Chitchat and the occasional in-depth analysis about fiber, knitting, spinning, crochet, cooking, feminism, self-image, and a modicum of personal blathering.

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Sunday, April 27, 2008

Brief update with tiny socks

All week, I've been working on my exercises, and yesterday we did some more out and about. After going to Office Depot, the post office, and K-Mart (to replace our fatally leaking coffeepot), I was exhausted, but still took my lovely husband out to dinner. We went to Outback Steakhouse, where we met a very overly-friendly woman. We overheard her and her companion talking about going to a karaoke place, so Bob asked. Nice people, but way, way too familiar. The woman actually gave me a hug before we left, which was exceedingly weird.

I got a new keyboard and mouse yesterday, along with some ink for my printer. The Daliboard wasn't working out for me, it was too difficult to type on. Add to that my mouse decided to work very intermittently and a trip to Office Despot to fax some papers turned into a major shopping trip. This is a standard keyboard and much easier to type with, so maybe I'll actually do more typing now.

I've been working on wee socks for my mom's friend Jill who is having a baby.
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Just plain socks, some smaller than others, I want them to fit 3-12 months if possible but I'm no judge of how big baby feet are.

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Oh gee, what's that under them?

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Ooh! There's a "C" on it! You know what that means!

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I actually got it on ebay for $38. Amazing. I've always wanted a Pens sweater, and I really wanted the Winter Classic version so this was a great find for me.

Here's a large white catbelly photo.
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In recovery-type stuff, I'm using a single forearm crutch now. It's hard. I get very tired, very easily. I got my papers for work filled out for another month because as of now there is no way I can go back to work the middle of the week. I need a couple more weeks at least, to get my endurance up with this crutch. Two stores and a post office yesterday and I was ready to die by the time we got home. Not good.

My PCP did tell me that she's surprised to see me getting around so well. She thinks I'm doing just great, considering the reports she got on my surgery etc. So this is good news. I suppose. I'm just not very patient with myself about things like healing taking actual amounts of time, and stuff.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Bend but don't break.

My physical therapist tells me to record my progress so I feel a sense of accomplishment and can recognize progress. It's difficult for me not to feel frustrated with my perceived lack of progress sometimes.

So, today my left knee bent 53 degrees. That's an 8 degree improvement in a week.

The therapist (my third and hopefully final) is a very soft-spoken man named Mike, who claims what he says isn't a threat even though it sounds like one. He gained a bit of respect for me once he felt my bicep, though. I think he had the typical "Oh, she's fat, she won't work, she's lazy, it'll be difficult to get her motivated" but hopefully, our discussion of my former weightlifting and the activity level I enjoyed before the accident will nip that in the bud. He promises (not threatens) that he won't forcibly bend my knee as long as he sees progress. Yow.

Anyway, nothing really new in knitting. The Luna Moth shawl is percolating while the weather's warm. (Don't like having a pound of wool in my lap when the temp is over 70) The hedera socks move, slowly. I finished Puffy's anklets. Now I have four socks I can wear on my bad foot. I'm doing wee baby socks from leftover sock yarns for a friend. And I'm doing some practice squares from the Koigu book, "Knits from a Painter's Palette", to learn the modular techniques she uses, also in leftover sock yarn.

I did finish spinning (on the wheel) some yarn I started on the spindle in the nursing home.
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(Yes, that's a woot monkey)

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I think it's pretty nice, but I'm disappointed that it's not sock yarn. 2 ply sport weight, 365 yards. One ply spun on a spindle while I was in the nursing home, the other ply spun on the wheel after I returned home. Plied on the wheel. I'm pretty rusty on spinning, and it's not easy as I must do one footed for now and in an awkward position, to boot. It'll get better.

Happy weekend with all sorts of things approaching normal, though. We went to the Italian store, Labriola's, where I spent way too much money. We also went to the local Karaoke bar on Saturday. By the time we got home that night, my left leg was no longer speaking to me, but I didn't really care that much.

I only have a couple of days to decide on going back to work after the 30th. I'm not feeling too good about it, frankly. I don't think I'm ready yet, and I really want permission from Dr Tarkin (the orthopedist) before I decide. And I don't see him until the 30th, but the paperwork has to be in before that if I'm not going back. Damned red tape. I'll probably have to make an appointment with my PCP before then to get the papers filled out for additional medical leave. Two more weeks might be enough.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Reasons that we fear won't disappear

While I was in the hospital and nursing home, I was sure that I was either going to blog extensively or write a damn book about the whole experience. Now that I'm home, I've put it off and put it off. Today I was wondering if I subliminally want to forget the whole damn thing and that's why I'm having such trouble writing about it.

I'm almost sure part of the reason is the fact that I'm still not comfortable sitting at the desk, or sitting in one place for long, period. I'm also very worried about my impending return to work and if it can happen on the date planned. (May 1) I've given myself a drop-dead date of next Wednesday to make the determination and take the needed action one way or the other.

I DO feel better. I'm getting stronger. My concern is endurance, and taking the bus, and walking downtown. I need to be off the walker and onto a cane before I go back. Sometimes I think that would be okay. Sometimes I can't imagine getting far enough past the pain to do that.

Anyway. On to knitting, and pretty pictures.

The Luna Moth shawl is going well. I think three more pattern repeats and it'll be ginormous enough to satisfy me.

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The springtime Hedera socks might be done before summer.
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Man. That is one sock that just does NOT look right unless it's on a foot. I'm pretty close to the second heel, I just keep getting sidetracked by things like the computer, and my camera, and other knitting projects.

I'm making anklets for my left foot. HUGE anklets.
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It's getting increasingly uncomfortable wearing the cam boot without a sock but none of my socks fit over my foot yet. I figured once my foot goes back to normal-ish I can felt them smaller for normal feet.

Don't you just love white roses?
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They look like they're lit from the inside.
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I'm also very happy to report that my orchids (that I was certain would die over the winter) have survived, and are producing buds and new leaves. Woo!
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I'm pretty impressed that they're doing so well, considering my normal position with houseplants is to keep them alive until they can be put outside.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Bob the Redeemer

Bob the Redeemer

I figured if it's good enough for the politicos, it's good enough for me.

(I really need to delve more deeply into those Gimp tutorials...)

We're going to attempt to go out for dinner tonight. First time since I've been home. It might alleviate some of this stir-craziness.

Friday, April 11, 2008

It's raining violets

Lovely spring rain falls outside. It's warm and breezy. It smells good. Like springtime.

I'm so grateful that I got home in time to see my daffodils bloom. I didn't think that would happen, frankly. Yesterday morning when I looked out my back window, one was looking back at me. There's a scattering of the teensy ones blooming in the driveway as well, and some more in the back just opening.

My tiny blue flowers are opening on the side of the house where the hostas are. And there are crocuses in the bed at the top of the driveway. Spring everywhere, and the forsythia twigs I planted last year are the brighest yellow I've ever seen.

I've got so much to write about, but it's still quite uncomfortable to sit in one position for long and I can't find a good way to sit at my desk yet. My leg is skewed off to the side when I sit here, and is painful and stiff after less than a half-hour or so.

I'm working hard on bending my knee. If my knee doesn't bend, I can't drive my car. My leg gets stronger every day, though.

Of course I'm knitting like a fool. I'm making the Luna Moth Shawl from the yarn that was previously the Lovlund sweater. Yes, I frogged that. I didn't like the way that the colors were not going to match up front to back. I think the shawl is a much better option.

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I'm also doing Hedera (from Knitty) socks for myself out of this lovely Trekking Handart yarn. I cast on the second one last night so the photos are out of date.
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All in all things could be far worse. Although boredom is starting to get the better of me, I'm not up to spinning on the wheel yet (logistical difficulties) and the cats think the spindle is a toy JUST FOR THEM. Of course, Figment tends to take possession of whatever strikes him at the time...

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I will try to do a real post over the weekend. I HAVE to post about the Cake Nazi at the hospital, and about Tuesdays, and about my wonderful PT/OT folks at Forbes Road. But we'll be rooting for the Penguins tonight for sure and there may be an actual dinner out of the house in the offing at some point. Woo! I'm not making any promises, is all.

As a terrific clown I know has said, "be safe out there, and keep your stick on the ice". GO PENS!

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Idle hands are the devil's etc etc etc

Lest anyone think I was lazy whilst in the hospital and nursing facility, I present the following gallery of completed socks. These are in addition to the Noro socks in the prior post.

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Pomatomus, from Knitty. I was on a lot of pain meds when I did these, that may explain the difference in striping from one to the other.
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Waving Lace socks, from the Interweave sock book. I call these my easter egg socks because of the color.

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Finished the Hundertwalkers, and wore them many times. The other one is in the wash.

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Finished the "circus monkeys"
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Made Jaywalkers for my mom...
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...and Spring Socks for my kids.
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I also ripped out Lovlund, the sweater, because I didn't like the way it was coming out. I may restart it, in the round this time, but I may not either. I started a pair of Hedera in a wonderful colorway of greens, blues, and yellows from Trekking's handpainted line, called Brasil. Pictures will be forthcoming on those.

Apologies for the craptastic quality of the photos, literally everything I do these days is a balancing act and I'm just not able to get the angles I need yet. In time, I guess.

Updated- Noro Entrelac Socks

Updated 7/20/2008 to make the instructions make sense. I must have been on drugs when I first wrote up this pattern!

I improvised these socks when I was in the skilled nursing facility, so I thought I'd go on and write up the pattern as best I can. I love the Kureyon Sock and I understand the garishness of the colors doesn't suit everyone, but this pattern should work well even in the more subtle colorways of Kureyon Sock.

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You need to be familiar with the general concept of entrelac to make these. If you're not, go here.

stuff you need:
needle-size 1 US (2.25) in the method of your choice-I used DPNs but only
because my magic looper was broken.
1 skein Noro Kureyon sock.
Tapestry needle for the ends etc

Size large (medium, small)

Cast on 72(66,60) stitches in the method of your choice. Divide as evenly as you can over your needles of choice. Do an inch and a half or so of 4x2 ribbing. Decrease over 4 knit rounds to 54 (48,42) stiches. Your needles will need to be set up in multiples of six.
(The reason you need to decrease so dramatically is that entrelac, sitting on the bias, will be much bigger around than stockinette. You're esentially turning your knitting on its side.)
Begin entrelac with six-stitch stockinette triangles. You will make 9 (8,7).

k2, turn
slip 1, p1, turn
slip 1, k2, turn
slip 1, p2, turn
slip 1, k3, turn
slip 1, p3, turn
slip 1, k4, turn
slip 1, p4, turn
slip 1, k5, turn
slip 1, p5, turn
slip 1, k5, turn
Repeat rows 10 and 11.
Work all stitches into triangles in this way.

The rectangles:
Working left to right, with right needle pick up six stitches. Slip one, purl four, purl 2 together using first stitch of first triangle on right needle.
Slip one, knit five, turn.
sl 1, p4, P2tog w/next live stitch, turn.
sl 1, k5

Etc, etc until the entire round has been worked.
Then, work back the other way for the next row.

This time, pick up and knit 6 stitches
sl 1, p5, turn
sl 1, k4, ssk w/ next live stitch
Etc, etc until entire round has been worked.

Continue working rows of entrelac squares in this way.

I did six rounds of entrelac squares. I could have done seven, but wanted to make sure I’d have enough yarn left. I would imagine seven or eight rows for medium or small would work.

Ending Triangles
Pick up 5 stitches and purl across them, left to right. Purl one more stitch from first group of six on right needle, turn.

slip1, k1, turn,

slip1, p2, turn,

slip1, k3, turn,

slip1, p4, turn,

slip1, k5, turn,

slip1, p6, turn,

slip1, k7, K2TOG, turn,

slip1, p7, Sl1, P2, pass slipped stitch over.

(The main thing is if you do an even number of rows, you do your ending triangles starting with the wrong-side row and if it’s an odd number, you start with the right side. It makes sense when you actually do it. I had a few missteps and redos to figure that out. This is just one of those places where experience with entrelac will help-or not, if you're me. I have to rip and redo every time.)

Knit three rounds even. Now, when you've done your other-end triangles, you’ve done an eight-stitch triangle for each space, which SHOULD bring you back up to 72 (66, 60) stitches. If not, work KFB increases here and there over the next three knitted rounds.

Now, do a standard flap-and-gusset heel. Since the yarn is single ply, I highly recommend doing slip-stitch rib on the heel flap for strength. If you need standard heel instructions, I recommend Silver's excellent heel instructions.


Make the foot as long as you need and finish with the toe of your choice. I changed to four DPNs and did the K2TOG at the end of each needle every other round to get the spiral toe, which looks nice. I grafted the toe closed when I had four stitches remaining on each needle, a total of sixteen stitches.

If anyone actually does this, drop me a message, I’d love to see how they come out!

Here's some more pictures.
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Friday, April 04, 2008

hooray!

I'm home!

Woo hoo!!!

I'm sure I'll have a long blog post sooner rather than later, but for now I have some serious kitty cuddling to do.

It's been a very long 3+ months.