Month’s End Report: July, 2022

July was quite the month! A lot of it was hot, really hot. I felt great for a part of the month due to a drug-induced power surge that carried me through lots of landscaping in the back yard. I read two books that were just exhausting. I went crazy for color and bought more yarn. I cooked, sewed, knitted and planted lots and lots of new plants in my gardens. A great month, July!

Today I drank my morning latte out on the deck and thought about everything that got done last month. There were new birds in the yard (blue jays!) and a small flight of honking geese flew over me as did my watering. Most of the baby bunnies have moved on, and the butterflies of July are gone. The flowering plants are recovering after a short break in the heat last week and I look forward to the late summer blooms. It is now August, but I can sense the looming presence of autumn just over the horizon.

In the yard this morning: a just bathed robin fluffed out and drying on the fence, the very first hydrangea bloom on my shrub, and a woodpecker (!) stabbing for insects in my freshly watered lawn.

So this was the month:

I finished my Salty Air Tee! It used exactly 2 skeins of sock yarn and is just perfect to wear now and will be great for layering later. I am now a fan of I-cord bind offs and used them on the sleeve and at the bottom of the body. The neckline was a little loose, so I picked up stitches along the cast on edge and put an I-cord BO around the neck, too! Perfect fix to a sloppy neck problem!
I finished a pair of socks!! This yarn, from Hue Loco, is in the Blast Off colorway. Perfect for the month!
I sewed a drawstring project bag, and then I spent some time on YouTube watching tutorials and learned how to sew zipper pouches from my “Knitting Goddess” fabric. I still have some of the fabric left over so I just ordered a pattern to make itty, bitty sewn boxes from it. 🙂

I read two books that were a handful. Black Leopard, Red Wolf is confusing, exhausting, and maybe the best book I have read this year. Think about the Lord of the Rings trilogy set in African antiquity, awash with magic and violence, and you would have this book. Hummingbird Salamander is a cliffhanging ecothriller that also chronicles the trainwreck of the main character along with the impending crash of the planet. Another good book, but one that I feel went too far down the climate change rabbit hole. Neither one of these books is uplifting. Nope, not at all. Worthy reads, but not good entertainment on a blistering hot day.

That’s it. In July I used up 4.75 skeins of yarn. I knitted one chemo hat and 5 PICC line covers. I finished a sweater and a pair of socks. You already know about the books.

Crocheting with Hannah.

I have cast on several new projects, and I’m still feeling pretty ambitious and getting things done, but the prednisone party is definitely over. In my new, dialed down state, I’m slowly knitting on a new cat, crocheting squares for a still undefined purpose, and sending my loom some regular side-eye. The spinning wheel has been put back into a corner but I’m hoping to return to it when the weather cools. I’ve pulled out a quilt project and I need to head on over to YouTube again to learn how to paper piece…

Bring it on, August. I’m ready for you!

Down the Fiber Hole and Other Essential Updates.

If you have been keeping up with the adventures of Casa Hannah and the CoalBear you know that I have been feeling just freaking wonderful for the last two week and getting more done than at any time in the last two years. I’ve been planting lots of new plants and getting all the gardens into order (for the first time in years because… next door pit bull who has now left the scene… yay… adios, pit bull…), and dragging out lots of things to get working on that have been languishing for years. The garden is starting to produce some color with the perennials now which is awesome as I’m seeing hot pinks and purples. Lavender, bougainvillea, and sage. Perfect!

Um… and then the party came crashing to a halt a few days ago as I started weaning myself off prednisone (marvelous stuff, prednisone!) and I got a little dizzy, and I… fell off the stairs. I literally realized I was going to be airborne at the last second and managed to push off enough to twist around and land on my feet in the living room where I pretty much crashed landed into the couch. Sad outcome. Did you realize that you can actually bruise your lungs? Okay, my lungs are less than pristine, but still… my ribs aren’t too happy, either. There was some talk about my liver… I had to stay indoors over the weekend and go back onto daytime oxygen.

That, however, did not stop me from going down the fiber rabbit hole!!

I finished the first silk/yak roving from Greenwood Fiberworks and am ready to start on the second.

I’ve been considering how to attack the variegated roving. Should I separate the colors? Do pencil rovings down the length of the larger piece? Just take it off in strips and let the colors end up however? Still thinking about this one, but I am tending towards pencil rovings.

I made some really good progress on my Salty Air Tee.

I love, love, love the yarn that I am using for this sweater. Isn’t that the perfect color for summertime knitting? This pattern is racing right along and I’m racing to get it finished because… some new patterns dropped on Ravelry and I am dying to knit one of them.

This is the Lace & Fade Boxy by Joji Locatelli, and that first picture is swiped off the Ravelry page and has her copyright. I have four skeins of a dark grey fingering yarn with smoky/woody tones that I am dying to use for this sweater. My first idea is to knit the entire sweater in the main color (lace and all… ignore the fade, we don’t need no stinking fade because I have four skeins of this color…) and then go back and knit I-cord trim at the neck, bottom, and wrists in that really cool multi yarn. That will look awesome, right? On the other hand, if there is enough yarn, I can do the lace in a fade with the pink yarns. I only have just over 100 yards of each color, so that may not work, but it might look pretty cool. I really am tending towards doing the whole sweater in the solid fingering. I have knitted two boxy sweaters in the past (the Vneck version) and I know them to be comfy layering workhorses in cold weather.

Then there is the crocheting. I haven’t crocheted in years because of my dodgy wrists, but I loved this bag (Square Scramble Sack) on Ravelry so much I bought the Noro yarn a week ago. Like I need more yarn, right? I had to order the crochet hooks from Amazon and then I was off to YouTube to learn how to make the puff stitch… that first little square has too many puffs in it, but I felt pretty successful and I’m now making a few squares every day that I don’t fall off the stairs.

There are two more sweaters that I want to knit, but I’ve got them on the back burner at the moment because I’m so far down the fiber hole at the moment I am just focusing on working steadily on each project for a few hours each day. Or maybe every other day so I don’t wear out my hip (spinning) or wrists (crochet). So far I’m making progress and I’m recovering from the fall okay at the same time so all is good. Except… the days of prednisone wonder are coming to an end as I feel the energy and the good times fading away. I start the lowest dose tomorrow and after a week it will be over.

Still, if you look at all those pictures that I put into this post, the days of color continue. Yay! My gardens have been returned to some semblance of order, I am making good progress on a number of projects, and I also got some chores done.

Hannah: I was put into the carrier and then put into the car and then taken to the vet and then I got cat-handled and there were some shots and would you believe that the vet said that I was slightly pudgy

Seriously, PUDGY!!!

Hannah: Now I have to eat Indoor Cat food and the Mother of Cats has cut back on my cookies. Ugh.

That was my week. 🙂

You all watch out for those stairs!!!

Hannah and the CoalBear: Caturday, 6/25/22

Hi. CoalBear here.

I’ve been entertaining the Mother of Cats all day because, frankly, she is in a slump.

Well, now that I think of it, she should be in a slump. The only day this week she was frisky was Tuesday and look at what she did to me!!

She took me to the vet!!!

People, this was the most horrible thing that has ever happened to me. I got stuffed into the carrying crate and before I knew it, I was in the car. We ended up in a strange building with other people and DOGS and I kept crying, and the Mother of Cats just ignored me and took me to a little room where I had to COME OUT OF THE CRATE!!!!! I got weighed, physically cathandled by a strange lady, and then there were the SHOTS that I absolutely did not deserve because I am the best boy ever. You want to hear the worst thing about all of this…. Hannah exercised her right to refuse and didn’t have to go the vet. I think that she was laughing when we got back home again.

Okay, back to the week. The Mother of Cats is taking lots and lots of new pills now and parts of her don’t feel good because of the side effects (let me tell you about the side effects of those SHOTS!) so I am doing my best to be cute.

She finished her little quilt and hung it up on the wall behind her knitting chair.

The Mother of Cats used clear plastic push pins to secure the tops and corners of the quilt. I have been pulling the pins out of the bottom of the quilt and taking them upstairs to play with. I left both of them on the bathroom floor where she would be sure to find them this morning so she can put them back into the quilt again. Wasn’t that good of me?

I’ve also been trying to help her with her knitting, but she seems to be in a slump. She isn’t knitting much, and the stuff she has going is… boring.

Do you see how boring this knitting is? The pink blob is a sweater… maybe. The blue is going to be a pair of socks someday, and that pastel smish of funny colors will someday be a hat. Where are the cat toys? Hello? How can I be cute and entertaining if I don’t have all the toys in the world…

Although, I think that I am pretty darn cute with the toys I have now!!!

Well, I guess that is all for now. It is almost time for the baby bunny to come out in the back yard. Show time!

Mateo the CoalBear

Notes from the Mother of Cats:

  • I did get Hannah into the crate at least three times, but she was too strong for me and managed to push her way back out before I could get it zipped closed. She has another appointment next month and I’ll try some new strategies.
  • I’m in the middle of a big drug push to get my lung disease under control; I am breathing much, much better and I have more energy by far than I did a couple of months ago. The downside is… side effects. My doctors are running frequent blood tests to monitor my progress, adding more drugs to control symptoms that are concerning, and so far, things are going well, but I am pretty much homebound with pain, blurred vision, and dizziness. Two more weeks of the steroid push to go and then I start to get tapered off. Yay! I’m dealing with a lot of tendon pain as my immunosuppressant dose is doubled, but that has happened before and I’m hopeful that there is an end in sight.
  • What type of side effects, you ask? I gained 12 pounds in two days and my blood sugar soared into the high 100s. Opps.
  • I am getting out into the garden a little and there is a new rose bush waiting for me to plant it. Someday soon, little guy.

The pictures above are my morning pills, the braces that I now am back in because of tendon pain, and my new, beautiful rose. The name of the rose is… Easy Does It!

Just the rose that I needed for the week.