August has finally arrived; the worst of the heat is almost over and the monsoon is right around the corner. The cicadas are buzzing in the cottonwood trees, and there are birds everywhere. Trees love August here in Colorado; more water and cooler temperatures. My ash tree, beautiful, pampered (he gets an injection every spring to protect him from emerald ash borers, a particularly nasty tree parasite) and greatly loved (well, he provides afternoon shade and is totally rocking his last prune job), is the star of today’s main events. Take it away ash tree!!
The shawl is Solaris by Melanie Berg. My notes on Ravelry are here.
Ash trees do come in female and male varieties. My tree is a male. How fun is that?
That oxygen bottle comes with a stylish backpack to carry it in. I’m over feeling upset and will be rocking the new look the next time I head out for groceries.
They didn’t have the right size oxygen bottle to give me, so tomorrow the truck is coming back. I may not make it to knitting after all. <sigh>
I learned to knit brioche stitch tonight. It was surprisingly easy. Must be all the oxygen.
I’ve really been dragging lately. I’m out of breath, my arms and legs just don’t want to go, and every now and then my chest hurts. This has been going on since around the first of the year, and so far my pulmonologist and rheumatologist haven’t located a definitive cause. It’s a scleroderma thing, they tell me. I’m on oxygen overnight now, my immunosuppressive drugs have been increased, and I’m just maintaining.
That was until I noticed that my lips were blue one morning while combing my hair. Blue lips? That can’t be good. I did some google searches, scared myself silly and then began to check the mirror more frequently during the day. Two weeks later it was pretty clear that I was rocking the blue lip look every time I came up the stairs. I bought a pulse oximeter, and began to record my blood pressure and oxygen levels throughout the day. Finally, admitting to myself that this was a true phenomenon, I called the doctor.
Of course everything went out of control as soon as I made the call. Now I’m in the middle of testing and doctor appointments. Monday was an especially ugly day; I flunked the 6 minute walk test in 2 minutes flat and was put on oxygen in the hallway. Darn!! It’s a sure thing that I will be lugging an oxygen tank around in a backpack in the near future as soon as I finish the current round of doctor visits and testing. My next doctor appointment is Tuesday, and I think I won’t be able to put off the oxygen trolls any longer after that.
So how have I been handling all of this? Well, when everything is falling apart around you, it is best to just knit, knit, knit! Seriously, knitting is positive, productive, meditative, never talks back and consumes very little oxygen. Perfect! I’ve been just cranking out my Solaris shawl over the last week and the end is now in sight. It is going to be beautiful. Check it out!
So, next week should be a big one for little ol’ me. I’ll be seeing my primary doctor for a breathing needs evaluation, hopefully I’ll be saying goodbye to the blue lips, and my Solaris shawl will get finished up.
I’m not sure how this is all going to turn out, but I’ve got a big shawl queue all ready to go.
The weather has really warmed up and stabilized this week; sun, heat and no thunderstorms; just what I needed to make my aching muscles and joints behave themselves. This week has been a good one and I took to the backyard for most of the afternoons. There’s a lot that can be accomplished outside. Let me take you on a little tour of my days.
The shade of my locust tree covers the lawn swing and a couple of the gardens. What could be better for a person with a latte and an incredibly good book?
I’ve been consumed with the Justin Cronin novel, The City of Mirrors. Oh, my goodness. What a well-written, tightly-crafted book to spend the summer afternoons with. I read the first two books in this series and I wasn’t completely sure that I wanted to dive into a book of over 700 pages to learn the fate of mankind in their battle against the Zombie apocalypse, but the reviews made me take the leap and I pushed the “buy” button on my NOOK. Good decision. I keep highlighting passages that are just so wonderful I want to savor them later. I usually race through good books but this is one that I am stretching out so the experience will continue. The perfect June book.
After an hour of reading the knitting begins. Check out my progress on the Solaris shawl (by Melanie Berg).
I’ve also taken some weeding breaks. The little roses in my tea rose garden are now blooming, and I have gotten the weeds pulled out of another couple of patches. There are a lot of weeds, but everything is getting ready to bloom so I’m pretty motivated to keep at it.
Towards the late afternoon as things really warm up I water the flowers and gardens and head inside for food, the news and more knitting (bet that was a shock, huh!) Even the cats are ready to come in by that point. OK, they get kitty treats for coming in, but they would probably come in anyway… especially since I just watered all of their favorite plant nests. 🙂
Yep, I am totally knitting on the wild side; I hit the stash last week and pulled out some Crazy Zauberball in the wildest, hottest colors I had. Sometimes you just need to have some zing in the knitting, you know.
It seems like forever since I made something for myself. I made mitts to give to scleroderma patients, I’m still working on the PuppyPaca yarn for my friend Deb, and I have several more alpaca projects to finish for Alta Vida Alpacas. Last week I kind of snapped, found the Crazy Zauberball, and decided to make some fun things for myself. Check out these little bed socks: fun!
I have enough yarn left over to make a pair of mitts to wear in bed too. The colors of this yarn just make me happy. I will have to make the mitts for sure.
Mostly the gardening has been on hold this week. It has really warmed up over the last few days and suddenly roses started blooming. Here are the first ones to open…
The backyard gardens are still jungles, but it rained hard last night so I’m hoping to weed out another flower bed tomorrow morning. How lucky that plants are patient.
One Crazy Zauberball project just isn’t enough right now. As soon as the bed socks were done I grabbed another ball and cast on another project just for myself.
So why did I snap and start the crazy knitting for fun? The truth is, I’m somewhat miserable these days. For reasons I don’t understand June is the month when my illness decides to get particularity ugly on me. For the third year in a row I just feel pretty darn sick. My muscles and joints hurt, I’m dizzy, my gut is misbehaving, I’m running a fever, my arms and legs have developed edema… I got out of breath and had to use my inhaler while winding a ball of yarn last Wednesday at my knitting group. I’ve been in to visit doctors twice already this month, and really, there isn’t too much that they can do. I’m in a flare for sure. Mostly I don’t leave the house much, but I can still knit.
You see why I broke out the Crazy Zauberball? Bright happy colors that change quickly. How can I not smile while knitting lime green and deep rose? This month I totally need some knitted hugs of happiness, and Zauberball delivers big time.
Got to go. I’m at the part of the shawl where I start knitting in some crazy color. Bright purple! Woohoo!
I have been knitting on mitts like crazy, but for some reason I have shifted my interest to shawls. Seriously, I am dreaming about lacy shawls and the yarns in the stash. Must. Have. A. New. Shawl. It is a serious case of shawl longing for sure. It is less than a month from the Interweave Yarn Fest and I need to be flashing a new shawl when I go. It’s a matter of pride.
And besides, it is raining outside today. Gloomy. Cold. I can’t be expected to knit in these conditions. I need to go on a pattern hunt and then it is time for some serious stash shopping.
I think that the whole “I need to knit a shawl” thing started when I saw this yarn at the local yarn shop. Doesn’t it look like a great warm weather shawl? I want the body of the shawl to be in the light color and the bright yarn will be used for some type of color pop. Maybe knitted lace at the bottom of the shawl can be in the bright color. I have some shawls in my shopping cart at Ravelry (OK. There are 58 items in the shopping cart. Some of those must be shawls, right?), so I headed on over there to see what I could find buy.
We have a winner! This is Waiting for Rain by Sylvia Bo Bilvia. I’ll be adding lace to the bottom and maybe some other pops of the bright color yarn. I bought several other shawl patterns that were in my cart while I was there with a smoking PayPal account. Here they are:
Well, once I had all of those patterns printed out I headed up to the stash to dig around and match yarns with the patterns. My stash is in the walk-in closet in the spare bedroom, so I took my laptop and a latte up with me and dived in.
I am so fired up and energized to get knitting on the new shawl projects. Check out my Ravelry queue; it is now really shawl intensive. This afternoon the sun came out and I spent some time knitting on the current projects. I do believe that I will have some FOs to show off by the end of the week.
Actually this is the second The Joker and the Thief shawl by Melanie Berg that I’ve knitted. When I picked the yarn to make the shawl I struggled with the color choices and ended up putting together two color combinations. The first shawl was navy with a bright fushia/gold gradient (that one is mine, mine, mine and has already seen a lot of wear…), and the second one was interesting but probably not the right colors for me. That’s cool. It is Christmas time and I know exactly who I am going to gift this shawl to. I knitted on it like crazy over the last week and tomorrow it will begin winging its way to its new home.
To give MacKenzie credit it was kind of easy for him to get confused about ownership concerning this shawl since he spent most of the time I was knitting it lying on my legs with it draped over him. Such a sweet boy… (Actually not. He gets pretty grumpy if he doesn’t get his way so I mostly go along with his requests. Mostly. Did I mention that he is a big cat?)
I used a Frabjous Fibers Cheshire Cat gradient pack for the jewel tone colors and added the burgundy color from the stash. It was a little intense settling on the colors by I am happy with the end product. Here all the details on Ravelry.
Almost ready for Christmas. Woohoo! Bring it on, Santa!
Over the weekend my wrists got better and I did a little knitting (3 – 5 rows) to exercise my hands. Yesterday the braces came off and my wrists were A-OK again, Yea!! I don’t quite know what happened, but what the heck. I got to work and finished up the Drachenfels shawl.
This shawl has been going on for awhile. Instead of posting all the pictures again I thought that I would give the links here in case anyone wants to look back at my Drachenfels’ baby pictures.
The shawl needs some blocking but since it is so big I’m not going to wet block it. Besides, I am just dying to wear it and who wants to wait that long? I’m just going to hit it with some steam, smooth it out a little, and put this yummy baby to work.
This is all Sharon’s fault! I’m referring to Sharon of Creativity and Family. Yesterday I woke up to find that she had posted a long, chatty list of all of her WIPs and projects for the coming winter months. Oh, my goodness! The woman has big dreams and a diverse (and endless) number of projects all lined up. She quilts, knits, crochets, sews, is doing something mysterious with scrabble pieces, and even makes her own yarn from tee-shirts. If you don’t already follow her you should check out her post.
The other thing that I discovered when I woke up was that my wrists, ankles and knees hurt. Like the tendons. Like there is no way that I am going to be knitting anytime in the near future.
This is so not fair! I am just entering the final pattern section and bind-off of the Drachenfels. One more day (or two) and it would be done. I want it, I want it, I want it now!!! <snif>
Whatever. It’s getting warm again outside and I won’t be wearing a shawl for the next 10 days or so. Lots of time to get it finished. What I decided to do was to channel Sharon, go play in the craft room and shop the stash. If I can’t actually knit, I certainly can organize things, match patterns to yarn/projects and try to create a queue of my future crafting for the coming cold weather months. Yeah. That’s the ticket.
I pulled out several boxes of yarn into the main craft room and then discovered that it hurt my wrists to snap open and shut the latches on the boxes. Well, isn’t that special! Lucky for me I’m an old pro with wrist tendinitis. Years ago I had carpal tunnel surgery and spent months in braces. For a few years after that I still wore my braces when doing wrist challenging activities like moving books in my classroom or organizing boxes in the garage. I had to go on a hunt to find them, but eventually my wrist braces were located in a drawer of my desk in the office. I just needed to create some padding to go under them because I have edema in my arms these days (thank you scleroderma!!)
This was just fun to do. I moved yarn around and got things reorganized to create the project bins. I copied patterns from books and magazines with my printer/scanner so that I could slip the pattern into the bin with the yarn. The big bins contain the yarn and patterns for two sweaters, and the smaller bins have 1-3 projects each. I sat down (on the floor!) with my stack of boxes and the laptop computer and then entered everything into Ravelry to create this queue. In addition to the two sweaters I have 5 shawls, 2 long mitts, 3 socks and 2 hats. I thought about trying to put everything into the actual order that I will do the projects, but that is just crazy thinking. At least I have things into the queue and can move items around as I actually get started. Check out my queue if you want to see what I have lined up. 🙂
Since I was working in the craft room with the sewing machine it was a little hard to ignore the stack of projects on the shelf next to it. I pulled them down and discovered more to do. I had actually forgotten some of this…
Well, that’s it for now. I have organized and pulled to the front of the pile lots of projects and ideas. I’ve been wearing the braces for two days and my wrists are feeling better. I think that if I protect and rest them for another couple of days I will be good to go with the Drachenfels and hopefully it will be done by the end of next week.
If not I guess I’ll keep the braces on and get the garage cleaned out!
It has been a really good week knitting-wise. The weather is cooling down at last, I’m caught up on most of my major projects, and the new season is starting up on television. I find myself knitting outside in the garden, at the doctor’s office and even during the football games (Go Broncos!!) The leaves are turning at last and I am churning out my Drachenfels shawl.
At this point I removed him from the picture shoot.
You can’t see it in the pictures, but this yarn is knitting up really soft and should have a great drape when done. I am using a smaller yarn than the pattern was designed for (fingering instead of sport) and moved down to size 4 needles (3.5mm) instead of size 6 (4 mm), but this shawl is coming out plenty big!
The forecast is for cooler weather and rain showers this weekend, and there is a Broncos game Sunday. I plan to really crank out some knitting over the next couple of days. The shawl should be big enough both for me and the cat soon. 🙂
Yesterday was the last day of summer. Wow, how did that happen? I woke up, headed out to the garden to drink my latte, and there is was. The first changed leaf on the maple tree. It’s so hot outside I can hardly believe it, but the cooler weather of fall is on the way. Really, eventually it will get here.
Time to think about warmer clothes and shawls. Alexand has been driving me nuts with her posts about her Drachenfels (by Melanie Berg) knitting journey. It is just beautiful. Check out her post about knitting on the go here. There is just no way around it… I am suffering from Drachenfels envy in the worst way. Fall is here. I have finished all my other knitting projects. No more excuses. Time to get started on my own Drachenfels effort.
One of the best things about Ravelry is that you can poke around and check out the projects other knitters have made of any particular pattern. I found a project (by fineknits, one of the test knitters), that was done in three colors and a highlight color. Perfect!
Saturday night I visited one of my sons and cast on while watching him play Destiny after dinner. It was kind of fun watching him destroy alien creatures using a sword of fire (it’s a Destiny thing…) while I started on a shawl called Drachenfels. There were even some creatures in the game that were kind of dragon-like. It’s a sign!
Did you see the cat hair in the middle of the picture? No matter how careful I am everything that I knit has CAT HAIR ON IT!!!
OK, I’m over the little cat-hair related rant. The shawl is starting out great and I’m really excited to finally be knitting it. The weather is still nice even though the leaves are changing so I plan on doing as much outdoor knitting as I can.