Saturday, January 17, 2009

Someone Woke Up on the Wrong Side of the New Year

And we know who, don't we? Yes, Mr. Mike crankily head bobbed me the moment I walked into his room on 1 Jan. He has been ticked off at me most of the winter, due to my usual winter habit of withholding the sun from him and making the skies all gray and low. He didn't care that The Mommy was also cranky, back in December, when his heater malfunctioned and I had to go buy him a new one.

He's been a happy camper most of the last week or so, since we've been having unseasonably warm temperatures, even breaking a record for a daytime high. We've been in the 60s and 70s most of the past week or so, including a summery 76F. Nights are still chill, down into the low 30s, so there's still plenty of heat augmentation going on in the lizard room.

Both my Bartonella and Borrelia are in flare, as long-undiagnosed (and hence untreated tickborne infections are wont to do) and have been since late summer last year, with symptoms getting increasingly worse. I haven't felt like reading, which for me is a major red flag that something is seriously wrong. Even audio books are difficult to impossible to listen to, with even favorite authors being uninteresting to listen to. The last time I was like this was when the infections flared big time in 1991-1992; the time before that was when I first got bitten, and was bedridden for 8 weeks. No interest in reading was how my parents knew I was really sick and what raised the red flag for them, since I have been devouring books at an unnatural pace (or so it seems in a world where fewer people seem to read books) since I was 7 years old.

Along with all that brain fog comes the pain and range of motion impairments caused by both the infections. Bartonella seems to particularly love my right shoulder, elbow, wrist and fingers, resulting in being unable to knit socks or anything else with fingering weight yarn. Even dk and sport weight yarns (slightly wider in diameter than fingering, for you non-knitting types) have become difficult to knit with any preciseness and evenness, so I had to set aside the last pair of soldier socks I was working on because the quality was not what it must be for the kind of wear that our men and women in the service of necessity impose on them.

I've been pulling worsted weight yarns from my stash and knit a couple of scarves and arm warmers and, to help keep my right wrist and hand more comfortable, some therapeutic wrist warmers.

I bought the last 6 skeins of Tahki New Tweed at a sale several years ago, 3 skeins of blue and 3 of green. I knit some of these warmers with both colors. They are for wearing while I am out of the house, as they are a lovely mix of merino wool and silk. (Ifinished this one last night and haven't woven in the ends yet.)


as opposed to the acrylic and wool, and wool and acrylic blend ones I make to wear at home, since they tend to get some hard wear when in contact with lizards and get pretty thrashed from being worn in bed with all the flannel bedding.

Old remnant yarn pulled from my stash:


And some Wool-ease yarn left over from the Fibonacci project:


One feature of this round of brain fog is that I seem to be unable to knit anything but the diagonal eyelet pattern for scarves (as the blue Vanna yarn one immediately below), and the mock cable pattern for the arm warmers and wrist warmers.


No matter how many other patterns I try, I end up ripping everything out. It would be quite frustrating if there was something I had to knit, and for my attitude in general about 'frogging' (derived from 'rip it', meaning to unravel the yarn and wind it back into the ball): I long ago started referring to the ripping back (sometimes completely unraveling the piece and starting all over again) as zen knitting. I knit to knit, not to get a finished product.

For example, this diagonal scarf and mock cable arm warmers. I'd actually bought this yarn (KnitPick's Swish Bulky) to make a shrug to wear at home, but I wasn't getting the gauge despite, yes indeed, casting on and knitting several inchs of 25-30" wide fabric before frogging it all and trying again on different sized needles. I finally gave up and decided to make a scarf and warmers out of it.

The scarf was cast on, knitted for several inches, even more than one skin at one point, before being ripped out and started over and over again, in many different patterns. I actually completed an 8 ft. scarf in a sort of modified old shale (AKA, feather and fan) pattern, wore it a few times, and decided it really wasn't what I had envisioned (didn't lay right, didn't look right), and so I ripped it all out. Deciding not to fight the inevitable, I started over again, using the diagonal eyelet pattern, and the scarf worked up like a dream. Lesson: never argue with yarn and force it to be what it does nto want to be.


And then there is the ripping done by someone else. In this case, Ginger, Sidney's adopted bratty mouthy (red dobie) sister. (Karen reminds me that I found Ginger online at a dobie rescue, and so partially if not damn near fully responsible for all the problems the sweet girl causes. I apparently was not sufficiently upset when Ginger ate the heel and part of the foot out of the very first sock Karen was learning to knit. So, on New Year's eve, Ginger started eating one of my favorite thick, merino wool wrist warmers:

The back view:


The palm view:


And, no, I cannot make a replacement because the yarn isn't available anymore, so I will have to make a whole new pair. And since the economy has tanked my already meager discretionary funds, there will be no more new yarn purchased in quite some time. From here on out, it is strictly knitting from my yarn stash.

Speaking of forcing yarn into what it doesn't want to be... Here is some lovely yarn Phyllis gifted me several years ago, purchased on her trip to Nova Scotia where she visited Knatolee, another (wacked out) friend of ours. I wound up a hank of it and tried various things, but it just didd't want to be that. So it sat in my yarn room until a couple of weeks ago when, still wanting another shawl to wear at home, I pulled it out and started playing with it. Here is what I got:




On New Year's Eve, I went to Karen's to work on some computer stuff and to quietly see in the new year. While working on the stuff, we also also sacrificed a bottle (or, uhm, two) of holiday cheer to see us through the drudgery of figuring out alien blogware. This may explain the laughter in the background of the following videos, taken of Ginger getting introduced to and trying to eat the Red Dot.

Ginger & The Laser Light, Part 1 (Wherein Ginger meets the Red Dot)



Part 2 (Wherein Ginger gets better at getting the Red Dot so we up the game)



Part 3 (Wherein Sidney gets frustrated and cranky)



About the tape around Ginger's head: She cut her ear somehow, and kept flinging blood around. After a trip to the emergency vet at 4AM, Karen and Ginger were not even out of the vet clinic's reception area before Ginger had flung off the bandaging they had applied, making their reception area look like the crime scene at Karen's house, with high velocity spatter all over the walls, ceiling, furnishings, and floor. They found the only way to keep the ear from flapping around and breaking open the stitched-up laceration was to just tape it to her head. The tape is now gone and the ear well on its way to being all healed.

And, finally, the end of the page. Here's a quick shot of Mike, who was staring at Ginger's handy (er, toothy) work on my black arm warmer when I was shooting the photo.



A quick note on the Red Dot... I found an inexpensive laser light sold as a pet toy rather than as a presentation pointer. I bought it for the latter, and it's been quite useful. NYE was the first time I tried it as it was intended as, despite the illustration on the package, Mike was not in the least bit interested. The product is called Laser Chase (marketed by PetSport, Pittsburg, Calif.), and was $4.99 plus tax. As with all laser lights, they should not be stared out or aimed at the eye.

1 Comments:

Blogger Mary said...

Hope you and Mike feel better soon. I, for one, am quite impressed with all of the knitting you've been able to do, especially since you're not feeling great.

I've barely been knitting lately -- reading has become almost obsessive for me, so no time to knit!

8:29 AM  

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