Monday, January 26, 2009


[Warning: this post is just grumbling, not even any pictures.]

I had some surgery a couple of weeks ago. Actually, two weeks ago to the minute, now that I think about it. It wasn't major surgery, but it wasn't exactly minor although I don't know how you classify that sort of thing. I spent one night in the hospital, and several days on the couch without moving much at all. Now I feel almost normal, except that I tire easily.

But apparently inside me things are not yet mended. I keep visualizing the surgery as the sort of mending I do on clothes -- stabilize the edges, sew on a patch, cut out the weak bits, tidy it up, and put it back in the drawer. I gather that this, instead, is more like building an artificial reef: the doctor put in the framework, but my body must do the coral's work, building a strong and solid repair layer by tissue-thin layer. My conscious self's job is to not interrupt that process.

So no lifting. For the past two weeks, I've been unable to lift more than 10 pounds. Today I graduate to no more than 30 pounds, but the sudden change seems odd to me and I'm going to try to go a little more gradually. No exercise -- including no yoga, no tai chi, no Wii bowling. For the past two weeks I haven't been able to drive, but that's over with just in time for the start of Charlotte's preschool (and for a threatened ice storm).

In practical terms, this means I have to plan ahead and have my husband strategically place the heavy things I will need during the day -- laundry hampers, my sewing machine, the enormous box of white-clothes-for-dyeing that just might hold the garments George needs to make his clone trooper costume.

But it also means that when George suddenly wants to try needlepoint, I can't move the 20 boxes of yarn that are in front of the one labeled Needlepoint. It means I can't overdye the screaming blue Ayany yarn, because I can't lift dyepots. And -- worst of all, I think -- I'm pretty sure "no exercise" means another four weeks before I can spin with a wheel, which of course is now what I want to do Most of All.

Hence this whine. But at least I am comforted by the thought that all bets will be off at the end of February. I'm going to try to use this time to imagine what it would be like if this were a permanent situation, say due to a heart condition -- and then use those imaginings to fuel both my own attempts at better fitness, and a little more sympathy for the apparently unimpaired folks using handicapped parking spaces.

In the meantime, I guess it's back to the Beech Leaf vest.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

A little miscalculation ....

I am making lots of progress on my Beech Leaves vest. In fact, I've finished the back and one front piece. But I have a problem. Here is the finished front piece:

Here is my remaining yarn:

That's not even enough to finish the front, let alone work the edgings.

I had a lot of trouble getting gauge -- don't know why, since I ended up using the recommended needles (!), but because of it this yarn shortage doesn't surprise me too much. Look at this:

But I'm not sure whether I can use the yarn from these swatches. The yarn shrinks a fair amount when it's washed, so it seems to me that knitting with it in combination with unwashed yarn is just asking for wonky results. I might be able to use it for the edgings, if I washed the individual pieces first. Has anyone used Fiddlesticks' Ecoknit cotton? What do you think?

I also think there's about half a skein somewhere in my wool room / office, because when I weigh everything I come up about 20 grams short. But I've been keeping an eye out for it for the past six months and it hasn't shown up, so I'm trying to track down another skein. I'm looking for Fiddlestick's Ecoknit cotton in Coffee, lot number FSEK05. Chances are slim, I know, but it's worth asking.

Despite the yarn shortage, I'm very pleased with the way the vest is turning out. The same can't be said for my Ayany vest, though. I don't seem to have posted about it since that entry a year ago, but in the meantime I fixed the bust shaping placement (I thought) and came very close to finishing it. Then I tried it on one more time and discovered that the armholes were still gappy. I set it down in disgust for, oh, six months, then tried it on again and discovered the armholes hadn't fixed themselves. So I was planning on ripping the whole thing back and doing it over, but couldn't really work up much enthusiasm. Last week I tried it on and realized that the real problem was my total lack of interest in the finished product. I can't ever imagine myself choosing to wear it. That really doesn't seem right, does it? The garter stitch is too rustic and the blue is too bright -- they don't match, and neither is really quite to my taste. So I ripped the whole thing out. Now I wonder if I was a bit too precipitous -- I wish I'd taken some notes on exactly what I did, so that I don't do it again -- but I'm sure I made the right decision. Maybe I'll overdye it and start again, or maybe I'll just let the yarn age for a while.

(P.S. Sorry for the long silence. I'm back.)