Friday, October 30, 2009

I finished the pastel hat last night before going out to dinner. This morning, I finished the first grey sock of the pair, and started the second as far as the end of the toe increases.

Since I've made so many hats lately, and all of the same design, I should codify the directions. For the perfect simple hat, cast on 120 stitches in worsted weight yarn on size 8 needles. Knit 1x1 rib for 8 inches. Place a stitch marker every 20 stitches. In each subsequent round, k2tog or p2tog before each stitch marker, depending on whether a knit stitch or a purl stitch presents itself. Continue decreasing in this manner until only 2 stitches remain between markers. Break yarn off, leaving an 8 inch tail, thread through 12 remaining stitches, pull tight, and weave in ends.

I'm in a hurry today-- I'll try to talk about variations tomorrow.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

The doc is satisfied with my progress, sort of. He wants me to have dietary supervision by the dietician who works in his office, which I refuse. He keeps saying I'm diabetic, which I am not. But my muscle strength is now normal, where before I started treatment I had no strength in my legs.

As far as knitting goes, I mostly worked on the pastel-colored watch cap I'm working on as a break from the all-grey men's gifts I've been doing for weeks.

It was cold last night (cold by LA standards). I almost grabbed a hat on my way out for dinner, but I haven't decided yet which of the recently-completed hats are for me, which are for Christmas presents, and which are to be given to FES for their fundraising auction.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

I spent yesterday in San Simeon. I was entirely pain-free for four hours on my feet, but the shift is six hours long. I sat as much as I could the fifth hour, and left an hour early.

Nice day, otherwise: clear and windy, but I was dressed for it. I had the opportunity to wear the cowl I made myself at the Sock Summit. The other docent on duty was also a knitter, and admired the cowl, which is always nice.

I didn't care much for getting a speeding ticket on my way home, but it was my own dumb fault for driving too fast. My next car will have cruise control.

I didn't knit any, at all, yesterday.

Today, I'm nursing my sore back. There's a therapy session later, as well as my mid-point re-examination. I hope I don't get scolded for overdoing it yesterday.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Tom, in his own defense, asserts that he likes "Big Fish," which is arguably an art film.

The swatch has been knit and felted, and I can state with assurance that Taos by Crystal Palace felts like a son of a gun. I wanted a mishmosh of discrete pastels, though, and felting yields a muddy brownish tone, so I won't be doing a felted hat from this lot. That's useful information to file away.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Yesterday, Tom and I saw "Where the Wild Things Are." I enjoyed it; he didn't. He doesn't like "art films."

Today, we drove up to Solvang. It was sunny and hot, but not too hot to enjoy. We stopped to admire a flock of magpies off a side road on the way up. I bought some circular needles at Village Spin and Weave. We enjoyed a Danish lunch, walked several blocks, and came home.

I knit only about an inch on the grey bamboo sock. I bought some variegated pastel yarn in Solvang, as a mood elevator. I knit up a swatch this evening, to see how it felts. I feel another hat coming on.

Friday, October 23, 2009

There was no blog yesterday because the knitting was dull-- a few inches of grey stockinette. I have now turned the heel on the current sock, first of the pair, and am working on the leg pattern.

For the sake of completeness, I should mention that the yarn is Panda Cotton, the colorway is Granite, and the stitch pattern is Waffle Rib, from "Sensational Knitted Socks," by Charlene Schurch.

The back doc gave me a handout full of yoga-like isometric exercises he expects me to do. The spirit is willing, but I'm afraid the flesh won't take some of those positions.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

I pulled out a couple of inches of the grey bamboo sock today. I had increased to slightly more stitches than I usually use for Tom's socks, as I was using size 2 needles instead of size 3. The extra stitches caused the colors to stack up into columns, instead of streaking and striping, so I went back to the toe and started over with my usual number of stitches. Now, I'm getting a pattern I like.

The back is beginning to feel better-- not only less pain, but more strength. I did the grocery shopping today without assistance, which makes the first time since August that I've done so.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The back is much better today. I told the doc that I thought I might have pulled a muscle, so he spent extra time and care with the laser, yesterday. Gee, I thought the laser was a placebo, but I really do feel better.

I finished the alpaca hat for Obama last night. After all that worrying that I wouldn't have enough yarn, I had half the second skein left over. I packed it up this morning, with a charming letter I hope will get it past security and onto his head.

Cast on a bamboo sock in shades of grey, for Tom. I think I might get the toe increases done before I have to leave for back therapy.

Monday, October 19, 2009

The natural alpaca arrived on Friday. It was, and is, the prettiest yarn I've ever seen. I cast on Obama's hat on Saturday, during elephant seal class. I spent the whole weekend stressing, worried that I hadn't bought enough of the yarn. At this time, I've finished the first skein, and have 7" of hat knit. I have the whole second skein for the crown of the hat, so I clearly have enough.

Last week's rain did the garden a world of good; there are roses popping out everywhere.

My back is a bit worse than it has been. I think I pulled a muscle Thursday when I was so upset at the insurance company. Tom wanted to go to Disneyland with me yesterday-- I sent him on his own. I would have preferred getting poked with a stick to going to D-land, as much as my back hurt.

Since I'm worthless after my back therapy, I'd better get my chores done before I have to go.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Well, since the pink suri merino turned out to be incompatible with the Mezzotint, I turned over the stash in search of some sportweight wool I remembered buying in the same colorway. My back must be better-- the sportweight in question turned out to be in the very bottom bin of the back stack. On viewing it, I decided against incorporating it into the hat; I had enough for a sweater, which I didn't want to risk by nibbling at the edges for a hat.

So, the hat is coming into being in solid, unrelieved pink. That's okay; I like pink.

What I don't like is knitting on DPNs, so I dashed into the local yarn shop to pick up a second size 8 circular needle for finishing the hat. I behaved myself, buying only a couple of needles for which I have need. Then, turning to go, I noticed that some high-quality sock yarn had found its way into the clearance bin. I picked out several bags, as if I didn't already have enough sock yarn at home to keep me amused for at least a year. Alas, I accidentally paid for them with Tom's credit card, rather than my own, so I won't even be able to lie about it. C'est la vie.
I cast off the scarf I mentioned in the previous entry that night. When I cast it off, it measured 7 1/2 feet. Once off the needles, it measured 6 feet. There's a problem with measuring things that stretch.

Once that was done, I knit a hat band in the same stitch and yarn, and cast about for a coordinating yarn to make a hat from. I settled on a pink suri merino I had in my stash, and cast on. After knitting a few inches, I tried the finished band against it, and realized that the type of hat I was making wouldn't hold an applied band. I tried to knit a stripe of the scarf yarn, but the gauge was too dissimilar-- the scarf yarn needed at least a size 11 needle, while the hat yarn wanted no bigger than a size 8. This hat may be standing on its own.

After a few days of cool, and two of rain, warm and sunny rebounded yesterday. It was 25 degrees warmer than the previous day, at least.

My health insurance company is balking at paying for the MRI I had last month. This inspired me to write an angry and detailed letter to my senator. I hope it has some effect. Unfortunately, the insurance company grief also started my back spasming. The pain is much less than the herniated-disk pain, but it doesn't help.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The problem with scarves is that they're long. I like mine extra-long-- at least 6 feet, and 7 or 8 feet is better.

The scarf I'm working on now is over 6 feet, but longer is better. I don't have enough yarn left to make a matching hat, so I might as well keep knitting until I run out of yarn. Thing is, while I still have yarn left, I ran out of patience yesterday. No matter how lovely the yarn (and Mezzotint in the "Monet" colorway is indeed lovely) or engaging the stitch pattern ("My So-Called Scarf"), after 6 feet, it gets old. It especially gets old when I don't know why I'm knitting this-- is it for me? A Christmas gift? A charitable contribution? I don't know.

In spite of the continuing rain, I went for a drive this afternoon. While the vistas were lost in mist, the winding road was a pleasure to navigate. I was out on Mulholland, in the Santa Monica Mountains, where I used to hike. I hope my back will be well enough that I'll be able to do so again, before long.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Zippidee Doo-Dah for the first rainy day of the season!

Tom was fully arrayed in handknits this morning-- sweater, socks, scarf, and hat.

I think a lot of folk called in sick today, in honor of the rain-- there was hardly any traffic on the 405, usually site of the worst traffic jams in the world.

Other than laundry, and therapy, I'm taking it easy today. Love the rainy, cool weather. Perfect for drinking hot cocoa and knitting.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Huzzah! 80-90% chance of rain the next two days.

I took it easy over the weekend, mostly. We tried, and failed, to find autumn color on Saturday. The roads into the nearby mountains were still closed due to fire, and the air opaque for the same reason. After Friday's party, neither of us had the energy to try farther away mountains. We compromised on a movie, "The Invention of Lying." Good flick.

I pulled out the progress I had already made on "My So-Called Scarf," after making a two-stitch error I couldn't identify or correct. That was just as well-- I started over on larger needles, so I'm getting a looser, more copasetic fabric on this second attempt. I'm doing it in Colinette's Mezzotint, colorway "Monet," very pretty.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Therapy took a lot out of me yesterday, as it always does, but I got a lot of help from Tom with the cleaning for the dinner party last night. The food came out good (the roast was a little overdone), and the company was excellent. We had a wonderful, if exhausting, time.

I went back online last night, in my attempt to find the properly patriotic yarn for Mr. President's hat. While there had been nothing on eBay, I found no end of alpaca farms on Google, which sold their own yarn directly to the public. I thought I had a winner last night-- a medium grey from an animal named "Spock"-- how perfect, for our geeky Chief Executive?-- but it was too expensive, and I had wanted a darker grey. I tried again this morning, and found the absolutely perfect skein-- a charcoal grey, nicely spun, from an animal named "Pearl," at 40% less than the "Spock." It took several tries to get my PayPal account to change the credit card listed to the one I'm using currently, but I finally got it done. I should be knitting up a nice hat for Mr. President's cold head in a few days.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize!

After checking to make sure it wasn't a practical joke, I emailed my congratulations to the White House.

Timing-- ever since the Inauguration, I've wanted to knit him a hat. He looked so cold, striding down Pennsylvania Avenue on that wintry day, with such short hair. I was thinking about it yesterday. In order to pack maximum patriotism into the hat, I felt it should be made of yarn grown and handspun here in the US. I know a shop in Oregon that carries such alpaca; each skein is even labeled with the name of the animal the fiber came from. Unfortunately, my schedule of back therapy won't allow me to go back to Oregon until after the cold weather sets in. I looked online, but the only locally-grown, handspun alpaca I found was from Canada. That won't do.

I finished knitting the second breakfast sock last night. I seamed the back, too, so they'll be ready to show to my guests tonight. They're not ready to wear; I haven't woven in the ends, of which there are many.

My back is so much better I forgot to put on my brace when I got up this morning. Victory shall be mine!

Thursday, October 08, 2009

I got a lot of knitting done while watching movies yesterday. I have only one more strip of bacon and a cuff to be done with the breakfast socks. I brought yarn down with me this morning to make a scarf, after the socks are done.

I was able to do my own grocery shopping today for the first time in a couple of months. My back seems to be getting better.

Now, I have a *lot* of cleaning to do. I'm having a bunch of people over to dinner tomorrow night.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

For a few hours last night, I was able to forget my back. That's the first time that has happened in months, if not years. Victory is within sight.

I wanted to knit another quick-and-easy scarf. I have the yarn for another "My So-Called Scarf," but couldn't remember the stitch pattern. I had the pattern, lost it, obtained another copy, and left both copies in Oregon. Luckily, I was able to find it online. I love the Internet.

Yesterday, I checked the Internet for a certain brand of yarn. I had knit a pair of socks in it, and didn't remember whether it was superwash. The website said the yarn was machine washable. I washed the socks. They felted. Maybe I don't love the Internet.

There are movies I'd like to see on Turner Classics all day today, which makes it perfect knitting weather.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

The back was terrible after yesterday's therapy session; popping noises and terrible pain, with an accompanying fever that lasted for four hours. Much better today.

I finished the foot part of the second breakfast sock, which includes two slices of bacon and turning the heel. For a change, I'm doing two fried eggs for the leg part-- a single white oval with two yellow circles. If only I knew how to knit hash browns!

Sunday, October 04, 2009

The back has been much better, this weekend. I get to start adding exercises to my routine this week, and spend less time wearing the support belt and icing the back.

Finished the watch cap. The colorway doesn't please me as much as some of the other Noro combinations I've tried. I don't know whether I'll keep it, give it as a gift, or donate it to FES (Friends of the Elephant Seal) for its annual fundraising auction.

Now, to work on the second breakfast sock.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

The back doc apologized for my ordeal with the "nutritionist"-- I suspect he'll be told to lay off the hard sell.

The back itself is continuing to improve at the rate of two steps forward, one step back. It's slow and frustrating, but it's faster than waiting for surgery to heal, I guess.

I did very little knitting, yesterday. I cast on the second breakfast sock, and did the toe increases. Most of the day, not taken up by therapy and grocery shopping (evidence of improvement in itself-- Tom has been doing the marketing since I've been laid up), I spent catching up on magazines and catalogs.

This morning I cast on a watch cap in two shades of Noro Kureyon, one dark and one bright. The one-by-one rib eats up a frightening amount of yarn-- I hope one skein of each will be enough. If not, I know where I can buy more.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Finished the breakfast sock, mostly. There are still lots of ends to weave in.

After my back therapy yesterday, the staff nutritionist offered to correct my metabolic imbalances in the space of six months, at a cost of $6,000. I declined his services. I was insulted that he thought I was the kind of woman who likes to spend her time, and her husband's money, in clinics.

For the record, most of my lab values, if they weren't within normal limits to start, were no more than 10% off, and not really needful of treatment. The only one result that was severely off was vitamin D, which I can treat with sunbathing and a $10 bottle of pills.

I'd almost think the back doc is a hustler, being associated with above-mentioned "nutritionist," except that my back feels better than it has in years.