Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Post Op Observations

Dear Mom,

A few high (or low) points after surgery....

~I never ever ever ever want to sit or sleep in a recliner again. Ever.
However, I am very thankful for My Hero's recliners, otherwise I have no idea what I would have done. I came home from the hospital, having spent one night there, unable to move myself from upright to supine without serious pain and a lot of help.
~Yoga pants. Thank you yoga pants for stretching over my surgically inflated belly and not digging in to any one of the seven incisions.
~Muumuu. This was probably a low point. I thought I should probably just give in and wear muumuus. You said NO.
~Jello. Note to self: include Jello with every home meal delivery in the future.
~Now that I am feeling better, I wish I had a hidden camera in the kitchen that first evening when I feared I might be sick and asked the Young Man and My Hero for a bucket. Much Scooby Doo-ing and cabinets crashing open, heated discussion over what was an appropriate receptacle, etc. In my weariness and frustration I decided that vomiting was too much work. FYI- they ended up presenting me with my Pie Carrier in case of eruption.
~This was not the knitting vacation I thought it would be. Most days I've been napping or just sitting. I am extremely thankful for the beautiful weather we've had. My screened porch is my favorite place to be and that is where most of my waking (and some napping) recuperation has occurred. I've watched the daisies and peonies bloom, the cedar waxwings visit the serviceberry trees, listened to the stomach growl noise the green herons make (but have not seen them yet) and watched mother birds feed their babies. I've finished a couple of books. As the days march on, and I feel more and more like myself with each, I've been able to knit. Some days just carrying my knitting to the porch wore me out, others all I can manage is a row before napping. I was silly to think I would be spinning and weaving, too.
~Olive. My comfort and companion. Never far from my side.
~You, for taking care of me when My Hero was overwhelmed. For bringing me jello, and lemonade and ibuprofen when we ran low. For weeding my garden and vacuuming and helping me change the sheets. All of those things which speak of love and care. All Shall Be Well.


Tuesday, May 3, 2016

It Ain't Over Til the Fat Lady Sings.

Dear Mom,

It's a good thing I can't sing.

Without going into too much detail and making this long post too long, and since not all the I'm Gonna Tell Mom  blog readers are on my HIPPA form, I'll condense the adventures of the last month as much as I can.
At the end of March I had a CT scan to check on something (this is the part I will gloss over) which thankfully turned out to be nothing, but which luckily accidentally revealed a rather large aneurysm on my splenic artery.
After hearing the word aneurysm I pretty much got tunnel vision and expected to be told to go straight to the ER, Do Not Pass Go or Collect $200, but apparently I was wrong because I am sitting here, with my aneurysm still lurking in there. I have an appointment on Friday with a surgeon and I hope to leave that office with a surgery date. It has been a long month of waiting, waiting rooms, consultations and scans. I have been assured and reassured that the aneurysm "isn't gonna blow". I have also been told not to exert myself, strain or lift anything heavier than 20 lbs.

A friend (hi Lisa!) then asked "what if you sneeze?"
So far, so good.

~Suppress neither sneezes nor laughter.~

With the understanding that surgery Is Something That Is Going To Happen, I came home from that appointment on April 5th and started winding yarn and baking muffins. I was going to need comfort knitting and recovery knitting. And muffins.

Knit on, with confidence and hope, through all crises.
~ Elizabeth Zimmermann

Unlike the Gall Bladder Event of 1999, I have time to prepare for this surgery.
I also don't have a two year old, a puppy, and a Kindergarten Carpool schedule to manage, Praise Be To God!

And unlike Carpal Tunnel 2007, I can knit during my recuperation. If it weren't surgery, this could almost be a vacation!

 I started planning projects and organizing yarn, needles and patterns. Soothing, somewhat mindless, comfort knitting projects. Wool.

“Properly practiced, knitting soothes the troubled spirit, and it doesn't hurt the untroubled spirit either.”

~Elizabeth Zimmermann

As it turns out, I had more time for planning than I anticipated, and many hours spent in waiting rooms. I finished all those comfort knitting projects. I've had to start winding yarn and organizing the next batch of projects. 

I finished this shawl, which had been AbandonedForNoGoodReason.

This is Dream Shawl. I used Cottage Craft yarn, in Charcoal. I really like Cottage Craft yarn- the wool is wonderful and the prices are fantastic, but sadly I am finding the company unreliable.

I finished the Truly Tasha's Shawl, which is inspired by the shawl Tasha Tudor wears in so many of the photos we see of her. 

Olive on squirrel patrol

I used Bartlett yarns for this one.  I might go out on a limb and say that if I could only knit with one yarn the rest of my life, it just might be Bartlett yarn. Some may say it is scratchy. Not me. It gets softer with washing. And I like finding those occasional bits of straw in the wool which remind me that this really did come from sheep and hasn't been processed beyond recognition. The things I knit with Bartlett yarn will probably last forever.

Okay, and then I finished this felted purse.

I really really like this purse. The pattern is MrsKnit'sAllDay Felted Bag. This is the second time I've made this pattern. It is exactly the right size for me. I found the handles here.

Sooo, now, for the next round of waiting room and recovery projects, I have cast on two projects from this book.
On Saturday, I cast on for the New Zealand Sweater in a soft turquoise wool-cotton blend yarn. I am modifying this to be more of a A-line, tunic length sweater I can wear over leggings. I am all about comfort right now. Shawls, and hot tea. Loose fitting clothes. Muffins.

And I have the Long Collared Jacket (in Bartlett yarn) on my  needles as well.  Stay tuned for photos of that.

Yesterday, I wound the warp and dressed Donna Reed for a rag rug- simple weaving- in case I am allowed to treadle my loom after abdominal surgery.  I may have to exercise restraint and save that weaving for post-op. I feel the call of the loom and know that once I start weaving, I will be finished with that rug quickly and need to start another. I know I won't be up to dressing the loom after surgery. I need to think too much and move too much.

I wonder, will I be allowed to spin? That would be good. It would have to be a terribly long recovery if I were to run out of roving!

It's not what you have to meet, it's how you meet what you have.
~Helen Workman

I'll keep you posted. Say a prayer for the doctors and nurses!

Tuesday, March 15, 2016


Dear Mom,
I've been giving myself a daily dose of creative encouragement by reading books that are meant to awaken, keep awake, defend, nurture, support, inspire the creativity that is in us all.
Today it occurred to me that what I need is a book that will make me feel creative about vacuuming.

Monday, March 14, 2016


Dear Mom,
I can stop holding my breath.....I think Spring really is here.
Over the past couple of weeks I've searched hopefully for and rejoiced at each tulip and daffodil poking up through the earth; I've tried remembering what perennials were planted where and looked for them, too. But yesterday there were some undeniable signs that spring has arrived here on my patch of the cul-de-sac.
A chippy gobbling up seed.

Pussy willow catching the setting sun.

Forsythia in bloom!
We've been able to sleep with the windows cracked open and wake up listening to the birds.

Heaven is under our feet as well as over our heads.
~ Thoreau


Saturday, February 27, 2016

This hat wanted to be a tea cozy.

Dear Mom,

I finished my Baa-ble hat on Thursday night.
It fits.
It is very cute.

Too cute to be
a) on my head where I cannot see it
b) in the closet most of the time, where I cannot see it.

The hat started telling me it wanted to be a tea cozy.
I tried it on the tea pot. The tea pot wanted the hat to be a tea cozy.

This afternoon I worked up the courage to add crocheted steeks to the sides as spout and handle openings.

Confession: After cutting my steek open, I am reminded why I do not like the crocheted steek vs machine sewn steek. Some of the yarn floats across the inside of the knitting did not get caught. I used my trusty E-6000 glue to secure the ends that might work themselves loose.


Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Baable Hat

Dear Mom,
I was the very lucky winner of The Lamb Camp Yarn giveaway over on the Punkin's Patch blog! On Saturday morning I saw that I was the winner and the yarn was in my mail box yesterday. Thank you Sara!
There is enough yarn here, dyed by Sara, to make a Baable Hat.
This Lamb Camp yarn feels springy and smoosh-y and I can't help but want to squish my face into it, which I must stop doing so I can wind it into balls and do a gauge swatch if I am to be ready to begin the KnitAlong that starts tomorrow!

Friday, February 19, 2016

Faith Restored

My faithful, hardworking sewing machine,
a 1961 Singer Slantomatic 503, aka Judy Jetson.
1961 was a VERY good year.

Dear Mom,

Merchant and Mills has restored my faith in sewing. It all started with the Factory Dress and has continued through 3 pairs of the 101 Trouser. I have the fabric for a fourth pair in my stash. While the Factory dress went over my head and fit without need for alteration, I didn't push my luck with the trousers and made a practice pair with an old bed sheet, figuring I could use them as pajama pants. I am glad I did. The crotch was fathoms deep. I could easily pull the waist band up to my bra band. Comfy, but NOT the look I am going for.  I ended up taking 4 inches out of the crotch depth and adding 5 inches to the leg length. I made the cropped tapered style, but wanted my wool pants to have long legs. I will make a true cropped pair in linen for summer trousers. After my first pair, I've deviated from the pattern only to add belt loops and elastic to the waist, skipping the grommets and drawstring so I can wear my pants with a belt. (I will  return to the drawstring waist for summer linen pants.)

The biggest challenge is in finding quality wool fabric in the appropriate weight and desired colors. One CANNOT, whether knitting or sewing or painting or whatever, expect excellent results when using inferior materials!  We are very fortunate to have a wonderful fabric store nearby, The French Seam, and I was able to find warm camel color and rich navy wools, but no store can have everything. I took a risk and ordered an olive wool from Sultan's Fine Fabrics. My gamble paid off. The color and weight were everything I'd hoped for and I LOVE the pants.  Riding high on that success, I ordered a classic grey flannel wool from Denver Fabrics. Again, I was very happy with the fabric I ordered and that pair of pants is next in my sewing queue. 

Despite (or maybe because of) my renewed sewing vigor and faith, I am thoroughly disgusted and disappointed with most every visit to the chain big box "fabric" stores looking for notions. More craft than fabric, filled with poor quality quilting cotton and fleece, a more fitting name for JoHanncock Fabrics would be WeBeFleece. -let me digress here.... is Fleece the gateway drug? Does the No Sew Fleece blanket get people interested in sewing? Somehow I doubt it, but if that is what it takes, then shame on me. But 8537 different kinds of fleece but no navy hem tape and only 3 of every kind of button????!!!! Pleeeeze. Okay. Rant over- Thanks to your referral, I've started ordering hem lace and elastic from the WAWAK website.  I went a little crazy planned ahead and ordered 12 yards of elastic. And then yesterday, in the midst of sewing Trouser 101 v3.0TheNavyPair, I had a hankering for the wonderful tailor's ham and pressing aids we had in my high school tailoring class. (I am imagining an entire Merchant and Mills wardrobe for myself.) WAWAK to the rescue.  

 These, along with 2.5 yards of fusible interfacing (thinking ahead again), are on their way. That WAWAK site is Dan.Ger.Ous.

Up there, in that stack-of-fabrics photo, is fabric for a spring Factory dress- the green- and two Top 64s- the small check and, buried in there, a beige dotted swiss type cloth with small coral and chocolate brown flecks . The other fabrics pictured are my pants fabrics. 

Happy Sewing!!