Thursday, April 17, 2008

Seeing stars

Oh, I've been little busy!

My dear Mother in Law, Beryl lives in a retirement community in Virginia's Northern Neck. She is 88 and has had multiple sclerosis since she was about 30. She's an awesome survivor. She was hospitalized for what was supposed to be a weekend that turned into 18 months when her kids were 3 and 7 - can you imagine? When she finally got to go home she was largely bedridden for many years and then had a decade or more of remission in her 50's & 60's.

When I met her she was 63, living with her husband near Boston and had taken up woodworking and learned to drive a car - again. Lest you think she's a candidate for sainthood, the second time I met her, the very first thing she said to Peter & I when we had driven 10 hours from Virginia to Boston, pulled into her driveway and hadn't even gotten out of the car yet was - Have you changed your minds?

About getting married. Both our families gave our marriage a year at best. We celebrated 25 years in October. So, there! My biggest issue with her is the load of guilt she heaped on her kids. She can still push my husband's buttons with very little effort. Granted, it was probably the best tool she had for getting her kids to mind when she was stuck in the bed or a wheelchair. But I kinda think she overdid it.

Anyway, Beryl has been living in the Assisted Living area of this place for 7 or 8 years, and they made a lot of noise last fall about moving her to the "Health Center". We weighed in and persuaded the facility to make it Beryl's choice - she decided to stay in AL. Her doctor agreed and that was that for a while. But a few weeks ago the doctor said it was time for her to move and they had her into a temporary room in 30 minutes. Without calling either of her adult children, without following the plan we carefully crafted last fall for a smooth transition.

They said they talked with her and that she agreed to the move, but as soon as she was left alone she called her daughter and said she didn't know where she was and she didn't have her pocketbook. She had been being polite and making affirmative noises but she didn't really know what was going on. Honestly. They really should have paid more attention.

This led to a great kerfuffle and 3 long days of meetings with the family. Finally they agreed to let her make the decision (again!?!) and this time she decided to move. So we've been trying to make the best of a very challenging transition.

Last weekend my husband & I drove the 4 hours down in 2 vans and spent a few days going through her things, along with having a birthday celebration for Beryl. I spent one morning with her in her old apartment going through family mementos and jewelry. She kept saying that it was just like attending your own funeral. We have to go back again this coming weekend, but I think we'll bring things to her for any consultations and decisions - we don't think she should visit her old half empty room any more.

So, two lost weekends and a lot of driving. Although we will only need to take one van this weekend, so I'll get more knitting done with Peter driving!

Knitting! I am making good progress with my many projects. I have numerous items that I am hoping to have ready to show in my booth at Maryland Sheep & Wool. I have finished my Hemlock Ring Throw - Peace Fleece worsted in a lovely green called Anna's Grasshopper.

The Hemlock Ring looked like a decidedly organic growth before blocking - but then...

Blocking is so exciting. I may wet and block this again to see if I can get the feather & fan section a little flatter. But I'm very pleased. And tempted to knit it again in fingering weight for a shawl.

I am also working on a Sea Vines Vest in Fleece Artist Sea Wool in their Peacock colorway. I finished and blocked the back - note the interesting (uh huh) pooling... I decided to knit it from one ball and just see how it went - and the front looks fine. I just bound off the neck this morning and I'm knitting the straps on the front, so the end is in sight!

Greens are hard to photograph properly, but this detail photo is closer to the real thing.

When the first boxes of Fleece Artist arrived from my MS&W order I just had to weave some of the Sea Wool - the colors were so exciting. My Baby Wolf loom was tied up (more on that later) so I pulled out my 3 foot Tri Loom and started a scarf. I probably should have used a double strand - I think it's going to draw in a lot and be tiny. I could also weave one or two more triangles and join them together to make a trapezoid... but I don't think I could have that ready for the show. I guess I'll see how the first triangle blocks out.

Did I say Fleece Artist? It' so exciting to unpack the boxes. Don't you just love Color?

I've got a Swallowtail Shawl started - I'm probably about halfway through. I think it needs another 10 hours of knitting. This is in Hand Maiden Sea Silk in Ocean. I've had this skein since my first Hand Maiden order, but I didn't like the pattern it came with and I just hadn't figured out what it wanted to be...until I got into a lace shawl conversation with my friend Karen and I was bitten by the Swallowtail bug! Seeing all the lovely ones on ravelry helped, too.

I can't find the photo of the Swallowtail, but I will leave you today with this lovely table runner woven by my friend William Leinbach. He drove down from Lebanon, Pennsylvania with his wife Edna to do a program for the Blue Ridge Spinners & Weavers Guild. He brought a truckload (really!) of old coverlets to talk to the guild about and a modest selection of his own work for sale. I've long admired his weaving and I finally bought a piece.

Ain't it purty? You weavers would like a closer look, I'm sure.


vanessa said...

color :-)

annmarie said...

between color and texture, fibers sure do help to balance out some of the other things in our lives, don't they?

Joanne said...

Oh, these transitions are such hard things! Glad to see you have such fabulous knitting and spinning as a positive distraction. Thinking of you!