Oh Heck. Let’s just throw caution to the winds and begin with a cat photo or two.
Tessa, about 18 mos: Rotary Cutter? I don’t need no stinkin’ rotary cutter, not with paws like these, baby.
Dusty, after a long and happy session of drinking out of the tub faucet: Look, Mom! I have diamonds on my nose!
(Spanish for “enough!”) There can (and no doubt will) be more cat pics later.
Sick (still): Pain is not my friend, but it sure seems to hang out here a lot. When Pain stops by, it usually brings its cousin, Fatigue. I know I’m supposed to be all mindful and healing from within with visualizations and aromatherapy and whatnot, but to tell you the truth, I loathe Fatigue, sometimes much much more than Cousin Pain. I love to be useful, to be productive, to be Doing Things. These days, that’s just not happening. Four months now. This is RIDICULOUS. I register my official protest with the Usual Suspect. (You there, the Entity known as All and Everywhere and Within. Yep, You. Check Your Holy Inbox, please.)
On the Mend (more or less): Two steps forward, one step back. My hand tremors have let up, a grace for which I am extremely thankful. I can type again! Imagine me, who lives through writing words, not able to write words. (No wonder I feel so squirrely of late.) Also, I don’t seem to need naps as much. I am sleeping better when I am supposed to be sleeping, often all the way through the night (yay!). I am stronger and have more stamina now than when summer began. I have been walking as well as doing daily stretches and resistance exercises. However, Cousins Pain & Fatigue are still slinking about, stealing a lovely morning here, and a sunny afternoon there. I have asked them politely to stop and to Go Away, but they just smirk at me and play with the remote control some more.
Busy (sort of): I’ve discovered that even when my body is out of commission, my mind and my spirit do not want to sit around watching bad movies on Netflix all day long. Nor do they wish to wallow in my favourite cushy chair, meekly sipping noodle broth, feet propped up on my perfectly well-behaved ottoman.
Knitting is to sleep on, says Tim
However. “Rest,” the doc says. Thus, M. gamely tries to encourage me to do all those Resting sorts of things one is supposed to do whilst ill. I, however, am not a good sick person, and I do not like to Rest. To make things even less Rest-friendly around here, there’s no one here to feed me grapes, waft breezes my way with peacock feathers, or place a damp, cold, pure white linen cloth on my fevered brow. (I mean, really. What good is it having a chronic illness and being down for the count for four months when there is no one to waft peacock feathers at me? How am I supposed to properly Suffer and Endure under these conditions?)
Besides. There is yarn in my house.
Don’t start googling “peacock feather fan” unless you have a slice of your life to lose. My score: 45 minutes. This one is from Etsy: ReturnToVintageUK.
How can I possibly sit quietly on the sofa Resting when there is yarn to be fondled–and rather nice yarn at that? And fiber. I am surrounded by gorgeous bits and bags of fibres: washed fluffy fleeces, various samples from classes I took at PlyAway 2
the last week in April (AKA the last week I could function somewhat like a regular person), fibre gifts from concerned friends (I love you, my friends, you have bestowed so many bright spots on me in the past few months of Personal Yuck); not to mention The SpinWheelie Girls: two Schachts, one Lendrum, one Ashford Elizabeth II, and oh yes: the charming new-to-me Babe charkha I bought at PlyAway. (I have spindles, too, but best not to go there right now. My hand tremors still fight with those a bit too much.) And fabric! And quilt patterns! And half-finished quilt tops, oh my!
Birthday Alpaca (Laceweight), from a Very Nice Person
I also have felting needles and some really cute kits from GoingGnome
, but even I realize that fingers controlled (loosely speaking) by randomly sparking synapses ought not to be anywhere in the vicinity of a five-inch barbed super-sharp needle.
In light of all this Craft Bounty and Time on My Hands, one might think I have completed every UFO in the house. One would be quite wrong. I have spent much of the past four months hopping from one project to the next, from one craft to the next, in an effort to see what I can work on without too much hissing and growling (from me, not the cats).
Allow me to take you on a wee tour of my Crafty Whilst Chronic Adventures.
A Hoodie of Her Own
I found an old friend: the custom-cabled Central-Park Hoodie I started as a gift for my sister Liz. She picked out the yarn, the colour, and the hoodie pattern, but seemed less than thrilled with the actual cables on the original Central Park Hoodie.
Naturally, me being me, I headed off-road into uncharted (heh) territory.
Hoodie Attempt #64: Back Hem, just before the start of cables (And yes, that’s a handwoven-by-Sandi towel.)
At first, I designed a vertical panel or two of interlocking hearts to replace the simple twists on the original. This meant I had to adjust the stitch count and gauge a bit, oh, and tailor the thing to Liz’s specs and measurements, which meant, in the end, admitting to myself that I was really writing a whole new hoodie pattern, one that resembled the CPH only in that it has a hood, sleeves, and cables. I am calling it Liz’s Lake Ontario Hoodie II
, which seemed somewhat appropriate. (Version I was frogged back in 2013. Bad cable, no donut.)
This time around, I cleaned up the cable panels, which meant ripping back everything I had already done in terms of knitting and starting over from scratch. New stitch counts, new gauge, new size of needles… Yep. Still me, not a zombie, not a pod person. Radically myself in that I cannot leave a good pattern well enough alone.
Hoodie Hem Cables
I spent a couple of months re-charting and re-figuring numbers (brain fog and fatigue are not kind to precision at times), and so here I am, done with the hem of the back, a few rows into the interlocking hearts chart.
If this all seems vaguely familiar, then thank you, you are a long-term reader from the original Knitting Daily! I posted about Liz’s Lake Ontario Hoodie ages ago when I started Attempt #2.
The original heart cable panel. Messy. Especially the interior of the hearts, and the badly-shaped…er…shaping.
I posted a photo like the one above of the sleeve, complete with the heart cables as they were at the time. I subsequently was flooded with requests for the chart. If you are still waiting…my apologies, but it’s an even better chart now. More chocolatey flavour in the heart cables. Promise.
I have considerably tweaked and twonked the cables quite substantially, and am happier with the results. I am not sharing the cable chart yet, as I am feeling a bit proprietary about it for now. It’s no doubt unvented, and no doubt exists in a thousand designers’ imaginations, but I had not seen one like it when I started designing it (I went searching for heart cables for months), and good golly Miss Molly, making it work and charting it was a big job.
Besides, I don’t have a decent swatch to show with it, and what’s a chart of a new-to-me cable without a lovely swatch?
Qiviut Shawl, The Return of
In the past year or so, I have had a surprising number of requests for help regarding the Qiviut Shawlette I designed for SpinOff Winter 2010. As it turns out, the charts in the mag were printed in a rather confusing way; the instructions are missing about three paragraphs (short, but important), and the stitches down the spine of the shawl never quite looked right to me.
I have sent in errata, yes, but I know how it is, working on an Interweave magazine, right? Insane amounts of work and deadlines everywhere. There was a time that I was managing editor on 11, count ’em, eleven issues at one time. So I am not surprised if somehow, the errata went into outer space. Past Jupiter, by now, probably.
The original Qiviut Shawlette, wee and a bit wonky. Motifs in the upper section are supposed to invoke Musk Ox faces, complete with horns. Motifs in the lower section represent prairie flowers; and the border is sort of vine-y and leafy, reminding me of all the “vegetable” matter I removed from the gift of raw qiviut.
So I think it is waaayyy past time for me to redo the charts and make the changes I have always wanted to make (instructions on how to enlarge it, for one thing). I’ve been working on that this summer, and I am very glad to be tending to something I worked so hard on and that so many of you still seem to love so very much.
But wait…there’s MORE
Oh, yes, there is. But I will split up those project reports into more blog posts, which will be a Good Thing. (I truly, really, am trying to wrangle myself into some sort of daily/weekly schedule, taking the Cousins’ gift of a complete upheaval of my routine and turning it into an opportunity of sorts. See above re: two steps forward and the inevitable one back.) I am sewing, and working on some cross-stitch, and doing a bit of hand quilting…and of course, there are more knitting WIPs to show you. There is also yarn-in-the-making; unfinished quilt tops; and even one partly stitched Loch Ness Monster toy hiding in my sewing box. In general, I have been messing about with any sort of crafty thing I can get my hands on. As one does, if one is Sandi.
I know I am somewhat fortunate to have all this time and luxury to indulge my crafty self…except that I am still not quite back to normal (whatever that is now), so there are days when I have neither focus nor energy, and/or my hands are too shaky to manage tools and tiny motions. Life-In-Balance is not mine, sayeth the Sandi, and really, truly: I would just like to have a job, even a part-time job, something to get me out of the house, someplace where there are those fabled Other Humans with whom I might have grown up conversations. I am tired of feeling useless; I yearn to be my “was-normal” busy, productive self.
Also, some sanity would be nice.
All in good time, my pretties, all in good time.
Enjoy your stitches.