrease keeping the pattern
Round 1: (Knit/purl 8, Knit 2tog) around. Round 2 and all even rounds: Keep pattern. Round 3: (Knit/purl 7, Knit 2tog) around. Round 5: (Knit/purl 6, Knit 2tog) around.Round 7: (Knit/purl 5, Knit 2tog) around.Round 9: (Knit/purl 4, Knit 2tog) around.Round 11: (Knit/purl 3, Knit 2tog) around.Round 13: (Knit/purl 2, Knit 2tog) around.Round 15: (Knit/purl 1, Knit 2tog) around.Round 17: Knit/purl 2tog around.

Cut the yarn leaving a 15" tail, weave it through the stitches remaining, and fasten off.

Make pompom and attach to the top.
Note: Hannibal, MO has a nice knitting shop near Sam's family home. It's by the stairs up to the lighthouse. The owner was watching foodnetwork while I was there. He was busy working on a sweater for his relative.