Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Knitty roo

G'day all!

I am very behind in posting stuff. Two weeks ago (*blush*), I received a tshirt from my friend Yarnhunter.


Isn't it appropriate for an Aussie knitter?

I've been mucking about a bit the last few days, trying to figure out what shawl to knit next for the 10 in 2010 challenge on Ravelry. I have enough handspun to knit another three shawls. Finding a good match between the yarn and the pattern is more difficult than I thought it would be. It is likely the chemo I'll be going onto in a few weeks time will affect my fingers - they will probably go numb and I won't be able to spin well or knit fine things. So I am spinning up more yarn and then wondering what shawls to knit with it. As for commercial laceweight yarn, umm, well blush I have a fair bit of that too :-) I am torn - make the 10 from 10 in my own handspun or make them out of a mix of my yarn and commercial stuff? Well see how we go. In the meantime, my queue is getting longer and longer, mostly so that I can find stuff again fairly easily.

I have a few new FOs to show off too, though I need good pics of them. For the first time in about two years, I did NOT knit a pair of socks in a month. Nowhere near! But I am not too fussed - two shawls, a pair of slippers, two hats... that is surely enough knitting!

My favourite sort of nut likes to sleep on the bed.

Look at that fat belly! Trying to get weight off the cats is like finding hen's teeth. They are clinging ferociously to their fat.

Look at that little bit of fang showing itself in an otherwise happy face.

Look at the bit of fur stuck in that back claw! The Nut moults all year round. Nonstop. 24/7/365. At least I've pretty much stopped moulting too - only got a bit of fuzz left now!


Sunday, March 28, 2010

At last with photo

G'day all!

I've been working on and off on my pinwheel quilt. I have to work on it outside as there are no benches or tables I can use inside at this stage - DH is still building storage space in one room which means the lounge and to-be-craft room are full of stuff. We have stuff everywhere.

So when I can, when the weather is kind and the wind is not blowing away my half square triangles, I quilt outside. There's a table out there and extension leads for power and plenty of space.

(Thank heavens for knitting and spinning being a little less fussy about space!)

I'm fascinated by what I am seeing in the pinwheels. I expected to see interesting contrasts showing up between the squares depending on whether I used a cream, green or olive background but take a look at the lot I quickly put together the other day.


See how different the olive paired pinwheels look to the cream ones? And how the cream paired with the green pretty much disappear? The green dominates, being a bright, solid colour. They looked good together before I sewed the HSTs together, now I am not so sure. The different effects depending on the contrast material is fascinating. The cream pinwheels dance to the left, the olive to the right. Intellectually I knew some would look better than others but seeing in it practice is really interesting.

I squared up all the completed blocks on Saturday. I've probably sewn about half of the pinwheel blocks so far. Now I just have to wait for good weather to sew up the rest of the blocks. Then I can square them and sew them together and start work on the backing. Wednesday looks like my best bet - no rain and relatively light winds (15-20km/h) forecast. I'd really like to get this thing done but there's just no space to sew inside at present.

Last week was not a good week for uploading photos, nor was it a good week for blogging cos I don't like whining (believe it or not!) and then I was playing catch up to make up for the inertia earlier in the week. DH had a bit of a cold and his computer is the one with the big hard disk. How does this relate to not uploading pics? Well I have to use his computer to download pics from the camera and given he'd been spluttering and sneezing all over it, I was not touching it! I have to stay away from peoples with colds and flus and bugs due to the chemo (and very annoying it is too!). I slept on the couch for five nights. And yes, I fit nicely on the couch and it is quite comfortable and it also stopped some of the arguments between the cats cos both of them had a bed with a human to sleep with.

I have a lot of catching up and thank yous to do. I've received some parcels :-)


Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Small happinesses

G'day all!

Thanks for the commiserations. The indigestion is settling down some now (I started on a prescription med but haha, it has side effects of a runny kind! DOH!) and life is somewhat more bearable. I never knew how painful indigestion could be - like cramping pains all the way through my chest and upper gut area. BC nurse says that it is because of the chemo - it strips the lining from my gullet. She also said I am a clever person and should be able to work things out but I've never done this before and am a bit clueless quite frankly.

So today, I have found small happinesses.

A light covering of cirrus clouds that looked like very faint brush strokes outlining a quarter moon.

Sun on my mostly bald noggin. (Only for a couple of minutes)

Soft fuzzy socks with angora in them on a cold morning.

Being able to see the Southern Cross out the bedroom window (obviously at night :-).

A purring happy cat. (Several times, including pleasing said purring cat - she really does enjoy being patted.)

Making meals that have helped me avoid full blown indigestion, only a little discomfort.


Blocking my Travelled Woman and starting on getting pics of it. Very likely to gift this one.

Knitting enough of a new shawlette to start the edging. Admittedly the edging is just feather and fan for 45% of the yarn (about 140m) but it makes it look like I've made progress! It is fairly brain dead cos I need some good brain dead stuff currently.

Managing to remove most of the weedy grass from the middle of a clump of nice grass. O gardening how I miss thee!

Getting a little bit of energy back now and then. The couple of days after chemo I feel sorta drained and empty but able to do stuff. This time around days three and four have been dragging myself through the day sorta times. Today, day five has been a bit better, so hopefully tomorrow will be even better and I'll start being vaguely useful again!

Maybe I'll manage to look as smug as Cheshire tomorrow! I hope so. I might even end up showing off some pics of FOs and some belated thanks for gifties! I just have to get access to DH's computer to download pics and he's been a bit coldy so I've been staying away from him. We'll see how he is doing tomorrow.


Monday, March 22, 2010

Cracking it

G'day all!

I'm crankypants today.

Today I have had enough. Actually this week I've had enough. I'm sick of being on chemo, I'm sick of being restricted in what I can do, I'm sick of having a sore arm from the dressing around the picc line, I'm sick of the flavour of the stuff I have to use to keep my mouth "nice," I'm sick of feeling like my arms and legs and head are made of lead, I'm over getting indigestion, Nathan has a bit of a cold so I can't even hang around him, I'm sick of not seeing people, I'm sick of not going out cos I might get sick, I'm sick of not being able to find the ONLY important bit of paperwork that I can't find, I'm sick of my n key not working properly, I'm sick of feeling bad about to being able to help DH with his projects, I'm sick of being sorry about not being able to help like I would be, I'm sick of not being able to be a useful sorta person. I'm completely and utterly frustrated with all the new limitations on me. I've basically cracked it with everything. You get the picture.

I'll get over it, as usual. Not being able to find my tax info for last year is annoying me greatly. Realising that I am going to be useless for the next six months is annoying me greatly. Assuming I don't get DH's cold and end up in hospital, chemo doesn't end until the start of July! That is over four months away. Then I have surgery when my immune system is up and running again and presumably after recovery from that, six weeks of radiotherapy. 2010 - what a drag of a year!

On the good side, well, I'm still here, when the indigestion isn't killing me, I'm still kicking. OK I could take the indigestion medication I've got, like a good girl but sometimes one gets over being a good girl and wants to do something stupid instead like not take yet another blasted medication just to try to maintain some semblance of normal life. I've managed to get some quilt squares done, I've only got the blocking of a shawlette to do, I've spun and knitted a pair of slippers that now require fulling, and I've started Yet Another Shawlette - I seem to be dead keen on them at present.

And I've managed to keep us fed and me washed and the kitchen in some vague order. I can't clean the shower easily anymore with the picc line in - someone else will have to step up for that one! I'd like to do some gardening and pot on some plants and do stuff like that but alas, out of the question currently.

OK, enough whining! Time to go reheat dinner - made so much last night that today it will feed us both :-)


Friday, March 19, 2010

A rare eye candy Friday

One of my favourite places to be:


The view out of the study, soon to be the craft room. I love the droopy eucalypt, I love the green and I especially love it in the morning on days like in the pic with the sunlight streaming in.

Hooray! Survived 3rd round

G'day all!

I am still here! Still alive! I feel better immediately after this chemo than I did after the last one but my knees are sore! Like tired sore. No, don't walk on us, we're tired! I don't think I'd be running a marathon with ooh tired erupting from my knees regularly but I wouldn't be even if I was "normal." Still we went out to Urban Burger for tea and I had a yummy burger and some chips.

Now we see how I go this time around. I've got the burpy feeling again but nothing really bad so far (and have one more pill in reserve if it gets bad, and have heatburn (anti proton pump) medication if I need that). I don't want to start on the heartburn stuff unless I really need it cos I will have to keep taking it once I start. It isn't like gaviscon or anything that just puts a soothing layer on top, it turns off the acid secretion in your stomach. I sorta wonder how you can digest food and reduce bacterial infection if you don't have the protein digester working well to chew up both bugs and protein. Given my immune function is already suppressed.... but then that means my immune system can't repair the damage caused by indigestion quickly either. Oh decisions decisions!

Plus whilst I am happy to attempt better living by chemistry, there are some limits and I don't want to take something I don't need to. So I have the things and if I need them, I'll take them. It's only one more pill per day.


The other day, I decided to follow my ironing outdoors with a bit of sewing outdoors. It was very pleasant, except when the wind blew my squares away before I had sewn them together. You would think that I really enjoy sewing these half square triangles, except I don't. It gets a bit dull after you've chain pieced the 50th one....


I had some company - Nutmeg had a good chat to me. She is a very chatty cat when she's in the mood. She'll tell you all about her day and what she found and wow-we-ow-mwow! If only I understood her language. Sometimes I'll ask her a question and she'll say we-ow back to me as if both parties have a clue as to what the other said. I look like a chimpanzee talking back to her.

Oh and the other exciting news of the day? I had a shower! Yep a shower. You might think that a shower is very normal but I cannot get the PICC line wet - it is a hole that leads directly into my bloodstream = can be very nasty infection very quickly. It is *now* covered with a couple of waterproof dressings but I've noticed water is very good at getting places you don't want it to go, so I have a garbage bag with pull ties that I can tie over the arm and then I have to hold my arm up for a whole shower (good incentive for quick showers) and if I drop the soap? Well that is what the body wash is for... So long showers are even more a luxurious memory.


Wednesday, March 17, 2010

PICCing away

G'day all!

Today I had another grand adventure. Today I got my PICC line in.

It was supposed to be tomorrow but they changed it. Most peeving cos this means I had to go to the hospital for breast clinic yesterday, PICC today, flushing of PICC and changing of dressings tomorrow and then chemo on Friday. That is FOUR DAYS IN A ROW. Man, I am going to hate that place by the time we are done or I'll be moving there cos it is home. One or the other.

So we arrive, I hand over the form, Nathan settles in for a bit of reading, I settle in for some knitting. A little while later, they call me in. I go get changed into a gown ("upper half only"), do the consent, etc, then wait some more. By the time I get called into the xray theatre, nearly 45 minutes have passed. I've had a little chat with a couple of peoples there, one of whom admired my knitting (yet another chemo cap for me, probably the second last one for the moment - the last will be horrid fun fur in a lurid purple cos who doesn't want purple hair?).

I lay down on the bed under the xray machine, with my right arm flopped out. The bed is rather uncomfortable, being a metal tray with a sheet on top. That's ok cos two minutes later I get to swap around and lay the other way, with my head where my feet were and my left arm flopped out on the tray. At this point I am glad I said I'd take my shoes off. I asked for the right arm to be catheterised but it has to be the left arm cos the right one will get surgery and if the PICC line is still in, it will have to come out. So I had to swap ends cos they can't move all the equipment to the other side of the bed - the x-ray machine is in the way. I've already hit my head on it once. LOL. A nurse dashes in and sticks an x-ray plate under me.

So the radiologist comes in, does a quick ultrasound of my arm, has a brief chat with me, finds some "ok" veins (if I read the ultrasound right, I seem to have two to three veins running quite close together by the humerus under the bicep) and goes off to do other things whilst the nurse preps herself for aseptic surgery and then me. It takes quite a few minutes for this to happen - I've done surgery before so I know it is a whole process. She starts off by putting on a lead gown, then mask and eyeshield, then scrubs her hands, dries them carefully on a sterile towel, puts on a sterile gown, gloves, someone else helps her by tying the gown up, then lays out all the things needed for the catheterisation.

I get a blankie to keep me warm :-)

I have to have my arm wiped with an antiseptic solution. The nurse can do the underside of my arm but to do the upper side needs the helper, who holds my hand up. Then my arm can be laid on a sterile cloth and the whole area is draped with more cloths ("drapes"). The drapes are dark blue not the usual surgical green. The ultrasound probe gets a high tech (we joked about this) sterile freezer type plastic bag put over it and secured with a sterile rubber band, then another sterile drape is wrapped around the probe and another sterile ribber band or two hold that on.

I feel jealous - she is off to Thailand in 10 days and he is off to Malaysia to "visit an ancestor" in a couple of weeks. I'll be planted on me butt in Melbourne then, staying away from people. But good news -

Hooray! We are ready for the return of the radiologist. He scrubs up, gowns up, gloves up and we are rocking. Anaesthetic in, incision made, catheter in - he feeds quite a bit of it into me. (Maybe the wound was dressed at this point - can't remember cos my butt was numb and telling me all about it by this stage - yes I was lying down!) Bed moves me into position - "Oooh a free ride!", x-ray machine moves into position and takes a pic of my chest. This is to make sure that the PICC line is sitting correctly - we don't want it to perforate either my vena cava or my heart. Either of those would be Very Bad Indeed. Anyway, the whole operation part is done in roughly 5 minutes. I've been watching the clock.

Radiologist has left to do Other Things. Nurse works out how much catheter is in me (40.5cm), dresses the wound and bandages the area firmly to help reduce bleeding. 10 minutes later the area is rebandaged more gently. I have to wait until we get the go ahead for moving - the x-ray has to show the line is sitting correctly.

More hooray! The line is nicely in place.

Nurse helps me off the bed - I've been lying down for quite some time and various bits have gone numb. I don't go white and fainty. So 90 minutes after walking in the door, off I go!

The upside of having the PICC is the chemo goes into one of my largest veins so the chemo gets diluted and won't damage the veins as badly. The downsides? I can't shower without a plastic bag on my arm. I can't get the line wet. (I'll be dong sponge baths some days I reckon.) I can't lift a washing basket or a heavy bag of shopping with my left arm. I'm glad I don't have a big heavy handbag (purse for Americans) cos I'm not allowed to carry that with my left arm. 1-2kg is my lifting limit at present. That is nothing! This means that I can't even lift the cats up one handed any longer, not that I usually do! No stretching either. No kinking the line. No this that or something else. But I am allowed to garden as long as I don't throw dirt over myself, particularly the dressing. (This could be an issue!) Plus I have the feeling neat fitting sleeves will be a problem too. I have to monitor the wound closely and my temperature too (though I already have to take my temp every day and more often if I am not feeling well). The dressing has to be changed every week, which means going to the hospital. Blah. Ah well. Hopefully it will be worthwhile and I won't get any infection. I certainly will wash more often than the old bloke who did chemo at the same time as me last time - he has a PICC line and I think his way of dealing with the washing problem is just not to bother.

For those of you who have struggled all the way through this, I give you a pic of me wearing my mother in law's wig from 9 years ago when she was on chemo. I am not sure I'll end up with a wig (cash flow problem and also? ITCHY!) but this amuses me.


I am doing a good impersonation of my brother there, not that he has hair like that but the expression. I am also told I look like Dusty Springfield with the wig on. If only I had her voice!


Monday, March 15, 2010

A lovely pick me up

G'day all!

I've been participating in various of the Old Red Barn Co quiltalongs.

A while ago, they started putting together squares to make some quilts to raise funds for breast cancer research and awareness.

Well, there were a few quilts made. Quite a few. And last week, I got a box of cereal from Canada:


(Very glad that quarantine let the box in - they can get funny about ex-food boxes).

Odd, very odd I thought - who is sending me cereal from Canada? All duct-taped up?

So I opened the box and out slid:


That's awfully chewy cereal - lots of fibre in that lot! Or maybe, just maybe, it is a quilt!


Isn't it lovely? Lots of people put a lot of effort into making these squares and then Marianne from the quiltalong put it all together to create a quilt (and that is the hardest part of making a quilt as far as I am concerned!).

There were some extra bits and bobs, like a pillow case, two little lavender sachets, a hand-made card and some extra material (which I forgot to take a pic of, sorry!)



Love the little detail on the pillowcase - my Singer can do stuff like that but I don't think my Janome can. (We are trying to find out if the Singer can be swapped to 240V or if we have to run it off a transformer. It can do some niftier stuff than the Janome.)

See the backing of the quilt? Very bright and chirpy - just what I need :-)

I love the quilting too - lots of swirly circles and if anyone tells you that is a love heart, I will tell you it is the tip of a devil's tail!

So the quilt arrived at a very good time last week - it was cold and miserable and I put it on my lap and was warm and had warm fuzzies inside. This week I need some warm fuzzies but it is Too Warm to put the quilt on my lap, so I just admire it instead.

To everyone (non-inclusive list) who worked on this quilt or any of the others, heart-felt thanks. It is so very nice to think that people will do such things for people they don't know and have never met. I really appreciate all your hard work.

I will pay it forward by knitting some chemo caps, some nice ones, some hairy ones, ones for boofheads like mine (I couldn't get the ones on in the chemo unit - they were all too small or too tightly cast off!).


Sunday, March 14, 2010

At last an FO!

G'day all!

It feels like forever since I've had an FO to show off. It isn't that long but well I've been slack at getting photos and then downloading them and editing them and uploading them...

Anyway, I give you my version of Bitterroot, the version I've called Thankfulness. Details on Ravelry.

(I hope you like the sheets - vintage 80s sheets that my Mum bought when they were fashionable.)


I'm pretty thankful for it being finished! When things get to around 300 stitches or more across, I start getting a bit bored with them, especially if there are beads involved. Half an hour to an hour per row is very tedious, placing beads. And it is more tedious when you can't find the second packet of beads and go out to buy more but the place that stocks them isn't at present because head office is slack and won't order more until there's practically no stock left of any colour bead at all.


But it looks lovely and that is what really counts.


I spun the yarn during the Ravelympics instead of doing the project I meant to then. It's a moorit merino and ?tussah silk? blend (it certainly whiffed during blocking!)


You'll note that this is not in "my" colours - any regular reader will know that I am not a beige person. I haven't even modelled it. (Ooops, as it turns out I haven't woven the ends in either! My bad!) But it is in the colours of our friend who gave, yes GAVE, us a place to stay when we got back from the States.


This is my revenge. This and a small bundle of Very Hungry Caterpillar material.

I hope she likes it and even better uses it :-)


Monday, March 08, 2010

Thankfulness in progress

G'day all!

During the Ravelympics, instead of doing the spinning I said I would, I decided to spin up some of the (dwindling) lump of Andyle moorit (merino? yes merino) and ?tussah silk? that I had in my stash here. I needed to get a wriggle on with a present for a friend.

I ended up with 500m from 100g. Not my finest spinning but reasonable. It was fairly hard to draft because the two different fibres work very differently.

After all that work, I had a ball of yarn that looked very much like this:


Mainly because it is the same yarn, just a little depleted cos


I've knitted that much from it since Thursday? Friday? (The colour is off in that shot - it is actually the warmer colour in the skein pic)

At first this shawl flew off the needles, in a good way, not the omg, dropped another bunch o stitches way. But then as the pattern was established and it stayed the same, I started to get bored. I was so glad to finish chart A and move on to chart B, but then discovered that the charts really are fairly similar all the way through to the start of chart F. (Note that I missed chart D because it is for a shawlette.) Bored bored bored! But it is easy enough to knit. Doesn't require much in the way of a brain challenge.

Finally I got to the exciting part - the little leafy motifs that form the edging.


Now, don't get me wrong, this is a lovely pattern and creates a very pretty shawl, I'm just a bit over the things that attracted me to the pattern in the first place! I may not make another Bitterroot but I'll be happy to knit others of Romi's designs.

And as for the name change of the shawl I'm making? Here in Oz, root is another word for sex. I thought about calling it Sweetroot but umm that didn't do it for me either, so to speak. So thankfulness it is, because I am thankful for having someone put us up (and put up with us) for that long!


Yea verily I made another hat

G'day all!

I'm still knitting away at the chemo hats - after all a girl is fairly bald now, or at least looks like she has a severe hairloss problem. I keep getting a surprise when I look in the mirror - that's me! Where did my hair go? Like DUH!

In my newly reacquired stash, I've found a few odd skeins of cotton blend and non-wool yarns. I guess I can make some more hats out of them. I have a bad habit of buying one or two balls of yarn to "try out" and then never trying them out.

I found a ball of a lovely green (US/Canada) Patons bamboo silk. The yarn feels rather lush and is a true worsted yarn in weight (even though it says it is a DK/8 ply yarn on Ravelry). It actually weighs a tonne, or so it feels, compared to the cottons and wool blends I've been working with.

So I started making my usual top down knitted in the round chemo cap.


I should provide the recipe for it, shouldn't I? I shall have to count some stitches and work out gauge and stuff for different weight yarns. Problem is, I usually knit for boof heads (ie me). Even without my hair, I still have a quite large head - my hair is fine, very fine and didn't add much to my head circumference. I am not quite so sure about sizing for less boofheads, let alone pinheads. That is where gauge comes into things!


See that little line in my palm? No, not the palmar creases, the vaguely brownish/reddish line? That has at least 5 of my hairs clumped together in it. I say at least five because when I was trying to count them, some blew away. I think there's more than 8.

(I had more hair on Friday or Saturday than I do today)

I like to make the back longer than the front so that it gives the nape of my neck a little more cover. After all, it hasn't seen the sun since I was a baby. This time I put the swirl in the short row shaping.


I am quite pleased with this hat. I had worried that the bamboo might not be soft enough (it feels divine against face and hand but I've found some bamboos feel a bit scratchy on my inside wrist and now my noggin) but it is fine. Maybe the silk balances that out. I'd quite happily knit more of these but alas I only brought home one ball of this yarn. Silly me!

I updated my knitmeter earlier today. Not including the projects I have on the needles, I have knitted over 2km of yarn in them so far this year. This is what having a life of leisure and not being able to go out one week in three does for my knitting! However, I think I'd prefer to be in a position where knitting and the net were not my constant daily (and nightly) companions, YKWIM?


Saturday, March 06, 2010

Not drowned yet!

G'day all!

What an exciting afternoon it turned out to be! It came over all dark and stormy and then windy and it poured rain, totally heaved down. I was thinking we just had a nice bit of rain from a thunderstorm, a very needed bit of rain cos it is a couple of weeks since we had any and the garden is really starting to suffer. I had been watching the weather radar and then decided to look at the weather warnings. After all, it isn't often that we see the radar image displaying black (actually dark brown) spots, the most intense precipitation possible on its scale.

When you go to the BoM site and find a warning like this:

you think things might be exciting! (If you are me, you also think that maybe they need a better picture editing program?) Not just one but two supercells approaching!

So I trawl the web to find all sorts of mayhem has broken out across the city! Trams up to the top of their steps in water (I note we aren't seeing pics of the newer, very low loading trams). Lots of hail - some pics I've seen online show golf ball size hail and larger, really weird shaped spiky looking hail balls that clearly have bounced around a lot in the storm, getting larger and larger and weirder shaped. Some friends' yard turned white with hail. They were lucky - some places got so much hail that roofs collapsed under the weight (eg at our main country train station) and in various shops. But we missed out on all bar about 10 spots of hail, thank heavens!

This image from the BoM shows how big some of the thunderstorms were (but doesn't show the one that caused the mayhem in the city). My state, Victoria, runs out about two thirds of the way up the image at Echuca. It is about 250km wide at that point. The large circle in the image covers a radius of 512km from its origin near Melbourne. (You can also see Tassie in the lower part of the image, where 2paw lives. *wave*) I live near the little dot of Moorabbin, near the centre of the circles. Anyway, that is roughly 400km (say 250 miles) of thunderstorm band. Holy guacamole!

But we haven't drowned yet. Some Melburnians are counting the cost cos the storms blew in on a holiday weekend and they were out and about enjoying a festival (Moomba!). Getting caught in hail is not fun! BiL has a very sore toe from where golfball sized hail smacked into it and MiL's car, like many caught in the storm, has quite some hail damage. (Which made me worry about Manto's lovely shiny new little Bazza but I guess he gets to go in the carport!)

I just sat at home and watched online for youtube vids and flickr shots A few of those showed up within a couple of hours. And I played with my material that is now all cut up and ready to turn into half square triangles.

Thank you weather gods for smiling on us today, even if you caused others grief.

And can I just say I heart the BoM for providing us with such good info, so easily found and up to date? Weather stuff in the US was usually easiest found through sites like but here? Government operated with ready access to data. Also Melbourne Water for providing us with access to river and creek and rainfall data across greater Melbourne, along with info about the water storage in our dams. It used to drive me crazy that I couldn't find out how much water was in the dams and aquifers in California, presumably because much of it is privately operated. But here in Oz? I can find out all sorts of stuff :-)


Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Pinwheel quiltalong

G'day all!

Yesterday I started on a new project.

We are doing a pinwheel quiltalong on the OldRedBarnCo quiltalong group on Flickr.

A little while ago, I ordered something called a "layer cake" online. I had been eyeballing the material for a while and decided that I wanted that material. A layer cake seemed a bit more affordable than a full set of fat quarters. So the layer cake arrived about a week ago, and I discovered what they really are. Reading about something is good but having it in your hand is better!

Layer cakes are a quilting fabric term used to describe 10" squares cut from a fabric range. You get a 10" square of every print in the range, and some of them you'll get two of (usually the contrast fabrics rather than the ones with the fancy pants prints on them).

So my layer cake of Eden arrived and I immediately decided that it had to become a pinwheel quilt.

On Saturday DH and I went to scroatfight to get some contrast material. My options were fairly limited, along with my budget. I chose a lurid magenta/pink, cream, leaf green and olive.


As it turns out, the pink is Too Pink for the room. The bedroom is lime green, remember, and the pink is just too gaudy.

So I am down to three contrast colours. I have more than one contrast because I need to make more pinwheels than I have fancy pants material for, especially if I do not include the very pink materials in the quilt top (but I will use them for the quilt back most likely - two colours for the price of one!). I spent a bit of time folding material into triangles to see what works best in the way of contrast materials and came up with this sort of arrangment:



(note the olive is much darker than in reality - couldn't adjust the colours to the right sort of contrast)

After working out what colours go with what, I then took everything outside and ironed it.


It was a lovely day - about 25C/77F - with a little breeze blowing the stench of the 3 cubic metres of cow and chook poo away from me. Just be glad you don't have smellovision!

Now for the cutting! Wish me more luck that DH is having - I keep hearing exclamations of dismay (I'm being polite here 8-) from upstairs.


Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Thanks and befuzzledment

G'day all!

Before we get started, I want to thank everyone who has emailed me and/or left comments along the way as I progress along this cancer treatment plan. Thank you for the encouragement and the thoughts and the well wishes.

Along with the good wishes comes something I am trying to work something out.

People keep telling me, "You've got a great attitude." They are amazed that I keep on going despite having cancer. "You're so brave. You're so strong."

This is where I get confused. Am I just supposed to lay down and die on the spot? I've got things I want to do! You should see the mountains of yarn and spinning stuff and material I have. Can't let those go to waste! I want to make stuff. I want to see stuff. I'm still alive and kicking, though some days/hours/minutes it is more like a shuffle. I fall in a heap on occasion but who wants to stay in a heap all the time? There's things to do and stuff to make and cats and husband to feed. And me to feed as well (I am hungry all the time - it seems that my body is frantically trying to replace all the cells that are killed off by the chemo, hopefully not the cancer ones though! Or maybe it is just the steroids trying to make me fat). Having my own 24/7 pity party is no fun whatsoever. Sometimes I wallow but generally I find there's better things to do! I'm not brave nor am I strong. I just keep on doing the things I have to do and the things I want to do as best I can. It's what I call living.

I don't want to offend anyone who thinks I've got a great attitude but really, my attitude sucks (compared to what I read on various online cancer boards and fora)! Most of the time I ignore that I have cancer. I take into account that I am not able to do everything I normally would, sometimes I can only do a fraction of normal stuff, but I do not spend every minute of every hour of every day thinking about cancer. That way lies madness! When I think about it a lot, I can get frantic and worried. But I don't like being scared. So I find ways of not being worried. (Hello craft!) And I don't think about it a lot.

Never tell me the odds.

My way of dealing with it is to suck on the treatment and try to get on with life as best I can. I am not angry with it, I am not fighting with it, it is just a part of me that I would rather go away. It's hijacked my body but getting angry with it won't help me any - angry hormones are stress hormones and they could make my cancer worse. I don't like being angry and upset, so I avoid doing things that make me angry or upset. I'm not fighting it either - that is the job of the chemo. I just tell it to go away, abide and wait and do some bits and bobs along the way, and endure. The best I can do is try to look after myself whilst I am on chemo and hope the treatment blasts the cancer into smithereens before I fall over!

So those of you who haven't gotten a reply to various encouraging emails or comments, you now know why. I am not sure what to write! "Thanks" from me is a good start. I don't want you to stop waving the flag for me and encouraging me, I just am a bit bushed about this great attitude thing. I feel awkward about it and sorta embarrassed - these accolades are being heaped on a far different (better) person to me! I'm just an average person, noone special. Whilst I can see the bright side of life and can enjoy things, I will. I hope I'll be able to enjoy many things for quite some time to come!

My next post should have some pics of a new project that I am starting. OK, I haven't finished the last project of its ilk but there's nothing like a new project to get the creative juices flowing!


Monday, March 01, 2010


G'day all!

Hooray, the Ravelympics are over! I no longer have a deadline for my knitting.

What did I accomplish out of the five things I wanted to?

Well I failed on the spinning - I have only spun maybe a third of a bobbin of the blue fluff that I had lined up (though I did spin 500m from 100g of a wool/soy blend I had).

But I think I won on the rest of my projects:

Husbandly socks! Finished these an hour before the Ravelympics closed. Very simple pattern, well once the template stuff is created. Details on Ravelry.

Blood Orange. Still a wee tiny little thing, not sure what use it will be to anyone! But it is very lurid and very soft and I am sure I can find a home for it amongst my rellos and friends who are helping out with the chemo thing.


Colour is still a bit off - it is a bit more orange than this - but good enough to get the idea.

Aeolian (rav link), well you've seen that one before but it seems to be a hit :-)

The ugliest sock in the world! LOL. I have to find the template for this one again. I am not sure that I will continue to make socks using this template as it stands - after all it means four more ends to weave in. Only four, admittedly but when I can make a pair of socks with only two ends to weave in.... The more ends, the more likelihood of disaster. But the fit of the sock is very good and I am guessing that even the ugly shorty sock that I made will stay up over my heel. Most commercial shorty socks disappear back down into my shoe, most uncomfortable too!

Four out of five ain't too bad - it turns out it was a stretch target after all :-)

Hmm, now I guess I have to get into this:


Our stuff arrived! Actually, DH has been ploughing through it like a trooper - a good third of it is already dealt with. I have no idea where some of it is going to go. We now have about 3,000 mugs cos I refused to leave some of the ones we bought in the US behind, and refused to leave some of the Australian ones behind, and then we found a bag of mugs in the garage, etc etc. Then there is all the linen - no wonder we've been sleeping on an old ripped sheet - it was all in the US! And you should see the mountains of yarn and material! Yikes! Just as well the stairs are nearly done so stuff can live in the attic. 8-)