Saturday, December 30, 2006

A New Leaf To Turn

Quickly: Mom's doing good. Her incision got infected and after draining a good cup and a half or so, they put in a Jackson-Pratt drain which I have the honor of emptying nightly and then measuring every 24 hours or so. I'm happy to report that we're not getting much anymore.

You know, 2006 was busy. It was full of tearing up roots, leaving people behind, changing scenery, settling down, re-establishing old contacts, realizing that the University/Singles ward is full of MARRIED PEOPLE (seriously, all the ones who aren't married are ten years younger than me and unattractive anyways) and realizing that ultimately everything happens for a reason. It's not always immediately apparent, particularly if you don't take a moment to step back and look at the big picture.

Fer instance, it hurt to move but if I hadn't, mom would be going through this cancer with only dad and with as much as we lean on each other to help mom, I know he'd be hurting to have to do this alone. Stuff like that where it may seem like crap but then you judge yourself by your own mental, emotional, spiritual yardstick and realize that these trials have made you stronger.

2006, you've been a trip. 2007, you've got big shoes to fill.

So! Who wants some knitting content? Ohhh, settle down, I've got a little something.

WIP: The Nantucket Jacket almost has a back now. Hey, I may be slow but I'm steady! And don't be telling me about now 'but Kit, that 'back' is only a paragraph long!' because I don't want to hear it.

And the Mountain Peak Shawl...almost done with Chart B. Chart C and Edging will be all that's left. But I'm wondering if maybe I shouldn't have done an extra repeat or two of Chart A. Oh well.

FOs: Yeaaah, here's the money. I have two hats because hats are what's in around here. Mom's already ordering turbans (I'm thinking that a turban is a dang WEIRD thing to wear out here in the Midwest but hey, mom thinks they're pretty so whatev on my opinion) so I'm making hats to supplement for the colder days.

Recipe: Knitty's Coronet
Hardware: I cant recall. #8 US DPNs and Circ, I think.
Software: Band - 4 ply merino bought at the Ren Fest last year. Hat: Manos del Hands of Fate Uruguay.

This was a lovely pattern and I wouldn't mind knitting it again. I used the merino not only for the band but for the part of the hat under the band so that it wouldn't chafe the forehead so much. For some reason, Manos *snicker* is not quite so soft. Then again, Merino is liek buttah in terms of wool. Alpaca is the only thing softer.

Recipe: Susan's No-Gauge Hat (as featured in her Nov. 2005 archive).
Hardware: size #8s DPNs and circ.
Software: 1 skein of's Colonia 140. I got it in their Odds'n'Ends so I'm not sure if there will ever be more. Avellanas is the closest in color-scheme.

This was quite a simple pattern. One increases after the first and before the last stitch on every DPN (if using 3, of course) until it's the right size. I suppose I underestimated the gauge, it's not quite a snug hat but it is cozy. The ribbing is K2 P2 alternating with rows of just knit and then switching to just K2P2 ribbing for the flipped up edge of the brim and the suggested i-cord bind-off while watching MST3K:Space Mutiny ("Big McLargeHuge!" "Slab Bulkhead!")

And there will be more hats and next year, after mom's recovered and doesn't need twenty brazillian hats (*snerk*), I'll donate these to, oh, I don't know. I'm sure I'll find a few bald heads that will appreciate the fine, handcrafted touch of wool.

Lastly, my knitting 'goals' for 2007, since I need someone to poke me when I slag off.

  • Buy no new yarn until birthday*.

  • Use up all sock yarn by birthday.

  • Finish sweater by February.

  • Blog more often (M/W/F).

  • Design a lace scarf.

  • Design an Aran scarf.

I know a lot of people are going on 'yarn diets' this year. Good luck 'n stuff. I'm not so much going on a yarn diet as I'm going on a pre-meditated yarn-only restriction. No more ferret-shock, no more socks that get hidden by jeans and covered by shoes. Not till *June 23 anyways. ;)

Well, good night all, Happy New Year, may it bring new hope.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Only good news here!

Mom's surgery went well. They got rid of tumor and the lymph nodes that they checked were clear. It only took an hour, actually, to do it all and she wore her cozy socks that I made her for Christmas during the procedure. Things are looking up and instead of socks, I really ought to make her hats as the chemotherapy is going to make her lose her hair and she'll need something fashionable and warm until it grows back. She's already ordered eyebrow stencils (she's more concerned about losing her eyebrows than her hair).

Anyways, we've all been taking care of her, including buying her Breast Cancer M&Ms and though she has little appetite, she appreciates the pink and dark-pink gems of chocolate goodness.

As for me, well, knitting keeps the anxiety focused in a positive manner and my fingers have been flying.

If you haven't guessed it now, you've not peeked into the latest Interweave Knits issue. This is the Nantucket Jacket featured on the Winter 2006 IK and it's knitting up marvelously. I work on it while Dad and I watch LOST (we're on Season 2, Disk 2). Man, that show is crack. Or like chips, you can't watch just one show. Dad and I have the same favorite characters: Locke, the paraplegic turned Indiana Jones and Hurley, the fat kid with the best sense of humor. Yeah yeah, Sawyer's hot and if they'd bothered putting a Gambit into X-Men 3, I would hope they'd cast him but eh, he doesn't make my little heart pound.

And for my sit-by-the-computer knitting, there's the Mountain Peaks Shawl. She's kind of going in fits and starts. Thank goodness I invested in bamboo needles and a life line because I seem to be all thumbs and distraction sometimes. But I'm enjoying the lace. I was itching for it, you know. Just anxious to knit lace. And after this, I'll probably make Eunny's Print O' The Wave Stole. It looks so pretty!

I've said it before but despite knowing quite well that I will not be able to find a reason to wear any of my creations in public except perhaps at a wedding, it hasn't stopped me from knitting it. The magic of Lace, eh?

Finally, I have a job! I interviewed yesterday and not three hours later, they called, telling me I had the job! It's part time, LPN on the health care level of a retirement 'manor', 6am to 2pm Tuesdays, Thursdays, and alternate weekends, about 48 hours a payperiod (two weeks). I'm so excited! And what a quick response! Exclamation mark! I start next week since they need someone for New Year's Eve weekend. Heh, nooo problem. This will be a nice change from the mental hospital. No crazy killers, just old people with possible incontinence problems. Well, okay, that doesn't sound much better but oh well! New experiences await!

Anyways, happy solstice all! And because we must be politically correct, I offer up the lyrics to the song Merry Christmas if that's okay sung by Mike Nelson and the bots.

[On the Satellite:]

MIKE: Hi folks. Welcome back to the satellite. As a special treat Crow, Tom and I have written and are going to perform an original Christmas carol.

CROW: Mike, it's not just for Christmas. It's for holidays of all faiths.

TOM: Yeah, & don't call it a carol because Carol is a woman's name and we want this song to be all-inclusive.

MIKE: Right. Why don't you hit it Cambot.

Let us all now sing
Our praises to the Lord today
Although you may not share
Our belief system
Which is perfectly O.K.

CROW: Maybe you worship an abstract being
That is kind of vague.
Or maybe you just
Worship a guy
Who's name is Greg.

TOM: Perhaps your religion doesn't
Include a time called Lent,
But whatever your religion
Is, we support you one hundred percent.

MIKE: So sit around the fire
And have a chestnut roast,
Or raise a glass in toast
To "Happy Days" Donny Most.

TOM: But if you prefer to eat
Indian food on Christmas day
I can only shrug my shoulders
And say "Namaste"

[spoken] Namaste!

CROW: Personally I prefer,
Turkey, gravy and salad
But lets never forget
All cultures are valid.

MIKE: So let's have peace on earth
And cut out all the bull.
Let's have a holiday season
That's multi-cultural.

CROW: If there's one point
We'd like to make
With this festive holiday song,

TOM: It's that Christmas comes just once a year
So for a few days
For crying out loud

ALL: Can't we all just get along?

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Spillin' the beans

You know, I feel like it isn't quite fair to be so very mysterious about this 'family trauma' so let me just lay it out straight. Mom's got breast cancer. She had a Pap Smear in August and her gynecologist didn't find anything then but she went for her mammogram only two weeks ago and they found a lump. And not just a little lump, this thing is an inch or so large. Anyways, biopsy shows it to be malignant but her lymph nodes, so far, are clear. We're all riding on prayers and hopes and candles and good wishes and caring thoughts, so any you wish to share will be highly appreciated.

Anyways, we're feeling optimistic. I guess we're so used to health crises, what with my bum kidneys and all, that we're just soldiering on. Faith and hope really help at times like these.

In the meantime, I've been knitting here and there. Want to see what sweater I decided on?

Can you guess at all? I'll try to get better pictures but it's been so gloomy out here!

Then there's a few other projects that I'm working on. But, y'know, there's just some sort of knitting malaise getting to me. Nothing thrills me, nothing stirs me. Of course, I have mentioned this before and I wonder if it's not the fact that I'm, well, still unemployed. Kind of like adding salt to things to bring out their flavor, work brings out an appreciation for not-working. Being unemployed causes me to feel a bit, well, meaningless. But things may turn around soon. I applied for a job at a retirement 'Manor' just today and I have an interview scheduled for Monday afternoon. Hopefully this will go through, who knows! And then I'll have my knitting mojo back, yes!

That's all I got for now. A pre-emptive thank-you to all well-wishers. Whether you pray or just send good vibes, what matters is that you care and I can hardly express how much I really appreciate it.

P.S. To Marianne - yep, I live here and love the Yarn Barn (though I like KC a bit better when I can get out there)! If you ever get out here again, give me a poke, I'll show you where to get the best hot chocolate I've ever tasted.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

What a difference a day makes

We've had some family trauma going on. It's not something I want to share with the world, so I won't share it here. We're soldiering on, familiar with tragedy and illness. We could use prayers, thoughts, crossed fingers, lit candles, and good woolly thoughts, whatever you want to send our way, though!

There are a few fun things I want to share, though!

1. A New Haircut!

Beauty schools are really nice, aren't they? That cut cost me $5 and about 45 minutes. The girl was awesome and had the best name; Stevie Jo.

2. A New Project!

Hmm, what could it be? It's 18 st, 24 rows, knit on 7s, and measures 4" x 4". That's also the first time I've used my blocking wires. They're maaagnificent.

3. Showing my geekery

And that's it for now. By the way, I do like how Blogger Beta allows me to add tags now. Very handy.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

For one brief shining moment

...I had my knitting mojo back. It was the lace. I was suffering lace withdrawals. Which is absurd because lace is not very fashionable in public (my stole doubles as a cozy scarf but even that is hard to pass off when the wind blows) but my fingers want to knit it. So I picked up some of my Lace Merino in a purple color and started the Mountain Lace Shawl as once before. Everything was going smoothly and then...I dropped a stitch. And so I try to save it but it was a k2tog which is hard enough to fix without going mad. But trying to save it caused more and more stitches to fall. At least last time the yarn felted to itself and dropped stitches were not an issue. This time, well, I'm thinking of going to the Yarn Barn and seeing what I can find in *gulp* wooden circs. Anyways, frogged it. Frogged it bitterly.

And then I thought to my unfinished Rogue. Y'know, once-upon-a-time I had this odd belief that I was supposed to fit my clothes. If they did not fit, I was the one who had to lose the weight. Going up a size was not an option. And sometimes...that still haunts me. Which is why I knit the Rogue in the Medium size (bust = 38.5"). I am NOT a Medium. I aspire to be but I'm not right now. So it also saw the frog pond.

And...that has killed my mojo. Or at least severely injured it and now it lies gasping with a remaining hitpoint of ONE. Argh!

Anyways, I'm trying to regroup, assess my options. I have 8 skeins of the most lovely eggplant color of Cascade 220. I am considering several options:

Basically, I'm looking for something that has pretty texture, is form fitting (short-rows or simple decreases/increases along the waist would work) and no hood. I'm done with hoods and Rogue and bad mojo(jojo).

At least I finished some fingerless mitts made out of scrap yarn. For the win!