Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Knitting from Stash - February

Since it is late afternoon on the last day of the month, I think I can safely say I'm not going to complete any more projects in February. So here goes on my list of 'accomplishments.'

I finished the small (roughly 3 x 4 feet) 'log cabin' blanket that I started last fall. I also made 12 hats, 4 scarves, 2 pairs of ladies socks, and finally, two childrens sweaters (see pictures at right). All of this used another 5.4 pounds of my stash, for a total of 10.5 pounds for the year so far.

For the non-knitters, a pair of ladies socks made with sock weight yarn and size 0 (2 mm) needles has more stitches than a child's sweater made with worsted weight yarn and size 6 (4 mm) or 8 (5 mm) needles. Each stitch takes the same amount of time, no matter what the size. Therefore, I took eight days to make the two pairs of socks, but only four days to make the two children's sweaters. I guess you have to call the sweaters 'designing on the needles while using up yarn from stash.' The cuffs on the striped one are not as small as they look.

Medical Stuff

I met Dr Locken and others of the staff at the Radiation Therapy Department at Western Baptist Hospital in Paducah this morning. They will be zapping my left clavicle and left femur to get rid of the worst infestations of the myeloma, but the timing of the treatments depends on what the orthopedic surgeon says tomorrow afternoon. If he feels a rod is necessary in my leg, the radiation will wait a few weeks until the surgery heals, if not, it will start next week. They think ten treatments will probably do the trick - that's Monday through Friday for two weeks. At 60 miles round trip, that will be a lot of driving.

I also see the oncologist again tomorrow as well. I don't know if she will get the Thalidomide treatment started then or not, but I do know that I need to have my port flushed - it's been in for a month, and hasn't been used.

You can go to the Purchase Cancer Group website ( for more information on the group.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Knitting, shopping, etc

I finally finished the log cabin blanket I started last fall. The colors are red, amethyst, midnight blue, and forest green. I thought I would put a wider border around it, but by the time I picked up about 600 stitches and worked two ridges of garter stitch, I was tired of it, so I bound off. When I spread it out on the floor to take the picture, I decided that the narrow border was rather nice!

We're getting some warm weather this week - I like that. I even saw some daffodils (March flowers in local parlance) blooming yesterday. In a couple of weeks there should be yellow flowers everywhere.

Wednesday was Social Security day for me, so we went to Paducah to do our regular monthly shopping. At the first three stores, Dominic went in alone for the few things we needed, while I sat in the car and knitted. Then came Kroger. I had called on Tuesday to make sure they have electric carts (they have two). I guess I could have used the grocery cart as a walker, but it was much nicer riding. Of course, I was looking at everything from a different level, and that seemed to make it harder to make decisions. About half way through the store, the cart died, so we had to change to the other one. When we got home, I sat on the kitchen stool at the counter and divided up the family packs of meat, while Dominic brought everything in (we always use the wheelbarrow to carry things from the car to the back door) and put most of it away. Then he carried most of the frozen stuff out to the freezer in the shed. So we'll eat well for the next month, and not run out of paper towels and toilet paper for a couple of months.

Medical Stuff

Yesterday was my second visit to the oncologist. She took some marrow and bone tissue from a bone in my lower back for further testing. She is also referring me to an orthopedic surgeon, because she thinks I may need a rod in my left femur. I'll see him next week, as well as Dr Balbastro again and another doctor. I forget why I'm seeing the other one - I think I was still a bit drowsy from the stuff they gave me when they did the needle extraction of tissue for biopsy. Sometimes it seems like they're just trying to spread all the Medicare and Blue Cross dollars around to everyone.

They're also getting me approved for Thalidomide treatment. Don't worry about deformed babies - I'm post-menopausal, I've been celibate for years, and I've had a tubal ligation! There will probably be other drugs used later, but they're starting with Thalidomide.

Monday, February 19, 2007

More Socks

A few months ago, I ordered some sock yarn from Knit Picks, including two balls of this Simple Stripes. I used part of one ball, along with some burgundy Essentials, to make a pair of 'Fair Isle' socks for me. I really like the way they turned out, although I wish I had made the tops longer.

The second ball of the Simple Stripes has been sitting on the top of the basket of sock yarn, which is beside the computer desk. For the last month or so, every time I have looked at it, it has said, "Renee." So I am making socks for my little sister Renee. She's the mother of Autumn for whom I made the orange socks that are in my post from a few days ago. Even though Renee is less than two years from her 60th birthday, since she is 7 years and 5 months younger than I am, she will always be my little sister.

Anyway - I decided to use some Essentials in Gulfstream for the cuffs, heels and toes of the socks and to otherwise just make them plain stockinette. I started with the partially used ball, of course. When I got to the end of it, I was in the middle of a pink section. When I pulled the end from the inside of the second ball, it was also in the middle of a pink section. Wonderful! That one stripe is a row or two wider than the others, but there's no little ball of 'wasted' yarn. Then when I got to where I thought I should switch to solid color for the toe, I was at the beginning of a pink section. Fantastic! I worked two rounds of the solid pink (it separates the blue of the Simple Stripes from that of the Essentials, which is good because thay are not exactly the same) and then switched to the solid for the toe. When I started the second sock, I was starting at the same spot in the color repeat as with the first sock. So Renee will have identical twin socks!

Medical stuff

My Family doctor called this morning to make sure that I had been referred to an oncologist. She had referred me to the gynecologist, who referred me to the surgeon, who referred me to the oncologist. Dr Elliott said that she had sort of been dropped from the loop. She wanted to make sure that things were moving on for me. She also wants the oncologist to know that she is my primary physician so she will get reports for her records. I think I told the oncology office that, but I'll have to make sure of it on Thursday.

Sunday, February 18, 2007


We had some snow flurries yesterday. I took these pictures at the height of the snowfall. Within an hour most of it was gone, and there is not a trace of it now.

Accommodations for decreased mobility

The vitamins and prescriptions were always in the medicine cabinet above the bathroom basin, but now it is difficult for me to reach up there. So they're on the edge of the basin instead. I sure am glad there's room for them there.

About three weeks ago, I bought a toilet seat that raises it 5.5 inches. The increased height really makes a big difference!

Today I had Dominic bring in another one of the walkers that were protecting young trees in the back yard. I put it into the shower. Maybe I can wash my right foot now. I don't trust my left knee enough to stand on it without something to hold onto. There is no handhold in the shower, but the walker should serve that purpose. I've been very glad for the past few weeks that I have a stall shower - I don't think I could get in and out of a bathtub.

Dominic keeps asking when I'm going to write something mean about him. I can't think of any reason that I should. He's taking very good care of me - doing all of the driving, carrying anything that I need carried, helping with cooking when I need him to. He even cut my toenails on my right foot a few days ago - I've had trouble reaching them for months because of the arthritis in my right hip, but now with my other problems, I absolutely can't do it.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Finally some socks

After knitting only hats and scarves for five weeks, I finally did some socks. They're for my neice Autumn. She had surgery on her knee on Monday. My sister said the surgeon had said she could wear socks from home during the surgery. Autumn chose to wear the ones I made for her about twelve years ago! She had asked me a couple of years ago if I would knit her another pair, but I just hadn't gotten around to it. I cast on Sunday night, was working on them while she was in surgery, and finished them this afternoon. I was thinking of doing Dobby socks - you know, after the house elf in the Harry Potter books who thinks socks are supposed to be entirely different. But I changed my mind and made fraternal twins instead. I was using up some leftovers from other sock projects. The top two inches are the same, as well as the heels, but the rest is determined by the sizes of the little balls of leftovers. I like the foot with the dark stripe better.


I met the oncologist on Wednesday. She ordered more blood tests, a 24-hour urine collection, and more x-rays. They took most of the blood at the cancer clinic. I did the urine collection yesterday, and returned it to the hospital today, where they took one more blood sample. I also had the x-rays today at the hospital - about 30 of them, I think. I may be exaggerating a bit, but not much. It sure is good this didn't happen a year ago - I had no medical insurance from the time I retired (12/31/05) until Medicare kicked in at the beginning of May.

I go back to the oncologist next Thursday. Until then, more knitting.

Clergy Visit

My priest brought communion to me yesterday. She had asked me a couple of weeks ago to let her know when I wanted her to come. I told her it's an awfully long way (30 miles). It was very nice to see her, and to take communion - first time since Christmas Eve. She also helped me out by taking some of my charity knitting with her - three paper grocery bags for the Paducah Cooperative Ministries and one for the Seamen's Church Institute. Now I'll have to start filling new bags.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Family pictures

My daughter Carmen, the computer tech, on a business trip to Tucson last week. She said it was 9 degrees when she left New Jersey and 70 something when she got to Arizona.
Does she look like a grandmother?!?!?! Below are her daughters with their daughters.

Alyssa and Alexis.

Sara and Rose.

Friday, February 9, 2007


Multiple Myeloma. Now I'm waiting for a phone call telling me when I can see the oncologist. I want to get treatment started, although I have little idea what that will be.

In the meantime, I'm still knitting, and not doing much else.

Yesterday Alyssa emailed me a picture of her daughter Alexis with a message for me. Looks like she had been drinking some kind of red juice. I immediately replaced the 'wallpaper' on my computer with this picture.

She's in kindergarden this year and doing well with reading readiness. I'm sure she wrote the top line of her sign without any help, but grandmother is a very long word. She usually writes Adele because it's shorter.

Today I got a Valentine card from Rose (though I'm sure Sara bought it, signed it, and mailed it) with two pictures of her. I took pictures of the pictures and am surprised that they came out as well as they did. I cropped the one to show just her face - looks like someone's taught her to stick out her tongue.

These are the two princesses I want to see grow up - at least into their teen years.

Saturday, February 3, 2007

Still Knitting

Well, I got the chemo port in on Thursday, and tissue taken from the lump on my collarbone for biopsy. The surgeon said it will take a few days to get the report; I have an appointment with him on Friday. I guess he'll then refer me to an oncologist.

My right shoulder ached very badly by the time we left the hospital Thursday afternoon. I took one of the pain pills as soon as Dominic came out of the drug store with them. It was a little after 5 p.m. when we got home, but I went directly to bed. By lying very still, I was able to be pain-free and sleep. Then I'd wake up, go to the bathroom, and start hurting again. I think I took two more pain pills during the night.

I figured that I wouldn't be able to knit for a few days. However, by noon Friday I realized that the ache in the right shoulder and arm had stopped unless I raised my arm above my head So I decided to try knitting - completed two chemo caps before I went to bed! I figure I'll need some soon. (I need a haircut, but if I'm going to lose it all, why not save the $20 for something else?) These caps are made from eyelash yarns. I had Dominic help me root out all of the eyelash yarns from my stash. There's enough for at least two dozen hats. I'll keep two or three for myself and give the rest away to other cancer patients I meet.

I'm also making scarves and watchcaps for the men who work the boats on the rivers. The colors really didn't photograph well; they are Rust, Light Wheat, and Soft Navy. They're the pattern with 14" ends and an 18" middle section in K4P4 ribbing. Those 14" ends are a good place to try out different stitch patterns. The multicolor scarf is not for the men who work on the I'm still just knitting from my stash.

In January, I finished three projects that were on the needles at the beginning of the month - the octopus for the baby shower, a pair of socks for Alyssa, and a pair of mittens. In addition, I knit 22 hats and 5 scarves. I used up slightly over 5 pounds of yarn