Monthly Archives: April 2013

Please Don’t Tell Me What I Cannot Do


To Those Who Doubt Me,

Please, do not tell me what I cannot do. There are millions of things that are worse than an arthritic hand, a hand with only a thumb and pointer finger that are fully functional. Or the wee little panic monster living in my brain, you learn to live with OCD just like you would live with any chemical imbalance; one day at a time. Look around you; you never have to look very hard or very long to find something worse. I consider myself lucky in that respect.

If I want to mow my parents lawn as well as their next door neighbors – whose grandchild is dying in Children’s Hospital- please don’t tell me I cannot do this. I can tie a twisty tie around the power mower lever and push with my palms. I can rest for ten minutes here and there and elevated the swollen, screaming appendage then continue the task at hand (no pun intended, although it is a good one). Real pain is having a mother whose lungs will not allow her to do the yard work she has always loved, or losing a grandchild whose heart has given it up as a bad job.

If I want to clean my neighbor’s house to prepare for the impending arrival of their first child, please do not tell me I cannot do this. This is may seem like a double no-no for someone struggling with infertility, multiple miscarriages, and OCD that gets set off at the drop of a hat around baby items. It may seem a no-no situation to avoid the panic monster living in my brain, that little bastard and I have learned to live together, he won’t stop me from helping a friend when they need it. If I can survive the war in my brain knitting their baby blanket, so soft and sweet and utterly heartbreaking then my hand and brain can handle Windex and Pledge just fine.

If I want to for hours on end, please do not tell me I cannot do this. There are compression gloves – both those you can find in craft stores and the more sophisticated versions that specialist create for loads of money – that can pull the swelling from my abused joints. There is Advil, Tylenol, ice and heat to sooth the pain and malicious looking bruising. I don’t mind the dusky purple color my hand takes on, I choose to look at my hand and it’s odd coloring as a sign that another day has gone by and I have not let my life be dictated by something beyond my control.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

I am not mad. I know you worry because you care.

I am not depressed. I know your concerns about the overwhelming emotions brought on by being surrounded by baby items with no baby of our own are painful, but hiding from them would be far more detrimental.

I will not be deterred. If I decided to stop living my life and doing the things I love for fear of pain, that would not be living. Life can be painful, usually is to be honest. It is how we choose to go about our pain that makes us who we are. I am choosing to be someone who will not be defined by a hand injury, I am not making it any worse doing these things, just opting to live with what I’ve got to work with. I will not be defined by the fact that I cannot have the child that I so desperately want. My heart may feel like it is breaking on a daily basis but to ignore or neglect all those whose bodies will allow them to make a new life would be selfish, inconsiderate and destroy that happier parts of myself. Family is, after all, what you make of it.

So please, take heart that I know my limitations, that I know how to live my life to the fullest and embrace the things that make me the happiest even if I get a wee bit teary here and there. And please – Don’t Tell Me What I Cannot Do.

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Jewelry Display Accomplished!


Even the Owl is Impressed!

Even the Owl is Impressed!

Who knew when Stitch Pattern Week 6 came to life that something even more amazing – in my ever so humble opinion – would come of it! This is one of things that I love about knitting, you learn one new skill, pattern, or technique and it leads the way to a limitless way to use it. So Stitch Pattern Week 6 is now a doodad hanger, pictured with two of my favorite things; a honeypot (which life is not complete without) and my owl cookie jar (who seems as surprised I finished it so fast as I do!).

Unfortunately, the idea was not my own; Lion’s Brand website was who provided the way to assemble this DIY project, and for that I am so grateful. All I needed way quilt batting, craft glue and an extra 8 by 10 frame to bring this to life. I am typically a person who makes accessories (hats, gloves, dishcloths, place mats, scarves, baby blankets, booties, ect.) so making something that is so functional and pretty and NEW is making me a tad giddy!

My OCD played a role in getting this done so quickly, can’t forget to thank that little panic monster for it’s contribution. After a knockdown, drag out fight with my Dad (and this is insane, I am 28 and the man still talks to me like an errant child- and errant child that still cannot defend herself) I desperately needed to keep busy. So I busted out in my iPod, put on Ken Follett’s The Pillars of the Earth (which has been amazing so far) put my head down and got to it. Knitting is therapy. I’ve seen all these bloggers saying “I Knit so I Don’t Kill People”, well, mine would be “I Knit so I Don’t Totally Lose My Mind to the Panic Monster Living in My Brain”.

 

My New Moto

My New Moto

With my project done it is time to look forward – which means trying to figure out how and when to open my shop and….drumroll please….starting my first pair of socks! Pans & Needles has shown me so many beautiful socks that I cannot resist jumping into a new project, as if I needed another one!

So, finishing out my diatribe, I will unabashedly beg for advice. If there are any tips, pointers or magic spells for working on my first pair of socks….Please, for the love of God, SHARE.

Thanks for reading friends and neighbors!

Lists are Calming – Favorite Books From A to Z


When my OCD decided to rear it’s big ugly head I try to do things that I find comforting, usually this is reading or knitting. Sometimes though, no matter how hard I try, the panic monster jumps all over my concentration and I have to try something else. Making lists has always been a go-to when the panic monster comes out to play and since being inspired by the A to Z Challenge on Daily (w)rite I came up with my favorite books from A to Z.

So suck it OCD! Here are some of my favorite books from A to Z. By the way, X is a really butt kicker!

Stitch Pattern Week 6 – Bad Books and Doodads


Since I was unquestionably late posting the stitch pattern for last week, I hope this will assuage any worries about my commitment. Ha! That certainly sounded pretentious! Sh!t, so did that! Any-who, with no further adieu, I present week 6 for your viewing pleasure!

Quilted Lattice

Quilted Lattice

Normally, I would share the pattern written by my great-grandmother with a nice – if slightly snarky- correction on how the pattern would be written today. I want to do that for you below (it is down there, promise), but if you can bear with me there is a story that goes with this pattern that I would like to share.

First and foremost, I am honestly going to say that I went right to a stitch dictionary to find out how this pattern was supposed to be written because for the first time she actually included the name of the stitch! Whoopee! Hooray! No Frogging for this girl this time!

Wait…not so fast. If I learned something this week it is not to get overly excited that something may go as planned.

I went to a book I recently found at a yard sale for fifty cents, which seemed like a steal at the time but hey, what do I know? Maran Illustrated Knitting and Crocheting  seemed like a really good starter book for my niece to try her hand at knitting and I was familiar with the brand name, thus comfortable in my ignorance. When I found the quilted lattice pattern it was slightly different on one row from my GG’s dictation, but considering she wrote it in her eighties I went with the book.

Wrong plan. Bad idea. Don’t do it. No. No. No….NOOOO!!!

As it turns out, the pattern in the book was written incorrectly; after much frogging and even more cursing I went to Lion Brand’s website (I’d had it with stupid books with their stupid pages and stupid….stupidness) and found an identical pattern to what GG was attempting to convey in her own chicken scratch way and was off and running.

I love the pattern by the way, it was totally worth the hair loss caused my abject frustration, and as a bonus my niece and I stumbled upon a great DIY idea. This pattern lends itself to perfectly to having lovely doodads hung from the loose stitches, so I am currently doing this pattern again and following the idea born from Lion Brand’s website.

So with another new project on the needles and an epic weekend Scrabble tournament going on between my niece, my husband and I, I am feeling pretty giddy. Loads of work to do but when you love what you do, it never seems like work!

GG’s Pattern vs. Actual Readable Pattern

quilted lace – Quilted Lattice but so close! A name for the pattern! Huzzah!

all wrongs p – Purl all odd rows (Good, good. Cooking with gas).

r2 k2 s5 yth k1. rep. last k – Row 2: K2, *Sl5 wyif, K1* rep *to* till last st., K1 (Luckily I have seen yth= yarn towards heart, so bringing it forward made sense, which made the s=slip fall into place).

r4 k4 lift k drop k5. last rep -1 – Row 4: K4 *Lift lose strand, knit into next stitch, bring lose stitch under strand; K5* . Rep. *to* till last rep, K4 instead of K5. (Dear GG, If you were planning on passing on your patterns, great googley moogley why did you write the stitch transition like this? Was there a maniacal giggle happening as you did this? Devilish glint in your eye? Sometimes I wonder).

r6 k1 s3 yth then k1 s5 yth till last 5 k1 s3 yth k1 – Row 6: K1, sl3 wyif, *K1, sl5 wyif*.  Rep. *to* to last 5 sts; K1, sl3 wyif, K1 (I am getting a handle on you, you old bag. Your odd shorthand is becoming clearer and clearer to me with each passing week. Considering quitting my day job and pursuing a career as a codebreaker for the CIA).

r8 k1 lift k drop k5 last rep k-4: (Really) Row 8: K1 *insert needle under loose strand, knit into next strand and pull off needle and under lose strand, K5* Rep *to* till last rep., K1 instead of K5 (Dear GG, I forgot to ask earlier, why do you hate punctuation? Is there some family history about punctuation doing my family harm? Wish you were alive so I could ask, cause it is giving me heartburn to think about it).

-Almost the End. Promise.-

If you have made it to the end, more power to you. So I shall end this post with a burning question in my mind; Has anyone else bought a book or pattern and had it be completely off the mark? And if so, how did you figure out how to fix the problem?

Thank you again for glimpsing into my families history and my passion for knitting. I must be passionate, otherwise I am just nuts!

Slouchy Hat Love


I Think I am in Love! -But not with Photoshop yet....as you can tell ;)

This pattern was so fun and well written that the hat just seemed to make itself. Not to mention the blocking instructions were hilarious – they included two dinner plates, a bowl and a saucer – and it worked out flawlessly! It may have looked a bit like a dangerous sombrero for a while, but the blocking stretched the lace out and created a very multidimensional piece.

The hat is perfect for the summertime, it’s light airiness lends itself to the spring and summer months with that hint of unique lace stitches that make me feel fancy. And who doesn’t like to feel fancy?

As for me, I am still learning html, Photoshop and now Gimp which has had some hiccups here and there but it could always be worse. Catching up on some many neglected WIPs, working and playing with Max who would prefer to play with my yarn. Rascal.

So in an attempt to get more comments and to learn from the plethora of knowledge that is the blogging world, let’s give this a whirl. I have done some funny things to block a project that seemed ludicrous but worked out splendidly. SO….

What works best for you when you are blocking?

What is the strangest thing you have ever done to get a project to hold it’s shape?

As always, thank you for stopping by and taking time out of your day to listen to my diatribes. It is much appreciated!

Experiencing Knitting Lust!


I collect hobbies and hoard information, very much like a squirrel with nuts. Every day I seem to see or read about something new that I just HAVE to learn how to do. So, if you will allow me to make a list for the goofy things I am dying to try to learn or knit, read on friends and neighbors.

  1. Knit a shadow box art installation.
  2. Knit textured wall art.
  3. Knit little owl stuffed toys for Stitches from the Heart.
  4. Knit a terrarium full of flowers, birds, grass, and bugs as a art piece.
  5. Knit a crossword puzzle blanket.
  6. Knit a chessboard blanket with pieces in starting position.
  7. Knit with beads/sequins (this whole application boggles my mind a bit).
  8. Learn to write a pattern that is cohesive.
  9. Learn to read knitting charts (sadly, I still have to write out the chart before I cast on).
  10. Learn to dye yarn.
  11. Knit a Fisherman’s Sweater for the hubby (he loved the hat, why not a sweater? we’re already married after all 😉

The Inspirations

(If I am breaking some sort of copy write rule of thumb, please let me know and it will be fixed immediately)

There is also the every growing bucket list…just for knitting. I love lists and I love knitting, these things seem to go hand in hand.

The Ever Growing Knitting Bucket List

  1. Design as sell patterns.
  2. Be published! (holy crow, that would be amazing!)
  3. Be able to teach classes.
  4. Be able to teach classes to other arthritic knitter’s like myself. To show them you don’t have to give up what you love because your hands work against you.
  5. Learn to crochet more than just the basics (it is soooo hard on my hand, but that’s never stopped me).

There is time (oh God I hope there’s time!) to work my way through my lists and hope to keep you updated on their progress. Any projects, skills or abilities you are lusting after? Feel free to comment. Hope you slept well and have enjoyed reading as much as I have enjoyed writing.

Stitch Pattern Week 5 – Better Late Than Never


Boy howdy I am late on getting this posted, I hope that my tardiness can be excused. I, like the rest of the country, was attached at the hip to any news media I could get my hands on, watching in baffled dismay at the horrific events of this past week. But with my mind set at ease, or as much at ease as it can be knowing that monsters are real, it is time to get back to it.

So I present this weeks stitch pattern!

Open Pillar Work Stitch Pattern - Week 5.

Open Pillar Work Stitch Pattern – Week 5.

Side Bar: Gotta love photo editing by the way. With Photoshop’s magic it refined the details of the stitches themselves, fixed the color saturation, eliminated unwanted shadows and made a fancy schmancy border.!

As per-usual I had to consult a few stitch dictionaries to find out what this patterns true name was – Pillar Open Work was my winner – because my dear great grandmother called it lazy cables. This pattern was just a continuation of two repeating rows but making it was stupid simple and the result was very pretty. Had I to do it again (and I probably will) I think I will go down a needles size though. So, with no further adieu, here is my great grandmothers scrawl vs. the “correct” way to read this pattern.

-51sts across n – Cast on 51 sts. 

-5 kp across – Knit 5 rows K1,P1 across for seed st. pattern (and yes, I thought kp was some funky knitting term that surpassed my years of knowledge, all 10 of them vs. her 70).

-pt. r1 right; k then yarn towards heart down, sl, 2k, left over right by 2, rep till 1, k – Row 1: (RS) K1 *yo, sl.1, K2, peso the two knit sts. over: rep From * to last st., K1  (Come ON GG, really? How did you follow this pattern! Well….she seemed to have no trouble. I rescind my judgement).

-r2 p – Row 2: (WS) P. (Thank the Lord above! A notation that required absolutely no cursing!)

-fin as b – Knit 4 Rows in K1,P1 Seed St. Bind off in Same Fashion (Again, no cursing! Finally a break that resulted in absolutely NO FROGGING!)

I am going to go ahead and call it a day with this post. I ranted and raved my last two and the lack of readers gave me the distinct notion that maybe I should stick to what I am good at. Not that I care, the people who did read gave amazing feedback and I don’t write to get people to read my blog, that is just a fantastic bonus. I write because you think harder when you write, or at least more specifically and the act is therapeutic. Hopefully given time the caliber of my writing will improve to include a wider audience. If not…well, I still love what I am  doing so f$*k it. 🙂

Sleep well, I will be here knitting all the while.