Are you thoroughly mesmerized yet??

After putting up the photo of DC3 Percy's beautiful face, I quit for the night and then didn't get back to it. He is so handsome, and I don't mind being part of the knitting cliche of the lady with the cats who is always whipping up something on her needles. ;^)

(chuckles ironically) I've been so busy . . . reading (Our Town, to prepare for teaching it in Sept.), itching (the affected foot and leg) and drowsing (Benadryl, while a great help in the war against urticaria, mostly works by making me comatose). But you surely don't want to read about that. Nor do I want to keep seeing Google ads on my blog for references to such maladies. Suffice it to say that I am getting better, and that the horrific, swollen Frankenstein foot is now just a tired, normal sized, skin-compromised foot that needs me to take good care of it. And stay off it. Which I am.

See? To keep from going stir crazy, as well as to keep my hands away from my foot, I've been knitting. I've even been doing the cable rows correctly most of the time too! I have had to frog so much that I finally printed out the whole eight-row pattern so I can follow it row by row with a Post-It note (I know, I know, it's a repeat every other row until the last, but . . . I'm challenged) and still you can see that I've got the occasional wrong stitch. Not in danger of offending Allah by virtue of my knitting skills, but perhaps I may by my frequent and quite obvious mistakes! Sorry, Allah, I'll keep knitting and hope to get better at this.

Meantime, I am evolving a plan. I think this is not the product of a drug-addled mind--it came to me just before the surgery--but I have become a bit obsessed: I've actually diagrammed it out. Here's how it all started. I took a fruit salad to some friends' BBQ, and, it being the middle of summer, I used these ingredients: blackberries, strawberries, blueberries, peaches, and green grapes. We were all captivated by the color combination. And I kept thinking about these colors, how cool they would look as a felted bag. Now I need to find yarns that have just the right, accurate colors, and figure out the striping, what looks best next to what.

I also did some measurements and looked at a bunch of tote/purse patterns, to see what dimensions to make it before felting. And I think I came up with a way to start and then cast on the body, so the bottom is rectangular and is attached on one long side to the body. Then I will then sew on the other three sides of the bottom when the body is done. It helped taking a grocery bag and cutting it apart and then seeing the bottom attached. I would not make the sides as big as a grocery sack! and I don't want to make it with the sort of self-handle I see on a lot of felted bags, but rather to make a strap by taking several lengths of three of the colors, tie them in a knot and then braid them thickly together, before felting that, and later attach it to the felted purse.

Any warnings? Any suggestions? Any yarn recommendations? As for the quantities, if I use something like Lambspride worsted (should I?), I think I would need a skein of each of the colors, but wouldn't use up all the yarn on any but maybe one (bottom color and its stripes). I was thinking five colors, or maybe six (peach and something more like mango). Now I am only hampered by my gimpiness and a complete inability to drive myself to the LYS. :^) Not to mention two UFOs I am steadily working on, and should finish first.

I totally forgot! I made this from a leftover bit of yarn that DD1 Rachel gave me (she had made her roommate a hat with it). I don't know what yarn it is, or what it's made up of, but it has a great sheen and stretch. Now, when the cellphone goes off, I won't have to dig in my purse for three or four or five rings to find it.

Happy Knitting, all!

Deja vu all over again

I have been knitting while recovering. I have frogged almost as much as I've knitted due to mistakes, for which I blame my pain meds. But I now have two scarves underway, one the Irish Hiking Scarf and another a Cascades Pastaza twin rib. I'm so proud of my cables! I feel like a big girl now.

Unfortunately, I am in the midst of a reaction to something that was put on my foot after surgery, which happened when I had this surgery on the other foot in '99. At the time, the doctor and I surmised that it was Polysporin ointment, as I react to Neosporin and an eye ointment that is used for infections. But even with the red armband I was fitted with before the procedure, ("Danger, Will Robinson! No topical antibiotic ointments!!") three days into recovery, I am right back in that itchy hell again.

This time, the doc was willing to take off the bandages and scrub off every last bit of the Betadine that had dried thereon, and considering the huge itch factor and no way to scratch it before, I was in heaven as he scrubbed my foot with alcohol on a gauze pad. Finally! I bet he never thought he spent all that time in podiatry school to scrub some middle aged woman's swollen, monstrous looking foot, while she purred and sighed. But I digress.

So since then, I have been given permission to slather it three times a day with a strong cortisone cream, as well as to apply the medicine to a patch that broke out on my back last night. Now the patch is about twice the size it was and is all across my back. The affliction on the foot is moving upward toward my ankle bone.

Did I mention that I've been taking Benadryl every four hours and being a zombie, with still no improvement and actual worsening of the situation?

So it may be time to go for the big guns (or should I say the big scrub brush??) and have a steroid shot. Both sound really perfect right about now!

In other related news, my foot doesn't hurt that much and is healing fine. The swelling is around it but not in the stitches, and I hope it stays that way!

Sorry if this is TMI, I hope you stopped before you got too nauseated!

I'll just sit here and keep knitting and trying NOT to scratch.

On the other side of the surgery

Yep, I am home getting a lot of rest and keeping the foot up. So far the local is still not worn off, ten hours after the surgery, but it is starting to. I feel a little aching in a spot I didn't expect to, so -- ?? I guess I'll take the pain meds religiously (the only kind of religiosity I can manage) and see if it doesn't get too intense.

With all this time to noodle, I have been finding fascinating recommended links on other people's blogs, resulting in several promising patterns and some other nonknitting blogs too. I got to Yarn Harlot's site today and read her long treatise on how hard writing really is, which is some truly inspired writing, of course, by someone we all think of as having no trouble writing easily. Not so--she struggles too. I hope blogging it out of her system will make the task less onerous when she comes back from her book tour. Anyway, check it out if you haven't. I gathered a ton of good quotes on writing (I'm a writing teacher when I'm not momming, wifing, and knitting), both hers and others that people shared in her huge comments section. Wow, to be that famous!

I also found a hilarious link from those comments that I have to share with you. A Stanford professor wrote this piece on a concept he pioneered called Structured Procrastination, and it is quite amusing. Perhaps there is a grain of truth in his explanations and suggestions. But read it with care! He may be quantifying a real system with smaller payoffs, but I'm not sure it will get me where I need to go on the biggies.

I know exactly what Stephanie P-M and the professor are both talking about, though, because this is what I do when I have papers to grade. I have been making progress on it, but I never set real deadlines, even though there is a seemly period of time that should elapse, and no more, before papers are given back to students. I need more accountability I guess. I must develop a bossy persona who tells the lazy-ass me to get those papers done tonight--at least one class period!

I did not knit a stitch today because of pain meds and some general malaise left over from the surgery. But I think it's time to start the Irish Hiker's Scarf tomorrow. Wish me luck!

Oh! A few posts back, when I shared a photo of my gorgeous Lake Tahoe yarn splurge, I got the question what brand was it? It is Noro. And I would use it for the IHS, but I hear that when cabling, the stitches need a solid color yarn I fear, so it will have to wait to turn into something luscious later.

Muggle Knitting Patterns???!!!

My DD2 has a new CD out with original songs about Harry Potter and his experiences.

You can check out one of the songs at this link:

US: $8

International: $10

and a matching hat!

So even though I thought I might run out of the last of the Wick skein I was given, I decided to give it a go and make a matching baby hat.

I cast on 54 stitches with size 9s and then used garter stitch for about an inch and a half. Then I switched to size 11s and stockinette stitched for about two inches before beginning the decrease.

Then I did K4 K2tog for a knit row, purled the next row, K3 K2tog the next row and then purled the next. K2 K2tog for the next row, purl again, K1 K2tog, purl, and K2tog all the way across. Then I purled again, and did the next row K2tog again, and ended up with just a few stitches. When I had only 3 or 4 stitches, I bound off. I stitched up the seam.

For the "doodly things," I used an H crochet hook and just freeformed tentacles of about 8-10 stitches using a single stitch, added more chain to start another one, sc'ed those, etc, until I had six tentacles of varying lengths (none longer than 2 in.) I anchored them on top using both ends of the yarn, by crocheting the last doodly thing back down toward the center where the other was.

The hat is nice and stretchy and would fit a child 2-8 months old, unless the baby was a pumpkin head. :^)

Like my vase as a hat form?

And amazingly, I still have a tiny bit of the Wick left!!

Tomorrow, foot surgery and then a long recuperation period that will require I sit and knit. Poor me!

Thank you, Secret Pal!

Look what my One Skein secret pal sent me--two skeins! Perhaps she has been noticing my extreme color pre- ferences.

And here are the finished booties that match the sweet card she included with the skeins. Wick is stretchy, and that seems just right for booties.

Lastly, in case it wasn't obvious just how much I love purple, green and blue, here is my newly embellished tattoo (I was suffering trying to figure out how to take a picture using the mirror) that truly proves the PGB thang I have. Each of those stars represents one of my daughters, and I of course am the crescent moon. :^)

One (half a) Skein for booties

Back from all my travels with things that I started and now need to finish. But I do have the baby booties I knitted from the one skein project here! They required a before-and- after shot, so there's one waiting to be stitched up, and the finished product. Good pattern, not too hard and not too easy. They are the Stay On Knit Booties from Bev's Country Cottage. I would have made the cuff part longer if I could have seen what I was going to be doing, but sadly, my brain don't work thataway, so I didn't get it until I was putting it together. Next pair, more initial stitches cast on! And the pattern is flexible as to sizing, but these are more like 6-12 month size, rather than newborn. I used size 7 needles, and I believe the Wick is worsted weight. That would account for them being a bit bigger. (Thank you, Secret Pal! I didn't even need a whole skein of the Wick, but I am now merrily plotting what to do with the remaining half of the skein.)

OT: Check this out: DD2 Molly is becoming famous in a small world of Harry Potter music lovers!

Hey Y'all! A different kind of charity knitting donation

Here's a great idea if you have any extra stash (hahahahahaha) or duplicates of needles or crochet hooks. A group in Philadelphia needs donations for women in rehab at a place called the Interim House. Seeing as knitting has proven incredibly relaxing for me, and productive, and creative, and dare I even imagine it, artistic, I can hope that these people will find some similar bennies from the craft. If you'd like to donate too, check out this website. There's a related contest and a Prize Winner, but honestly, it's not that for me, it's a chance to spread the knitting gospel, hallelujah, amen.

Here's a link to the blog showing the women's finished objects so far.

And yes, since you ask, I got together two skeins of a few things: some self-striping sock yarn, some Moda Dea Cache that's a bit too glam for me, but great in general, some Lion Brand microspun, and a skein of bobbly funky novelty yarn that would make a great kid's scarf or hat. Note that this generous thinning of my stash will NOT correspond to more trips to the LYS for replenishment. I can finally close the drawers of my organizer! And I have a warm, fuzzy feeling inside (not caused by yarn!) that someone can benefit from my stashpile.

Continuing Adventures in Felting

Here is the iPod case I knitted Molly on the car trip, and here it is, somewhat felted but still not finished (if stitch definition is an indicator). BUT of course now the iPod won't fit in this bag since it's now shorter. So . . . I think this will become a little drawstring purse, and I'll try again with Molly's iPod holder. At least the wool is lovely and the color is deep and rich. :^/

What I knit in between trips to YSs

It may seem that all I do is collect captivating (well, to me anyway) skeins of yarn, but I have been working on something recently. This is my K1P1 rib scarf, and I have found it just as taxing mentally as I could handle in the car on the trip home. Even then I had to frog three or four rows more than once due to inattention to this . . . ahem . . . difficult pattern. But it is coming together nicely and I love how rib knit is cushy.

I'm using sale yarn, Petrouchka Chatbotte (90% wool, 10% polyester, from France), that I got in Chelan, WA at a general store there that had a huge selection of sale skeins. My family has gotten used to me now and didn't even put up a fuss that I was making a beeline to fondle more fibers.

I also made Molly (DD2) an iPod sock out of dark burgundy LambsPride, but it's too stretchy so she's going to felt it and see if she gets a more useful result. :^) I'll photograph it if so.

Mother to orphan skeins everywhere AND the "What kind of yarn are you?" challenge test

Did I mention the ball of yarn I got at Knit/Purl in Portland? Another orphan without a ball band, in the sale bin, and a little bit of knitting heaven. I was under the influence of some powerful yarnstore opiates when I bought it for $2, so I forgot what the lovely cashier said it was, except something like "SGG." Turns out it's GGH and I have ruled out almost all others so I think it's . . . Solitaire, a wool/acrylic/"miracle fiber" blend that stretches satisfyingly. Love this seafoamy color!!!

I took the abovementioned yarn type challenge, and only afterwards did I find out I could have turned out to fit the MO of "dishcloth cotton" or "acrylic"! Egad!

And not to tease you, I am mohair.

There are positives about this, though one immediate reaction is, "Oooh. Itchy and fuzzy. Bad to knit in the summertime. Men hate it."

But there's an upside. Here's what it says about me that I "am" mohair:

"You are a warm and fuzzy type who works well with others, doing your share without being too weighty. You can be stubborn and absolutely refuse to change your position once it is set, but that's okay since you are good at covering up your mistakes."

I just love that last part! Esp. since, as we all know, I never make mistakes of any kind, even knitting ones. <----- wry humor.

One (Nifty) Skein/ Travels and Travails

Gee, it's good to be back home again. Here I was with my 3 DD's and my mother while visiting eastern Washington, where Mom lives.

Traveling has been fun and exhausting. Strange combination! Driving with DH and two of my teenaged DD's, well that was mostly lovely, but occasionally, esp. for DH, "like being in the shark tank." Poor fella. I won't mention that part of it was, inevitably, PMS.

From Mom, I have learned the rudiments of crocheting, enough to make what the girls and I were calling "doilies" or "antimacassars" for the headrests in the car on the drive. Whether all this can translate to adding frill to Leonie's cape I don't know yet, but it was fun to get started with it. But thanks, Mom, and thanks for the books on crocheting too.

Also knitted another hat, two stranded, black and gray/white, in the round. Did a lot of casting on, knitting something, and frogging it when it was clearly too big or too small to be a fill in the blank. I didn't mind though, as the knitting was good for my fingers and occasionally (see above regarding shark tank) my soul. My DS Kate liked her wrap that I had made on the Tahoe trip, from that divine Manos del Uruguay Cotton Stria. I have more of the melon color, and some in a medium blue too, so look out, World, and if you are wishing for something made of this, speak now or forever hold your peace.

I came home to a really cool giftie from my One Skein secret pal. That's it above--ain't it purty? It's made of soy and polypropylene, called "Wick," by Knit One/Crochet Too. I think my color tendencies are becoming quite clear to the world--doesn't it look "like me"? Thanks, Secret Pal! I hope I can do it justice! Still don't know what I'll make with it, but I'll sit down tonight with the OS book and see what looks right.

More knitting and more travel ahead--I leave Monday for Columbus to see my brother in Dayton and travel in rural Ohio and KY with him. Going to visit my first best friend from age nine, who lives in Richmond now. :^)