Merino Brights, Mexican Food, and Meds

I received a box of yarn in the mail today.  I was expecting it, I’d ordered it, but it still felt like a surprise.  Occasionally when I order yarn from an Internet store, I’m surprised in a bad way.  Most of the time, I use places that give really good descriptions of yarns, so that I know how they look and feel and what they can do.  Sue Little at is good with those descriptions.  So is Elise at  Knitter’s Review ( has helped in that regard, too.  I read it faithfully, making mental notes of yarn characteristics.  I should thank Clara Parkes for teaching me a language and framework for evaluating and describing fibers.  She writes the Knitter’s Review, and her book, A Knitter’s Book of Yarn, is my bible for animal fibers.


Anyway, this box is from Little Knits and it contains a bag of a new yarn from a new company, Elle.  The yarn is Merino Brights, a colorful unplied merino with long repeats of vivid color.  I couldn’t resist it at the introductory price of $27.99 per bag of 10 balls.  It’s still on the website ( Little Knits your source for quality yarn and knitting supplies! ), although I see the color choices diminishing.  I wish I could have gotten a bag of each color.  Mine is gorgeous fall colors, bright red, orange and yellow with greens and browns, and an unexpected deep violet.  I’m knitting a cap, and you can’t see it yet because I have to have all the colors knitted in before I will show it.  It knits very easily, making lovely, even stitches, and each stripe of color is at least two rows wide on this cap.  Some are wider.  I’m loving it! 


My household is back to just Lucy and me.  Lucy hasn’t seemed to notice yet, but I can hear the quiet.   My daughter was home for the weekend, exteneded to today because of lingering temporary illness, so I didn’t notice the young cousin’s departure so much.  She has terminated her Chattanooga experience and is returning to the north to attack her home job market. 


The daughter’s visit was great fun.  We spent time with her dad and grandparents, including a visit to a new, really nice, Mexican restaurant.  (Oh stop complaining.  This is not Dine-O-Meter.  I can’t remember the name of the place.)  I was impressed with the authenticity of the food.  My tamale was actually wrapped in a corn husk, unlike the tamales of my childhood, which slid out of the can wrapped in white paper.   Even better, they were quite vegetarian-friendly. 


Lupus.  Guess I should say what’s going on.  I’m still dealing with sacroiliitis, and now my feet have begun to hurt.  That’s a surefire symptom for flaring.  I called my doc today to ask about changing one of my medications from oral to injection.  In the past, making that particular change brought increased effectiveness for that medicine (methotrexate).  I feel like I need every possible factor that might prevent my increasing prednisone again.  I’m at 10 mg and I’m not budging. 


That’s where I stand.  Darn right.  You betcha. 




A Challenge

Today I went back to the original spoon theory article and read it, and I challenge you to read it too. It is the best description of living with lupus that I have ever seen. It is an analogy, not about the actual aches and pains, but about how one views their daily life. I am going to use the magic word-PLEASE go read this: If you have any desire to understand your friends with chronic illness, this is essential knowledge.

Yesterday was fun. I went out to dinner and a movie with friends and I wasn’t a depleted lump of fatigue and pain when I returned home.  A note to all my protective family members: Please don’t call to tell me that I need to slow down. I am better, and it’s ok for me to increase my activity when I’m better. It is frustrating to have a disease for 15 years and know that your siblings haven’t yet learned the scientific basics of what makes it better or worse. Instead, I get handed a corollary of our mother’s fallacious proclamation that “exercise causes polio”. (I swear on a stack of knitting guides! This is the wisdom that I was taught as a child.) My sisters preach to me about continuing to safely sit in one place and not go out and do normal things, afraid that shopping or driving or meeting friends for knitting adventures will push me back into a flare of lupus.In other words, they are saying to me that if I get sick, it’s my fault. I didn’t stay seated on the couch in my living room and hide from the vicious disease that is stalking outside my door.
Do I sound angry? Of course I am! Do I let these false pronouncements change my activities? Ummmm let me think….of course I don’t! But I do get tired of dealing with this ignorance.
On a lighter note, I came frighteningly close to causing a landslide of teenagers at the movies last night. I took my knitting. It helps me to stay seated in confined surroundings without fidgeting or concentrating on stiff, uncomfortable joints. I’m working with a new cashmere, Jade Sapphire 12-ply 100% Chinese cashmere, and it is lusciously soft. I started in the movie and knit about six inches of 1×1 rib while I laughed my butt off (and occasionally teared-up) at the story of pregnant teen Juno and her pre-adoption journey. It was wonderful. My friend and I were accompanied by our teen-age daughters, and we were unanimous in our love of this film. At the end of the movie, we all felt the ribbed piece I had knitted and agreed that it was sinfully soft and cuddly. I tucked it in my purse and headed down the stairs. At the landing, I felt a tug on my leg and realized that it was wrapped in my yarn.  Above me, on the stairs, people were saying “what is that?” and “wait, I’m caught in something”, and in the dim light I could see a meandering trail of yarn leading from my foot back up the stairs. Dayna was hissing at me “I told you not to bring your knitting”, but she ducked under the crowd and retrieved my precious ball of cashmere and we got out without anyone tripping and careening into a head injury. File this under Hazards of Knitting.
I found a good evaluation of the Jade Sapphire cashmere in Knitter’s Review at and it reminds me that for an item that is a luxury, the subjective perception of pleasure and comfort should rule your decision. I am loving this yarn. I’ll show you a finished product soon.

Knitting Obsession #1 (Because There Will Be More)

So this is how it works to be obsessed.  You reread an old post and realize that you promised a simple hat, not a simple ear warmer.  Right after breakfast you get your cashmere (sigh, moan, weak feeling in legs) and choose two colors and cast on the simple hat.  There is no exact design in mind, but you know you can put some stitches on the needle and start it, and the pleasure of working the cashmere will bring inspiration. 

Then, you’re knitting along and realize that it’s Monday morning, and you need to talk to your accounts person.  You call his cell phone and find that he’s not in the office, he’s in upstate New York.  (Duh, it’s the holidays!)  That sets off a frenzy of wondering how close he is to your favorite yarn store, Flying Fingers, in Irvington, New York.  You put down your knitting and log on to to find the exact location of Irvington and your accounts person.  There’s not a chance in hell of putting the accounts person in your yarn store, but you have to know this information. 

Ten minutes later you realize that you have engaged your accounts person in a long conversation about knitting needles on planes and the radical knitting movement.  Fortunately, the accounts person is an old friend and is not charging for the minutes.   Nor is he thinking that you might soon need to do that Power of Attorney thingy to have a saner person  making the calls (or at least he doesn’t say those things out loud). 

Next, you’ve logged on to the computer and raced to your weblog to tell the whole world how sweet it is to be touching cashmere again.   The Debbie Bliss Pure Cashmere comes in these cute little 45 yard twists.  They are so smooth that you don’t have to ball them before you use them-you can just lay out the loop of yarn and pull from it.  If it gets tangled, you can prod them with your needle and pull and the offending snags fall apart.  Every few minutes you stop knitting and stroke the fabric that is coming off your needles.  It’s incredible.  I recently read the Knitter’s Review ( forum on cashmere, and I think most felt that with cashmere you get what you pay for.  I agree completely.  I have sampled across the price range, and the less expensive cashmeres have a sort of fuzzy halo around them and are not as soft and smooth.  However, I must say that I still enjoyed working with them, and wouldn’t let that keep me from sampling the cashmere I could afford. 

Oh yeah, you also email one of your best friends to get the details about a knitting group she mentioned.  This could totally revitalize your social life. 

Finally, you rush to end your weblog because the cashmere fix is sitting right next to you, calling your name.  There’s an idea in your mind for how to form the top of the cap and it can’t wait any longer.  No matter if everyone in the world knows you are dorky.  Time to go knit!