Sunday, March 30, 2008

On a mission

I may be on an uphill quest but at this point I've reached the conclusion that some sort of surgery beyond scraping the scar tissue from my knees is called for. My goal is total knee replacement. I took a good look at what exercise options I would have available for each and I would have more with artificial knees. I talked with my regular physician and with the physical therapist I'm working with currently and both agree with me that I would have a better chance of being able to pursue an effective weight loss program if I have artificial knees installed now instead of later. It will be a case of convincing an orthopedic surgeon that this needs to be done. I am willing to take the risk if it means controlling my diabetes, controlling my asthma, and taking the strain off my cardiovascular system. I want to be able to do water exercise. I want to keep up my house. I want to be able to stand for a concert performance.

Fiber content

The spinning part of a secret spinning project has been completed so I can devote the Louet to spinning my own stash of fiber. This is Potluck Roving in the color Vine Maple from Ferndale Fiber. It's a wool blend with a little bit of mohair and so far it's spinning up nice and fine. This will be more of a practice yarn to improve my consistency. The secret spinning varied between fingering and heavy worsted and while it balanced nicely was limited in how it could be used. A more consistent yarn will be more versatile.

Friends came over this week and tackled my kitchen (it's a trade for teaching C how to knit a sweater). Between cleaning sessions, I took my Goody Baynes wheel and gave her a good scrub and polish. I took her apart and cleaned out the axle hubs where the axle meets with the mother of all, lubricated her joints, wiped her down with Howard's Feed and Wax, and let her sit overnight to keep her at least one day cat hair free. She's a happy ole broad.

Monday, March 24, 2008

A quiet Easter

Thank you everyone who wrote in on my knee. I appreciate the support. I don't want to sound like a whiner with my occasional health woes but the world isn't all joy and bubbles. The meds have been helping but yesterday I happened to torque my knee so that the ligaments snapped (kind of like trigger finger). I spent the day on my back with ice on my knee after checking to make sure that I hadn't had a ligament separation. I tried doing some spinning later in the day but I was still sore so I worked on some knitting for Gardiner Yarns.

Good news from the work front. After years of applications and classes, I'm now transitioning from working with insurance claims to working with computer applications. The best part of it is I haven't left the office I've been working in, so I'm reaping the benefits of both worlds. Yay, I'm a geek!

Thursday, March 20, 2008


I had my visit with the surgeon. I was expecting to walk out with a date for surgery and planning how I was going to get the right support. Instead I walked out with another cortisone shot in my knee, a handful of drug samples, and a prescription for physical therapy. It's arthritis and if it's not better in a month THEN I can have arthroscopic surgery to clean out the joint. I kind of freaked out my doc when during the shot I burst into tears from all the frustration. He was clutching my folder and nearly scurried out of the exam room. But I think it was because he didn't know how to handle this woman who was having a meltdown. He is a good surgeon, well-liked in the medical community (nurses have their likes and dislikes -- they're the best judges of docs), and is well-versed in knee injuries (he treated the local high school football team). While I was feeling like I was not getting what I wanted I also understood that if it can be treated without surgery, then the least I could do was try it and if it didn't work then get the surgery.

Thursday morning I woke up pain free for the first time in nearly a month. Hallelujah! By the end of the day all the day's activity had caught up with me and I was in bed before seven pm. No spinning, no knitting, no nuffin.

This morning I was thinking that it was going to be good that I had nothing going on this weekend so I can get some things done. Earlier in the week I had plied some singles I had spun up a few weeks before. It was a test to see if I could treadle with my left leg so I was paying more attention to how evenly I was treadling as opposed to focusing on how I was plying. When I finished and skeined it I was expecting it to torque a bit but to my lovely surprise it just hung as balanced as one could be. I have more to spin up this weekend.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

I may have some knitting time

The concert last night went okay. There were a few glitches but they were handled with aplomb. Those I talked to enjoyed the concert and it was a great turnout for Portland, which means the chorus will come back next year. If the turnout had been poor, we would have seriously considered not performing in Portland again, so I'm glad.

This weekend I opted to perform Friday only. The injury to my knee is not improving with all the moving around so I'm home giving it a rest and knitting. I went to my primary care doc Thursday and he thinks I have a torn meniscus. I have meds now to deal with the pain and have a feeling this will end up with my having some sort of surgery to repair my knee. I've done this before so I know what to expect. Whatever happens I'm going to perform in Miami in July. It would be great to be able to do it standing.

The latest Knitty is up and there are a few patterns in there that interest me. I'm particularly interested in doing Laminaria in the Malabrigo Baby Merino Lace in colorway Loro Barranquero. This may end up being my Miami shawl. We'll see. I also liked Spirogyra but I want to use the patterning for making a pair of socks instead of fingerless mitts. That will take some mathwork to figure out. Lace Ribbon , Brighton, and Yosemite are also nice ones that I'd knit up (On Brighton I'd make sure that I had a really secure foundation for the handles so that they don't prematurely rip out). Some of the other patterns are too funky for this broad to be wearing. I'll do my Kauni sweater instead.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

She's doing wheelies in the hall!

First off, I want to thank everyone with their messages of condolences regarding Joe. They are greatly appreciated. I won't be able to attend the memorial service, but I was able to leave a message on the online memorial book for him. There are good things on the Net.

Friday is the first concert day of the weekend (Confluence will have 3: Portland, Salem, and Corvallis). At the performance, I'll be radiating more than the usual charm. I'm scheduled for a bone scan of my legs (especially my right) to see what's going on. Since a misstep I took in December that jammed my leg, the knee has been getting steadily worse and indicating that it's not the usual arthritis. I'll have the bone scan, then go to the surgeon Wednesday (it was the best they could do on short notice). In the meantime, I'm using a wheelchair at the office and getting plenty of exercise pumping my upper body to push me as fast as I can on carpeted floors. It probably was a good idea of their not giving me an electric scooter.

In knitting news, the socks are finished. The camera was cooperative and represented the colors more accurately this time around. The ribbing was more enjoyable thanks to the color changes. I think if these were in a solid I'd be doing anything to avoid having to do that much ribbing. So Witt, good pick of yarn!

So what's next on the needles? I do have a few WIPs I need to finish up as well as some sock yarn from StitchJones. I think for the concert weekend some time spent with something nice will be good, like the Rose of England cloth languishing in the UFO basket, with a Kureyon striped brioche scarf for those mindless moments.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

The sorrow never quite goes away

You never quite realize the impact of someone's life on you until that life is suddenly taken away. You see a face in the hall, say hi, have a little conversation. Then one day that face is not seen in the hall. You think, oh he moved on to another job. He went to another department, he left to work for another company, he moved to another town.

Then someone comes up to you and tells you that this person has committed suicide.

I got the news about Joe on Friday. At first there was some confusion about which Joe it was, then there was confirmation. I remember a guy who was by all appearances easygoing and unruffled. He was a musician who loved jazz and played professionally. He worked because the music didn't pay enough. We talked music occasionally -- I talked about my gigs and he talked about his.

It didn't really register with me when he disappeared from the hallways. The company was moving departments out of the building so it was not unusual for familiar faces to suddenly not appear. I was caught up in my world at the same time so I didn't even ask about Joe. It turned out he had left to go to another job but was trying to come back.

All potential employees go through a drug test as part of the hiring process. Joe was back when he got word that he had failed the drug test. Apparently he had been using for some time and it was a problem in his marriage for when his wife found out she threw him out of the house and said she was going to sue him for divorce.

Friday was a quiet day. Those that knew Joe were shocked. I grieved for him but thought that would be the end of it and I would move on. But while I spent Saturday going out and being with people, that night in my dreams I was with Mom and talking about what was happening in my life and woke up grieving for Joe. I will miss him and his easy laugh.

Back to knitting.

It's this kind of silliness that drives the sorrow away. ToolMan was looking at Karen's felted Kureyon bag and thought it worked well as a French Canadian settler's hat. He has a good point, don't you think?

The Witt socks are coming along. I had a bit of Second Sock Syndrome, but once I hit the heel flap I flew around the heel. I'm now on the gusset decreases and will be up to the ribbing.

Saturday was supposed to be rainy, soggy, icky -- perfect knitting weather if one wanted to stay indoors. I didn't want to wallow in the dark so planned to go out to work on Witt's socks and look for particular green yarn for making socks for myself. The weather turned out much better than expected. In addition, I learned of a new test knitting opportunity Friday evening so I added an additional stop to my yarn jaunt.

My stop at Knit/Purl yielded not only the Camelspin yarn I needed for the test knit but also enough Kauni yarn to make a sweater. During a knitting gathering I attended on Super Bowl Sunday, one of the knitters was working on a sweater in Kauni yarn in the rainbow colorway (EQ). It was a Greek key pattern that utilized the two colors in relatively equal amounts so that the color changes. I was so enamored of the way the sweater was coming out I tossed the idea into the back of my mind for a future project. Knit/Purl is the only source in Portland so while I was there picking up the test knit yarn and hunting for green sock yarn, I checked out their Kauni shelf. There was just the right amount for a sweater. Last night I couldn't resist testing out a chart I had done for a felted bag with the Kauni and made a coffee cup cuff to swatch it up on size 3's.