Archive for July, 2015

For the first time in a long while I can say that I may be starting to feel better. Yesterday I felt like mush, but today I’m feeling a bit more like uncooked oatmeal, a bit sturdier.

The interesting news, however, is I got the muffler on the car fixed yesterday and for the first time in ages I rolled up the driveway and was not greeted by Sammy! I gingerly got out of the car, careful not to slam the door shut. Looked fore and aft, even under the car. No Sammy. Perhaps it was the muffler noise that attracted him. Bad news is I am kind of worrying about him. I hope he’s alright wherever he is. On the other hand, I walk around the yard on tippy toes expecting him to suddenly appear.

Yarn Rascal has a tick infection. We are going to start the medication routine tomorrow. We give him preventive flea and tick medication monthly so how this came about is something I want answered. Yarn Rascal is very sensitive to all medications so any time we have to go the medication route it’s a bit unnerving. He gets reactions to his normal yearly shots. I’m going to get out his favorite Shetland Yarn and put it in the bed with him. Maybe it will be a lucky charm and we’ll get through the course of meds without any complications.

The blanket I am making my father is here. I nixed the turquoise, he’s just not a turquoise person, and substituted a dark heathered brown. I kept the dark and light greys and the cream. I wanted the blanket to resemble the colors of agates I have seen and admired. The knitting is going nicely. I haven’t hit that point yet where nothing seems to move forward, but I’ve only completed 2 of the 8 strips.

I am going to try taking pictures on my cell phone and uploading them to my computer to see if that is less aggravating than camera to computer. But I suspect it is the photo software I am hating and not the tech items.

As of yesterday, I am officially rooting for winter to arrive. Temperatures of 90 F / 32 C are beyond me unless I’m a cactus.

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Still Alive

All is normal here, that is to say going down the tubes as fast as everything can. I thought I’d just check in to let you know I still live, though the summer cold I caught is now trying to kill me. It defies every natural aide I’ve shared with it. So in an act of desperation I saw a regular doctor on Friday. He agrees it is a cold, wrote some prescriptions, told me to fill them and I should be back doing the funky duck by Sunday. Well…between Friday and Sunday comes Saturday, when the medicines entered my system. A small trip to the hospital because of severe reactions and no funky ducky on Sunday. The cold is still alive and well.

A special thank you to Mollie and Claire. A very special package greeted me on my return from the hospital with the most wonderful and delicious yarn in it. Yarn Rascal was besides himself over it and I couldn’t help but feel he sensed Mollie. He smelled and gently rubbed his face all over the yarn. I am going to post pictures of this wonderful gift, but first this dang computer and I, along with the camera, need to be able to work together nicely. We haven’t quite found that balance yet. (And they want to release Windows 10!! Silicon Valley is filled with sadists.)

I am working on my father’s blanket and need to order more yarn. The yarn counts in the pattern aren’t right. It’s a good pattern, which I will be sharing pictures of as soon as the computer from hell, and the camera and I can all play nicely.

My best new summer friend, or at least I think he’s trying out for the spot, is Sammy. The Snake. For now just let me say he meets me in the driveway, a self-appointed greeter. Some families had butlers greet them when they came home. I have a snake.

This is my life.

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This week’s Sunday Images are here.

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At the moment, I am having a different kind of knitting experience. After much dithering I am knitting a blanket for my father that I hope to finish before his life ends. He is always cold lately and I thought a knitted blanket was a nice solution. I’ve made one crocheted afghan so I know the time and energy that goes into a large project like this. After I completed that afghan I felt done with ever doing another. To think of knitting an entire blanket was beyond what my mind could comprehend. Who in their right mind would ever consider such a project?

After Dad’s recent hospital stay, I overwhelmingly felt he needed a knitted blanket. Part of my mind rejected the idea of knitting it and said go out and buy him one. The other part of me felt that wasn’t the point at all. The buy him one side posed a valid argument that I don’t know how much longer Dad has and was I willing to start a blanket knowing I might not complete it in time? How would I handle that failure? The other side said that’s right I don’t know how much time he has left so I better get knitting.

Usually when I am knitting for someone the hours are filled with thoughts of them enjoying and using the item over time. It’s reaffirming a continuation of life. The hours spent knitting this blanket are not like that. Projecting forward in time brings me to placing it in his casket so it will always be near him. It’s a very different knitting experience. I see how I have associated knitting with hope and life and a continuation of positive things going forward. The connection between knitting and hope is, perhaps, the strongest for me. The act of knitting means hope and pushes away the feeling of despair.

While I have not fallen into despair knitting the blanket, the knitting is more solemn. Just to be on the safe side, I’d like to complete this blanket by September. So that’s where I am right now: at the hottest point in the summer, knitting a blanket made with bulky weight wool.

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Sunday Images are here. A new wrap style I see a lot is shown in the photo of the Tumeric Wrap by Rowan.

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In an ideal world all knitters get stitch and row gauge and happily produce a garment that fits well and they love. Reality says that this is a rarity. Knitters may get stitch gauge but not row gauge or vice versa or they might not meet either gauge at all. From all that I have read knitters mostly focus on getting stitch gauge if they embrace the importance of gauge at all. Row gauge seems to be a bridge too far for most knitters, hence the length of the pieces are better off being given in inches and centimeters rather than in specific row counts.

When a designer designates row counts as the sole identifier of length bad things happen to the knitter. While knitter X may get 2″ (5) cm out of 14 rows, knitter Y may get significantly less or more. I am not saying row count can’t be included in a pattern. What I’m saying is it can’t be the only marker for length that is in the pattern.

If the designer must include row count in his / her directions say it like this: “Knit 14 rows or until piece measures 2″ (5) cm.” This gives the knitter a tangible goal. If the 14 rows don’t measure 2″, then the knitter has the okay to continue knitting until the 2″ goal is met.

Another thing I am noticing in patterns is the standard X stitches and X rows = 4″ (10) cm is starting to fall by the wayside. Lately, I’ve seen patterns by indie designers that use X stitches and X rows = 2″ (5) cm. The 4″ (10) cm standard is there because knitting that amount gives a more true idea of how many stitches and how many rows are really in 1″ (2.5) cm. The width and length of the standard 4″ (10) cm allows for all the idiosyncracies to be offset.

When I ask indie designers why they use 2″ rather than the standard 4″ their answers deal with math. They don’t want to work with fractions or decimal points in their calculations. This is crazy. Knitting, garment creation, is all about fractions and decimals, knowing when to round up and when to round down to help a garment fit and lay right. The only way to become comfortable with fractions and decimals is to work with them over and over again.

Knitting design is math centered. It’s not the warm and fuzzy math of 1 + 1 = 2. It’s geometry and algebra, fractions and decimals included. Designing is having an idea then running the numbers to see if it is mathematically doable.

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I’m trying out a new life style. One in which states like calm and serene out number frazzled and anxious during a 24 hour period. I tried it yesterday and it almost worked.

Dad is out of the hospital, which is good. However I am still going at things full speed like a person who has no sense. So I decided that while I was working on my list of errands I would practice staying in the moment and keep myself open to the interesting and beautiful things around me. I would take time to breathe easily and enjoy.

I have a cold that just won’t quit and so I went to visit my doctor yesterday. Western medicine and I are slowly but assuredly parting ways, but that’s a whole other rant. I decided to take the scenic route to the doctor’s office. The one that meanders through the small river towns where you can see beautiful glimpses of the river and valley. It went fairly well except for those drivers who were determined to go 60 mph in 30 mph zones. I was determined that they wouldn’t get to me and for the most part I succeeded.

After the doctor I went to my organic food store and serenely pondered over products in the health department. I am in the learning phase of alternative medicine. I don’t want products that will set off my cancer or will interfere with the cancer drug I am taking, so I am proceeding cautiously. I came away with my old favorite Vitamin C. While western medicine puts no faith in Vitamin C helping colds and immune system, I do and it has worked for me before.

I was in a peaceful state when I turned into my driveway and started up the hill. I was planning on going inside, taking a Vitamin C and meditating for 5 minutes. Then I was planning on picking up my knitting and shooting my serenity to smithereens by watching an episode or 3 of Homeland. That show is the bane of my existence, at the moment.

When I got to the top of the drive where I park, I noticed a rather long black stick in the middle of it. I put on the brakes because it really was too straight for a stick and I didn’t want to run over it. I put the car in park and in my serene state opened the door to get out and get a closer look to move whatever it was.

I had one foot on the ground when the stick lifted it’s head and a small black forked tongue wiggled from it’s mouth. I really do not like snakes, though I respect their right to live. It was a black racer snake. Serenity vanished in an instant, my body went rigid, I flung myself backwards into the car, slammed the door and proceeded to scream at the top of my lungs while crouching on the front seat.

Screaming in an enclosed car adversely affects the ear drums. No matter how much I screamed, The Skipper, who was in the house, couldn’t hear me. The snake, who I’ve named Sammy, and I were at a stand still. He wasn’t moving, I wasn’t moving except for my vocal chords and we stayed like that for a bit.

Finally I thought that maybe the car was spooking him. So I turned off the ignition and along with it the air conditioning and waited. I had screamed myself out. Only little whimpers came from my vocal chords. It was another few minutes before Sammy moved on and I could park in my regular spot then run like the wind into the house croaking out the word “snake”.

With my serenity out the window, I nixed the meditation, popped a vitamin C and turned on Homeland. I was finally in the proper frame of mind and emotion to thoroughly enjoy it. In fact it looked rather calming after the stand off with Sammy. So much for my new life style.

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This week’s board is about how knitting is represented in the art of illustration. I hope you enjoy it. The board can be found here.

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Out of Whack

Things are pretty much out of whack here and I haven’t knit for days. I’m like a loose stitch slowly unraveling down the rows. If I don’t get needles and yarn in my hands soon I’m going to feel like a puddle of unraveled yarn looks.

To start with I have a head cold that has decided it wants to be my new best and closest forever friend. I can clear a crowded aisle in a food store with one coughing spell.

Dad is back in the hospital. So I’m taking care of my mother, plus The Skipper and the Yarn Rascal all at the same time. My mother doesn’t shop at the same food store as I do, so I travel between 2 food stores that are quite a distance from each other. Because of the coughing I now wear a medical mask while shopping, which gets a lot of strange looks. The upside is people get out of my way.

When I am in the hospital visiting Dad I wear the medical mask too. Because he has MRSA, I have to put on gloves and a gown to see him along with the mask. It’s kind of a surreal experience like I’m at the CDC or heightened security center where they play with germs and viruses the normal person doesn’t want to know about or get near. Every so often I expect a space alien to pop in to spice things up. Dad doesn’t look sick, but he does look tired.

Every time I get a coughing spell in the hospital the nurses become concerned and say I should see a doctor. I reply I have seen a doctor and this is where it got me. They say I should be on an antibiotic. I point out that MRSA exists because of the over use of antibiotics. The nurses and I stare at each other in a standoff.

The book on the new OS for the new computer finally came in at the library. It’s 2.25″ (5.5) cm thick. I think a dictionary is less thick. I have also located the manuals for both computer and new phone. The amount of reading should cover the rest of my life span. I’ll be in some nursing home and only up to page 1,250. In the meantime they will have moved on with the technology and everything I’m learning will be out of date.

In order to relax, I got the first two seasons of Homeland. I can’t say enough about how the show is not relaxing. It caused me to binge watch the entire first two seasons. Well written, well acted, not relaxing.

If all goes well, Dad may be out of hospital on Sunday. I, however, will still be wearing my medical mask. On the upside I’m ready for season three of Homeland if I can locate a library copy.

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Between the new cell phone and the new computer I am being technically tortured 24 hours and 7 days a week. I dream of a Court of Law, where I can put both phone and computer on trial and exact justice, painful justice. But no such court exists. Therefore, I am little more than their human captive susceptible to each of their individual oddities.

I acquired a copy of the Geneva Convention dealing with war crimes and torture. The copy wasn’t sourced via my computer, but through a friend’s who is a librarian. My relationship with my computer hasn’t progressed far enough to where I can ask it to do something for me and it will do it. I’d say it has a rogue mentality, but then I’m not a psychologist. I put the Geneva Convention information next to the computer. Some people like to start the day with a good stretch, or run. I like to start mine by reading a pertinent article on torture that is germane to the activities of the computer from the previous day. I always end the reading with the suggested punishment: hanging, firing squad, etc…. But nothing seems to daunt it. It knows the rules weren’t written for it.

The cell phone is a critter unto itself. It won’t let me make calls unless it’s to an emergency number. The phone has this fingerprint recognition thing. The first and only time it ever recognized my fingerprint was when I set it up. After 5 attempts at fingerprint recognition, up pops a keyboard on the screen asking for my backup password. I frankly have no idea what I used as a password because I thought the fingerprint thing was a solid deal. After ten minutes searching through papers that I possibly scribbled the password on I found it and got access to my phone to make a call. Of course the conversation was dropped right at the important part. The phone then gave me my heart rate, which it noted was elevated.

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