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Saturday, May 29, 2010

Ups and Downs

And I mean that in a good way. Slowly, for the first time since mid-December, I can raise my left arm above elbow height and not see stars. It's a process, to be sure, and I am still stiff and sore, but my range of movement is getting better. Sleeping is still an issue, and I'm having a rough time when I roll onto my left side, but better is, well, better.

I finished my second knitted skirt (the lacey skirt with bows by Kat Coyle), and am about to cast on another skirt. I don't know why I'm fixated on skirts, but I am. Cotton Fleece is a great yarn for them, save one quibble. Like most cotton or mostly cotton yarns, you can see where the ends are woven in, no matter how hard you try to avoid it. I have pulled out ends and tried again and again, always with the same result. It's a frustration, to be sure, but I'll keep trying.

Sadly, it looks like my trip to Estonia this August is postponed until 2011. Most disappointing is the fact that I won't get to see my friend who lives there unless he has a business trip to the states. (He usually flies through Chicago when he does, so I'd get to see him that way.) I'm still hoping to get there at some point in the not-too-distant future. Coincidentally, I was supposed to be gone during Stitches Midwest, and I had registered for two Estonian knitting classes with Merike Saarniit, which I thankfully had not yet cancelled. That will have to do, and perhaps I will get to pick her brain a bit about must-see and must-do places and events.

I had a funny realization a few days ago. My friend and knitting teacher, Cat B0rdhi, stayed with me for several days while she was in Chicago teaching. Would you believe that we didn't knit a single stitch here in the house during the five days she was here?! We had great conversations, however, and I did get to spend a lovely afternoon at the Art Institute with her and Franklin Habit, which was great fun.

I need to leap off and do some around-the-housework. We are starting some home renovations next week, which means that things need to be moved and organized before the contractors get here. I'm excited to have the work done, but the process of renovation is always nerve-wracking. Still, it will be nice to look at a freshly tiled and painted bathroom instead of the nasty peeling paint I'm looking at right now.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Knitting on the Other Side

I am just 5 days post-surgery, and I feel pretty great. Sure, I'm stiff, and movement is limited, but...I CAN KNIT! Hah! I'd learned to compensate due to the injury so that I can knit without significant movement in my left arm and shoulder, so the knitting continues. I can't knit for long stretches, and the Hempathy project is out of the question (not enough give), but I may have another knitted skirt finished very soon. I need to be careful about over extending myself, but I am chalking the knitting up to physical therapy. (Mental therapy, too!)

When getting ready to go to the hospital, I wasn't going to take anything with me. I had a 1:30 surgery slot, and I figured that by the time I got checked in at noon, tests run, and the glamorous hospital fashions donned, I wouldn't have time. Good thing I tossed the project in the bag at the last minute. My surgeon got backed up on his first surgery of the day, and by the time I went to the pre-op holding pen, it was after 4pm. The husband and I did get to wait in a very nice private room with free movies during the lead up, so it wasn't as annoying as it might have been. The worst part was that I hadn't eaten since 8pm the night before, and the room was right over a vent for a cafeteria, so I could smell burgers cooking, and it was making me a bit cranky. In fact, I've been craving a really good burger ever since!

Friday, May 07, 2010

A Tale of Two Scarves

There is a clock ticking in my head. I'm on the final countdown to my shoulder surgery (woo hoo!), so I have a limited amount of time to get some things done before I'll be in recovery mode. I'm knitting like crazy because I'll be off the needles for a few weeks. I'm also shopping for tile, bathroom fixtures, flooring, and doors for our upcoming renovations since I won't be able to drive for several weeks. (We're updating two bathrooms and converting a kitchen into a laundry.) I'm organizing and cleaning in anticipation of a most esteemed house guest and the upcoming renovations. But what am I doing this moment? Blogging with the TV on.

This week I cast on a modified version of Anne Hanson's Rivolo which I narrowed to three repeats and with an added beaded cast on and bind off, a la Sivia Harding. It was a pretty fast, satisfying knit. The scarf is made with Kraemer Silk and Silver that I kettle dyed a while back. It is intended as a gift for a friend of a friend in Estonia. (Gifting knitting to an Estonian is a little like giving tulips to a Dutch person, I suspect, but it's what I do.)

I've also cast on a project from Veronik Avery's new book. It is a mesh tank that I'm making with Hempathy. It is slow going, my friends, slow going. The combo of knitting haltingly right now, the unstretchy yarn, size 2 needles, and the 252 stitches in each round means this is going to be a slog. Urgh. But I want the finished product--now. Right now.

So, while preparing to wash and store winter things, I unearthed the first knitted garment I ever made. I think I took my first knitting class in 1995, and this is the teaching scarf pattern that my instructor devised. It incorporates garter, stockinette, rib, and moss stitches, increases and decreases. It doesn't make for an elegant garment, but it was a useful teaching tool. It was a great way to learn the techniques while ending up with a finished garment.