Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Catching Up on Things

Back in...maybe January...ish...I bought an issue of Mollie Makes that came with a really cute embroidery kit. It was supposed to be for Valentine's Day, but I didn't get to it. And then when I had big plans to do it, it had to wait a little longer. A couple weeks ago, I spent a Saturday afternoon happily stitching and drinking tea so I could cross one more thing off of my to-do list. This wee little bit of embroidery made me quite happy (mostly, because after a million years, I FINally mastered the French knot).

I had a stinker of a time getting the pre-printed fabric into the hoop. It's still not in there correctly, but I was thiiiiiiis close to losing my temper with it, so it's good enough. But isn't that a delightful freebie?

I don't have much experience with embroidery, and sometimes I curse too much while I'm stitching, but I do so enjoy it. Especially all of those beautifully colored threads.

The great thing about kits is that you generally get just enough so you don't have oodles of leftover materials. But the thing about kits is that you get just enough. There wasn't much fabric on the back to gather it in with some simple stitches and hide it behind the hoop, so I cut a piece of lightweight cardboard and shoved it in there nice and tight.

And here is another detail shot, because those are my favorite.

In other news, I saw the specialist again last week. He's still inclined to think this is not MS. I see him again in September, have another MRI in November, and at that point he'll be ready to make a diagnosis (some fancy talk about blood-brain barriers, contrast uptake, and anti-inflammatory medication). He's leaning towards an ever-present vascular abnormality that became inflamed (perhaps due to a virus--remember my vertigo?) and is in the absolute perfect spot to cause the symptoms I had (and will probably never bother me again). I'm keeping it in my brain that this is indeed MS so I don't have to wrap my brain around it again, but I've got all my fingers and toes crossed that in a few months he'll say "Nope. Now leave." And then I shall skip out the door with a smile on my face, and probably buy myself some ice cream.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Gray Matter--A Ta-Dah Post

When I first got home from the hospital a couple months ago, there was a lot of naps and a ton of questionable TV show viewing. It wasn't pretty. Reading was uncomfortable, and I couldn't fathom picking up my sweater and continuing with the colorwork. My mom said "Is there something small you could work on? Just so you don't go crazy?" And then I remembered the drawer full of leftover Stylecraft DK from this blanket. You can't get much smaller than a granny square, and you can't get much simpler than a single-color granny square.

The first dozen or so felt like a triumph, and I was quite proud of myself. I don't know if it was psychosomatic, but it felt difficult, like I was just learning. But my hands quickly remembered what they were supposed to be doing, and I had 130 squares in not much time.

From the outset, I knew I wanted to break up the squares with a grayish-brownish-somewhere-in-betweenish color, and Stylecraft 'Parchment' fit the bill. I may have bought entirely too much, but I am thinking I can get a sweater out of what's left (I don't know how much I thought I'd need).

Anyhoodle--here's the finished product.

My plan was to use as many leftovers as I could, and I obviously had more of some colors than others, but I love the outcome. The extra pink and yellow make it brighter, that's for sure. And the connecting color really makes it all pop nicely.

I decided to name this Gray Matter for a few reasons. First, I've had a lot of pictures of my brain taken recently. Sometimes, brain pictures have a lot of colors to them. Second, while most of the blocks are ordinary and plain, in my efforts to use all the yarn some colors were combined in interesting ways. Just like--most of my brain is totally normal (I know my mom just snorted and thought 'Child, you were never normal'), but there's this little spot that could be something, but might not.

Sometimes I feel perfectly myself--chipper, and just fine, and perfectly balanced (I consider red and pink my 'me' colors).

Sometimes I feel just slightly....off.

Sometimes? I nick a little something when I do my injection. And I blot it with an alcohol swab. (After yelling "We've got a bleeder!" for comedic effect).

Most of the time, I feel great. And lucky. And grateful.

But, even though I've had all my tests and scans, I still don't know what's up for sure until I see the neurologist. In one month. One very long month (although my mom is going much more crazy than I am). It's all a big gray area right now. Just like the gray (or is it tan? see? that's a gray area too) that holds together these flashes of color.

My favorite part of this blanket? The border.

It's got a delightful ruffle to it that somehow doesn't overpower the rest of the blanket.

It was quite simple. I used this join-as-you-go method to connect all of the squares. I then did a round of single crochet, then a round of double crochet (putting five stitches in each corner stitch). For the next round I did (double crochet, chain one) in each stitch around, giving things a slight wave. Then I went whole hog, and did three double crochets in every stitch all the way around.

Considering my little bit of a theme here, this made me think of the convolutions in the structure of our brains. My 'therapy blanket' was quickly becoming an 'art blanket.'

It's simple granny squares, with the most neutral of colors holding it all together. But that little detail of the ruffled edge makes me smile every time I see it draped across the back of the love seat.

I didn't think I'd be so pleased with this, but I am. Out of all of the blankets I've made, this might be my favorite (but don't tell the others--they each think I like them best).

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Giveaway Winner

Happy Mother's Day, to all of you moms in the States (and elsewhere. Because why not? Moms don't get enough credit as it is).

I've got the winner of the yarn giveaway to announce. There weren't many entries in this one, but someone is going to get some delightfully squishy mail. So, without further ado...

I always dislike being first in a giveaway because I think there's no way I'll ever be randomly chosen (though if something is random it shouldn't matter--I understand this, but my instinct disagrees with this logic. This is why I don't gamble).

So, number one. That would be........

Congrats, Kris, you lucky duck! This is some seriously delightful stuff. I'm sending you a separate email to get your address so I can ship you this bundle of beautiful.

Have a great day, everyone!

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Want Some Yarn?

Despite my best efforts, I have acquired a bit of a yarn stash. I keep trying not to add to it, but I'm only a knitting human, and things happen. And when things happen I like to give things away. So...want some yarn?

When I was at my knitting retreat in October, I came by a fair amount of yarn. Some of it is in weights I never use as it doesn't feel...right...in my hands. So instead of hoarding some yummy things for which "some day" will never come, I'd rather ship them to a good home.

So here's what I have for one of you.

Two skeins of Dragonfly Fibers Squishy Lace in Cognac. Lots of yardage here!

These were part of a kit, so I've also got the magazine with a pattern for this yarn in it to send along to you.

But wait! There's more!

I've also got three skeins of Plymouth Yarns Quarry in Hematite (on the left) and Moonstone. This is a nice, chunky yarn that looks like it would felt beautifully.

So if you'd like some fun mail, drop me a comment below, and I'll randomly pick a winner. Due to the costs of shipping, I'm sorry I can only offer this up to those in the United States. I'll leave this open through Saturday, May 12th at 11:59 pm ET and choose a winner shortly thereafter.

Good luck!!


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