Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Spinning for Christmas

Well, my hand is still healing - oh, so slowly it seems, so knitting is still not a real option right now. I do seem to be getting better, though, because I seem to be using it more which means it is hurting more. I'm trying to watch myself a little better. I'm sure there must be some line between reasonable use = continued healing and overuse = new (or re-) injury. My guiding line so far has been, if it hurts much it is probably bad. If it just aches a little it is probably okay for a brief time. You know, rebuilding muscles. There is still a fair bit of swelling around the actual joint and thumb area. I've also got this weird little twitch in my thumb from time to time. For a while, it was waking me up at night, but not any more. I'm not sure if that is because it is twitching less or I've just gotten used to it. Hopefully it is a phase in the healing and not a permanent thing. It is kind of freaky to see (I think).

I finally! got to spend some time spinning this past week. Long overdue in my mind, but that's just the way it goes sometimes. I've just about finished up some Romney that I got to practice with while learning, so now I'm almost ready to start with some fun stuff. I've got some red roving that I plan to use to make a French Market Bag. I've been dying to do one of these, but couldn't decide what I wanted to use. Then I was pondering what to try my homespun on and a little lightbulb went off. So, I'll use the Romney I've been practicing on for the bottom, it is kind of a grey/brown color so it won't show as much dirt, and I'll spin some ruby red for the rest of the bag. Then I plan to gift it to my grandmother. If it goes well, and I like it, I'll do another in homespun for myself. I do want them to be a bit bigger, so will have to be sure to spin plenty of yarn. Oh darn! LOL The best part is that I am spinning and it doesn't hurt my hand, so I don't feel like I've abandoned my knitting. I'm just in therapy. Practice and therapy all at once.

Other non-knitting projects include another cross-stitched quilt square for a wedding quilt at church. I'll get a picture of this one when it is done. The quilt is all in earth tones again. I don't know what it is, but the last 3 or 4 quilts have been increasingly brown. Don't get me wrong, I like brown just fine. It's just that it would be nice to do something more varied; blues, greens, reds, yellows, pinks, purples, ANYTHING that wasn't brown, beige, tan, khaki, cream, gold, rust, maroon. They work, but after 4 of them, BORING for the stitchers. Ah well, it isn't for me so I probably shouldn't be complaining about it.

Christmas went very well and was a lovely day spent at church, playing with the girls, and then over to a friends house for a lovley meal. We had a great time visiting with them and it was a very nice and blessed day. Of course, it was back to work for me the day following. I think this is the first time in over 8 years that I haven't taken extra time off following Christmas. It feels very strange, but I wanted to save the vacation time for when my hand is more normal and I can actually spend my time doing stuff, whatever that stuff might turn out to be. As far as gifts go, I didn't get anything knitting or craft related. Well, unless you count cooking and my new Alton Brown cookbook that I've been wanted (the new revised edition). This year I took pity on my husband and gave him a list of 3 things I'd like so that he could concentrate on the joy of shopping with the girls instead of worrying about them AND what to get me. I also tried to pick the easy to find gifts to help even more. (The poor man does struggle with the whole gift thing. he wants to get something nice/meaningful, he just doesn't know how to go about doing it.) So I listed the book, a movie (Pirates of the Caribbean 2) and some Knit Picks needles (size 0 - 4 circs, I LOVE this for socks!). I didn't get the needles, but I do have a birthday on Jan 7, so I might get them yet. If not, I do know where to get them for myself. LOL

I didn't really need anything, so I was very pleased and happy with my gifts. My DH also surprised me with the new Gin Blossoms CD. I've been waiting so long for a new one, I'd given up, so this was a very nice surprise (and spontaneous gift giving on his part). In fact, we all had a much simpler Christmas this year. None of us needed anything, so I really didn't want to buy a bunch of junk that would never get used. We did more charity gifting and less for us. I'm glad and hope we keep that up.

Well, the hand is getting tired, so time to stop. I hope you all had a lovely Christmas! And in case I don't get back online this week, Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

One week to go

Just in case anyone needs reminding, LOL. I can't believe how far behind I am in Christmas preparations this year, and I'm not knitting anything for gifts. I had the foresight to know that the surgery would put me out of commission as far as Christmas gift were concerned, but I failed to grasp how many other things would fall by the wayside as a result of the surgery. How lame is that?

No Christmas cards, no family photo (we usually do those ourselves), most of the decorations are not up (just the tree), etc. I have a good excuse, but I still feel like a slacker. I'm having a hard time letting go, which is lame. But at least the deadlines are all in my head and not any "hard" commitments that I have to keep.

I got my order of Violet's Pink Ribbon in yesterday, and it is georgous! I ordered two skeins, though I'm not quite sure what I'll do with the second skein yet. Maybe something for the girls as they both really liked it. If you like podcasts and haven't heard Lime & Violet, check them out. They are not particulary for very young ears, but I think they are lovley, crazy women who manage to make you feel like you are part of the fun, rather than some listener stuck in a long commute home (which is where I do most of my listening). It could just be that they remind me of how my friends and I were when we got together, but I love listening to them and they make me laugh (and sometimes snort tea out of my nose). Miss Violet recently had a big scare finding a lump in her breast. Some portion of the proceeds from sales of Violet's Pink Ribbon will help defray Miss V's medical costs, a wonderful way to help out a fellow knitter, and oh so appropriate since it is sock yarn and she has, well, sock issues. Lisa Souza's yarns are amazing, so be sure to check those out in any case.

While ordering from Lisa Souza, I also got the Emerald City colorway (only one). Beautiful and so incredibly soft! I got all excited and picked up my knitting, put on the splint and knit for a whole 10 minutes. It went better than before, but still feels really awkward. I got really frustrated and just put it down. I know, shocking, but there is still quite a bit of swelling in my wrist joint and the back of my hand. I am concerned about causing new injuries since everything is still obviously healing, so I'd rather err on the side of caution and take it easy. Also, I just wasn't feeling it, you know? Of course, it is possible that that was just because I wanted to cast on with the new yarn and start something new. >sigh<

I did have some fun this weekend, we got together with some friends to brew a Nose Nipper holiday beer. It was a pretty involved recipe, lots of add-ins (citrus, cinnamon, & peppermint), but I'm looking forward to trying it out. We've been lazy about brewing lately, which is too bad because I enjoy it so much, but maybe we'll get back to it. I love the smell of the malt & hops simmering away on the stove, so yummy! I know we have plans to do a Russian Imperial Stout style beer in May, but I hope we do something before then.

Our school is on break so I've been attending meetings at work this week. There is a faculty member knitting a poncho and one crocheting a scarf (or something in a long thin strip). I'm used to being the lone knitter in public, it is odd to see someone else doing it. I am so jealous! I just sit there, trying not to twitch in public. I know, it will pass. Thank goodness I have all of the holiday anxiety to distract me! LOL! I'm squeezing in last minute gifts, shopping trips to malls that still don't have power back on in the street lights surrounding it (yep, just when you thought Christmas mall shopping couldn't get worse, those wind storms last week really helped - NOT). And now, another cross stitch project for a wedding quilt at church. That will keep me busy too. Maybe by the time that is due I'll be back to knitting again. I'll keep my needles crossed.

Photos will come, really, I just have issues wresting control of the computer from my husband, finding time (and the camera) to download the pictures, etc. And maybe, after the first of the year, I can actually get on a knitting ring. Woo- wouldn't that be fun! Well, in case I miss posting again this week, I wish you all a very blessed and Merry Christmas.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Freedom from the cast & remembering to be grateful

I got the cast/splint off early! They moved my appointment from Monday (12/11) to last Friday. Wow! What a gift. I am SO excited to have that thing off my arm, I'm pretty sure that I would need sedatives if I actually broke my right arm and had to have a cast for months. Seriously. That was a brutal 9 days, maybe just because it was my right hand, but man, I was a total wimp. I think I managed not to whine about it, but I wanted to hug and kiss the woman who took the thing off. (I'm only slightly kidding.)

The good news is that I have more freedom to move my hand and arm, the bad news is that I am supposed to continue to avoid repetitive movements (can you say KNITTING?) for a while yet and I'm also supposed to avoid lifting weights for the next month. (that would be all weighted objects, not trips to the gym.) The doctor took pity on me after he saw the look on my face when I asked about knitting, and gave me a splint. He said if I could knit with a splint, I could knit, but I should be careful not to over-do it. I've decided to try to hold out as long as I can, and then to knit with an egg timer or something so that I can limit how long I'm knitting (maybe a row limit would be just as effective, I'll bet I'm still pretty slow.

One thing I've observed over this Wrist journey is how our comfort/discomfort level is constantly re-setting itself. Originally the wrist was a minor problem, then it grew into a painful problem that I could not wait to resolve. I remember stating to one (ineffective) doctor that I thought I was beginning to understand what would drive an animal to chew their own foot off. He looked disturbed by my comment, but he was busy planning his trip to France, so I probably shouldn't have bothered speaking to him. - ah, does that sound bitter? Sorry. Then the great relief at finding a competent doctor to diagnose and treat the problem & the frustration of waiting for surgery. Now that that is done, I was miserable with the cast/splint and my inability to do anything very effectively/quickly. Now the cast is off & I'm still frustrated at my limitations and now, horrified with the scar. Frankenhand is what I call myself these days. (The kids like it.) What I forget with the scar and pain and limited mobility, is that I am also very grateful that the problem is fixed and that I am on the mend with my hand still attached and, if I behave myself, the knitting will come back to me in time. I am amazed at how limited my range of motion is, but it will come back. I worried that I would favor my hand too much to get it all back, but that's what young children are for, they make me react without thinking just enough that I should regain all range of motion in no time. LOL Still, a little frustrating and slow, but I am trying to remember how miserable I was waiting to get this all sorted out. The temporary issues waiting to heal are just that, temporary.

So today's theme, remembering to be grateful, even when things are still not quite "right". At least I can type again, albeit for limited amounts of time and I've about reached it for this hour, so I'll wind this up I think. I decided to include a picture of the newly released hand, but I want to warn you, it looks pretty gross. I don't want to hit anyone's squick button, so I decided to tell you now DON'T LOOK AT THE PICTURE BELOW IF YOU ARE SQUEAMISH. There. You've been warned.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Something to occupy my time

Success is sometimes found in unexpected places. I've tried unsuccessfully to knit with my cast, multiple attempts with multiple yarn/needle sizes. That didn't work. I've been trying to read, but the weight of the book strains my hand after a while. So then I decided to try something really crazy. I picked up some cross-stitch that I haven't worked on for ages, seriously, and gave that a try.

I can do it! Dang! That was a shocker, but I feel so much better. I mean, I know it is only 10 days, but I really need something to fill in the downtime when I can't do anything else. I'm really enjoying it, it has been a looooong time since I did any stitching. In fact, I took up knitting to replace my stitching, so I guess there's some symmetry to the whole thing. I also recently went on a binge, buying all of the companion pieces to match the pattern I'm stitching. (Mermaid of the Pearls #26)

And why, you may ask, did I give up stitching in the first place? Well, I found it extremely difficult to do a very nice job stitching while holding my first baby, and whenI thought how tempting the pretty colors of string would be to a toddler, you know, strings attached to tiny hard-to-find needles, I thought maybe I should consider putting the stitching on hold for a bit and come back to it when it seemed more manageable. Now, I know many, many others would be perfectly able to continue stitching, but it just wasn't working for me. Maybe I just needed a break from it for a while. Who knows? Anyway, I found my way to knitting and I haven't looked back. But now and then I think I'd like to find a way to work both into my life. Maybe this 10-day trial period will help me on that path.

But knitting still rules! LOL

Monday, December 04, 2006

Sweet alpaca deal

Still in the world of limited typing but I wanted to share my sweet deal. My priest's daughter is in Bolivia right now and she shipped back some yarn she picked up from a mill (I guess, I can't find the place listed online although I know there was an email address on the color cards). Holly paid something like $30.00/kilo of 100% alpaca fingering weight yarn, several different colors, and so I bought a couple of, hmmm, chunks of yarn for $20.00/ 17 oz. The yarn is kind if folded, it was probably in hanks, but since my hand is all splinted, I can't really do muchmore than pet it. I picked up a nice tweedy-looking purple and a red-ish tweed. The red is really not a good color for me, so it will have to be something for my DH, but I LOVE the purple. I'm thinking I should have gotten the teal color instead of the red, but if she still has it next week I might try to trade.

On the other hand, I have no idea what the heck I'm going to do with this much fingering weight yarn. It's really tiny, you know? Whatever it is has to be good AND fun since it will take a while. It was one of those circumstances where the price was too good NOT to buy any, but I really don't have any need for that much fingering weight yarn. Aslo, I did want to help support Holly, these things help provide her with money while she is living down there, but since I'm one of two people that her mom knows who knit, it will be hard for her mom to unload the yarn I think. I'm saved a bit by the fact that most of the yarn is in colors that I cannot wear without looking very ill, so I won't be adding more to my stash. How I wish it had been a heavier weight yarn though. Maybe if I did machine knitting...