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Posts Tagged ‘shawl’

Of course that is not its real name. The shawl is called Carol’s Frequency.

When I first saw the pattern I could imagine it in autumnal colors that were a touch rustic. I found the yarn to suit that vision in Schoppel Woole Zauberball Crazy. I don’t remember the name of the colorway.

The shawl is worked entirely in short rows, wave by wave. While the pattern promo says there is no wrapping, what the designer has done instead is create a one stitch float which you pick up and with the stitch it floats across you knit both through the back loop. Most of the time this closes up the holes created by short-row work. However, at least once or twice in a row of waves a large hole appears which is due to the short-row work. I have this thing about holes. I hate them existing where they shouldn’t and would knit hanging upside down from a chandelier even though I am afraid of heights if it meant getting rid of them. I had to address this hole problem.

What I did was pick up the float and then go into the small cross bar of the stitch in the row below and pull that up. Then I knit the float and the stitch, and cross bar together through the back loops. It closed up the holes nicely.

So this is what I am currently working on. I still have a bit of a way to go before I can start the bind off and while this has been a frustrating knit at time, I do really like the way it is starting to look.

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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.

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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.

 

 

 

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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.

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The SIL Shawl is Done

Yes, it is finally done. The Pothos Shawl for my SIL is finally done. I am very much in love with the result. The pattern by Anne Hanson is well written and clear. All the trouble I had with this shawl stemmed from me alone and not from the pattern. It turned out to be a big beautiful piece of knitting. Pothos is the name of an Asian plant with leaves the shape of which are in the shawl.

As I said in my last post, the gods of knitting don’t like smugness nor do they like giddiness. Remember I was “giddy” that I only had 3 rows left and the bind off. I should never have even hinted I was anywhere near the feeling of happiness. The knitting gods got me and got me good.

The Skipper was out-of-town overnight on what I thought would be the final night of shawl knitting. All that was left was the bind off. I was breathless with happiness. It is a big shawl and the bind off was going to take most of the night. Before I sat down to begin, Yarn Rascal and I went for a rummage through the yarn vault where he selected a small ball of left over yarn as his companion for the evening. Yarn Rascal with his ball of yarn and I with the shawl sat down on the living room couch for an evening of bliss. I had 10 bound off stitches of the 500 plus when it happened. The lights went out. We were pitched into complete darkness, which frightens Yarn Rascal. He jumped into my arms already filled with the shawl and began doing his nervous dance. All I could think of is this is the revenge of the knitting gods. I should have never said I was giddy. There was no reason to lose electricity no storm nor wind outside. It was calm and the moon was nearing full. It all came down to that one word: giddy. It was clear to me that this shawl was going to vex me until it was packed up and sent out of here to it’s new owner.

I untangled Yarn Rascal from the shawl and held him while I stumbled around searching for my cell phone which has a flashlight feature. A few banged shins and a lot of curse words later I put my hands on it and turned it on. Yarn Rascal went wild. He is not a calm little dog in a power outage. I thought of setting up candles to provide him some light, but I don’t like to leave burning candles unattended and I would need to do that in order to set up the generator, which I have only set up once before. I opened the drapes instead and let the moonlight in. This did not soothe him. I had to battle him to get to and through the door into the garage and generator. How long can a dog bark, yelp, and throw himself against a closed door? Well it seems Yarn Rascal is a marathon barker, yelper and jumper. The dog has endurance. He kept it up the whole while I tried to set up the generator.

Setting up the generator by moving it outside the garage door is a 5 minute job for the person who knows what he’s doing. Key word here is “know”. The first thing I realized is that the garage is absolutely black darkness when there are no lights. The second thing I realized is that the flashlight on the phone doesn’t make much of a dent into that darkness. And the third thing I came to understand is I need light to walk down a group of stairs properly. Waving the flashlight around looking for the generator and not concentrating on the number of steps I had to descend got me to the bottom of the stairs more quickly than I expected.

The garage is a two car variety. The garage door is large. It also runs on electricity but can, hypothetically, be opened manually. How hard can that be? I positioned myself and bent over to lift the garage door. It came up maybe three inches before it snagged, at which point I could hold it no longer, and it slammed shut the way a guillotine whooshes down just missing my feet. No problem, I thought. Just assume ballet position number two, making sure the feet are out of the way and try again. Same thing happened. Something was preventing the garage door from going up. I take up the flashlight and run it over the mechanism of the door. Sure enough the door has a “safety” feature on it which is a lock that prevents people from just lifting the door up and gaining entrance. The little handle for unlocking the lock was dangling over my head and out of reach. I tried jumping up to grab it and pull it down, but unlike Yarn Rascal, who was still going strong, I finally had no jump left in me after a handful of tries.

Looking around I noticed there were no ladders in the garage. They were all up in the barn. I had a decision to make: I could walk all the way up to the barn with no lights and hope that I wouldn’t meet a coyote or a mountain lion or I could find something in the garage to stand on and then jump from that and grab the release handle. Briefly I eyed the tractor. If I stood on the seat I was at the perfect height to grab the handle. But the tractor was back in the corner and not positioned where I needed it. Also I had at least two hours worth of things to move out of the way to get the tractor in position. Lastly there were no keys in the tractor and I had no idea where they were.

The next thing I came up with was a milk crate. While not tall enough for me to reach the handle even on tippy toes it did give me a higher platform to jump from and attempt to grab the handle. My thinking and attention was totally centered on grabbing the handle to release the lock and I never once thought about where I would land once I launched myself into the air. This was an important oversight.

I placed the milk crate under the handle stood on top of it and jumped like I was going for a gold medal. My hand touched then grabbed the handle and I heard the lock click open. I experienced a very brief feeling of success that ended in some pain when I landed amid the clutter on the garage floor. I remember being surprised that the chain saw was on the floor, but it was a fleeting surprise as I crashed into saw horses, two by four pieces of wood, a full gallon can of gasoline and a wooden bench I never saw but would have worked better than the milk crate.

I got up, dusted myself, off ignored the bleeding and went to open the darn garage door. This time I got the door open a good 10 inches (25) cm before it whooshed back down trying to sever my toes from my feet. I tried it three more times, but the problem was my left arm, the mastectomy side. While my right arm was strong enough to lift and then push up, my left arm couldn’t do the push motion. Down the door crashed.

I thought for a bit. If I could wedge something underneath the garage door to hold it at the 10 inches (25) cm, I could then reposition myself to lift it a little more and wedge a taller item under it and if I could get it up high enough doing it this way I would be able to push it all the way open. But what was I going to use as wedges? After much searching and a bad encounter with a rake (never leave the tines outward where they are easily stepped on in the dark), I found an entire set of the Encyclopedia Britannica high up on a shelf in the far back of the garage. The Skipper is probably the last person on earth with a complete set. But they would work well, I thought, as wedges. I was planning how I was going to climb up to the shelf and get the books when I noticed that Yarn Rascal was silent. I called his name. Nothing. Was the dog dead? Was he eating the shawl? Did he have a nervous breakdown? I picked my way back around the garage, avoiding the rake, to the stairs. When I opened the door there was Yarn Rascal sitting panting in the middle of the shawl, his ball of yarn by his side and the lights were on. We had lights again!

Needless to say, I didn’t finish the bind off that night. I cleaned out the cuts and scrapes I had gotten in my fall, looked in my medical chart to see when my last tetanus shot was and decided to call it an evening. The knitting gods had won another round

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The SIL shawl has 3 more rows before it is completed. 3! I know I shouldn’t show how giddy I am at being so close to calling it complete, the gods of knitting don’t like that sort of thing, but I can’t help it; there is so little good news around. The amount of work needed to complete the 3 rows will probably take 3 nights of knitting, but after working on it so long 3 nights seem like almost nothing. I must stop this crowing or the gods will put some really difficult road blocks in front of me and the darn thing will take 3 weeks and not 3 days. Is it possible it could be packed up and in the mail before 24 November? Be calm my rapidly beating heart. Or am I having a heart attack just thinking of the end of this shawl?

When I realized I was coming to the end of the shawl I briefly panicked wondering what I would knit next. But I have a cowl and fingerless mitts I’d like to complete before winter is over so I think I will concentrate on that for a bit. Then there are socks that I started for Big Foot aka The Skipper, but I am rethinking the design. I also have the massive Shetland Shawl to do, but I have to bounce some questions off of you guys first before I start that.

I also have the Anastasia baby sweater pattern to write up. I started doing that in earnest yesterday. Instead of figuring out all the numbers for all the sizes as I created the sweater as I usually do, I decided to try what I thought would be a simpler method. I knitted and recorded all the numbers for one size within the pattern. The “simpler” way will never be done again. I am finding it more time consuming than if I had figured everything out as I went. The only thing saving me from madness is that I made two schematics: one detailing all the sizes the other all the stitches and rows. At least the schematics give me a starting point for all the other sizes. The great thing about grading a pattern is that I literally close myself off from all media while I am doing it. Not hearing, seeing or reading the news is a massive plus right now.

In other interesting news, we have a female fox hanging around the house at night. Last night she was on the patio, much to Yarn Rascal’s dismay. She is beautiful and looks healthy but it is unusual for foxes to come as close to the house as she does. I am going to have to encourage her to stay her distance by shooing her when she is that close. It’s fine when they turn and go, not so great when they decide to stay their ground. Speaking of which, for the time being I have lost the battle of the yard with the big buck. When he doesn’t want to move, he doesn’t move. Rather cheeky of him, but his testosterone is high this time of year and it affects his common sense. He is majestic looking when he is being obstinate and since there is no hunting allowed on our land, I know he’s safe here. SO all in all I’d rather have him around than end up a trophy on someone’s wall.

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Random Notes

After the SIL shawl sat in a time-out for a little over a week, I am once again knitting on it. I have 20 rows until it’s done. Why this is being the mother of all shawls is beyond me. It’s not the pattern, it’s me. Somehow I can’t count to 24. I also keep blowing the double central decreases. Why I don’t know. The knitting is not hard to read, I just can’t seem to shake the sense of doom I get each time I pick up this shawl.

The Skipper seems to think I have other things on my mind. I went to my oncologist last week and found out that my bone marrow is not making platelets so I have a low volume of platelets. It’s called thrombocytopenia. Why the marrow is not making platelets may be a combo of the radiation treatments and the cancer med I am on. Or it could be that my spleen is destroying them. While they can’t take me off the cancer med, they did pull me off the nsaid they had me on for the pain in my bones. It’s a shame because the nsaid was working pretty well. At the moment, they won’t even let me take a simple aspirin or Tylenol. Still I knit and sketch new designs and dither over the designs I have completed.

I used to like to have a span of time between completing a design and writing it up in good pattern form. It gave me some distance on the design so that when I returned to it again it was with fresh eyes. But these latest designs are sitting and sitting. Every time I think of picking up my notes and writing them up in pattern form something crops up and I have to put it off. This weekend I am locking myself in my work room and getting at least one of the patterns typed up. I also need to take some pictures for the tutorial that will be included in the patter regarding ribbon work on the bonnet. The ribbon work is simple enough, but not many people today know how to hand-sew things neatly. Once hand-sewing skills were the norm, now they are not. I have a friend who tosses a shirt if it looses a button. She owns no needle and thread and wouldn’t know where to start to even try and attach it. How things have changed.

Yarn Rascal still has his eyes on the prized Shetland wool package that is hanging from the closet ceiling out of his reach. I may not be able to hold him at bay much longer. When he breaks into the yarn vault he now stands on his hind legs and howls at the package. Usually this is around the 2 am time of night. I almost broke the package open and gave him a cake of wool last night as he just wouldn’t settle down. But if I do that now, he will just want another one when I start working with it and I only bought one extra for him. I didn’t think it would take me this long to get the Shetland Shawl up and running.

All things in the yard are normal. The buck now has a little harem of does with him. Hank still visits the pond. I haven’t seen the coyote or the mountain lion, but if the deer and the Great Blue Heron are around it’s a pretty good sign that the coyote and the mountain lion aren’t in the area. Oh yes, and the skunks haven’t gone into hibernation yet. Don’t even ask how I know this.

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