Pattern: "Maine Morning Mitts" by Clara Parkes (available in The Knitter's Book of Yarn or for free at Knitter's Review)
Yarn: Noro Kureyon 170 (2 skeins, alternated every 2 rows)
Needles: US 7 dpns (knit entirely in the round)
Mods: lengthened cuffs by 1"

plus: These were fast, cute, and totally rockstar.
delta: You saw the yarn picture on the previous post. Fallish purples, golds, rust, deep greens...how come these came out of the skeins as only rose and teal? I wouldn't have bought rose and teal. Also, the patten is pretty boring, which I'll grudgingly admit may be a good thing since it lets the yarn colors shine.
issues: Why can't I ever knit a thumb join that doesn't need substantial sewing help to disguise the knitting holes?

Now that I've had my selfish fun, it's back to the bigger projects.

I really need a live-in seamstress and photographer. I constantly find great knitting projects that either require or would greatly benefit from lining or attachment to fabric. And I'm pretty sure I can't do steeks without a sewing machine. But I don't WANT to learn how to sew and use a machine. This habit takes all my time and resources as it is! Why venture into more cliched, matronly, addicting crafts? Besides, my little experience with sewing either by hand or machine was pretty unpleasant. As for the pictures, I'm constantly reprimanding myself for slaving hours over a beautiful handknit object, then taking a single crappy picture of it before sending it off. I'm starting to understand that a beautifully taken photograph can capture the luscious texture and color in a handknit so it can be cherished long-term and by many. Need an example?
Jared Flood's Noro Scarf:

Heart-breaking, isn't it?

So, of course, I had to make one, and though it wasn't as perfect as that, it was pretty durned exquisite! You can ask anyone who saw me working on it. It was the first gift project they practically had to tear from my jealous, clutching fingers. Here's the only picture that remains, hastily taken by Jake's camera phone:

Heart-breaking for an all-together different reason, I fear. And no, I did not knit my Noro scarf primarily in grays and browns. It was just as colorful and bad-ass as the one above. Shoddy photo.

SO! I'm hiring a photographer and a seamstress. No resumes or interviews needed. If you know what you're doing, just move on in. The futon is actually quite comfy (Jake is passed out on it as I type). I can't pay anything but kisses, handknits, and black cherry spritzers (the only food in my fridge right now), but that's probably still a pretty good deal in today's economy. What do you say?



I met with my obgyn again today to go over the photos from the laparascopy and talk about our next step. Amazingly, I've been feeling really good. After my bowels recovered from the trauma of the surgery, I really had very little pain, lower back, abdomen, or otherwise. My energy level continues to rise, and I've hardly even touched my heating pad. My main question for the doctor? WHY?! She didn't find or remove endo! The surgery was a failure and a waste, right?

Well, the biopsy from the suspicious adhesion can back positive for endometriosis. So, I do have it, she did excise what little she found, and I will need to treat it moving forward. The good news is, she didn't see enough that she feels Lupron will be appropriate, and she doesn't see any evidence that adhesions are affecting fertility (none on the ovaries or the fallopian tubes, for instance). Basically, unless I'm pregnant or trying to be, I ought to be on birth control to keep this stuff at bay. I can handle that.

We also discussed this crazy uterine position. Apparently, it's entirely retrograde, meaning upside-down and resting back against my bowels instead of forward on my bladder and groin. This may very well be the reason I had such terrible lower back pain and digestive problems, and the clipped LUNA may have solved that entirely, simply because the pain it causes...I can't feel anymore! If the pain returns and persists, I may try a therapeutic pessary to physically PUT it in the right position (although that sounds dreadful).

Also interesting (to me): she performed a chromotubation to check on the state of my fallopian tubes. The right one worked, but the left one misbehaved. Apparently, because the method of this test involves sending dye backward through the tubes, it is common that the opening spasmed shut in a moment of, "Hey, what the he--?!" Anyway, we'll probably keep an eye on that. I'll keep the appointment with the fertility doc, and wait on seeing a GI specialist until any pain returns. Overall, I left her office feeling good about the surgery, my health, and our chances of conceiving. Wahoo!

Ah, yes, the Noro. I've been in a selfish mood lately. I decided I want a pair of Maine Morning Mitts in Kureyon, but striped a la Noro Scarf. It's gonna rock. You'll want to steal them. I also bought a Super Squishy Silky Skein of Sirdar Juicy DK for a summer hat to hide my bed-head....you know....on those don't-give-a-damn days. I would post a picture of that yarn too, but since you can't squeeze it through the computer, the beige color alone is pretty underwhelming.


My babies

I am over half-way through my Clapotis! I'm positively bowled over by the genius of this pattern. There are many sweaters and blankets that I can now look at and think, "Oh, okay, I can see exactly what was done there." If left with some yarn to play with for enough time, I could figure out a decent imposter pattern. THIS, however, mystified me until I was well into the pattern and could watch it unfold in my hands. Speaking of hands, this yarn has zero stretch. Not sure if it's a property of the alpaca or the tencel, since I haven't worked with either much before. It's just fine for this pattern, which is all about the drape, but I cannot imagine it for socks, such as the Cookie A "Marlenes," which she designed for that yarn.

Also on the needles: a "sweater" for Jake's new laptop. The top is a very glossy, cherry-red material which is very cool and very scratch-prone. He's been protecting it by wrapping the poor thing with a towel before stuffing it in his book bag. SOOOOO hot.

I'm really enjoying both patterns, but I need to get back on Temple's wedding blanket! The shower is this weekend, but I technically don't HAVE to finish it until the wedding, right? Compared to these two, all that garter stitch....feels like putting on a pair of cotton granny panties after wearing a silk thong and a garter belt. Depressing. Comfortable.


It's too darn hot!

Locks of Love benefits when the temperature goes up.

I'm so excited! I'm eating gooooood tonight at Jordan Swim's Food Creates Community. He's the best thing to happen to food since Paula Deen discovered butter. Tonight's theme is "Backyard BBQ," and Jake is inviting a few of his recently graduated AVID students.


Breast is...da bomb dot com!

Went to visit my dear friend Hannah yesterday and presented her with this stash-busting dishtowel. In case you don't recognize it, this is the international symbol for breastfeeding advocacy. Hannah tandem nurses her 4 and almost 2 year old kids and is an active member in the local La Lache League community. She has educated me a great deal over the past few years about the profound value of breastmilk, the medical and anthropological basis for "extended" breastfeeding (which I like to now call full-term breastfeeding or child-led weaning), and the social stigma against which nursing mothers fight every day. This symbol, when seen in windows of stores or restaurants, indicates the management's commitment to a breastfeeding-friendly environment.

So many women, while trying to provide the maximum nutrition and comfort to their babies and toddlers, are shamed into hot parking lots or cramped bathrooms when a brief feeding becomes unavoidable. All too often, if they venture to a nearby bench to quickly soothe and nurse, they're rewarded with stares, glares, and eye-rolls; some are even asked by employees to quit "exposing themselves." On the other hand, whip out a bottle full of formula, and nobody's feathers are ruffled. It's no wonder that so many women find this discrimination exhausting. Despite the fact that both the American Pediatric Association and the World Health Organization recommends breastfeeding for AT LEAST one year and as long thereafter as desired by mother and child, only 21% of American women are still breastfeeding their babies at 12 months.

Some of that pathetic number can be attributed to lack of education and poverty (e.g. working mothers need to pump to keep up their supply), but many women claim that it simply becomes too inconvenient to continue. Anything we can do as a society to support mothers in this goal is well-worth it in the long run.


O Happy Day

Yes. Bought myself some happy. I deserve it! This yummy alpaca/tencel blend by Fiesta Yarns will become a Clapotis shawl which I will likely never take off. For those of you who are uninitiated to the world of "viral knitting," you should understand that there are certain patterns floating around the web and bookstores which knitters across the world swoon over and talk about all at once. At the time of this writing, you can browse through photos of 11, 617 different Clapotis shawls on Ravelry, stitched up in every color and fiber under the sun. This thing looks glamtastic on everyone, and I've been searching for just the perfect yarn, colorway, and window of time in which to make one for myself. Eeeeee!!!

I have been through such terrible pain the past few days. Between the bowel prep and the anesthesia and the pain meds, the whole surgery wreaked sheer havoc on my digestive system. Of course, a GI disease is exactly what my ob/gyn thinks is causing all this every-day pain, since we've ruled out endo. Last night, while Jake slept, and I frantically knitted my way through the twisting, stabbing pain to keep from screaming, I slowly turned this over and over in my mind. I've been so depressed over paying for, and suffering through, unnecessary surgery, and so irritated that my self-diagnosis was incorrect, I hadn't really grasped what this new info means.

I am likely not infertile. My uterus is not going to be mysteriously inhospitable due to endo. Yes, we have a problem in Jake's stuff, but there are ways around that which will still allow me to carry, deliver, and nurse our very own child. My fervent baby desires may not be a cruel joke after all! It was such a "Holy Crap" moment, I almost woke Jake up at 6 am to tell him the good news.

Instead, I fell happily to sleep, dreaming about a holy battle between the noble men and women of Middle-Earth, led by Aslan the lion, and the jealous Arabs across the ocean. While Aslan read aloud the Arabian version of "Twas the Night Before Christmas," the Arabs stomped out Middle-Earth's army within the first day and danced on their bones for 39 days. Aslan was not touched but left to watch the torture and desecration swirl around him because his coat had been blessed with immortality by Lorna's Laces.


Caution: Dangerously Low Arches!

So, first sock attempt was interesting. I learned a lot. I completed my first Kitchner stitch graft on the toe. I "turned" the heel without any trouble at all (short rows are cool). I discovered that knitting with size 1 needles feels like crafting with toothpicks, and that I am just stressed enough lately to bend bamboo substantially in my iron Virgo death grip. Obviously, the "arch" is non-existent. In fact, the bottom of the foot sags outward, so I probably picked up too many stitches along the heel. Figures, since that was the part that felt most like guesswork. Although this pair of socks was destined to be a belated Mother's Day gift for Becky, I think I will call it quits here. Maybe I'll stuff the sock full of potpourri and call it a sachet!

The broken yarn diet continues, with emphasis on turn-and-burn. I've used up just about all the old acrylic leftover from Josh's rasta hat by finishing five 11" afghan squares. I've used up all the yarn I have on hand for Temple's wedding blanket and am retiring that until further yarn buying is unavoidable. I'm half-way through a dishcloth that will use up two leftover skeins of cotton, and a sweet little angora baby hat with lace around the trim. I've brought in the tube top from Jake's car so I can put some real progress into that, and I found an awesome stuffed dinosaur pattern that will be great for Ascher in some ugly acrylic yarn his mom dumped on me. Meanwhile, thinking about possibilities for father's day, Jessica's birthday, a sympathy gift for Joan (her dog died), and a thank-you gift to mom for waiting on me hand-and-foot after my surgery.

Speaking of the surgery, that infamous shoulder pain visited me later, and it hurts like a bitch! I'm still cramping and hurting like old times, but at least I know what it's NOT. Yay. It has become clear to me in the last few days that Jake is starting to feel especially helpless and concerned about my physical/mental health. As much as I may want to throw a tantrum and feel really sorry for myself, I've got to stay optimistic and strong for him. He has so much pressure and so many responsibilities as it is. For me to give up or become despondent now would do far too great a damage to our marriage. He loves me so much and is so incredibly empathetic, I know this is eating away at him, even when I keep smiling. What am I going to do with that boy?


With a little help from their friends...

My sweet "aunt" Nilsa has enlisted me to help make helmet liners for my "cousin" Eguie's troop in Iraq. Apparently, these hand-knit liners have been sent overseas by caring women since WWI! First of all, they help the helmets fit snugger (minimizing traumatic brain injuries). Additionally, the miraculous nature of pure wool maximizes heat retention and minimizes flammability. Cool, huh? Don't ask me why they aren't standard issue if they're so great and highly coveted by our hard-working, self-sacrificing men and women in service. I mean it. Don't get me started.

Eguie's troop contains 92 servicemen, and he'll evidently be visiting in October. We're hoping to finish as many as we can by then. If you're interested in helping out (even if that means learning how to knit) please let me know.


Thunderstorms and Icepacks

I freakin frackin love this weather. It is amazingly both soothing and exhilarating. It's the perfect day to snuggle under the covers near a window and watch the sky rage and crash. Mmmm.

The surgery itself went very smoothly. I was out of the hospital in record time and have minimal shoulder pain (which I was told is the "worst" part). The incisions and my belly hurt a great deal, but the vicodin and prescription motrin are keeping it mostly under control. If I'm not walking, I don't moan or squirm, and already today I feel noticeably better.

The results were not so positive. No endo was visible, although she took a biopsy just to make sure. She went ahead and performed something called a "LUNA," a laparoscopic uterine nerve ablation---basically just trimming some often problematic, misfiring nerves. She also mentioned that my uterus is severely tipped, a condition known to cause both pain and infertility in some women. We'll meet for a post-op appointment in two weeks, and at that time, we'll talk about seeing a GI specialist if the pain is not markedly reduced. There are, after all, a lot of different organs in the pelvis. In the mean time, I'm pretty discouraged.


Edward Cullen, eat your heart out!

I'm in love with the Deputy Chief-of-Staff. It's not weird, either. You can't make me feel ashamed of this. And yes, I'm a late-comer to the West Wing party, but that doesn't make what Josh Lyman and I have together any less special. "It's real, and it's deep," as Grace Adler would say about Jews and chicken.

On a far more trivial note, I'm actually getting a little nervous about surgery. Not about complications, mind you, but rather about what they won't find or how painful and frustrating the recovery might be. My deepest, darkest secret is that....I'm kind of a wimp. Okay, okay, so it's not THAT big of a secret. Shut-up.

Yarn diet is over, by the way. Jake told me that if I didn't buy yarn right away, he would leave me. He even drove me to Michael's and forcefully escorted me to the yarn section! I had to buy some new yarn to save our marriage. You would do the same.


Yarn Diet

I have mixed results from dieting of any sort. First of all, I tend to only have the slightest modicum of discipline if I become crazy militant with a PLAN. "Eating reasonably" is not something I can process when a plate of gooey enchiladas are placed in front of me. However, I can say, "I don't eat that this week," and push it away, imagining it as a plate of bubbling toxins. Of course, any dieting expert would tell you that it's the "this week" in that strategy that kills me every time. Eventually, I will need to take on the sweet, sweet loving that is an evening at Amigos, and once I take one bite, I'm screwed.

Well, being reasonable and temperate with my yarn purchases is not going well. Being out of school presents an entirely new and expanded window of time in which to troll up and down the aisles of.....well....any place that sells string. I find myself reaching for my keys several times a day thinking, "I should go to Michaels now to check out how they arranged the new merchandise" or "This is the perfect time to drive down the the Shabby Sheep and see what they have which the Woolie Ewe doesn't." Meanwhile, my yarn basket overfloweth.

So, a yarn diet it is. From last Monday until next Friday (Friday being the traditional day to buy yarn in my own rule-bound universe) I will purchase no new yarn and will burn my way through as much old yarn (preferably the ugly crap) as I possibly can. I'm working on a charity afghan for NDSM to use up old acrylics, and I'm putting the nose to the grindstone on all other wip's.

Yesterday, I bought a little over $50 in yarn for Becca's wedding afghan, but since it was online and for a good cause, I don't think it counts, do you?


Braids and Tears

It was a rather sad week. Two people to whom I've grown very close are leaving. Liz, our amazing and adorable, amazingly adorable, teaching fellow is leaving to teach kids who really need her at a boarding school called The Chicken Sandwich School (or something that sounds like that). Liz has such passion for the profession of teaching and such abundant empathy for the kids. Being around her was always the perfect antidote to the cynicism which seems to permeate all schools, regardless of privilege. The braided cable mitts are for her. They were hard. There are mistakes in the final project. LOVE mistakes, I told her.

The other person is Anna, our 6th grade literature teacher, and I feel a heave of sorrow even as I type this. She has meant so much more to me than I ever expressed to her. Her talent and organization always inspired me (and I secretly copied pretty much every brilliant thing she did). Her humor and loyalty soothed me through many difficult parent confrontations. Her intense modesty veiled a keen intelligence and striking beauty for which she was never recognized enough. I quite simply loved her and depended on the sanity she provided me every day. And now she's gone. To Anna, the very person who inspired me to start knitting, I gave some hand-painted yarn, gorgeous rosewood needles, and a set of very humorous stitch markers. Oh, and an awkward hug and several "keep in touch"s. Stupid Kentucky better appreciate her. Blah. Loss.

But for why, dear maiden?

Not a clue. Perhaps I'm just concerned that I'll accomplish nothing of merit this summer. Perhaps I'm just worried that to not document is to not achieve. Perhaps I'm just going through another vanity phase. Perhaps I feel that there's just too much going on right now not to write it down.

Case it point: I'm having surgery next week, a laparoscopy to be precise. The reason for said procedure is that I THINK I have endometriosis. I THINK. My doctors and I will not know for sure whether I am paying thousands of dollars for unnecessary surgery until it is actually happening in my belly. A "lap" consists of a tiny camera, probes, and lasers being carefully inserted through "keyhole" incisions around my abdomen. If adhesions are found, they will burn them off. If they are not found, I will lose my shit.

The reason for said loss of shit is because I have been experiencing a lot of abdominal pain for months, perhaps even years now. It has reached the point where I spend the majority of my time lying flat on my back on a heating pad. There are prescription pain pills and days I have had to leave work early. This condition, whatever it is, is eating away at my quality of life in really substantial ways. Therefore, I am 90% sure that I am not making this up. Jake thinks I'm seriously messed up when I say things like that.

The endo would also be a comforting/discouraging discovery considering it usually causes infertility. I say comforting because it would help explain why we've been unsuccessful at getting pregnant for over a year now. I say discouraging because we've already discovered that Jake's little dudes have low motility and poor morphology, so to be doubly screwed would basically rule out bloodline heirs of any sort.

I also figured a knitting blog is a logical progression it my yarn-related madness. Ravelry is a holy sanctuary of pure perfection, and I do not underestimate it's nirvana-like affect on me, but meticulously loading pictures of my work and projects on there does not exactly help me share the glory with my friends, aka losers who do not play with sticks and yarn. Gloating is an important component of hand-crafting.

Hell, maybe I'll even write a damn poem.