Thursday, December 31, 2009

Knitting tally 2009

8 washcloths
1 afghan (large)
3 baby blankets
6 capes (like the ones Lexi is modeling in the last post)
3 doll blankets
1 earwarmer
6 gift bags (small drawstring bags you could put a small gift in)
25 hats of various sizes, baby to seaman
1 pair legwarmers for Lexi
2 pairs mittens
2 ponchos - matching ones for Lexi and her 18" doll
1 sarape
16 scarves
31 shawls
4 pairs socks
17 sweatbands, most donated to Habitat for Humanity
7 sweaters - 2 were matching ones for Lexi and her doll, the others were baby ones donated to the Pregnancy Resource Center in Mayfield
20 miniature stocking ornaments for Lexi to give to her classmates

I also wove 200 squares on a 2" Weave-it Loom and 40 or so on a 4" loom.

All of this used over 65 pounds of yarn, most of which was here at the beginning of 2007, plus I gave at least another ten pounds to various knitting friends. I'm gradually getting my shelves cleared off. Then maybe I can buy more - or at least bring home some of what was donated to the charity knitting ministry group at church to use it for shawls and laprobes, and for scarves and watchcaps for the Seaman's Church Institute.

I have three projects going now:
A doll sweater that I started during the summer, set aside and forgot about until I was reading my worksheet,
A shawl requested by Carmen for a friend/co-worker of hers who has helped her understand my disease and treatment,
An Elizabeth Zimmerman Baby Surprise Jacket that I started this morning so I can show the women I was knitting with yesterday what a strange piece of knitted fabric it is before you fold it and sew the shoulder/sleeve seams. (The ones I gave to the Pregnancy Resource Center were of this variety.)

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Oh! This is cool!

That's what Lexi was saying Monday after she discovered that she could go  around the world on The Weather Channel website. She had been on the couch like this (Do you think she's comfortable?), playing with her new electronic toy she had received for Christmas, when there was a sound like thunder from the computer. She wanted to know what that was and I told her there must be a weather alert. She went to the computer and asked how to find out what it was. I told her which icon at the bottom to click on . The alert concerned possible flooding in the agricultural bottomland along the Ohio river twenty or thirty miles from us. She read that to me and then noticed the map of our area. Being eight years old and very comfortable with computers, she started testing what she could do with that map. I think she visited every continent, often zooming in on towns, etc., and frequently saying, "This is cool!" I was delight at her interest. I pulled up another chair, and traveled with her for a while.

Then before I took her home on Tuesday, I had her model two of the short capes I have made recently. Of course, on an adult they don't come down as far - she's only 51 inches tall, and her shoulders are still quite narrow. 

This is my own pattern that I tweaked a bit the first few few times I made it. It's a Hobby Lobby yarn called Soft Delight Extremes, with a lace edging in a worsted weight, solid color yarn (various brands, depending on what I had in my stash.

I particularly like this red one. I started to do the edging in scarlet, but realized that was too jarring. The burgundy is much better. 

The background is my stash of knitting, etc. books and magazines, which I have also been collecting for 46 years.


Today was my oncology visit. Their lab is having trouble with their machines and has to send the blood elsewhere for testing. The nurse/practitioner and doctor decided that, since I had no complaints that would suggest a problem, it would be OK to give me my VelCade and Decadron without the results of the bloodwork. My INR, which indicates the 'thickness' of my blood was perfectly in the desired range, so I continue with the same amount of Coumadin. The INR is checked on a little meter similar to the gloucometer that diabetics use to check their blood-sugar levels, so we didn't need to wait for it.

After that bit of my social life, I went to the Market Square Coffee for another bit of it - knitting. We had at least a dozen people today! I really enjoy the women in these various fiberarts groups I meet with at various frequencies. While we talk about our knitting some of the time, more of our conversations are about other parts of our lives. I think most of us develop a trust of the others in the group and can say some things we probably wouldn't say to other people we know.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Three points STILL determine a plane

A few weeks ago Carmen was looking for a pattern for a carrier for the food gifts she wanted to give to friends for Christmas. I told her that if she got started earlier next year I could help her out with knitted and fulled/felted carriers. I told her about bags I had made several years ago for the bottles of herbed vinegar I gave to co-workers at the Senior Center. She wanted to see a picture, but I don't have any. So, yesterday I made one that I will send to her. I started with a garter-stitch square for the bottom, then picked up stitches around the edge of it to knit the sides. Since the bottom is square, I thought it would be good to use five double-pointed needles - one for each side and one to knit with. It was very floppy, but I kept thinking things would improve when I got an inch or two up the sides. After almost six inches, it was still driving me crazy, so I divided the stitches onto three needles, worked with the fourth, and set the fifth aside. Immediate improvement - much more stable!

Next time I wash jeans, I'll add this to the load and see how much it changes. It is currently 5"x 5"x 11".

A Complaint:

Are there song lyrics that annoy you? I'v found some on one of my Christmas CD's. They go something like, ". . . feel sorry for the laddie; he doesn't have a daddy; he's the little boy that Santa Claus forgot." I resent that!

Carmen was seven and a half and Dominic had just turned five when their father died on Labor Day weekend. As fall progressed and Christmas decorations appeared in the stores, they frequently asked me when I was going to get them a new daddy. That was the farthest thing from my mind; I was too busy working and caring for them. After Christmas, they stopped asking about a new daddy. I think they had daddy and Santa Claus connected and were afraid they'd have a bleak Christmas. After Santa visited anyway, they were not interested in replacing their daddy.

Don't get me wrong. I do feel sorry for that laddie, as well as my own children and many others. I think the ideal situation for children is to be in a household with a father and mother, who have as least a reasonably good marital relationship, and who are both involved in the care and training of the children. However, not everyone can have that.

Down from the soapbox now.

Merry Christmas!!

I gave this needlepoint to Mother many, many, many years ago. It's one of the things I reclaimed after she died, along with the afgan you see a bit of behnd the needlepoint. I wasn't sure she'd like it; it may have seemed too Catholic for her, but for years she kept it hanging throughout the year.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Another Fiber Week


I rarely set the alarm clock, but I did for Monday. After taking a shower, dressing and having my toast and coffee, I left the house before 7:30. I had to stop at the hospital in Mayfield to have blood drawn for a protime test. A nurse from the Cancer Group called late that afternoon to say that the number was 1.9. They want it to be between 2 and 3, but that was close enough to take me off the Lovenox shots. She said I should take 5 mg of Coumadin Monday night and then go back to 2,5 mg. About five minutes later, she called back and said, "I did tell you that you can stop the Lovenox, didn't I?" I assured her that she did. Giving myself shots was not as bad as I had anticipated, but I'm glad to not need to do it any longer. Now I wonder how long it will take for the bruising caused by the 17 needles I did use to go away.

I continued to Murray to meet Mary C and ride with her to Cadiz for the Lake Area Fiber Arts group meeting at Jean's house. Since the stop at the hospital had gone so quickly, I had 45 minutes to wait - good knitting time!

An email was sent about two weeks ago saying that Jean would provide a main dish and the rest of us could bring whatever we wanted to fill out the menu. Some of the women missed that message, but we had plenty of food. Since I don't do much cooking now, I took a tray of several varieties each of cheese and olives.

This group also has a tradition of each person giving every other person a small gift at the December meeting. I came home with two jars of jelly, a quilted pot holder, a bar of handmade soap and a small packet of cookies and fudge. I gave Christmas balls with openwork knit covers in variegated yarns. About half of them were in a red/green/white colorway, but there were at least two other colorways as well.


I left the house a little after 9 am and headed into Mayfield with several stops to make before going to the Ice House to see if any others from that fiber group would show up three days before Christmas.

  • First was the electric company to pay my bill.
  • Next to the women's shelter to donate four or five scarves and a hat to match one of them.
  • Then came Bailey's Tire for an oil change, lube and check of the transmission fluid. Another good block of knitting time. After a while, Tim came over and said my back tires were in bad shape. I told him that I couldn't afford different ones at this time. He said he'd see if he could find a used one to replace the worst one. Later, another one of the men said my car was ready. As I followed him to the counter, he said there were two new-to-me tires on the back. When I asked how much I owed, he replied,"How about just Merry Christmas! it's been taken care of." My mouth dropped open and tears sprang to my eyes. To my, "But . . . " re responded, "Just pay it forward sometime." Does my charity knitting and weaving count as 'paying it forward'? We have probably all been on both the giving and the receiving end of things. I find the giving end more comfortable. In fact being too generous with my granddaughter is one of the main reasons for the 'hole' I'm currently in. But I've been in such holes two or three times before and have worked my way out; I'll work my way out of this as well. (But I digress.)
  • Then to WalMart for one item. Melanie's husband asked me later how long it took to get that one item. I knew exactly where it was in the pharmacy/health care section of the store, so I picked it up and headed to the nearest express checkout lane. There was only one person in front of me - well, actually two people, but they were together.
  • Next came the gas station to fill the car's gas tank.
  • Then to Taco John's for one crispy taco. I was amused at the woman in front of me who asked for her order 'to go.' We were in the drive through - they assume we want our orders to go.
  • Next was Stone's Drugs for a refill of my blood pressure medication.
  • Then I drove by a curbside mailbox to drop in my phone/internet payment.
  • I finally made it to the Ice House/Art Guild about 12:30.
Dana said that Jay had been there but left already. While we were talking, Melanie and her husband came in. They weren't staying because they were going to lunch. I had brought the rest of the ornaments and the rest of the cheese/olive tray. I had both Dana and Melanie take an ornament and gave out two others later to two of the Art Guild 'regulars' who dropped in. Dana and I both picked at some of the cheese and olives to supplement my taco and whatever she had brought for lunch.

I had come to the end of the ball of yarn I was working from while I was at Bailey's and discovered that I hadn't put in the other ball as I had meant to, so I was dead in the water as far as knitting goes. So I took a book from the Books and Bargains corner and started reading. About 2 o'clock, Dana asked if I was going to be there a bit longer. I said I was. She needed to work up a bank deposit, and feels more comfortable doing that when at least one of the regulars (those of us who are there frequently, whom she knows she can trust) is there. She worked up the deposit and took it to the bank. When she returned, she wrote me a check for my items in the gift shop that had sold since the last time she gave me such a check. I then deposited it in my bank and went home.


I left home about 9:30 for my 10:30 oncology appointment. My first stop was Davis Drug to pick up my one Zofran pill. (Yes, I use two pharmacies. Prescriptions from my family doctor, whose office is in Mayfield, I get filled in Mayfield. Those from the oncologist, whose office is in Paducah, I get filled in Paducah. It makes sense to me.) The Zofran is for nausea connected with the ValCade they give me. Medicare will only let them dispense one Zofran tablet in any 24-hour period, so I have to get that pill each week before my treatment.

After that, I went to Market Square Coffee to meet other knitters. We had decided last week that we'd bring 'noshes' to snack on. I had refilled my cheese/olive tray (I was glad for the overcast so the car interior stayed cool), and also took the ornaments. There was one ornament left at the end of the day, and I left it on the table. The 'noshes' were my lunch and I ate so much that I didn't eat any dinner. It was already dusk before I left the shop, and completely dark by the time I got home.

So I've had three busy days, and now am looking forward to at least three non-busy days.

Friday, December 18, 2009


People tell you that the prep for the colonoscopy is bad, but that the test itself is nothing. However, no one ever says anything about the aftermath - that time when you go home and resume eating solid food. You take a bite and chew and the enzymes in your mouth start the digestion process. You swallow, the food travels down your esophagus to your stomach, where the digestion process continues. The nutrients your body needs are absorbed and the undigestable parts proceed into your NOW COMPLETELY CLEANED OUT intestines. You can feel and hear them gurgling down that loooong tube to you know where, and you feel an urge to fart. HOLD IT!!! You need to consciously control that sphincter muscle until you are securely seated on the toilet. That will almost certainly be a wet fart! It will take several hours (days?) to get things back to normal.

Thursday, December 17, 2009


I had my first one today. Many people had told me that the prep was worse than the test. They're right, of course, but the prep wasn't as bad as I had expected. For the test, I was asleep, so I didn't know what was going on. They gave me three sheets of pictures they took of my insides. They found nothing bad, apparently. Alyssa went with me to drive me home. My appointed arrival time was 9:45, and I got there 15 minutes early. I was home before 2 p.m. I've spent the afternoon knitting and playing games on the computer - pretty normal activities for me. I've also eaten, which I couldn't do yesterday.

It's early, but I think I'll get in bed and read for a while.

Monday, December 14, 2009

WHEW - we made it

L ast night was the end of this year's Walk through Bethlehem. Saturday, as soon as we got everything set up, it started sprinkling. After a few minutes, they decided to call if off for the night. Then, as soon as everything was put away and we had taken off our costumes, the rain stopped. But of course, we assumed that it would start up again. It did, but not until much later in the night. They decided to extend the Sunday hours by half an hour on each end, and made an announcement to that effect on whatever radio stations they advertised the event on.

Last night was very good. The ground was a bit soft from the rain, and the sky was overcast, but the temperature was around 50 F, I think. I was able to take my gloves off, which made the weaving easier. The overcast actually made it brighter - the clouds reflected the lights from Mayfield back down to us, so I could see my work better. There were more visitors than any other night.


I am having to take Lovenox instead of Coumadin now for five days leading up to my colonoscopy, and then for a few days afterward. I think Dominic wished this on me. It's not enough that I have peripheral neuropathy caused by the Myeloma and/or the medication I take for it. He also thinks I need to know what it's like to stick a needle in my belly twice a day. Of course, I only have to do it for a few days; he has to take the insulin for the rest of his life. It's not as bad as I thought it would be, but I still don't like doing it.

Monday, December 7, 2009


We nade it through the first weekend, with about 500 visitors over the three nights.

On Friday, I mentioned that I keep sliding around on the stool I use. The woman who was working in the fabric stall where I was said that she works with special-needs children and that they use mats of some kind to help the kids with picking up their cups, etc without tipping them. Thinking about that later, I decided to see if the stuff you put under rugs to keep them from slipping would help. It works great!

On Saturday night, I realized that I was weaving much faster than I had expected, so the warp I had put on wasn't nearly long enough. I asked if I could get into the fellowship hall, where they put my loom overnight, about 3 o'clock Sunday afternoon to tie on a new warp. I wound off about ten yards Sunday morning and tied it onto what was already on the loom. It meant tying sixty knots, but at least I didn't need to thread the heddles and reed. Last night one of the little boys of Bethlehem (I like the way they have the kids in costume, running around as part of the town.), who I guess had heard me tell someone about putting on new thread, asked where the cloth I had woven the previous two nights was. I told him in my car. He asked if he can have it. I told him to see me after we went back into the fellowship hall, but I think he forgot. I'll need to find him on Friday. The only thing I know is that his 'Bethlehem name' is Uri. (I chose Naomi as my 'Bethlehem name.')

Last night they put me at the rugs stall. Fabrics is about 3/4 of the way down the 'street' and rugs is the second stall inside the city gate. It was interesting being in a different location. The beggar and the leper, both of whom get chased out by the Roman guards whenever they sneak in, rarely get down as far as the fabrics stall, but I saw a lot of them last night.

When people finish the walk, they are invited into the fellowship hall for a hot drink (coffee, chocolate, cider) and cookies. They are also invited to leave comments. Then when we Bethlehemites have taken off our costumes and are enjoying the hot beverages and cookies, the comments are read. Last night someone mentioned the weaver as a highlight. I was surprised - and pleased.

It's a bit warmer today, so I'm hoping the warming trend will continue, and that it will be about 50 degrees next weekend.


I had a scan of my legs today to see if there are any blood clots. I have a colonoscopy scheduled next Thursday, and need to be off coumadin for five days before that. If there are no clots (the technician saw none, but a radiologist will need to examine what she did), Dr Winkler will just let me be off coumadin for those five days. If there are clots, he will give me something else instead of the coumadin. I'm hoping the radiologist agrees with the technician.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

One down, five to go

Nights of weaving in 'Bethlehem,' that is. Last night it was COLD - about freezing. Tonight will be the same, and probably tomorrow night, as well. Perhaps it will warm up during the week and next weekend will be nicer.

I had on cuddleduds, both top and bottom, jeans, a turtleneck shirt, a wool sweater and the long garment the church provided to make me look like a first-century Palestinian. On my feet, I had wool socks, felted wool insoles and sneakers. My hands were the problem area. I had the fingerless glove type things I sometimes wear while knitting to relieve aches in my hands (I don't get such aches often), cotton gloves and wool fingerless gloves. Even though the cotton gloves are thin, it is hard to work with them on, so I didn't wear them the whole time. At closing time, I had trouble with the buckle on the belt I use to hold the loom in its folded position, but I thought that was just because I didn't have enough light to see what I was doing. However, after I took off my costume, I went into the ladies room. I had to come out of the stall and have another woman unbutton my jeans for me. I could feel nothing with the fingertips on my left hand. It took a few minutes for that to 'thaw.' The hot cider and cookies sure tasted good!

I got home about 9:30 and went right to bed. I have flannel sheets on my bed, plus a blanket and a poly-filled comforter, but after fifteen or twenty minutes I got up and put on a down comforter, too. When I woke several hours later, I was nice and toasty warm.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Three shawls

These two are what I call Random Shawls. In each case I used a 'foundation yarn' - a baby-weight yarn that I carried throughout the shawl. I then used a different yarn for each row, leaving the ends of that yarn to form the fringes at the ends of the shawl. I use seed stitch because I like the way it mixes the colors. The red one is 180 stitches. It is only about 15 inches wide, which is too wide to be a scarf, but a bit narrow for a shawl. However it is six feet long, so it can wrap around even those of us with ample figures. I could have made it a bit wider, but not much. I now have very little red yarn left.

I started the blue one on Thanksgiving, and when Lexi saw it that evening (less than three inches done), she said it reminded her of the ocean. I hope I continued that throughout the shawl. This one is about 23 inches wide and only a little over five feet long. That's a better shawl size. I have now taken the blue-blues out of the basket, kept the teal/turquoise-blues in and added some green-greens and yellow-greens to make a green shawl. I've also set aside white and pale pastel yarns for another shawl. People seem to like this type of shawl. I use all types of yarns - smooth, fuzzy, eyelash, etc.

I need to trim the fringe here, but I wanted to show what it is like.
The shawl below I call a Truncated Triangle, because I started with 45 or 46 stitches rather than the three I would have used to make one with a point in back. I spotted this yarn through the almost-clear side of one of my plastic storage bins, and wondered if I had enough for a shawl. There were only five balls, but they made quite a large one. It has an edge of five garter stitches, then a yarn over to create a new stitch, thus increasing the width. The main part is just stockinette stitch - as simple as you can get, but I figured the yarn is the interesting part here. It weighs less than nine ounces. (The random ones weight at least a pound.)