Thursday, April 16, 2015


David asked me why, if I loathe handwashing so much, I keep knitting him socks that he wears once and then sit on the top of the washer for six months. It is a very, very, good question.

I've decided that unless I find a luxury sock yarn that absolutely MUST be made into a pair of socks, all my socks from now on will be made of superwash wool.

When I planned to knit all my California family socks for Christmas last year I determined to make it as easy as possible on them, so all my Christmas knitting was superwash. Knit Picks is my friend - all these socks were knitted with Stroll I ordered online and had delivered to my door.

From top to bottom these socks were for Lauren, Dad and Mom - Lauren's and Mom's I heavily adapted existing patterns and Dad's I kind of made up as I went along.

Fin's were my favourites. I'd been wanting to try doing something with Latvian braid and I found this pattern just about the time I was planning my Christmas presents. All the trim was done using bits from the other socks.
 I knit Ally's and Madie's socks using a basic sock pattern but added an eyelet cuff (cause I love eyelet) and did duplicate stitch on the heels for their initials. I couldn't get the colours to come out quite right in the photos - Ally's are a little more purple and Madie's are a really vibrant hot pink.
 By the time I got to Cedric's socks I was running late so didn't initial his heel. However, I don't think anyone's going to be confused about whose socks these are.

Over the winter I did manage to coordinate our church's Homeless knitting project and we ended up with over 200 donated items (some handmade, some bought) - here are a few of them.

One lady brought all hers in individual ziplocs with hand-written notes inside, which I thought was a nice touch.

 For the rest I printed little labels and attached them with a bit of scrap yarn.

 Since Christmas I've only knit one pair of socks for David (no pictures yet) and one sock out of a pair for me. I loved Fin's so much I found another pattern with Latvian braid and am doing myself a pair in purples.

I have a long-ish list of requests, including a knitted viking helmet/beard from Lauren which I was hoping to have done for his birthday, but I'm so far behind it may have to be a Christmas present. I'm also commissioned to knit Evie's young man, Greg, a Jayne Hat but his birthday's in October so I have time to get to that one (this request deeply satisfies the geek in me).

So, that's my knitting for the last few months. I'll try and get pictures of David's new socks (superwash for the win). I have a flight to California coming up next week so hopefully I can get the second sock of my Latvian pair done then and pictures up soon.


Monday, April 13, 2015

After a Long and Painful Absence

This winter was long, cold and very painful. I have rheumatoid arthritis and until last fall the medications I was on were keeping it under pretty good control. I'd have the odd flare that would last a day or two and then I'd be OK for a while. But in September the flares starting coming more often and lasting longer and in November my whole body seemed to flare up - I was having pain in every joint. A couple courses of steroids helped settle that down, but my hands just hurt all the time. My rheumatologist has been trying to find a new combination of drugs to control the flares but we are still tweaking it. I'm on a longer course of steroids right now so I'm pain-free for the moment and after nearly six months of constant pain it's such a relief!

I found that when the pain and fatigue are unrelenting, not only can I not make much physical effort, I can't even think about making physical effort. Now I love planning, sometimes even more than the actual doing! I love looking at knitting patterns, browsing yarn websites, poring over seed catalogs, reading about travel, watching youtube videos refinishing furniture. But chronic pain narrows your focus down to just getting through the day, and anything else just sucks away the little energy you have. Even blogging and posting on Facebook seem like too much of an effort.

Also, I found that it's downright depressing thinking about all the things I can't do. At the worst of it I was missing a lot of work and I kept thinking "if this doesn't get better I'm going to have to quit work, and then we won't be able to afford house payments, and then we'll have to move, and how am I going to move house if I can't even move my hands, and I like my house, I don't want to leave it". Getting back on my antidepressants helped a lot with the anxiety, but it's still an issue I may have to deal with.

However, at the moment, while I'm pain-free, I'm taking advantage of the reprieve and in the last couple of weeks have had a little flurry of baking, knitting and gardening that I really missed during the winter.

I realized I never posted pictures of my Christmas knitting so I'll work on a post to show those, and one to show the beginnings of my veggie patch this year.

Here's to warmer weather and feeling better.



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