Friday, May 26, 2006

Why Utah > Kansas (warning, no knitting content)

It's no secret that I'm LDS. But I'm not your cookie-cutter LDS chick. I find that being LDS has been more of a spiritual journey, one of self-discovery and growth. It has had NOTHING to do with impressing people with my sanctimonious-ness, which seems to be something found not only in Mormon culture but also Catholic culture, Presbyterian culture, etc. I know. I lived in Kansas. Bible Belt, USA.

So anyways, back in Kansas, my hometeachers either never came or came and were incredibly condescending. Last time they visited, I was going through LPN school where I was assailed constantly by attacks upon my confidence. Who wouldn't be, those nursing instructors are HARPIES! I had a classmate who was expelled because she didn't get along with one of the instructors (or so the rumors said). I had to watch my back constantly, study like a maniac, and fight bouts of doubt and depression. And all the hometeacher would say is "Well, you lack self-confidence". No shit, sherlock! You would, too, in my shoes! And he'd go on about it for the entire duration of his visit, which usually lasted an hour or so. I dreaded it and finally called the bishop and told him that I did NOT want hometeachers ever again. Because if they changed them on me, the new ones would not visit anyways, so what's the point?

So, here I come to Utah. I'm thinking it'll be like Kansas, but worse. Everyone all caught up in their arrogance and holier-than-thou. Imagine my delight and incredible surprise when it's the exact opposite. And just to illustrate that, I got a story about Nick.

Nick was my hometeacher in April. He came, companion-less because his companion was very busy and hard to get a hold of. Typical, but I let Nick in. We chatted for two hours straight. I'm not like that with guys, I am very very awkward around men. They make me a little nervous. But I felt quite at ease with him. Fast-forward to last Friday where I was coming home from work at 3 and hit a rock as big as my fist and murder my right front tire, denting the rim. I took it to Walmart, but they wouldn't touch it. Now normally my dad would take over and help me fix it. But dad is over a thousand miles away and my aunt and uncle that I live with put in 10 hours a day at the dental office and get home when most businesses close or even later. So I called my hometeacher. I was expecting him to know of a place or two and to give me some numbers to call.

Can you imagine how I felt when not only did he offer to call the places he knew, but call again in the morning? Nick had connections with junkyards. He knew all the good ones and he called them and he was willing to bend over backwards for me. And yesterday, he called to tell me that one junkyard may have the rim I needed and because he did business with them, he could get me a discount! And then he came over and we both rode to the junkyard. The guy there saw the rim, hammered it back into place, free of charge, and sent us on our way.

This is way above and beyond the call of duty. No hometeacher has ever been there to make sure I could get around, offered to find me rides (he shares a car and couldn't offer to take me around because the car wasn't always available) and was so motivated to get me back on my feet. And that's a lot of how people ARE around here. I have people who see me outside of church who come up to say hi and they're so genuine and sweet.

I don't have any reason to go back to Kansas. It can keep its humidity, its flatness, and its nasty, snooty people. Hmmph!

What sends a dying lily to the lake

I've been doing all sorts of things. Some of it has been knitting. Some of it has been reading my textbooks for hours and hours on end, photographing the little boxes of diagrams and Clinical Manifestations. Some of it has been going to work to set up thousand of pills, talk to many patients, even give a shot or two. I'm not lazy, I'm merely busy.

But look, I'm almost there! It's been two months and a long and sometimes befuddling road. But things have been cleared with Mim's help. And now I have a triangular shawl (almost) that I really love (who doesn't love their creations, even a little?). I never thought I'd like the triagular shawls, but here you go. You never know until you give things a chance.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Stand Aside

I braved the Heindselmann's for an investigation of their Misti Alpaca collection (sooo soft, I'll defy snootyfaced shopkeeps who would like you out of their store more than they'd like you in it just to touch the Misti Alpaca Crack) and found, well, some Trekking XXL.

So Stand Aside, I've got some Trekking to do!

As for the other projects? Um...what projects?

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

What's up Wednesday

I'm completely flummoxed on the short row tip spot on the Mountain Peaks Shawl. Absolutely bamboozled. Baffled, you might even say***! So I'm waiting until I receive inspiration from above or in my sleep and in the meantime, I'm picking up the Baltic Sea Stole. And tinking about ten rows because I seem to have picked up a case of obsessive compulsion. I have a ramen-like mess of Vineyard-flavored Shadow from Knitpicks draped over my shoes and my other project bags and my burts bees and my camera cord and my patterns and whatever else I've decided to toss off my desk as I land my large-enough-to-torment-terrorists-with nursing textbooks down. By the way, I'm never getting pregnant. Between PIH and DIC and pre-eclampsia, it's a wonder that mother or child EVER survive the birthing process!

So, anyways, there you have it. I have no pictures for today unless you want to see some illustrations I've photographed (it's nice, put them all in a neat little folder and hit 'slideshow' and it's like a Powerpoint presentation!) of all the different positions a baby might want to come out of a woman. Which has nothing to do with knitting so carry on.

***This is not to say that Mim wrote a poor pattern. I'm merely a little mentally slow. Mim is a good and kind person and if I'm not struck by a celestial piece of inspiration or stumble over it subconsciously, I will ask her for advice. I just feel like I've bothered her enough about this thing already.

Monday, May 08, 2006

A different sort of dye

Susan linked to clever site that showed how to dye roving with tissue paper. I found the Google translation to be a little less than helpful so I had my darling friend who is studying French (and hopefully heading over to France if she gets accepted) to help make things clearer. Here's what the site says according to her:

1)Run very hot water with 1 tsp dishsoap and 1/2 cup vinager into a bucket or basin.

2) Place your roving in the bucket. Be sure your roving is attached in at least four places. Let it stand alone without agitating. If you are in a rush, push lightly without agitating to get rid of the air trapped beneath it.

3)Put on your gloves. The dye is powerful! Cut strips of crepe/tissue paper as you like. Use your imagination.

4) Place plastic wrap on the table beneath. Press it delicately to squeeze out the water but not too much. The threads have to be moist enough to soak up the dye. Roll up the tissue paper several times and place it how you want (like in the photo) leaving spaces or not as you choose. The more doubled-up paper layers you use, etc, the darker the colors will be.

5) Mix 3 glasses hot water and 1 glass white vinager in a bucket/basin.

6) With your gloves on, add the hot vinager-water to soak the tissue paper.

7) Roll out some plastic wrap over the complete width and length of the yarn/thread. Press on the tissue paper so that the color soaks well into the fibers.

8) Fold up the edges of the plastic wrap to seal it except on one of the ends.

9) Roll up the "sandwich" gently while taking care to make sure to let the air escape on the side that's not sealed. Then seal up that end as well.

10)Place it in a ziploc bag but leave air in the bag. Seal the bag (with air) and leave it alone for at least an hour.

11) Heat some water in a pan but not over 88 degrees Celsius (190 degrees Fahrenheit). Put the bag in then let it "cook" for 1 hour. Turn the sack over every 5 minutes or so to let the colors soak in more evenly.

12) Remove the roving and allow it to cool, then fill a container with hot tap water and a little vinegar. Remove the plastic wrap and tissue paper and put the roving in the container.

13) Change the "bath" with water at the same temperature as the wool as many times as necessary. At the end, the water should be clear.
Careful: for wool, there should not be an abrupt change of temperature, nor movement or friction, and don't pour water directly on the wool, otherwise it will become felt.

14) Let it dry...and admire!

15) Separate the roving for spinning.

16) Slip it onto a wheel or spindle. To keep all the natural brilliance of the colors, the navajo technique is recommended.

She had fun commentary along with it (she knows spinning like I know geology) but for the sake of keeping this clear, I did a little editting. :)

Happy Monday and yes, I'm still knitting!!!

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Speaking of Socks

This is just about as close as I've been to blogging about an incident after it has happened.

I had hoped for my next Netflix delivery and instead I got my sockpal's wonderful gift!

I could mention the very neat stickers on the packaging...

...but I'm sure you're as eager as I was to get on to the goods. Now, I've been through Texas (where my pal is from) a time or two. I've driven down to Dallas in April (or was it March?) when I lived in Kansas and it was like stepping out of winter into Eden. Absolutely gorgeous with a magnificent sky and in the summer, I'm sure it gets dusty brown and red (I've only been as far as Oklahoma in the summer though). Just like these socks:


I love the cabled ribbing up and down the entire thing. I love the colors. And they're so very soft! Unfortunately then my camera's batteries died. So I ran to the basement-that-is-my-home and put some back in. I had hoped that my lamp could provide enough light to illuminate the rest of the goodies my sockpal packed in here:

Not quite but you can see that she was really very sweet and generous with what she sent on. I've never seen STR yarn in person before (yes really) and now I have some of my own Fire On The Mountain! It's really a riot of color. The Burt's Bees was very considerate. She must know how dry it gets over here. And the notecards are fun.

Thanks Jennifer! It was a really good gift, I will appreciate it for a good long while. Because there's just something about receiving handknit gifts that just warms this heart.

Friday, May 05, 2006

"No one knits socks anymore"

True story: I was working afternoon shift on Wednesday and during a brief lull, pulled out the sock and started working on it. The RN, a woman with white hairs betraying her age and a gentle smile that has come with time wearing away the impatience of youth watched me in fascination. She wasn't the only one. Many patients and co-workers would ask what I'm working on and I would hold up the cuff and tell them it was a sock. Of course, I could have told them it was a snake-warmer, they still would have looked impressed and asked the usual questions: "Can you make me one?" "How long did it take?" etc.

As I was working, however, the RN mused "I didn't think anyone knit socks anymore". I suddenly imagined her being one of those who has lived long enough to see handknit socks go obsolete only to see them come back again. It was kind of a cool thought.

I have no pictures of my projects, but that doesn't quite stop me, no. I'll share with you a few of my favorite ones that I've taken within the past month.

Have a wonderful weekend, all!

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

H and I are for...


Health, particularly GOOD health covers such the whole person. It takes in mental, physical, spiritual, and social aspects of a person life. We are more than someone with a temperature at 98.6, regular pulse, and no aches and pains. And it's only when something goes wrong when you begin to realize how precious Health in all its aspects can be. I was born with defunct kidneys. A genetic 'oops' and here I am, two transplants and one kidney that works and three that don't, two of them being mine originally, the third being my mother's that worked very hard and admirably but after 16 years, could not stand up to the harsh immunosuppressive drugs anymore. I am on new immunosuppressive drugs that are kinder to this new kidney, but their side effects are still harsh. There are days I can't stray too far from a toilet. There are always books in my bathroom because when I'm in there, staring at the texture on the bathroom walls can make for some unamusing times. But other than that, I would say that I am a lot more healthy than I could have been. And I have my mental health, which I can't appreciate enough these days.

I can't allow myself to think of what I'm missing, of how I would have loved to get involved in sports and been a more rough-and-tumble sort of gal. Instead, I take joy in every day.

I am still not what I consider 'fully independent'. I am a part time nurse and a full-time student. I rely on my parents for their insurance to cover my drugs. I rely on my very generous uncle and aunt to allow me to stay in their basement. Everyone has been so kind to me but I still chafe a little. I want to have my own place. I want to have money so I can buy furniture. I want to be free of schools and tests and test anxiety where my brain takes one look at the multiple choice on those computer screens and whizzes all my studies in one panic-inspired puddle on the floor. But I dream that one day, I can be a full time nurse and only that. I dream of working Labor & Delivery not just for the babies (I'm not as crazy about babies as you might think) but because it's possibly the cleanest part of the hospital and I will have a reduced chance of catching something, particularly because of my suppressed immune system.


Now an admission of my own folly. Remember how I was whinging about the border of the Mountain Peaks Shawl? Let me tell you why it's become my nemesis in knit. The biggest problem is aluminum needles. Those are Susan Bates circs I'm using and I would have gone with wooden, I really would have, but I can't stand the sound of wood. I once got a papercut on a cardboard box (yeah, I don't know how it happened either) and since then, the sound of wood rasping makes my toes curl and my throat constrict. Argh! And the rest is just me thinking it's a good idea to watch anime with subtitles while knitting something this complex. Yeah, I'm not terribly bright. However, I've since managed about four repeats of the border without incident. I'm starting to defeat this monster!

Monday, May 01, 2006


H and I are on their way, I'm just really having a struggle getting it written. It's a little personal and I think I need to treat it with the respect it deserves.

So, in the meantime, my current WIPs!

The Pomatomus in Koigu

The tree was very accomodating with the one finished sock. Koigu fascinates me. The colors come and go so quickly! It's variegation that I can actually enjoy. And the surprising part is that it really does happen to come to a bit of a pattern, but not an overly obnoxious one. No flashing*, no pooling. And now, ladies and gentlemen, please find your heavy-duty shades whilst I reveal my white foot.

And that's about how far I've gotten on the second one. The picture would have been higher if I could figure out how to make the timer on my camera work again. I knew how to do it before, I just didn't have the patience to tinker with it again. Ah well. This is also my on-the-go project. It came with me to my brother-in-law's commencement, Hogle Zoo, work, etc. It's such a nice pattern, so easy to memorize.

And then on the other hand...

Mountain Peaks Shawl
I should have taken to heart the review of how's laceweight tends to felt. I should have gone with what Mim actually recommended. But my 4s were busy and I wanted something resembling mountains so I got the Emerald and purple. It's become one of the most frustrating things I've ever done with knitting since I tried to make a Fun Fur scarf using Crystal Palace's eyelash yarn on aluminum 17s straights. At least it's very close to done as you can see:

As I carefully took this out of its slipped all of its stitches. Again. *sigh*

See? Ugh! And I spent who knows how long tinking this thing because SOMEHOW it slipped a stitch. I didn't know that was possible with this yarn since it likes to grab onto itself more tightly than those stickers you pick up while walking through tall grass. I'm looking forward to finishing this once and for all and picking up the Baltic Sea Stole again.

But until then, here we go with the projects.

*no, not that kind of flashing. It's when the stripes make kind of a lightning-type zigzag instead of behaving and making pretty stripes that go around).