Sunday, August 24, 2014

Gout socks, the game begins

As I have mentioned, I have been laid low by one of mankind's most familiar diseases, gout. Inflammation in my large toe has meant my foot swollen to twice its usual size, with no possibility of wearing regular shoes or hose or socks due to the extreme sensitivity of the affected joint and the whole surrounding area.
I've talked to people in gout-sufferer groups, and no one has a good solution. There are people who have spent years staying indoors for much of the winter because they can't go out in the ice and snow (or the cold for that matter, which is terrible for gout) when they can't wear any existing socks and the only shoes they can put on are flip flops, which is pretty much all I have been able to wear for two months.
So I figured, hey, I'm a sock knitter. And I know from copious experience when I started out teaching myself to knit socks just what happens when you knit at a loose gauge and make certain "mistakes" or changes.  And I can put that to good use to knit up a sock for myself that I can actually wear to keep my foot warm in the winter AND to wear with flip flops too.
This won't solve the problem of cold rain, snow, sleet, or ice.  But at least it might deal with the plain cold weather.
And so it begins. I'm using the pattern "Brigit" from Monkey Toes, available free on Ravelry, as a base to work from for some patterning. The changes I'll make don't need to happen until mid-foot.  The yarn is Tracks from The Buffalo Wool Co. in Spruce.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Guessing Game

Okay, not really. It's a beautiful lap blanket/throw from a Mountain Colors kit of four differently textured yarns. It's drying on my bed at the moment. All that's left is to trim the tassels, and it will be ready for its new home at The Yarn Spot.  It may have taken all summer but I did finish something.

Monday, August 18, 2014

In a Rare Moment of Quiet

I'll check in at long last.

I certainly dropped off the face of the planet at the end of June. Not coincidentally, that's when school ended here for all my kids who were enrolled. Much Chaos Ensued.

The child who was in and out of the hospital since mid-November continued…and was just discharged today from the most recent out patient program following yet another 2 weeks inpatient.  So that took some time.  She's not returning to school and is hopefully going to go work. However, staying at a job will require her to not continue to demand hospitalization regularly. I'm honestly not holding my breath and expect another hospitalization within a few weeks when she realizes her new job is boring. She already had a tantrum today over nonsense.

The child who was just getting into supported housing took about 8 weeks to be willing to stay at her new home, and has since left her job (to go to nothing) and almost been evicted.  She did get her first level certification in childcare over the summer, but then didn't register for any class the second half of the summer nor at this point for the fall. I have no idea what she thinks she is going to live on with no job…but she's not coming back here.

Feivel has been himself over a long summer. He had two weeks of boy scout activities and camp, and two weeks of camp at Sunflower Bakery which broke our bank account but which he loved.  He is just impossible to have around though; every interaction ends badly between him and every member of the house. Yelling, hitting, fighting, talking back, if it's an option, he chooses it. I'm trying to force the county and state to provide any services, but so far it's like talking to a wall.

The others had a good summer at the pool, and we started at the very end of June with a trip to Williamsburg with my whole family. The kids loved everything and had a great time.

Which brings me to the other reason I wasn't brainy enough to blog at all. The day after we returned from that trip, my foot swelled to twice its normal size. I turned out to have a nasty case of gout which has since required two rounds of prednisone plus various other drugs and a lot of time to begin to resolve. At the same time, I was experiencing a lot of cognitive problems like short term memory loss, confusion, getting lost; and was undergoing a lot of testing and appointments. They can't really rule out any of the really bad possibilities except I definitely do NOT have any kind of tumor. But the early stages of other neurologic diseases really can't easily be tested for. So I'm just hoping it turns out to be silent migraines (which actually can cause these cognitive problems) and have had to adopt both an anti-migraine diet and an anti-gout diet. This leaves me with the world's most unsatisfying, boring diet for the rest of my life. But it's better than the pain of the gout attack.

So tomorrow I go for another test, this one for a growth on my neck. I'm just having so much fun.

I'm desperate, absolutely desperate, for school to start and the child who is at home and not going to school to find a full-time job ASAP. I need a little mental space to start getting any kind of real healing going and it's not possible for me to get it at all in the summer. Actually, I basically haven't had any mental space for 2+ years; occasionally, say once every 2 months, I'll have a day on which I'm the only one at home during school hours (8-2:30) and no appointments. But those rare 6.5 hour stretches are nowhere near enough for an introverted sensory defensive desperate person like me to heal her psyche at all; it's barely enough for me to start registering that I am actually getting a few hours alone.  Just thinking this is getting me crying now I'm so desperate about never having time to myself (and please don't suggest I take an evening every week…not only do we not have free evenings, but on the rare occasion we do you can count on a melt-down from one of the big kids with disabilities; and in any case again 2 hours here or there makes no impression, I'm talking having a few weeks of privacy, quiet, lack of interruption, peace from tantrums from a 5'10" 180 lb developmentally disabled teen).

So that brings us up to date, though I'm sure I forgot a lot. I'll add in. You probably won't be surprised to hear that I haven't been able to do any spinning with a hugely swollen, painful foot; and I have done little knitting except a project for the LYS where I work since I just couldn't focus or concentrate not to mention that I couldn't get time when I wasn't directly involved in whatever the younger kids or someone else was doing.  But the project I did for the LYS was completed today, so if I get to block it tomorrow, I'll get pictures and actually update again.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Two new patterns, 4th of July at The Yarn Spot

Fourth of July at The Yarn Spot this year will be a celebration of becoming the flagship shop for Dragonfly Fibers' yarns and spinning fibers.  To add to the celebration, The Yarn Spot is also releasing a new line of shop sock patterns designed by a variety of local artists. Here are two coming from me:

First, a totally basic beginner sock, designed for those who are knitting socks for the first time, or those who just want the beauty of the socks to shine through without interruption:

Second, a cabled sock designed specifically in honor of The Yarn Spot; the cable makes a circle spot, then adds a twist below it. It's easy to memorize at a glance, and fast to knit up. This one is designed in two sizes, to fit men's and women's feet easily and well.

Both are available soon at The Yarn Spot, along with the sample socks shown so that you will be able to see how they work and fit.

Unfortunately, I've found that my current medical troubles are interfering with the speed at which I can design and knit at the moment. So I'm not sure how fast and furious upcoming projects are going to appear, relative to my historic speediness. I'm still knitting, spinning, and working as fast as I can. That speed is just much slower than in the past.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

A shawl fit for a queen begins with a single combed wool nest

I've long been in love with the Queen Susan Shawl pattern, available free on Ravelry and developed by knitters from Rav's Heirloom Knitting Forum as the quintessence of fine Shetland shawl design and execution.  It's a very large, traditional shawl and I've looked at it and similar patterns and intended at some point to knit one.

Naturally being me, I decided I should use hand spun wool, not commercial yarn. I use hand spun a lot, right, what's the difficulty? The difficulty is that this will require spinning about 7500 yards of finished yarn. Yes. That's a lot. A big sweater to fit my oversized body in very fine yarn might require 2000 yards.

I have at least 5 whole fleeces in the house in various stages of washing and combing. None was perfect. The wools I have that would be perfect I only have in little amounts, enough to make 500-1000 yards or there a-bouts.  But I've settled on a Rambouillet-Targhee-Polypay X I bought last year as the most suitable of what I have, and started combing. At least each little combed nest gives me several minutes of spinning, since I'm spinning it fairly fine. I'm not spinning it as super-cobweb fine, because I'm not going to ply it but use it as simple singles; there's just no way I'm spinning 15,000 yards and plying that.  I'm shooting for as even as possible, as it's silly to plan on such an involved knit with a slubby second rate yarn.

So here I go.
The first few dozen yards on the first bobbin.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Coming soon to The Yarn Spot

A beautiful new basic sock pattern is coming soon to The Yarn Spot for your knitting pleasure. It's part of a new line of sock patterns the shop will carry, including lacy, cabled, basic, and more choices, all exclusive to The Yarn Spot. The samples are being worked up in Dragonfly Fibers sock yarns, for extra excitement. While you wait to get your hands on the various patterns, here are some shots of the sample basic socks enjoying a beautiful afternoon in the backyard.

Your morning yarn goof ball

I finished spinning my first skein of MDSW 2014 yarn. Of course the only reason this is done so quickly is because it was hand painted top I bought ready to spin, not raw fleece. Still it was lovely top, and quite nice yarn. It's super wash BFL hand painted by FatCatKnits (who also has an Etsy shop) and sold by Coughlin's Homespun Yarns.  I finished with 3.5 oz, 390 yards of 3 ply sock yarn, enough for a nice, washable pair of socks.
And then someone little and weird stepped in and took control of the yarn.