Monday, March 19, 2007

Knit on, through all crises

More Crises
I don't know if you recall, but my youngest brother (age 45) had a stroke last fall. His recovery has been slow. Although he has been back at work, he is able to work only part time. In addition, his vision is not sufficiently restored to be able to drive or read well. Each day involves a tremendous amount of effort, physical as well as emotional.
Last Friday, after a week of full time days at work, he developed severe headaches. Although he went to the ER twice, the diagnosis was only tension headache. Finally, on Sunday morning, his vision was worse. One eye drifted off to the far side and his eyelid was closed. Another trip to the ER resulted in a MRI, which showed a tumor on his pituitary gland that had swollen and bled, resulting in pressure on his optic nerves. The headaches were the first sign of the swollen and bleeding tumor. Last night he had emergency neuro surgery to remove the pituitary gland. Once again he is in the hospital. Pituitary surgery would be difficult enough, but the recovery is compounded by his ongoing, slow recovery from his stroke.
I went to the ER and hospital last night to stay with my sister-in-law. The surgery went well and there will be further tests, etc., today. My brother is absolutely exhausted, as one might expect.

My Knitting Life
My knitting seems to pale in comparison with the seriousness of my brother's situation. However, my last two posts have not shared any photos, and I am proud of my few efforts on the knitting front. My graduate school projects have taken precedence this semester!!!

Saving Well Loved Mittens
First of all, my wonderful nordic mittens from Charlene Schurch's book wore thin. I described this problem in a previous post. The angora contrast yarn did not stand up to normal wear. Here you can see the broken and thin light blue angora.
I love these mittens. So, I dedicated two days to duplicate stitching all of the light blue angora on the palms and thumbs. I know, perhaps this angora will also wear away. But, I love the feel of the angora on the inside. Now, with duplicate thickness, I am hoping for two more years of wear.

Inability To Save Cold Teenage Feet
I have also been trying to make something that my 15 year old daughter will wear. She is the yarn-heathen, conservative fashionista. She won't wear anything that will call attention to herself. This means, she must wear only what EVERYONE else is wearing. Nothing on the fringe. It's cold here in Wisconsin in the winter!! She wears little white cotton sock-ettes and clog type shoes. She walks home from school, in the snow and cold, and her toes are blue with cold when she arrives home. I thought I had the perfect solution!! Wool sock-ettes!!! Fashion perfect. Hidden by the long jeans!!! Keep the toes warm. I used sock yarn she had admired.
See, aren't they cute and perfect??
I was very impressed with them. I used a picot hem at the top. And, they even fit!!

I bet the Yarn Harlot's three teen-age daughters would LOVE to have such a pair of sock-ettes!!! These socks, however, have stayed out of sight in my daughter's sock drawer since they were finished. They have never seen the light of day, much less the dark of the inside of a pair of shoes. Daughter-dear says she loves the socks. She just won't wear them. They would make her stand out. "People" will laugh. Other people would not be seen dead in such socks. Sigh..........

Saving My Sanity
I tend to take my laptop to knitting cafes in order to do homework for my courses this semester. Usually I have a small project in my backpack, purse or car and I struggle with concentrating on my homework when the project is whining and begging. Two weeks ago I was at the knitting cafe with NO PROJECT!!! I worked on my homework, but then I couldn't stand it any longer. My fingers itched. My brain needed the salve of rhythmic repetitive actions. I gave in. I purchased some yarn and some needles. Size 4. I have at least 10 size 4 needles--either straight pairs or every length of circular--at home. But I needed the NOW!! I purchased some hand dyed sock yarn and cast on. Here's the result.
A one-skein Seafoam stitch narrow scarf. 36 stitches wide. Size four needles. Aren't those colors fabulous????
Unfortunately, in my crazed, addicted state of mind at the yarn shop, rushed to get the project on the needles, I ripped off the ball band and tossed it aside. I believe it is ArtYarns sock yarn. Don't know which colorway.

Socks For Me!!!
The two pair of Lucy Neatby Mermaid Socks that I made before Christmas went to good feet, but not my feet. Daughter #1 took the blue ones. Step-daughter took the fall colored ones. My feet needed some of those spectacular, snug-but-not-too-tight fitting socks. So, I cast on for myself.

Sock #1 done, sock #2 on the way. Don't you just love what this pattern does to self striping yarns?? It looks like entrelac, but it's not. Lucy Neatby, you're my hero!!

Church Project
I haven't blogged about this yet. My church has been growing in the past few years and we have missed the intimacy of the smaller congregation. As a result, the church started some Chalice Groups--small groups of 10 or so who meet regularly to explore some theme of issues and to create community. I decided that knitting, as a spiritual/creative activity, was a good theme for a Chalice Group. I started a group of fiber artists--some knitters, weavers, quilters--and we meet monthly. Each Chalice Group must do a service project. We decided to make a blanket for our upcoming church auction. Our church building was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright and it is too small for the congregation. We are in the process/throes of having an addition designed and built. In honor of our historic structure (which remains intact) we selected colors and themes from the building. The blanket is still under construction--as will be the new addition at the time of the auction! Here are some sneak previews.

Square-placement design is driving us nuts!!!!

Milestones Reached
Daughter #2 has received her learner's permit for driving. Thus far she has spent 2 hours behind the wheel in a large and almost-empty parking lot. I was along for one of the sessions, in the back seat knitting and providing moral support. Dad was in the front seat giving directions. Daughter was behind the wheel nervously trying to accelerate to 15 mph, turn square corners,, etc, and telling Dad that his directions were confusing. Dad was trying to defend his instructions. I was trying to mediate. Knitting was essential to sanity.

I leave you with photos of our favorite season--SNOW!!! All the snow here is gone and spring bulbs are forcing up their tentative green shoots. We miss our snowman and snow tunnel.

Happy Spring to All!!!


yvette said...

I hope your brother recovers well from his surgery,
on the knitting front I love your seafoam scarf, the colours are wonderful.

HPNY Knits said...

good recovery to your brother!
and you have been BUSY! wow. but the Seafoam stitch narrow scarf is wonderful!
very inspiring.

yvette said...

Hi Gail thanks for your comment, unfortunately its still blowing a blizzard today, so much so that I think I will give knitting group a miss today.

Warrior Knitter said...

I hope your brother continues to mend, even with the set back.

Your knitting as always is fabulous. The scarf is wonderous. It looks like stained glass.

And I think the socks are terrific - all of them! Someday, I'll be back on track with my Mermaid socks.

Vicki Knitorious said...

I'm so sorry to hear about your brother, Gail. I hope he's doing well on the road to recovery.

Your scarf is GORGEOUS!!!

Lorette said...

Wow, lots going on with you! I hope your brother recovers well. I love that Seafoam stitch scarf. Where is that pattern stitch from?

TJ said...

well, this is a nice blog, i like how you organize pictures in your blog, by the way i like your cat too, I love cat. how often you update your blog?

DL said...

Your brother's health trials remind me not to despair over my own. We all have our own crosses to bear and I needed a reminder that mine wasn't the heaviest.
I love that you bought new needles and yarn because you needed to do something RIGHT NOW. I have done the same thing with crochet hooks, yarn, cross stitch kits and needles.