If you don’t give a hoot about my problems, and really? who could blame you! Please feel free to skip down to where you see #mybakersdozen – that’s were it gets good.
I have worried over this post, the first post in a long time, the way an old Italian grandmother worries over sauce. I have written, erased, edited, trimmed, fluffed and dismantled every word at least once without much success. It turns out that what I want to do is really quite simple, even if the circumstances that have gotten me here are not. So bear with me if you can and I’ll try not to ramble.
So here it goes.
This has been the hardest year of my life. I could talk about the struggles that my friends, family and myself have endured but it’s a long freaking list and really, you don’t need to know it all. The one main thing I will discuss is that Trevor and I had to let go of the dream of being parents.
My MS has gotten worse in the 32 months since my diagnosis and in November we were told I was losing functionality in my right leg – my good leg. While the chemotherapy seems to be keeping new lesions from forming, the 22 buddies I already have squatting in my brain and spine are pissy little buggers. We are currently working our way through a variety of immunosuppressant drugs to try to prevent any more loss of function in my leg (where the majority of my problems reside) but the more we go through the harsher they become.
The way my treatment is going there is no way I would have a successful after-pregnancy; most MS patients see a vast improvement when pregnant but once the baby comes, well, mama might be screwed with a 76% increase of having the worst exacerbation to date. To top off that crap pie I would also have to start my chemo within 24hrs of birth, and it was with this news that we decided that parenthood wasn’t going to happen.
Losing this hurts in a place I didn’t know was exsited until it was. It was that split second of understanding that life wasn’t going to go the way I wanted it to go that broke a little piece of me, that place that hurts now. Typically I can laugh off anything, I can shake off bad news with the vigor of a wet dog but this one, I just can’t. I knew I had to sit down and figure out how to live with the awful knowledge, how to get back to who I was.
I threw dozens of ideas out there; all the things that I found interesting and wanted to learn more about were fair game, but to be honest, most of them were rubbish. *and yes, I am an American using the word rubbish, but I have a degenerative neurological disorder, so get off my case! 😉 * There were so many half realized ideas, they all had some potential but none of them were working. I wanted to find something that gave me a feeling of purpose again, a feeling that I could use this otherwise wasted maternal instinct to, perhaps, better the world. It’s a lofty thought but hey, why not dream big? This was the realization of the #mybakersdozen
Here it is. Finally!
Once the little thought nugget of knitting for others for a year entered my mind it never left, it grew. I felt like it was an opportunity to make a small difference in the world, to cast little bits of light on others because isn’t that what all mothers do? Cast out the shadows and make you feel warm, safe and loved? That’s how my Mom has always made me feel, and while I will never get to do that for my own child, I might be able to do it for others.
Starting December 1st I will spend 13 months doing nothing but knitting for others.*I decided to go with 13 months because I lose so much time with the chemotherapy treatments and who doesn’t enjoy a little cushion?*
The rules I have set for myself are very simple
- I cannot knit for myself unless the project was started before 12/1/2017 because I need the bags and needles
- I will not buy any yarn*
*I will not be buying any yarn in 2017, but there is no way to keep yarn from coming into this house. Everyone who knows me buys me yarny things and I’m not going to discourage that. But fair warning, that yarn may be for someone else 🙂
So simple really, I want to see if I can bring a little light into the world. Spread a little love to find my way back to myself.
I want list is much bigger. I want to highlight knitters on Instagram who make me smile. I want to send gifts to people who inspire me, who help me not only find a creative outlet but also the thing that brings me peace. I want to highlight a charity each month and have projects that coincide – the problem with this is that once I started researching charities I found loads that I love and would want to share. I want to send handwritten letters and take the time to tell people how they make me feel, which is normally like being wrapped in a hand knit blanket…with handmade socks, tea, a roaring fire, classical music and my cat on my lap not being an a**hole.
There will be more posts, more updates and if this grows (like I’m dreaming it will) more and more love to share. I have only one expectation – that one person, yes one, will see/read/hear about this in the next 13 months and suddenly feel a little kinder, a little more like giving to others.
Holy cow. If ever there was a reason to blog more (and there are so many reasons) it is that this month in review post takes forever to do! The strangest thing about my lack of blogging is that I find myself thinking about what I would write about quite often, it just seems my follow through is lacking. So friends and neighbors, here is to a new month and a new shot at getting more written. Until we see how that goes I would love to share with you what I’ve been up to this past month.
- Pattern: Alano Dakos’ Oak Grove Mitts
- Yarn: Malabrigo Arroyo in Escorias
- Verdict: Everything about this pattern is amazing. and the yarn…..oh the yarn!
- Pattern: Cafe Au Lait Mitts by Paula McKeever
- Yarn: Malabrigo Arroyo in Escorias
- Verdict: I will make these mitts over and over and over again. There was enough yarn in the one skein of Malabrigo Arroyo to both sets of mitts – which makes me so happy. If you have a chance I give this pattern the MUST BUY seal of approval.
- Pattern: Free Rapunzel by Tiny Owl Knits
- Yarn: Lion Brand Hometown USA in New York White
- Verdict: Obviously the hat is adorable, but working with this thick yarn and size 13US needles about did my little arthritic hand in. I love the pattern – it was easy to follow and so much fun to do – but I just don’t see myself doing it again. Plus, the hat is for a very niche audience. I gave it to Gloria who loved it but can’t think of anyone else who would be worth the pain. 😉
- Pattern: Afterthought heel by Laura Linneman
- Yarn: Plymouth Yarn Neon Now in 3 Blue Yellow Green
- Verdict: I LOVE THESE SOCKS. I LOVE THIS YARN. I WANT TO LIVE IN A WORLD WHERE IT IS MANDATORY TO HAVE A PAIR OF SOCKS LIKE THESE FOR EVERY SINGLE DAY OF THE WEEK!! 🙂
- Pattern: Knitmore Girls Vanilla Socks – at least a variation on the basic pattern.
- Yarn: Berraco Comfort Sock in Blue Grey
- Verdict: I’ve made loads of Vanilla Socks so obviously the pattern is a go to. The yarn, well….it’s acrylic and I didn’t like working with it as well as wool. I felt like it was sliding all over my needles and the shaping on the instep didn’t feel as solid. This being said the socks turned out great and the hubby likes them better than wool – so there you go.
- Pattern: Diamond NeckLace by Susan Ashcroft
- Yarn: Caron Simply Soft in Soft Pink
- Verdict: I love Susan Ashcroft and everything she does – this is no exception. This is going to be a perfect present for my Grandmother for Christmas. If you’re looking to try something in the round with some texture – this is an amazing pattern to try. The chart is very intuitive and easy to read and it knit up very quickly.
- Pattern: #21 Cable-Accent Fingerless Mitts by Lori Steinberg
- Yarn: Lion Brand Vanna’s Sequins in Amaretto
- Verdict: I received the 60 More Quick Knits Sport Weight for a friend and realized, to my dismay, that the only sport weight I had was this Vanna’s Sequins that my Mom got for $0.97 at a Micheals sale. The yarn is actually not bad to work with if not for the sequins, but they grew on me. I also changed the pattern quite a bit to fit my needs (and common sense) and can’t wait to try this with a really crunchy wool.
- Pattern: Just a sock yarn beanie with a basic decrease.
- Yarn: Patons Kroy Sock Jacquards in Aqua Jacquard
- Verdict: Chemo caps take about 5 hours from start to finish, and a printed yarn makes that work look like it took four times as much effort. Patons has a sock yarn beanie pattern that is a good place to start if your interested and it is very easy to change pretty much everything once you get a feel for how it should be constructed.
- Pattern: Basket Weave and Ribs Cowl by My Noggin’ (that would be my brain)
- Yarn: Patons Classic Wool Worsted in Wedgewood
- Verdict: Well, it came from my brain so I hope I’m happy with it! I have three skeins of this variegated yarn and needed something to break it up. The ribbing changes the texture enough so that the colors seem to pop – so for all three skeins I am going to try different variations on ribbing to see what I can get. The pattern used the entire 210 yards and it super warm.
YOU MADE IT TO THE END! THANK YOU!!!!
I have a lot of ongoing projects that I really, really want to talk about and I have a new passion that needs discussion. SPINNING! Here is to another month of trying to forget that I have too much to do and making time for the things I love. Cannot wait to catch up with all of you! And also, thanks for hanging in there 🙂
For someone who complains about having no time to knit, I sure get a lot of it done! There is this space of time, usually when I am at my mother and father-in-law’s house that things just seem to get done. Most of the Instagram pics I take are there, although my blanket tends to go where I go. If you are interested in seeing what I am doing in real time, I suggest Instagram – that seems the easiest way to keep up with knitting. Plus, there is always awesome eye candy there. 😉
Okay, so here we go.
- Pattern: All variations on The Knitmore Girl’s Vanilla Socks. (#sockswithsarah)
- Yarn: Opal Bicolor in 5503 (being discontinued), Patons Kroy FX in Cameo Colors, Patons Kroy Stripes in Blue Gray Marl.
- Verdict? : I love making socks, I just love it. These are my brainless knitting socks – I just cast on and go with it. Trevor finally got his first pair of socks and it chomping at the bit for a another pair – I am so happy to oblige!
- Pattern: AfterThought Heel Socks by Laura Linneman
- Yarn: Patons Kroy Stripes in Bramble Stripes
- Verdict? : I love how the afterthought heel looks, but making it was a little unnerving. I didn’t do a true afterthought heel (where you…shiver….cut your knitting) but rather where you place waste yarn and join. The second sock went much smoother that the first, by then I had figured out that I needed to pick up more stitches to avoid any unsightly holes. I am going to wear these socks as much as possible before I do another pair – they just don’t seem a sturdy as a gusset. But the pattern itself was written very well and it was fun to try something new.
- Pattern: 16 Sixteen Cable Hat by Circé Belles Boucles
- Yarn: Patons Classic Wool Worsted in Plum Heather
- Verdict? : I LOVE LOVE LOVE this pattern. There are really only four cable rows (five if you do the slouchy, which I did) and the effect is so dramatic. I had purchased this pattern forever ago and *slouching with disgust* forgot about it. I was surfing patterns one night and was like “Why can’t I have money to buy this beautiful pattern! Blast!” – before I realized that I already owned the pattern. The hat took two days to make and as soon as I bound off I wanted to cast on again, and again, and again. Five stars to this pattern!
- Pattern: Love train by Susan Ashcroft
- Yarn: Premier Yarns Serenity Sock Weight Solids in Charcoal
- Verdict? : Since this is the third Susan Ashcroft pattern I’ve made in a month there is obviously not enough good things to say about her stuff. I got this ebook from a friend who wanted two of the four shawls made for her. (I promised I would not take photos of her finished objects as she is claiming she made them herself 😉 ). The yarn wasn’t great, but it was far from bad. All in all this shawl, which is going to be a very merry Christmas present for ______ cost about $5.00. It is nice and stretchy and the yarn is very soft, not to shabby!
- Pattern: Mikado Cowl by Susan Ashcroft (I am sensing a pattern here)(HA! PUN!)
- Yarn: Red Heart Super Soft in Seafoam
- Verdict?: LOVE! Just another Stitchnerd design that made me fingers sing. I actually made this in one day, I just kept thinking that I had to see it finished as soon as possible! I have already given this one to a friend and my Mom wants two more to give as Christmas presents. It’s a great deal – she buys the yarn and I get to knit the pattern and throw a card into her package.
- Pattern: Beekeeper’s Quilt by Stephanie Dosen
- Yarn: Oh so many….
- Verdict? : Needs its own blog post.
So there is March’s finished objects. There are always other things chilling on my needles that I haven’t shown yet, but hopefully I will be back soon. The most important thing about blogging/knitting/spinning is that you can’t allow it to make you feel guilty – it’s here to be enjoyed. Friends and neighbors, I am going to try to remember that blogging is fun again and I hope to see you again soon.
It’s been over a month since I last posted, hard to believe given that I used to be so devoted to keeping up with it. The thing is, when time is precious you begin to…covet it. When I’m not working, with family or friends I want to be knitting or spinning. It’s even stranger because as I am knitting I am actually thinking about writing about it. What to say, questions to ask, things to share – these things bubble in my mind and quickly as my needles navigate the fiber.
So in the interest of keeping up with the blog I am no longer going to pressure myself into doing it, I am going to let it be something that is enjoyable and not just another obligation. That being said, I cannot wait to share all the shenanigans that I’ve gotten into this past month. Hope your still reading friends and neighbors – and I hope it was worth the wait.
- Project: The Bend Hat – Event Charity/Single Skein in Ravellenic Games
- Yarn: Red Heart Super Soft – about 175 yards worth.
- Verdict?: I really like the pattern, but the ribbing was a bit big for my taste. I will definitely make this again – just shorten the brim by half.
- Pattern: Cross Timbers by Alexis Winslow
- Yarn: Patons Classic Wool in Plum Heather and Dark Gray
- Verdict? : I really loved this for my first colorwork pattern. I did, however, block it till it screamed and it was still too tight. I used the largest amount of stitches called for, but if it doesn’t block for me (oh please let it block for me!) the I will know to add pattern repeats to make the circumference bigger. It still came out to 11” length wise so I don’t know if this is what’s suppose to happen or if I knitted too tightly – even though after watching I went up a needle size.
- Pattern: Rose Tyler’s Fingerless Mittens by Dana Berry
- Yarn: Zitron Trekking 6 fach 6 ply in 1806 Blue Grey
- Verdict? : I really enjoyed this pattern. The chart was well written and the mitts look just like the ones from Doctor Who (except not pink – Gloria would hate pink). When I make them again for myself, I am going to knit the back section instead of purling. I don’t think that it will change the integrity of the pattern and I hate purling in the round on such small needles.
- Pattern: Leave on the Line by Susan Ashcroft
- Yarn: Casscade Yarns Heritage Silk Paints in Fall (9801)
- Verdict? : I LOVE Susan Ashcroft! If I had the funds I would buy every pattern she has ever written and make them all at least four times. The idea of measuring your yarn for a pattern is freaking ingenious. You get the most out of your expensive skein of yarn. I cannot wait to give this to my Aunt Kathy!!
- Purl Ridge Cowl by Stephen West
- Yarn: Red Heart Boutique Midnight in Misty
- Verdict? : Great pattern – totally brainless and ends up looking far more intricate that it actually is. It is also a great stash-busting project and I will be making loads of these for the holidays.
So here is part one. There was a lot more knitting going on than I thought, so breaking it up seemed the best idea. I hope your still there friends and neighbors – I know I’ve been a crummy blogger but I am at least going to try to get caught up with your blogs. Missing your blogs is like missing a friend, it hurts and it’s super annoying!
It has been a … less than stellar day, which means it is the perfect day to share something awesome.
A little while ago (during my B.A.D.D. period) I was at work when I received this picture from my Mom, Dad and husband….
No one would tell me what was sitting in my living room – or what was in the box. I thought that it was a book Trevor and I had been trying to sell. Finding the right seller for rare books can be difficult and tedious, and we have a doozey we found at a garage sale.
Of course I got mandated at work that night, and after 16 hours all I could do was come home and crash. To be honest, I forgot all about the box. I even forgot doing the horrible impersonation of Brad Pitt from the movie Seven when he yells “what’s in the box?” (spoiler: it was a head). The terrible impression made from hours 4 through 11 in my shift were soon forgotten after that the sucky-ness of work caught up with us and well … we all forgot.
Trevor had been twitchy all week and all I thought his second job was catching up with him. With his Dad being sick and working all the time of course he couldn’t remain the Zen Master of the Universe. It’s still strange that I thought that though – because the only other time if our eleven year relationship where I have seen him twitch like that is before he proposed.
So when I came home one night, this is what I found sitting in my living room … no longer in the box …
My first spinning wheel! The present, from my family, was a (very) early 30th birthday present. As it turns out, everyone was waiting to see my response to the gift – so much so that I spent two hours on the phone before I could even sit down and look at my new toy. The wheel is an Ashford Spinning Wheel Kiwi 2 and unfinished – which is perfect. Everything about it is perfect – except my spinning 😉
So friends and neighbors, who are also spinners, I am begging for any tips/tricks/advice on how to make the perfect yarn for my perfect family!
No pressure 😉
This is something new, trying to post a blog from my iPhone.
I would like to add a great big thank you to this post to my parents. They bought me a cell phone (a ridiculously nice cell phone) and put me on their because they wanted me to be able to call them from the hospital – where my father-in-law is currently residing. I never really got the whole cell phone thing, I can take it or leave it – but their generosity is unremitting.
So, I finished another pair of socks! Once again I’ve gone with Patons Kroy Sock Stripes , this time in Blue Striped Ragg. I love these socks, I mean I always love socks but these were just so much fun to watch knit up. Stripes are amazing, you think “one more color, one more color” and before you know it you have a sock! Same pattern (Knitmore Girls Vanilla Socks) same technique (magic loop) same amazing outcome (socks). 🙂
Oh Sarah, the things you have helped me accomplish! Sarah, and her #sockswithsarah KAL has made me a sock making monster – it’s amazing!
Next up, a pair for the hubby. I am going to to a little more shaping in the calf section, but other than that I am keeping to the formula I have fallen in love with. After his pair is finished though, I think it is time to jump into the unknown waters of toe-up socks, two at a time socks or Spiceman Socks. Who knows!
Okay, this feels a little too weird as a writing platform. Till next time friends and neighbors!