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.
Guess who showed up to work two hours early by accident? This kid! I am going to try to cram in a post while I have some real downtime, it’s actually pretty darn exciting! Okay, let’s get on with the good stuff.
~ Socks with Sarah Progress #sockswithsarah ~
I currently have two pairs of socks on the needles, one for myself and one for my Dad. I am working on my socks everyday – even if it is just a row or two. I find that knitting socks is my knitting happy place at the moment. Is it bad I want to finish my Dad’s socks just so I can work on my socks exclusively? I’m gonna go with no, it’ll help me sleep better at night.
~ A Very Berry Fascination ~
After my husband spied my newly organized stash, he asked me a simple question; “Why do you only make one thing in each color when you have multiple balls?”. After I quit giggling from the multiple balls comment I couldn’t come up with a good answer. Does “I am so sick of that color when I am finished that I just have to get another” work?
Well, no. It really doesn’t.
So I took on the challenge of taking two balls (teehee) of Red Heart Soft in Berry – which has a whopping 256 yards per ball – and decided I was going to knit through both. I started with the Twisted Toque from 60 Quick Knits: 20 Hats, 20 Scarves, 20 Mittens. I liked the pattern; the errata was small, the hat was easy to make and virtually brainless, which is a plus these days. I will say that the length measurements given were a bit long though, so long that I ended up folding the brim just to make the hat work.
The second project was from the same book, kinda. The pattern was Mock Cable Wristers and I hated this pattern. There is a vividly fierce hatred of how this pattern was written – so I changed it. I elongated the cuffs so they were 4″ and more of a gauntlet style, I changed the position of the thumb. I changed the purl increases, I added a thumb, I added length to create fingerless mitts, I did Jenny’s Surprisingly Stretchy Cast-On and Bind-Off. Basically, I stripped the pattern to the bare bolts and started over.
This took a full ball and about 20 yards of the second – leaving me to figure out what to do with the remaining 236 yards. I decided I wanted a long cowl to go with the revamped mitts. I wrote the pattern (which I will be making available for FREE on Ravelry just as soon as I get it done). I took the basic concept of the faux cables and just fiddled with the stitches. I wanted them to pop out at you a bit, and I wanted the cowl to be nice and wide and a little less dense than the cable on the mitts.
That took care of both balls (teehee). Now I am just so ready to get my finger on a new color that it is eating me alive!
Oh yeah – I finished the mitts from last week. Side note: that horrible join blocked out really nicely. I would have taken a picture but they were out the door and into someone else’s home very quickly.
So that’s it for me today friends and neighbors. I have week 2 of my 52 weeks of new experiences all ready to go – I just need to find the time to write it. Who knows, maybe I can show up to work early again and get it hammered out. Happy Thursday blogger buddies!
I am going to try to keep this as quick as I can, if only to shorten my humiliation at retelling this story. I want to say first and foremost that yes, I’ve learned my lesson. So….here it goes.
I have been making baby blankets for Stitches From The Heart ever since I learned how to knit the garter stitch. I have a very special place in my heart for this organization which supplies an assortment of baby items for preemies. Closer still is the bereavement sized items that are always needed and this is the size I spend most of my time knitting. I suppose they need more of these made because it is just a bit too depressing to knit something for a baby that will never take a breath, but I know first hand just how important it is to the grieving process and how much it means to the families.
The bereavement blankets are usually far more interesting pattern wise, I spend more time on them and try to make patterns that I feel are peaceful. Anyway – I try to send in two blankets a month (preemie and bereavement sized). Since my Etsy Store actually started bring in orders though I have been having some trouble keeping up with the preemie blankets. Oh hell, I haven’t made one preemie blanket in almost four months.
Then I thought I had a great idea…knitting machine! (SPOILER ALERT: Not a great idea)
My idea was that I would use the machine to run off flat, stockinette panels. Then I could embroider and edge the blankets by hand. I had all these wonderful notions of sending this charity tons of blankets. I would be busting my stash, be able to spend more time on the special touches and quit feeling to guilty about not sending in both blankets.
I went to Jo Anne’s with my 50% off coupon and bought the Ultimate Sweater Machine. Yes, I felt guilty about sending in only half handmade items, but I reasoned it was better than nothing at all. Oh the things we tell ourselves.
Gloria and I picked it up, brought it home, set it up and ….huzzah!…it didn’t work. Not even a little. This loud, piece of crap could never even knit a row. It jammed, it got stuck, it screeched, it howled, it begged for mercy. Between the three of us (Trevor, Gloria and myself) we tried everything we could think of for two days before I put it back in the box to return it. I HATE this stupid machine – if it wasn’t for the money I would set it on fire in my back yard.
I’ve learned my lesson – there are no shortcuts in life. I actually feel pretty guilty about trying it now, as if the protesting machine was trying to tell me that I was in fact cheating. So now I am going to try to schedule a time of day when I work on my blankets. If something is important you take the time to do it, and you take the time to do it right. There, now you know my incredibly embarrassing story. I would rather have been caught having sex in front of my neighbors that admit to trying to cut corners.
What about you friends and neighbors, have you ever tried to cut corner’s with good intentions? Or even better, how do you whip up a cute baby blanket and still keep up with all your other obligations?