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This is where I am at. My mother just had two more strokes that have left her almost unable to walk even with a walker. The doctor had prescribed medicine to help prevent strokes and even though I lay out the pills both my mother and father take during a day to assure they are getting the correct medicine, my mother stopped taking the pill to prevent strokes. I didn’t know this. Every day all the pills I laid out for morning, noon and night were always gone. I assumed she was taking it. Instead she was throwing it in the garbage bin.

My father who has one kidney that is working at about 30% has stopped seeing his kidney doctor because he has taken a sudden dislike to one of the nicest doctors I have ever met. My father has dementia and is often difficult to deal with. I can’t force him to go to the doctor. At the same time my mother had her two strokes, both in a 5 hour period, dad fell ill with the usual urinary infection he gets that has landed him in the hospital 6 times already. I had to fight with him to go to his regular doctor and get the blood and urine tests to confirm the diagnosis. At the time his fever was at 102 degrees. This infection, which he lets run rampant in his system has nearly killed him twice because he refused medical attention. Taking him to the doctor meant leaving my mother alone because I was unable to get her to the car to go with us due to the strokes.

I put her in bed and told her to stay their until dad and I got back. I also asked her to contact her doctor and tell him what happened. She refused to do the latter and even at this moment she still has not contacted him. I can’t call her doctor because he doesn’t accept calls from non-patients. He doesn’t really accept calls from his patients either but I thought having two strokes in one day may be significant enough to get the nurse to put her through to him. She refuses to take the medicine for strokes because it makes her mouth dry and her hair dry. I try to tell her these are minor issues and both can be remedied with conditioner for her hair and stuff for dry mouths. She refuses to cooperate.

Today is going to be another struggle with them. Mom can no longer use the shower/bath tub as she can’t lift her legs to get into the tub. We need to install a walk in shower for a handicapped person with railings and seating. Both mom and dad are fighting me on this saying they are not going to live long enough to make real use of it. This from people who bathe every day.

I am doing my best to try and keep them in their house as long as possible. They refuse to have any nursing assistant or medical care person come in and help them. This is where I am at and it feels pretty miserable.

 

 

 

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I want to share a video I found that is extremely helpful in dealing with mistakes in lace knitting. It’s by JenACKnitwear and it shows how to fix a mistake without ripping out rows and rows of knitting. It really is worth the look.

In the meantime I have been working on the Infernal Socks and have just ended the gusset portion and begun the foot. Please let it be over soon.

In other news, Yarn Rascal has embraced corriedale yarn. Up to last week he wanted nothing to do with corriedale and heaven forbid a ball of corriedale got mixed in with his collection of merino. Since the sock stealing episode his opinion of corriedale seems to have changed. Last night he moved the left over corriedale yarn I had in my bin to his bin of merino. Corriedale is a cross breed of Lincoln Long Wool and Merino sheep. It is longer wearing than merino yet still soft enough for next to skin wear. It is absolutely great for socks as it doesn’t pill and wear out as fast as merino.

In addition to knitting the Infernal Socks I have been spinning my corriedale fiber on my Tibetan Spindle. It took a bit to understand what the yarn wanted versus what I thought I wanted. Once I listened to the yarn the spinning has been going great. I am quite pleased with it.

Hopefully by the next post I will have a picture of the completed Infernal Socks. Please let this be true.

Ever wonder why the buttons on a male garment are on the right while women’s are on the left? It’s a long left over affect from times gone by.

Buttons did not appear on clothing until the 13th century. Like all new items there were extremely expensive.

The theory on women’s buttons being on the left are these:

  1. It was easier to open the shirt for breast feeding since most people are right handed.
  2. Wealthy women did not dress themselves. They had their maids do it. Placing the buttons on the left made it easier for the maid to button up the clothing.
  3. When women rode horses they rode side saddle to the right. Having buttons on the left meant that the wind could not blow open the garment and accidentally show off undergarments or skin.

The theory on men’s buttons being on the right is much easier. It has to do with the military. Go back to the days of swords, spears, shields and chest plates. Since most people are right handed the man would hold the shield in his left hand, sword in his right. Thus, his left side was presented to the fighting. Because of this, the chest plates closed left over right making it harder for a sword or spear to slip between the two.

When war evolved to include sword and guns again the same theory came into play. Since most are right handed and would draw their weapon with their right hand it is more efficacious to have buttons on the right so that the left hand is free to unbutton the coat if it needed to be quickly removed.

Last we left the Infernal Sock Yarn Rascal had snapped the yarn and I was looking for a place in the pattern where I could join the yarn. Well that is done. Today I thought I’d talk about symmetrical yarn overs because they are all over this sock.

Symmetrical yarn overs means getting the yarn over between a knit and a purl stitch to match the yarn over between two knit stitches. Usually the yarn over between a knit and a purl stitch tends to be larger because the yarn is wrapped completely around the needle. This causes more yarn to be used in making the yarn over and thus a larger yarn over.

Here’s what to do if you want symmetrical yarn overs.

First, do not wrap the yarn around the needle after the knit stitch. Leave the yarn in the back as if you were going to knit the next stitch.

1 knitted lace

Second, insert your needle purlwise into the next stitch and lay the yarn over the top of the working needle.

2 knitted lace

Third, purl the stitch as usual catching the yarn laid on top.

3 knitted lace

At the end, it looks like this.

4 lace knitting

The purl stitch and yarn over are made. Because the amount of yarn in making the yarn over nearly equals the amount of yarn made in a yarn over between two knit stitches the holes will be the same size.

When working the next round after making the yarn over between the knit and purl stitch you will need to reseat the yarn over so it sits nicely like all the other stitches and work it according to what is called for in the pattern.

Five months after we got Yarn Rascal I initiated The Golden Paw Award. The award is given for rascal behavior that goes above and beyond what is usual. This time Yarn Rascal really outdid himself and so he gets a Golden Paw.

Picture2

Yarn Rascal has a sunny personality. But his sun really shines when he is doing something he is not suppose to be doing. It goes beyond just delight, he is besides himself with ecstasy.

In February I had extensive oral surgery on the same day there was a SuperFull Moon and an evening snow storm moving in. Yarn Rascal is affected by full moons and snow storms. He gets very excited, happy beyond description, and loses all self-control. To have both happening at the same time is akin to disaster.

It was 10 hours after my oral surgery and I was still bleeding quite a bit and in a good amount of pain when Yarn Rascal just couldn’t contain himself any longer. I had decided to use the tea bag remedy to staunch the bleeding. (Wet a tea bag of black tea and put it on the bleeding area applying pressure. The tannic acid in black tea shrinks and closes the small blood vessels and stops the bleeding.) I was also in pain with my neck, shoulders and upper back so I decided to do a gentle yoga stretch to relieve the discomfort while waiting for the tea bag to work.

 I went into the bedroom where it was quiet. The Skipper was glued to the basketball games on tv in the living room and Yarn Rascal was nowhere to be seen. That last fact  should have raised alarm bells in me. I sat on the floor and eased myself into a yoga position that resembled badly tangled yarn. I was reassuring myself that my shoulders were not going to dislocate when the thundering of little feet came down the hall. Yarn Rascal, running at full tilt, tail flying behind him wagging for all it was worth, came tearing into the room with my hand knit corriedale sock clamped in his mouth, made two 360s around me and raced back out. My natural instinct to tense up kicked in and the new pain that shot up my neck and across my upper back was phenomenal.

I managed to untangle myself with maximum pain and went in search of Yarn Rascal. Yarn Rascal does not like corriedale. Merino is one of his great loves so I couldn’t quite comprehend what he was doing with this particular sock nor how he got at it.

Moving like the hunchback of Notre Dame and with the wadded tea bags in my mouth I went in search of Yarn Rascal. In the living room as still as a statue was The Skipper. It was hard to see whether he was breathing or not, but I could tell he was alive because his eyeballs were roaming over the television screen.

Trying to keep the pressure on the wad of tea bags while not letting them fall from my mouth I tried to say “Help me get the dog.”  It came out “Hef me gef fa dog.” The eyeballs didn’t even stutter as they watched the tv. Before I could get another sentence out, Yarn Rascal came rushing down the stairs with the corriedale sock and the infernal sock attached to its dpns in his mouth.  Streaming behind him was the infernal sock’s yarn.

I took up my best linebacker stance to grab the little imp, but Yarn Rascal is a stellar running back. He can fake out any NFL defensive player. Naturally, as he whizzed by I missed. However, the infernal sock’s yarn caught on The Skipper’s recliner and the next sounds I heard were thwang and snap. I can’t begin to tell you how much I hate it when I have to join in yarn and on the infernal sock there is no good place to make such a join.

I attempted a hunchback version of a run to get the dog while I remembered that on the instructions regarding post oral surgery I was to rest. I was not to run, exercise, bend over, or lift anything. I was going to die.

I finally trapped Yarn Rascal in the craft room. His tail wagged so hard his whole body followed suit. Super full moon, snow storm, knitting and yarn that mommy didn’t want him to have, what more could one dog ask for?

That’s why this Golden Paw Award is for Yarn Rascal.

I’ve had the Louisa Harding Amitola Annwn scarf done except for two rows and the bind off for about 2 years. Yes, this is the height of procrastination. I just couldn’t seem to find the time to finish it.

Then Dartmoor Yarns on her blog dared me in her comment section to finish the endless WIP. Even as a child I couldn’t resist a dare and I haven’t, it seems, outgrown that even at the age of 63.

I present to you the finished Annwn Scarf.

louisa harding amitala scarf 2

louisa harding amitala annwn scarf 1

The scarf (she also has a wrap in the same pattern) is by Louisa Harding and knit in her yarn Amitola which is a wool and silk blend. Knit on US 6 (UK 8) 4 mm needles.

I love the way the cable balances the ruffled edge of the scarf. It really is an easy knit. I just ended up getting distracted by other projects. Thanks Dartmoor Yarns for helping me finish this!

The Infernal Socks

I am currently working on what I call “the infernal” socks. They are my masochistic knitting project for this month.

rose rib socks knitt lace

They will be bed socks. The socks on the left are a photograph from the book Sock Knitting Master Class. The one on the right I just finished and haven’t blocked yet. The pattern is Rose Rib Socks by Evelyn Clark. They are finicky to knit.

First they are cuff down. I hate working socks that way. I am a toe up person. I could have altered the pattern to make it toe up but in the end decided to stay with the pattern as written. Mistake number one.

Socks that fit me best are ones without gussets. These have gussets. I hate working gussets in cuff down socks. Picking up gusset stitches is bad enough on its own. Add a dark yarn and night knitting and I need a klieg light and magnifying glasses to see the proper stitches to pick up. Once done, the stitches on the dpns are unwieldy and not evenly divided over the needles. This drives me nuts just looking at it.

Next come the dreadful decreases on every other row on both sides of the instep. I am famous for decreasing on one side and forgetting to do the same on the other. I have come up with a plan that helps me mark the points where the decreases need to be made at the time they need to be made but it is a lot of moving around colored stitch markers. I hate fiddling with stitch markers every row. The decreasing portion can’t go fast enough for me.

Then there is a small reprieve of straight knitting before I get to the toe and more decreases. This time I need to remember to decrease two stitches each side of the instep every other row. That’s a total of four chances in one row that I get to screw up. The stitches become less, the sock gets smaller and smaller, my knitting gets tighter and tighter and then I am left with an opening of 16 measly stitches through which I need to fit the entire sock so I can then Kitchener stitch the opening closed. For me, Kitchener stitch has endless possibilities for going wrong so I need to close myself in the bathroom where my attention won’t be disturbed by Yarn Rascal or The Skipper. Then finally the horrid little experience of making one sock is over with.

Did I tell you that the rose rib pattern is intricate? Eight rows of intricacy. No mindless knitting here. Even though I counted rows I somehow continually left out rows 5 and 6. To fix that I have to rip back to the start of the sock. There is no easy place to pick up stitches otherwise. I have never used  a life line when knitting socks but I am now using one for these.

I’ve started the second sock. I look forward to it being done.

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