Thursday, November 21, 2013

Baby Steps

I took photos of my loom and warping board to my physical therapist Kris so he could see what I'm asking him to clear me to do.  He said okay - but activity just to tolerance.  I decided that ten 20" wide towels aren't a good starting point so I removed that warp and wound this scarf warp instead.  It took about a half hour and I did it in two separate sittings. I'm taking baby steps and it seemed to go okay.

Ian and I made a Costco run after physical therapy.  He had been looking at cameras on Consumer Reports to replace my aging Panasonic PowerShot.  His recommendation was another Nikon Cool Pix.  The price was right so this picture is from my new S9500.  The shutter speed is, well, speedy. 

It also has some special effects that I can apply right from the camera to look like the smart phone camera apps.  This is one is called Toy Box Effect.
This special effect is called Painting.  It's looks like a quick pass through Photoshop, which might be okay since nothing about Photoshop is ever quick.
I keep a quilt on Lilith when she's not in use so she won't get bleached out with the sun streaming through the window.  
Now that Maddie is in the studio with me, this is her place - a fort!
This morning I started the next step and sleyed some of the warp.  I do it by the clock so when 20 minutes was done, so was I.  I thought I'd get back to it this afternoon but decided to wait a day.  I'm having problems with muscle spasms on the left side of my neck and don't want to make them worse. 

I finished this set for great-granddaughter Olivia in Massachusetts and want to get them in the mail next week.
This is what's holding me up.  I want to also make her a Christmas hat but wasn't able to get to Jimmy Beans until Monday, after physical therapy - different day from the camera.  I'm using the orange and purple pattern.  I know I'm my own worse critic but so far it's just not floating my boat.  I'm sticking with it, hoping just once, it will be even cuter than the picture.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Overcoming Obstacles

Madeline has been with us a little over a month now and has grown into an air of entitlement.  Her caution with the cat tree lasted about four days but the toy mouse I tied to it was pretty enticing.  She kept climbing onto the easy chair to bat at the mouse and then suddenly the light went on.  From the chair she jumped to the platform.  Now she owns it.  But of course, she does.
This is another sweater I finished during my confinement.  The pattern was knit in the round, from the top down.  There were 1400 yards in that hank so I just kept knitting and now I have a tunic.  I wore this to see the neurologist last Monday.  He took me off the cervical collar and has prescribed physical therapy, three times a week for six weeks.  That's a lot of time in the car and a lot of knitting.

I had an evaluation appointment on Wednesday with my physical therapy whose name is Kris.  He said because my surgical procedure is so new, he would have to speak to my doc before prescribing any kind of treatment.  Ian and I went back in on Friday and Kris was overjoyed.  The new technique will allow me to regain nearly full range of motion.  We began to work on strengthening muscles that don't want to work and boy are they complaining, but the stiff neck has got to go!

The pain is also improving, a little every day.  Hilary from Crazy as a Loom called me within the first couple of weeks after my surgery and explained what I was experiencing and what to expect.  That information was the most valuable of all.  My head is "exquisitely tender" and still sore to the touch.  Hilary explained that pain is from the frame that they screwed into my skull to stabilize my head during surgery.  The scalp is painful as are the bills that have begun to arrive in the mail.
We had three trips to town last week and will again next week.  I'm already wondering what I'm going to knit when this is done.  I'm so happy with the yarn and the pattern together.  Just think - if I hadn't ripped out the monster origami sweater, I wouldn't have anything to knit!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Knitting Under the Influence

The Effortless Cardigan continued to grow and become more unwieldy, but I continued to knit because I was convinced that it would look like the picture in the end.
The last step was to pick up and knit stitches for the collar.  It didn't say how many stitches, just that they be divisible by 4 for a K2, P2 rib.  So I knitted forever on 200+ stitches until had 3" of ribbing.
Good grief!  I draped the front so it looked better but this is how it would wear.  I bought the pattern and ordered the yarn after the accident and I'm blaming Vicodin for this misadventure.
This is what it looks like now.  I've already cast on for the Neckdown V Neck Shaped Cardigan from Knitting Pure and Simple.  I've made it before and like to wear it.  I'll try something new another time.
I've finished a couple of other sweaters.  This is the boatneck pullover, also from Knitting Pure and Simple from Knit Picks CotLin.  It's pills a bit and is pretty messy for the first couple of  times of wash and wear, but after that it launders up nicely.  I'm thinking about ordering some of their superwash and make this just one more time.

I'm supposed to take the collar off at intervals to strengthen the muscles in my neck, but as you can see, they're pretty stiff.  I'm probably six weeks from a haircut still so we just won't talk about that.
We bought a cat tree at Costco on Friday but so far Madeline is intimidated by it.  I tied one of her toy mice to a string and attached it to the tower but she's managed to make it a game with the chair and thus avoid the tree. She's just four months old and I'm sure she's get more venturesome with experience.

Allison and Amy came out with their knitting and laughter this morning and spent a couple of hours with me.  Allison brought a bag of candy corn which tore into.  It doesn't make any sense, but that's my favorite candy.  The visit was sweet in more ways than one :)

Today is six weeks since the accident, so tomorrow we go back to town to see the neurosurgeon to find out what's what and what's going to be what.  I got my x-rays taken on Friday and we'll pick them up along with the radiologist's report on our way in.  I'm all anxious to do physical therapy, until I have to move my head.  All will be illuminated.

Monday, November 04, 2013

Books, Books, Books

My activities are pretty limited still - reading, knitting, napping - so here are the books I've liked the best from the past month or so.

Dad is Fat by Jim Gaffingan - This is the funniest book I've read all year and perhaps ever.  It's the book I had in the hospital and in spite of everything, it still kept my attention and made me laugh.

When You Are Engulfed in Flames by David Sedaris - I know Sedaris has a reputation as a humorist and while I can't say I found this collection of stories funny, I nevertheless was completely engaged by them and have started reading his essays in The New Yorker.

The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri - I got my copy as a pre-pub release from Random House so realize a lot of people may not have had a chance to read this yet.  I've love to hear from anyone who has.  While I did enjoy the book, I was disappointed in the lack of emotional engagement and felt she had created the characters as mouth pieces to deliver a story she wanted told.

The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything: A Spirituality for Real Life by James J. Martin - I loved this book.  You don't have to be a Jesuit or even a Catholic for that matter to enjoy it, but it probably helps. 

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce - Short-listed for the Booker, this quiet story kept my attention.  It was the November book club selection for our Tuesday Book Club and they tell me they loved it.  I know I did.

Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson - I recommend this book, it's surprisingly readable, but be prepared - it's intense.  It's both a biography and social history of the past 30 years.  I think it's an important book.

Orange is the New Black: My Year in a Women's Prison by Piper Kerman - I picked this up at Costco.  It's been on a lot of reading lists and was a spontaneous buy.  At the time I didn't realize that it's been turned into a made-for-TV series and that Ian has watched it.  It reads as quickly as fiction and is another important book.  I only hope it makes people wonder about the high rate of incarceration in the "land of the free and home of the brave."

When the Emperor Was Divine by Julie Otsuka - This is the debut novel by the same author as the recent bestseller, The Buddha in the Attic.  Both books were really good and I liked them equally.

I'm reading several books right now and am on hold for ten, that's the limit at the library - that's the problem with trying to read best sellers through the library.  I'm almost finished with Anne Hillerman's Leaphorn-Chee novel.  She's picked up writing the series where her father left off.  That was another spontaneous purchase at Costco and I'll let you know what I think when I'm done.