Thursday, May 28, 2009

Denver...Here I Come!!!

Above is a picture of my mother, Germaine, taken 20 years ago when she was 69 ....and now 89. (I did the math for you...hehe.) I'm flying into Denver next Wednesday to visit with her for two weeks and also help as she is having carpal tunnel surgery two days after my arrival.

It's been nine years since I've seen my mom. Circumstances and life got in the way for both of us. I so wanted to visit her, and often felt very sad and teary that I couldn't. I've not seen my sister in 18 years. All will be meeting me at the mom if she feels well enough.

I’m starting to have terrible withdrawal symptoms. It’s my addiction again… yarn, fiber, knitting books, etc. I’m leaving Wednesday for Colorado for two weeks and will only have internet access on my cell phone which is very cumbersome. I can’t remember the year that the internet came to life, but I was there at its birth as I was for DOS, etc. This will be the first time in all these years that I do not have the internet at my fingertips.

I longingly look at my spinning wheel and wish I could bring it with me. I look at my laptop and want that along also. How many of my sock knitting books can I lovingly stuff in my luggage and not go over the weight limit for my bag? This is pretty bad when I’d rather pack knitting items than clothes. If I were smart, I’d pack the clothes, leave the knitting at home except for my project on the plane and buy knitting paraphernalia in Colorado.

I’m very emotional regarding this trip. I feel this may be the last time I see my mom. Her health is not good, but I will be able to assess things more closely when I arrive. I think she probably realizes this also as she keeps telling me, “We’ll have to do this again next year.” She is the last surviving sibling of a family of seven (or was it eight?) kids.

I will be able to read e-mails on my cell. Not sure if I will be able to read blogs or leave comments. Perhaps a short trip to the local library will allow me to do that and save my sanity.
I'll have lots of pics from my trip to share with you. I'll also have a fair amount of new knitting items I've been working on, some you have not seen yet.

See you when I return!!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Good News!!!

Because everyone likes to see a picture included in a blog post, I'll tell you more about these pics after I tell you my good news.

I returned to see my ENT doctor today for my MRI results. I DO NOT have an acoustic neuroma. I am relieved. They think I had a viral infection that affected my hearing instead. Thanks to so many of you for your prayers, support, e-mails. etc. It was very heartwarming!

The pictures of the hot air balloons were taken about three years ago. The flight path for the balloons from the festival goes right over my house. It is fun, fun, fun!!!

Many of you asked me what is a "Johnny Gown" (<--click) that was mentioned in my previous post. I guess I didn't realize that it is a geographical term. It reminded me of a blog post from a few years ago where readers commented on terms they were familiar with depending on where they lived. So here goes....add any that you can think of.

Johnny Gown - patient gown - exam gown
Creemie - soft serve - ice cream
Loaded - the works - everything
Bag - sac
Soda pop - tonic - Coke, Pepsi

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Fair Isle Knitting/Ilga Socks By Nancy Bush

I often like to have a mindless knitting project that I can just tote with me. I also like to have a project that is challenging and a learning opportunity.

This blogger has great instructions and links to learn Fair Isle. Be sure to check out this link as there is an absolute wealth of information for any type of knitting. Not sure why but I am not able to create shortcut hyperlinks in Blogger lately. Any solutions?

I was knitting Fair Isle as a teenager. I wish I still had some of those knitted projects to compare my approach.

Notice the chart above. I have a sticky note with the row I am working on just below the edge of the note. This allows me so see the row below and quickly tell if I am making an error on the row I am working on. In other words, I am looking at two rows at a time. It allows for quicker knitting.

Fair Isle has a double layer of yarn as you are carrying the various colors across the row. Intarsia involves blocks of color in a single layer.

The rule of thumb for "floats" (how many stitches to carry a color not currently knitting with) is five stitches. It is to avoid toes (or fingers, if a mitten) from catching as you slide it on your foot. When working with wool, the scales of the yarn (stitches) have a tendency to nest themselves and mildly adhere to the other color. This happens with only wool. It works out very well.

The Ilga Sock pattern is from this sock book. I love the selection of patterns. I used by 40% off coupon at JoAnn's which made it very affordable.

Happy Knitting!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Ilga's Socks - Nancy Bush

Pattern: Ilga's Socks by Nancy Bush from the book "Favorite Socks" (by Interweave)
Yarn: Knitpicks Palette Fingering Yarn
Needles: Size 2 dp's

This pattern fascinates me. The reason is the braided cord on the top edge. I couldn't understand how this could be knitted unless sideways. Uh, Uh, the look is achieved by purling on the right side and is accomplished by how you carry the yarn. I'm totally in awe as to how these patterns come to be. Obviously, someone with a very creative mind. I closer look at the braid which is "raised" from the rest of the pattern. I made an error in color selection for the graph. However, I always say, "If you make the mistake more than once, it is now a pattern."

A little blurry, but wanted to give you an even closer look.
I have quite a few more rows completed at the time of this writing. At first I felt that I was wasting my time with this pattern. I could use "self striping yarn" and get the same effect. However, further into the pattern is is more noticeable that this is indeed intarsia knitting.
Happy Knitting!

Magic Loop Lacy Socks!

Yarn: Sockotta Fingering
Needles: Size 2, 40" cable
Pattern: My own (modified) available later

The socks that are pictured are the socks created during the current sock knitting class that I finished teaching last night. I was so excited to have this class “sold out”. I’ll only accept a maximum of eight students.

I was “bumped out” of reserved space at the library for the first two sessions with no forewarning. There was a 30 piece tuba, trumpet band in there in my place. I definitely could not shout over that noise. So getting a room five minutes before the start of class was a little stressful as well as trying to gather everyone coming in from different directions.

So last week, I overheard one of the gals say to another, “This is so much fun!” I was delighted, absolutely delighted to be doing something I thoroughly enjoy, meeting new knitters, and getting paid good money for doing so.

I’m headed to Denver on June 3rd. I need to finish one neck warmer, start another and knit at least six dishcloths. Think I can do it?

The MRI for a possible acoustic neuroma was two days ago (no results yet) and I’ll post about that separately.

Now don't laugh too hard, but getting ready for an MRI is quite humbling. They have you peel most of your clothes and put on a "johnny". You are told you can keep your socks on. Way to go......I was wearing a pair of handknits and the technician noticed them. You just have to look at the little pleasures in life!!

Which reminds me, when I was about to have my first baby many years ago, my wonderful aunt presented me with a gift of three "johnnies"...all were pastel in color, frilly and feminine. It's one of my many precious memories of her.

Happy Knitting!

Friday, May 15, 2009

What The Heck!!!!

I do not have a picture for my post. The battery is charging and I've misplaced the project I am going to tell you about. Tomorrow, tomorrow, everything will fall into place.

Murphy has taken up residence in my life this week. You know, Murphy from Murphy's Law. He's trying to become my best friend. He's running me ragged right now but he knows that in the end, my competitve self will win the battle. I'm too smart for him....silly guy! So, why does he even bother to try to make things a little difficult. He's not contributing to the positive side of things so I am kicking him out.

A former worker returns to her country of Denmark each year and always purchases beautiful yarn. She started two sweaters for her grandsons awhile back was not able to complete them before they outgrew them so I inherited the task of completing them. I completed one and gifted it to my own grandson. I'm trying to complete the second one.

So what is the problem?

The directions are in a foreign language. Do I dare scan the pattern and use BabelFish to translate the directions. (See the link in the box to the right.)

It's been a challenging week and that is where Murphy comes into the picture.

A few months ago I failed a free screening hearing test held at the university where I work. I was told to see an otonorologist. The cost of a hearing aid just has not been able to squeeze itself into my budget. There was no indication from the technician that it was imperative that I make this appointment soon. Finally, I made the appointment. Instead, the doctor told me he thinks I have an acoustic neuroma which is a benign brain tumor on the 8th cranial nerve. You could have knocked me over with a feather. So, the plan is.............

an MRI to determine if indeed it is a tumor and then proceed with radiation if the tumor is small enough or surgery to remove it if it is too large. This means a possible loss of hearing in my left ear as well as a compromise in my balance. It could also affect my taste buds. Now, that's a new diet plan I had not planned on.

Another option is a "wait and see" approach as that kind of tumor is extremely slow growing and I could possibly outlive it.

Before all of this happened, an airline ticket was purchased for me to travel to visit my 89-year old mom in Colorado departing June 3rd. Today, I found out that my mom needs carpal tunnel surgery and we are trying to schedule it while I am there so I can be of some assistance. I will have the results of my MRI and the action plan, if one is needed, before I leave for Denver.

My new specialist is wonderful. He personifies calm, caring, reassurance and whatever other qualities one wants in a doctor. I'm pretty fortunate.

I think all of the above justifies my contributing to the economy and making a major yarn purchase while in Colorado. After all, they may have yarn not available in the Northeast.... you think???? Anyone reading the blog from Denver, please tell me about yarn shops in your area. I'm sure there are many.

On a side note, I am feeding he birds again and the variety of song birds that are visiting me is unbelievable. I am enjoying them thoroughly. Mr. Cardinal chirps at me in the morning as I leave for work, as if to say "Have a good day! Thank you for the seed."

This week is the last knitting class that I am teaching for this session. It sold out and I was delighted. It appears that the next class will be filled as soon as the brochure comes out. I love it!....absolutely love it!

Happy Knitting!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Another Neck Warmer!!

Not a very good picture as the lighting is difficult today but I didn't want to write a blog without pictures.

This neck warmer is my latest project. I was able to knit this in an afternoon. I need to knit two of them in different colorways and I should be able to reach that goal as it is an easy knit. The neck warmers will be for two women distantly related to my mother through marriage that have been trying to help her with her many medical appointments, etc. I have never met them but will on June 3rd when I arrive in Colorado for two weeks. It feels a little strange gifting a winter item in June.

I tried inserting a couple of hyperlinks to the other neck warmers using this same pattern but Blogger is being stubborn so I will try tomorrow. The others are very lovely.

The color in the picture is more representative of the true colorway. Notice the yarn problems I am having. The yarn is Manos silk/wool and a little $$$ so I expect it to be better quality.

Here's another problem with yarn on the toddler sweater that I am knitting.

Jakob's Hoodie Sweater - It was a very long row and I didn't want to frog back so I will mend it when completed and no one will know the better. I only have the sleeves left to knit and then it will be done. It seems it took as long to knit the hood as it did the body of the sweater. I will tease you and tell you that I found the perfect buttons, absolutely perfect. I'll show them when the sweater is finis!!!

I was reading a very interesting article while waiting in the doctor’s office today. It was about the making of a sweater and "The Golden Fleece" . (<--click) The sweater pictured in National Geographic (August 2008) sells for $4,575. Yes, that amount is correct and not a typo. So I went on the web to find out more. How about this Vicuna suit. (<----click)Obviously, some folks are not experiencing the recession. The fiber sells for $250/ounce.

I’m really bummed that I didn’t get to go to the NH Sheep and Wool Festival. I understand the weather was nice there (thunderstorms here) and that it was fantastic.

For those of you who live along the East Coast somewhere, have you received your “Stitches East” brochure? The convention is being held in Hartford, CT this year (October). There are 151 different classes being offered, never mind all the fiber you can purchase. (Google it!) I plan on going to that one.

Happy Knitting!