Thursday, December 17, 2009

A little stress for the holidays

Well, I've been going full speed on a long cabled cardigan for my step Mom, hoping to finish it for Xmas. She was in the hospital all of last week for tests and my husband & I & one of our daughters took turns staying up in Baltimore & hanging out with her at the hospital. Above is the view from our hotel room - I got to walk around the Inner Harbor one morning, a lovely cold walk. I thought I'd get a lot of knitting done during my 2 days but I ended up ripping back 6" on both fronts and then barely recouping that loss.

The pattern was not very clear about where to place the pockets, so I put them in 6" from the cast on edge rather than 6" from the top of the ribbing...details...Must consult schematic!

So yesterday I finally finished the fronts, weighed them and went to look for the remaining yarn for the sleeves... you've guessed it, there's not enough.

Only three lonely balls, 150 grams, and the two fronts weighed about 300 g. Don't you ordinarily figure the back/both fronts/both sleeves as being roughly equal in size & weight?

So the yarn is long discontinued, I only found one ball on ravelry and haven't heard back from my begging p.m. I always, always buy extra - maybe they only had 15 balls? So I was in deep despair, but on my way to work I realized that this is clearly not my biggest problem at the moment so I should not obsess over it.

Yes, I could have finished it as a long vest, but the recipient is not really a vest wearing person. She prefers a long cardigan with pockets. So it does need sleeves.

I had a massage scheduled after work and my friend worked all the kinks out of my back & shoulders. When she was done, it occurred to me that I could unravel the back down to the ribbing and reknit it as stockinette - do you suppose that would reap enough yarn for plain sleeves? It's this sweater:(ravelry link).

This is the back - I don't really like the design that much, and it's a natural to make the back plain. Maybe a few stitches in seed stitch at the sides for transition?

I have already found something else to give my stepMom for Xmas, so I'm not in a hurry. It's just frustrating, and I'm ready to be done with this particular sweater. And I was hoping to have something really special for her - she's been undergoing a series of tests over the last several months and after last week they have decided she doesn't have hydrocephalus after all, but possibly Parkinson's. Not what she was hoping to hear, although it means she does not have to undergo surgery again. They sent her home with a new medication to try and will follow up in a month or two.

But truly the the hardest part of our lives at the moment is that her husband is dying. He's 89, he's had a good long life, but those of us who love him dearly are very sad to see him slipping away, and I worry so about my stepMom being on her own.

Maybe he will get through the holidays. It would be a wonderful thing to have our family together for one more celebration. The girls will all be home by Xmas eve, and we'll play it by ear. Or by Jack!

Meanwhile we are busy at Bluemont with First Night preparations. We organize and run these wonderful New Year's eve events in Warrenton & Leesburg. I will be singing with the Flaming Shillelaghs - an Irish band - this year. I'm really looking forward to that. I sang with them in August when they needed a singer to fill in for a few concerts and a wedding reception and it was great fun.

OK, take a deep breath, go for a walk, pat the puppy. Count my blessings.

Friday, December 4, 2009

My Blog-o-versary!

Thanks to Teena in Toronto for pointing out that today is my blogoversary!

Well, then I just had to post.

Things have been really, really busy. Lots of family crises, large & small, but thankfully none of them life threatening. We've been going into DC about once a week to spend time/check up on/do things for my stepMom & her husband. This is a 3 hour round trip drive. They have been pretty much apartment bound for a year - he has congestive heart failure and is on oxygen 24/7 and she is dealing with serious mobility issues as a result of normal pressure hydrocephalus.

We've been taking her up to see the hydrocephalus specialists at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore since August and she will be hospitalized all of next week for fluid drainage and tests, more tests - but hopefully the outcome will be a decision to replace the shunt that was put in 18 months ago and hopefully the new shunt will function properly and she will be able to walk again.

That's a lot of hope, and probably Too Much Information. But it's part of how I've been spending my time this year. I do get a lot of knitting done on all the car rides and in the hours of sitting & waiting - I'm currently working on a cardigan for my stepMom which I hope to have ready for Christmas.

My Mom is getting Rather Fuzzy and it's upset me greatly. The lady who has been doing light housekeeping & shopping for her for several years is no longer available and while I've set up regular home visits through Mom's retirement community, it breaks my heart that I can't get out to visit her more often.

I've been talking about moving her to a similar community that is much closer to me, but that's a big project and may not be in her best interests. We have talked about it and will continue to explore that option. I would like very much to take her up to Michigan in the spring to visit her three sisters there.

And our Ruby has been having a rough time lately. So far, all three of her fall semesters have been very challenging, for one reason or another. She is a remarkable, brilliant, creative and talented young woman and we know she will pull through this rough patch. But damn, it's hard to watch from afar.

So my heart is being tugged one way and another. I'm struggling with depression in the face of so much stress, but I've started walking most days and I'm trying to get lots of sleep and take care of myself. I've had some great classes this fall and some nice singing opportunities. I have a wonderful supportive partner and husband and a wildly cute new puppy. I live in a beautiful part of the world. All these things feed my soul.

This lovely photo is from the campus of the John C. Campbell Folk School where I went last month to teach Shaker Rag Rugs, with the able assistance of my pal Lucy Best (who will be teaching her first solo class in February on sock machine knitting). We had a great class as evidenced by their smiling faces:

Rugs! Lotsa rugs.

I will be teaching a new 8/2 Cotton Towel class this weekend. I say will with great emphasis, because they are calling for snow tomorrow, and when it snows in Virginia, everything generally comes to a screeching halt. We are recommending that the weaving students bring sleeping bags and a toothbrush and we'll just weave all night!

I'll let you know how that works out!