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My doctor has given me 30 days in which to turn my diabetes around or go on medication. Since sweets and sugar have been cut from my diet since my cancer diagnosis I am not sure how I find myself in a diabetic condition. However, it may be carbohydrate related. I bake my own breads and I do enjoy eating pasta. I eat almost anything Italian because that is my heritage and the way I grew up. I am finding that food is a very cultural thing.

Since I am not going to give up my Italian eating, I figured the next best thing was to try and add a good bit of exercise to my day’s schedule. While I do Tai Chi, it is not aerobic. Yoga is impossible to do with Yarn Rascal. Yesterday I tried to do a Yoga workout and when it came to the plank position Yarn Rascal thought it a great treat to jump on my back. The extra 17 pounds caused me to collapse onto the floor. A full face plant, so to speak, and a biting of my tongue. What my tongue was doing between my teeth in the first place I have no idea. Anyway, Yarn Rascal thought it was great and laid down on my back wagging his tail. I am still lisping as I speak today, though the tongue feels better.

My next line of thought was to find the exercise bike at my mother’s house. Mom and Dad have lived in the same house for over 60 years, which means 60 years of accumulated things in the cellar. But if I remember correctly I stored the bike there only about 20 years ago.  So over to Mom and Dad’s and down into the cellar.

It took archeologists 3,000 years to uncover King Tut’s tomb. I looked at their cellar and thought 3,000 years was a blink of an eye compared to what I was facing. So I’ve started excavating. I’ve discovered many amazing things that I had forgotten that took me back to childhood days. My Barbie and Ken dolls along with Skipper and Madge. All the little doll dresses my grandmother sewed by hand for them. I also realized that excavating is a workout in and of itself.  Along the way I discovered that the back has a lot of muscles that will spasm long after the excavating stops. Who knew that when you breath your back muscles are part of the process?

I think I may be closing in on the exercise bike. I did find the baby grand piano that was down there. So there is hope. Of course the bike is smaller than the piano but hope springs eternal.

Movement

I wish I could tell you all the things that have been happening here but there are just so many.

The sock madness has halted. I am 32 rows short of completing the second sock of the second pair of socks. The unfinished sock is in a prominent place so it sits and stares at me and makes me feel guilty.

I have, what I thought would be an easy shawl on the needles. It’s all garter stitch and short-rows. I am here to tell you it is not as easy as I thought and since I am looking at ripping back to the beginning for the fifth time I can say that it is bordering on masochistic knitting. The problem is not the pattern it’s me, the knitter. Despite using stitch markers in large quantity I am still getting lost on where I am at in the pattern.

I am seriously thinking that the reason for all the trouble is that this is some cosmic karma thing and I am meant to be doing something else other than this shawl. Call it masochistic, but I am even more determined to knit this shawl. Usually when a project gives me this much trouble I put it in the time out bin where it can think about what a pain in the neck it is being. But if I did that then I would need to either A) pick up the sock and finish it, or B) work on the Shetland shawl. I will go to all lengths to not work on the Shetland shawl as that needs precise, fine-tuned concentration which is in short supply here at the moment.

I’ve recently been to the doctor and the news was not so good. I now have diabetes. Since I don’t want to take more medication because not everything plays nicely with my cancer medication I have persuaded him to give me three months to turn the diabetic numbers around.

After learning about diabetes, the only thing that I am doing to contribute to it is being kind of sedentary. He decided I should start a regular exercise routine. Easy for him to say. So my new morning ritual incorporates exercise. Today I tried yoga. I can see that while it is interesting it may not work for me. It seems that whenever I am on the floor in a downward dog pose, Yarn Rascal takes it as a signal to position himself between my body and the floor while licking my face. If I fall while in this position I will crush him to death. Doing yoga with Yarn Rascal is not going to work, I can see that. As long as I am on the floor the dog takes it as play time and cuddle time.

That leaves walking, tai chi, and working in the garden. There may be plenty of work to do in the garden this year. We have no bees in our area. The two apiaries near us have no honey bees. Bees pollinate the plants, especially tomato plants. As of now it looks like we will be hand pollinating all the plants this year. This is not a good turn of events climate-wise.

Well, that’s all the down time I have. I am going to try and excavate the exercise bike from my mother’s basement. Just attempting the extrication should qualify as some heavy duty exercise. It’s all about movement, my friends.

Catch Up

I don’t know where the time is flying to lately, but I am running full out to try and catch up. It is almost 2 weeks now since I met up with fellow blogger and friend, Salpal of What I’m Up To Today blog. It was wonderful to meet her in person and I really enjoyed the time with her. She is exactly the same nice, caring, sincere person she is on her blog. Naturally we hit a yarn store. Such a treat for me, since I don’t have any near me. To be able to see and feel the yarn before purchasing was so nice. Salpal is such a nice person I found myself wishing we lived nearer one another. I really had a wonderful time.

When I came through the door carrying the yarn in a bag, Yarn Rascal raced over to me and I thought I was going to receive a nice big cuddly welcome home. But no. Yarn Rascal ran towards me and actually dove into the bag and came up with the yarn I had bought. With yarn in mouth, he proceeded to dance around the living room like a horse performing dressage. He didn’t let the yarn get out of his sight all night long. In fact, he slept with it in his bed.

Lately, Yarn Rascal has been in an archeological mode. He’s been taking out long forgotten wips and draping them along the floor in the hallway where I can’t help but see them. All my wips are in their own canvas bags which he also leaves in the hallway. Honestly, I didn’t know I had that many canvas bags nor that many wips.

The picture below shows one of the wips Yarn Rascal dug out finally finished.

scarf knit

I started this scarf 6 years ago when my mother and father were in separate ICUs in separate hospitals. The pattern is by Anne Hanson and is called Rivolo. I remember selecting the pattern because it looked like the rain that incessantly ran down the windows of each ICU. The yarn I used was Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sock in the Navy Pier colorway.

It was hard to believe we had moved on to 6 years. The trauma still seems near.

Right now I am knitting socks. It’s very obsessive compulsive knitting. I finished one pair and immediately began on a second pair. I am working from patterns of my own making. Pictures are on their way. Like I said, everything seems to be moving faster than me and I am playing catch up.

 

 

The sock yarn that didn’t want to be socks is finally a pair of socks.

knit socks dream in color yarn

The actual color is not as yellow as the picture. It’s more a creamy butter color. The yarn is Dream In Color Smooshy in the Butter Peeps colorway. The pattern is http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/mary-mary-8″>Mary Mary</a>. I don’t know why the http address is not coming out right, but a lot of things have been screw ball crazy on WordPress for me lately.

The modifications I made on the sock are small. I worked both a short-row toe and heel, changed the cable on the sides to a broken garter stitch and did a sewn bind off without a cuff. I knit them on a 9 inch (23) centimeters long US 1 (2.25 mm) circular needle. Despite the fact that the circular needle was 9 inches (23) centimeters I was able to comfortably use it to work my 7.5 inch (19) cm circumference.

I immediately started another pair of socks–anything to delay working on the Shetland Shawl project. I keep telling myself that I just need a little more of a break from intricate lace work.

On the home front, The Skipper has decided to replace all the windows on the second story of the house. I don’t normally get excited over window replacement unless the windows that are being replaced are in the two rooms where my over-flowing stash and wips and all things knitting and crocheting are housed. So let’s say I am really, really excited.

I went into just one of the rooms to contemplate the mess situation. I had a full on panic attack at the thought of having to bring some kind of order to it. The Skipper, trying to help, suggested I sort what I was going to keep from what I was going to get rid of. Get rid of???? Nay, kind sir, there is not a scrap of yarn, nor any other knitting or crocheting accoutrements I can part with. Yarn Rascal sat on his small mountain of yarn and watched as the blood drained from my face and I almost fell into a faint at the thought that I might have to part with any of it. I mean I have plans for all this yarn.

The Skipper said if I lived to be 100 I would never use it all. That, of course, is not the point. Like a connoisseur of fine wine or fine art, all of the yarn—except the bags of yarn from my mother’s weaving stash–so almost all of the yarn, was acquired at a great price and with considerable thought, especially if it was on sale. It takes almost a full three seconds to look at, contemplate, then hit the buy button if I know what I am looking for. If I am unsure, it could be a full 10 or 15 minutes of looking and contemplating. Just acquiring yarn is an art unto itself.

I pointed out that some of the yarn is the only one left of its type because it was discontinued. While I may not immediately have a project in mind for it right now, I am waiting and thinking about what sort of project will perfectly fit it. I mean some of my stash is museum quality. I could see that Yarn Rascal understood but The Skipper did not.

If you want a hot stock tip, invest in the Rubbermaid company. From the looks of things, I am going to buy loads of their containers.

 

I never thought it would happen, but I’ve finally come across sock yarn that doesn’t want to be a sock. The culprit is Smooshy by Dream In Color in the Butter Peeps colorway. Smooshy, along with MadelineTosh Sock, are my go to yarns for socks and I’ve never had them fight me the way this yarn is doing.

knit socks

I’ve had Butter Peeps in my stash for a long, long time. Yarn Rascal unearthed it when I was trying out the Mary Mary sock pattern on Ravelry. (I’d put the link in to the pattern but WordPress is acting strange lately and won’t let me).

The Mary Mary pattern is the perfect pattern for this colorway. So no matter how hard the yarn fights me I am determined to make it into this sock. After all, masochistic knitting is not new to me.

Since I knit socks from the toe up the first place the yarn gave me trouble was making the short-row toe look right. It did not want to make a nice neat short-row. So each toe of each sock was *worked, ripped, and worked again* repeat from * to * four times. I never have this much trouble with short-row toes.

The second problem is why I don’t “usually” buy sock patterns, though you would never know it what with all the sock books and loose patterns I have in the sock making area of my stash. I could knit socks forever and never complete all the sock patterns I have stashed. Yes, in addition to stashing yarn I stash patterns.

Back to the second problem: I can never get gauge. The gauge will say 9 stitches per inch on size US 1 needles (2.25 mm) and I can only average about 7. I would need to drop down 2 needle sizes to even begin to reach 9 stitches. I can hear the snapping of dpns as I write this. No, 2.25 mm is the tiniest I can go and stay sane. I use the word “sane” loosely.

Because I can’t get gauge and my sock size is 7.5 inches (19 cm) in circumference I need to adapt whatever sock pattern I am working from. This means studying the pattern, deciding how I can adapt it so it looks close to what it was. Sometimes that is easier in theory than in practice. Though, with this particular sock all I needed to do was drop the cable at both sides of the instep and replace it with broken garter stitch. For me, the look is still close enough to the original to be pleasing.

Since I was experiencing all sorts of idiosyncracies working on dpns—holes where there shouldn’t be holes, wonky stockinette stitches, and a strange puckering of fabric every so often— I decided to knit it on a 9 inch (23 cm) small circular needle. It helped tame the yarn somewhat, though the yarn still does not want to play nice with p2tog.

I have about 30 more rows to go before I have to work the short-row heel. I have zero expectation that it will work out well on the first go round. The last heel took three tries before it looked right.

Finally, I thought I’d share this picture of Yarn Rascal with you. Notice the gleam in the eyes, he is planning his evening activities in the yarn vault.

yarn rascal

The search for the elusive Rowan Glace continues. It’s now turned from a past time activity into an obsessive endeavor. With the blizzard dumping 18 inches (46 centimeters) of snow in a 24 hour period, I had some time on my hands regarding indoor activities and that’s how I ended up in the attic.

I still have a few closets yet to be inventoried but I became obsessed with the idea that the yarn was in the attic. This was delusional thinking since I have never put a Rubbermaid bin full of yarn in the attic since I’ve lived here. But that didn’t stop me.

I folded down the attic steps and up I went. It was the middle of the blizzard and the sound of the wind was so much clearer up there. The sound of strong winds set my nerves on edge so the clarity of the sound was not comforting. In addition, the only light in the attic is in the middle of the ceiling, up high, with a 3 inch (8 centimeters) chain pull. Needless to say, I couldn’t reach it, so I was using the flashlight on my cell phone to see.

What I saw were bins and bins of Rubbermaid. Some were see-through, most weren’t. My first thought was I need to take out stock in this company. My second thought, as I looked at bins stacked on bins with some stacks as tall as me, was that this was an impossible and foolish undertaking. All of the bins in the attic came from my house when I moved here. Not one bin was added– where the heck would I find room to put it– since I’d lived here. Nonetheless this sane thought didn’t stop me.

Thus I began my own archeological dig through time. My allergies came on full bloom the minute I started moving the bins around. Some of what I found were clothes, books, shoes, half-finished embroidery that was set to be a fire place screen, crewel work, half finished crochet projects, the framed invitation to my wedding, wedding album, and so on. At about the fifth bin of fond mementos, I thought I’d caught sight of something white and furry out of the corner of my eye. I heard some scrabbling of nails on the floor coming from the direction where the flash of white disappeared. Now, I don’t mind field mice and with the weather the way it was outside I figured let the poor thing stay. But it did cross my mind that I had never seen a white field mouse.

As I opened the seventh bin, I thought I again saw something white and furry out of the corner of my eye again only it was bigger this time. It disappeared around the corner of a stack of bins I had yet to get to. Again, the scampering sound of nails across the floor. I thought it might have been a squirrels tail, though the color didn’t match that of a squirrel.

Working my way through the tenth bin the elusive creature brushed my legs. I jumped a little only to look down and see Yarn Rascal. Little one is a climber and he had climbed the steps to the attic and was having a grand old time sniffing and checking out a brand new area of the house. It was clear to me, if not to Yarn Rascal, that while he got up the steps, he wasn’t able to get down them. Nor was I able to carry him down without killing both of us.

It took about 15 minutes of calling and thumping on the floor of the attic to get The Skipper’s attention. I handed a squiggling Yarn Rascal to him and told him fold up the steps so Rascal couldn’t get back up.

Around bin number 16 I became tired of my little trip down memory lane and wanted to get down from the attic. Only I couldn’t. Unfolding the steps from where I was wasn’t possible. I was marooned in the attic for a good half hour before I got The Skipper’s attention and had him unfold the stairs.

I have three more places to look, none of which is in an attic or basement. If I find the Rowan Glace I think I’m going to strangle it.

 

 

 

 

 

Searching

I’ve been looking for the Rowan Glace I know is lurking somewhere in one of my stashes. Having come up empty handed I thought I’d turn the task over to the master of the stashes, Yarn Rascal. After all, he spends his entire nights not sleeping but unearthing things from the yarn vault.

Lately he’s been in archeological mode. Finding and uncovering wips that I have long since forgotten about. He carefully drags them from the closet and displays them on the floor in the hallway between the bedroom and the bathroom where I can’t help but see them. Two of them have caught my interest and if I can find the yarns, beads, and patterns I was using I would love to finish them. Yarn Rascal can’t help me find the beads because he will eat them. Nor can he help me locate the patterns because he will shred them as he does yarn ball bands. Anything that’s paper, including money, must be ripped into small fragments.

So last night I begged him to put his archeology hat away and find the Glace. Along with some archeological finds he unearthed a significant amount of yarn. Alas, none of it the Glace. While putting the yarns -sans ball bands- back into their respective places I realized that all the yarns Yarn Rascal had taken out were either Shetland, merino, or some other pure wool yarn. Not one was a combo of wool and silk or wool and cotton. None were cotton or linen yarns. The dog has his preferences and if it is not pure wool he ignores it. Until now I hadn’t recognized how particular he is in his choices.

Unfortunately for me, Glace is a pure cotton yarn and therefore not on Yarn Rascal’s radar. That means it’s up to me to find it. I’ll give it one more week of searching and then I’ll buy a skein. All I want it for is to swatch a baby dress idea that’s been kicking around my head and because it is a spring/summer sort of thing I’d like to use cotton yarn. Why is nothing every easy?

 

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