Tuesday, February 16, 2016

What IS the weather?

I don't knit for others. In fact at quilt guild the other night Glenna asked when do I knit for others and I promptly replied "When Hell freezes over." and briefly felt bad for being rude. The rudeness was proven worthy though as she went on to ask for a Christmas stocking. NOPE, NOPE, NOPE.
But warm places may be experiencing a chill. I was knitting a Louisa Harding cowl a while back and Monika had dropped the unsubtle hint that I should make one for her Mom, who is always cold and 96 years old.

Monika was there for the rudeness.
So you can imagine her confusion the next morning when I waddled up carrying a take out container and gave it to her.

She was especially confused when she opened it and found a big caterpillar instead of Noms.

A simple washable cowl with a touch of sparkle in a very soft yarn. Fewer calories and more satisfying than leftovers.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Why knitting is apparently dangerous.

Just wanted to drop in and talk about an occasion; in which I almost get chaptered.

It was busy, pull up a chair, get a snack and a drink.

I’ve been having a lot of mood swings – hating humans, irritability, just general “WHY are you making that noise?!” attitude. Could be perimenopause, could be PMMD, could be a hangover from radiation; who knows. I don’t actually CARE what the cause is, but I do want to get it under control because I like being employed and the perks thereof (food, insurance, yarn, shelter, etc.)
After a couple of really sketchy episodes where my internal dialog totally lost its shit, but I maintained a blank countenance I decided to seek drugs. I’ve been doing all the “healthy” stuff: sleep, self-hypnosis, cutting caffeine and sugar, trying to spend time in healthy relationships, blah-blah-blah. But the rage episodes were internally escalating.
So I call a local physician group covered by my insurance – tell the scheduler my tale of woe and that I want drugs for my mood disorder. She schedules me with a doc. I type up my list of stuff (Whining complaint list; healthy habits I’m already doing; underlying health history) because I hate breaking in a new doc.
TUESDAY – go to appointment. Turns out they have scheduled me with a freaking OB/GYN. Okay, must be because of the PMS/Peri. Get roomed, usual delay, but I have Knitting so I’m set. In he comes. He asks what I’m there for, I explain about the irritability etc., and that I had previously had a PRN prescription for Ativan but when I pulled the bottle out as an emergency stop gap, saw that it had expired 2 years ago. So I was seeking a new prescription, because I can handle the irregular, heavy periods; the bloating; the cravings; the fatigue; but the rage was gonna get me in trouble.
OMG! This is where the train derails. He takes no PHM. Picks up my Whiny List, and he becomes fascinated with my uterus (heavy/irregular periods”. I need an U/S, but that won’t clarify the answers so I will still need a biopsy. I need a D/C. It could be cancer. I let him talk, and then ask: “What is this going to do for my mood disorder?” He ignores me and continues about my freaking endometrium.
So I ask again: “Uh, mood disorder?”
“Well, it might be hormonal, we could give you estrogen.”
“Okay, but forms of estrogen therapy are related to an increased incidence of breast cancer. What is your preferred format?”
Dr. Uterus: “Do you have breast cancer?” (kid you not)
“No, but I don’t want it either.”
“We could balance it with progesterone.”
“Which form? Some forms are related to fibroids.” By now, I’m starting to be pissed. And since it’s a crabby day, I am still using my Miss Violet Dowager Dutchess tone of voice, and knitting on my mitts, but I am starting to use the death stare.
He gets up and gets an MA to come stand in the room. I keep knitting, but I’m red and angry now.
“So we’ll order this ultrasound, and then set you up for a biopsy.”
“What about my mood issues? I came specifically for that.”
“Well, I can’t give you anything for that. You would need to see Family Practice for that.”
“Then why was I scheduled to see you? Why am I paying $268 to see you, if you’re not the right person?”
“Well, your heavy period is a concern. So I’m going to order some labwork”
“Not to me. To me I am concerned about my desire to stab people with my knitting.”
“Well, I want to see what your labwork says.”
“I just had $978 worth of lab work done in March, what are you looking for? Copies are right here.”
“Your estriol and progesterone. Those are unusual, I don’t expect that you have them.”
“Right here.”
“Well, and your TSH, and FSH.”
“Also, right here.”
“Well, I need a new serum level of gobbledy, and a new FSH. So I’ll order those. Beth here is going to schedule your ultrasound. I’ll write you a referral for Dr. Groovy in Family Practice.” And he leaves.
Beth sits down to call the schedulers, I keep knitting, she says something innocuous and I reply with “This whole thing was Bullshit. Not your fault, but bullshit.” She sorta nods her head, we schedule, I go to lab, I check out. Turns out Dr. Groovy can either see me 730 Friday AM or in 6 weeks. I risk the wrath of the boss, and take the 730 slot. (Because I’m ugly desperate at this point)

The next day I get a call from Behavioural Health attempting to schedule me for some therapy. I’m surprised, but okay, Dr. Uterus has referred me. So I’m talking to the scheduler, telling her my tale of peripausal woe, she says “oh honey, I’m 51, I KNOW just what you mean. I can set you up with a therapist in the next couple of weeks, Psychologist takes longer, about 17 weeks.”
“What will talk therapy do for me? I know it’s not Them, I know it’s me. I am doing CBT, self-hypnosis, getting rest, going outside for breaks. What’s a therapist going to do?”
“Tell you what; I have an appointment with Dr. Groovy on Friday. If he can’t help me with my drug seeking, then I’ll call back and we can get me on the list for Psychologist.”
“Okay, let’s do that.”

FRIDAY - yes Boss is annoyed by the request for time off. I figure I have 326 hours of sick leave on the books, time to use 2.

Dr. Groovy comes in relatively on time, polite, professional. I start off with just baldly stating : “I am here for drug seeking behavior. I am having episodes of rage and irritability that are life style affective, and I need help. Here’s my old PRN prescription, it expired 2 years ago, I still have 11 tablets left, so I obviously don’t have an abuse problem. Here’s my list of Whiny Complaints” And I’m knitting.
He immediately jumps to “I’ll write you a referral to behavioural health.” “Already on the waiting list, currently a 17 week wait.”
He sits there, asking appropriate questions, scrolling though pages of my chart that are scanned in from my previous physician, and then he must have moved onto Dr. Uterus’ notes, because he’s scrolling, scrolling, scrolling…Freeze. And he gives me a side eye, then says very slowly, “And..you..threatened to stab someone with your knitting needles?”

What? No.
“There’s a note here to that effect.”
“No, what I said was I wanted help because sometimes I Want to. It’s called Hyperbole. And I’d never do it, because it would get blood on my project, and this isn’t superwash.” I keep knitting.
He sits there a moment, then starts to laugh a little.
So I say “I understand what is appropriate and inappropriate. I understand what not to do. But I also have episodes where my adrenals are squirting, my hypothalamus is twitching, and every nerve in my body is sending the ‘Irritating and annoying signal.’ I want help, so I don’t mouth off to the boss, or yell at the poor dog, or spill coffee on the counter and feel like burning the house down is a solution.”
He proceeds with the whole schizophrenia screening questions. I give him the “Srlys??” look and answer them. Finally it wraps up with a prescription and a return visit scheduled.

But apparently Dr. Poophead Uterus has put in my chart that I am violent.
Hence the rapid call from Behavioural Health. Also, buddy? If you’re attempting to slot a woman into the whole money making juggernaut by trying to scare her with the cancer diagnosis (on a 3 minute acquaintance)…you might want to notice that she’s wearing scrubs, ask her what she does, and not schedule an ultrasound tech for a freaking ultrasound.

Friday, January 08, 2016

Looking around with purpose

Last year TAO needed a new truck for work. The usual frustration of two widely varying money personality types ensued for a few weeks and he ended up with a very nice Jeep Grand Cherokee.

With a tow package.

Then, as we were driving places, the refrain became: “I could tow that.”
Trailer – "I could tow that."
Boat – "I could tow that."
Camper – "I could tow that."

And I, knowing how sometimes a slip of the tongue has led to well-intentioned but unwanted big ticket spending…always squash it by saying:
“We Have a trailer”
“We are NOT buying a boat.”
“We do NOT camp. We are NOT buying a camper. Our idea of camping is spending the day on the patio, then going back in the house and going to bed after a hot shower.”

Eventually, my own safety sense overruled my financial sense and I bought a nice little Jeep Renegade of my own. A vehicle that fills me with joy when I see her parked in the lot.
I lurve my little Jeep so much I even joined an internet forum of other owners who frankly admit that the point of the group is to take pictures and coo over our babies. The other day one of these was at an RV show and kept showing pictures of campers OUR Jeep could tow.

I had to point out to TAO – “I could tow that.”

On a side note: wouldn’t that make an adorable little yarn room? I could run a traveling yarn store.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Life went on.

Today is my daughter’s birthday. Is? Was? Would be?
She was my first born, second to die. And her birth changed my life. So did her death.

My life isn’t what it would have been if she had lived; in so many ways my decisions would have been different—my focus different.
But her life isn’t what happened. MY life happened. My good life, my life that I am grateful for every evening. It’s a blend of contentment, desire, grace, resentment, envy, fatigue, error, beauty and joy. Events happen. Nothing happens. People come, people go, people are let go of.

But for today – and sometimes in the deep hours of a morning – the loss of what was, what might have been, all those other choices - is a dark wave of pain that drowns me in a thousand tears. And I allow them, because they make me aware of this small fragile life, as if that awareness was her last gift.

Saturday, June 08, 2013

Liars, Tolls and Raccoon - Oh My

The last two weeks have been action and adventure packed. Almost a Chevy Chase comedy. It started on the 23rd – with the Movers being MIA. Yup, took the money and ran. Luckily I am inherently suspicious and implemented plan 2 early. When it became apparent the movers would no-show I ran to U-Haul & rented a truck. Fabulous friends picked up the closest available tow dolly (in some town near Harrisburg that I had never been to) and brought it to me.

On the Lebanon end – fabulous friends gathered to help me schlep, carry, and load. We banged it out in short order in repulsive heat and humidity – sans AC.

Early the next morning I started the tedious drive home. Hampered by a vehicle that could not back up, had a speed limit of 55 mph, and got a smashing 12 mpg. Add to that the fact that it classifies as a 2 axle vehicle and the tolls came to almost $200.00 – not EZPass applicable. Oh joy. My adorable little car followed behind me, giving glimpses of her little mirrors & making me mourn the lack of Radio/CD/Bluetooth/cruise control in the truck.

Hot, tired, crabby I arrived at the LoveGrotto on Saturday afternoon to solo unload until nightfall when poor TAO could come help. We banged out the unload, dropped off the truck, got some fast food & decided to go home. Honestly, I don’t remember the trip or the evening at all.

We lolled around part of Sunday, until the To-do list worked our nerves too much; then we headed back south to start trying to put the Grotto in order. And the trouble began.

TAO had gone through the singlewide on the lot, but it wasn’t connected to any utilities. Once they set it up in the mobile home park we discovered that there were a LOT of mechanical issues. Hot water? Nope. Heat? Nope. AC? Nope. Electric? Sort of. Entry? No Stairs & the doors don’t work. AND

Turns out the park is in The Boonies (despite being 5 miles from work, and directly off a major highway interchange.) So no cell signal, no cable (who cares), and the only internet being Dial Up with a usage cap & a $100 a month bill. (picture me clutching my laptop, saying But All My Friends Live in this Box).

Amazon to the rescue – ordered faucets, ordered a cell phone booster, got the internet people out there. Also – got a great mattress from Amazon. TAO wants me to bring it home & swap it for the old one. “Sorry, won’t fit in my car.”

So rather than a week to unpack and settle in, with some serious drunken patio knitting; I spent the last 10 days having stairs built, getting heat (the furnace guys initially lied – stating that “it worked just fine, needs a cap that is all”. Turns out the CO levels fluctuated between 196 & 475 – normal is 15 to 20. Luckily the thermostat didn’t work, or Coleman says the CO levels would have killed the dogs and possibly me.), getting hot water, getting electric, getting faucets, AND

Fixing the raccoon damage.

What? What?!? Yeah. The seller had the home on the lot for more than a year. When the home first arrived the hot water heater failed, dumping water into the subfloor and rotting the bottomboarding. A mama raccoon found the egress into the home, and discovered that with some ingenuity she could move into the space under the bathtub in the middle bathroom. So she made a nest and proceeded to have litters. Then one day, TAO comes, buys the house, and they move it 6 miles away. Mama raccoon was apparently out foraging. But TAO kept hearing rustling and chirping. So he gets up under the house, and lo! The move had caused the FIVE raccoon babies to leave the nest, and to burrow through the insulation into the kitchen at the front of the house; where they became trapped for a couple of days and created quite the mess. TAO cut them out and they were returned back to the woods surrounding the sales lot. But that left us with a huge indoor nest to access & clean, a dumpster load of urine soaked insulation, and a fortune in bottomboarding to replace. So I got to spend a quality weekend with TAO, feeding the insulation hopper to blow in new insulation and then lying prone head to feet doing Pilates exercises under the house applying new bottomboarding. I made TAO share a Mojito at dinner.

Less troublesome, but for some reason almost MORE annoying is the fact that a drunken aardvark painted the place. They pulled off all the wall trim and the window treatment hardware. And didn’t replace any of it. They didn’t cut in the edges, and only seemed to use painters tape on areas that could pull the finish off the wood trim. It’s not something that HAS to be fixed, but is irritating as all get out. I’ve got window coverings up in all but one of the rooms, and used an awesome SteamMaster cleaner to get rid of the mold that was rampant in the window frames.

I’m moved in enough to go to work every day, have a library card, and am lazy enough that I may never unpack anything else, or settle in more. It’s no longer like camping and I’m tired; but warm, safe, dry. TAO is incredibly busy but he says he’ll come down in a few weeks and get the ladder, huge wet/dry vac & tools out of the living room/bathroom, and install the back door. I have the kitchen set up enough to eat, just have to get back into the habit of planning cooking & shopping. First I have to find a decent grocer because the local one? Ick.

The dogs are a little unhappy. Scooter spent the first week racing to the car every time you let him out because he wanted to go home where it’s quiet and warm. At least he’s stopped doing that. But he doesn’t like to be outside as much as “curbing” requires. And Bond doesn’t like being “curbed” and misses endless hours in the fenced backyard with his pool.

So I have fulfilled my camping and adventure quota for 2013. Time to knit. (Which box is the yarn in?)

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Sounds like a swear word but isn't

Or perhaps it is.

I refer to the MTHFR gene mutation. And while I am a nerd I am NOT that much of a nerd that I had ever given it a moments thought. Until I tested positive for a double selection of it. I won't bore you with the pages of wordy goop associated with it, but I do think this MindMap is an interesting thumbnail of it. (although I wish I could replace the word porn with YARN)

Looking back at what little I remember of my blood family I can see where these genetics certainly played out. And at the same time I can see in my own life the times when it triggered issues for me. Fortunately my SoCal/Pacific Northwest hippy background also played into it.

I often find people wanting to have the genetics/environment discussion. (usually wanting to blame genetics for their own poor choices) And when I encounter someone who is stressing because of family history I usually ask "do you have the same lifestyle they do?" TAO and his brother look like peas in a pod. But they had radically different backgrounds and they have universally different health profiles. My own hippy tendencies have apparently acted as quite the buffer. In researching what is known about this mutation it appears that the best thing you can do is Not Piss It Off by stressing your system; it's not equipped to deal with so many things regular Americans encounter daily. And I can see where the times I "ran off the rails" have been where it's bitten me on the arse.

So my choices appear to be:
Quietly start building new habits and buffer up the past healthy ones --or-- Sackcloth & ashes while whining "woe is me & my fate."

Going with first one, people who do the second annoy me.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

It can't all be sunshine and avocados.

I am knitting another Color Affection. As I mentioned last year I really enjoyed knitting my Color Affection. I loathe wearing it though. So when a friend started knitting one for her mother and bogged down because she hated the knitting of it; I volunteered to knit it. She had three tones from the Brilliant Jodi at Shamelesstwist, so I am happily knitting away with a delicious yarn and ignoring my own WIPs. And no, I haven't knit those baby booties; perhaps a nice set of receiving blankets from Amazon instead?

It's amusing how a mindset can change. I found myself reading a beef chorizo label this morning & putting it back. Not for the reason I would have 3 months ago - Frankly some of the bits n bobs used in chorizo are disgusting to consider; but because the last ingredient was soy. And I'd rather avoid soy than beef lips and stomachs. Weird, eh?

I had my first egg in 3 weeks this morning and it was glorious. I had to give up eggs to see if they were causing my inflammatory joint pain. But the pain persisted so I get to add quick, easy, delicious eggs back to my repetoire. If you like scrambled eggs, hunt up the YouTube video of Gordon Ramsay (language safe) making scrambled eggs. You will LOVE them. When I first discovered the technique I may have come home and made scrambled eggs for dinner three times the first week. They will coat your pan with some well nigh impossible to get off film though. I solved that by buying the Bialetti Aeternum Easy Saute Pan, 10 1/4-inch, Blue. for home. It is "the Egg Pan" and the color makes it easy to set aside for strict egg usage only. I was really impressed with it so when I came back to PA I wanted an 8" one, but couldn't find one so I bought the Wearever Ceramic - not as nice & the same price or more. It's adequate if you really want just 8" but the other pan is much nicer.

On a chemical note I recently had a fortune in lab work done. And one function came back at 2813 with normal being 5.0-12.0. So I'm either 7 months pregnant or my hypothalmus is wonky. We'll see what that translates into for daily living. On a happy note that goes back to the Paleo/Primal thing - I also got all my cholesterol crap checked. Insert anti statin rant here; especially for women where it has never been shown to decrease heart disease risk but it has been shown to increase cancer & neuroimmune disease risk. Breast cancer with a side of dementia anyone? ::gets off soapbox:: Not because I care about my cholesterol but because, well it's traditional. Compared to my numbers from two years ago my Trig have dropped 37 points, my HDL went up 20 points, my LDL stayed the same. More importantly my trig/hdl ratio (predictive indicator for coronary heart disease) is .62. (You want 2.0 or less. If it's above 4.0 you need make some changes.) All of that despite big dietary changes that include "large" quantities of healthy fat & MCT and dropping several "healthy-must-eat" foods.

I also treated myself to a piece of investment grade furniture. A knitting, spinning, reading throne, which has magical properties and puts me to sleep without making my back hurt. An Ekornes Stressless Consul Recliner. If you decide to browse the website; sit down & charge up the defibrillator before looking at the prices.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Stakes and Steaks

As the tagline says "Traveling Knitter."
I eat away from home A Lot. Steaks have always been an "at home" meal for me. I hate to pay restaurant prices for what is usually mediocre & I don't eat in expensive steakhouses by myself. And I don't usually do steaks on the road - no grill.
Digression - I saw Kobe Beef hot dogs the other day; WHY?!?!
Okay, I'm back.
TAO can grill a great steak. I mean wow. He's always had the knack, and it got even better after I developed the Knitter Family Marinade. Now my idea of the happiest meal is TAOs steak & grilled corn. It means we're together, it's been a good day, and the food will be delicious.

But as part of my skills rehab I found myself tempted by a ribeye in the butcher case. I brought it home but didn't do the Family Marinade. A quick sear in a cast iron pan, and center finish in the oven & I had myself a chain restaurant worthy steak. Matched it with some petite brussel sprouts, and had a nice dinner for $8 without all the noise/commotion of eating out.

It was a big step for me. Had it gone awry I probably would have flogged myself with recriminations for days. I mean really? A steak without a grill? Why would I even try? So the cost of failure would have been high - artifically inflated, but still high.

In the end, even though the meal was good, I don't know that I would do it often. Primarily because love is the best spice, and even a bad steak is better when I share it with TAO.

On a humorous note: We once feared that the elusive marinade recipe had been lost. We found it though, and it now is typed in 42 font on it's own sheet of paper and attached to the side of the fridge.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Is this thing on?

I know it’s been a long radio silence. For several reasons:
1) Sometimes life – or knitting – is boring and there isn’t anything to say
2) Sometimes life is exciting – and what I want to say can’t be aired publicly.
3) Sometimes – more and more – I write a post in my head then forget all about it. When I remember it, it seems like too much effort to reconstruct it.

photo credit: Cia de Foto via photopin cc

All that aside, I am finally at a point where life isn’t an endless whirl of treatments and doctor appointments punctuated by work and sleep. I back to doing some volunteer work, back to doing fun things with friends, back to just sitting with a book instead of going straight to bed, and most importantly – back on solid foods.

This means I’ve been doing quite a bit of cooking. Or learning about cooking. And thinking about food. Which brings me to this post. For years this was purely a knitting blog. Then I opened up a little and it became a little about life, a little about knitting. Now I am going to try another transition, it’s going to get more personal. There will be more stuff about what happens when you drive a strong woman to her knees repeatedly, more flailing about trying to get up. Not necessarily deep rich personal stuff; just more about the little blocks that build a contented life in the aftermath of a good “rug pulling.”

Right now my knitting matches my life. Nothing flashy or fast on the needles. Just simple lines, plain patterns, long term projects that don’t change quickly. So probably not a lot of knitting photos in the near future. Even my spinning is an 8 oz long gradient spin that won’t supply a lot of eye candy.

Back to the cooking: There are several articles and human studies regarding ketogenic eating and cancer. When my doc first broached it my initial reaction was basically unprintable. However, after several weeks of questions and research I realized that there were a plethora of recipes in what is currently labeled “Paleo/Primal” eating. That made the concept much easier to implement. So expect some posts about the interesting Paleo community/concept. For now I’ll just say that I feel amazing eating like this. I sleep better, my mood seems better balanced (aside from my hypothalamus being an arse sometimes), less of me hurts, and while I didn’t want to lose weight, I will say that my little fat pockets are smaller. I went home for 10 days and fed TAO this way & he says he feels better on it - less exhausted - and he dropped some fat pounds also. It does take some preplanning to “Just Eat Real Food” so expect some posts about those adventures.

In the meantime, thanks for being out there.

Oh crud! I just remembered I need to make some baby booties!  And that’s like life too <– sometimes things pop up Right Now.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

A birthday about Knitting.

I don't recall who first got me started with a Dual New Year tradition. Finish a project (begin the year as you mean to go on.) Cast on a project for yourself (commit to do a least One thing for yourself that year.)

I don't recall what I cast off last year, but I did cast on a gorgeous project. Wendy D. Johnson's Tidepool Shawl in a custom dyed Apollo yarn from Black Bunny Fibers.
This was a big commitment to myself. To spend the money to have yarn dyed just-for-me/just-how-I-wanted-it. Sometimes mental images disappoint in real life. Carol, however, translated it beautifully.
As many of you know, the last couple of years have been a maelstorm of a journey. Making life look something like an unblocked shawl, gathered up on the needles and plopped down in bad lighting. Hence the blog silence.
Tidepool was meant to be one of those Epic projects, the kind you point to when you want to brag about your work. At the time Big Orange was still a seedling, I had just started the beads in it and while I wanted sparkles in Tidepool I didn't want to fiddle with beads. The photo doesn't do it justice. The Apollo base has a slender gold hued thread contained within it. I was concerned that it would be scratchy, but it's not. It's the right touch of "sunlight on water." A delicate and fleeting beauty that doesn't detract.
In the end, Tidepool wasn't the Behemoth my mind had made it out to be. Yes, I made errors, no I don't care. It was a relaxing & relaxed knit, that is somehow less impressive than Big Orange. It's practical, warm, and beautiful; yet, when a friend had a recent cancer scare I seriously considered gifting it. It's not that I'm dissatisfied. It's more in the flavor of a birthday...you can let go of the past when you have a future to look toward.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Many the Miles

2.7 to be exact. With 1500 beads.

Many the Miles from Sara Bareilles' album 'little voice'

I made up my mind when I was a young girl
I've been given this one world
I won't worry it away
But now and again I lose sight of the good life
I get stuck in a low light
But then Love comes in

How far do I have to go to get to you
Many the miles
Many the miles
How far do I have to go to get to you
Many the miles
But send me the miles and I'll be happy to follow you Love

I do what I can wherever I end up
To keep giving my good love
And spreading it around
Cause I've had my fair share of take care and goodbyes
I've learned how to cry
And I'm better for that

Red letter day and I'm in a blue mood
Wishing that blue would just carry me away
I've been talking to God don't know
If it's helping or not
But surely something has got to got to got to give
Cause I can't keep waiting to live

How far do I have to go to get to you
Many the miles
Many the miles
How far do I have to go to get to you
Many the miles
But send me the miles and I'll be happy to follow you

Last August I went yarn shopping with friends and scored 2640 yds of cobweb weight in a gradient orange from a sale bin. Surely that was enough to make an Epic project. A once in a lifetime pi shawl? I fell in with a bad lot of Estonian Lace Knitters, who convinced me that it needed beads, it wouldn’t be truly fabulous without beads. I agreed with the caveat that the beads couldn’t be where they would be cold on my neck.

When it came time to cast on…I had to face the truth…this was cobweb weight, truly, I would never finish something in cobweb weight. But 1300 yards would still be a lovely shawl, I would simply double it.

So taking this chart from there, and that chart from here, I set out on my adventure.

And then I fell down a deep dark well. The stress from the past year finally cracked me. Depression set in. The only bright spot was an orange tangle of yarn in the knitting bag. Quietly, steadily, I knit and added beads, and ripped, and knit, and knit and knit, and … ran out of yarn. The shawl was “probably” big enough; but I didn’t have the mental strength to knit anything else. And my last pi shawl was cast off at a stage of hatred and loathing, only to be that much too small. Better to keep knitting.

I hunted down 2 more balls, and started another chart. More beads, more knitting, slowly I started to look around at the world again. I set down Big Orange and knit some other projects, tidying the WIP basket, dating some garter stitch. Then it was time to pick her back up. Not because I was depressed but because I wanted to prove that I could. Could start this, could design this, could finish this. Prove that I wasn’t beaten, hadn’t quit, wasn’t as defeated by life as I felt.

Finally it was “enough.” Even bunched up on the 32” Chiaogoo Red, it was obviously done. One last border, (ripped 3 times) and I would cast off.

Of course, I ran out of yarn in the cast off, and had to crack open a sixth skein. 4480 yards and 8 months later it was time to block her.

All lace knitters know the magic of blocking. How it turns a giant orange jellyfish into geometric swirling lines of grace and glitter. She blocked out at 84”

And while she isn’t the most complicated lace there is, or even that I’ve knit, I’m proud of myself because I did do it. Not perfectly, not without errors, but without being beaten. And as much as I love that shawl, for the right person, I could give it up. Because I know, if I wanted to, if I had to, I could do it again.