Knitting

So much of what I’ve been doing whilst incommunicado over the last month is fiber related.  It’s meditation for me, and I can feel productive even if I can’t do housework or so much of what I expect to be doing.  I rediscovered Ravelry and actually started entering my projects and my stash, which seems an impossible task, but I’ve gotten more done than I expected.  For those of you not knitting obsessed, Ravelry is a social networking group for fiber people to share patterns, tips, stash, info, and waste a boatload of time.  There have been times I’ve spent hours a day on Ravelry, and times when months go by and I forget my log in.  You can use it as much or as little as you like, but it’s a great resource for finding patterns and getting help if you get stuck.  It’s free too, always a good thing.

I’ve always knitted from patterns before, not having a ton of skill, experience, or imagination.  But I wanted to make a gift for someone that was unique, and couldn’t find what I was looking for, so I decided to try to make one up.  I’m really pleased with the result!  They’re fingerless gloves, but entirely for decorative purpose.  Here’s the first version.

They came out okay, but I wasn’t happy with the rolled cuff.  I didn’t want ribbing, as it seems less elegant.  So here’s what I came up with for the second version: a picot edge.  Much better.  I envision beading as well, but haven’t quite gone that far.

If anyone is interested in the pattern, it is available for sale on my store site, Homespun Dreamings.  The website is being revamped, so if it’s not there, or you have trouble with it, email me directly and I’ll get you situated.

Eventually, I hope to be selling the finished gloves as well.  If you’re looking for fiber of any sort, check out the website or send me an email.  I’m trying to contribute somehow while unemployed to the fiscal health of my family through sales in the store.  I still have buckets full that I haven’t managed to get listed on the page yet, so if you’re looking for something that isn’t there, email me and I’ll see if I’ve got it!

Baby booties, adult hats, socks, mitts are being churned out constantly; so often in fact that I forget to take pictures!  I’m trying to rope the more experienced and talented photographer into helping me out (Pretty please, Peru?) so I can get them on the site ASAP.

I have another design in the works that’s a tad more complicated but AWESOME; both sons have asked me to make one for them already.  Imagine something that pleases a ten year old and a twenty-three year old both!  Pictures soon, when it’s a bit further along.

What’s going on…

Mostly, I’ve been living.  I’m trying to pay more attention to everything, including what works and what doesn’t help my health.  I’m trying to track my symptoms, though I admit to being less than detailed. I don’t want to waste time on cataloging my life, I’d rather just live it.

I’m still having problems with the balance meme.  I’m not sure that balance in my activities is going to  be helpful.  I would miss too much.  I’ve spent the better part of the last few weeks pushing myself to do the things I want to do, then trying to allow my body some healing time.  It’s hard, but worth it.  What I do want to be very careful about balancing is making my pain burdensome on my family.  I don’t ever want to push myself to do something and then be so miserable doing it that I make my family miserable.  The Beloved says that he worries about me, but that I haven’t made myself a drag.  I hope that he will tell me if I ever do.

Resting in bed in my down time, I’m watching less TV, listening to more music and even just being silent and thinking.  Knitting, of course, when my hands don’t hurt too much.  Reading… I’m finding that I can read, if I take it in very small chunks.  I haven’t had the mental fortitude to do much blogging, obviously. What I’m finding right now is that I’m becoming more balanced internally.  Mentally, spiritually.  This is a Good Thing. I like who I am more, and I’m so appreciative of my life. Things are so hard financially that I’d expect to be going out of my mind, and of course, I’m concerned, but the non-material part of my life is so amazing, and so unexpected.  This is where my riches lie, where my priorities are.  I like where I am.  Finally, at the age of fifty, I’m becoming who I want to be, and I’m finding I’m stronger than I thought I was.

In the more mundane aspects of life:

It’s been really wet in Southern California.  Cold, and wet, right down to the bones, even for a New England girl like me.   Luckily, no big disastrous mudslides in the news, but it has been a tad inconvenient.  Witness the baseball field for Murphy’s game on Saturday.

This is the dugout.  The bench where the children sit is not visible; it’s underwater.  The parents worked really hard to sweep the field dry, pump out the dugouts, and get the field ready for play.  It was pretty amazing.

Unfortunately, this latest outing of the Padres didn’t go very well. They lost, badly.  It was so cold that just holding on to the ball was a challenge.  Hopefully, this weeks’ game will go better.

I started a new lace project. I have a love hate relationship with lace; I love how it looks, and I hate messing it up.  So I decided to try this scarf, which is a nice easy lace pattern so hopefully I won’t get lost.  I decided to dress it up a bit though, and it looks impressive to me!  I used a kid mohair yarn and decided to do a chevron shape beading which will repeat once or twice on the sides of the scarf.  Yes, it’s a six stitch, two row repeat, and I need stitch markers for every repeat.  I’m feeble.  =]

Oh!  And the desk!  The wonderful lucky desk that was dropped in my lap!  It finally made it into the room and is already accumulating piles.  The Beloved is amused.  He would prefer furniture to have no flat surfaces to collect crap.   Here are the photos:

I think my poor hands have had enough for right now.   My newest symptom seems to be tenderness of my palms and soles.  Today, either due to salt overload or the change in the weather (Saturday was in the 40’s, today was 90) my hands are swollen, itchy, and everything I touch seems covered with sandpaper. So it’s off to bed for me right now.

Doctor’s Visit

Last night I went to see my  new doctor for the first time. I was a bit anxious.  My last doctor, while kind and knowledgeable, still focused primarily on depression (ok, so I broke down and sobbed uncontrollably in her office, but still…)  I would even have gone back to her if she took my insurance, but Medi-Cal has few contracted providers, so I’m pretty much limited to the one clinic here.  So I had no idea what to expect.

Dr. Saito seemed very nice; he asked good questions and seemed open to discussion on treatment.  He wants to start with blood work, of course, which I expected.   I discussed the possibility of combination T3/T4 replacement rather than just T4.  I had to repeat myself several times; English does not seem to be his first language.  I really need to start documenting my medical history; I forgot to tell him I have sleep apnea and use a CPAP machine, and that I have a history of migraines.  I forgot to tell him about the trouble swallowing, the pressure in my throat, the severity of the brain fog, etc.  So he said he’d renew my prescriptions for pick up next day, and order fasting blood tests, and I should come back to the clinic in the morning. It does strike me as odd however that he did not one bit of physical exam; no listening to the heart, no palpating the thyroid, nothing; did not even touch me. Just the assistant took vitals.  Oh and the good news there; I lost a couple more pounds!

I just got back from the clinic.  After being NPO after midnight, I go in, only to be told that there are no nurses to unlock the pharmacy so I can’t get my meds, which is fine, no biggie, but also, there is no lab tech til 1:30 pm. I’m hungry, dehydrated, already have a headache from low blood sugar, my head feels fuzzy, my index finger inexplicably has swollen up and is painful, along with the normal pain, I’m dying for a cup of coffee, I’m totally cranky, and I have to stay this way until 1:30 pm, at which time I’ll probably sit in a waiting room for an hour, as I did last night.  Sigh.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m grateful to even be seeing someone; not having had insurance for a year has been scary, especially considering what my husband went through in December.  I know the labs he’s ordered would have cost me several hundred dollars at least, and it won’t be coming out of my bank account.  My meds will be affordable, even for me.  So I’m really grateful to be getting some help.  It’s just a tad frustrating to be a cog in the wheel.

In other news, Murphy had his first game last night,which I had to miss because of the appointment.  They won, but by a hairsbreadth.  Murph is still a little gun shy from the last practice; he got DRILLED by a pitch that sounded like that comedian guy hitting the watermelon with a sledgehammer.  Not his head, luckily; his back, on his rib cage.  Going to have a fine bruise there.  I have immense respect for the coach; when Murph got hit he was at his side in seconds, holding him, steering him towards the chain link fence, comforting him while building him up at the same time, preserving his dignity in front of the other players.  I was very touched at how he handled it; just perfectly.  Murph got right back up on the horse, and had a nice hit the next pitch, but yeah, he’s still a little skittish.  It’s a fun team to watch this year; Go Padres!

I’ve been knitting a bit; working on some vanilla socks though I love the yarn. Trekking XL is probably my favorite sock yarn; comes in great colors, textures, different fibers from wool to bamboo.  Soft, but wears well.  These are my “sitting in waiting rooms” socks, the ones I keep in my purse to work on in spare wasted moments.  I’m also making some dishcloths and towels.  I gave up on the lace for right now; my brain just isn’t able to focus well enough.

Speaking of focus; the brain fog is getting worse.  I find myself searching for words a lot.  Yesterday I had a terrifying moment; I stopped at a traffic light, it turned green and for a split second, I couldn’t remember how to  make the car move. It wasn’t even long enough that anyone noticed, but it was scary.

Well, I had a bunch of stuff I wanted to do today, but since I’m so out of sorts, weak and in pain, I’ll take it as an enforced day of rest, at least till later this afternoon.  Knit if I can with my sore fingers, catch up on last night’s TV, nap.  Brush my teeth again to keep my  mouth from being fuzzy.  Blech.

Another Catch Up Post

It’s been a busy week.  I’ve been sick, “normal” sick, with a cold, sinus infection, flu, something of that ilk.  As strange as it sounds it almost feels good to be sick with something tangible.  On the other hand, it sure hasn’t helped the other situation much.  I’m exhausted, pained, the usual whatever. Don’t really want to focus on that though; have had enough of it.

A few other things happened this week of note: My Beloved had his stent removed on Thursday.  It was his last procedure from the December Medical Hell. It was horrendous, but mercifully short. Today, he’s feeling much better and hopefully can put the whole mess behind him.  I’m so proud of him, facing the knowledge of impending pain and ignominy with courage.  May hospital never be in his future again.

And today; well, today was amazing.

No, that’s not dandruff in my hair.  Hail.  We had actual hail and snow and rain and slush, and even a freaking rainbow in Ojai, Southern California.

Murphy was…. elated.  It was, I must say, very cool.  If you click on the pictures to make them bigger, you can see the hail pretty clearly.

We didn’t get to see actual snow; that was up in the mountains, and we didn’t quite make our journey that far.  But to see hail, pretty large hail, right in our front yard?  It was beyond awesome.

I would have liked to have gotten a picture of the rainbow, but it was so faint I knew it wouldn’t show up on my phone’s camera.  To see it was enough.

It was such a blast to share this with my family (though we missed Eric, who was at his friend’s.)  All my boys, father and sons, keep me in love with the world and it’s miracles.  The best times of my life.

So it’s now back to bed with me to sip tea and rest, grateful for the experiences I get to share with my family.

Fiber Post

While I talk a lot about my diet, the fiber I’m speaking of this time is not dietary.  I’m going to talk about my fiber obsession. I’m currently spinning on several bobbins; here’s a few pics.

This is a huge ball, around a pound, I think, of blue/green wool I’m spinning really fine.  At least this bobbin’s full.  The next may be a larger grist.   I love the colors in it, despite the  neon green; bright colors are normally not my thing.  The only downside is that because it’s so fine, it seems like I spin for hours without making the bobbin more full. But it’s so lovely, I’ll get over it.

Then there’s the chocolate Shetland that I’m spinning, hopefully for socks. I’ve never made socks from handspun, but I really want to.  This wool is so springy and fun to touch; I just love it.  It’s going a bit faster, since this is less fine; I’m hoping for a three ply fingering weight, but I suspect it’ll be a two ply.  There’s only about four ounces, a tad less, actually, and I’m about three quarters done.  Then the plying begins!

Then there’s the lovely pink I spun up lickety split one day.  Again, pink is not normally my color; I’m a blue and dark red sort mostly; but my fiber stash inexplicably is full of pinks.  This is cotton candy pink.  I have no idea what I’m going to do with it.  It plied up at a heavy fingering weight, heading towards sport weight. I’m thinking I’ll use it in a Fair Isle design someday.

Anyway, that’s what’s on the wheel.  I won’t bother going into what’s on the various spindles I have going; I can’t even keep track myself.

As for actual projects, again, there are several; this pair of socks I made when my husband was in the hospital.  It was nice to have something to work on while I was sitting beside his bed when he was asleep.  I also made a pair of worsted bed socks, which I don’t seem to have photographed.  I also whipped up a throw rug for the kitchen, knit out of some chenille I had hanging around. 

One of my “stretching my skills” projects is to make two socks at once on two circular needles.  I’m not a huge fan of circs for socks; I learned on dpns and I’m good at them; no ladders.  On the circs, I tend to leave ladders, and worse, I find it very fidgety.  Especially since one of my needles has a bad join that catches.  So these socks are going very, very slowly.

I’m also crocheting a shrug for myself, and a doily based blanket or pillow cover (haven’t quite decided where these are going yet) that I have also neglected to photograph.  I had started a lace scarf that I have since given up on; it was not coming out the way I wanted it to and became too frustrting.

So that’s the current fiber play.  After the Shetland is done, I have some hot pink silk queued up for it’s turn on the wheel.

An End In Sight?

Well, today was spent napping, mostly.  I slept late, woke up and read email, fell asleep in my chair, woke up for lunch and to pick Murphy up at school, came home and napped on the couch.  I feel like maybe I might feel human soon.  The pain has calmed down to a reasonable level, although the cold in my toes and fingers never seems to get warm.  Tonight, having accomplished NOTHING today, I don’t feel as exhausted, so maybe there’s hope for tomorrow.

Though that’s not really true, that I accomplished nothing.  I did manage to finish the first mitt of the pair I’m knitting.  As usual, I already want to make changes in the pattern but that would require knitting another, so I plan to finish this pair as written and then rewrite for the next pair.

So off I go, to start the second mitt.