…and Then the Bed Fell

Some days I feel heavier than others.  I’m not talking about the number I see on the scales, but the impression my heft makes on the world around me.  Today I made a big impression.  My bed fell.  It went like this:  my daughter asked for some help shaping her eyebrows.  I sat down on my bed and she put her head on a pillow where I could easily reach her.  I scooted a little higher on the bed, and more to the edge, putting too much weight over the joint where the side rail hooks into the headboard.  BAM!!  We went down.  My girl and I looked at each other, stayed still for a moment, not knowing if we could make it worse by jumping up, and then we busted out laughing.  Fortunately, my son was also home.  He ran in to see what was the matter, finding us unhurt but unable to stop laughing.  After a while we composed ourselves and carried the poor bed parts to the garage.  My mattress and box spring are temporarily on the carpet.  Actually, not a bad height to operate from.  I don’t have to lift my laptop as far.


Sometimes I get angry about the prednisone and the weight, but mostly I bide my time, waiting for the low prednisone months with no flare to increase my exercise and do my best to shed some pounds.  Regardless, I look in the mirror every morning and smile at myself and think “Hey, you gorgeous woman!”


I promised photos.  I chose this wonderful Malabrigo that’s been on my shelf for ages to go with the dusky pink hat, knitting the mitts with a bit of a ruffle at the wrist.  I’ll find buttons that go with the large handmade buttons on the hat. 

endnovknits-020  The next hat and scarf had to match the rust brown cashmere mitts:  endnovknits-019  The mitts have eyelets across the middle, so I put eyelets around the top of the hat.  The band is seed stitch with an overlap that will have one large button.  I will publish this as a free pattern, probably tomorrow, as I’ve had a request from a knitting accomplice. 

This is the third set.  I had a mandate for the color, but nothing else.  I chose a basketweave pattern all over the hat and scarf, but in tiny boxes on just the edges of the mitts.  endnovknits-016endnovknits-018


I’m waiting for yarn to come in for two projects.  In the meanwhile, black Karabella Supercashmere fine (two strands at once) for my cousin’s mittens.  Yum.  Every minute with this yarn is good.  I’m twisting a cable up the side of the mittens.  Can’t resist.  Cables are so satisfying. 




Post-Turkey Dancing

I haven’t written here in days.  One reason was Thanksgiving.  I did the cooking for my household (my daughter and me) and the two guests we invited.  I concentrated on the things that the four of us eat:  turkey, rice, sweet potato casserole, creamed corn, and pumpkin muffins.  Oh yeah, almost forgot the ice cream.  My daughter contributed the broccoli casserole that her grandmother made her.  That was a manageable menu for me.  My only miscalculation was the turkey.  I bought just a turkey breast, and I was going to cook it in the crockpot.  Unfortunately, I chose a breast from the turkey equivalent of Dolly Parton, and it had to go in a roasting pan in the oven.  I was kind of glad that our usual extra Thanksgiving guests had other plans, as that would have necessitated broadening the table to include dressing, gravy, cranberry sauce, rolls, salad…lots more stuff than is truly necessary and enjoyable. 


I’ve also held off on blogging because I was just enjoying my daughter’s visit.  We agreed to work less and chill more.  I usually have to be prodded into a decision like that.  I’ve admitted lately that I’m a workaholic without a job.  Now that I’m feeling better, my natural inclination is to spend every day “working”.  For me, that is knitting, working my store, knitting some more, doing household chores, packing up stuff I’m cleaning out, and knitting. 


The push to knit has served a good purpose the past ten days.  I had two sets of mitts, two hats, and two scarves to knit to complete the custom orders of the beauty shop ladies, and today I finished the last of them.  I only have buttons to sew on and a bit of blocking to do before I can deliver them.  Meanwhile, I’ve received two more custom orders, and I want to knit my mother an afghan for Christmas.  It’s a good thing my health is improving!


Today a rare thing happened.  A friend listened to me talk about how much better I’m feeling.  I was describing standing up without yelling from foot pain, taking one pain pill a week instead of two per day, and having energy.  Strangely enough, more people want to hear about the bad side of chronic illness than the improvement.  There’s a sort of morbid curiosity that says “how did that rash look?  was it oozing?” and “do you have to use crutches for those leg pains?”  and “where did they put the needle?” and “just how much did you bleed?”  It’s not as easy to have an audience for improvement.  It was great to have someone hear me rejoicing.  Lately I’ve been  doing impromptu dances, feeling the way my legs and feet can move, enjoying the energy that fuels them.  When I felt the worst, I stopped forcing myself to dance with Ellen Degeneres every morning.  Now I don’t wait for the show.  A few little secret steps in the bakery today, a wild fling in front of the bathroom mirror, swaying in the grocery line…my dance is back.


All of the above changes were starting before I got my big treatment last week.  I’m due for another treatment next week.  I hope this will kill enough B cells to keep me feeling better for a good while. 


I promise, photos to come, and one pattern.  One of the hats I made this week had a knitting group member asking for it, so I’ll share with everyone.  Meanwhile, my pumpkin bread is out of the oven.


Ain’t Too Proud to Beg, Part II

Jimmigirl, you are absolutely right.  What good does it do to moan about the loss of Karabella’s Breeze if I don’t let them know my thoughts.  I went right to their website where I saw that only an odd colour of yellow is left on their colour card for Breeze.  I felt slightly faint when I saw it. I immediately sent them this email message: 

Dear people,
I am lamenting the discontinuation of Breeze.  I am so sad that I wrote an open letter to you in my blog.  You may see it here:  https://essiewb.wordpress.com/2008/11/19/aint-too-proud-to-beg/#comments .
Wouldn’t you like to reconsider your decision?  Or maybe you could just make a little for me?  I wouldn’t tell anyone.
Regretfully yours,
Essie Bruell
If any of you have your own love affairs with Breeze, please feel free to use the letter above, or to compose your own, and send an email to info@karabellayarns.com to let them know that we won’t take this lying down.  Come on, it worked for Obama!  Stand up for your yarn!  Knitting activists, we have nothing to lose but our yarn!  Knitters of the world, unite!  Breeze forever…!


I know that such public discussion of the discontinuation of this cashmere and silk beauty may initiate a run on the yarn.  I’ve already ordered one emergency box myself, but I hope that knitters will be as nice as our joint reputation dictates and not hog more than a dozen balls for themselves.  I can see a black market springing up just for the trading of this lovely product, and I won’t be held responsible for my actions if it gets down to the last few balls. 


Everything I Know: A New Series

I was driving to town today and had an idea.  It was so compelling that I pulled over to the shoulder of the road and dug into my bag for paper and pen so I could write it down.  In case you haven’t noticed, I am a fiend about education.  I welcome opportunities to learn, and I think that most of the more interesting and capable people I have experienced approach new knowledge welcomingly. 


I’m not talking about school.  To me, education takes many forms and happens in a myriad of places.  What amazes me is that there are many skills and subjects that have been taught to me by specific individuals, and I remember them well.  For some reason, learning experiences are memories that are well-marked in my cranial maze, and I can often trace the path from a lesson to the effects it has had on my life. 


This may sound like I’m about to get really deep, but I’m thinking of lessons that range from how to cut meat on your plate, to how to use a microscope, to how to comb your hair.  I am so process-oriented that I enjoy the recall of simple stuff like that.  Not only do I enjoy it, but I want to write it down.  Tonight I am setting up the birth of the “All I Know About…” series.  In each entry, I will choose a specific skill or body of knowledge and tell you about how I learned it.  And maybe, about why I learned it and what it means to me. 


There’s other stuff on my mind.  I spent yesterday afternoon with my daddy.  He was at home, sitting in his recliner, fully dressed but wrapped in two afghans, watching television.  His caretaker was with him, mostly for company, but also to provide a bit of watchfulness.  When my dad gets bored, he can get into things without realizing that he no longer has the strength or endurance to handle them.  Without turning off the tv, Daddy turned his full attention to me as son as I arrived.  We had only talked on the phone for several weeks.  He asked about most of the people (and dogs) in my life, and about my health, and my car.  He brought up some occurrences from my childhood, things that I don’t remember hearing about.  It was nice to know he had specific memories of me, separate from his whole brood of daughters.  All my life I’ve been known as one of “the Woods girls”, and I like to be assured that he could tell the difference. 


My daddy likes to maintain some control where he can, since he is ninety, and has lost some of the abilities and associations that he treasured.  Yesterday he was fussing about the choice of dinner, and saying he didn’t plan to eat “that stuff” because he had been hoping for fried chicken.  I offered to go out and get fried chicken from the nearest fast food source, and he was thrilled.  When I prepared to make the food run, he said “I’ll come with you,” and was up in a flash, putting on his jacket. 


We had a great time, driving through the neighborhood and down the main thoroughfare, looking for chicken and talking.  He complimented my driving, something that made me feel very good.  He’s always had strict standards about handling “an automobile”, as he always calls them.  Looking for that kind of approval makes me feel like a child again.  Well, hell, I am a child-his child.  That never changes.  This morning he called me before 8:30, checking on me and telling me how much he enjoyed my visit yesterday.  I am still in a good mood, recalling our afternoon together.


Ain’t Too Proud to Beg…

I had my treatment today at the oncology center.  It was fun.  No, they didn’t give me anything that affected my brain, except the usual Benadryl.  I met some new people, including a woman who’s been on and off in treatment for breast cancer for 20 years, and makes it her business to know everyone in the center.  There was also a new oncology nurse who was an Ohio transplant.  She called me “Sweetheart” and worried when her first IV turned into a blood bath.  I didn’t care.  We had a good laugh about what to call it (a hemorrhage?  a massacre?  or be modern and call it a “hot mess”?).  We had a wonderful Thanksgiving supper with all the fixin’s.  The office was letting us in on their holiday party.  My IV seemed to be done faster than usual, although I had time to knit a fingerless mitt all the way to an inch from the top.  Seriously, it was a good time.


I can’t help but contrast that with the disaster of the week.  Karabella is discontinuing that gorgeous yarn, Breeze, that I love so much for lace scarves.  (see Karabella Breeze Lace Scarf « Essiewb’s WeblogCashmere and Silk Lace Scarf Yes, that’s it, the photo is straight from my store.  Flying Fingers has a discontinued yarns section, and that’s where I learned of my imminent loss.  I ordered a few balls, since they are on sale, but not near enough to make me feel secure.  After all, I’m going to have to have enough to last the rest of my life.  I’m not sure how I should estimate that:  two balls per month x 12 months per year x 3 new advances in lupus therapy x 10 years per advance…oh heck, I may as well just corner the market.  I wonder if begging helps in this situation. 

Dear Karabella yarnmaking people,

I am desperately in love with your yarn, Breeze.  As you know, Breeze is that fantastic combination of silk and cashmere that has such a nice way on small needles.  It just wants to become a gorgeous scarf, or a wisp of a top over a pretty camisole.  It moves well in my hands.  It is made for me.  Please, please, please, keep making it. 

Please.  I could have a nervous breakdown if I am forced to exist without it.

Please, please. 

If you don’t keep making Breeze, I will hate you forever.  So there.

Yours very sincerely,


P.S.  I am a doctor and I know what I am talking about.


Selling Handknits

Every now and then I have a good idea.  This happened today.  I awoke with determination to get a haircut.  I was looking raggedy around the edges, as a very short hairstyle can go bad overnight.  I called my salon and since it was Tuesday they could get me in right away.  That was great.  I didn’t have a hair emergency, but it certainly could be classed as a hair urgency. 

As I prepared to leave, I put a ball of yarn and the partially knit scarf attached to it in my bag.  Then, the epiphany.  Everywhere I go, I am knitting.  That gets a lot of talk started, and even some requests for cards or my website, but it doesn’t seem to promote any buying.  People never see my completed work, only my half-finished things.  I quickly packed six or eight scarves, a baby blanket, and some nice hats in a tote bag.  It was time to augment the “tell” with some “show”. 

My stylist began to dig through my bag and immediately called over the other one who was working.  That led to attention from a customer and the aesthetician.  By the end, I had a great haircut, a relaxing pedicure, and sales and orders totaling eight or nine items.  Wow.  Because of my giganto stash, I shouldn’t have to order additional yarn to fill the custom pieces.  Face to face, we were able to talk about designs and colors and hash out the details, including agreeing on prices. 

I was so excited that I began a pair of mitts tonight.  The monochromatic multicolored yarn is wonderfully soft, and my design begins with a ruffle just below the wrist.  I’m delighted to be able to add the details that will make these unique for the owner.  Two things especially seemed to impress the young women-the fact that my products are one-of-a-kind, and the fabulous fibers.  They are tickled to see that a bit of cashmere or silk is within their reach.  So much fun for me!

Guess I’ll be carrying a bag, like a traveling saleswoman, for a while.  It’s a low stress, easy way to connect with people and show them what I can do.  Never occurred to me to do this before.  Probably too direct. 

That big treatment session that was cancelled last Wednesday is on for tomorrow, so I’ll be going in and taking my Benadryl and Tylenol and offering up my last-born vein for their needle.  Afterward, of course, I will be expecting a brand new body, complete with IQ enhancement and a pinkie that houses a Swiss Army knife. 

I’ve been thinking about Thanksgiving.  I will be hosting at my house, just for a few inlaws and buddies.  Oddly enough, I have been preoccupied with finding just the right wine.  The questions of turkey versus cornish hen, mushroom stuffing versus oyster stuffing…they pale in comparison with the odds of accessing Conundrum for the dinner table.  I think I’m having wine flashbacks.  I just denied being a snob.  Oops.


Mosaics and Fusion

Mosaic Market happened.  It was both better and worse than I hoped.  I loved the venue:  intimate, live music all afternoon, a great collection of 14 venders, lots of time to spend with my friends.  I made four sales, not bad for a brand new place and skimpy advertising.  On the rough side, my body is tired, tired, tired.  Even at that, it worked to have one person helping me set up the night before (followed by a leisurely, pleasant dinner) and another to help me decorate and stock the booth and work with me during the day.  It was so much fun visiting with the women from my knitting group, who livened the place up immediately and were a little commercial boom all by themselves.  The day spent with my friend, who cheerfully helped me set up and then kept me company and did the bulk of the carrying afterward-that was a real treat, too.  We don’t visit near enough, and that is encouragement to make it happen more often.


I talked with the aromatherapist who had a beautiful display at the market.  She was quite knowledgeable, and urged me to apply her arnica lotion to my tender hands and wrists.  I was surprised to find that I could tell the difference in ten minutes.  That was an instant sale.  I met a young artist from Georgia who teaches art in public school and is the most talented, multi-dimensional crafter I’ve met in a long time.  She had hand-crafted jewelry, beautiful large stained-glass works, paper creations, and she’s working on her PhD while she does all this.  There are a couple of venders I can’t mention, because my daughter sometimes surprises me and reads this blog.  I met the young painter who is managing the Howard Finster church and grounds, a real powerhouse who was full of stories. 


My best moment at the Market was when I returned from the bathroom to find the large group of my knitting friends had arrived.  They were such a boost for my self-confidence and my energy.  I value them more and more.  I sent an email (granted, rather late) to a number of friends and relatives to let them know about the market, but my knitting buddies were the ones to come through.  I don’t have any regrets about the people who didn’t come; I truly enjoyed the ones who did.  I even had a reunion with another Etsy seller that I met last year.  She has beautiful glass pieces (http://glassyladystudio.etsy.com) that I love for gifts. 


While I was sitting yesterday I worked on a tote bag made from Rowan’s Big Wool Fusion.  I love its muted shadings, and the colours are to die for.  I made a little super-simple fair isle border at the top of the bag and duplicate-stitched a turtle on the front:fusionturtletote-004fusionturtletote-002 
Today I finished the duplicate stitch and threw it in the washing machine.  fusionturtlebag004  I’ll decide about handles after my bag dries and I can play with it a little.  Love, love, love it!  By the way, the starting length was 19 or 20 inches; after felting it is about 14-15.  Pretty much what I aimed for, and with a 3.5-4 inch bottom, very roomy inside. 

Enough typing for the tired.