Frances Bell

home at last – for all the mes


Crafting as a networking and wellbeing activity for #Femedtech


I am pretty passionate about the network that currently appears as a Twitter hashtag #femedtech, and as a Twitter account @femedtech that has existed as shared curation space since April 2018. We have a different curator every 2 weeks, each of whom brings their own perspective and practices, growing our network (as you can see in the chart), and enhancing the experience of followers and participants. If you would like to be a curator in 2019, visit our curation space, and add your name and Twitter handle at a fortnight of your choice. Femedtech is definitely for the many not the few 🙂

This post has been brewing for some time, and is posted now to fit in with the activities planned by our curator for this fortnight, the inimitable Viv Rolfe. Like other curators, Viv has her own ideas about curation and as you can see her overall theme is #Wellbeing.

Viv hasn’t forgotten about craft and its role in wellbeing. I love crafting, mainly knitting, sewing and quilting, for many reasons. Crafting has taught me about learning and community but most of all it relaxes me. The relaxation becomes visible as the tension of the stitches improves the longer you knit. In my current learning project, free motion quilting, I need to give the craft my full attention, and because I’m learning, my shoulders begin to ache and I give up after an hour. I derive enormous satisfaction from the visible improvement in my work, and I’m curious to know if I can become a relaxed free motion quilter in time.

Back in September, Maren posted this tweet

The patterns

I spent some time thinking about this and I’d like to offer you the results of my research and some initial designs.

Patterns Spreadsheet

I’d love some of you to try these out and improve them/ make them into actual crafted items and/or patterns.

So what could you do with them?

Fair Isle knitters could knit them up in two colours to create a mug warmer, a scarf, a hat or whatever you want. What’s possible depends on the weight of yarn you choose?

So for example, you’d probably need to choose a fine yarn for a mug warmer (to get enough stitches for the pattern), and if you wanted to use chunky yarn, you’d need to create something bigger like a hat.

Fair Isle is not the easiest technique but there is an easier alternative called Swiss Darning, or Duplicate stitch that I have used in the pattern below.  If you like doing cross stitch,  you could use linen or Binca/Aida for the fabric and embroidery floss/ cotton perle for the thread.

You might have different ideas – please share!

Pattern for Simple Stocking Stitch Headband

I have based this pattern on another that is also available at Ravelry, along with another 1578 free patterns for headbands.

I suggest that you knit this as Stocking Stitch – knit a row, purl a row (rather than in the round on a circular needle) so that you can adjust the size by overlapping when you see how it turns out. It’s also easier to do the Duplicate Stitch on a flat piece of knitting.  Because there will be 80 stitches in each row, you should choose either the first or the third pattern in the diagram above. This pattern uses the third pattern in my Patterns Spreadsheet.


You should buy one ball of double knitting, Aran or chunky yarn in the background colour and find/ beg some scraps in a contrast colour, in the same yarn weight or heavier as the contrast has to cover the background stitch. So double knitting for background and chunky or Aran for lettering would be a good combo. Look in the oddments box in the knitting shop, or find a charity shop that sells odd balls of yarn and needles.

Ball bands often give you an idea of which needles to use and what size the yarn knits up to. This one said it takes 22 stitches to get 10 cm using 4 mm needles. So 80 stitches would give me (80 x 10)/22 =36.4 cm. When I measured my head, I realised that would be too small so I used bigger needles: 5mm for the main knitting, and 5.5mm for casting on and off to avoid a tight edge. My head is quite big (quiet there at the back) so I’m hoping that the pattern works for you.

Of course, these calculations also depend on how tightly or loosely you knit so there’s a bit of guesswork involved. If it’s too small when you’ve finished, there are fixes available, just ask.

I have put links to searches/videos in the pattern but for beginners, I recommend finding a friendly more experienced knitter who will help you get started and recover from those inevitable mistakes. Learn to love the mistakes. You will also need a blunt sewing up needle like this.

Knitting the headband/earwarmer

Cast on 80 stitches using main/background yarn, and 5.5 or 6 mm needle.

Switch to 5 mm needles.

Garter Stitch Ridge

Rows 1 and 2 : Knit 80 stitches.

This will give you the ridge you see in the photo below. If you want a bigger ridge, feel free to do an extra 2 knit rows, but remember to do matching extra rows at the end.

Stocking Stitch Background

Row 3: Knit 80 stitches

Row 4: Purl 80 stitches

Repeat (Rows 3,4) 5 times.

This will give 12 rows of stocking stitch, enough for 8 rows of pattern (later), with 2 unpatterned rows top and bottom.

Garter Stitch Ridge

Rows 15 and 16 : Knit 80 stitches.

Remember to add extra knit rows now if you added them at the beginning.

Cast off with 5.5 or 6 mm needle.

Adding the lettering using Duplicate Stitch

Duplicate stitch is just that – sewing a contrast yarn over selected stitches to make a pattern. In this case, the pattern spells out #femedtech, and you can see from the photo that I started more or less in the middle of the third pattern in the download.

I knitted this and made a start on the duplicate stitching last night and will post an update when it’s ready to be worn.

Here are some clear instructions with photos, or you may prefer to watch a video.


francesbell • December 19, 2018

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