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I am still here. So much has gone on with mom and dad and their health and my having to assume their business responsibilities that I haven’t been able to find the time or energy to post. I am hoping to find a balance.

On to knitting. Is it just me or is there a dearth of knitting inspiration out there? Barnes and Noble does not carry either Vogue Knitting or Interweave anymore. Brooklyn Tweed hasn’t really published a group of projects for autumn nor has Twist Collective. What sources for projects do you look at?

Right now I am still stuck on the short-row shawl. I’ve been near finishing the thing three times only to have to frog it all because of mistakes. It is becoming my forever project and I can’t find anything else I want to start knitting. The shawl needs to go into a time out, get itself together and behave. In short, it is driving me crazy.

I haven’t purchased new yarn in quite sometime because I can’t find a project I want to knit. Yarn Rascal is literally panting for new yarn to greet and meet. Unfortunately he has to wait. I have decided once again not to go to Rhinebeck for the wool festival. I just can’t see driving all that way only to be stuck in crowds and lines to see anything. I am not a big crowd person. It gives me claustrophobia.

I am toying with attempting to finish the sweater I was making myself. But I’d need to find where it is the stack of wips, then find what little directions I jotted down. I also think it is going to be too big. While I swatched, I didn’t wash and dry the thing. My knitter’s intuition tells me it is not going to fit as I want.

And so I am in a kind of funk.

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This Is Life

Life can happen so fast. In a blink of an eye it can go from being good to not being so good. After I got Dad home from the hospital Mom had what they think was three or four heart attacks over a three-day period before she would agree to go to the doctor and from there the cardiac care unit of the hospital.

Did you know you can call an ambulance but if the person you want transported to the hospital, even if they are in the middle of a heart attack, refuses to go or get medical attention there is nothing the ambulance people or you can do? I was in shock as I explained to them that my mother has this idea in her head that she has to die before dad. Dad had just come home from the hospital, I told them and mom was not thinking properly. They told me that I would need to hire the services of a psychiatrist to prove mom’s thinking was not rational. Exactly what other criteria did they need from a psychiatrist other than seeing a woman who clearly was having a heart attack refuse medical help because she kept saying she “had to die first”?

She went the entire weekend experiencing heart attacks before I could talk her into at least going to her doctor, even if she didn’t want to go to the hospital. From there she went by ambulance to the hospital. Apparently if a doctor calls and says the patient is going to the hospital, no matter what the patient says, the ambulance people are taking said patient to the hospital.

In the mean time, dad has one kidney left which is not working properly. We get the test results from the nephrologist Monday. We will have to see where we go from there, though dad is adamant he is not doing dialysis. Mom is currently home but is not able to do anything. Right now I am playing the role of visiting nurse, making sure all their medications are set up and trying to monitor how they seem to be doing. All of my mother’s real estate businesses have fallen to me to take care of. I am trying to get a handle on where everything is at and what needs to be done. Mom tires easily so I can’t get a lot of information from her all at once.

I refuse to give up my knitting, though actual knitting is going slow. I am still working on the short-row shawl. The concentration that’s needed is good for me. It gets my mind off on a different track and I can forget about the parental situation for a few moments. I am also keeping up with my tech editing of knitting projects. It too helps give my mind something else—something positive—to focus on. Hopefully I’ll have a picture of the shawl in progress soon.

Dad is out of the hospital but not doing well. He sees a kidney doctor on Friday. It seems the one kidney he has left is not functioning at an acceptable level. I feel we are at the beginning of the end. As I see it we are in the eye of the hurricane and the back side of the storm has yet to hit.

I was going to show you a picture of the short-row shawl. I had knit up a whole ball of yarn and was starting on the second ball. I felt I had enough of the shawl made to give you an idea of how it looks. Well…that shawl ended up being ripped back to the beginning yet again. On Monday evening there was a small health crisis with Dad and I put the shawl down in a hurry, not marking where I was in the short-row work. When I came back to it later that evening not only could I not discern what specific short-row I was on, but a number of the stitches had slid from the needles and were unraveled.

My life line was in and so I ripped back to that only to realize that I could not tell where I was in those short-rows as I had the life line in the whole shawl. What became clear to me was the life line needs to be inserted only on the wave just finished, not run through the whole shawl. That way if I need to rip back I know I am at the beginning of the wave. I almost cried when I had to undo the whole thing. I was so happy having gotten through one whole ball of yarn. But I didn’t cry. I just took away the new knowledge about the life line.

In the meanwhile, Yarn Rascal has been busy. The craft room clean up so new windows can be installed continued on without me while Dad was in the hospital. Every dog we’ve ever had gets a trip to the pet store to personally select the “house” he wants to call his own. We take down various crates and allow the pet to chose the one he/she feels most comfortable in. After all, this is a place in the home where the pet can go to relax, de-stress, or hang out with selected toys. Along with the crate we also buy an orthopedic foam mattress to fit the crate so that things are comfortable. The crate Yarn Rascal chose was a small mansion made for a bigger dog but it was what he wanted. He uses it to store bones and toys he doesn’t want anyone to touch.

While I was busy at the hospital and at Mom’s Yarn Rascal continued with the yarn clean up of the craft room. He moved every ball of left over yarn that was a merino and cashmere blend to his “house”. When I finish making socks or a shawl I keep the remaining yarn in a ball. Usually it ends up in a whicker basket and there it remains until I put it in a Rubbermaid bin. I keep the yarn with the dream that some day I am going to make a blanket out of all the different colors. In fact I had chosen the Bee Keeper’s Quilt as a possible project.

bee keepers quilt

bkq

As you can see it is made up of small hexagons that are two-sided and individually stuffed and then sewn shut. They are then sewn together one at a time. While I love the look of this quilt and think it would work quite well with the yarns I have I also think that it might drive me nuts construction-wise.

Anyway, Yarn Rascal is now the keeper of the merino-cashmere extra balls of yarn, while I am left to pack up the plain merinos.  The dog knows his yarn.

Well, I knew I was playing with fire, tempting the fates, or however you want to put it, by not having an on-the-go knitting project ready for use. I took my father to the emergency room at 1 am and spent the next five hours there as they got a handle on what was wrong. I had no knitting with me to relieve the anxiety. At 4 am I also became a quasi-patient when I had the most awful full-blown panic attack I’ve ever experienced. The medical staff was quick with ruling out all the big things it could be and finally coming around to a bad panic attack. My poor mother whose health is not that good, I dare say fragile, was left on her own for a bit while I was tended to. But this is what I get for not having a traveling knitting project to calm my nerves.

Dad was admitted to the hospital around 5 am. I was released and able to take my mother home. By then she had completely unraveled and it took me a bit to get her comfortable and feeling okay. Since her open heart surgery she does not like to be left alone. I understand that. But I needed to go home and sleep a bit and change clothing and be with Yarn Rascal who becomes untethered when I am not around. Both Yarn Rascal and I have separation anxiety when we are away from each other.

Today we should find out what is up with Dad. And no, I still haven’t been able to get yarn around needle to start a simple sock project to take with me.

This all came on the heels of the one last craft store in the area closing. It was where I got my paints and drawing supplies and came up with decorative little items to create for the house. No yarn stores, now no craft store—I don’t know what that says about the area I live in but somehow I feel it’s not good.

Making things with one’s hands nourishes the soul, exercises the imagination and strengthens the ability to dream. In difficult times it is relaxing and reassuring to have something at hand that you are making. Somewhere else to turn your attention and get it off repetitive worry. I worry about my mom and dad. I also worry about a society that turns its back on crafts and art.

Anyway, it is off to the hospital with mom to see dad and check in on what the doctor has diagnosed. Sans knitting to work on I must remember to just breathe.

I’ve had this summer cold for a little over a week now. Just when it seems to be getting better I get hit with it all over again. Nevertheless, I took some shots of the two pairs of socks I’ve finished.

knit socks broken garter rib

These are made from Zen Yarn Garden yarn. Thanks to Yarn Rascal for eating the skein band so I can’t tell you the colorway, but I can say that it is the merino cashmere blend. The pattern is my own and can be knit toe up or cuff down. The pattern is a simple broken garter stitch rib. Round 1: Knit. Round 2: K, p. Alternate the two rounds add your favorite heel and toes and you’ve got the socks.

knit socks roman road

These are also a simple pattern called Roman Road. Round 1- 4: Knit. Round 5: K1, p1. Round 6: P1, k1. Repeat from round 1 and you have the pattern. Along with using your favorite toe and heel this pattern works for both toe-up or cuff down socks.

knit socks roman road cu

Right now I don’t have socks on any needles and it feels like I am tempting fate a bit. I like to keep a travel project or two in the works for those emergency room and/or hospital stays. The large short-row shawl is taking all my knitting time. The shawl is in no way a travel project, but I am reluctant to put it down to start such a project for fear that I might have a moment of sanity in my life and never pick up and finish the shawl. But the anxiety of waiting for the axe to drop, so to speak, is starting to get to me.

Before I forget, the socks above were made with Dream In Color Smooshy in the Lapis Lazuli colorway. Yarn Rascal just happened to leave this yarn band intact.

 

I Am Counting

When a knitter says “I am counting” the rational person treats the knitter with the same respect one would a rabid animal: slowly back away and vacate the area. I obviously don’t surround myself with rational people or pets.

The current masochistic knitting project is a shawl worked in short-rows in order to create waves of color. There’s a lot to keep track of not the least of which includes counting. I’ve already restarted this shawl six times and I don’t want to restart it a seventh. It is with a sense of dread that I pick the thing up and knit on it each night.

The key to success with this shawl is to complete each wave without interruption of any kind. No exceptions for tornados, severe thunderstorms, updates on family, The Skipper’s latest project, or Yarn Rascal’s need to sit on my lap with his favorite bone in his mouth and drool. I suspect that in order to achieve this I will need to find a convent where vows of silence have been taken and even then the fire alarm will probably go off and I will need to put the knitting down before completing the wave.

I was making progress on the shawl until The Skipper and Yarn Rascal came bounding into the living room last night.

“I’m counting” I said without looking up.

The TV went on and The Skipper started watching a cooking show which is way better, or so I thought, than him choosing the Business News Channel. How many numbers can be repeated in a cooking show to throw me off count? Rascal, on the other hand, was busy watching the two newest fawns play in the yard. All seemed well.

And so I counted. Five, six, seven…

The TV responded: we have 20 square inches of meat to cut into 2 inch by 2 inch…

Eight, ten, twenty…no that’s not right.

200 pieces …2 inches squared…16…at 5 minutes a side…

Sixteen, seventeen…no wait a minute is that right? No wasn’t I on six? This can’t be right. I need to knit seventeen stitches before turning and I have…well there is no way to know what I have because I didn’t put the marker in before I turned.

At 350 degrees…turn 90 degrees…

Yes, the only way to get back on track is to rip it back to the life line yet again. I am beginning to think I might never complete this shawl. I am reluctant to put it into a time out for being bad, because I fear I will never, as long as I am in my right mind, pick it up again. Plus, I really do want it for the autumn. I picked out the colors specifically to represent that season.

So tonight I will try again to make some progress, even if I have to close myself up in the bathroom to accomplish it.

 

 

 

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.