10 days Post-Op and Knitting

Posted on January 17, 2009 | 3 Comments

If you really want to see that nasty cameraphone shot I took immediately after the bandage came off (stitches still in with all the pea-green bruised glory), click here. I'm not posting it to the blog so that no one can accuse me of making them look, although I know giving the link will probably make almost everyone curious enough to look . . .

Here's what my hand looks like today, only a day later:

(click to go to big Flickr picture)

Trust me, this is a significant improvement! There's a cut on the back of my hand, too (where the cyst was) but that's pretty uneventful compared to this side, so I didn't think it required a photo.

The green bruises are not part of a "typical" carpal tunnel surgery. Remember how I mentioned that my surgeon found significant inflammation when he opened me up? Well, the inflamation was around the tendons, and although I barely understand what he explained to me, I'll sum it up like this: the tendons are normally surrounded by a very thin, see through layer. The layer around my tendons was so thick the surgeon said you couldn't see through it, and he cut it off and removed the layer to release the tendon. The green buising ran from the middle of my palm down my arm in the places where the inflamation was removed.

In that same area I'm suffering from a very "tight" feeling, kind of like if I had paint dried on my skin there and when I stretch in certain directions it feels like my skin is stiff. I know it's not my skin I'm feeling, but that's what it feels like. The doctor's therapist gave me a long list of exercises to do several times a day, and I'm diligently following orders. I have appointments set up with a rheumatologist and a physical therapist for next week, too.

The amount of improvement in the bruising after only 24 hours is shocking, and is making me realize there was one GIANT benefit, psychologically, of wearing the brace: I had no idea what how bad my hand looked under there! I don't even want to imagine what color/shape it was in the day after surgery .  . .

In happier news, I'm able to do just about anything that doesn't involve lifting heavy things now! Yay! The down side is that I sometimes forget I'm recovering and try to do something that I shouldn't be doing, which then gets halted immeditely as a sharp pain/pulling sensation shoots through my arm . . . this has only happened once in the last 24 hours though, because I've been trying to be mindful of not overdoing it. I wouldnt want to hurt myself and not be able to KNIT!

I knit this today, and let me tell you, during those first few stitches I felt like stress was dripping off me:

It's a silly project that would have taken about an hour of my knitting under other circumstances, but today this feels like an extraordinary accomplishment. Behold, my new iTouch sleeve!

Knit on size 5 needles with leftover Duet Sock yarn (from these socks), this was a dead-easy knit that I actually really need for practical purposes. The original iTouch cover had gotten stretched out and was crazy-dirty, plus the yarn end had come loose and the thing was in danger of unravelling. This one, which is  probably a too-light color for practical purposes, is a better design due to the cushy garter stitch and tight ribbed cuff, so hopefully it will serve its destiny well.

Me, I'm off to do another round of hand exercises before catching up on blogs! It's great to be back folks!

Project specs (hardly worthy of this!):
Pattern: side-to-side garter stitch & picked up for ribbing at top
Yarn: Leftover Duet Sock Yarns in Puddle Jump (multi from set)
Needles: US size 5
Started & Finished: January 17, 2009

Posted in carpal tunnel surgery, Finished Knitting Projects, knitting

Finally: The Chuppah Post

Posted on December 30, 2008 | 11 Comments

I'm not quite sure why it's taken me so long to sit down and write about this. It feels silly to feel so much emotion towards a piece of fabric . . . I'm not usually the soft-and-fuzzy type, so it's especially out of character for me to feel this way. I can't quite explain what it is that stopped me from writing, or that's making writing it now so hard, but the closest I can get to a description is that knitting this chuppah felt like giving birth to something. I think what I was "birthing" was my spiritual life. I have never been a religious person and our wedding was the first time I really thought about what I believe in, what rituals mean, and made a conscious decision to think and care about these questions. The chuppah symbolizes the home the couple will build together but this chuppah, handmade with my own hands and skills, also symbolized my creating a home for us.

I put a lot of pressure on myself to make it "perfect," even though I knew that I would be the only one who could possibly see any imperfections. I chose the Frost Flowers & Leaves Shawl pattern from Gathering of Lace for 2 reasons based on the fact that I'd already knit it once before:

  1. Since I'd already knit it, I knew I could do it and that I really enjoyed knitting the lace
  2. After finishing the first shawl I felt it was the most beautiful piece of knitting I'd ever accomplished. I wanted our chuppah to be that beautiful, too.

When it came time to block the thing, after rushing through the knitting worrying about blowing my deadline (I overcompensated and finished months early), I procrastinated and procrastinated until practically the last minute. I remembered blocking the first one and how much work it was, and was honestly dreading doing it again this time. And wouldn't you know it, all that worry was warranted! The border didn't quite fit and required massive amounts of pinning and re-pinning the blocking wires. After over a hour of struggling with it I called it quits and decided it wasn't going to get any better.

In this picture, you can kind of see the problem (you can also see how ugly the border join is, but don't look too hard please!). I think what happened is that my row gauge for the border was too loose, so there was too much fabric all around in comparison to the middle. Since the yarn I used isn't as stretchy as most lace yarns, when I pulled and pulled at the middle lace section, it only opened up so much. There was no way it was going to stretch enough to compensate for the border's oversized proportions. I hoped it wouldn't be too obvious and let the thing dry on my parent's living room rug.

Then, the day before the wedding, I realized that i hadn't yet figured out how to attach the chuppah to the poles. We'd borrowed the poles a few days earlier from Adam's family's temple, at which point I found out that the poles were not wooden-colored like I expected, they had been wrapped in white ribbon. Now, most people are probably happy to find out that the chuppah poles have been lovingly covered with white satin ribbon. Me, I freaked out! The white was WHITE, and my chuppah was off-white. In all my planning, I had imagined that I would attach my off-white chuppah to the wooden-colored poles using clear fishing line, to give the impression that there was no seam at all. When I saw the white-white poles, I knew I couldn't let my chuppah directly touch the poles because next to the bright-white, my chuppah would look dirty.

This is what I came up with as a compromise:

You can see just how white the poles are in this picture!

I ended up using some of the purple ribbon left over from our favors to tie long lengths connecting the chuppah to the poles. It actually ended up looking purposeful, since the wedding colors were white/cream and purple and the chuppah and poles ended up perfectly matching the color scheme! I originally thought I was going to tie the ends of the ribbons into bows, but it looked too sugary-sweet. Leaving the long ties looked a little circus-y if you looked from up close, but from far away it looked just right.

And the too-big edging? It proved to be a problem after all. No matter how far apart the poles were spread, the chuppah never lay flat. All 4 sides dropped down even though the middle was as taunt as possible. I actually didn't get to see the chuppah planters get set up because I was hiding (which, by the way, I think is a ridiculous wedding "tradition," but when I peeked my face out I got MOBBED by people and learned why women hide from a practical perspective!), but I gave the florist strict instructions to place them as far apart as possible so the chuppah would be as flat as possible. In the end, the thing wasn't flat at all, and the poles leaned in at a precarious angle from all the strain they were under.

But you know what? Everyone thought every single one of these things was done on purpose, and I got nothing but compliments!

But then again, no one's going to tell the bride her hand-made chuppah looks anything but perfect, right?

Project specs:
Pattern: Frost Flowers & Leaves Shawl from A Gathering of Lace, with fewer repeats to adjust for bigger gauge
Yarn: 11 skeins Green Mountain Spinnery Sylvan Spirit, in Luminosity
Needles: US size 6
Started: January 2008
Finished: March 2008 (knitting), June 2008 (blocking/finishing)

(all pictures except the yarn end one copyright Laurie Rhodes Photography)

Posted in chuppah, Finished Knitting Projects, knitting, lace, wedding

Sample Knitting Revealed!

Posted on August 06, 2008 | 6 Comments

So I come back from my wedding and honeymoon (I promise pictures and stories later!!) to find that Twist Collective has launched, and therefore I can now show you the socks I knit for Cookie A! Here's the FO shot I took when I sent them off to her:

The sock pattern is called Maelstrom and the pattern is available for $6.00 through Twist Collective.

These socks were really fun to knit and flew off the needles (I knit them in about a week since I knew I was on deadline!), and they really weren't hard at all. The stitch pattern is a simple, short repeat that really looks complicated after it's done but is actually really easy to memorize and "read" as you go. I especially love the diagonal line across the foot, such a distinctive Cookie A design feature!

As always her pattern is impeccably written and fun to follow, I always recommend her designs to anyone who wants to knit a "special" sock . . . I may have to make myself a pair of these to keep!

Project specs:
Pattern: Maelstrom by Cookie A
Yarn: The Knittery Merino Chubby
Needles: US size 1
Started: March 31, 2008
Finished: April 9, 2008

Posted in Cookie A socks, Finished Knitting Projects, knitting, sample knitting, Sock knitting

FO: Duet Socks

Posted on June 10, 2008 | 1 Comment

Here they are! I actually finished them this past Saturday but didn't manage to get my act together in time to post. I really like how they came out and they're really comfy!

I already know I won't be knitting with such thick yarn again for socks, but if I did I would remind myself to short row less on the heels -- there turned out a bit poofy, but definitely not unwearable. I still can't quite believe I finished a sock in 2 days, much less a pair in a week! This is almost definitely a record for me. Makes sense when you think about how many fewer stitches it takes to make something that's only 52 sts around instead of 60, and has way fewer rows per inch!

If you look closely at the toe of the left sock you can see the design I left in even though it doesn't show enough . . . just a sneak peek of what my next sock design will involve! Shhh, don't tell.

Project specs:
Pattern: 52 sts around with contrast toes & rib
Yarn: Duet Sock yarn in color Puddle Drop
Needles: US size 2
Started: May 31, 2008
Finished: June 7, 2008

Posted in contrast toes, Finished Knitting Projects, handpainted sock yarn, knitting, Sock knitting

FO-a-day, Day 3: Cobblestone

Posted on May 06, 2008 | 3 Comments

So I'm cheating a bit with this one, because it's been finished for a long time. But I never showed it off on the blog before! I managed to get Adam to pose for a picture under the condition that I wouldn't show his face. So yet another headless shot it is!

This sweater has been pretty well documented on the blog: I did some weird construction changes to it, and it went through surgery, so I feel like there isn't much left to say about it. I did have trouble with the neckline and I'm not entirely happy with the way it sits, I think a few more short rows would have done it some good and made it fit better. I also think the yoke is too wide, and that the whole thing is too long, but I'm not going back to change it! It definitely fits well enough for Adam to wear, and if I compare it to some of the first sweaters I knit for ME, this fits perfectly in comparison! If only I knew then what I know now . . .

Project specs:
Pattern: Cobblestone from Fall 2007 Interweave Knits
Yarn: 10 skeins Classic Elite Charmed, color 76724
Needles: US size 7
Started: August 2007
Finished: December 2007

Posted in cobblestone, Finished Knitting Projects, knitting, pullover

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