Saturday, January 24, 2009

Lots of Pictures

Dominic called me last night and told me that I had two errors in the first sentence of my last post. That should have been 'ten days' not 'twn day.' I should go in and edit it, but I don't want to. He had other editing suggestions as well, but they were style things, and I'll choose my own style, thank you very much!


Yesterday was day one of cycle two of the Velcade treatment, so I went to the Cancer Group in Paducah for that. They are only at the Mayfield office on Mondays. I saw Dr Ginn (that's a hard G). He pulled results of Monday's MRI and bone survey off the computer. My bones look better than they did two years ago. The holes have closed up, thanks to the Thalidomide and Decadron getting rid of the bad plasma cells and the Zometa hardening up the bones. There are two vertebrae in the lumbar region that show damage, but that could be just from age, I think. He asked if the Velcade has changed the neuropathy. When we had that cold spell, I thought it may have made it worse, but when temperatures went up to normal (40's and 50's in the daytime and 20's and 30's a night) it seemed to be unchanged.


After getting my dose of Velcade, I went to the Paducah library's book sale at the Lutheran church. Before, I've always gone on Saturday because I had other things to do in Paducah then, and I've gotten a grocery bag full of books for $1. But this time it was Friday that I had other things to do in Paducah, so I went to the sale then, when the prices were $1 for hardbacks and $.50 for paperbacks. The selection was much better than on Saturdays and I wound up spending $45. It's for a good cause, right?
These are the ones I got for Lexi. I think I'll keep them here and encourage her to read rather than watch cartoons. Perhaps she can read to me while I knit. She is a good reader, sounding out unfamiliar words phonetically.
And these are the ones I got for myself. They should keep me in reading material at least until the next book sale at either the Paducah or the Mayfield library. I always go down the rows of tables look at both titles and authors. Sometimes a title sounds interesting and other times the author is one that I like but I haven't read that particular book.
Now we get to what I do in my spare time - I'm retired, so most of my time can be classified as spare time. These socks are for Lexi. She designed them, selecting yarn from my stash, and I knit them. Most of the yarns are acrylic, but the turquoise and the brightest pink are silk.

Below is one of the shawls I've made recently. It's quite large (One of my cousins had LARGE on his car license plate in Minnesota. It was appropriate for him.), about 2 X 6 feet. I used a slip stitch pattern that has a definite right side and wrong side, but I like the way both sides look. I put the shawl over the top of the loom to photograph it; those strings you see at the bottom of the picture are the warp threads. Now that my ankle is pretty much healed, perhaps I'll start doing some weaving.

This is a scarf that I started last fall, set aside to work on other things, and then ran across a couple of weeks ago. I then made it my carry along project and worked on it in the treatment room while getting my medications at the Cancer Center. It is part of a special project to benefit the Mayfield Art Guild. Several of us have knit or crocheted scarves in the colors of the two local high schools - red and black for Mayfield and blue and gray (or white is acceptable) for Graves County. They are for sale in the Art Guild's gift shop and all of the proceeds go to the Guild. Most things in the gift shop are there on a consignment basis.

Now we get to the random scarves I've been working on this week. This one is not really random though. I decided that I wanted 35 rows, so i selected 18 pinks and laid them out on a table in light to dark order, worked from 1 to 18 and then back to 1. I'm really very pleased with the way it turned out. These scarves are worked 'sideways' on anywhere from 125 to 200 stitches. I use a different yarn for each row and leave about an 8 inch long tail of yarn at each end to become a fringe. I tie three to five of the tails together with an overhand knot at the edge of the knitting to keep it from loosening up. It's a great way to use up left-over yarn. I mix colors, weights and textures. I use seed stitch because I like the way it mixes up the colors, but garter stitch would work well, too.

Sometimes I mix colors completely at random, but more often I do a color theme. The one on the left is in browns and tans, while the one on the right is mainly black. Have you ever noticed how black makes colors 'pop?

This is actually two scarves that I made for Lexi. Little girls love pink. I used a lime green eyelash yarn every few rows to give it a bit of color contrast and to create a soft, fuzzy texture. The first one was on only 75 stitches and is too small to wear as a coat scarf, but it could be used as a fashion scarf with a dress or sweater. For the second one, I used 125 stitches, and it is a good length for a seven-year-old.

Here are all seven of the scarves together, again across the castle of the loom.

Oops, that should be six - had to see if you were alert, Dominic.
This was going to be a log cabin style laprobe, using three garter stitch ridges of OYGBV sequence around the R 'homefire.' However, I decided that I didn't like doing it, so the piece became a doll blanket. It is 8 X 12 inches.

I still wanted to do a ROYGBV laprobe, so I cast on 12 stitches on double pointed needles and started doing double increases at the four corners for three rounds and then working one round even. Lexi doesn't believe that when I take it off the needle it will be a flat square. I switched to a 16 inch circular as soon as I had enough stitches to do so, and later switched to a 32 inch one. I'm doing 16 rounds of each color. I currently have about 400 stitches and will have almost 600 by the time I finish.

And finally, the baby blanket I've entered in Lion Brand Yarn's contest using Vanna White yarns. The contest has been going on since at least October, and since I get a weekly email from Lion Brand, I must have heard of it back then and ignored it. However, when Lexi was here for a few days during her Christmas vacation, she was reading my emails over my shoulder, and thought I should enter the contest. The entry deadline is February 1, and entering can be done by email, with up to four pictures. I sent one showing the entire blanket and two showing details of the sun and moon motifs. The next day, we had to go to Paducah, so we stopped at Hobby Lobby and she picked the color she thought I should use. Pink of course - she is seven, after all. Actually its called 'rose,' which is her cousin's name so that may have influenced the choice as well. There are several catagories, but I decided to enter in the baby one with a small blanket. It is a stitch sampler with nine squares devided by seed stitch 'ribbons' and with a wide seed stitch border around the whole thing. There is a heart motif in the center square, and sun, moon, tree, and star in the four corners. The remaining four squares each have a different stitch pattern. The sun, moon, star, tree and heart are all worked in double seed stitch. The sun and moon are my own charts, but the other motifs and the stitch patterns are gleaned from stitch dictionaries. Lexi is sure I'm going to win a prize; she has no concept of how many entries there will probably be.

Monday, January 19, 2009

MRI. etc

Wow, it's been twn day since I posted last.

I spent three hours in the Radiology Department at Jackson Purchase Medical Center this morning. First they did an MRI of my spine from top to bottom. Then they injected a 'contrast' and redid the MRI from bottom to top. From there, they took me to another room and did a 'bone survey' - about three dozen x-rays. I think they x-rayed everything except my hands and feet. For one, I even had to open my mouth wide. No, they weren't x-raying my teeth - just the top of my spine, I think. They did this whole series two years ago, too, but this is the first MRI I've ever had.

I had to set my alarm and get up in the dark because my appointment was for 7:45. I'm not used to doing that any more. Even if I wake up before daylight, I usually wait until it arrives before I get up. Retirement does have it's advantages.

Lexi spent the weekend with me. Since today was a school holiday, she stayed last night as well, and I took her home on my way to the hospital this morning. Yesterday, a loose tooth was bothering her, so I told her that if she just wiggled and twisted it a little it might come out. It did, and she started asking a lot of questions about the tooth fairy. I gave her an envelope to put the tooth in, and told her she could take it home and put it under her pillow tonight. I didn't want to deal with it last night. She was afraid that would confuse the tooth fairy. The older I get, the wiser I think Mother was to not let us believe in the tooth fairy and Santa Claus and other such mythical persons!

Friday, January 9, 2009


When I walked into Dr Jackson's office this morning, his x-ray technician was sitting beside the receptionist. She said, "I need an x-ray of your ankle, but my machine is broken." She gave me an order for the x-ray and sent me to the hospital's radiation department. Fortunately, Dr Jackson's office is in one of the medical office buildings connected to Western Baptist Hospital, so my walk was all inside.

When I saw the doctor, he said that I could decide whether to wear the boot a few more days, but that he thought I could go back to a regular shoe, without any kind of brace. I put the boot back on to leave his office, but took it off at my next stop. I need to go back in four weeks. I suggested, and Dr Jackson agreed, that we can make that visit do double duty - a follow-up on the ankle and a slightly-early annual follow-up on the hip replacement. The last visit concerning the hip was in March 2008.

Since it was only a few minutes after 11 am, I went to the Heartland Lace Guild meeting at Grace Church. I spend a couple of lovely, interesting hours visiting with other fiber people. I love doing that!

Then I stopped at Kroger for a few things and came home with the intention of putting my feet up. However, I haven't gotten them up yet - I've been sitting at the computer reading Yahoo! groups email instead. Now I'm going to go offline, sit down on the couch, put my feet up, and knit.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

I had a good day!

Two things that started it out right: my left foot looked normal this morning for the first time since I fell (five weeks tomorrow) and the weather was clear and sunny!

The foot looking good gives me confidence that I really will be able to get rid of this 'boot' tomorrow when I see Dr Jackson, and get into a smaller 'brace' that I can wear with a regular shoe.

I met Libby, rector of Grace Church in her office about noon and we took four shawls and one laprobe to the altar for her to bless tham. One of them I will send to my daughter to give to her friend who has just lost her boyfriend to cancer. The others Libby will distribute as she sees fit. She said she wants to take one to her mother-in-law, who is not doing well.

Then I went to Kirchhoff's bakery/restaurant for lunch. For those not from this area, Kirchhoff's is one of Paducah's old institutions, located on the oldest section of town in an old building. The middle section of the store is the bakery, to the left is the deli-style restaurant, and to the right a fellow-knitter has a coffee shop and someone else has a boutique. I got their soup-of-the-day, which was lentil Italian sausage stew, and took it into the coffee shop. There I got a cup of good coffee, ate my lunch, knitted, and visited with Valerie when she had short breaks from 'minding the store.' On the way out, I bought a loaf of Kirchhoff's country French bread - boy it made the car smell good!

Then I went to the Cancer Group, where they did some blood tests and gave me a dose of Velcade. It was about 4 p.m. when I headed home. Tomorrow I need to drive back to Paducah for another doctor's appointment, but I should come home with regular shoes on both feet.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

2008 Knitting Report

During 2008 I got 36.6 pounds of yarn out of my stash, and also used 12.35 pounds of yarn purchased in 2008. I knit 3 purses that I fulled/felted in the washing machine, one of which is shaped funny and not useable unless I put in a zipper. I also knit 3 adult afghans; 8 baby afghans/laprobes; and 7 Barbie-doll afghans (some of those were really done as gauge swatches or experiments to see if I like doing certain stitches); 25 caps of various sizes from premie to men; 2 capes, one of which was for my sister's sixtieth birthday; 17 dresses, shirts, skirts, etc. for Barbie dolls; 2 pairs of gloves; 1 pair of legwarmers; 24 scarves, mostly for Seaman's Church Institute, but three for Special Olympics; and 7 shawls.

On the needles at year-end are three shawls, one afghan for my great-nephew, and a pair of socks for Lexi. One of the shawls is taking forever because I keep it in the car to work on in waiting rooms and the treatment room at the cancer center. The other two have been in limbo for a month or more, but I did pick up one of them and worked on it yesterday and today. I will get them all finished sometime.

I have one project started and finished in 2009 already - a pair of legwarmers. Lexi was with me from Tuesday afternoon until this morning. She wanted to make some gifts for Mommy, Trevor (Mommy's boyfriend) and me, and wrap them. She used toothpicks, matchsticks, and marshmallows to make a sheep for me and a heart for Mommy. Here are pictures of them, plus of the package she put the sheep in and one of me holding that package. (I almost always look bad in pictures.)

She also wanted me to knit some things for her to give. She said that Trevor likes stripes. I asked if he wears scarves, and she said that he didn't have one but he sometimes grabs one of Mommy's when he takes the dog out. I had a 5 oz skein of Hobby Lobby's I Love This Yarn in the blue camo stripe colorway, so I cast on for a scarf like I make for the seamen, with 17 or 18 inches of k4, p4 ribbing for the back of the neck and approximately 14 inches on each end in any stitch pattern that lies flat. I used seed stitch for this one since it doesn't require thinking. I ran out of yarn, so the second end is about six rows shorter that the first one. That's not enough to be too noticeable, so Trevor will just have to live with it. For Alyssa, I knit a pair of legwarmers.
She had told me a couple of weeks ago that she wanted some, but hadn't decided what color; now she has no choice, although I guess I'll make another pair for her if she asks. Lexi said Mommy's favorite color is green, and picked out some Paddy Green and Spring Green from my stash. There was more of the Paddy green, so I used that for k2, p2 ribbing at both ends, and then alternated single stitches of the two shades for the center twelve or so inches. I'm surprised that Lexi didn't take pictures of the scarf and legwarmers.

At first she asked for help to wrap the gifts, but I told her I thought she could do it herself. I said that she couldn't expect her wrapping to be as neat as that of an adult, but that she'd get better at it as she did more of it.

I have enjoyed Lexi's last two visits very much. She is maturing - losing much of the babyish, whiney qualities, and doing more things independently. She decided this time that she wanted to sleep on the couch in the living room. It's actually a futon with a reasonably good mattress. We did not open it out, because I cannot get it back up by myself and I'm not sure she's big enough to help me do it yet. As small as she is, she doesn't need it out. She says it is more comfortable than the camp cot which sags a bit, so I've put the cot away and opened the loom (I won't do any weaving until my ankle is healed though).

I was impressed by her reading ability. She still likes to be read to, but she it very good at sounding out unfamliar words. She even pronounced the name Dougherty the way my high school classmate did. One of my classmates has located all of us (it was a very small school), and emailed a list telling where everyone is - we're going to have a virtual 50-year reunion. Lexi had little trouble reading the names. When she pronounced Louise's last name 'dar-ty,' I was surprised. She said she knew that th 'gh' is usually silent when it is in the middle of a word. I told her that she had said it like Louise did, but that around Philadelphia it is pronounced 'dock-er-ty.' Many years ago one of my favorite diskjockies there was named Chuck Dougherty. He was from KY and pronounced his name the same way my classmate did, so Philadelphians were continually telling him that he said it wrong.


Last Tuesday I got my first dose of Velcade. It was a weaker dose than I will be getting, but I have had no side-effects from it. My next dose will be tomorrow. Since it is now two years since all the testing that led to the Multiple Myeloma diagnosis and the treatment decisions, they want more x-rays and scans. Appointments are set up for the third and fourth Monday's in January. They also want another 24-hour urine collection. I picked up the jug (I still have the plastic basin to put on the toilet from the last time) for that last Tuesday and did the collection yesterday. I figured I couldn't do it today if I wanted to go to church. I'll take it to the lab tomorrow morning when I go for the Velcade. Yesterday morning I went to the shed and brought in a styrofoam cooler and a flat plastic bottle of ice that goes in another cooler. Lexi asked me why and I explained that during the day, when I am in the 'public' part of the house, it is easy to get the jug out of the refrigerator when I need to go to the bathroom and then to return it after I pee. However, at night, when I'm in my bedroom, that would be difficult. Before I even started to explain further, she told me exactly what I planned to do. I was very favorably impressed by that.

A Nice Surprise

This morning we got to church a few minutes late, so wound up following the procession in. Lexi was starting to ask if she could sit with a friend when she saw Mommy in a pew about three back from my usual spot. Alyssa has been gone all week to the wedding of Trevor's cousin in Tampa. I knew they planned to get back last night, so I was going to take Lexi home after church. Seeing Mommy put all thoughts of sitting with a friend out of her mind.