Sunday, September 28, 2008

Ponder ponder

The twined mittens are done. My hands can now relax from the twist twist twist so inherent in twined knitting.

Now, I get to cable mittens. I *think* I've got the right stitch. (Anyone who doesn't think so, and can tell me why not, please PLEASE please leave a comment. I've got the right blue. I almost have the right cream. But I do not have the right gauge. And, knowing how the yarn works up on larger needles, I'm suspecting I may not have the right yarn. So. I'll start off with a child's size mitten, and then play with gauge later. The mitten on the left is, as the discerning reader will note from the needles at the top, the one I am knitting. The mitten on the right is the one from Latvia (pause for reflection on the journey this mitten has taken.)

I'm also, somehow, in the middle of a lace moebius scarf. Well, not in the MIDDLE middle, as that's the cast on row, and I'm beyond that. Thankfully. The first three hours of knitting on it were enough to make me grumble about my faithful Boye Needlemaster set. Cables and connectors and exposed threads, Oh My! But the next morning, as I began work on row 2, I realized I was just dealing with First Row Agonies, and all has gone well since.

And that's my knitting for this weekl. Mitten here, lace there, and a quiet week in which to do it.

Filia's cast has filled up quite nicely with signatures. She only gets to enjoy it for another 3 1/2 weeks, though. We are not sad.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Needles, needles, what's on the needles?

Version 2.0 of a felted mitten is on the needles now. But I'm on the phone with the IRS (have been on hold 23 minutes, after taking 10 minutes to find a number that didn't lead to technical difficulties and a disconnection. We're trying to get Filius reinstated as one of our children, near as I can tell.)

While I was at the hospital with Filia, I played with a new pattern for a striped hat. It ended up being a stripey argyle. With a smaller yarn, I'd have more room to play with the diamonds. It's got definite possibilities.

Then there's the Pumpkin Spice Mittens. They're finished now, but the camera is far, far from here and I like them so much I wanted to share an in-progress photo. See my ball of yarn? To deal with the twist, I S-plied the two strands together, so I can just knit knit knit. The yarn untwists as I knit it, rather than get all twisted up. So much nicer! Has anyone else discovered this? Is it a common thing to do, but my books just don't say so?

Our LYS had a sale, and I decided to get some more yarn for another striped hat. (What can I say? I like making them. And if I teach a class in them one day, I need to have some handy yarn for a nifty hat.) The yarn is akin to Noro rather than Mirasol, so I am looking forward to seeing how the gradations turn out.

Then there's the Starfish Tam. I'll order yarn to finish it with my next KP order. So far, that's the only thing I need so this is languishing on the needles. The hat has potential for disaster ... I calculated that there are 40" of stitches on it at the widest point. And it's for a 2 year old. It could be scary.

And here are my next mittens, sort of. The mittens came from Latvia, and I'm going to try and make a copy of them (before I have to return them in a month). The cable is something I've not seen before, but I have two areas of inquiry that look profitable (thanks, TwistedinStitches and Trakaigirl!) and once I get the current mitten done I'll start experimenting.

And that's what's up in my knitting life.

Still on hold with the IRS....

Friday, September 19, 2008

Hospitals Are Fun

Let me begin by saying that I know not all hospitals are fun, nor do all people have fun in hospitals. However, it seems to be a truth universally acknowledged that an unmarried female faced with the proposition of surgery must be a miserable specimen of humanity.
I'd like to present some visual imagery to you, proving that this is not the case. These photos are unaltered (except for six gleaming red eyes which have been recolored with the marvels of modern technology) and were fairly unstaged. No minors were harmed in the shooting of these images.

First, we have Filia and the Bobbsey Twins. This photo was the only 'staged' one, since three females knitting do not normally sit close enough together for an interesting photograph. This photo was taken the night before surgery. Do you see any fear, panic, or trepidation in that face?

Next, we have Filia, the Night Owl, up in the pre-op room at SIX THIRTY IN THE MORNING. (She's been up for 1.5 hours at this time.) Tessie the Bear is cheerfully snuggled up to her. The polar fleece blanket is a gift from the hospital auxiliary. The only thing wanting is a particular doctor to bring a particular pair of mittens in for our careful examination. (And tucked under my chair is a box full of mittens and knitting books. We come prepared! Spare clothes, of course, stayed in the car. Who needs those in the pre-op?)

Two hours after arriving in her room post-op, Filia is hard at work on the computer, posting updates on her surgery to her friends. She would have done it sooner, but Child Life had to find a computer for us to borrow. We love Child Life!

Child Life arranges other fun things, like dog shows for the hospital inmates. Three therapy dogs did a meet and greet, as well as various tricks. Filia and her roommate were still hooked up to all their equipment (which staged beeping wars) as the dog show was the day OF surgery (and after), but they both popped out of bed and into a hospital wheelchair to attend. Perhaps 'popped' is too strong of a word? Anyway, there they are. A little wan looking, perhaps, but that can go with the territory. You can't go around looking TOO cheerful right after surgery, or insurance may decide it should be outpatient.

And more therapy dogs! Otis the mastiff came by the first day (before the dog show.) Otis is huge, but small for a mastiff. Sparkie is small for a Basenji (which is an entirely different thing from being small for a mastiff) but that just meant he could snuggle on the hospital bed!

It's all way too much fun. Filia is wondering if her left leg would benefit from any fixing the doctors can do, and how soon she can go back.

You know a hospital is serious about patient care when the catering staff hunt down a wayward patient at the air hockey table in the clinic reception area to get her supper order. (She beat me. Twice. And she beat the Bobbsey Twins once, and lost once.)

All is well with us. School starts in earnest on Monday, and I should have some decent knitting posts next week. I spent some time in Ravelry today to get it up-to-date ... next week is the week of catching up the blog.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

And we're back!

Have been back for a while, actually. Surgery went well, and Filia bounced back from it very quickly (chatted with the nurses on the way into AND out of the operating room.) She would have run out of yarn to knit, were it not for the kindness of TwistedinStitches who both gave her some on Monday, and brought more on Wednesday. Me? I packed enough. The trip saw a pair of socks completed, a twisted hat begun (and finished today), a Starfish Hat from America Knits begun (and not finished ... I need more yarn!), and some very unclassical books read.

After finishing the hat, I've cast on for a twisted mitten. It's not a mate to the one sitting in my knitting box, but rather version 2.0. Dh did comment that version 1.0 fits him perfectly, and he seemed to like the felted feeling. Maybe if he's good, I'll make a match for version 1.0 for him. But he doesn't like mittens... but they'd fit OVER just about anything, for a double layer. We'll see.

Because recovery went so quickly, we were out of the hospital before the swelling was down enough for a cast. Tomorrow we shall remedy that, and get rid of the plaster/cotton/ACE bandage dressing. And we'll visit Half-Price Books, and the Olive Garden, and maybe a yarn store or two....

Sunday, September 07, 2008

And we're (almost) off!

Filia and I are taking a mother-daughter break this week. It's not the traditional mother-daughter stuff, done over the weekend and involving lots of shopping. (If it's not yarn, I'm generally not a shopper. And even if it is yarn, I'd rather shop for one project and start knitting than just 'shop'. Maybe that's why my stash is in the shape it is.) No, our mother-daughter break will take place at a hospital, and it will involve a literal break, to be followed by a cast. Hopefully (according to Filia) neon orange. Two or three days and much knitting later, we'll head home. Sound fun?

We think so.

The pre-op doesn't involve anything remotely like 12 cups of Go-Lytely (akin to the stuff one drinks before a colonoscopy), and there are no incisions to hurt while sitting up ... what's not to like? Nurses, yummy hospital food, visitors, more videos than one is normally allowed to watch, no chores. And lots of knitting time. Plus,it means the start of school gets delayed. What's not to like?

Filia hasn't decided what she's going to bring to knit. I'm working hard to figure out what I can safely leave home. I think my spinning wheel will stay home (just not that much room in the hospital!), which means I need to get some yarn plied for easier twined knitting. I finished the mitten I was working on, and it's become a 'sample' since it didn't shrink widthwise In The Least. 10" circumference before felting, 10" after felting. At least the mitten had the good grace to shrink lengthwise, all of 10%. I love how it feels. Twined knitting with fingering weight yarn and felting ... mmm, mmm, good.

I've got a pair of socks on the needles as well, and will be swatching for Filia's sweater if both they and the mittens get done. And there's yarn for the nifty starfish-shaped hat from America Knits, so I need to jot the pattern down. I can't see bringing a HUGE book along for the 13 lines or so the pattern is. Unless I need reading material? Maybe I should bring it. And maybe some spare yarn in case I want to cast on for a Latvian mitten.

Packing for the hospital isn't the challenge, though. No, it's packing for the overnight BEFORE the hospital We don't want to get up at 4 AM and drive for 2+ hours, so we're imposing upon someone who just happens to live closer to the hospital than we do. And she knits, and wants to pick my brain about knitting. And so, I've got to bring my mitten box. And my twined knitting books. And my fair goodies. And and and and. We're going to have fun. (If we have too much fun, I won't have to worry about waking up early. I'll still be awake!)

Besides the twined mitten that came off my needles, I have made another pair of felted slippers (argh. The opening is too big. Next try - felted clogs), and finished my legwarmers. Two hats have contributed to stash depletion, too.

And that's the knitting and non-schooling news from the non-hurricane-prone North.