That’s Much Better

It’s been almost a month since I last posted anything and I thought I’d check in and say something.  I didn’t go anywhere; I just didn’t post.  Maybe I’m following the growing trend to not blog so much.  Hard to say.  I would love to say that my absence from blogging was due to competing in the 2010 Winter Olympics, which, by the way, took place just a mere 200 miles to the north, and which has been a almost a life long dream of mine to go to, but which will have to wait for a more convenient time in my life.  If I were to do such a thing, I’d compete in Ladies Figure Skating (something I once aspired to do after watching Pegging Fleming in the 1968 Olympics on TV as a child), or Short Track Speed Skating, or Slalom, or Curling.  If not Olympic competition, I’d love to say that I went someplace marvelous and vastly different from where I live for some sort of exotic vacation.  No, I was just home, nose to the grindstone, knitting and taking care of my family.

During my absence I re-knit Andrea’s Shawl and customized an Anthropologie sale purchase.  First, Andrea’s Shawl Redux.  The remake went along quite well, and after I’d completed the edging (see post entry of Feb. 9) with the leftover purple Mink Yarn, I decided to put aside doubts and hesitation and frog the first shawl and continue on.  Mink Yarn is lovely stuff, and it seems rather unassuming at first, but as you work with it, it gets softer and fuzzier.  The flip-side is that it’s delicate and gets knotted when fiddled with a bit and the knots inevitably lead to breaks.  So there were lots of breaks in Mink Yarn during the making of Redux, and so lots of ends to weave in.  But Redux worked-out great and now I have a bigger shawl and I just love it.  I want more Mink Yarn, too, but I am still determined to work through my stash as much as possible.

The other yarn I used was Michell & CIA Indiecita 3-ply Alpaca in brown.  All the details for Redux are the same as for the original Andrea (see my post for Jan. 28), just that I made the large instead of the medium this time.  With such light yarn, it still fits nicely under a coat or sweater.

One other difference, is that I ran just shy of enough Mink Yarn to finish Redux.  In fact, I had just 6 inches (15 cm.) left of top edging for the shawl to be finished when I ran out of Mink, so I ripped-out the top edging and used the Indiecita instead.  I’m fine with it.  I’m just glad the top edging doesn’t curl like it did in the first one.

Now with my Anthropologie sale purchase.  I forgot the original price of this sweater coat, but I think it was $138, and I bought off the sale rack for $29.95, figuring that at that price for 100% wool it had potential for me.  I don’t know what is with the design of it, but it had this wool felt accordion-like thing wrapped around it’s midsection like a bad dream or something out of a science fiction movie.  I’m sure it looks great on someone, but I don’t need extra attention to my midsection. You know?

It used to have a belt and that was missing at the store, but I can’t imagine that it did much good.

So I carefully took my seam ripper to it and, oops, made a couple of holes for which I knotted the ends together, and, ta-da! A cool-looking sweater coat.

It had no buttons or buttonholes, and I like a little closure.

So I found a nice clasp at Button Drawer (“no minimum order”) and the rest is history.

What else I’ve got going on is that I went for a CT scan to check if I am in the clear on my thyroid cancer (from back in 1997), and I found that I am.  Great!  And then the doctor found some other stuff my body’s been up to that isn’t ideal: both kidneys are in bad shape.  Who knows why?  But I guess we’re going to find out.  Definitely not news that cheers me up, but maybe it won’t be so bad, I’ve heard that the body can function pretty well on a small percentage of viable kidney.  I’ll be visiting with a nephrologist (kidney specialist) in April to see what this all means.

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From here to there.

So, no sooner had I finished Andrea’s Shawl (which I keep calling Amanda’s Shawl, for some reason), than I decided it would be frogged.  Within 24 hours after posting about it and, utilizing the leftover mink yarn I had on hand, I began a new one, Andrea’s Shawl Redux.  I’d figured that rather than out-and-out ripping it out, and being thereby committed to not having my Andrea’s Shawl at all, you know, in case I’d lost my resolve to make a new one, I’d take the conservative approach and start a new one with the leftovers first.  I decided to go as far as I could with leftover yarn, all the while periodically checking with myself on how I felt about the thought of ripping out the first shawl.  I just didn’t like the way the whole first one ended-up:  a bit too small for all my effort and my work on the top edging was just plain disappointing.  The top edging curled because I was too hasty, too sloppy, and my perfectionist tendencies just couldn’t accept it.  Besides, I couldn’t stand the thought of a triangular “shawl” that barely covered my shoulders, so, there you go…  I’ve finished the bottom lace edging of Redux (Phase I of the four parts of the shawl), and have now ripped-out the first attempt.  It was only two week’s worth of knitting time that I’d spent on the first one.  So, here I am with a frogged shawl, and who knows when I’ll get there and finish the new one.  Typical of non-committal me, I still might not complete my second attempt so then I’d be without one altogether, but that’s the journey, isn’t it?

We’ve been swined.

We’ve all completely recovered from our bout with H1N1,  a.k.a. the dreaded and much-hyped about Swine Flu. It passed among the four of us from Christmas through the first week of January.  It’s great to be back among the living. Whew!

On the knitting side, I took a break from knitting that first week of January.  In January 2009 my husband challenged me to stop knitting for a week, which I flat-out said I couldn’t do.  However, this January I decided that it just seemed like the right time to do it. It turned out to be a good thing to do, because I was able to do other things that are often procrastinated because of my knitting. My hands and arms needed a much-needed rest because I injured my right elbow gardening 14 months ago and knitting seems aggravate it. As luck would have it, Seattle Knitters Guild had a guest speaker come talk about injury from repetitive activities, and he taught us some helpful exercises.  After a week off from knitting, my elbow felt much better, so I think that knitting at a slower pace, doing hand exercises, and icing my elbow after knitting will help it heal.

With my vacation from knitting over, I have started Andrea’s Shawl by Kirsten Kapur, available at Knit Picks and Ravelry. I was going to knit Dipsy’s Cable-Lace Scarf, but at the last minute I saw Nadia’s version of Andrea’s Shawl and I was hooked.  By the way, if you don’t know Nadia, I recommend visiting her blog.  Nadia, who lives in Switzerland and whose blog is written in French, is a prolific knitter and mother to six young children, and you only need understand the language of knitting to enjoy her blog.

Working end of beginning lace border.

Unblocked lace border.

So for Andrea’s Shawl, I’m using Great Northern Mink Yarn (70% sheared mink, 30% cashmere) in purple and some old stashed alpaca (Michell & CIA Indiecita 3-ply alpaca) in brown.  I was intrigued by the concept of shearing mink rather than the alternative, and Great Northern Yarns states that the yarn comes from “Healthy, stress-free minks sheared once a year…” So I thought I’d give it a try, and it seems to be pretty nice stuff.

I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it here before, but I’m crocheting a duck for my son.  It’s my pattern (really, no pattern at all) and is based on a plush toy duck called Daisy which my son fell in love with at the preschool he went to last year. This very cute plush duck named Daisy is from a series of books by Jane Simmons about a young duck named Daisy and all of her adventures. He really wants his own Daisy, which doesn’t looked like your average duck, and has begged me to make one. I’ve stalled a number of times but finally it’s coming along and he’s excited.

The body is almost done, and it looks more lumpy and bumpy, but I think he’ll like it.  He’s being very patient about it, but he’s watching the construction of Daisy closely, and whenever I pull the project out, he asks, “Is that my Daisy your making?”