Monday, May 31, 2010

Remembrance Echo Flower

G'day all!

So we've made it to the end of May.

May is not my favourite month of the year. Too many deaths of people that matter to me have occurred in May. My father at the start of May, my mother near the end of May, others that have passed on too.

I wonder what Mum would've thought of the shawl I knitted this month.

I spun the yarn.

I chose the Echo Flower pattern.

I started knitting.


And I kept knitting and knitting and knitting row after row, repeat after repeat of the flower pattern


Until I thought I should swap to the border pattern.

(I am glad I did swap over then - I don't think I had enough yarn for another repeat of the flower pattern.)

I nupped until I was done.

Then I soaked and blocked the shawl.


I think Mum would be surprised that I can knit lace. She told me not to knit it when I was younger. Much younger. She didn't think I had the patience or the counting ability/concentration. I knitted intarsia then, or picture knitting as we called it. I could also knit cables. And I did some fair isle too. she approved of all of those, but lace knitting was her domain. Matinee jackets, dresses, bonnets but very rarely booties. She didn't see the point of booties given that most babies remove them one way or another within minutes of them being put on. The only way to keep them on was to tie them with a ribbon and hope the little beggar was not yet capable of latching onto small things.

I was then and still tend to be a Good Girl. I tend to do what I am told without questioning it, though I've gotten a bit better at arcing up at things that go against my grain. It didn't really occur to me to question my mother's assessment of my abilities until about 5 years ago, when I came across a top I wanted to knit. It had lacey edges on it and I wanted to make it so badly.

So I learned how to knit lace. And I knitted the top (and learned a horrible lesson - do not weave an end in across your boob with slippery yarn - I often had a tassel... 8-). I knitted socks with lace in them. I learned to read charts. Blessed be the chart! I learned decreases that I know my mother would not have known about, techniques, stitch patterns that would've gobsmacked her. I saw remarkable pretties and had to make one myself. Or two. Or more.

The internet and Ravelry have changed the face of knitting completely, and Mum would've been right there, tackering away and jumping into discussions. But she isn't. It's nearly 20 years since Mum died and I still wish she had taken better care of herself so she could still be here today, giving me the odd kick in the pants and telling me to go use my gifts - I'm sure I'm not the only one whose Mum wasn't lovey dovey and kissy and cuddly.

echo flower mosaic

Anyway, Mum, I am glad I didn't listen to your advice. After all, what else could I do with 800m of handspun finnsheep wool? And this one's for you :-)



Friday, May 28, 2010

Staying in order

G'day all!

I will be good. I will present FOs in order of finishing. Plus it lets me string out posts :-)

In October, I had the mad idea that I could knit a shawlette in a week from a skein of luscious 4ply/fingering weight yarn.


May I present to you, in MAY, seven months later....

My Ruffles of Doom shawlette



This was a silly knit. I first thought it was a spring bloom faroese shawl but suddenly the yarn ran out before I was ready for it to - it had gone on and on and on.... So I had to find some (not quite matching) pink recycled cashmere to make a ruffle with, only I didn't ruffle it enough so I had to go find some green recycled cashmere and make a more ruffly ruffle.

Then the pink ruffle decided it was a flap that would sit up at about 45 degrees to the shawl itself, making a V at the bottom so I grabbed a crochet hook, added some stitches to it, hooked it to the green ruffle and generally made it more ruffle-icious. It had to have ruffles you see. And it took forever cos I had over 1200 stitches on the needles for the green ruffle and had not given myself a long enough cable....

Sucky pic, eh? I think I have reverted to childhood, what with all the frills and ruffles. (Hmm, on second thoughts, I didn't do frills and ruffles as a child - I had a tendency to play with the boys cos there were no girls close by to play with. Not unless I went up our steep hill and walked along two streets and down the steep hill again.)

But it is done and lessons are learnt. Hooray!

Oh, there is no pattern. I made it up out of my head. I wanted faroese-style shaping (though apparently faroese shawls start at the bottom and work up and mine is top down). I wanted a sorta floral idea but not too fancy - wish I'd done more fancy cos oh my the stocking stitch got a bit dull! So I remembered how I made the GPY shop sample from last year and cast on and off I went.

In other projects, I have finished the current shawl, I have pics as those of you looking at my flickr account know, and this has freed me up to start working on my chemo queen bedjacket again. Hooray! I am trying to stay monogamous to one project at a time - I have a small project to carry with me and a big one for at home knitting. It does help me finish stuff but I am not letting it stop me from working on more than one thing at a time.

The sleeves are done - I've knitted them with short rows such that they sit just above my elbow fold at the front/inner and hopefully cover my sharp pointy elbows at the back. Now I can use the rest of the yarn on the body. It is like knitting a shawl - each row has over 300 stitches but at lest they are not increasing! I am hoping that I have enough yarn to get just past my waist. It is a proper bedjacket shape - loose and swingy. I think I'll be able to wear it not just as a bedjacket (it won't get much use as that I hope!). I love the way in the pic, especially if you look at the larger versions, the jacket is reallly fuzzy. It sorta goes hazy/misty from certain angles - that is the cashmere (blue) component of the yarn strutting its stuff.

Finally, a little message from our sponsor (well not quite but thanks for the hottie and the not shown book, Jum8uck!)


Thursday, May 27, 2010

Still crackers

G'day all!

Oh what a day it has been.

I ate something I shouldn't have. I think. Or maybe it is the chemo. Let's just say it is gross but I am still showing a family trait of not throwing up. Plus the last couple of nights it seems that I won't sleep for more than two hours at a time and have to get up to pee a lot, and by 3:30am I may as well get up for an hour or two to deal with the spinning monkey brain and legs that want to wriggle. Now we have an extra complication.

And DH is down. He has a couple of little jobs at the moment but they are not Real Jobs. I didn't realise his identity is so tightly tied to his job. Is that a boy thing?


I am actually pretty good apart from the little purging issue and the lack of sleep. I went for a little bike ride to some local shops and the library yesterday, today I walked most of a kilometre. Days 6-7 of the last cycle I could hardly walk before I saw my chiro - lots of spasms and knee pain and back pain etc etc. This time around a few aches and pains and weird muscle twinges but nothing like last time. Even the indigestion isn't as bad. But my skin is starting to flake. Ick.

So we are a bundle of misery at present. But I can still crack a grin and have a chuckle at things. Then I race off to the loo again.

I still have faith that things will get better, unlike DH. I rang Centrelink today and started our process of applying for the dole. OK DH has a couple of small jobs currently but they are not full time and they will not last more than a week. The dole may be a PITA to deal with but it is a small amount of income and will keep the wolves from the door for a while longer. I have no idea if it can be backdated but given we are almost out of cash, we have to try something!


I finished my Echo Flower shawl today, with time to spare for the May knitalong on Ravelry. Hooray! I haven't downloaded pics yet - I thought I should model the blocked shawl and get some decent daytime pics of it - I only have pics of it under flash blocking on the bed.

Of course I left the door shut to stop Nutmeg hopping on the bed with the blocking shawl. But someone didn't know the door should be kept shut, and where was the Nut found after tea?

Slap bang in the centre of the blocking shawl. I should've taken a pic!

Now I have to find something else to knit. I should concentrate on finishing my chemo queen jacket over the next few days, then start a new lace project for June. I have plenty to knit and quite a bit of time to knit and spin in.

I'm starting a new project - I want to spin up some natural grey fleece for the international shawl swap on Ravelry. Then I'll have to knit a good size shawl from it. I'm intending to spin yarn around a DK/8 ply weight so 5mm needles will be called for to give it a bit of flow. Should be interesting! Hope I can get enough fleece processed - it is all washed but I have to flick it out and may drum card it. I'm currently doing samples to see how it comes up. I hope the trots are not related to the prepping fleece - I've been wearing a mask and washing my hands thoroughly after handling clean fleece. I've even worn gloves and probably should keep doing so. Plus I want to spin up some yarn suitable for knee high socks from some Ixchelbunny BFL/seasilk/bunny.


We'll see how things go. Wish me luck - if the gut thing keeps going I could end up in hospital and I *really* do *not* want that to happen.

Pics today are of Spring from over a year ago. Gosh how life was simple then!


PS - thanks for icecream suggestions. I can get a couple of nice sorbets from the supermarket (DUH!) and I've bought some soy based GF/DF "icecream" too, see what it is like. And some soyghurt to help the poor old gut. Hope it is nice but currently with my lack of taste buds....

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

I could...

Really go some nice gluten free, dairy free "ice cream" right now. Mmmmmm.... Whilst we do great GF/DF bread in Oz, unlike te US which has dreadful muck, we do not do good ice creams for those of us deprived of the usual sort. So currently I'm missing this (I must've eaten at least a hundred tubs of that whilst we were in the States) and this (mint choc chip! What more could I want in a flavour!) and even this (verra nice if it hadn't been allowed to defrost - the ribbon through it would go icy). Heck some cookie dough would be great right now - weird texture, sorta crunchy.

The GF/DF icecreams here tend to be quite expensive (I thought $5 for a quart was expensive but most of the Oz ones are $7-8 and pretty darned hard to come by). Now I could haul out our icecream maker and muck about with some coconut milk and stuff but I just want to eat icecream right now. Mmm, icecream. (Maybe I want to eat it cos my gullet is sore again, not as badly as sometimes but sore enough. However the killer indigestion is yet to raise its evil head and hammer me, just the weird burpy uncomfortable indigestion. *touch wood*)

Weird how different places do different things better.

Wonder if there is a market here or not. I know that I am a market but only a rather small one - my best consumption rate was 3 quarts in a week and that was being very piggy. Wonder if anyone could launch such a product here and have it be successful. Of course one has to have a product to launch first. And I am not a business person nor a food chemist nor a cook nor a production specialist.

The good news? I am still here! I even got some things done today. I tidied some and vacuumed some and knitted another six rows on my Echo Flower shawl and went out to get some bits and bobs - first time I've been out on a first Tuesday of the chemo round for months! (Hmm, now thinking it doesn't sound like I did much at all but I did house cleaning for a good couple of hours, not that you would realise it!) I've had the staggers all day but I've done much more than last time or yesterday even. Hopefully I'll be more compos tomorrow - I certainly am a bear of very little brain currently. Focussing on the screen is a little difficult even if I wear my glasses. I guess that is a hint! (But if so, it's been a hint all day long.) Body is a bit sore - whatever muscles I use carry on sometimes even like pork chops. Occasionally joints get into the act too. It is very odd. Knees randomly say Do Not Walk On Us but really knees I have to walk on you cos you are attached to my feet via my shins and I need the whole lot of you to cooperate to perambulate us all around the place.

My goodness, what a random post. I think I should take me to bed whilst my knees will allow it to be so.


Sunday, May 23, 2010

Laying low

G'day all!

I might be laying low for the next few days. Don't get too worried if I don't blog, though I may well cos I'll be bored and brainless. New chemo and/or the bone marrow stimulant does interesting things to my body. Whatever muscles I use hurt - I've been knitting a bit so my forearms are sore, I've been leaning on the desk so my back/shoulder muscles are sore, I walked a whole 500m if that so my knees and thighs are sore, things just ache. Time for some paracetamol, see if that knocks it down some.

Smoke me a kipper, etc etc....


Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Yet more medical stuff

G'day all!

Today I went to see the medical oncologist, the radiation oncologist and the breast surgeon.

We have a plan.

Assuming the chemo goes as expected (ie my immune system keeps rebounding and I don't get any infections), I'll be having a lumpectomy and axial dissection (with sentinel node injection) sometime late July or early August. That is a three day hospital stay. Then I do set up for radiotherapy 4 weeks later and start radiotherapy 5 or 6 weeks after the surgery. Radiotherapy goes for six weeks, 5 days a week at the same hospital that I'm getting chemo at. That's a good hour round trip five days a week - just like work! Except I'm not working and I need to have 2 minutes of treatment not 7.5 hours of work a day. They will be targetting the areas of surgery and the lymph nodes at the base of my neck, just to be sure. The sixth week of radiotherapy is a "booster" on the surgical site itself.

I should be done like a dinner by my birthday. Stick a fork in me, I'm done! (Mebbe not - likely to hurt) Hooray! That will make it almost 9 months of treatment, rather like a baby only without the baby at the end... but heck, it will give me a decent shot at living out my expected life span, not a cancer shortened one and that has to be good! I might need to have an end of treatment and happy birthday party :-)


So the test results were pretty good. The PET scan at the start showed three very obvious spots - BC and two lymph nodes - apart from the expected heart, kidneys and bladder. The PET scan halfway through chemo shows a small shadow in the breast and nothing else (except the expected heart, kidneys and bladder). The biopsy at the start had pretty much 100% tumour cells, now it has 30% (I should've asked if that meant mitotic figures or what). The tumour has shrunk quite a bit, enough that they are looking at doing a lumpectomy not boobectomy.

All in all I am happy. I know what I am up against, I know what I have to put up with and hopefully at the end we get a good result. I'll be calling on folks for some help though - things like for two weeks after surgery, I can't lift anything with my right arm and I'll be limited in what I can do. Can't drive, for example (especially given Helmet does not have power steering), various of the women I've talked to online can't cook, etc. Can't do washing - dishes or clothes. I'll have horrible drains hanging around me for anything up to a week. Yep, they put tubes in to the surgical sites to drain excess fluid (read blood and extracellular fluid) and that fluid gets caught in bulby type things.


Now I just have to put up with another three chemo treatments. The chemo oncologist said that with taxotere, people have the most side effects from the first treatment. Here's hoping! He also said that glaucoma can be a side effect of the dexamethasone and that yes, maybe half the symptoms I have are from the dexa. Blah. But given I've been feeling pretty good this last week or so, I can put up with a week of feeling like I've been run over by a truck (minus the track marks). The alternative isn't!


Monday, May 17, 2010

Poor pudding tat

G'day all!

Isn't this a sad thing


the poor cat, waiting to come in - she's found the (let me) In Tray!

I've still been busy recently, buzzing around, not really getting that much done quite frankly! I'm making good progress on my Echo Flower shawl - only got 1.5 repeats to go before I start the edging charts I think. HOORAY! There's over 300 stitches per row now and it takes a while to get each row done (20 minutes or so). Given how much time I can spend knitting, it seems surprising that it isn't yet finished.

Pics today are of Nutmeg, in various moods.

I've joined two quilting swaps, one just a little charm swap. Egads, cutting charms (5" squares) is hard work, especially when you have to iron twenty-five different lots fabric first. Also I don't have a cutting table, I have a cutting mat on the floor. That adds to the difficulty somewhat. The second swap needs me to get a couple of metres of material, one white, one "fresh modern" and then make signature blocks - yep, 101 blocks. Yikes!

What was that?

Plus I've joined an international shawl swap on Ravelry. I think I am blasted mad, joining all these things when I'm on chemo and have weeks where I struggle to do more than crawl out of bed and to the computer or the couch. Plus I have to have an operation and then radiotherapy, but the swaps will all be well and truly done by the time radiotherapy starts.

Eh, nothing. Bored now.

I'll get the charms out this week - I've only got to cut the squares now from the strips of fabric and then make sure my three swapees get one square of each. They will send me 25 little blocks of fabric. It will be fun! Hope they like what I've cut. Hope I've cut it well enough... (am thinking I might recut some cos it is a bit cactus.)

Are you still pointing that thing at me?

If I pull my finger out and start knitting, I'll get to the last repeat of the shawl tonight. Unless I decide to recut two strips cos they are cactus. Then we'll see if both the cats sleep all night on the bed again - couldn't believe it last night. Nutmeg is a good puss and sleeps the night through without fuss. Cheshire is usually annoying but last night he was good too! Obviously being cold helps him stay put. They've been sleeping together a fair bit recently - must be the cold. I've been horribly cold recently. It has become chilly and fairly damp even though it has been sunny. I can't even dry clothes on the washing line. *grumble mutter*

Well nyer to you too!

I thought this is an interesting series - fit to flatter. How to choose knitwear that looks great on you or modify patterns so they suit your body. I hope lots of people pay for the series or individual entries as a lot of work has gone into it (and I'm currently incomeless and want freebies to continue to be available - when we get an income then I can contribute!).

Oh won't you let me in?


Thursday, May 13, 2010

Whoops, still here!

G'day all!

Apparently I've not posted for a while. Whoops! Unintentional blog break. I've been busy, and last week I got sick of whining. Busy means I've been pretty good this week :-) Sorry if anyone worried - my bad! But thanks for checking up on me :-)

So... What have I been up to?

Well, I went shopping at Chaddy - picked up my new sunnies and some tea from T2 and the newly sharpened knives (sharp knives! Bliss! And yes I am careful with them). That was my daily exercise, I must've walked a fair bit cos I was tired by the end of it!


We managed to get some books into bookshelves and got the craft room to the point where there is a big space in the middle of it. (Now I just need a sewing space.) We cleared out seven or eight boxes of books from the loungeroom. Those boxes went into one large Billy bookcase (everyone knows the plain jane bookcases from Ikea?) and a smaller bookcase. It is amazing how many books a bookcase can hold. Now we are ready for the bookcases we loaned to a friend - must give her a call and arrange to get them. This will please the PiLs cos it means whatever books we still have at their place can come back here.


We did some planting in the yard. The weather has been all over the shop - warm early in the week and then voom through came a cold front and since then it's been a bit brr, especially at night. It was quite pleasant yesterday afternoon when I sat in the sun and knitted away whilst DH applied render to a bit more of the garage. Various plants are coming into bloom, though I am not sure they should be flowering at this point in time. The roses are finishing up for autumn I think - the blooms are becoming smaller and fewer in number.


I've been knitting madly and doing a bit of spinning. And I eventually remembered to edit pics and get them onto Flickr so now I can blog with pictures! How advanced...

Do you like my new dunny lid cover?

It doubles as a hat!

Sad as it is to kill all those little polyesters, it is nice to pretend to have hair, if a little hot.

Those are my new sunnies (and I'm wearing a little scarf sent to me by a kind lady from NZ - whoops forgot to take pic of little pink ribbon scarf).

The ruffles of Doom and Despair took me AGES to finish. One of the ruffles would not play nicely so I had to go along and crochet it to the other ruffle. After about 30 hours of knitting and crocheting, the ruffles are done and I can block the thing and maybe even wear it.


My echoflower is coming along - I've done three more repeats now compared to the pic.


When I first saw Laminaria, I thought the stitch pattern looked daunting. Well now that I've done nupps, knitting 9 stitches into three is nothing so I decided to make Echo Flower, which shares a 9 into x stitch pattern. It is at the tedious stage now, the stage where I know how the pattern goes and I just keep slogging along the rows. I hope to enter the shawl in the Bendi wool show - I have kept a bit of the top I used to spin the yarn and can keep a sample of yarn (I hope! I don't think the shawl will eat all the yarn).

Finally, eat your heart out, Telly!


Friday, May 07, 2010

Cabin fever

G'day all!

I am getting a bad case of cabin fever at the moment.

Over this weekend and last weekend, I have or am about to miss:

  • The Australian Quilt Convention
  • Stitches and Craft
  • Field of Women (footy match with a breast cancer fund raiser beforehand)
  • Mother's Day Classic (breast cancer fund raiser, 4/8km walk/run)

Even if I thought it was a good idea to go near lots of people whilst my immune system is run down, we don't have any money for me to spend, which would frustrate me even more! Plus online there's some material I want to buy at a good price but again, no money.

*grump* *whine* *moan*

Yes, this too shall pass and I do expect to be able to do these things next year (though the material will never again be available and that makes me pout more) but I am letting myself feel sooky and unloved and left out when I should be focussing on the things I can do. But the things I can do are BORING! I've been doing them for MONTHS and MONTHS and MONTHS. My world has contracted to this little space and it is BORING!


(OK, watching the changes in the weather and season and my garden are not boring but I'd like a little variety.)

Admittedly I now have the energy to be annoyed about not being able to do stuff. Earlier in the week, I had enough energy to whine about how much things hurt - never thought that my ribcage, sternum, back and knees were involved in white cell production - but that was it. No extra energy to do much at all, especially since one of my knees was out of whack (mostly fixed by chiro, now it hurts the same as the other knee and I can walk on it without it hurting more). Being in pain saps a lot of energy.

(my eyebrows and eyelashes are falling out. And I've lost the little hairs in my ears. But my leg hairs are still hanging in there!)

Grossness ensues in the next paragraph or two. You are warned.

Hehehehe. Yucky but true part of being on chemo is the dread fell constipation. Oh my goodness, I think I've only been that clagged once before. Alas when on chemo you can't take the usual sorts of greasing things to help nature along, nor the ointments that help poor sore bits. Nope, had to get some special liquid from behind the counter at the chemist. I looked it up online and it said it takes 3-4 hours to work, sometimes up to 24 hours. So I took some. I really enjoyed it - very sweet. Reminded me of when I was little and took sudafed liquid. My taste buds are shot currently and I can only taste intense stuff or fragrant stuff. 20 MINUTES later my eyes bug out of my head. 45 minutes later, what a relief but ohmygoodness! It was a little abrupt... I am hoping that well over 24 hours later, the repercussions will settle down. The gurglings and growlings and gassings have been amazing (though DH had lunch at a vegetarian restaurant and his outgassings far surpass mine in fragrance and quantity - alas yes my nose still does work....). I am only allowed to ice affected bits (you try icing such areas!). I am not sure I will take any more of the medication, sweet or not. I think I'll use other means (I am told baked pears are wonderful, I have prunes, I have senna) unless I have no choice. LOL


I know my taste buds are shot cos I am enjoying the fake cherry flavour of nilstat. Like what is up with that? I normally loathe that taste, along with almond essence. But currently? Come to mama!

I've scattered pics of my hairy bear hats through this post, just to give it some knitting flavour. I've donated these enormous hats to the chemo centre. The hats cover a lot of head and I think look pretty good, like the bad hair day hat. They fit enormous noggins too, which is why I call them hairy bear hats. The chemo centre has lots of hats at present. I might need to find a new place to send the hats I am still knitting.


I am still finishing off the shawlette ruffles - only 600 cast off stitches to go! HOO-BLASTED-RAY! But then I have to fix the first ruffle - it sits badly. As one of my Oddball mates on Ravelry said, maybe I should have crocheted the ruffles?

Oh. Umm. Yeah. Crochet!

(A little cat cuteness to finish off a ranty whiny post)


Wednesday, May 05, 2010

hair and spit

G'day all!

Who would ever think that two of the things I most miss about this whole cancer trip are my hair and my spit? Isn't it funny how things you miss are the normal sorts of things, average, everyday stuff like good health, hair and saliva?


Yep, we are getting into the grind now. The side effects are building up as my overall health declines. It is really hard to exercise when one gets this weird indigestion and sheer getting off the couch in the week after chemo is starting to become one's major source of exercise (showering is a daily feat that I am proud of!). I am getting better from the whackiness of earlier in the week - so glad I didn't have to go out shopping or anything until today (apart from Sunday's market excursion) - but oof! I remember happy days of riding my bike around, and if I rode a fair way, feeling tired the next day. Now I get the tired without the joy of riding around! And the spit thing is just plain weird. My mouth is dry-feeling a lot. Saliva is hard to come by. My salivary glands are sore - they've been attacked by the chemo, or possibly the anti-nausea drugs - and have fairly much gone on strike. (It is really weird biting into a biscuit and having pain hit rather than a squirt of saliva!) My tastebuds are affected too - I've not been able to taste much apart from pepper and salt and mint. Everything tastes odd. So I am using a mouthwash that lubricates the mouth (get your minds out of the gutter you dirty dirty people!), brushing my teeth a lot and doing my salt water rinses heaps too.

That is one of the things about being on chemo. One has to look after oneself




If one slacks off, one will pay! Someone did not do her mouth stuff well on Monday, now she pays! (At the pharmacy, buying stuff to help Set Things Right.) The routine and rigour and discipline needed is tiresome but the aftermath of Not Doing the Right Thing is even more tiresome and can stop me doing important things like eating. Normally I like eating, I enjoy my tucker a lot but when I can't taste it? Eh.

But it should get better and after I go to the chiro tomorrow to get my knee sorted (who knew that one could put one's knee out by sitting too much?) and get my new prescription sunnies (and pick up the newly sharpened knives - oh bliss! Sharp knives!), hopefully I'll feel much better!


I've been trying to finish a shawlette that I started waaay back in October. I ran out of yarn for it and can't afford $$ or time to go get some more, so I decided to give it a ruffle in some pink cashmere that was just laying around in the loungeroom (really. It was just sitting there, having gotten separated from the rest of the recycled cashmere). So I knitted frantically yesterday, increased into every second stitch, then after knitting six rows or nearly an inch of ruffle over SIX HUNDRED STITCHES, realised I had not increased enough or that I needed to take 3 or 4 strands of the yarn to make the ruffle work. I had not taken into account the different in yarn weight.


So I ripped out the ruffle. Sigh. And then I had to put 300 stitches back on the needles and wind the yarn so that I could knit with four plies (that took me about three hours - recycled laceweight cashmere is not particularly forgiving yarn) and start over again.

So I've managed to increase into every stitch, purl a row and now I am increasing every two stitches and slipping the yarn in front of the other stitch. I have ideas of having a double ruffle - the slipped stitches will form the basis of the second ruffle whilst I'll cast off the first ruffle on either the purl row or the next knit one.


Will someone please shoot me and put me out of my misery? This ruffle is taking FOREVER! And I want the needles to start my echo flower shawl.


Today's pics are from our trip to Western Australia in 2004, our honeymoon. Someone on Ravelry wanted to see pics from WA and I figured you can all join in the fun! Plus it gives me something nice to look at and remember


Hopefully I'll get this blasted ruffle done sometime tomorrow and then block the shawlette and show it off. It is a bit lurid but hopefully pretty still.


Monday, May 03, 2010

May the fourth be with you

G'day all!

It is an old line but a good one.

Thanks for further commiserations. I've got some good suggestions, we'll try some stuff out. And I have to email a couple of you but currently am trying to take it easy. I keep trying too hard to get things done when I should just sit back and ask DH to do stuff. He will actually do stuff, he just has to be asked first. And I am too darned independent to ask most of the time.

Yesterday, since life had given us 3kg of strawberries for $10, we made strawberry jam. I sat outside in the shade (omg, sunshine hurts! So glad sunnies should arrive later this week then I'll be able to see again without getting headaches!) and chopped the yucky bits off and put them in a pot, coated them in sugar, chucked in some lemon juice (not enough, needed pectin) and made jam. DH did the bottling and we put them in the steriliser but got it a bit wrong - the leftover jam is sold as a rock, the processed stuff is runny! Ah well. As long as it lasts more than a few weeks we are good. Mmm, strawberry jam!

I never did post the pics of one of the chemo hats I made for the local centre. I'm getting a bit over knitting chemo hats, I must say, though I do seem to need a goodly array of them. I am not a very matchy match sort of person but I do not like wearing a green cap with a blue tshirt, for example, so I keep making more and more and more! A green cap with a pink tshirt is fine however - that is flower garden stuff. 8-) Anyway, if I need a heap, I figure others probably do too! So I keep knitting them cos they are pretty easy and occupy me when I'm not up to knitting a shawl or when I'm out and intricate lace is a bit hard to deal with.


This is made from an organic cotton I got in Germany. It is a bit too flesh toned for me but someone might like it. It lasted in the basket at the chemo centre for a week, though the blue one I dropped off at the same time disappeared quick smart!


Nutmeg is sitting on DH's lap. She is hungry - they didn't like their chicken wing/drumstick breakfast. They don't like raw chicken much but it is good for their teeth so I am trying to persuade them to eat it. Anyway, Nathan is discussing job seeking with some friends online, looking for some options and ideas, and is trying to type away with the cat's wet nose very firmly pressing under his hand. Pat me! Don't type! You want to pat me! It isn't easy to type when the cat gets insistent, and she is very insistent. She's woken me up before by rubbing her head under my hand - the little wet nose is the thing that really wakes me up quickly. LOL

Time to go check out what DH is up to in the garage. He's done the job hunt for the day, now for something nice. I'll have to make sure my cap doesn't blow off - it is quite warm here (ok 22C - warm for this time of year) and very very windy. I've been enjoying not being cold all the time but the wind! One good side of having very little hair left (but it is trying to grow! I have fuzzy spikey bits) is that it doesn't tangle in the wind. The downside is the likelihood of getting sunburned and the reality of getting cold! Brr!


Sunday, May 02, 2010

an appeal for calm

G'day all!

Thanks for commiserations. This new chemo sucks! My energy levels are pretty low at the moment, though I am getting some bits and bobs done *by my choice* (and DH is helping out and doing stuff I'd otherwise do).

I need some help. Last time I whinged about DH's behaviour. I probably should not have, and I apologise to him. Why?

People are (in the Australian form) dakking on him. Yes, he needs to find work, I've sat with him this morning as he's gone through the online job forums and quite frankly, there is not much out there for someone with a strong research background but no financial background in computing.

If you step back and think about it, how would you feel if:

a) you lose your job
b) you have to move countries at short notice
c) your wife is diagnosed with cancer
d) you can't find a job
e) you fear you are going to lose your house, and
f) you fear you are going to lose your wife?

He's having huge difficulties finding work. There's not that many jobs in our home city for someone with a PhD in mathematics/computing. His self esteem, which has never been a strong point, is taking an awful battering.

He needs as much support, maybe more support, than I do, and instead he's getting pilloried. I don't want to lose him. When he's not hurting and under horrible stress, he's really a nice guy. He's just struggling really badly and has been for a couple of months. It is my greatest source of stress at the moment. I can deal with my own issues but I can't make his issues better and that hurts more!

So I guess I have to keep hoping things will turn around for him and me...