You know, some of the best lessons in life are ones that you didn’t see coming. Years ago, I was a member of a 6th grade instructional team that taught integrated units. The kids were learning about Canada in social studies at that time, and the language arts teacher had them reading Julie of the Wolves. I read the book too even though I was the social studies/science teacher, and one of the lessons really stuck with me. It was advice from Julie’s father to her: if what you are doing doesn’t work, change what you are doing. I am not one to quit easily, but sometimes that isn’t the right attitude.
I’ve been struggling with my treatment plan for months and I finally decided that we needed to do something different. My pulmonologist stopped the medication (Ofev) that I was taking to treat my lung disease (interstitial lung disease) because of side effects and started me on two inhaled medications instead. In the aftermath of this change, every single one of my tendons has decided that it hates my guts. Everything, everything hurts, and my arms are back in braces. I have two canes going so I am never far from one when I walk, and the walker is back out for use in the house. Feeling sorry for myself, I was slow to realize that Hannah had a rash on her tummy, and she was just miserable, licking and cleaning herself so much all the hair was gone and she had open sores.
That yarn that makes up the Nectar blanket is made of recycled fibers, and it includes raw silk. If you don’t know raw silk, it has a slight smell because the proteins from the silkworm cocoon are present. I kind of think that the silk is the problem, so I have packed the blanket away for now because Hannah LOVES TO LAY ON IT!!! Hannah got a bath with soothing anti-itch shampoo and the rash is gone and her fur is growing back. Bad yarn, bad!!
It hurt my hands too much to knit on it anyway. The lace is hard to work, and the purl rows are misery. Goodbye, blankie. You are going into time out for now.
I also packed away the yarns for the La Prairie sweater that I wanted (really badly) to knit because it is a cardigan and is knit back and forth (instead of in the round); all those purl rows on the wrong side will kill me. The yarn is now keeping company with the Nectar blanket in time out.
Obviously, I needed to find something that I can knit. What I’ve been knitting (and want to knit) isn’t working, but by golly, there must be something that I can knit on. Something that is only in the round, almost all knit stitches, and easy to pick up and put down again without losing my place.
These socks were a free pattern on Ravelry, and they are just what I needed. There is no ribbing at the top: just stockinette that curls around to form a rolled edge. The purl row is every 9 rounds, so I can manage that. The heel is made with all knit stitches! I’m able to knit with size 1 cable needles because I push them with the back of my hands without using my wrists.
The socks are slightly oversized so they are easy for me to pull on. I’m slowly making progress and my wrists have improved so much that I’ve transitioned from the hard braces to compression braces on my wrists while I work. I knit outside most mornings with the cats enjoying the birdsong and fresh air, dreaming about the colors to knit a Soldotna Crop sweater in fingering weight yarn.
Soldotna is written to be knit in DK weight yarn, but I think that is too heavy for me to use as a light topper over long-sleeved shirts. I have been messing around looking at other sweaters by this designer that I’ve made that were written for fingering weight, and I think that if I go up a size in the pattern, I can substitute fingering for the DK. Also, fingering is easier to work with while my hands are totally acting like assholes, and stranded knitting is slower knitting and hopefully easier on my hands than my usual speedy pace. Did I mention that there are no purls in this pattern once I’m through the first rows of ribbing?
As usual I am fussing about the colors and the order in which they will be knit. I had completely decided on the first combination (with Mateo in the background) when I decided to play around with a combination that is more colorful by adding in the turquoise multi. Everything depends on the order of the colors in the design; I’m pretty happy with the combination on the right, and I’ve decided that if I don’t like it, I’ll just shop the stash and start over with some other colors. You know, if what you’re doing doesn’t work… The other factor that is causing me to lean towards the more colorful set is that the yarn is a little heavy for fingering, so I have a better chance that it will work in the pattern.
Have I wound the yarn for the sweater yet? Nope. It still seems too exhausting right now, but it is hopefully set out by the umbrella swift in my dining room. Soon, Soldotna, someday soon my wrists and hands will decide to behave themselves and it will be your turn.
Take that scleroderma. You’ve been messing with the wrong knitter!
- Julie of the Wolves is one of the books that gets banned from time to time, but it certainly made an impact with me and my students loved it.
- My pulmonologist says that there are two other drugs in the pipeline that I may be able to take when they are approved. Yay, science!
- Hannah was the best girl ever with her bath. She didn’t struggle or even meow while I was washing her tummy and then she let me blow dry her with absolutely no fuss. How about that!
- The color of the yarn that I am knitting the socks with is… Perfect Miracle. How cool is that? Just the color that I need right now.