Friday, December 20, 2013

It's clear!

Nothing to worry about on the mammogram! Yippee!!

Knitting has been slow and spinning has not happened. This walking in a boot and working 8 hours per day is tiring!

Christmas shopping (limited) and prep will be happening this weekend. It has to, considering that the holiday itself is just a few short (very short) days away. ;-)
I can't wait to see the tree with lights on. I don't care a whole lot about the other decorations but I love to see the lights on the tree. I plan to enjoy my foray out to the stores for a few presents and stocking stuffers. I enjoy doing that with DH each year. When we are home I will play holiday music and sing along (even though I can't sing anymore) and enjoy the holiday season.

Have a good, safe weekend.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Unknitting and not spinning

Atelier is no more. I was at the bind off of the body, had actually started it, and decided to try on the sweater to be sure the length was right before I did the bind off (lots of stitches). It was way too long, and I was busy measuring and trying to decide how far I had to rip back to place the pockets at a good level when I noticed that the arm openings were rather snug as I moved around. I had noticed this before but had myself convinced that this snugness would block out. I could no loner delude myself though. It really was to tight to wear anything under it and since it was a cardigan, wearing something under it is a necessity. ;-) Rip!!! I wound the yarn into balls, ready to get started again immediately. Then my brain jumped into action and asked me why I would start (re-start) a sweater now, just a few short weeks before I am scheduled (and anxious) to start a KAL with friends for another cardigan. With the same yarn (just different colors). My brain can be helpful at times and it was this time. I will wait until Cattails is finished before I cast on again for Atelier. I refuse to think about the hours wasted in knitting that thing.

I am knitting the Tilted Shadows wrap. I found, in rummaging through my yarns stash, several skeins of yarn that I no longer needed. My LYS owner was willing to accept the yarn that was current and thus I had a credit. Of course I couldn't leave the credit in place, I had to spend it right away, or at least most of it. I bought 4 skeins of Cascade Highland Duo, a very soft singles yarn in wool and alpaca to knit the Tilted Shadows wrap. I had been coveting it since I first saw and felt it a few weeks ago. I chose blue for a pop of color and then neutrals (gray, black and cream). I love the feel of it and, being stockinette with just a decrease at one end and an increase at the other end, a great project to work on when I am too tired to think but want to knit (which still happens more frequently than I would like. Like every week by Thursday and Friday!) It feels so soft and warm ....

I am now concentrating on knitting the vest version of Bernhardt for Mom (maybe I can finish it by the time we go visit in a few weeks), the Escalator socks (at least one) for Bob and, on nights when I can follow a chart, I'd like to finish my colorwork mittens from October. I'd love to knock out a few more WIPs before I start the new year.

I go to have my first post treatment mammogram done tomorrow. I didn';t think I would be nervous because the end of the treatments was so recent (my brain thinks that the cancer can't come back that fast, which is likely but not guaranteed), but I think I am a bit nervous after all. Have a good evening and send good thoughts my way tomorrow.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Knitting and Spinning

I haven't updated you all on my recent knitting projects. I finally finished kitting the sleeves on Bob's sweater and they fit and it is complete. I gave it to him and he wore it a half dozen times in the first week! I think he likes it. ;-)

I finished Driftwood, bought buttons that I love and can't wait to wear it. It's a mostly cotton yarn so it will have to be layered or wait until spring.

I finished the Millers Hat that I started in Rhinebeck, it fits well and I like the way it feels and looks. it keeps me nice and warm. I am still adjusting to the idea of short hair and my head is cold a lot of the time.

I finished a test knit headband. I did not get the row gauge specified so it is narrower than I had hoped but I plan to find other yarn and make more. The design is simple but looks classy, I think. It's called Thula.

I have resurrected a pair of socks that I was knitting for bob a while ago in STR medium weight. The pattern is the Escalator socks and I really like it and the yarn. It is soft and squishy. I am heading towards the toe now (and will probably run short of yarn but DH won't mind another color used for the toes. I like a nice long sock leg) and hope to finish the first sock within a week or so.

Atelier is cruising along. I am down near the lower edge band, still have half sleeves to knit and the pocket liner to knit but the majority of the knitting is complete. I'd like to have this finished by the new year but I'm not sure I'll make it. That would be the last of the sweaters on the needles and I'd like to start clean for the new year with the KAL for Cattails that Melanie, Angela and I have planned.

I hope to continue with my WIP finishing well into the new year. I had a lot of things started last winter, started more when my interests and knitting ability changed with the cancer treatments, and now I would like to work towards clearing those out. I want to wear most of them and can give away the 1 or 2 that I might no longer like so I really do want to finish them. I'll keep plugging away and hope that I can get through at least half of them before I get castonitits again. ;-))

I also want to spin more next year. Spinning was the first thing to go with the cancer treatments. I miss it, but still don't have enough energy most days by the time I get home from work, eat dinner, clean up after dinner (yes, my DH cooks) and do my exercises to spin. Knitting is easier. I hope that by pushing now with the exercises that I will have gained some "spare" energy by January and can find even 10 minutes a few nights a week to spin again. I have a wonderful Shetland fleece to spin and many other braids and smaller projects to finish up.

I would love to post photos of all of these projects and will try to get them up. I also need modeled photos of the sweaters to be taken. I'll get to work on that.

Meanwhile, I think I will go knit on Ateler. And the escalator socks. Oh, and the Bernhardt sweater that I am making a vest version of for Mom. Those are my knitting priorities for now. Have a wonderful day and drive safely if you have been hit by the recent winter storms.

Rhinebeck

We made it! Melanie and I went to Rhinebeck together. For a while there I thought I would not make it but dreaming of fall weather and fiber kept me going during some of the rough spots of the last year. Melanie did almost all of the driving and organising. I appreciated it very much.

We left on Friday morning and drove to her parents house because they were kind enough to babysit for the weekend. then we headed off to upstate NY to our B & B. Melanie found this place and wow! the food was deliscsious! We ate at Terrapin and celebrated with wine and an ale to accompany our meal. We walked aroudn town a bit and stopped in a patisserie, bought desserts to share. We were meeting Ravelry friends later at the B&B and we all enjoyed the tasty desserts.

Right after fresh fruit, baked goods and omelets, off we headed to the fairgrounds. The traffic was light and we didn't have to park far from the entrance. It was a bit chilly - I am glad I wore a jacket over my sweater (not a rhinebeck sweater). We shopped and wandered and soaked in the wooll fumes for hours. We went to the Ravelry gathering, then did lunch at the festival. Lunch was followed by more shopping, but the booths were rather crowded so we didn't even try ot get into some of them. We were too tired to go to the place we had planned on for dinner so just stopped for sandwishes on the way back and ate at the B&B. There is a lovely fireplace there and we sat by the fire and knitted and chatted for a while. It was an early night to bed, though, so we could enjoy the next day.

Sunday dawned crisp and dry after the rain overnight. A Waffle breakfast was enjoyed before we packed up and checked out to head for the festival again. Our Ravelry friends decided to head home so Melanie and I were on our own. We had specific things to look for first thing and got those taken care of, then hit the vendors we had missed the first day. We meandered just a little but saw everything we wanted to see, spent the remainder of our money on wine and headed for the gate about 2:30. We hit traffic on the way back so that slowed things down a bit but I was home by 9PM.

Over all I had a wonderful time. I do not regret buying or not buying anything. I loved the fall weather for the fiber festival. That's one thing that Maryland sheep and wool does not have. There are some different vendors at Rhinebeck, too. I liked that we saw knitting personalities while walking around the festival. I really loved looking at the wonderful knitted garments people were wearing. I only added one pattern to my queue, though, because it was just impossible to stop everyone wearing something that I liked. ;-)

If I can figure out how to get photos from my phone to the blog I will post photos of my stash enhancement. I bought sock yarn in 4 colors from different vendors, someo lovely, soft yarn to make a hat (my hair is growing back but not fast and winter is coming), some fiber to spin and some buttons for a sweater. I almost bought a Rambouillette fleece. But not quite. The 10 lbs. 10 oz. made me hesitant. I have emailed, though, to see if the vendor will consider splitting the fleece. We'll see.

Happy Holidays!

This happens so often lately that I am not even going to apologise for the long lapse between posts.

I am feeling good. That is the best gift I could have for this year's Christmas. I still have work to do on developing endurance and muscle strength but I feel good.

September and October flew by with me dragging my butt to work and trying to increase my hours and strength. I felt many times that I wasn't making any progress and then DH would point out that a few weeks ago you couldn't do (something) and now you can. He was right, I was making progress and it was just slow enough that I couldn't see it on my own. Patience is not easy.

In November we gave ourselves a Christmas gift - we drove to Montauk, our usual vacation place. We had to skip vacation this year but I was yearning for a trip to Montauk. We took 3 days, stayed in our favorite hotel right on the ocean, and just enjoyed ourselves. We visited favorite places, ate well and Bob fished from the surf. He actually caught a few striped bass, including one keeper. It was delicious! I enjoyed every second of our trip. We saw some awesome stars one night, including the Milky Way. We saw some awesome surf, and had some sunshine. I knitted, he read and we just had a great time.

It's now December and I am behind on Christmas preparations. DH has been doing a great job getting the outdoor decorations up, and we need to get a tree this weekend. I need to start shopping, but since I have a broken foot, most shopping will be done on line.

Today was a snow day at home. I worked a half day from home and plan to get things neatened up in the living room so we have room to set up the tree, which we bought on Sunday. I have lists and plan to start shopping this week. luckily for me, many people want gift cards. This year they are going to get them. ;-) The rest will be purchased on line so i can limit walking on this broken foot of mine. Yes, I had a broken foot all the time I walked around Rhinebeck in October and in Montauk in November. It's no wonder that there is no signs of healing after a month. I never let it rest! The boot is on now and I am being very careful to take care of the foot so it heals.

Monday, September 02, 2013

Back home

We went to NY and spent 3 full days plus a little with Mom and my brother. It was good that we went. Mom is getting more frail physically as well as mentally. I was able to rest a lot, though not as much as if I had stayed home. I got lots of knitting in, though, and that's a good thing. I am home alone today, or at least for a few hours today. Bob and Rob and his girlfriend went out on the boat. i opted not to go because I want to be as rested as possible for going back to work. It's nice being home alone once in a while. ;-)

I finished the first of the Ravens socks and cast on the cuff of the second.














I completed the heel of the Lebowski socks and am working on the gusset decreases. I really like how they are coming out. Once I get a little further along I will get a good photo of the eagle on the heel flap. I like how it came out knitting it more stranded than intarsia as called for in the pattern. For Tour de sock we had to prove that we knitted it using mostly intarsia but this one is being knit the way I want to knit it.















I also started to knit a log cabin style blanket with my natural colored handspun and so far I like it. I am changing needle sizes and adjusting stitch counts as I need to for different weights of yarn.





















Look! I added a picture! I finally spent some time figuring things out. Not sure I have it all settled yet but at least I can upload from the real camera (since this computer doesn't seem to have access to my phone photos despite the fact that they are both Apple products. Drat it!)

Here is my Driftwood sweater. I joined for the body a bit sooner than called for in the pattern because I didn't want the opening to be quite so big. I am enjoying this project in general and it's a nice change from the socks, which I am also enjoying knitting.




I go back to working tomorrow, as close to full time as I can manage. I like time off from work but not for the reasons I have had lately so it's a good thing to go back to work. I sincerely hope that life will go back to normal from now on.
Happy knitting and enjoy your holiday.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

It is finished!

As of Sunday morning at 9AM I consider myself a breast cancer survivor. I finished my last radiation treatment and have nothing else scheduled. I am free!!! My next checkup isn't until November.

I took this week off to rest and recover from my treatments and it's a good thing I did. My mind is ready to return to normal activities but my body is not quite there. So we will make the drive to NY is stages with rest periods built in for me and spend the next few days with Mom. She will turn 80 in a couple of weeks, I haven't seen her since March and it just seemed like a good time to go. I have little doubt that I will be pampered as much as I will let her pamper. :-) Together with Mom is a good way to rest and also celebrate the end of treatments.

Driftwood is progressing well. I have joined to knit in the round and will bring this project with me today when we leave to visit Mom. My Ravens sock is at the toe decreases. Thirty minutes of knitting and grafting will have them finished other than weaving in ends, of which there are a million. I knitted stripes and elected not to carry the yarn up the side to avoid puckering. I will caston on the second sock and weave in the ends of the first one in bits and pieces while I visit. I put aside the Garden Maze sock that I was working on from the Tour de Sock. I was trying hard to finish those up promptly. However, I promised eldest son a pair of Lebowski socks and his birthday is in a little over a month. I decided to knit his socks next and finish mine at a later time. So, the cuff is finished for one sock and I start the striping today. His colors are black, grey and blue. I think they will be great for this sock, though the black is hard to knit on in some light. I am using Cascade Heritage Silk sock yarn. It feels wonderful.

I have been considering how to use my handspun yarns that I have been collecting since I started to spin. I don't care for patchwork projects, the yarns are not only varied fibers and colors but also weights of yarn so they don't lend themselves to knitting a fitted garment. I have decided to go with a blanket knitted with natural colored fibers in the brown family. I can add to it as I spin more of my smaller amounts of fibers. I will concentrate on spinning to the same, or at least a consistent weight yarn when spinning my other fibers to add to this blanket. I am bringing this project with me to NY also. Mom has a good eye for color and design so I will get her input on how to go about this. I could try a log cabin style, circular, blocks, stripes or any number of other things.

Have you seen the Fall Twist Collective? I love this issue! I saw several (at least 4) sweaters and mittens that I want to knit. Couronne is one, the Perfect Storm Mittens for another. I am drawn to the Perfect Storm mittens are more because I loved the book than because I can't resist the pattern, though it is cute. I just think they will make me smile all winter as I shiver (except for my hands). Rafters, Hawser, Underwing and Foxcroft are other patterns I really like. I think I will try to spin for Underwing. The amount of yarn needed is not large and it will be a good exercise for me to spin for a specific project, have a reasonable chance of finishing it and then knit.

Have a great week and holiday weekend.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

The weekend

It's Saturday and I am resting. Its unimaginable how tired something that you can't see can make you feel. And how long it takes to recover. Sigh. 6 more treatments.

I am sitting on the deck (in the shade as ordered) reading blogs and Ravelry and knitting on my Ilima socks. The sun is shining, a breeze is blowing and my feet are up. I wish I could share a picture but blogger does not seem to be able to access the photos on my phone .....

I picked almost a dozen ears of corn today, a few tomatoes, green peppers and hot banana peppers (those belong to eldest son. I won't touch them).

It's a good day. Enjoy yours.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Driftwood

The Driftwood sweater grew this weekend. We went out on the boat on Saturday - it was a wonderful day on the water. We were both (DH and I) refreshed and renewed mentally and emotionally after a nice water fix. ;-)

I love the 2 colors I chose for the Driftwood sweater. I hope they love me when it comes time to wear it. I usually stay away from all orangey colors and this one is called Ginger. Lots of people at the yarn store voted for it when I narrowed it down to 2 options. My Maze Garden second sock got some attention - the cuff is complete (a very tedious k1tbl, p1 rib) and I am ready for pattern knitting. My new KAL project, the Ilima socks also got some attention. I was right - the pattern is easy to memorize, so it will make a great travel project when I don't want to knit on the Ravens socks, which are also getting longer - I am working on the heel gusset now. I should have 1 sock finished by the first regular season game.

Has everyone's garden been a problem this year? I feel like mine (actually, Bob's, since he has been doing all of the work) was not so great. The cucumber plants have all died off and the tomatoes are not ripening. We should get some corn and a few watermelons but that's it. :-((

That's all for today. I am really going to try to update this blog more often and see if I can figure out how to upload photos. Have a great week.

Wednesday, August 07, 2013

More than Half way Through!!!!!!

I have 12 of 33 treatments to go! The end is in sight and I can't wait to get back to normal. Actually, it will be a new normal, but no more treatments!!! Yippee!! Labor Day weekend will be my rest, recuperate and celebrate weekend.

Meanwhile, I have been knitting. I finished the first sock in the pair of 2 different pairs of socks. There is a cabled pair, called Little Deschutes being knit in a kelly green Cascade heritage sock yarn and a beaded pair called Walking Through the Maze Gardens. I have cast on the second Maze Gardens sock. I also cast on for my long delayed Ravens socks. I have had the yarn for these socks for years but never took the time to knit them. I will make them striped, plain stockinette so that they are easy to knit while watching football and easily identified as Baltimore Ravens socks. ; )

I have a lot of UFOs that I would like to finish up but I needed a boat knitting project and so I cast on one more thing .... It's the Driftwood sweater. I am knitting it in Cascade Sierra in Ginger and a blue color. I have not yet decided whether I will knit it as a pullover or convert to cardigan. I am trying to knit more on other things - the socks, for instance - and only knit on that when we are driving or boating. I am not 100% successful but doing pretty well. I have quite a few UFOs that are smaller things that I thought I would have finished by now but that's how it goes sometimes. With everything else going on in my life I am not going to stress over what order I finished knitting projects in.

I am getting settled back into work, readjusting to working 5 days/week. Since I am still dealing with radiation I am not able to work longer than 8 hours (and might even have to cut that in the last week or so) but I am getting through work every day. That is a huge accomplishment for me.

The veggie garden is a disappointment this year but I am hearing that from a lot of people, so it's not just us. Actually it has been Bob's garden this year since I have been unable to do much with it. We had lots of cucumbers for a while but the plants are already dying off. We have only had a few tomatoes (they are there but stay green) and green peppers. It looks like we might get a few watermelons this year and I have hope for potatoes.

That's all for now. I think I am going to try to get one of my sons to figure out the tansfer of pictures from camera to computer so I can show you what I have been working on. I just can't be bothered it seems. ;-)
Have a good day.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

I am alive and well (mostly) but no pictures

I am back at work, managing just about full time hours while doing radiation treatments. I am also seeing a physical therapist to get my range of motion and strength back in my left arm and shoulder. The radiation doesn't hurt but the position I have to do in is not comfortable and causes some cramps in my shoulders and back. It's getting better, though.

I did really well during the Tour de Sock. I had hoped to get 1 pair of socks completed by the deadline and I managed to get 3 pairs of socks knitted in the month of June! Here is one pair. And another. and another! The pictures are from the pattern, not my socks, since I can't upload my photos yet (see below).Then I went back to work and there was no more completing socks in the time frame alotted. That's OK, though. I exceeded my personal goal. I have actually started the next 2 sock patterns but haven't finished either pair and the groups is on the 6 th pattern. I will knit them all but at my own pace now that life has gotten in the way. I wish I could upload photos but I haven't yet figured out how to do it on the new Imac we have. The old software doesn't work with it and I don't know how to find another way. One of these days I will sit down at the computer and figure it out. The socks I haven't yet finished are this one and this one. I am working on both and will finish them because I love them. The pair I will knit but haven't started is this pair. Oh, and I have another pair of the Great Lebowski socks to knit. I promised a pair to eldest son.

The Tour de Fleece also took place since I last posted. I settled on modest goals this year. I decided to participate in my own challenge in the spinners study group and spin a yarn using the magic number 5. I chose to spin a 5 ply yarn. I have never spun a yarn like that before and it was a lot of fun. The plying was the most interesting part, though I did enjoy considering lots of different colors of fiber before settling on what I chose. Wow! is it soft and bulky! There isn't much of it, but I would do this again.
I also wanted to spin my shetland fleece. I knew I couldn't do it all and I wasn't sure how I would do endurance wise so I didn't set a goal of any particular amount. I flicked it as my only prep (other than scouring) and spun. It spins like a dream!. I am spinning lock by lock over the fold and I am actually getting a pretty even singles in a long draw type of spinning! It's very cool. I filled 1 1/2 bobbins (on my Lendrum) during the tour and I can't wait to spin more of it. I have to do more flicking of fiber in the next few days in order to spin much more right now. I do hope to get a sweater out of this. I am planning a 2 ply yarn, fingering to DK weight. I am not sure what it will be like after plying and a bath but I love what I am spinning so will find a sweater pattern that will work with my yarn. ; )

I have been spindle spinning a Polwarth/silk blend braid. The colors are deep but soft and I have decided to spin a singles yarn and full it. I like the colors just as they are. I think I know someone who will really appreciate it as a gift. It's lovely fiber to spin - soft, not slippery, with a nice long staple length.

We have managed to harvest a green pepper, a few tomatoes and several cucumbers this year from the garden. I suggested to DH that we skip the garden this year because I was concerned about being able to keep up. I was right. I can't. He ended up doing just about everything - tilling, planting, weeding and watering. Whatever we get from the garden this year will be thanks to him alone.

I think that's all the news for now. My life is pretty much work and treatments right now with some fiber stuff forced in when I can. Soon it will be over (the treatments, not my life) and we may even be able to do some boating and visit the winery this fall. Fingers crossed.  And there is Rhinebeck to look forward to. I can't wait! It will be my true celebration that cancer treatments are over.

 

Monday, June 10, 2013

A lot to catch up on!

Wow! I am sorry. I didn't realize I was so far behind in my blogging!

First, cancer and surgery. I had my surgery, after several hours of delay, on May 30. They did a lumpectomy and axillary node dissection. I was reluctant but in the end decided to go with the known researched recommendations. Fingers crossed that I am not sorry later by way of a bad case of lymphedema. My doctor called and the biopsy is good! Clear margins ( they removed all cancer cells) and the lymph nodes removed were free of cancer! Yippee!!

The first week after surgery went pretty well but then I developed an infection in the area and have started antibiotics. I hope I can avoid being admitted to the hospital for IV antibiotics but I am not sure. It doesn't look good this morning.

Mom was planning to visit for a week or so after surgery but never made it further than Penn Station in NYC. She tripped and fell, went to the ER for stitches. Are you seeing a recurrent theme here? I was very disappointed that she didn't come. I was looking forward to visiting and working in the flower beds together. That's her thing. Gardening. Melanie, being the good friend she is, took me out for a lunch date to cheer me up. Melanie, Emilie (her 3 year old) and I had a nice lunch and browse in the LYS.

Charlotte and her daughter took me out to dinner on Friday to celebrate the biopsy news . We had lots of laughs.

I had decided a while ago to sign up for the Tour de Sock race on Ravelry. For a registration fee we each will receive 6 sock patterns on a set date. We are required to knit that PAIR of socks within a 10-12 day period, meet certain length requirements and post photos before the deadline to earn points. There are many prizes. Those of us who know better or choose not to worry about points for various reasons join teams that are knitting more for fun than speed. :-) that's what I am doing. I had hoped that the excitement over the race would distract me from my worries about developing lymphedema, and it did help. I had hoped to finish one sock within the allotted time and for the first pair at least, I finished both socks with time to spare! The first sock was knitted in 3 days and the pair in a week! I have had time to knit on other projects in between stages of the race!

The speedy knitter/racers stayed up all night an some actually finished in less than 24 hours!!! Can you believe that?! Beautiful knitting, too. The first pattern was a lace pattern with a few beads added and I love them. The entry fee was worth it just for that pattern. I will add pictures when I can.

Since that first pair was completed I finished my Topiary Wrap! I made the large size but didn't do as many repeats as specified in the pattern. The wrap was almost 5 ft. Long pre-blocking and that's long enough for me to wrap up nicely. I hope to get the Tulips baby sweater finished as my next between stages project.

That's all for now. The next pattern comes out in 1 hour. Ready. Set. Knit!  :-))

Sunday, May 26, 2013

The baby arrived and all are healthy

Baby and mother are healthy and happy even if a little sleep deprived. Actually, my brother is also sleep deprived. He took a few weeks off to be home with his family and is an actively participating daddy. I finished knitting and weaving in the ends while they watched and handed over the blanket without blocking. Oh, well.

Once the baby blanket was finished I did pick up Topiary to finish. I have been making decent progress but it's not photo worthy, just more of the same. I am going to love snuggling into this wrap when it's finished! Whipporrwill (shawl) is also progressing well and I have picked up the Cameo shawl to finish.

Surgery is looming. Thursday, to be exact. I am not scared but not looking  forward to it at all. On the bright side, mom is coming for a visit and to tend to me. I'm going to put her to work on the gardens. She loves gardening and I haven't gotten around to much of it this year.

We hope to be out on the boat tomorrow for the first time this year. Fingers crossed that the wind cooperates.

Thursday, May 09, 2013

Another post without photos

The baby blanket measures about 27 inches now and I am really tired of knitting it. I will persevere, though, and knit as far as I can get by the weekend. we a going to NY to visit Mom and should be seeing my brother(the one with the new baby) while we are there. However long it is by that point, it will get the garter edge and be bound off. : )

The Whippoorwill shawl is growing in length but I think growing in width more, at last right now. I have decided to add some beads to it and have been placing them every 10 rows, and 10 stitches apart, though offset from the previous row. I think I like the look but if I get further and decide that I no longer like it, I will just break the beads to get them off. I am not stringing the beads but using a crochet hook to slip them on the appropriate stitch. It makes a great project to knit on while doing other things or when I am really tired.

I have decided to pick up Topiary to finish next, once the baby blanket is finished. I think it will be great to have that to wear to Rhinebeck. Yes, I am gong to Rhinebeck this year. It's probably crazy considering what else is going on but I have been looking forward to this trip for a while and by that time I will probably feel entitled to a treat after all of the cancer treatments I will have been through. Melanie booked a room in a B & B and I can't wait! It's less than 6 months away now. : ))

The veggie garden has been tilled and the tomato and green pepper plants have been planted. Other seedlings (that I stated from seeds) are still in their peat pots on the deck but will get planted next week. (I would have planed them this week if I had enough energy.)

This is the first week since December or January that I have worked 3 days in a row. I am very tired and can't wait to get home. It feels pretty pathetic to be so tired after just 3 days but that's where I am at right now as far as my endurance level goes. I feel very frustrated that I can't do more. I try to be patient and I am working to find the balance between challenging myself to do a litle more each day and not stressing my body by doing too much. That is a hard thing to do normally and it will be a bit harder this weekend. when we are up in NY to visit Mom, I generally do extra stuff for her, take care of her, do a little TLC. This time I can't. That makes me feel bad. Spending time with her will be good, though.

Have a good weekend.


Friday, May 03, 2013

Juego is no more

I ripped it out 2 nights ago and started knitting Whipporwill with the light color yarn (from Creatively Dyed yarns), will use the deep purple (Jitterbug)  for the accent color near the bottom. I am very happy.

The baby blanket is coming along nicely. I sort of got sidetracked with the shawl thing but since the baby is due in a week or so, I had better get cracking!

Maryland Sheep and Wool festival is here! I am going, for just a few hours on Sunday, with Melanie and her children. I have to stay away from the creatures, wear sun block and take a few other precautions, but I can go! I don't need to buy anything - I just want the atmosphere and the inspiration. We will have fun, I am pretty sure, and help each other stay in line with purchases. ; )

On a very sad note, eldest son's cat died on Wednesday. It was a sudden and an ugly death but at least we were with her. She was his cat for sure but we all became very attached to her and her part in our daily lives. Her death leaves a huge hole in our lives.

Monday, April 29, 2013

My Birthday

I had a wonderful  birthday on Saturday. I sat on the deck and enjoyed the sunshine. I knitted, I relaxed and did nothing that resembled work. ; )

DH made a very yummy shrimp scampi for dinner, with an accompanying salad! Yes, I had a salad! It is one of the things that I had been doing without since chemo started and it was delish! We had apple pie with chocolate ice cream for dessert. My sons both gave me plants for my birthday. I have an orchid and a bromeilad to care for now. I hope I don't kill them in the first month ..... I will post pictures soon.

On Sunday I did some laundry, some weeding (it takes along time to weed all of the garden beds we have with my lack of exercise tolerance) and some knitting. Angela invited me to come to her place for a chat and knit session and that was great. Her family even presented me with a birthday cake and sang Happy Birthday to me!

The Juego Mystery KAL is no longer. I haven't frogged it yet but I will. I am just not happy with it and I love the yarn too much to waste it. I think Angela will drop out also since she is not enjoying the knitting of it. I did, however, find a very interesting shawl for us to knit and I believe we are going to order the yarn and get going on this shortly. It is the Now in a minute shawl from Knitty.com.  I love the idea of  knitting with gradient skeins to enhance this pretty shawl pattern. I don't have any idea how to dye and spin for this on my own and the price of the yarn is very reasonable.

My two main projects right now are the Pine Forest Baby Blanket and the Marian Tunic. Once the baby blanket is finished, I think I will pick up Topiary again. I would love to finish it before the hot weather gets here. If I can get 2 projects off the needles before starting that new shawl I will be thrilled. I have the whole summer to finish up the small projects like socks, mitts and gloves.

Friday, April 26, 2013

It's Friday!

I tried. I really tried to make it through a full week at work. My brain was ready and my body willing ... at first. By the time I got home from work on Tuesday, though, I was sore and exhausted! I think I went to bed at 8 PM and stayed in bed until noon the next day. I needed that day off very badly and I am glad that I used my brain enough to acknowledge it instead of fighting it. I have to admit that even with that day off in the middle, I am ready for the weekend.

I did no knitting on Tuesday night due to the fatigue but knitted quite a bit on Wednesday while I soaked up some rays on the deck. Mostly I worked on the baby blanket for my brother's little girl, since that actually has a deadline. ; )    Then I knitted on the tulips Cardigan and finished weaving in ends and knitted the two front bands and the I cord edging around the fronts and bottom hem. I have to knit the neck I cord and the sleeves still. That should be a quick knit, maybe something I can do while at the LYS knit night. Yes! I am going back next week to join my friends for knitting and chatting!  I hope to get in a few weeks of visiting with friends and doing "normal" things before surgery.

It's my birthday on Saturday. I hope to have a yummy cake but other than that I don't plan to do anything special. I would love for the weather to be good for knitting out on the deck.That is one of my favorite things to do right now. Have a great weekend.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Spring knitting

The side effects from the chemo have not left me yet. I have spent a lot of time sitting and knitting and watching TV, more than I had planned on. However, things are getting better. I actually worked 6 hours on Friday! I hope to have about 5 weeks of working normally, at the office, before surgery.

The not feeling well has allowed me to complete the center band for the Marian Tunic, pick up that zillion stitches (actually 292) along one edge and start the open work pattern. I have knitted almost 3 pattern repeats and love the way it looks so far. The pattern is easily memorized, which makes things much easier on a 292 stitch row. ;-)

I am in love with the color and I think the stitch pattern is very pretty and perfect for summer.




I joined the Juego mystery KAL on Ravelry. I had appropriate yarn and beads in my stash and that seemed to be an omen, so I purchased the pattern. I was thrilled with the result of the first clue! Deep purple yarn with light purple beads. The second clue, however, is a slipped stitch, mosaic type of stitch pattern using the contrasting semi-solid light purple yarn I chose and I am just not sure I like it. I never have really liked that type of stitch pattern. In addition, while I assumed this was a shawl KAL, it seems that we do not know what kind of garment we are knitting. It is a true mystery. I have decided to wait to see what the next clue looks like and decided if I want to keep going or rip it. I love the yarns and the beads too much to use them in a garment I don't care for.
This is the close up view of clue 1.  I love it.
Over view of the piece, showing the contrasting color shown here. I love the yarns together - they show up a bit bleached out here - and the knitting is actually being done on in 3/4 of the stitches. At the right side of the photo the stitches in the dark yarn are on a holder and not being worked.
Here is a close up view of the clue 2 stitch pattern. The colors are pretty accurate here. It's pretty but not my taste. Right now, anyway.

I mentioned my brother's upcoming child last time, and the yarn I ordered has arrived. I am knitting the Pine Forest blanket for them in a Knit Picks superwash yarn. The color is a blue with lavender tones to it. I cast on last night after washing and drying the swatches. I don't have much time for this knit (the baby is due on May 10), so it will be my main focus for a while, though I always do some changing out of projects being knitted. This photo show the color a bit lighter than in real life. The swatch showing the stitch pattern is on top and the garter edging is beneath it.



I started knitting the Tulips Sweater a while ago for a friend of mine. This is the body of the sweater. I have knitted the bottom edging in seed stitch and need to start working on the front bands. It's for a little girl named Parmida. She is adorable and her Mommy will love the sweater even if she has no idea. : )



I planted seeds last week in peat pots and saw some seedlings poking their heads up! We brought the seedlings and baby tomato plants in the house last night since the temps dropped into the 30's, but will get them back outside today so they can soak up the sunshine. In a week or two, if we can get a few dry days, DH will till the garden area and I can get seeds in the ground. We are hoping for an early start on the gardening this year. We can always plant more seeds if things freeze or don't germinate.

We plan on tomatoes (obviously, since the plants are pretty unmistakable), cucumbers, corn, watermelon, green and hot peppers.

I hope to be able to post photos one of these days. We bought a new (used) computer and the old photo software doesn't work with it. I have to figure out how to get the photos off my camera onto the computer so I can post them. Ugh.

ETA I added the photos but I am very resentful that I have to learn a new system. Hopefully Picasa will allow me to do things that Picture Project didn't to make up for the new learning "opportunity". 

Have a happy day.

Friday, April 12, 2013

I am finished!!!!!

Chemo treatments are over! No more! Pretty soon I will be able to eat the things I have been having to forgo and  starting right now I won't be making several trips to the infusions center every 2 weeks! Stage one of cancer treatment is over and we are now moving into the planning stages for stage 2 , which is surgery. Tests are scheduled for the last week of April.

I have completed 40 repeats of the band for the Marion Tunic. That is one half of the band that goes from front to back. Now I start on the bottom band. That's 15 repeats. Then I pick up a zillion stitches for the right side of the body and knit the open work pattern. It will be a while before this piece is finished, but I am determined.

Meanwhile I have just ordered yarn to make a baby blanket for my baby brother and his almost wife, who are expecting their little girl in mid May. A sweater would have been quicker but they don't last as long, so a blanket it will be. I haven't decided on the pattern yet but picked the color and the yarn. ;-)

Also on the knitting front, I have completed Rob's Riff socks! Finally. :-( I was bad and took a long time to finish these off, but they look good. Hopefully they will last. Next up is finishing Bob's socks. I am doing ribbing up the legs, so they are good travel socks to work on. Simple. Small. To be finished soon, I hope.

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Marion Tunic Beginning

I cast on for the tunic yesterday. I did, as usual, have some ripping to do but I still managed to complete 6 pattern repeats (of too many to count).

Right now it is wonderful that the rows are 20 stitches long so it doesn't take long to complete a pattern repeat. This color is a bit darker than in real life.

On Ravelry there is a group that does a spin off of Project Runway, called Project Spinway. There is a challenge, frequently a photograph inspiration, you find fiber (in appropriate textures and colors) and spin a yarn that is inspired by the photograph. There are usually little extra challenges thrown in along the way and there are deadlines. It is also important to explain the process you went through in making your selections and photographing things well earns points, too. Since I still have 1 more chemo to go, I didn't sign up for this competition but have decided to spin along as a fan - no deadlines, just fun playing along. That way if I have a bad week and can't make any progress, I don't feel guilty. ; )
I can really use a fun, short project right now in spinning. I think this will do.

I have spent quite a while this morning trying to choose a photograph for the challenge - your backyard. It can be a literal translation - your actual yard - or less literally, what you consider the back yard to your area, for instance. I thought initially that I would do the Chesapeake Bay but in looking through my photos, I am pretty sure I will chose flowers or something directly from my yard. 
This one is a strong contender.
As is this one. 
And this one.


Sigh. I think I have to search further. Or maybe I should close my eyes and pick? I love them all.


Sunday, March 31, 2013

Knitting and chemo progress

One more chemo Treatment to go!

I am a bit more achy this time than last time. Vitamin B is suggested to minimized the neuropathy that is a side effect of Taxol. At my last visit, however, the doctor said there might be some drug interactions if I took the vitamin B on the day of chemo so I skipped it the day of the infusion as instructed. I think, though, that  I won't skip it again. I think taking the vitamin helps to minimize the muscle and joint pains that come with the Taxol. I hurt more today than I did 2 weeks ago. Pain or no pain, I will feel better in a few days and I have only one more treatment to go. I can do this.

Knitting on my 2 main projects continues. Topiary has gotten longer by more than a full pattern repeat since I resurrected it. I really like the yarn and the pattern and want to end up with a nice long wrap to snuggle into. I plan to knit at least 4 more pattern repeats to what I have here. This is a close up of the stitch pattern.



 Here you  can sort of see how long the wrap is already. The wrap is 3 pattern repeats across and this is a heavy worsted yarn. It really is about 4 feet long. 



Rob's Riff socks have finally gotten past the "trouble spot". You follow a chart up the foot, continue the instep pattern while knitting the gusset, and then count back a certain number of rows to find your starting place on the chart for the heel pattern. You then hope that when you get back to knitting on the leg that the patterns match. This one did! Perfectly, with no fudging required! I am very excited. Now I just knit up the leg, following the chart until I run out of the main yarn. Then I will switch to the accent color and do the ribbing. This sock, the second of the pair, should be finished by the end of April. 
Heel:

 Front of sock:







My new large project, now that Shellseeker is finished, is going to be the Marion Tunic from the Spring IK. I swatched and blocked and am ready to start knitting. This is the center panel swatch. Stitches will be picked up on the long edge for the body of the tunic.


This is the openwork swatch. 
  


I would be knitting on Topiary today since I want to finish it before starting something else but my joints ache too much to manage it. I might just cast on for the Tunic today. I could use a knitting project that is lightweight and a bright, spring color to work on today to banish the grey drizzles. 


Happy Easter.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Finished Shellseeker


Here it is! Finished! It fits well (even damp. I couldn't resist trying it on and it was taking too long to dry!) and is just the right style for me for cool evenings on or off the boat. I might make another some day ....
The pattern was well written and I had no problems understanding the instructions for the pocket.

It's chemo day again tomorrow. Sigh. Only this treatment and one other to go, though. The end is close!

It's spring, the temperatures are higher and yet we had snow on Monday. This weather is very confusing. It was very pretty looking out the window Monday morning - the trees were all covered with the white stuff. It was a winter wonderland for certain. I waited until the rush hour mess had cleared out, then I went to work. The men in the house shoveled snow and cleared my car for me. Thanks, guys.

My current knitting projects are my Topiary Wrap and Rob's Riff socks. I was doing really well working on the 2 projects. I haven't knitted on them in 3 days because I am tired when I get home from work.  Work is, I hate to admit, more important, especially right now. This weekend should present ample opportunity for knitting, though.

I am feeling much better these days. I have more energy and can do much more before I tire out. I feel better in general. I have to watch my calories now - to avoid gaining too much! 2 more chemo treatments and then I get a break for a while. I can't wait to have a nice steak  with a salad on the side and something with berries for dessert. Those are the things I can't have now that I crave.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Shellseeker


This is it so far. Unblocked, ends still dangling but only 1/2 sleeve to go and I love it. It feels great and fits well. Very nautical.



Monday, March 18, 2013

Shellseeker Sleeves

One sleeve is complete, the second has been started and is actually about 3 inches long! I tried the sweater on yesterday to check for sleeve length and my son (35 years old) admired it and the way it looks on me! The boatneck is a bit floppy and sloppy looking. I will try to find a way to improve the look of that, but otherwise I like the sweater a lot. I think it will be very comfortable for cool evenings on the boat or at home.

I have been re-reading the Monica Ferris series of needlework mysteries recently. Somehow I have been attracted to counted cross stitch as a result. Bob dropped me off at Joann's so that I could browse on Saturday and I picked up 2 small kits. I have been working on one of the kits in between knitting projects. I am not sure if it will be mine or Mom's but I like it. As small as it is, 5x7 inches, it will take a while to finish. I am finding it an enjoyable change of pace, though it will not replace knitting.






I spun on the wheel yesterday and finished the second bobbin of singles and made good headway on the third bobbin. I might be ready to ply by the end of the week! I hate plying but it will be great to finish the yarn and have it ready to be knitted. I hope to get in some spindle spinning this week but I'll have to see how the joints are behaving first.


Tiny little snow flakes are falling right now. Just a few, few enough that I have to really look for them, but it gives me something to look for. Have a good day.

Friday, March 15, 2013

6 down, 2 to go

I have 2 more chemo treatments to go! I didn't think I would ever get to this point for a while, but the end is in sight.

I have been knitting a lot lately. The body of Shellseeker is finished and the first sleeve is more than half knitted. Bob's sock are well on their way also. Both heels turned and one sock has about 3 inches of a leg knitted. This morning, though I had committed to knitting on only those 2 projects, I picked up Call Me Cordelia shawl and knitted 8 rows. I knew I would be knitting on Shellseeker and the socks while I was at the infusion center getting IV fluids and I wanted something else to knit for a while. It felt good.

This afternoon I spun on my wheel for about 45 minutes. I missed spinning the last couple of days for one reason or another (like chemo) but I made up for at least one day today. I finished one bobbin (the second of three) and started the third. I am spinning a 3 ply to knit the Mariposa cowl. It was a spin/knit along for a Ravelry group but I knew from the start I would not get it finished in the time specified. I was right. I will finish it, though, and do the knitting over the summer when I need small sized projects to knit in the heat.

I would love to spindle spun more of my silk but I think the body aches that are a side effect of this chemo drug will keep me from spindle spinning.

I was hoping for a nice weekend but with rain predicted, and chilly temperatures, I suspect I will be stuck inside most of the weekend. Sigh. My emotions need sunshine and outdoor time. We have a few daffodils poking their leaves up but no flowers or buds yet. We have been talking about that to plant in the veggie garden and that's been fun. It will be about 2 months until we can plant anything, though. I am really impatient for warm weather this year. I am so tired of feeling cold.

Well, have a good weekend, all. Happy St. Patrick's day to you.

Saturday, March 09, 2013

It wasn't all that bad

I did not have an allergic reaction to the new drug. I was nervous enough that I told the infusion nurse that I was nervous and she gave me a little something to help me relax. In addition to the pre meds, I was feeling really loopy. I got the test dose, then the real thing and left feeling pretty good. The next day went well, too. The day after that I spent in the recliner. My back muscles felt like someone had beaten them. Sunday the pain moved to the joints. Every joint hurt. They say that you get flu like symptoms and they are right. It feels like a really bad flu only without the fever and cough. That was the worst day, though. It got a bit better each day until by Thursday I was feeling pretty much back to normal. I even went to work that day!

Mom left on Sunday after a 3 week visit. It is a bit lonely here, but I think the timing was good since I feel so much better now. I think she is happy to be in her own space, too.

I have been knitting. I feel easily overwhelmed and all of the projects that are on the needles right now are adding to that feeling of there being too much to do. I decided to work on that by selecting one larger and one smaller project that I felt like knitting on and ignore everything else. I am knitting on Shellseeker. It's a sweatshirt style sweater, knitted in cotton, stripes of blue and a soft green that looks almost beige. I just finished joining the front pocket to the sweater last night. Next up is the bottom edge ribbing. The body was knitted in the round, top down, so this means that once the ribbing is complete, there remains only the sleeves to knit. I am excited!

I had thought that my chemo treatments and recovery time were going to be a great source of knitting time for me. Chemo made a fool out of me. I had no idea that it would take so much out of me, change my priorities in living life and make me too tired and uninterested in knitting. I feel better in general with this new drug, so I am able to get back to my normal activities. Some of them , anyway. I am still anemic, so I have a low tolerance for activity but  I will work on improving that now that the weather is getting better. That's another thing I was not prepared for - I am cold all the time. I layer, I dress warmly and I still shiver. Warm weather can't come soon enough for me.  Activity will help with the coldness issue and just getting me back  in shape a little so I don't huff and puff just from climbing the stairs from the basement.

My other knitting project is to finish Bobs socks. I am knitting them on DPNs but keeping pace so that I don't get second sock syndrome. I am trying to turn the heel and knit the heel flap but my chemo brain won't let me get it right. I need a pattern to follow and don't have the right stitch count for any of the patterns. Oh, well. I'll get it sooner or later.

Spinning has been an off and on activity but I hope to make it more on than off. I seem to have acquired a huge amount of fiber. Not only do I need to clear some space but I am interested in spinning it for the experience and to see what it will make. I am going to try to spin daily for a minimum of 20 minutes for the rest of the month and see where that takes me.

Have a great weekend.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Getting ready

I am getting very nervous about this next chemo treatment. First of all, everyone says how much easier it it to tolerate if you don't have an allergic reaction. How often, then, are allergic reactions? Also, on some of the cancer boards, people are writing about just how uncomfortable and distressing the side effects from this drug can be and it doesn't sound easier to me! I like to be forearmed with information but I feel confused in this area. Will it be a piece of cake or will I be crippled with muscle and joint pains? If I have an allergic reaction, what are the options? Some people have said that they had reactions to later doses but not to the first dose. That's scary! UGH. I both dread and want Thursday to get here soon.

Knitting is happening. Shellseeker is growing in length. My swatches for the tunic in Spring IK are almost ready to be measured and washed. I love the new yarn I am working with. The linen yarn I thought I would love did not work out. It was too open. I am currently working with Aurucania Itata Multi in a colorway that includes tropical blues and greens. I really hope I can make this work!

Mom is still visiting. We were able to enjoy some sunshine and milder temps the last two days but we expect rain today. :-(   Mom plans to be sure I do OK with this next drug and then head home for a while. She will be back in late May or early June when I have surgery.

Well, I am off to the work at home computer to start my work day. Have a good day.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Half way through chemo!

I was scheduled for 4 cycles of one drug combo and 4 cycles of another drug to be given alone. I have completed the first 4 cycles! Some time in the next few weeks I will get an ultrasound of the breast tumor to check on the size, reassure myself that the chemo is working and the tumor is shrinking.  In a week and a half I will start the second drug, which, according to most sources, is easier to handle. We'll see. It's more frequent side effects are numbness or pins and needles in the hands and feet called neuropathy. That could make fiber work tough, but I'll take it one day at a time.

After 3 weeks or more of no knitting, I picked up Shellseeker and started knitting again. Yippee! I still don't knit a lot. I had thought that during chemo I would knit all the time when I wasn't at work but it has just seemed to be too much trouble. I sit and veg in front of the TV screen instead. Not very productive but it seems to be what I can handle right now. I am still working part time and that feels good.

Mom is doing her best to take care of me and help around the house. She does a lot of smaller chores like emptying the dishwasher, which no one likes, and laundry. Some of the small things like dusting, which I just can't be bothered doing, have been done, too. ;-)
She plans to stay until just after my next chemo (the first of the new drug) and then head home. She'll be back for my surgery. I think she is bored because she doesn't have her own little (and big) projects to work on, but we are doing OK.

Have you seen the Spring IK? I love the cover sweater, though I would add a collar, and the tunic top. I might knit that with linen to be used as a tunic and a swim suit cover up. Linen should be more comfortable in 80 degree temps and 90% humidity than merino wool. See, even though I haven't been knitting, I haven't lost the interest in knitting.

Speaking of interest, due to my planned trip to Rhinebeck, I was going to just go to MDSW for 1 day and maybe work half of that. I found out from the doctor that I can't go at all. Being exposed to the animals and dust etc. while on chemo is a no-no. Technically I will be finished with chemo by then but I am not going to take any chances. If I get sick, it might postpone surgery and or other treatment so I will be good. Disappointing but not terrible. It will be the first time in over 10 years I will have missed.

Have a good day.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Mom arrives today!

My mother has been chomping at the bit to come down and help ever since I told her about my diagnosis. I wanted to get a few treatments under my belt and deal with them alone first before I had company. Besides, her room wasn't ready and Bob was busy caring for me. So. The room is ready and she will be on a train from New York Penn station to Aberdeen in a couple of hours.

I haven't touched a knitting needle except to put it away in a week or more. I just don't feel the love. I feel like I am forcing myself to pick up the needles and that seemed to be unnecessary stress for me right now. I am taking a knitting vacation. I am still interested. My IK magazine came in yesterday's mail and I immediately browsed through it and picked out 2 items I want to make. But not now. The only thing I plan to knit any time soon is that last blasted sleeve so I can finish Bobs sweater. Everything else is getting put in a time out.

Spinning still interests me, so I do a bit of that now and then. Mostly my brain is happy to be entertained (or not) by watching HGTV.  We'll see what happens while Mom is here.

Speaking of Mom, I have to help put the Ikea nightstand together. I guess her room isn't quite ready.

Sunday, February 03, 2013

Saturday, February 02, 2013

My treatment

My treatment is broken up into several sections. I have 2 chemo drugs given together, in my case every 2 weeks for 4 weeks. Then I get another chemo  drug every 2 weeks for 4 weeks. Then I will be scanned again and a decision about surgery will be made, the surgery will happen and the I get radiation treatment. sounds like fun, doesn't it? Not.
Anyway, I have finished 3 or 4 treatments of the first drug. It's a milestone, but not a big one. I am feeling a bit tired and discouraged but mostly from dealing with the side effects and work. I have a lot of help, though and I will get through this. The weather could be more helpful, though. Warm and sunny would be so much better ...... 

Completed hat!

The hat I have been working on recently is finished. It's called the Madreselva Hat . I wanted to use some handspun and I needed a warm hat, so ......


I have received many little goodies and cards in the mail, cheering me up and reminding me how many friends I have. Here is a little goodie from Elisabeth in Norway. A beautiful card and fridge magnet.


Karen, who knows that I love turtles of any kind, sent a card with a sea turtle on it along with a hat - a very soft and non-hair-catching hat for me to wear as well as some hand made earrings, stitch markers and puffy origami stars! I can't believe it! And they didn't get squashed while in transit, either. I am most fascinated by the starts but love the rest, too. they will all be welcome and frequently used gifts.



Juneberry is a pattern I worked on over the spring and summer. I finally finished it this fall but didn't get around to blocking it until recently. It is made with alpaca yarn and so is pretty toasty and comfortable to wear.



Finally, my uncle sends a basket or pot of amaryllis bulbs every year for the holidays. We always start themas soon as we get them, around Thanksgiving, and they never bloom until January. This year's flowers have been spectacular. Here is one close up I took with my I-Phone!
Thank you Uncle Rich and Aunt Joyce!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

I look like a prisoner of war

Loosing my hair has been painful. Painful emotionally and physically. I had it cut short right before chemo started, as I mentioned in a previous post. After the second chemo cycle the hair started to fall out. In tufts, in showers, all over and in everything. Taking a shower was gross because it washed all over my face and body. My scalp hurt. I believe it is swollen from the inflammation of the hair follicles dying, and it is painful. Last night I couldn't stand the itching and rubbing so I used my husband's clipper with a 1/8 inch guide and buzzed my hair off. I do not have a completely naked scalp - you can still see hair in blotches - but it's mostly gone. It looks terrible but feels much better. I hope the rest falls out before any of it tries to grow back.

I had IV fluids again yesterday since I am still struggling with dehydration. I can eat (almost) enough but I can't eat and drink enough. I can get the fluids through my port but eating has to happen to old fashioned way - through the mouth. That's the option I choose. Never before have I had to work so hard to not loose weight! I know that lots of people, including me in the past, have wished for such a dilemma, but it is hard work. Milkshakes, candy, cookies, whipped cream are all on my approved food list right now. Very weird.

I blocked my Juneberry shawl over the weekend and I love it. Being alpaca it didn't block all that much bigger than it started out, but the lace really shows well.

I am having trouble with concentration due to "chemo brain" so I am trying to severely limit my work and fun projects so that I can finish things and get some feeling of accomplishment. I am knitting exclusively on a new hat for myself (my head is cold) and the sleeve of Bob's sweater.  I will not knit on anything else until one of those is finished. The hat is the Mandeselva pattern and I am using some lovely targhee handspun yarn in green and purple to knit it. It's not much to look at now but it's getting there. Once I have one full pattern repeat (height) I will post a photo.

My uncle sends us a basket or pot every year with amaryllis bulbs in it. This year we have a different type of flower, possibly a double blossom one. The first flower popped but the stem fell overnight and broke. So we put the stem in a vase with water and Wow! What lovely blossoms opened up. That one stem has 3 flowers on it and I was actually able to watch 2 of them open! They just started suddenly and slowly to open and I happened to be sitting nearby and noticed. Awesome!

I have 2 more cycles of the nasty chemo meds to go, then I switch  to what people tell me is a much easier drug to handle. At least the dehydration should not be a problem since the severe nausea is not a side effect of that drug. There are other problems that can arise but I will worry about that later.

It's freezing here today (15 degrees when I got up at 8 am) and pretty windy. Take care, those of you who have to be outside.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

The Ravens go on to the Superbowl!!!

What a game! Go Ravens!!!!!!!!!

Saturday, January 19, 2013

I think we've found the formula

So much better than last cycle! IV fluids on the day of chemo, twice as much IV fluids the next day and wearing accupressure bands (like for seasickness) on my wrists seem to have made a world of difference! Two weeks ago I was still in bed, wondering how I could do this every two weeks. This morning I was up at 7:30, showered and did 2 hours of work at the computer!  I helped (just a little bit) with laundry, walked around the block and did wheel and support spindle spinning! Then I took a nap. ; )

I finished the Diana Mitt test knit and did a photo shoot today. Melanie might want to re-do some shots, but that's OK. I will now rip back the garter at the hand and decrease some stitches to make it fit me better. I am then going to play around with the charts and see if I want to do a beaded version or just knit another like this. 







I have great ripping plans. I am feeling smothered by my WIPs and UFOs. I am going to rip everything I am not in love with any longer except for things that are just about finished. That will be at least 6-8 projects, still leaving me with quite a few to finish. Some of those might get frogged, too. Normally the number of UFOs doesn't bother me but I guess I am looking to simplify my life now and so these extras are really bothering me. I cleaned out my night stand and felt so much better. Mom will be visiting soon and maybe I can get her help to do more.

I think for right now I am going to sit in the recliner and rest and knit. Maybe the Chemo Cameo, maybe Atelier. Something that doesn't require a lot of brain power. ; )

GO RAVENS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The Ornaments are off the Tree

I love having the tree up but more and more needles are falling. I took the ornaments off the tree but left the lights in place. We'll leave it that way for a few more days or even a week, then wrestle the lights off and take it to be shredded. Sigh. I hate to get rid of it.

I am test knitting a design for Melanie. She designed some very nice fingerless mitts and I like the yarn she used, so I am doing that test knit now. I find the pattern to be a nice Rhythmic knit with an intuitive stitch pattern. I also plan to play a bit next week (after chemo day) with bead placement. I think these mitts could look good with some carefully placed beads.

I knitted on the Cancer Cameo yesterday during the football game, so that made progress. I was going to try for pictures today but it has been foggy and gray outside. I'm not sure when the sun will shine again .....

ETA that was last Sunday

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Better

Chemo still sucks but things do get better in between doses. So, I am working, some from home and some from the office, though that is very hard to do. Adding 2 hours of driving time to a day that I struggle to get through without resting alot is tough. We'll see how long I last before I have to just stay home. Staying home is a big deal, though, considering FMLA allows for 3 months and I could be out for up to 9 months. There is also thing thing called money. It comes in handy to buy things and with less than 9 months of leave time, no short term disability and a 90 day waiting period for long term disability to kick in, money will be very tight indeed.

I am able to eat and drink now but not much of anything at one time. I plan to ask for extra hydration next dose and something good and strong for the headache. Maybe I can beat this beast into, if not submission, then at least tamer behaviour.

I really haven't gotten much knitting done. Some on the Atelier sweater, some on the Cancer Cameo shawl, but spinning seems easier for my brain to handle. I hope to update photos later today or tomorrow.

DH is finally getting around to winterizing the boat. Part of that entails running the motor (water running through it with muffs) while spraying some nasty spray into it until it stalls. Somehow that is supposed to grease the innnards so they don't freeze over the winter. Poor Bob. You can't do that job without getting pretty wet. It's in the 40's here, so not freezing but not nice out. His hands hurt so much when they get cold but he won't allow me to come out to help because I am so cold these days.

I got the most awesome card yesterday. I love turtles. Sea turtles, tortoises, regular turtles, whatever. Karen remembered that and sent a very nice card with a beautiful sea turtle on it. I smiled before I even opened it up. Oh, and then there was the purple glittery star on the outside. Purple is my favorite color.
Thanks, Karen.

I have recently been enjoying my support spindle again. It's one kind of spinning on  a spindle that I can do with little strain on my shoulder (possible torn rotator cuff, possible tendon tear). I thin I am going to  stop playing with the f=really fine, short fibers I have been suing recently and try other, regular wool. I want to experiment with what kinds of weight yarns I can produce with my support spindle. If that works well, I might start destashing some drop spindles and getting more Tibetan and/or Russian spindles. Those looks so cool. There is even a purpleheart one for less than $40.00! (I might indulge myself anyway. what good is cancer if you cant get a pity gift once in a while?  ; ))

Have a good day.

Sunday, January 06, 2013

It's official

Chemo sucks. Big time. I felt good for about 4-5 hours after it finished infusing and then the nausea hit. The next day the severe headache hit. They preach hydration but I don't see how it's possible to keep yourself hydrated when even a sip of water makes your nausea worse.

Lasts night I took a strong pain pill for the headache and was able to sleep off and on the whole night. The nausea is better today too. How am I going to purposely do this to myself every 2 weeks!?

Almost no knitting due to feeling so horrible. I did finish spinning the last of the Black Welsh Mountain fleece and plied it! That felt good. I think spinning will be better for me than knitting during this course of chemo at least.

Tomorrow I will try to get started spinning the yarn for the cowl I plan to spin and knit. The cowl probably won't be knit until after chemo though unless I feel a lot better later this week.

Oh, BTW my hair has been cut off. Not shaved but cut to about an inch in length. I could not bear to have my long hair fall out so I had it cut short the day before chemo started.

I hope your weekend has been a lot better than mine.

Go Ravens! On to Denver!!!