Saturday, September 25, 2010

Peace of Mind and Progress Made

After yesterday’s post, I did go to the doctor. I’m glad I did, for more than just peace of mind. I did get that. Apparently, it could take a month or more for the swelling to go down completely and I could become even more bruised-looking than I am now. According to the doctor, everything is progressing just fine, nothing to worry about. I told him I’d keep using the arnica oil to help keep the bruising to a minimum. He smiled and said to go for it. Peace of mind!

The clinic we use is about 2 km (just over a mile) from where we live; it was a cloudy but dry day, not cold, so I decided to walk. I’m glad I did. I discovered a walkway between two roads; the walkway included a lovely green space with trees, a marsh, a wooden bridge and a nice dose of peaceful quiet.

Walking through this idyllic little pathway just felt so… good! I’m glad I had the camera with me (I always have it with me now).

Once I got home, I decided it was time to relax, time to knit. I plugged myself into the current audiobook (Da Vinci’s Code) and knitted the afternoon away.


I really like this yarn. I can already tell that I’ll enjoy wearing this cardigan. The fabric feels so soft, so cushy, so smooth. I’m already into the second skein and down by almost 200 stitches. A part of me wants the sweater to be done already, just so I can wear it!

All in all, it was a wonderful, relaxing, productive day. 

Friday, September 24, 2010

915 WHAT??

We’ll get to the title of the post in a moment. First things first. John’s brown socks are finished.


And, as you can see, I did run out of yarn. Kristieinbc suggested making the second sock slightly shorter but that wouldn’t have worked because I was already halfway down the foot by the time I’d finished the first sock. I work on two socks at one time, on two sets of needles, alternating them. It was John’s suggestion to use any brown sock yarn to finish the toe. He has no problem wearing them like this. They may not be pretty, but at least they’re finished.

You may notice that this post is marked Friday, some time in the morning. I did go to work yesterday, worked on one task all morning, a job that needed to be delivered by Monday. By lunch time, I was exhausted and went home. The bus trip, which shouldn’t take longer than 20 minutes, took nearly two hours (seems the buses come every half hour at that time of day, not every 15 minutes as they do in the morning and late afternoon). In addition, I realized that John had my house keys (long story) so I had to hunt him down at the college, which happens to be the transfer point for my ride home. I never did find him, but his co-worker and I found my keys on their workbench. Thankfully. By the time I got home, I was almost numb.

Today, with John’s encouragement, I stayed home; I will probably be going to see the doctor later today, not because anything’s wrong, but just to have my hand held. The swelling just doesn’t seem to be going down as quickly as I think it should and last night, it seemed to be affecting my ability to swallow. I just want to be told I’m being a hypochondriac and that there’s nothing wrong. Taking today off will give me just that little extra time to get stronger. All of you who have emailed or commented about the bruising, thank you so much for your concern. It really isn’t as painful as it looks. It’s tender, but certainly not T3 worthy anymore.

One of the good things about going to work yesterday was that which was waiting for me there. I had put in a KnitPicks order just over a week ago and it arrived while I was off. It included this little notion…


…a darning egg. I don’t do a lot of darning, but I decided it would be a good thing to have for those times that I DO want to darn a sock or a glove’s finger.

The package also contained some yarn.


It’s KP Gloss fingering weight (70% merino, 30% silk) in the (now discontinued) colour, Parsley. I bought 11 skeins to make a cardigan for myself. I’d picked out the pattern over a month ago now. It’s a Drops pattern #123-1 (available free here). Going by the yardage of the Drops yarn used in the pattern, I figured that I would need 10 skeins of the KP Gloss.  When ordering discontinued yarn, I like to play it safe and order an extra skein. You just never know! I started it yesterday afternoon.

This is where the title of the post comes in. The cast on for my size (done on 3.0 mm… US2… needles) is 915 stitches! 915! That is a LOT of stitches to cast on. It took me almost two hours just for the cast on and the first row! And the best part? I only had to cast on once. Incidentally, the cardigan is worked in one piece from the hem to the armholes and is shaped; that’s why it’s such a large cast on.

For a cast on of that magnitude, I chose to use a crochet cast on (should I do a tutorial for the crochet cast on?). I placed a marker every 50 stitches; then on the first row, I replaced the markers at every 100 stitches, just to double check. I’m really proud of the fact that I got it right the first time. I’d hate to have to redo a cast on of that many stitches.

The first section of the cardigan is k3, p3 rib and even though there’s just over an inch of it, it’s taking a long time. I’ll have to time it to see how long a row takes, just for the sake of curiosity.


Wow, this has turned out to be a long post. I hope you don’t mind. Now, though, I think I’ll go back to knitting, icing my neck, and listening to my latest audiobook download.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The Taste of Pink


There is one thing I’ve never liked… liquid medication. Whether cough syrup or, as in this case, liquid antibiotics, I hate taking liquid meds. Even though they’re liquid, I’ll often gag on them. I think it has to do with the fact that I can actually taste the medicine. I can swallow large pills with no problem; I can swallow 3 or 4 large pills at one time. But, give me liquid medication, and I choke.

Have I ever mentioned that I really don’t like the colour pink? Add some orange to it to make it coral and I love it, but I don’t like pink.

This medicine is pink. Very pink. Bubble gum pink. And it tastes pink. I suppose it has to have a candy (strawberry? cherry? what IS it?) flavour so children will tolerate it. I hate it. Thankfully, with one dose remaining, I’ll be done with it today.

004Bring on the vitamins!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Too Close for Comfort

Since I’m not working right now, I have time to knit and to finish a project or two. This pair of socks for John is one of the things on the “To Finish” list; they’ve been hanging around long enough. Last night, while listening to an audiobook, I finished the first sock. (The foot on the second sock is half finished, so it should be done by the end of day today.)

It was, however, as the title of this post implies, a little too close for comfort. That’s all the yarn that was left when I finished the final round. I don’t think I’ve ever gotten that close to running out of yarn!

016Now, I worry about the second sock. The yarn was a 100 gm ball that I wound into two 50 gm balls. Hopefully, the second ball has an equal, or slightly longer, length. I’ll let you know.

In other things, the healing is coming along pretty well, I think. I’m off most of the Tylenol 3 now; I’m only taking them at night, when the incision stretches a bit and begins to hurt (I’m still sleeping on the recliner as it’s more comfortable for now). During the day, I don’t take anything. The bruising, as you can see, is quite extensive. When my mother saw it (she and a friend who lives in the same building drove to Osooyos to visit her friend’s daughter and on the way home came through Kelowna and stopped in for a cup of tea), she assumed it was the iodine wash. It isn’t. It’s bruising. It was tender all the way out to the extremities of the colour. As you can see, there’s still a bit of swelling and once that goes down even more, I’ll be going back to work (possibly by tomorrow).

018Going through my scarf drawer yesterday, I found the perfect scarf. It’s a very soft, loosely woven square kerchief that drapes nicely around my neck without irritating the incision. It has now become my go-to scarf for going out. Next comes the task of figuring out what I can wear that won’t irritate the incision.

I have to be honest, though, and say that I’m quite enjoying the time off; I just wish it was under different circumstances.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Saturday’s Over

I have a feeling that yesterday was the hardest day of the healing process. By the time 4:00 came around, I was feeling pretty rough, emotionally. I’d been rather absorbed in constantly monitoring the swelling around the incision, hoping to see it reducing but seeing no progress at all, wanting to feel better RIGHT NOW!

I was restless, not wanting to read, not wanting to rest, not wanting to do much of anything (I didn’t even want to knit!), but wanting time to pass by quickly. Thankfully, a couple of weeks ago I picked up this little toy. It has been invaluable over the last few days. In the hospital, the music and audiobooks I loaded on to it got me through the night when I couldn’t sleep because of the lights, the sounds, the unfamiliarity of the hospital and the comings and goings of the nursing staff (the room I was in was directly across from the nursing station).


It was the first thing I unpacked when I came out of surgery and stayed close at hand, and still does. It is, as you probably recognize, an iPod Touch, and was on sale at London Drugs in their back to school flyer. This one is the 8 GB version and I’m very happy I bought it. I have since been told, though, that I have enough toys now! I’ve been having fun looking at apps and have downloaded a few of them, including a knitting row counter, a flashlight (who’d have thunk it?), an e-reader and a level. Yes, a level, like they use in construction. It’s just cool! By the way, if you know of any other cool apps, pass on your suggestions.

I’ve also discovered that our local library system has audio and e-books available for download. I love it! It’s great to have while I’m convalescing, but it’s also great for those mundane tasks at work. Thankfully, my boss doesn’t mind. As a matter of fact, he even suggested numerous times that a radio or mp3 player would be a good thing to have for those jobs that were mindless but necessary.

As far as the healing is going, today is a much better day. The swelling has gone down noticeably and my neck isn’t feeling as tight as yesterday. There’s still a lot of bruising, but that will fade with time. I am still having to take pain killers every four hours, but I think that I’ll try reducing the amount or alternating with regular Tylenol rather than just Tylenol 3 (with codeine). Now, it’s a matter of keeping the incision clean and lubricated to reduce scarring. There are no stitches on the outside; all the sutures are subcutaneous (under the skin) and will be absorbed in time. My doctor says the resulting scar, while raised and red to begin with, should become nothing more than a thin white line, about 4” in length, in time.

Yup, today is a much better day than yesterday.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Now the Healing Begins

Yesterday (Thursday) was the big surgery day. Yesterday was, obviously, not fun but it did go well, according to my doctor. Today isn’t either, but at least I’m home. For any of you who didn’t know, I had just over half my thyroid removed because of a goitre. My doctor wanted to make sure there was nothing else going on, so he decided it was wisest to remove it. My thyroid was, and still is, functioning normally so I won’t need to go on any medication.

Now that I’m back home, I can heal. Being in the hospital is certainly no picnic. Being at home, I have my own personal care taker, who’s looking after me extremely well. (He might even drive me crazy with his tender loving care!) There will be some personal care challenges for the next couple of weeks, like not being allowed to shower for about two weeks. I’m just not allowed to get the incision site wet, so I’ll have to wash my hair at the kitchen sink; it’s been a long time since I’ve done that.

Now, if you are interested in what my doctor did to me, scroll down. If you’re at all squeamish, find another website right about now. By the way, thank you to all who left well wishes. Your comments are appreciated and your good thoughts were definitely felt. I wasn’t really nervous at all.

Back to regularly scheduled knitting now…




















Saturday, September 11, 2010

Saturday, and It’s Fall

Where did summer go? The weather has chilled dramatically in what seems a very short time! Where the days got up to 30ºC, they now only reach 20ºC. Fruit is ripening on the trees, the leaves are beginning to change colour and there’s a definite chill in the air in the mornings and evenings. John, a smoker, sits outside reading, wearing a winter jacket.

It’s knitting weather! Of course, for me, it’s knitting weather all the time. Different seasons demand different kinds of knitting. One thing you can be certain of, there’s always something on my needles. I know I shouldn’t but last weekend I started another small project. This one has a deadline (next Thursday) and is a super easy knit. As well, it’s using up stash yarn.

001Apparently, this little scarf has been all the rage in northern Europe over the past couple of years. It’s the Baktus scarf and is really easy. It can be done in garter stitch or stocking stitch (I’m doing the stocking stitch version). It starts out with 4 stitches, increases on every 4th row until half the yarn is used, then decreases every 4th row until 4 stitches remain. That’s it. I had 75 grams of this yarn left over from the Wool Peddler’s shawl I finished last weekend and decided that this scarf would be a good way to use up the yarn.

Why is Thursday my deadline? Well, that’s when I’m scheduled to go in for surgery to remove half my thyroid. Yesterday morning was spent at the hospital for the pre-surgery screening. I was weighed, measured, scanned (ECG), poked (blood work) and interviewed (nurse and anaesthesiologist). After that, I had to go for more blood work and another EKG, requisitioned by my family doctor. All of that was done while fighting a migraine… it was not a good day! Surgery is scheduled for some time on Thursday and I’ll be staying in the hospital overnight.

I want the Baktus ready to wear, to cover up the incision, when I leave the hospital on Friday. I guess I’d better get busy!

Monday, September 06, 2010

Another FO

With today being a holiday (Labour Day), I have some time to knit. I decided to go through some of my UFO’s yesterday and realized that one of them was just rows away from being an FO, so I pulled it out and got to work on it.

008As of today, the Wool Peddler’s shawl is finished (the picture above is pre-blocking) . Right now, it’s drying in my bedroom.

011This should have been finished a long time ago. It really is a very simple knit. I’m not sure why it got pushed to the side; I probably got bored with the simplicity of it. The pattern, as I’ve already mentioned, is the Wool Peddler’s shawl from Cheryl Oberle’s book “Folk Shawls”. It was knit on 4.0 mm needles using Marks & Katten’s Fame Trend yarn, a 75% superwash wool and 25% polyamid singles yarn. The yarn feels a little rough while knitting with it, but after washing, even while wet, it feels a lot softer, cosier. Once dry, all that will be left to do is to weave in the ends.

The shawl starts out with garter stitch, at the center of the top, then changes to horseshoe lace for the edging and finishes with a garter stitch border. It’s a very straightforward pattern, easy to remember and read. If you’re looking for an easy, yet pretty shawl, this is one I can recommend. I have a feeling it will see a fair bit of use this winter.

Book Review “Knitting New Scarves”

Yesterday, I mentioned that I’d started a scarf out of a book I’d borrowed from the library, the New Wave scarf. The book, as you may recall, is “Knitting New Scarves, 27 distinctly modern designs” by Lynne Barr, with photos by Tyllie Barbosa, edited by Melanie Falick (of Interweave Knits fame).

booksThis is a beautiful book. The photos are really lovely and, in my opinion, show off the scarves very well. It would feel right at home as a coffee table book. As I wrote yesterday, most of the scarves border on sculpture and would probably not be appropriate for a prairie winter, but as accessories, I think they’re amazing.


Ms. Barr uses some ingenious techniques to create these scarves, to manipulate the yarn into unique pieces of “art”. Really, as far as I’m concerned, that’s what these scarves are.


Once I got the book home, I did a search on Ravelry to see what others had to say about the projects in this book. They ranged anywhere from “can’t figure out how this works” to “once it clicks, it’s almost boringly simple” to “why does she use so many needles?”.


I can honestly say that, having sat down with the book for longer than a few minutes, I find the techniques intriguing, so much so that I logged into my KnitPicks account and ordered it (it’s on sale right now, so the price isn’t bad at all… $14.93). Already, I’m looking forward to trying out some of the other techniques, something I might not have time for with a 3 week library loan.

In other words, I think you’ve already gathered that I think this book would be a good addition to any knitting library, both for it’s artistic merits and for the techniques involved. I’m looking forward to having it in my personal library.

Sunday, September 05, 2010


Saturday was, all in all, a good day. John went to work for a couple of hours, giving me some time by myself. After tidying up the house a bit, I drove to the library to pick up the books I had on hold, all three being books on breadmaking. I also picked up a fourth book, a knitting book.

booksIt’s “Knitting New Scarves” by Lynne  Barr. I vaguely remember looking through this book once before and thinking that the scarves were singularly impractical, certainly not for warmth. They make me think more of sculpture than wearable pieces of clothing intended to keep the wearer warm in the middle of a prairie winter. That said, winters here in Kelowna are nothing like winters in the middle of the prairies. I DO sometimes wear a scarf as an accessory rather than a “neck warmer”. So, I signed the book out.

After going through it a couple of times, I decided to try one of them. I settled on the New Wave Scarf, found some yarn that I’d bought for a specific project, realized it was the wrong weight and had put back into the stash.

After a couple of false starts (it does help to actually read the pattern through carefully first), I have it going and the knitting has become soothing and fun, if a little fiddly.

New Wave 1 The wave effect is achieved by knitting with needles of two different sizes. The scarf is predominantly knit as a tube, with the sections between the waves knitted on a single needle. I know, it sounds confusing, and it is at first. It’s ingenious!

The yarn I’m using is Mission Falls 1824 washable merino. The scarf is knitted with 4.5 mm and 6.0 mm needles. I’ve never used this yarn before and I’m falling in love with it. It’s lovely and soft and the fact that it’s washable makes it all the better. I only have 3 balls of it, though, and it only has 85 yards/50 grams, so I know I’ll have to get more in order to make a scarf of decent length.

We have heard from my family in New Zealand. My cousin wrote:

Thank you so much for your thoughts and well wishes, guys! Power just on. No water or sewerage. Our 1/4 acre section now sports a temporary "long drop"! Our suburb is a mess!! Our home relatively unscathed. ALL family members okay and accounted for...

Life will be a bit tough for a while, but at least there IS life! We will survive! We still may have to evacuate because of health reasons with the sewers gone and the incoming tides causing mayhem. But we can cope with that. :)

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Let Me Tell You About My Week

It’s been an interesting week. The week started with a call from my mother, telling me that I could expect a visit from a cousin, visiting Canada from Holland.

Work has been busy with a couple of very large jobs landing on my plate. One has been in the works for a couple of weeks already and I managed to finish it before the second big job arrived late Wednesday, due out by Friday. On Thursday, I took a couple of tubs of letters home for stamping, and shortly after getting home, the phone rang. It was my cousin, asking for directions to our house.

About half an hour later, Gerard arrived. He stayed the night at hour place, and accompanied me to work Friday morning where I gave him the grand tour and he went on his way, next stop Salmon Arm. He’ll be in Canada for a total of three weeks, hoping in that time, to drive up to Williams Lake (about 5-6 hours driving from where we live) and then back down towards Vancouver for his return trip.

I know John enjoyed his company, as did I, and it seemed Gerard enjoyed himself, too. He certainly enjoyed the peach cobbler and was thrilled to see, and pick, a ripe, large peach right off the tree.


Friday evening, when John got home from work, he told me we were going downtown. It wasn’t for dinner or anything like that; a new park opened downtown and he wanted to check out what our tax dollars have purchased this time. It’s all part of a downtown revitalization program.

Park isn’t really the word for it. When I think of a park, I think of grassy areas, benches for resting and people watching, walking paths, etc. You get the idea. This park, though circled by grassy areas, benches and sidewalks (at the waterfront) is, for all intents and purposes, what will be a skating rink in the winter. For now, it’s a huge concrete slab. There’s no shade, something I would have thought important since summers here can reach up to 40ºC (about 100ºF).

016 017

Overlooking the “slab” is a hill of concrete, replete with steps and wheelchair ramps (can we say skateboarder paradise?), leading to a plateau with a sculpture of a bear. I did find the bear rather interesting, although I must say that I would have preferred being able to get a little closer so that I could actually see the piece in its entirety.


I always have my camera with me now, and yesterday was no exception. I took one picture that I’m really pleased with. Even John was impressed. I’m calling this one “Spirit of the Bear”.

018Incidentally, there is a plaque explaining the sculpture. It reads “Bear by Brower Hatcher 2010. Bear is a tribute to Kelowna’s settlement on the shores of Okanagan lake. The theme of the artwork is a grizzly bear – Kelowna being an English translation of the Okanagan/Syilx First Nation word for Female Grizzly Bear. Within Bear’s body are symbols that represent periods of Kelowna’s history. The boat-like shape at the base is a reference to the role the lake has played in the evolution of the community and the shaping of its identity.”

And finally, we heard about a magnitude 7 earthquake in the Christchurch area of New Zealand yesterday. Family members here in Canada were, and still are, very concerned. We have family there. The news said that over 90% of the city is without power and areas, including the area where my cousins live, may need to be evacuated. Needless to say, we haven’t heard much at this point. What we do know, from one of my cousins there, is that the family is ok, warm in front of the fireplace and concerned that they may need to be evacuated as they do live near the coast. Our thoughts and prayers are with them.

(As always, just click on the pictures to see a larger version.)

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Thanks Gloria!

If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you’ll know that earlier this year, I learned how to use a lucet. You may also remember that a friend of mine made a couple of lucets for me.

Well, today, when I got home from work, this was waiting for me…

001 My sister made it! She blogged about it on her blog, Capricious Cogitation*, where she mentioned that she wanted to send me one as a belated birthday gift.

This little lucet is so smooth, so nice in the hand. You know that I had to play with it, don’t you?

lucetThe other lucets I have (you can see them here) have handles, while this one doesn’t. I was really looking forward to finding out which I preferred. You know, I really can’t say that I prefer one over the other. I really like how this one (handle-less) fits in the palm of the hand. I think if I were to be working with a lucet for any length of time, this one would be the more comfortable style to work with.

Gloria? Thank you! You can be assured that I will enjoy using this lucet.

Incidentally, the yarn shown in the picture is Rosarios 4 Tentacao wool (from Portugal), something that’s been in my stash for a long time.