Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Check this out

If you haven't already, be sure to check out the latest KnitCast. It's an interview with Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, the Yarn Harlot, and it's a great listen. She's every bit as entertaining in audio form as in writing. Also, even though it's a podcast, you don't have to have an iPod to listen to it -- just download it and have a listen on your computer. Enjoy!

Sunday, May 29, 2005

A Cautionary Word

After I posted the picture of my stash in its new home in my cedar chest, I received a cautionary comment from Elizabeth H from Culpeper, VA, who wrote:

I, too, put my stash in a cedar chest, only to discover several years later, that cedar oil from the chest itself had seeped into and DISCOLORED the yarn touching the sides and bottom of the chest. Be warned - you really need to put something between the chest and your yarn ASAP. The stain from the cedar WILL NOT WASH OUT!

I thought this was a great warning, and I figured I shouldn't keep it to myself lest anybody else had the idea to store their stash in a cedar chest. I don't know if this is a problem with all cedar chests, but it's worth being aware of. I've never had a problem with discoloration of the clothing that I've stored in the chest in the past, but I'm not going to take any chances, so I will be lining the chest with wax paper or something as soon as I feel motivated enough to hobble down to the basement to do so. (I can actually go up and down the stairs just fine on my crutches, but haven't yet felt like dragging a chair from one room to another to the chest to deal with it. Activities certainly become re-prioritized when one's leg is immobilized and unable to bear weight, and both hands are busy while "walking".)

In addition, the little bit of research that I did on my cedar chest as a result of Elizabeth's comment turned up some more useful information. It seems that all Lane cedar chests manufactured before 1994, or something like that, have a recall on them beceause of their locks. Apparently the chests click shut even when you aren't actually locking them, and can't be opened from the inside when they're not locked, so children have become stuck in them and died. If you have a Lane cedar chest, do a Google search on them, and you can find a phone number to get a replacement lock.

By the way, Elizabeth is also a brand new blogger -- she's just getting her site started over at She has a free pattern for a baby bib on there, so go check it out if you get a chance.

Lately Haloscan hasn't been very good about e-mailing me all of my comments. I usually like to just reply by e-mail to those who comment, but if they aren't e-mailed to me, this is pretty hard - sometimes I don't even find them for a few days. Anybody else ever had this problem with Haloscan? I think it might be related to the e-mail address I'm using for the comments, which is on my Sidekick (handheld cell phone/e-mail/internet/planner/device/thingy), but I'm not sure. Any advice would be appreciated.

In light of that, I thought I'd just reply to a few comments on here:

Susan wrote:

When are you grrls going to Knit Craft? I'm sure the SLC gang would love to head north to meet you.

I apologize for not hooking you up with Miriam, Kim, and Kim in time for their KnitCraft trip. I didn't discover your comment until it was too late, and unfortunately had to miss the trip myself, as I spent that Saturday at home in a dim haze of pain and Percoset. :) Hopefully we can all get together another time. In fact, maybe a Utah knitblogger meet-up is in order? "Heck", at this rate, we're going to need a Utah Knit Blog Ring! Also, Susan, do keep me posted on whether there is an IKEA opening in Utah!

Michele remarked:

I'm really wanting some KOIGU, just not sure which color since the only place I'm going to be able to buy it is online.

I would totally recommend ordering Koigu from Matt and Rob at Threadbear. They carry a great selection of Koigu, and more importantly, they will no doubt be happy to give you color recommendations based on your general tastes. Matt is the color-meister in my opinion - he's the one who put together the kit for my Charlotte's Web shawl, and I love the result. And Matt and Rob are really so nice -- as I mentioned before, it was a delight to meet them in person, and made me feel even better about buying yarn from them. I tell ya, good, friendly customer service and an inviting atmosphere will get my loyalty every time. Actually, you live in Ohio, right? I think you'd just better take a road trip to Lansing!

Finally, to everyone who commented to wish me luck and to wish me a speedy recovery from my surgery, thank you so much for your kind words! Things are going well enough with my recovery -- it's going to take longer than I expected, but then it always does, right? I haven't had too many problems since those first few days, with the exception of a little scare on Friday that resulted in an impromptu trip to the emergency room. I was having symptoms of a blood clot in my calf, but lucky for me, it was a false alarm.

Amazingly, with my strangely busy schedule of exercises, physical therapy appointments, doctor's appointments, and four hours a day on the "Legasus CPM" (that's the leg-bendy machine's actual name), not to mention my various pain-medicine-induced naps and the ridiculous amount of time it takes me to complete mundane tasks such as carry a glass of water from the sink to the couch (it's all about having intermediate surfaces on which to sit the glass at regular intervals), I have had remarkably little time to knit in the past week.

Happily, this has remedied itself in the past couple days, and I have started making good headway on Rogue once again, especially after I discovered that I can quite easily knit while lying on my back having my leg repeatedly bent to a 105 degree angle. Yesterday I finished up the back, and switched over to finishing the remainder of the front. I'm a few rows into the chart for the cabling around the neck, and I'm definitely feeling the Rogue love again.

I am a little bit nervous about the sweater in general, because my gauge is a bit off. I'm getting 4.5 stitches to the inch, as I should, but instead of 6 rows/inch, I've been getting more like 7. I have made some design changes on the fly to compensate for this, so I hope that it will all work out. There is a simple cable repeat in the body that called for three repeats, and I repeated it six times instead to make up for some of the difference. I'm also a bit nervous because, in my zeal to start knitting, though I did knit a gauge swatch in the flat (and not one in the round, which is how I ended up off on the row gauge, I guess), I did not wash and block my swatch, so now I'm a bit worried that the sweater will grow unacceptably when it gets blocked. Hopefully it will all work out. The sleeves, which have been done for some time, seem to be about the right length for now, and I tried on the body when I switched from circular to flat knitting. It fit over a shirt, but it wasn't very loose, which I think is a good thing -- hopefully if it does grow in blocking, it won't grow too much, and it will still fit alright.

Though this is not my very first sweater, it is actually the first one I've made with sleeves. Since there is actual knitting progress to show, naturally I do not have my digital camera available. It's currently on a canoe trip, floating somewhere on the San Rafael River. This qualifies me as a pretty good girlfriend, eh? So, progress photos will appear after the camera gets home Monday.

Oh, and to those who inquired, luckily my knitting gauge doesn't seem to be much affected by Percoset. This was a huge relief to me, as I had a bad gauge experience when I was still on Valium immediately after my laser eye surgery last December. I even took the time to swatch before casting on a for a sock, but a couple days later, after doing some additional non-Valium knitting on the same sock, I realized it was going to be waaay too small and had to rip the whole thing out. It took me a while to realize, hello, you were on a muscle relaxant, what did you expect?

Which brings us to the end of yet another verbose post. Another thank you and a shoutout to Kim, who just stopped by to visit me for a while, and who brought me the most wonderfully soft Color Your Own sock yarn from Knit Picks, along with some directions for Kool-Aid dying. I can't wait to try it out! We're sure gonna be sad to have to tell you "Aloha" when you move to Denver next month, Kim! But, hey, I need more excuses for road trips, and I've never been to any yarn stores in Colorado....

Friday, May 27, 2005


I just lost a long post. I am completely bummed and don't have the willpower to re-create it. Stupid Blogger -- who knew that you have to hit "back" from the preview window. I thought I was in a pop-up. This probably makes no sense to anyone.

Anyway. I will try again tomorrow.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

We Were on a Break

Rogue and I? Well, let's just say we were on a break. But we're back together now, and our relationship is going quite well. I've reached the point where the side cables end and you switch to flat knitting.

Too bad I haven't been knitting for a few days, thanks to this:

Oops, there I go again, over-shrinking my photos...

Knee surgery ain't for wimps, yo.

That is me on my first day home, leg elevated, electric powered cooler for water-flow ice pack thingy attached to my knee, pain pump in place (delivering regular doses of something like novacaine), and not very happy.

And here's a shot of my view:

*Warning: lengthy post-operative tale devolving into occasional ranting follows. Feel free to just scan ahead and look at the pictures if you're not up for that sort of thing*

I've got a full-leg brace, locked into the straight position, which I wear at all times except when I'm doing my battery of exercises. Stitches, bandages, crutches -- check. Percoset, an elaborate series of pillows and blankets for propping, and even a anti-embolism circulation stocking for my good leg - check.

Surgery was on Thursday the 19th, and it's been non-stop fun since then, as you can imagine. I seriously had no idea that this was going to be so painful and challenging. I hadn't even realized that I'd be on crutches after the surgery. But I'm hanging in there, and my condition has improved steadily.

Thanks to several snafus and side-effects, the day of surgery and the following day turned into a bit of a comedy of errors, through which I soldiered in a haze of pain. I'm pretty sure I was not very pleasant to be around, and so for that, I thank those that were around me anyway.

Both of my hands are bruised, because after I told the nurse I had a history of difficulty in receiving an IV, she proceeded to try twice before getting a second nurse who was better at it. The surgery itself went well, as far as I know, though I vaguely remember someone telling me that it took longer than usual because they had to share equipment with a second operating room, or something bizarre like that. ACL and miniscus repair, and luckily not the more serious LCL repair that I'd feared the doctor might decide to do.

I had a much more difficult time coming out of the anasthesia than I have had in the past. I woke up shuddering and nauseated. As a result, I couldn't even manage to successfully eat a cracker all day, and they kept waiting to give me my pain medication. Finally, the nurse wanted to give it to me anyway, since she wanted to go home, and when I asked what she was giving me and learned that it was Lortab, I pointed out that I had told them I was allergic to Lortab, which was on both my chart and my wristband.

By this point (no surprise) the doctor was gone for the day, and his office couldn't get me a Percocet prescription, because it is a narcotic and can't be "called in" to a pharmacy. Instead, they shot me up with some demerol and called in some weaker pain medicine, which we picked up on the way home. Along with the crutches that I didn't have in the first place because nobody at the doctor's office told me I would need them.

I'm pretty much disappointed in the amount of preparatory information I was given, and I plan to make some recommendations to my doctor -- it seems like it would be very easy to give patients a sheet of information and precautions before surgery, so that they can fully understand what they'll need to have ready and what they'll need to do. Explaining it to a combination of a drugged, confused patient and her family members who may or may not catch all the precautions and instructions does not cut it. A checklist might be handy -- get crutches, plan to pick up pain medicine prescription, have lots of ice on hand, make physical therapy and follow-up appointments in advance. Sure, they asked me if I had any questions, but how was I supposed to know? I guess I should have researched more on the internet.

Anyway, I may be on a narcotic-induced rant, but that's mainly because the day immediately following my surgery turned into a bit of a nightmare. Why? Well, the water-flow ice pack system seemed to have leaked in the morning, and my bandages were all wet, so the doctor's office told me I needed to come in to have the dressings changed. Then they told me I needed to drive to the surgical center to get a new ice-water pack. (It turns out that the problem was probably just condensation, and I should have been periodically removing the water pack and drying it, but nobody told us this, at least not that I remembered.) Of course, I wasn't the one driving. So, we headed to the doctor's office, and of course had to WAIT, which sucked, but I got dry dressings and a Percocet prescription.

I was also told that I needed to go to physical therapy THAT DAY, so I went down the hall to try to get in to my physical therapist. Oh, I'm sorry. He's not in, there is nobody in who could see you. Er. But my doctor insisted I should go today, so what should I do? Go to this other clinic at 1:00 PM, it's located by such-and-such a grocery store, near Hollywood video. So we proceeded to drive all over hell and back, first to pick up the ice water pack, then to get some lunch to kill some time, and then to the physical therapists. Which we couldn't find. And which we coudn't contact by phone for a while. Turns out in my haze, I'd thought of the wrong such-and-such a grocery store, which is indeed also by a Hollywood Video. So we had to drive clear across to the other side of town yet again. By the time I got to my appointment, I was completely at the end of my rope. When the physical therapist asked me what I was doing there so soon after my surgery, had to change my dressings again because all the running around had caused me to start bleeding around my pain pump, and told me that I shouldn't be out at all and needed to just go home and take a pain pill and rest, I pretty much lost it. She was just so sensible and helpful, I really wanted to kiss her. She helped me adjust my crutches correctly, gave me more information than anybody else had, and made an appointment for me to come back on Tuesday.

So I'd been running myself ragged in pain on crutches from like 9:45 AM to 2:00 PM, during all of which time I was supposed to be at home, with my leg elevated and iced. Aargh. Let's just say Cheryl the physical therapist and Percocet both saved me from complete and total nervous breakdown.

Yesterday was a better day, though still difficult. A nurse came to my house and removed my pain pump, though my leg is still numb today in one spot, the way your face feels if you've been to the dentist and had too much novocaine. So hopefully that will go away soon, and if it's not gone by tomorrow, I'll have to call the doctor yet again.

Anyway, when I'm not engaged in my most taxing and strenuous activity of the day (i.e. getting up and going to the bathroom -- it's crazy when something you never even think of becomes one of the biggest challenges in your daily life), I'm pretty much supposed to be spending my time elevating, icing, and most of all, performing very simple exercises, such rolling my ankles, straightening my leg and flexing my foot and quad, stretching my hamstrings, propping my leg up as straight as it will go,and lifting my straightened leg a measly six inches. Some of which I have at times been unable to do (especially lifting the leg).

Oh, yeah, and let's not forget, I get to spend four to six hours per day in this contraption:

This torture device exercise machine helps me to regain my range of motion by bending and straightening my leg for me. I need to get up to 90 degrees of motion as soon as possible. This morning I went up to 75 degrees, so I'm getting close.

So what does one do when strapped into a machine for four to six hours per day (besides sleep)? Why catch up on knitting blogs, of course:

At least I got some lovely flowers out of the deal, from my kind friends, Bonnie and Rhonda.

Still Life with Crutches

I'm off work for the next week at least, and since I'm starting to feel a bit better, here's hoping much Rogue knitting will ensue, if I can squeeze it in between physical therapy.

Sunday, May 15, 2005


In an attempt to distract you from the fact that I haven't been accomplishing very much in the way of knitting lately, and hence to prevent this from being the most boring knitting blog in the short history of knitting blogs, I present a whole whack of pictures (with a salute to the Yarn Harlot for the word "whack," which I enjoy immensely.)

First of all, there is actual knitting progress, in the form of my Naturwolle scarf, which is coming right along thanks to those plane rides:

Incidentally, I think I was a bit confusing in yesterday's post. I'm not actually travelling at the moment. I was in Phoenix for about two days last week, but I'm back home now, and won't be going anywhere for a while -- this coming week I will work for the first three days of the week, and then I'm finally going to have my knee surgery on Thursday. I'm not very excited about that, but I guess it's best to get it over with so that I can begin the process of real recovery, as opposed to the "pre-habilitation" that I've been undergoing since my knee injury six weeks ago.

Oh, and incidentally, part 2: I went in my first IKEA in Phoenix, and I'm in love. There are no pictures, but why, oh why, do we not have an IKEA in Utah? I feel confident that they would do a huge amount of business.

But back to the knitting, here is a close-up shot of the scarf, just to give a better idea of the colors. There really is a stitch-pattern in there (a double-moss stitch, I believe it's called), which doesn't show up all that well, but which I think gives some interest to the scarf nonetheless).

One of the reasons I haven't managed to do much knitting lately is that I have moved recently, and I've been attempting to organize all my stuff into a smaller amount of space than the space from which it came. Here is the solution I came up with for my yarn stash:

My only question is this - why in the world didn't I think of this before? I've owned this cedar chest for years, thanks to my Grandma who gave it to me as a college graduation gift (you didn't think I'd buy something with a couple of interlocking hearts on the front of it for myself, did you?) So why is it that I never thought of storing my yarn in there? I'd even had little sachets of cedar chips in with my stash in the plastic totes where it used to live. I can only conclude that I'm an idiot. But at any rate, I had the brilliant idea to transfer it into the chest, and I'm very pleased that it's there now. On the plus side, my entire yarn stash fits in one chest (well, except for that basket of yarn that's in the living room and the yarn for my current projects and...) On the downside, my yarn stash fills an entire cedar chest, and I disappointingly haven't had time to knit it all. But, oh, the possibilities!

A few comments about what's visible in there. Charlotte's Web is hanging out on top, because it seemed like a good place to store her. On the far right is a funky retro straight needle case that I picked up on the cheap at Knit Craft in Ogden. Gotta love that place. Little leftovers reside in the tray, and sock blockers are kickin' it on top. You can also see the sleeves to my as-yet unfinished Rogue, and also my Fuzzy Pull-off Lace Cowl from Melanie Falick's Weekend Knitting, which still needs some blocking and crocheted edging one of these days. (You can see additional pictures of the Rogue and cowl in my Knitting Gallery, linked on the sidebar.)

And on the far left is this:

Three lovely, relatively new skeins of Koigu's KPPPM that I bought recently when I was having a very bad day (which turned into a better day, as it's the day I sold my house). Not sure what I'll make with them, though I was considering getting a lace fix, as knitting lace from Koigu is sheer joy. Any recommendations?

Also, here's a gratuitous close-up of the Koigu:

Oooh, ahhh.

Finally, here are a couple of the reasons I didn't get any knitting done yesterday. I headed down to Salt Lake with my mom to run various errands, but I did come home with this:

I won't be joining the Gathering of Lace knitalong, since I'm not very good at knitalongs lately, but it's a book I've been wanting for a while, and I had a leftover Christmas gift certificate to the Wool Cabin (which seems to have no web page, but check this page for a listing of some of the yarn shops in Utah, though it does not encompass all of them). The copy is quite a bit more shop-worn than I liked, but it's the only thing in the store that I really wanted at that moment, so home it came.

And in completely non-knitting-related purchases, behold the beauty of my new, 14-inch cast-iron wok (oh, hooray!), and my wedding invitations and RSVP cards.

There. Distracting enough? :) One of these days I'll have some substantial knitting time again. Perhaps that will be one of the few upsides of recovering from surgery...

Saturday, May 14, 2005

More of the Same

I'm beginning to feel like a broken record. Hey, everybody! I was knitting on a plane!

I had about one hectic week after returning home from Dayton before I was off on another business trip. I managed to do absolutely no knitting in that time, so I was happy to step onto the plane to Phoenix with my knitting in tow.

Yarn swift? We don't need no stinking yarn swift! Yep, that's me, winding some more Naturwolle before putting in some more work on my scarf. I am still in love with this yarn.

For as much my own amusement as yours, I asked a total stranger to take my picture on the plane. "That's a new one," he said. This is me knitting somewhere over Utah:

There have been many more flattering pictures of me in my lifetime than this one, but oh well. I am happy to report that our plane did NOT crash upon landing, despite one really sketchy moment at the end, when the plane teetered frighteningly as we were just about to touch down and it seemed certain that the wing was going to be the first thing to hit the runway instead of tires. However, the pilots recovered and we were just fine. Apparently Phoenix is a notoriously turbulent place to fly in to. I'm not fond of turbulent flights, and I found myself most irrationally thinking during our final approach, "As long as I keep knitting, we'll land just fine." Perhaps the calming vibes of knitting make their way up into the cockpit of the plane and guide the pilots. Yeah, that's it.

As a parting shot, here's what I look like knitting over the Grand Canyon:

Also not the most flattering picture ever, and another turbulent ride. The iPod is actually self-defense in this case. My co-worker is the one who took this picture, and two rows in front of us on this tiny 12-row plane was a man who actually turned around and talked to the poor people behind him in an annoyingly loud voice for the majority of the hour-and-a-half flight in about the most inane and uninteresting things. It was driving me to contemplate how effective my knitting needle might be as a weapon on a flight (don't tell the FAA). I turned to my co-worker, held the needle out to him, and said, "You know what needs to be done." Which gave us a good laugh, and I retracted the offer of the needle, because, after all, I wouldn't want to ruin good plane-knitting for knitters everywhere.

Friday, May 13, 2005


This Rogue just made me gasp.

Really freaking cool. Other knitters are so much cooler than I am. Man.


And here's a little proof that the socks went to work with me. Gotta love casual Friday, when you can bust out the hiking boots and khaki pants. Well, that and the fact that my khaki pants are some of the only casual pants I own that fit over my knee brace. Less than one week now until my surgery. Wonder what kind of a SuperBrace I'll be sporting then?

Making Waves Out and About

Since our weather has reverted and it is fairly cool, my Making Waves socks are making their debut at the office today. They are rather too warm, which is a wee bit unexpected, since they are cotton socks. Then again, it's an office inferno today, so it's hard to blame the socks. Otherwise, their maiden voyage is going well enough, though I wish I'd made the cuffs with one size smaller needle. Chalk that up to yet another lesson learned.

This is not exactly knitting news, I guess, but there will be knitting news very soon. Things got a bit overwhelming recently, but hopefully there will be a return to some degree of normalcy (and therefore some degree of knitting) very soon as well.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Yet another new Knit Cast!

There is yet another new edition of KnitCast available, so go check it out! I haven't listened to this one yet, but lucky me, it is ready right in time for (you guessed it) -- another business trip! (I acknowledge that there is a lot of punctuation going on in that last sentence. Sometimes a girl needs a lot of punctuation. See Emily Dickinson poem on sidebar for illustration of this point. Not that my prior sentence has anything to do with Emily Dickinson, nor is it of Dickinsonian quality.)

But who am I fooling, really? All the rambling in the world won't cover up the fact that there is NO knitting to show you in this post. I have not accomplished a lick of knitting since my flight home last Friday. Oh, sure, I at least partially managed to unpack from last week's trip, I finished moving my worldly possessions, I cleaned and sold my house, I worked three full days, I went to the physical therapist and the doctor and the dentist, and I managed to cook as many as four nutritional dinners in there, but did I knit? No. Sadly, I did not.

For those who didn't see Paul's reply to my last post, he wants everyone to know that he did not eat any fast food at all to make it through those ten days, so you may now be duly impressed.