Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Quick update. Okay, not so quick.

It started out quick. In my head. Really.

I think I'm gonna continue my 'great designers' series for the week. It's pretty snarly around here (more on that later), and I think everyone's having a good time looking at photos of awesome clothes. There is actually a method to the madness and I'm choosing designers as kind of a survey through the history of modern clothes, and I AM working it around to knitwear and relevance to a knitting blog. But you'll all have to look at awesome woven clothing for a while, yet. Aw. Today I think I'm gonna do Madeline Vionnet; tune in later to find out.

Otherwise, there's a BIT going on around here, other than bitching and snarling.

The Goob has rediscovered her animal alphabet and we're back to working on her reading skills; she knows about half the alphabet and the related sounds. In fact, if she doesn't know the letter, often making the sound of the letter works as a hint and she gets it then.

This is F, for Ffffflamingo. It's a cute way to learn the alphabet (I'll bet you she associates the letters with these animals for the rest of her life), and I'm not really pushing it, but she's been saying she wants to read, and pretending to write. And she's so smart my general operating principle is to pour information into the curly little head and not really worry about what sticks; it's about keeping that brain busy. If she's busy fighting imaginary pirates ("I'm gonna loot the living room!") or learning her alphabet, she's not up to naughty smart-kid behavior. Latest hilarious, over-educated three year old statement, "Polar bears live on tundra."

She has also discovered the joys of Wallace and Grommit:

"Oh no! A WEALLY BIG WABBIT!" When she talks about wabbits I think of Elmer Fudd and I about fall over, laughing.


Last night I finally ripped out the too-tight castoff on the sock (it was a sewn castoff, and therefore a pain in the ass), and put on a new one. I kept it simple and just crocheted around the top, picking up the loose stitches. I used a much larger crochet hook, which I think is what did the trick. It ain't pretty, but it works.

In general, the sock is a little too big, but not unwearably so. The heel flap, while worked on the proper number of stitches (half the total, right?) is too big. But that's expected, 'cause I've got narrow heels. They used to match my narrow foot. So in the future I'll tinker with that, but I think everyone agrees it'd be a good idea to knit a Regular Old Sock before starting to alter it.

I'll probably cast on the mate after I hit "Publish Post".


I did finish the first two bobbins of the blue silk stuff (need a name for this yarn) and plied them together. And I've gotta say, damn, I'm good.

When doing two-ply yarns, you spin up two bobbins of singles, then ply them together. Getting the yardage to 'match' on the two bobbins is really freakin' tricky. And THIS is how much I had left on the 'too much' bobbin when I got done. Damn near perfect. (The green cord is the leader.)

The yarn's awesome.

It was quite a photo shoot in the window (natural light), to get something close to the color. I think that's about right, above. That's 270 yards there, and I hope to get another 300 yards out of what's left of the roving. It's hovering somewhere between heavy lace weight and light sock weight.

I'll probably just knit a sample and announce what gauge it is and let people figure it out from there. I don't want to sell this, but it's ridiculous to keep it when I've already got a closet full. So this is probably going to be for sale, one of these days.


Otherwise, on the health front, things have been crappy. All this musical medication is catching up with me and I'm moving even more slowly than usual. Then I researched my particular health issue, and, well, the outlook is pretty grim. (I'm not sure the research was a good idea. Usually knowledge is power, but I'd been in denial for ten years and I think that was working for me.) To put it mildly, the researchers are still guessing about what causes the problem and how it works, so I'm not holding my breath on an effective treatment any time soon.

HOWEVER!! (KNITTING CONTENT!) It turns out that the MAJOR thing they're absolutely sure makes the pain worse is immobility. For some reason, the less you use the injured body part, the more sensitized the nerves get and the more pain signals they send. So all this obsessive knitting and spinning and hand-sewing and beading and cooking and in-general stubbornly forcing myself to work can openers and ice cube trays?? That I've been calling physical therapy? Yeah. I always thought of it as just a way to keep my hand working. But it turns out that I've likely kept the pain issue at bay with it, too. In a big way.

This explains, I think, why most doctors (the ones without their heads up their asses) have been treating me with a gradually increasing degree of respect, as the years go by. I didn't know it, but their "let's see your range of motion" question, the one I always get, isn't so much about the orthopedic problem. It's a direct indicator of how bad the pain problem is, AND how much I've been doing about it. So the fact that I've got almost all of my range of motion in my right hand tells them that I'm fighting the problem every step of the way. This new guy? I did my usual range of motion (with comparison to my left hand) and he said "oh. Okay then." and immediately got a lot more sympathetic and cooperative.

All this, ultimately, is due to knitting. Apparently, I knit today so I can knit tomorrow. But if I've gotta be fucked up, I think it's kind of cool that knitting counts as a treatment.


walterknitty said...

Lack of movement is part of the reason Hawkeye ended up in the hospital for nearly two weeks, and lost most of the use of his hands. He had a bad flare and didnt want to do any work to get better. He wanted to sit, take pills, play video games, and smoke lots of pot. No matter how much his birth mother and I tried to tell him he had to move to keep the ability to move, he wanted none of it. He just wanted to whine about how mean we were and smoke more pot. He lost most of the use of his hands. He's since had several surgeries on his hands to straighten his fingers but only has partial use of one hand and he let his arthritis get so bad there is no bone to graft any artifical knuckles to. Men can be so stubborn sometimes. You are absolutely doing the right thing. Move it or loose it. You do such fine work, that you are proud of, as you should be. And damnit, you've worked hard for that ability.

Alwen said...

Ha. That is absolutely awesome that what you are doing turns out to work the best.

There is a lot of brand spanking-new brain research showing that we grow new brain cells throughout life, completely contrary to what they taught us back in school.

And guess what, those new cells are very use'em or lose'em, too. If they get a job in the brain they live. So anything that makes our brains stretch is good.

Amy Lane said...

Go Samurai! Keep on knitting! (And keep on teaching the Goob--Wallace & Grommit rocks!)

The yarn is gorgeous--LUV it--and I'm officially jealous of you with your spinning wheel now!

Bells said...

she knows about the tundra? Oh I love smart kids. Cute.

Glad to see she's loving Wallace and Gromit. Let us know when she starts calling out 'Cheese Gromit! Cheese!'

That bluey purple...oh it's lovely.

artificiallymythic said...

Yay for knitting saving range (of motion).

And that's some pretty damn gorgeous handspun you've got there. It looks like I will be spending a lot of time on your etsy store just waiting. ;)

As for W&G... that's great! They're so brilliant. You've got a kid with good taste there (in tv programs). Were'd she learn about tundra though?

Roxie said...

Keep on doing what you've been doing so you can keep on doing it. Sounds good to me!

Mandy said...

The blue silk is gorgeous! Why does it take doctors so long to accept what most of know instinctively is the right way to go? Move it or lose it, baby!

I remember one time, when my son was about 4-ish, he told some of my co-workers that "Female dung beetles prefer gifts of dung!" Today he was commenting to a classmate that the whale shark (largest fish in the sea) eats plankton, which are microscopic. The classmate asked what "microscopic" meant. *sigh*

Donna Lee said...

Come on, we always knew knitting and spinning were good for you! And now it's not just your mind but your body telling you that. I have arthritis and although conventional wisdom says rest when it hurts, resting makes it stiffen and then there is less range of motion. I can't work through excrutiating pain but I can learn to manipulate things just a little differently to cause less pain. And the info on the designers is great. I love, love, love old clothes but am so very glad I don't have to wear them everyday (especially in August!)

Leonie said...

What everyone else has said! Keep doing the hard work and it will pay off and eventually the medicos will pull their heads out of where they are hiding them and work out that laypeople do actually know what's good for them occasionally!