Archive for October, 2015

dacapo jacket by hanne falkenberg

dacapo jacket by hanne falkenberg

dacapo jacket hanne falkenberg

dacapo jacket hanne falkenberg

dacapo jacket hanne falkenberg

dacapo jacket hanne falkenberg

So I think I’ve found my next project, I just need to figure out how I’m going to pay for it.

The jacket comes in 14 different color combinations. I think the favorite color combo is the first picture.

The jacket can be found here. I hope the instructions are not just in Swedish, but if they are, I am highly motivated to learn the language.

By the way, last night Yarn Rascal decorated the craft room for Halloween in my mother’s chenille yarn. He’s garnered yet another Golden Paw Award.


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I Am Slowing Down

I am slowing down. While it feels strange not racing around, I think a slower pace could lead to a richer experience of life and the things in it. For instance, I am on the border of the First Point of Libra Shawl and I am not racing the knitting experience. By not hurrying the knitting I am able to knit for longer periods and not have the aches and pains in my hands that I get from rushing the knit.

In slowing down I am more present for the knit. I am not obsessing about the next part of the knit or already knitting the next project in my mind. I am focused on what I am doing, which allows me to appreciate the creation of the fabric as it unwinds in front of me.

This slowing is extending into other areas of my life. I am no longer in a rush to get things over and done. The time it takes is the time it takes and I am fully present for the duration. I guess I am learning to be where my feet are instead of being somewhere else in my mind. It’s rather amazing how much less stressful things are when mind and body are in the same place, working on the same things together.

I don’t know whether this change is from the experience I had with the hives or whether I am just getting older or a combination of both those things. But I am tired of race walking through my life.

Now, I’d like to share some photos of knitwear by Thea Sanders, a Nottingham Trent student who won a coveted knitwear fashion award in Britain.

(Photo by David Baird - www.david-baird.co.uk)

(Photo by David Baird – http://www.david-baird.co.uk)

(Photo by David Baird - www.david-baird.co.uk)

(Photo by David Baird – http://www.david-baird.co.uk)

I’d love to see more color work used in hand knitwear design that are not stripes. Ms. Sanders said the inspiration for her collection came from tiles. While her collection is machine knit, more hand knit designs that explore colors and shapes could liven up the knitting scene. Of course color work in hand knits takes time. It’s a slower process. But maybe that’s just what’s needed: everyone take a breath.

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I was driving along the back roads to my home with my neck brace and hives when I came across two squirrels staring down each other in the middle of the one lane, winding road. As an animal lover I hit the brakes and stopped. The squirrels didn’t move. I blew the horn. The squirrels didn’t move. By not moving I mean they didn’t even blink their eyes, they were that concentrated on each other. I couldn’t continue on because they were literally blocking the small road.

They were so frozen in stillness that I briefly thought someone had pulled a joke and put two fake squirrels in the middle of the road to see how many bas@#1*ds would run over them. I put the car in park, checked the time to see I had about ten minutes before the schools let out and the teenagers came zooming through. So in that window of opportunity I hauled myself out of the car neck brace, hives and all intent on moving the squirrels whether they were real or not.

A note about being in a neck brace. Moving in one is not easy. Since the neck cannot rotate or bend, the whole body must do those actions to position the eyes on what they need to observe. The motions are done slowly or else bad things happen. Second, when a neck brace is around a neck covered in itchy hives any motion that makes the brace rub against the skin makes the hives worse. And so I approached the squirrels. One woman in a neck brace, two frozen squirrels and an idling car all in the middle of a small winding road.

They didn’t move as I approached them. But now that I was so very close and slowly bending closer, I could see their little rib cages moving in and out with breath. Since they were alive all I had to do was stamp my foot and off they’d go. Or so I thought. I didn’t think to straighten up before stamping and shooing. A major mistake on my part.

I stamped my feet and whooshed my arms toward the sky in a kind of yoga warrior pose and all was absolutely quiet for a moment. In that peaceful second, I saw their little eyes roll up to look at me, then I let loose a scream of pain as all the muscles in my back went into spasm. Both squirrels quickly pivoted and faced me. They were not happy.

Thinking they would attack, I ripped the foam neck brace from my neck and flailed it in their direction. It was the only defensive thing I had. Though unable to straighten up, my sense of survival kicked in. My legs and feet were beating it back to the car door as fast as a Galapagos Giant Turtle walks. The squirrels took a few steps towards me, I waved my neck brace again. Then off they skittered to opposite sides of the road.

I gently maneuvered myself back into the car. It was time for the schools to let out. I didn’t bother putting on the neck brace, the pain in my neck was the least of my problems now that the back muscles were in spasm and the hives were in full blown itching.

When I got back home and told The Skipper what happened, he said that maybe I should knit more to stay out of trouble. I completely agree.

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My Doctor Gets It

My doctor gets it. I collapse into a mess if I can’t knit, whereas when I am knitting I think all things are possible. The first question he asked my sad sorry self was whether I was knitting. I sneezed twice and replied that I couldn’t knit because the yarn touched the rash which made it more itchy. He emphatically said, “I want you knitting.” I lit up with hope.

The rash is hives. A generic response to an allergen. Precisely what that allergen is, we don’t know, but we know it’s not the yarn and my knitting. He prescribed 10 days worth of medicine to reduce the allergic response and suggested I knit with long sleeves on for now. He said that 90% of the time doctors can’t pinpoint the exact cause of hives.

As for the head cold, I will live, which means I can buy the hat pattern I saw on Ravelry and order the yarn for it. I really need a hat for this winter and I am very bad at hat making but I think this pattern might work.

train to maine hat

The Train to Maine hat by Carolyn Noyes. The pattern is here. There is hope.

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By today I was going to have progress pictures of the First Point of Libra Shawl but all that went down the drain when I came down with this itchy rash that keeps spreading.

One of the things they over emphasize when you have a mastectomy and lymph nodes removed is don’t let anything untoward happen to the arm on the mastectomy side. That means no cuts, scrapes, blood pressure readings, shots or needles of any kind poking into it and no rashes. So naturally, the first place this strange, very itchy rash settled was on the arm on the mastectomy side. Of course this happened when no doctors were available on Saturday. All weekend I had to practice my no scratching technique, which isn’t a strong suit of mine. If there is a hell on earth itching and not being able to scratch is it.

Over the weekend I tried every anti-itch OTC I could get from CVS. Nothing worked. By Sunday afternoon, between the itching with no relief and watching the thing spread, my attitude rapidly took a nose dive. Personality-wise I was like a demon in a horror movie. Knitting was put aside and I just sat, clenched my teeth and felt itchy. The Skipper perceived danger. He has a well-defined sense of survival so he picked the last rose of the year, brought it inside, put it in my cute little rose bottle and showed it to me. It looked adorable and the scent was heavenly. That little rose was the highlight of my weekend. Whenever I felt the horror movie demon take over I looked at and smelled my rose.

By Sunday evening I took to freezing the itching area with ice cubes. I don’t know if one should do that or not, but it was the only way to get some relief. Sunday evening was the coldest night of the year, we dropped below freezing. Guess what I got between ice cubes on my skin, walking the dog all night in the freezing air, and clenching my jaw against the itch? A Monday morning head cold and temporomandibular (jaw pain).

Today I go to the doctor with my head cold, jaw pain and the rash. With my luck he won’t know what the rash is, which will be the moment that I go into full panic and call my oncologist.

Oh yes, and the neck sprain I had? Still have it. I’m falling apart.

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Things are quiet here. I don’t often get to say that so it feels both good and a little strange.

It maybe quiet because my neck is still in a brace. Not much trouble can be found when all I can do is sit. I am able to work on the Point of Libra Shawl. Pictures are coming. I finally caved and purchased the photo editing suite I am most familiar with and stopped trying to learn the one that came preinstalled on the computer. It is one less thing to dither over.

Tomorrow I am going to launch the test knit for my pattern The New Rugby Sweater.

new rugby sweater knit front

It will go up on the Free Pattern Testers forum. I am looking for 10 test knitters total, so if you are interested check it out.

In the meanwhile, I am reading knitting patterns that have unusual or interesting construction techniques. I am getting down in the weeds of how to construct a Cowichian-style collar, among others. I collect the information on certain construction and keep it in journals. If I ever want to use a specific construction, I refer to the journal and have a starting point for further investigation. Among the data I collect are the names of websites that have info on that specific construction. I am considering making a baby sweater in a Cowichian-style but with motifs that represent modern day society. Right now, deciding on what the motifs are and then creating them is my challenge.

True Cowich sweaters have a rustic sense about them and the motifs used have meaning. One of the ways in which I want to diverge is for it not to be rustic. In part, I can achieve this through my selection of wool. But a too smooth wool will not have the “sticky” property that is needed when doing stranded knitting. Again, it’s a Goldilocks dilemma for me: sticky but not too sticky. Second, I don’t want to use traditional colors, yet I think I want natural colored yarn that has not been dyed. This is tricky because undyed wool always tends to look a bit rustic in both texture and color.

This is some of the knitting I ruminate on while I knit the Point of Libra shawl. It’s just so quiet that I almost can’t stand it.

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For all the enablers out there I want to let you know I ordered and received the yarn. Thank you for enabling me. I am happy as a clam at high tide.

Yarn Rascal went completely wild when the yarn came. He was so besides himself he came close to winning a Golden Paw Award. Has it been that long since I ordered yarn?

On Saturday, I went over to my parents and delivered the completed blanket to Dad.

herringbone blanket

The blanket turned out just as I wanted it to. The yarn was Berkshire Bulky in Cream, Stone, Medium Grey Heather, and Medium Brown Heather. The inspiration for the color combination was a geode. Dad seemed pleased with it. It turned out to be one heavy blanket.

On Saturday evening I wrenched my neck so I spent Sunday in a neck brace thing and a lot of pain. I got no knitting done. Today I am in less pain, but still in the brace. I also have a weird rash that seems to have popped up around the base of my neck. I swear it’s from the neck brace but how could I be allergic to a fabric covered foam thing? The rash goes between being very itchy and then being sore. Of course all this happens on an extended holiday when no doctor is on call. Such is my life.

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