Sunday, March 29, 2015

I'm free!

I had my port for the chemo removed last Monday! It feels good to have "graduated" and gotten rid of that thing. It wasn't unpleasant and only mildly inconvenient but it was a symbol of cancer and I'm glad it's gone.

It was more painful than I expected getting it out.  I was sore but the discomfort gets less every day.  I will say that it is very strange hearing and smelling the cautery being used on my body .....

Somehow, I am not sure how or why, I contracted cellulitis in my elbow area of my left arm.
I first noticed pain and swelling there the day after the port removal. I didn't even look at it - just assumed I had banged my elbow in a stretcher or the OR table and it was bruised. By Wednesday, however, I was in a lot of pain. I looked at it and it was swollen, red and hot. The first thing they did was to get an ultrasound of the veins in my arm to be sure I didn't have a clot. Good news there. No colt. Next I saw my PCP who diagnosed/confirmed cellulitis, which is an infection in the skin and tissue, usually in an extremity. I am on antibiotics and it is finally improving, though Friday was a bad day. I was really sick.

I have an FO!  The Escalator Socks for DH are finished. This particular pair of socks has been on the needles for over 4 years so it really is a great accomplishment to finish. :-)

In my current WIP rotation is the I Want that Wrap poncho for Courtney (just over halfway) and Capall Dubh. The body is finished on the cardigan and the stitches for the sleeves have been picked up. I am now waiting for Angela to catch up and then we will zip down the stockinette sleeves.

I cast on in Fyberspates Vivacious 4 ply yarn in color 605 (greens and some browns) for the Axis fingerless mitts. I love this yarn I garter stitch but I am not sure this project will be finished. The gauge given in the pattern is 22 rows in 4 inches, so about 5.5 rows per inch. The increases are supposed to be every 8 rows for 5 repeats. That adds up to almost 8 inches. These are fingerless mitts! 8 inches before the thumb is separated? Something is wrong here, though no one else mentioned it in their project notes. I am already adjusting the pattern because I am using a different weight yarn but this is weird. I may frog this project. I hate to do that because I love the look of the mitts. Maybe I'll just make up my own thumb gusset positioning .... I hate to have to do that on a paid for pattern .....

ETA I did frog that pattern. I may try again in the called for weight of yarn but I don't know …. The gauge of yarn had nothing to do with the math being weird.

I am now using that yarn to knit Mulnomah. I love this yarn in garter stitch.

I joined another KAL. I know, I said I had to stay away from KALs but this one works well for me. It's a choose your own monthly challenge and for April I chose working on WIPs. I figure out how much yardage I have left on a project, then knit as much as I can on that project or projects through the month. At the end of the month I get points for yardage, weight of yarn knitted and other stuff. In May I choose another challenge and, since there are 15 to choose from, I think I can make the challenge fit in with my other goals for that month or quarter. Since I have to wait for April 1 to start that, I put aside my current WIPs for the weekend and cast on 2 projects - the Multnomah and the Nautilus Scarf .
both are smaller projects that should move pretty quickly but are very enjoyable right now.

We have daffodils coming up in the garden and yesterday we had snow off and on all day. But spring really is here. I was outside hanging clothes on the line to dry and my fingers weren't frozen when I came in. The clothes didn't freeze, either. (I have brought in sheets that were frozen stiff from being out there. We had to defrost them before we could finish drying them). I can feel the spring itch - I want to be gardening and I want to clean out closets and start knitting new things.

Enjoy your spring.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Spring has Sprung!

It's been above freezing for quite a few days now, so I can actually believe that spring is here. That doesn't mean we don't have some cold weather still to come but it's significant and welcome progress.

I have been progressing with my knitting, too. The repeat Low Tide cardigan is coming along nicely. I am working on one cap sleeve and I think I'll finish it tonight. I hope to pick up the stitches for the second sleeve tomorrow or Thursday.

Capall Dubh has a completed body! The stitches have been picked up for both sleeves and now I am waiting for Angela to catch up so we can work on those sleeves together. The sleeves are stockinette so should go pretty fast.

The I want that Wrap poncho is over a foot long. I pick it up whenever I want some simple knitting or need a change from much smaller needles for a while.

The Escaltor socks for DH have a heel flap and gusset. Things should move quickly  from here. I hope to have this sock finished within 2 weeks.

I am thinking about quarter 2 goals. I want to finish Capall Dubh, at least 2 sock UFOs (the Escaltor socks and Low Tide cardigan should be finished before the 2nd quarter so won't count),  and at least 2 other UFOs. I might cast on something new and that's OK as long as I am still working mostly on the UFOs. I might try to figure out which projects have been on the needles the longest and choose one of those to finish next quarter.

I am still working on the "Love the yarn you own" plan and I have a few challenges coming up. On Tuesday Angela and I will be going to Vulcans Rest, a yarn shop near here but that I haven't been to yet. They are having a 40% off sale on green yarn. I love green. :-)

On Sunday Angela, Melanie and I are going to the Savage Mill Yarn Party. I do plan to buy yarn but I want to have a plan in mind to shop for 1 or 2 particular projects so that I don't fall into impulse purchases without a plan. I would love to find yarn to knit the Architexture Shawl and maybe get a gradient or self striping sock yarn. I don't have either one of those in my stash. There is a vendor at the yarn party who sells wood buttons and I'd like a few of those also.

In May we have the Maryland Sheep amd Wool festival. I usually go both days but think I might limit it to one day this year since I am going to Rhinebeck in the fall. We'll see.

Eldest son is planning to move out in a month or two. He has been living with us (again) for over 5 years. It will be strange to not have him coming and going. I am going to miss having him here. It's good for him, though, that he is moving out. He has been wanting to get into his own place for a while.

Mom seems to be doing OK in her apartment. She was really struggling with the cold, icy weather and her grief over the death of my brother. I have had my own bad days but I have work to go to and people around me. She is much more isolated and I think it's harder for her to deal with his death. Sigh. I wish she lived closer.

I am loving working close to home. I like the people I work with and still work closely with the people in my old office downtown. Things are good right now as far as work goes.

I saw daffodils poking their stems out of the ground! Spring is here! Enjoy.

Thursday, March 05, 2015

It's Snowing.

It's cold and snowing. again. still. I am so ready for spring weather. I decided not to risk the drive to and from work today. It's a short distance but my car really does not do well on snowy and slippery roads and I can't afford to risk and accident. So I am home and plan to make the most of an extra day at home. I will do some chores and spin and knit my way through the day.

Knitting progress - I sent off the Low tide Cardigan in the pretty pink sparkly yarn to my friend, along with the sweaters for her twins.


The Low Tide was, as I suspected, too small. She sent it back at my request - I plan to sent it to my brother in the hopes that it will fit his daughter. I started right away on a new, bigger Low Tide
in a deep purple yarn (from stash!!! Yippee!!). The new Low Tide is almost finished. You can see the lace bodice (the stitches for the sleeves are still on holders in this photo) at the top and the stockinette body, which, due to increases at the front edge and decreases at the sides, curves towards the front. It looks very cute on but not so great in photos. This color is not true. It's a deep purple that I just could not capture correctly.


My Canadian Crazy Train socks are all finished. I have purple Iron Bridge socks (top picture) and purple Sole Train (lower picture) socks, knitted half by me and half by my train car mates. It was an enjoyable trip and I  hope to repeat it next year.

Capall Dubh Cardigan is getting a lot of time in my hands now that the low tide 2 is just about complete. I have completed the waist decreases and will begin the increases soon. I love the way this sweater looks so far and alternating skeins was the right way to go.



You can see here the stockinette front, the patterned back and a close up of the unblocked stitch pattern on the back and shoulders. 


Here you can see my 7th pair of Easy fingerless Mitts. They are belated holiday gifts for my co-workers. I was on a good roll with these before the holidays but when my brother became more ill and then died, I lost momentum. I have this pair and 1 more to knit, then a coffee cozy for the lone male in our department. 



The Escalator socks have been pulled from the depths of the UFO bin and are back in the line up. This is a close up of the stitch pattern. I have one sock finished and the cuff and one pattern repeat (about 20 rows) finished on the second sock. This color is not true either. It's a bit deeper, sort of like the deep red bricks you see some buildings made of. 


Another resurrected project has surfaced - out of need for a simple project to work on while I had a migraine. These are vanilla socks that were started and ripped out 3 times because I didn't like the pattern I selected. I am happy with the vanilla and it fills a knitting need. These will be worked on only when I need a simple knitting project. No counting or stitch manipulation except when it comes to the heels. Migraine project, while in a meeting or other situation where I want the knitting to be background and the conversation to be front and center. 



And just because it's snowing and I love feeding the birds on our deck, I thought I would share these photos. We have 2 Christmas trees on our deck just outside the kitchen door. We have red lights on them and keep them until the snow is over for the year. when snow comes (and in between, too) we feed the birds here. We put seeds in and under the trees and under the patio table so they have a dry, safe place to eat. They eat a bit, fly into the trees, eat more. It's a lot of fun to watch. Mostly we have cardinals, dark eyed juncos, wrens and sparrows. There are doves, an occasional black capped chickadee and probably some I just don't recognize. Oh, and the inevitable crows/ravens. 





Be safe and warm, have a happy day. 

PS the Love the yarn I own part of my 2015 goals is going pretty well. The knit on UFOs part is getting old. I can feel the craving to start a new project rising ......



Saturday, February 14, 2015

Snow!

We had only about 3 inches but it came down hard and fast! It was very beautiful! The winds have picked up now so it's getting hard to see but the snow fall has stopped. :-(

I  hope we get at least one good snow fall this year - 6-12 inches.

I have another FO! I finished my Sole Train socks! I am very excited to be able to wear them and to have another project off the needles.

I have now picked up an old UFO, another pair of socks that I started quite some time ago. They are called the North Sea Socks and I started them for the last Olympics. I now have the legs and heels completed on both and am working my way through the gusset decreases. 

Happy Valentine's Day! Bob and I got each other some Wockenfuss candy (it's great candy made here in Maryland) and I bought him a nook book by JD Robb - the newest In Death series book for the I Pad. (it's double good because I get to read it also). ;-)

That's all for tonight. I just had to announce the FO and the snow. 
Be safe.

Sunday, February 08, 2015

Cleaning up and out

Apparently this time of year (this year) is going to include a lot of cleaning out, eliminating and reorganizing. DH was ready to put the Chrsitmas stuff (decorations, dishes, linens, etc) away under the steps this weekend. He came up with the idea to get rid of the old cardboard boxes and get all rubbermaid tubs to put the dishes in, so last night we bought a half dozen of the 8 gallon size and today we repacked  all of the holiday dishes  into the storage tubs and were also able to put another set of dishes into 2 more tubs. We are labeled, cleaned out and organized. Woohoo!

I have no FOs to chat about today though this weekend did see progress on both the Capall Dubh cardigan and the Sole Train sock. The sock is at the gusset decreases point and the sweater has been joined together and now each row takes a while. :-) in another inch the shaping will start. I feel like it's actually a sweater now that I can see clear fronts, back and arm holes. :-). The lacy back is going to look awesome. I considered altering the neckline to make it higher but this is going to be a "nice" sweater, not an everyday, snuggle in and get warm sweater so I decided to knit it as written.

In the spinning arena, I took my yarn off the bobbin and skeined it, then started to spin my sunrise rolags. I was going to ply that with a light blue but have since decided to spin finer and just ply it with itself. I think it will be great for colorwork.   The sunset yarn that I skeined needed up to be about 120 yards. That's more than I had anticipated. 

I have a whole bag of handspun yarns in the shed. Once I get my UFOs down in number I would like to come up with a plan for some of the colorful handspun I have already made. Some can be hats or mitts but I would like to settle on something else to do with them. Maybe get a commercial yarn and knit a sweater but with stripes of handspun? I am not sure but since I have so many UFOs. I am not in a rush. :-)

I have been successful so far in not signing up for KALs or test knits. I can seem to resist reading about them but so far have stuck to my plan and not started anything new. I have been tempted, though .....

Back to sweater knitting. I have to work in Baltimore tomorrow so knitting time will be limited. 

Stay warm and safe.

Friday, February 06, 2015

Goal Review

I thought I could track my progress (or lack thereof) as far as goals for this year better if I did a monthly review.

I have not purchased yarn! Yippee!! I received one skein as a gift but that doesn't count. I didn't buy it. and I put it away rather than cast on right away.

I have not cast on a new project! OOPS. That's not true. I did cast on Sunday Drive (the Alzheimers blanket). But that's for a good cause and is intended to be a longer term project. 2 rows per day is the plan and I have been very successful there.

I have finished 3 WIPs (the cowl, the Low tide Cardigan and the Iron Bridge sock) and am working away on 2 others (the Sole Train sock and the Capall Dubh cardigan).

I have resisted email offers and other temptations of yarny goodness so far. ;-)

I have spun almost every day.

I have taken photos and listed my stash on paper but I have not yet uploaded it to Ravelry. So, partial progress there.

I am not doing well at all with walking. The cold has just really gotten to me as have the increasingly frequent and severe migraines I have been dealing with. :-(

Over all I am pleased, especially with the working on UFOs without starting new projects or getting caught up in another KAL.


It's a new month

Time is flying! I can't believe it's February already! I am rather disappointed in the lack of snow so far this winter and the cold temperatures are wearing on me. I have not gotten out much to walk due to the cold weather and/or high winds.

On the knitting front, I blocked the shawl collared cowl and it feels wonderful against the skin.


 I still need to select buttons and sew them on, though. I finished the Iron Bridge sock and wore the pair the other day. :-). Perfect fit and lovely yarn and pattern. I am now working on the mate to the Sole Train. I have 4 of 6 pattern repeats for the leg knitted. Both of my fellow passengers on the Canadian Crazy Train ride chose purple for my socks but such different shades of purple! I like them a lot and I am getting to knit with new to me yarns. I am very glad I signed up for this KAL/swap. :-)

I thought I would add a couple of photos of the Low Tide Cardigan that I knitted for my friend's little girl. I have no idea why one photo is upside down ...


I have resumed knitting on my Capall Dubh cardigan. Angela and I will be knitting this together. I love the yarn and really hope that my swatch didn't lie to me and that the sweater will fit properly. The sweater, Sole Train and the Alzheimer's blanket are my current WIPs.

Spinning news - I finished spinning some sunset rolags made for me in a swap last year. I spent some time spinning some black merino top to ply with the rolag singles and hope to start a stash of fingering weight yarns to use for a color work project. I plan to buy a commercial yarn to use for the main yarn and then various hand spun yarns for the contrasting colors. I intend to include stripes and an actual colorwork pattern but haven't chosen the specific pattern yet. This will be a hat or mitts.

I am accomplishing my goal of spinning nearly every day for at least 15 minutes per day. Karen is also spinning and we share spinning news/progress by email. Melanie has gotten in on the spinning again, too, so I have lots of company and encouragement. I am enjoying spinning again and I feel good that I am using some of my huge fiber stash.

Work is going well. I am transitioning to the local hospital which cuts down on driving time and expense. This month I will be working more days per week locally than in Baltimore. I have more hours per day to spend on my own plans rather than commuting and that alone is a huge benefit.

When we had some snow the other day I snapped some photos of the birds enjoying the buffet we put out for them.  :-)







Happy Friday all.