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Monday, July 28, 2014

Boy I miss spinning

I have not spun one thread since the dreaded neck adventure started.  I've knit very little.  I'm doing my exercises to keep the muscles alive until the disc settles down.  I experienced a MRI.  This was one of those tests that was put into action way after I started my career.  There were a lot of bugs to be worked out after the test was thought up in the early 50's and led to a Nobel Prize in 2003 for it's application in medicine.  But then I digress.

There are a million screening questions about previous surgery, metal parts, shrapnel, etc.  I certainly would not want anything rearranged accidentally by a giant magnet.  Luckily I'm not claustrophobic...a friend shared her story of freaking out and requiring anxiolytics.  I kept by eyes closed the whole time and listened to the Mumfords. I figured something loud would drown out the noise.  Well sort of.  It  was like being in a machine gun for 20 minutes.

                                    I also visualized Nausicaa being rejuvenated by the Ohmu.
                                        or Arriety floating down the river in the tea kettle.
                                                       I can't float without relaxing.

The good news is that there is hope of recovery without surgery, but the bad news is that it's indeed a bulging disc slight compressing the spinal cord and impinging on the C5 nerve root.  It does not pay to get old.   So my plan is to go to on the great MidWest adventure next month.  I plan to take a drop spindle or two and signed up for some classes in an air conditioned place. Before coming home I'll visit some family.  When I come back I'm going to start spinning again. 

In the mean time, I make cards, shop, knit and sew a bit,  and eat and mostly watch the weeds grow instead of attacking them..  


Flip it cards are all the rage and there are a billion dies, cutters and methods.  The minion is made with the Stampin' Up Owl Builder Punch (Stampin Up UK Crafty Hallett Christmas Minions with the Owl Builder). I made several flip it cards following Stephanie Barnard's instructions, from The Stamps of Life.  She has a youtube video called "Make a Hidden Panel Card with Stephanie Barnard from The Stamps of Life".  Jackie Topa has a nice video on the Envelope Punch board sliding gift card holders.  After holding out on getting a EK Success Stamp-A-Ma-Jig, I broke down and got it, and now wonder why I held back.  It is quite useful for getting images stamped where you want them to go.

I saw the movie Begin Again since I like Mark Ruffalo and Keira Knightly. Adam Levine is quite good as well.  He makes a brief appearance in one scene wearing a cabled slouchy hat.  Try as I might I have not found a screen cap of that hat or the afghan Keira Knightly wraps up in when she crashes at her friends house.  What is is with these movie people?

Friday, July 18, 2014

Punch Totoro Tutorial

Blogless Muffy has been bitten by the stamping craze, and got me obsessing on the Stampin' Up Owl Punch.  Besides owls, there are so many ideas.  This appeals to me as it hits a fond memory of mine from childhood making paper dolls with my sisters.  We cut a lady out of a magazine, and glued her to cardboard.  From there we traced around her and designed clothing, complete with tabs to hold them on.  If I remember correctly they were stored in cigar boxes, no doubt from my uncles, especially Uncle John from Maui.

When we last got together to make cards, the gang was making owl medical folk, and I was hooked.  Furry Tale Cards and Crafts has a cute example on her blog.  I obsessed on the owl punch.   I searched for a Totoro, but couldn't find one.  So here we go. My first attempt. 

Materials

Owl Builder Punch from Stampin' Up
Large Oval Punch from Stampin' Up
Blossom Petals XL from Stampin' Up


Card Stock:  Grey or Blue, White, Black
Inks to sponge edges
Adhesive of choice.  I used Tombow Mono Aqua
Preparations

In main color, punch out 1 owl body, 3 smaller petals
In white, punch out smaller circles from owl punch and one oval
In black, punch out small eyeballs, heart and feet.  

From body, trim off feet and ears.  I made a little template for future use.  Trim the oval for the tummy.  Sponge all the grey edges and tummy piece. 

Assembly

Glue the eyeballs on to the white.
Glue feet on back of body.  Adjust up so just his toes are showing.
Turn heart upside down and glue on the back of the tummy piece to make his nose.
Add his ears and tail to the back.
Add tummy markings.  I used a glaze pen.  

The Landcaster says they still look like owls. Bah humbug to him, lol. 

Add:  7/19/2014

Tried some different punches.  Petal from small 5 pointed flower...a little too small imo.  Wedges from the scallop punch for tails and arms.  Also found some very tiny googly eyes that are cute. 



I saw a specialist for my neck/arm/shoulder problem and she confirmed a Cervical Radiculopathy.  My MRI is scheduled on Monday.  She also poked a really big needle in the muscles along the C5-6 vertebrae and injected steroids.  Not as bad as it sounds. The hope is that some of the weakness will improve over the next week.

Still no spinning, but I watch the Tour de France on TV and admire all the wonderful spinning going on and beautiful yarn being produced by folk like Mokihana on Ravely.  And I knit a bit because I can't help myself.  The Plover Shawl is working up nicely in my Blue Heron Metallic.

At the rate I'm going it will be a long term project.

On this journey with my neck issue, I'm looking back at the vinyl years...so much great music to review the past and make peace with it. 




Monday, July 14, 2014

Just a Little Knittin' to keep myself sane


Pattern: 
Needle:  size 9
Yarn:  Cascade Tangier, colorway 6, Galaxy
Mods: none
Comments:  I made the shorter version which wraps around twice and can cover my head if I want.  The colors are better on the first photo.  Ravelry has many striped examples that are quite stunning.  I went with a self striping yarn because I have two skeins of Tangier and mostly because I'm too lazy to sew in ends.  This is such a clever construction, starting with a mini-shawl, and not requiring stitches to be picked or anything.  If I would have changed anything, it would be the YO.  Because of my size 9 needles, the holes were larger then I like and look a bit sloppy.    The yarn is very nice and comfortable against the skin.

After seeing Msknottyknits' beautfiul example on Rav,  I've CO for Plover Shawl by Amy Christoffers from Savory Knitting with my Blue Heron Rayon Metallic.  I'm thinking this yarn is too fussy for this pattern, but I will knit on for a bit.  

I am enjoying watching all the spinning going on for Tour de Fleece this year. Wish I could spin :(

The good news is that the pain in my neck/should/arm is much improved.  The bad news is that it is a pinched nerve causing the weakness and that can be very bad indeed.  I'm seeing a specialist soon.  The MRI is on hold until my records can be reviewed for mesh and clips and stuff I've forgotten about.  I'm trying not to freak out about the possibility of surgery.  Me and surgery don't have a good history together, but I just have to remind myself that I'm still alive so it couldn't have been all that bad.  I'm keeping my fingers crossed the disc will settle down before it gets that far.

Lot's of crepe myrtle in bloom at Ho'omaluhia and around town.  The lavender flower is a giant variety.  The red-orange flower beneath are from the Flame Tree.  The orange flowers on the top row, second from left are from the Sorrow-less Tree.  The Sanskrit word for this tree is Ashoka, which apparently means sorrow-less. 

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Aloe Dye Fail, Skully stitch marker success.

Not being able to spin has left me a bit discombobulated.  I've limited my knitting to a few rows at each sitting.  The arm/shoulder/neck pain is improving, but the arm weakness is about the same.  I saw PT today and will see Sport's Medicine tomorrow.  The meclomen is helping the pain and not irritating my stomach so far like other NSAIDS, and it is on the WalMart $4 RX list.  YAY.  I really dislike taking meds.  My son had fun reading the two page handout that came with the pills and keeps asking me if I've had any sudden weight gain or puffing up. 

I'm knitting  Foolproof by Louise Zass-Bangham from Inspiration Knits. Not free but clever.  It starts off like a shawl and ends up a cowl.  There are no seams.  I'm using a self-striping yarn, Tangier to avoid having to weave in ends.   I must say, the striped versions with higher contrast are more eye-catching.

My aloe dyeing was a bust.  I was inspired by the lovely pink Kai got with aloe. I got a rather pale yellow which is actually quite nice.  I learned a lot.  First, always label packages of white powder.  I'm now sure the white powder was soda ash and not alum.  Secondly and most importantly, don't be in a rush when it comes to dyeing anything.  Third, my churro spun on the Navajo spindle was not spun well, and fell apart with the abuse. 

Mom brought a good point when I whined about the process...at least I have tried it.  I may try it again, too when the aloe plant gets out of control.  Somehow it seems better then throwing the thinnings away. Also cooking aloe does not smell too bad and is non-toxic.

In lieu of spinning in the Tour de Fleece I'm shopping online (mostly card-making supplies), surfing for inspiration and re-potting my poor neglected plants, including 3 sea island cotton plants.    I even managed a set of skully stitch markers and some very dangly acorn earrings.  The bone skull beads were funky smelling when I got them, and they were boiled, soaked in bleach and paint thinner and left in the elements for awhile (like years, lol) and they no longer smell bad. 


I'm signed up for Stitches MidWest...one felting class, and one rigid heddle class.  The only knitting class is intarsia in the round, so I'm hoping my shoulder/neck/arm problem will be better by then.  I was going to take Cherry Baby with me, but I decided not to spin for all of July and maybe August. 



Monday, June 30, 2014

So Sad, No Tour de Fleece for me :(

I've somehow messed up my arm and neck and can't spin.  I've tried resting, massage, exercises and even resorted to acetaminophen and naproxen.  I'm resigned that I will not be able to spin in the Tour de Fleece this year.  I have been  referred to a specialist. Sigh. Guess I'll keep off the knitting for a while as well.  My hands don't know what to do while watching TV anymore.  The pickings on TV are slim, but I've settled on Longmire, 24, Endeavor and the last season of True Blood. 

On a more successful note, my mom's pineapples are going strong.  She has harvested 2 already and this one is almost ready.  






She is coping with my dad's passing by doing what she always does when under stress.  She is cleaning and organizing...going through pictures, clothes, writing letters.  Many things have gone to the thrift stores.  She messed up her shoulder and finally saw her doc.  She was referred to PT.  But she never lets these sort of things get her down.  Her main concern is whether the cat (Kiko) chooses to sleep with her or not.  It's handy living next door to her, and I have breakfast with her 6 days a week now that I'm retired and get all the daily reports!

My quest for "cocktail" attire for an August wedding has only been 50% successful.  The search goes on.  The plant re-potting project is underway.  The Lancaster has reported a white fly infestation on the avocado tree in the pot.  Agh!  The trials and tribulations of owning a yard!  The Lancaster has been digging and laying gravel around for his great "drainage" project.  I'm not even sure I needed that, but he's usually right.  Guess I'll have to buck up and call the appliance dude to figure out what is wrong with the flaky dishwasher.  The Landcaster feels that is important and he's usually right.  Aah the mundane-ness of it all.

A Texas cousin came for a visit.  It was nice catching up and sharing stories.  He lost both his parents this year, one month apart.  His mom was my mom's sister, and mom is the last of the siblings.  This is the cousin that I met for the first time when he was 70!  I love his stories.  I'm not sure why I never got to share in his life growing up.  My mom never took us to visit them in Granbury, TX.  He expressed his recent awareness, that there is nothing like family.  It's never too late.  True too of old friends...reminiscing, we all remember different things and have different takes on what went down way back when. 



Thursday, June 26, 2014

Retirement Brain

I thought I had today all planned out...breakfast with mom, knitting at 10, hang out until 2pm and doctor's appointment at 2:30pm.

The doctor's appointment for my sore arm and shoulder, and weakness in the arm.  I really didn't notice the weakness until I tried to carry the garbage bag.  I tried to see the Sport's Medicine doc, but they didn't consider knitting a sport.  I suspect my problem started after finishing the lace from hell.  Anyway, to get an appointment on a certain for an acute problem, I had to call at 7:30am that day.

2:30 seemed the perfect time. I could drive over after knitting, see the doc, and get my blood tests done for my routine appointment in August.   One problem...knitting was for next week.  Oh well, I had a great time at Aloha Yarns, and practically had Nanea all to myself.   And, I actually spent 7 hours without my computer. (not counting Wonbin the iphone)

Anne stopped by and I scored a 3 lb avocado!  Can't wait for it to get ripe.  I always worry about these massive avocados since a former patient got beaned on the head picking one.  She luckily did not get a concussion, but had a very impressive bruise that when down her back as well!

 Update:    6/27/2014 Here's what a 3 lb avocado looks like.  almost 8 inch tall and 5 inch in diameter. 



I've been referred for some xrays and to see a Physiatrist.   In the meantime I'm going to knit and spin on. 

Blogless Sandy had a good laugh.  She is reading a book about chemo brain, a type of cognitive dysfunction related to chemotherapy.  The symptoms sound similar to retirement brain, which I may be suffering from.  Mom and I spend part of each am determining what day of the week its and what tasks we need to get done.  This becomes a feat when there are no work days to schedule around.   Having calendars help some, but only if the data is entered correctly. 

I finished a little stashbuster.





Pattern:  Ruched Sleep Eye Mask
by Sarah Cores
Yarn:  Pakucho, organic cotton
Needles:  First 3 size 6, too holey.  Second one size 5.
I'm going to try these out on my night flight to Stitches Midwest.  It's so hard for me to sleep on planes.


Saturday, June 21, 2014

The Moosie has Landed!


Moosie by Jonathan Bosworth
9 inch Tulipwood Shaft
28 grams.
Love this tiny work of art.  The whorl diameter is 1.75 inch

I'm going to try some silk on it next.

Another long term knitting FO while knitting with blogless Sandy and Nanea at Aloha Yarns

Quiviut Cap
Pattern:  Free on Ravelry, Osmena by Jenn Jarvis from Nipperknits

The Qiviut is incredibly soft and silky.  Knitting on size 1 and size 2 needles goes very slowly.  I did Jeny's Incredible Stretchy Bind Off.  I got this luxury yarn in Alaska at the Anchorage museum a few years ago and finally found the right project for it.






Yesterday was No. 2 son's birthday.  I can't believe he is the big 30.  Back in the day, 30 was considered over the hill and the age after which a person could not be trusted.  How foolish I was back then...but at least I was invincible!