Tuesday, November 30, 2010


Mission Accomplished!!!

I finished my overdyed Koigu Kersti On The Easy Side sweater that was my #1 goal for the NaKniSweMo. There were way more stitches than it would appear with all of the on-the-needle swatching & re-knitting that I did!! You can definitely see the lighter yarn on the sleeves - again, it just deepens my appreciation for the yarn dyers out there who can predictably replicate their awesome yarns. This has sated my dyeing desires for a bit but I'm sure that I'll feel the urge ... someone better warn Buffy!!!

I also finished China Clouds, knit 3 scarves for my Dr.'s secretary & nurse who have been awesome squeezing me in to see the Dr. & helping me out through some of the chemo drama and for one of my best friends who has been an super supportive, and banged out a pair of mittens for Amanda this past weekend.

Phew!! December is not likely to slow me down ... I'll share what I can but some things are still Top Secret! Yeah, you know the drill ;-).

I got a Rx for Arthrotec - it has totally taken care of the crippling bone/joint pain that I was suffering in my legs and the excruciating stomach pains. The drugs in the chemo therapy affect the faster replicating cells in our body - hair follicles and stomach linings are at the top of the list. My fingers are crossed that the subsequent treatments are controlled by the Arthrotec and don't get worse ...
I've got a bit of an eye infection that I have drops for. Irritatingly, the eyelashes on my right eye have mostly come out as a result so I have unbalanced eyelashes. SIGH, it's the little things.
I've also noticed that I don't get "sleep sand" in my eyes in the morning anymore. I guess that the chemo is totally cleansing my body ... how bizarre. My eyes also water constantly, which is annoying.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Got My Head Outta the Clouds

Just over 2 years in the making (way longer than I estimated :: hanging my head in shame::) but China Clouds is now in the books!! I put a real push on last week - I swear, it was a mission!!

It's been a journey that I totally loved. Even though I put her aside for other projects she waited patiently for me to return and it was love again. It was a challenge - my first real Kaffe - and I do feel triumphant.
I'll put it in the mail to Jackie this week - I wish that I could see her face. I hope that the reality of it lives up to her expectations!!

My last three treatments are Taxotere and it freakin' sucks!! I knew that I had it too good these past few months & now I'm paying for it.

I have to sit with my fingers in ice while the drug is administered (1-1.5 hours) to help prevent damage to my fingernails so knitting is out.
Now I have the most wicked bone/joint pain from my waist down; horrible, stabbing/shooting pains that is probably like arthritis to the 'enth degree. Sitting, walking, laying down - no position is any worse or better than another.
My stomach is in knots - not nauseous, just gut-wrenching pain. Eating, not eating, water ... nothing seems to make the pain better or worse.
My lips are numb-ish and my taste buds are shot - everything tastes kind of grey and soapy.
I'm going to get some better drugs tomorrow for the bone/joint pain but it's going to be a long couple of months ahead with nothing but strength of will to haul my ass through each hour.

Not sure about blogging The Amazing Race tonight - concentrating & sitting up are not my strong suits right now.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

No Bad News Today

China Clouds progress = excellent!!! I'm almost at the armhole shaping of the back - I might really get this done this month!!!
I am at the halfway point on my On The Easy Side sweater. It weighs 302g which contradicts the 2 part of balls #5 & 6 (which weigh 26g) that I'm on. So I should be good to take out a dark skein & a light skein (I still have 2 light-ish skeins and I only need one for the end of the 2nd sleeve) and still be able to finish the sweater. The extra 28g won't be problematic - as soon as I hit the spot on the 2nd sleeve where the light skein needs to be introduced I'll switch to the light skein.

I totally forgot to show you the Signature Needle Arts sock blockers
that I received as a gift!! My love for Signature needles is quite well known so this was totally the perfect gift - I can't wait to finish a pair of socks!

AND I won a contest!! It turns out that 800 is my lucky number! Amanda helped me to pick out Vacation as our colourway. You all also know about my love for handdyed yarn so this was a completely excellent win!! Amanda has requested mittens ... she also wants a slouchy winter hat.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Watching TAR17 with Wannietta - part le 8

Argh - missed the first 20 mins - Amanda was working on homework.

So ... teams are on their way to Jebel Shams where a driver will take them up the mountain to the next clue.
Guess asking for help wasn't such a horrible thing, was it Chad?
"Shut up!" Really Nick?? Vicki just confirmed that they were going the right way - a little Karma goes a long way dude. Hating on Nick a lot right now.
Chad & Stephanie are the first team to arrive at Jebel Shams.
Gary isn't sure that Mallory is navigating properly.
Road Block - Who wants to add a little magic to their lives?
Someone must repel down the mountain then look among hundreds of lamps for one containing Aladdin's magic ring which they deliver to the shaman for their next clue.
Chad is going to look for the magic.
Jill is going for it despite a fear of heights.

Argh - missed about 4 minutes ...

Nick & Vicki's cab has a flat - Nick is freaking out of course.
Chad & Stephanie are at the Detour - filling a water truck then directing the driver to the delivery address.
Gary & Mallory are back on course. Maybe.
Brook & Claire, Nick & Vicki are all on their way to the water trucks.
Kat is on her way down the mountain.
Jill & Thomas actually happen upon the cousin of the person to whom they need to deliver the water & he takes them right there.
They now need to make their way to the Muttrah Souq Market in Muscat and look for a specific vendor who will give them frankincense, then find Ali Babba who will give them their next clue in exchange for the frankincense.
Chad & Stephanie are done the water delivery.
Kat is checking the lamps, then checking them again.

She found a ring!
Sunshine Mallory is going for the magic.
Jill & Thomas have their frankincense and are on the hunt for Ali Babba.
Nick & Vicki are delivering their water as are Brook & Claire.
Mallory has found their ring and they're off!
Jill & Thomas are off to Al Alam Palace - the Pit Stop for this leg of the race.
OMG - they/Thomas paid a cabbie to lead them to a location = 30 minute penalty. They watch while Chad & Stephanie check in first and take the trip to Belize!
I missed Chad & Stephanie getting engaged!!!
Brook & Claire are going the wrong way on a one-way street, the police don't help the traffic situation much by showing up to tell them so.
Gary & Mallory are off to deliver water.
Nick & Vicki are off to the Pit Stop followed closely by Brooke & Claire.
Nat & Kat are delivering their water & on the way to the market. They have their frankincense.
Gary & Mallory have their frankincense.
Both teams are on their way to the Pit Stop ... OMG the tension!!
Nat & Kat are on the mat!!!

#1 - Chad & Stephanie
#2 - Jill & Thomas
#3 - Nick & Vicki
#4 - Brooke & Claire
#5 - Nat & Kat

Good bye - Gary & Mallory

He'll Always be My Baby

He's 19 today and I see the man in him developing but he'll always be my baby boy.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Finally - Forward Progress

It has been a busy week!! I have been to Barrie every single day for one appointment or another, I've been picking Kyle up from work in Alliston (long story made short - he gets a ride with his girl friends mom. Yeah, I saw that writing on the wall. Mercifully he's got a ride again!!) and my obsession with finding the perfect Sweet Spot has had me ripping reknitting swatching on the fly to the point where I was seriously considering tossing it in a corner for Mischief to sort out. But you know me, there is not a yarn that I won't master with enough time - I'm nothing if not persistent!! We're back on point and with a Launch My Line marathon on Global Reality today I'm totally going to make massive headway. Crap ... unjinx!!!!

So, that being said China Clouds ... I'll go hard-core on her on Sunday. Elise's socks - getting there. I've been working on some simple scarves as my "waiting room" projects.

I got in to see my family Dr. and she sent me for an ECG which the tech said
was good and she is going to get me hooked up with the Holter monitor. It'll probably take a couple of weeks (really?!?) but that's okay, my heart is apparently taking the arrhythmia in stride so I can wait.

I've also waiting for a referral to a dermatologist to take a look at this.
I know, it doesn't look like much which is why so many people end up losing their thumbs, big toes or their lives because it seems like such a silly little thing to go to a Dr with. It could be caused by a lot of things - chemo being one of them - but the fact that it is only on a single digit is a red flag. I really hope that it isn't a melanoma but my research1 and research2 would indicate that it verily could be; I'm just praying that if it is it's been caught soon enough to spare the thumb. An opposable thumb is what separates me from lower forms of life!! Okay, confession ... and because I need it to knit. I seriously didn't need something else to think about but at least I have the time to deal with it expediently. I don't know if I would have really paid attention to it had I been working and getting my nails done. Okay, this might be the single benefit to naked nails. It really knocked me on my ass when I first looked it up - I really thought that it would be some sort of deficiency or deposit that I could take a supplement for - but I'm okay-ish with it now. I'm not obsessing about it, it's not occupying my every waking moment but it's hard to ignore.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Watching TAR17 with Wannietta - part le 7

Jill & Thomas - 8:30 AM - off to Avtovo Circus for their next clue.
Brook & Claire - 8:35 "I wanna be in a circus - that's where I belong." "I hope I get to wear a leotard." Brook's kinda crazy is growing on me!!
Michael & Kevin - 8:40
The circus is closed - teams are catching up & lining up at the gate.
Detour - Circus Band or Circus Clown

Band - Teams need to choose an accordion player who will teach both members a Russian folk song. When they both perform the song correctly they will receive their clue.
Clown - Teams go under the Big Top & learn a plate spinning routine. When they can keep 10 plates spinning simultaneously for at least 10 seconds the clown will give them their next clue.

Jill & Thomas are doing Clown, Michael & Kevin are going for Clown, Brook & Clair are doing Band, Nat & Kat are doing Band, Chad & Stephanie are doing Clown, Gary & Mallory are doing Band, Nick & Vicki are going with Clown.
Brook & Claire have the hang of the spinning, Nick has deep seated, early childhood issues with clowns ...
Kevin & Micheal are forgetting to keep the spinning plates spinning while they get new plates going.
Gary & Mallory are finding the song longer than their memories.
Jill & Thomas are switching to Band.
?!? Nick has forgotten his lessons!! Dumbass???
Brook & Clair are off to Bank Bridge, but they have to figure it out from a clue, "find the canal bridge guarded by four creatures with golden wings."
Nat & Kat gave the fingering sequences numbers ... it worked & they're off.
Thomas is feeling defeated ... again.
Chad thinks that plate spinning is stupid so they're switching to Band - "it's like Guitar Hero."
Nick & Vicki are done being spinny!
The song is broken up into three parts - by the time they're learning the 3rd one Thomas has forgotten the 1st one.
Gary & Mallory are sickenly positive, but it's working for them - they're done followed by Michael & Kevin.
They must now travel on foot to Vladimirkiy Prospekt Tower & find a little statue that leads them to the Church of Spilled Blood where they will find their next clue. They can ask locals to guide them but cannot pay a cabbie to lead them there.
Stephanie has the same idea about numbering the fingering sequences.
Jill & Thomas are totally all thumbs.

Thought so ... Jill & Thomas are back to plate spinning.
Chad & Stephanie are done Band.
A whack of teams are on Vladimir Prospekt looking for the flagged bldg.
Are Michael & Kevin following their cab? Ruh-roh!
Jill & Thomas are finally done.
Nat & Kat, Nick & Vicki are using their binoculars but are totally missing the little statue on the window ledge.
They finally see it & on their way down Nick tells Kevin that all they saw was DS-13. Kevin doesn't think that Nick would like 'cause he's awesome.
Kevin & Claire are looking for where to go. They finally find the little statue. "I think that Nick may have lied to us though."
Thomas & Mallory are up in the tower ... how long will it take them to find the statue clue.
This is when I wish things were more real-time and I knew how long stuff was taking them.
They see Chad & Stephanie on their way back to the cabs and are like, "Yes, we're not last!"
Nat & Kat, Nick & Vick now need to figure out that the riddle, "Peter the Great is buried inside me" is leading them to the Peter & Paul Fortress where they will find their next clue.
Nat & Kat and Nick & Vick are going back for their taxis since this clue doesn't say anything about not taking cabs.
Stephanie is up the tower looking for the little statue.
Nick wants to hail a new cab since going back is out of their way but they're having a hard time getting a new one.
Brook & Claire have realized that they should have "walked to their next clue" and have got their cabbie to take them back to the Tower so that they can do it right. They are worried about Michael & Kevin who are ahead of them and haven't realized their mistake. This will cost them penalty minutes if they're lucky and if not they'll have to go back and do it over.

Stephanie couldn't see it so she's tagging Chad in. He found it - "It was right in front of your freakin' face; a little figurine!!"
Nat & Kat are the 1st to the Road Block where they need to master a centuries old Russian game - Gorodki. Looks like crazy stick bowling.
Brook & Claire are back on track.
Gary & Mallory, Jill & Thomas have the clue figured out and are off to get a cab to the P&P Fortress.
Kat, Michael & Brook are playing. Kat is on her 3rd "frame".
Kat's done & they're off to the Pit Stop inside the Fortress and find the correct bastion.
Chad & Stephanie aren't far behind - they're on their way to the Fortress.
Nat & Kat are checked in.
The Gorodki is about whipping the throwing stick hard and low putting plenty of spin on it.
Brook is taking time to bust a move, but she's cleared her 2nd frame while Michael is still on his 1st.
Brook is done!
Michael is hitting the small sticks that he has to clear he just needs to get some velocity behind the his throws.
Nick is rockin' it out - 1 clear. 2 clear. 3 clear - a conctructive use of his aggression.
Thomas - 2 clear.
Gary - 1 clear - nice 2-handed toss.
Michael - 1 clear.
Stephanie - 1 clear
Gary - 2 clear
Thomas - all done, but they need to go get their bags.
Gary - all done
Kevin is whining about going from 2nd to potentially last - he still doesn't know about their penalties yet.
Michael - 2 clear
Stephanie - 2 clear
Michael - all done & they're going back for their bags.
Hill & Thomas don't have enough money for the cab, neither do Kevin & Michael.

Stephanie keeps throwing high.
Jill & Thomas give their cabbie $60 US and are off.
Kevin & Micheal only have 3,000 Russian but give their cabbie $40US and are off.
Stephanie finally gets her 3rd frame done and are off to the Pit Stop instead of going back for their bags.
They check in but cannot check in without paying their cabbie - they need to go back & do that.
Kevin & Michael have 2-30 minute penalties to sit out.
Chad & Stephanie are back but they took a taxi from the tower to the Church of Spilled Blood but even with their penalty they beat Kevin & Michael. This'll hit them on their leave time for the next leg.

#1 - Nat & Kat
#2 - Brook & Claire - just barely, they went back to the cab for their bags. Why don't teams remember to take their bags with them more often.
#3 - Nick & Vicki
#4 - Gary & Mallory
#5 - Jill & Thomas
#6 - Chad & Stephanie

Good bye - Kevin & Michael.

Just 2 Steps Back

Geez Louise!!! So I'm almost done the 1st sleeve on and it occurs to me that the fabric is looser than at the bottom. I'm normally quite good at Mary Poppins (practically perfect) tension so I start thinking. Yeah, a little late for that missy!!! Back at 40 sts I worked on swatching with the two different needles (SB & the Sigs) and the two different sizes (4mm & 4.5mm). I think know now that I must have either switched needle sizes at some point or loosened up. So it's back to knit 1 - the Kersti is standing up well to all of this use I must say and it's lovely to work with so it's not such a hardship.
It's also giving me the opportunity to space out the sleeve increases. To maintain the integrity of the patterning while knitting one below increases need to be done by 2's. So on the sleeve that puts a 4 stitch increases at the seams. Elise & I had talked about this when we did the originals and for ease of writing and knitting the increases are at the same time. I decided to go with staggered increases on my sleeves - which I had forgotten about until I was well into it - just another one of my lovable little OCD quirks.

I'm seeing my family Dr. on Thursday. Since the very first treatment I've had pressure in my chest, like my heart is pounding harder. I mentioned it right away and they did another ECG and it was fine. I bring it up every time I see the oncologist the day before treatment and they've chalked it up to anxiety (especially with the problems I've been having sleeping) even though I assure them that between being a knitter & having a kitty that I'm the most mellow and well-adjusted (okay, maybe that's going too far ;-) ) cancer patient around. So, I mentioned it to Simone again on Friday and she showed me how to find my pulse (I could never reliably find it ... which is also why current CPR training says to not even bother trying to find a victims pulse, it takes too much time that could be spent on actual resuscitation) and told me to monitor how often the episodes were occurring and my pulse rate. I'm compliant and what else do I have to do?? It turns out that it's not so much anxiety & a racing pulse as my heart is actually skipping a beat. Usually about every 25-30 beats but I really feel the pressure when it's skipping every 5-10 beats. It's been going on for the last 10 weeks all day (probably all night) and the oncology nurse that I spoke to on the phone didn't seem overly bothered so hopefully when I speak with Dr. B she'll put me on a Holter monitor and someone can tell me if this is actually bad. I know it's not good but I don't know if it's really bad. It's definitely from the chemo but I don't know if it's going to get worse or if it's really damaging my heart or just giving it a nice work out.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

2 Steps Forward, 1 Step Back, Another Step Forward

With a few stutter steps along the way.
So after checking the size and # of sts (geez, there
are only 2 sizes but I'm a measure once cut twice measure twice cut once kinda gal) yesterday I was off to the races on the rev st border. Until I started on the intarsia chart - why were there leftover sts on the body portion??? Because I cast on for the large size instead of the small. Really good thing there wasn't actual cutting involved!! Rip it out, re-knit it and tink back a several times because I knit instead of purled or forgot the decreases. At the end of the day the border is done but it took a whole day instead of half that time. Sigh. Shake it off ... going to knit on some nice, easy socks before bed.

BTW - how do you eat your Smarties?

Plus Ca Change

So I knit both of the On the Easy Side sweaters in the previous post - the Sweet Spot hit reliably at the 40 st point on the sleeves and at that repeat # in the body of the colourful version. On my current sweater it hit at 36 sts on the sleeve - why? I think that it's because I'm using Susan Bates needles instead of the Signature Needles that I used on the other two - my Sigs are being used for China Clouds & I'm loathe to change needles mid-project. Also because of the stiletto tip on the Sigs and my tendency to knit off of the tips I tend to knit tighter on them. I love this sweater so much because of the way the Sweet Spot hits in the body of and shows off the Koigu Kersti so well and that is entirely reliant on the #of sts in the body and I'm doing the M so it's the perfect repeat for a 40st Sweet Spot!!!

So ... I'm already on a 4.5mm (SB)
needle and the gauge/fabric is lovely but I tried going up to a 5mm to see if that would work out - too loose and the patterning was too thin (I'm picky ... it's one of my many lovable quirks). Now it's a matter of adjusting the # of sts on the body to hit a 36st repeat. OMG - this is all of the scratching that I did trying to work that out, in addition to having a calculator almost overheating!! I'm going to blame it on the chemo (I will blame as much on treatment as I can) - my brain is totally addled lately!! I need to keep reminding the kids that it's not just because I'm getting old. I will have 20 extra sts on the body; boy am I glad that I dyed up the extra 2 skeins!!!

You'll see if you look closely (up near the top) where I've joined ball #2 - it's definitely a bit more intense in colour. All the more reason for my sorting out the gradation for a more balanced effect across the sweater. This definitely renews my admiration & appreciation for the indie dyers out there who create & re-create predictably such lovely colourways!! It's also cool that the increases above the Sweet Spot creates a bit of a stripey section then the next increase creates a sort of blocked effect.

I'm well under way for NaKniSweMo (OMG -
you have no idea how many times I have to type that to get it right!!) even/especially with knitting probably half again as much sorting out the needle sizing - I knit a whack with the 4.5mm Sig, then the 5mm SB then ripped it all out and continued with the 4.5mm SB.

I started on the back of China Clouds - it feels so good to be on the last piece - I'm starting with the border again.

Amanda made the basketball team again - when will she get that she's really is good?!?

Monday, November 1, 2010

Bring it On!!!

Can you even believe that it's November already? No matter, I'm totally ready for whatever it has to throw at me.

I finished the RF of China Clouds!!! Just in time to decide about NaKniSweMo. I was torn - I'm not one to take a challenge lightly and I
want to choose a sweater that would be challenging for me but I also am committed to finishing China Clouds, sooner rather than later. And the back of China Clouds is no small task so I've decided that I am going to do On The Easy Side from Knit One Below for which I over dyed some Koigu Kersti specially and have it laid out in knitting order. I sorted it so that the lighter skeins are going to be on the sleeves with the darker/richer colours in the body. I'm going to cast on as soon as I'm done posting this.

I also finished my Sweet Spot strip out of the yarn that I dyed at Shelridge Farm. Mine is on the left, the Creatively Dyed strip is on the right.
It was a fun day that is memorialized in yarn!! I don't know what yarn I'll swatch up next - maybe I'll leave it to The People. Y'all did an excellent job picking a hair colour!

The new sleeping pills are the bomb but I have to make sure to take them early enough/go to bed early enough the night before if I've got AM plans because it takes me a bit to crawl out from under that hammer! Not complaining, just saying.

Oh - a winter picture for Elise. I'm not sure that she'll
actually get to feel Canadian snow before she heads for her European home so this picture will have to play a good 2nd fiddle.