My Arch Nemesis

Yes, I have an arch nemesis, though it isn’t as ominous as it sounds.  It’s been about 5 years since I have done battle with it, but it’s back.

So what is it, you ask?

Poison Ivy.

It is growing all over in the woods around our house.  It used to be growing in areas right around our yard.  I say used to, because now that I know what it looks like, I have been using Round Up and taken care of much of it.  Before that happened though, I managed to get it a few times.  I was more of a live in town, stay inside kinda of girl.  I was clueless to what poison ivy looked like.   After Joel and I got married, we moved out of town and I had my first run-in with poison ivy.    The first couple times, it wasn’t so bad, and honestly, it took me a couple of times of having it to figure out what it was.  By the third time, I figured out it was Poison Ivy and the doctor prescribed a few helpful remedies.  After that, I learned how to spot it and went on a quest to rid our property of the evil plants. 

So, after all that, how did I end up with it again?

Just bad luck I guess.  We had been doing some landscaping around our shed that we put up last summer and brought in several loads of black dirt to shape the yard.  While I was planting some flowers in this new dirt, I noticed that there were some roots and leaves in the dirt, but didn’t think anything of it.  After digging around for a while, I found some of those leaves together on a stem and looked down with horror to see the familiar three-leaf design that characterizes poison ivy.  Within a few days, it showed up on my arms and later on my inner thighs.  Do any of you garden with you inner thighs?  I guess I do.  I have spent the last 12 days doped up on Benadryl, covered in creams, and trying to resist the urge to scratch.  Let me tell you, the itch is terrible and the nights are long.  It is starting to get better, so that is good.  Since then, I have had some other allergic reaction and have gotten hives over the rest of my body that didn’t already have poison ivy.  Who knows when this will clear up, as I haven’t yet figured out what I am having the reaction to. 

I didn’t bring this all up just to complain.  In fact, I’m sure this is bordering on TMI.  Plus, I’m probably ruining your impression that the life of a quilt pattern designer is all glamour and so very exciting.  Sorry but, I just wanted to tell you about part of my self-prescribed treatment. 


Why knitting? 

 Because sitting still means that my clothes are irritating the PI. 

Because knitting means that my hands are busy knitting, and not busy scratching. 

It was either that or duct tape oven mitts to my hands.  Knitting sounded like more fun.  Many of you have asked how I get so much knitting done, and this little problem I have had the last couple weeks has led to me getting lots done.

So, here are two of the projects I finished up –

Let’s talk about the blue one first.  The pattern is Buttercup.  Isn’t that a cute name?  Here’s the Ravelry link, for those of you are interested.

I just had to make this one because I bought this necklace in Venice and needed something to go with it.  (Sometimes you need a good excuse to buy more yarn, when you already have a stash)

I love the hem line.  I also love this yarn.  It’s called Hempathy and it’s great for summer knitting. 

Now, let’s talk about the magenta one.

I just love these lace panels.

 The pattern is the Alpaca Tunic.  (Here’s the ravelry link).  The yarn is Euroflax Linen.  It didn’t look that great as I was knitting it up, but once I blocked it the lace design really showed up.

I really had fun with these knits.  I hope my issues clear up soon, as I am currently wearing longs sleeves, turtlenecks and pants.  Maybe I will have to wait until next summer to put these tanks to good use.   Oh well, as I said before knitting is so much more fun than wearing oven mitts 😉

About Heather Peterson

Quilt pattern designer
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27 Responses to My Arch Nemesis

  1. Jackie says:

    Love your knit tops!

    Invest in some Dawn dish soap and wash with it anytime you think you might be around poison ivy. The same thing that is in Dawn for removing grease removes the poison ivy sap.

  2. I so understand… I use to go around in our yard in TX with one of those foam paint brushes and straight roundup to kill poison sumac. And I’m sure you’ve figured out… loose sundresses are the most comfortable! Hope you feel better soon!

  3. JoAnne says:

    Oh, Heather, how I feel for you. I once got some flea bites on my legs which turned into contact dermatitis. It was terrible. By the end of the day I just had to isolate myself in my bedroom and tell everyone to not even speak to me. I soothed myself by doing counted cross stitch. Your sweaters a lovely. Hope you are healed soon.

  4. Kris says:

    Love all of your knitted sweaters! I can only knit a dishcloth so far. I am currently enjoying crochet though and am hoping to learn more about knitting soon.

  5. kimland says:

    You might not have touched the poisin ivy on your thighs, it just spread there via your own hands. If you have the oil on your hands it will travel to other areas of your body that you touch! Also, did you know your dog can be a carrier of poison ivy. If they have been in it and the oiil is on their coat and you touch them… it can spread to you! I had a friend who was highly allergic to it and they could not let their dog run at the lake because he could bring it back to her!

  6. Gene Black says:

    My sympathies. I am highly allergic to poison ivy. I always require a steroid shot and a steroid dose pack to get rid of it….and those make me eat too much. ARRRRGGGH.

  7. Munaiba says:

    Yoyr tops are lovely. I’m so sorry to hear of your PI. I do hope you get over it soon.

  8. Peggi says:

    Aww that really bites. LOVE your knitting, though! I’m always envious of people who knit. I crochet, and I tried to teach myself to knit (all of the best clothes patterns are KNIT) but I guess my crochet training has ruined me for knitting – I cannot stop myself from holding the thread with too much tension, and my knitting ends up very tight and small.

    I LOVE that blue one, it is gorgeous and very flattering on you!

  9. Rhonda says:

    poor you!! i have never experienced poison ivy and i truly don’t want too! hope you are feeling better soon.

    and i love the sweaters, especially the teal green one. so pretty!

  10. Debbie says:

    So sorry to hear about your poison ivy. My son had it a few times, it was awful. Your sweaters are very nice though. Get well soon.

  11. julie says:

    Oh, I am just so sorry you got into the poison Ivy…been there and done that! We moved into a new-to-us home…and I was determined to have the prettiest yard on the block. I went out and pulled tons of weed, etc…and then came up with this awful rash…even on my tummy! Now, I don’t expose my midriff to anything or anyone, so it was a mystery. I had no idea it was poison Ivy…eventually I had to go to the hospital, it was so very bad!! So, I am totally, totally sympathizing with you! You are a talented knitter, your work is just wonderful!

  12. Lynn D in NC says:

    There are poison ivy soaps on the market to use when you think you’ve come in contact with poison ivy. Try those. Or tried and true for our family – tide laundry detergent (powder) – do this immediately when you come in from gardening. Take a shower and scrub head to toe with the Tide. Fair warning – it burns, so rinse well. The burning only lasts a few minutes so much easier to take than the days/weeks itching from PI.

    PS – your sweaters are great.

  13. Debbie Bailey says:

    Just a thought…did you by chance use a spray-on sunscreen? I had an allergic reaction to a brand of sunscreen I had used for years but for some reason the spray-on version was bad for me…

    Have just bought your Shams book…I really like it!

  14. Darlene B says:

    I am so sorry to hear about your latest bout with poison ivy. I’ve never had it, but I have heard it’s absolutely NO FUN! Hope you feel better soon. I really love the sweaters – gorgeous patterns and colors!

  15. Ann says:

    Oh, you poor thing, I feel your pain. Our dog “gifted” me with a bad case of poison ivy several years ago… You knitting is wonderful! I want to try knitting lace, but don’t know where to start…

  16. Carol says:

    Have you heard of “Technu” I think I have it spelled correctly. It is a soap you use if you think you have been exposed or once the spots start showing up. (must do it before they are open or weeping.) I have a similar problem with poison oak and it has saved my skin several times and allowed me to continue gardening. The oils from the plant are sneaky and survive a long time on other things…like pets etc. Good Luck

  17. Linda P. says:

    I always enjoy seeing your knitted items, so beautiful, and inspirational!
    Sorry about the PI, and hope it clears up soon – I have suffered from it many times… no fun!

  18. Marsha says:

    Sorry about the PI. Never had it, never want to. I understand it’s awful. Hope you get better soon. I really like the knitted tops. Just beautiful. I can’t knit and do very little crochet. Just square things lol.

  19. Ashley Ann says:

    I am sorry about the poison business, but your tops are so pretty! Great job!

  20. Wendy P says:

    Ugh! I had it on my hands and feet as a kid. Long time ago, but I still remember the misery!

    Hope you can find relief in an oatmeal bath. I hear that is very good for the itching and rash.

    Feel better soon!

  21. becky says:

    I accidentally grubbed some out recently, too. Ran right into the house and lathered up with Fels Naptha soap (brown lye? very old brand.) Anyway, I got it off before I blistered!

    You can find Fels Naptha in the laundry part of the grocery. My mother swore by it, and had us use it in the bath after playing in the woods and fields. Looks like she was right!

  22. SuzK says:

    Love your sweaters-wish I could knit! I’m really allergic to PI, so I feel your pain! The worst situation I experienced though, was with my son. He was at soccer camp and took his cleats off after the game and walked thru the field. They had just cut back on the edge of the field and somehow poison ivy sap got into the grass. He had it on the bottoms of his feet. It was awful!

  23. Brenda says:

    Beautiful sweaters! I wish I knew how to knit. Perhaps one day. About the poison ivy, what I always use for my kids is Rhus-tox. You get it at a health food store and it’s little tiny caplets and put it under your tongue. Only if it’s spread all over will I use I prescription cream. Good luck!

  24. Judith Hogan says:

    I’ve never had poison ivy and from what you say, I don’t want to have it. However, if making those beautiful sweaters is an end result, maybe it was worth it.

  25. Rene' Sharp says:

    Sorry to hear you are so itchy, but yay for more knitting! I go through stages with my hobbies (scrapbooking, knitting, spinning (yarn) & quilting), and at the moment I am in my knitting & spinning mood, so I really enjoyed seeing your gorgeous knits. I have printed that Buttercup pattern and have been wanting to knit it for ages. Seeing yours has given me even more motivation now! You are a wonderful knitterer! 🙂

  26. Kathleen B says:

    Hi Heather! I guess I’m a little late to this conversation but what really worked for me when I got poison oak (on the west coast & real similar to poison ivy which I always had as a kid on the east coast) is making a salt solution with table salt and water and soaking the infected part or parts. It dries the blisters right out and is extremely inexpensive. My Dad told me about this since his father would take him down to the ocean when he had an outbreak and get him in the salt water for a cure. I hope you are better by now.

  27. Cindy says:

    I used to get poison ivy so terribly! Swimming in an overly chlorinated pool helps dry up poison ivy so much more quickly. (I’ve heard that the chlorine prevents the poison ivy from spreading to others in the pool.) so, if you have a Y or gym around with an indoor pool…take a swim. 🙂

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