Oct 13, 2010

I Think It May Be Fall!

Ah, cooler temps are finally showing up here. It seems so weird because wearing shorts in the middle of Sept is not the norm for here in this area and definitely not in October. Of course as soon as it starts dumping snow on us I'll be complaining about it being too cold. At least Shawn bought a snow thrower which will make my life much easier when he isn't home.

Shawn was told that he has to go to the NCO Academy now that he has passed his PT (physical training) test. Yup, he finally passed it. Failing his PT test is what got our orders to Germany cancelled. I still regret that we didn't go. While it would have been a major pain in the butt at first I think it would have been a wonderful experience. So anyway, Shawn's been selected to go to in January to Colorado for 6 weeks. They wanted him to go now but with my med issues still not figured out he doesn't want to leave. At least if I hurt too badly he can help me out around the house or help me get to the doctor. If my meds are still an issue in January we can get the class pushed back again. I'm really hoping that my pain is better by then though. I shudder to think that I will still be feeling like this several months from now. The steroids worked great but I finished up the last of the pack the other day and I can feel the stiffness and pain coming back.

The tree guys came back and gave us a new tree....woohoo!

image from www.flickr.com

Here's hoping the poor thing survives the winter. The tree provides a bit of shade on this window which unfortunately is huge....it's about 6 feet tall by about 6-7 feet wide. I wanted to put some curtains up to make the girls playroom look a little more homey and friendly but the damn things are going to be expensive. I need to check into the cost for a valance for the window which should be a bit cheaper plus it can most likely be used when we move. The whole house is painted white, the ceiling fans are white and the carpet is a boring gray....looks like the carpet is dirty kind of gray. I seriously need a little color in this house that isn't going to require days worth of repainting walls when we move. I swear they would have put put white door knobs on but I think they got a better deal on the cheapo tacky gold ones that are on every door in this house. 

I'm making great progress on my moms Rosalind Shawl (ravelry)(non ravelry). 

image from www.flickr.com

This is a great knit and it's going quickly. I just started the 5th repeat of Chart B. There are six repeats of Chart B before moving on to Chart C. It does seem a little small but I know it will grow a lot when I block it. It's amazing how much lace grows after a good soak in wool wash. My Bee Fields and Whispering Pines shawls looked small until I blocked them and they are huge. Ah, the powers of blocking!

My Rainbow and Cloud socks are working up quiet nicely.

image from www.flickr.com

I've placed my waste yarn where I want to knit the heel and I'm just going to keep going till I get close to running out of yarn. I want to make these as long as I can.

I started a pair of socks for my mom.

image from www.flickr.com

The pattern is Catnip Socks (ravelry)(non ravelry) and the yarn is Zen Yarn Garden Bling! in the Blue Spruce colorway. I don't really need to rush on these since it's still in the 90s at home and it doesn't appear that there will be a drop in temp anytime soon. So needless to say moms not really wearing handknit socks much right now. 

I've been working on making some new dishrags for my Granny. 

image from www.flickr.com

The pattern is Grandmother's Favorite (ravelry)(non ravelry) which is my favorite basic dishrag pattern. Granny is staying with my mom for the winter so I have the whole winter to get a stack of them made for her. I'm off to a pretty good start though. Six done so far and number 7 is on the needles. I think I'll stop when I hit 10 dishrags. She's also requested some nylon scrubbies so I'll start those after I finish the dishrags.

Yarn order from Knit Picks came in today.

image from www.flickr.com

The purple yarn is Comfy Worsted and is going to be used to make a blanket for my cousin who is due in November. My cousin is having a little girl! Yippy I get to knit for a little girl again. It's been boy after boy in my family so it'll be a nice change to knit something girly. I haven't settled on a pattern yet. I have three picked out. These are all Ravelry Links: blanket 1, blanket 2, blanket 3 and blanket 4. I want something simple since I don't have a whole lot of time to knit this. I'm leaning towards blanket 1 or blanket 4.

The rest of the yarn is mine to try out and make a few new cowls for myself because I didn't want the purple yarn to be lonely and I needed to hit the free shipping mark. The dark green is Capra DK (merino/cashmere blend), the red one on the right is Gloss HW (merino/silk blend) and the red on the left is City Tweed HW (merino/donegal tweed blend). I want to see who I'd like any of these for a sweater. I wear cowls a lot in the winter so if after being abused and washed all winter they still look good then they'll work for a sweater. My cowls tend to get a lot of wear because they rub against my jacket and then there is the constant wear on them from getting pulled over my head and stuffed in a pocket. I think they get more abuse then a sweater ever would.

I'm expecting my Lord of the Rings shipment in any day now and I ordered a new row counter bracelet that has a clasp instead of the toggle so I'll post about them in my next post. I'll probably start the baby blanket by this weekend, provided I can settle on a pattern. I'm trying really hard to get back into a regular blog posting habit.

Oct 8, 2010

Knitting Knitting Everywhere

I have lots of knitting stuff to post about and a few non-knitting goodies too. Thanks to everyone who commented on my last post. My RA doc has given me a round of methylprednisolone and it seems to be working. It's just a 6 day dose pack but he wanted to give me something to help bring down the inflammation while he waits for the metric crap ton of tests he is running on my blood. The lab vampires pulled 6 tubes of blood. I think they should have given me juice and a cookie. The Red Cross does when you donate blood. ;~)

We got our first snow back in the middle of September. 

image from www.flickr.com

Look I have a picture to prove it! It wasn't much and it never stuck to the roads but with the nice weather we've been having since then it was hard to believe it had ever snowed. If I remember correctly the year we had 30+ inches of snow dumped on us in December we had very mild fall weather. The girls only wore a light weight sweater to go trick or treating that year.

I got enough money in my yarn destash to buy the electric kettle I really wanted.

image from www.flickr.com

I picked up the Cuisinart PerfecTemp Electric Kettle. It has 6 different temp settings and a keep warm function that keeps your water at the temp you set for 30 minutes. It also has a cordless base so no more plugging and unplugging it to fill it up. It's one of the best reviewed multi temperature electric kettles I came across and the price while a bit high isn't bad for a multi temp kettle. I'm definitely getting my moneys worth out of it. We have a wonderful little tea shop (In Cahoots for Tea) here in town that fuels my tea addiction. They have a wonderful selection of loose leaf teas and I don't have to pay shipping and handling to get new teas.

New sheepy pj pants.

image from www.flickr.com

Aren't these the cutest things you've ever seen? I found them on sale at JcPenney's the other day. Cute and on sale! That's a great combo in my book. 

I think we'll start with finishes projects first and then move on to goodies I've got in the mail.

I finished my Stripey Socks I was knitting for the TLE 3rd Quarter challenge.

image from www.flickr.com

I was going to knit a fancy pair of colorwork socks but this was about all my brain and hands could handle at the time. The yarn is TLE's new solid sock yarn line and the colorways used are Strawberry and Smoke. The pattern is my own basic toe up sock pattern with a short row heel and a picot cuff.

I finished my blue striped "on the go" socks.

image from www.flickr.com

These are my basic toe up sock recipe with a short row heel and picot cuff. The yarn is Fortissima Socka, color # 9094. This yarn has been marinating in my stash for years. It was a gift from a dear friend. I didn't bother to match up the stripes because I've learned that leads down the path to madness. I tried that once with some Patons Kroy sock....lets just say I said some very inventive cuss words and threw the skeins across the room. If I can't match it in less then 30 seconds they get knit as mismatched socks. I honestly don't care if they aren't perfect matches.

My Sun Ray Shawl (ravelry)(non ravelry it's a free pattern from elann but you have to log on to view them) is finished. 

image from www.flickr.com

I finished this one up the other day. The yarn was originally being used for a Mara shawl but I quickly got bored with it and went searching for another pattern. The yarn is Araucania Natures Wool Multy, colorway #415. I still have some left over and haven't decided what to do with it. It's a bit scratchy so I won't be making a cowl of it.

I started the Rosalind Shawl (Ravelry)(non Ravelry) for my mom. 

image from www.flickr.com

The yarn is Dream in Color Baby and the colorway is Blue Sage. I picked up some beads from Earthfaire. They're 4mm frosted Megatamas. Cables, lace and beads....what more could a gal ask for.

New pair of "on the go" socks.

image from www.flickr.com

My basic toe up pattern. The yarn is from KnitPurlGurls Etsy shop, the Rainbows and Clouds colorway. I'm using some coordinating red yarn for the heels and toes and I'll use an after thought heel to keep from breaking up the stripes.

Now on to yarn that I've gotten in the mail. First up is some Woolen Rabbit Harmony Sock.

image from www.flickr.com

The colorway is called Boysenberry....yum! Purchased it through a friends destash.

Zen Yarn Garden Serenity Sport.  

image from www.flickr.com

This was a custom dye job. The colorway is called Spruce Tree and it's absolutely perfect! Roxanne did an awesome job with this one. I'm planning on knitting Poplar and Elm (ravelry)(non ravelry).

I purchased a new case for my Knit Picks Options Interchangeable needles and cables.

image from www.flickr.com
image from www.flickr.com
image from www.flickr.com
image from www.flickr.com

This has got to be the best case I've come across. Here's the Etsy site. The only thing I might do is buy some elastic to run across the top of the needles to make sure they're definitely in there secure. I was browsing for cases on Etsy when I came across one that was pink and well I'm generally not much of a pink person so I contacted the shop owner to see if she could custom make one for me. In addition to the different fabric she also added more pockets for mine. It was absolutely wonderful working with her for this custom order. Now I need to find the perfect case for my sock needles. I Magic Loop so I need to find a good case to hold all my 32" and 40" needles.  

I've also received some kits but don't want to post photos so as not spoil it for some one. I'll link to my Flickr account. Here's the ones I've received: Wicked Witch Returns, Divinely Inspired Cupcake Kit, and Lollipop Guild. All of these are kits from Woolgirl.

Wow, that was a long picture filled post. I think that sums up everything quiet nicely. Hopefully I'll be back soon with an update on the socks I'll be starting for my mom using some ZYG Bling! sock yarn.

Oct 4, 2010

Non Knitting Related Post

This post has been on my mind for some time. Some people who read this blog already know some of the things I'm posting about and others I know deal with similar pain on a daily basis and can relate.

Things have been a little rough for me lately so the blog has kind of slipped into the background. I'm not sure if I've discussed my medical issues. I generally don't because I don't like pity but I have Rheumatoid Arthritis. Some days are good and some days are bad. With this last medicine swap I had about 6 good months before my meds slowly stopped working and the bad days started outweighing the good days. Add in a major SNAFU (link for all you curious folks who don't know what SNAFU is) with my referral to see my RA doc not being renewed which meant no visit to doc to talk about meds being swapped until the referral was renewed. I really wished I didn't need a referral to see my RA doc but alas the damned insurance company makes me get a referral to see all specialist. There are times when I really, really hate insurance companies but on the other hand I can't imagine not having it and trying to pay for my meds every month or the $250 office visit to my RA doc 4-5 times a year. It's a bill we could not afford. Unfortunately Rheumatoid Arthritis does not have a cure and I will have to see an RA doc for the rest of my life so why should I have to continue to get permission to see a doctor I will always need to see.

Most days people see a happy smiling person who tries to make the best of what she's been dealt. They don't see the inner me who is trying very hard to not cry and let people know how badly and how much pain she is in. Feeling complaining about it and feeling sorry for myself isn't going to change things. It isn't going to make the RA go away and I still have to deal with daily life: cooking, cleaning, taking care of my kids, etc. Shawn helps out where ever he can but he works 10 hours a day, 5 days a week and here lately a lot of weekends too.

Fatigue goes hand in hand with the swelling, pain and stiffness. I have to deal with things that a lot of people don't have to deal with. If I go grocery shopping I can't clean up the kitchen. It's a matter of checks and balance. The longer I'm on my feet the more I know I will pay for it the next day and the day after that and likely the day after that too. It's a mix of trade offs for things I want to do with things I have to do. It's not something I would wish on anyone not even my worst enemy not that I have a nemesis. Although having a nemesis might help me keep my mind off the pain some days. There are days when my hands are so stiff I can't button my buttons, hold a pen and write neatly, or tie my shoes without a lot of frustration and difficulty. I've taken to wearing pants with no zippers or buttons and I wear Crocs more often then not. Even knitting can be a challenge. Normally within the first hour or two after waking up I'm not so stiff and I can continue my day in a somewhat normal manner but there are days when the stiffness never goes away and every step is a challenge. I can't get down on the floor and play with my daughters because I know it will cause me a lot of pain and will be difficult for me to get back up. I can't run after them and chase them. Everything comes with a set of challenges to overcome. Something that I use to be able to do in 10-15 minutes now takes me around 30-45 minutes on a bad day. I don't say this for pity but in hopes that I reach out and help someone understand what it's like. You won't believe the number of people that just don't get the fact that I can't be magically be fixed with some wonder drug. Yes there are a lot of drugs out there for RA but most of them come with very nasty side effects.

It makes it even harder when you come across someone who doesn't understand. It hurts when you're told well you're young, you should be able to do this. Yes I know I should be able to do this but damned it I can't and it's very frustrating. I've actually had people shake their heads in disagreement when I opt to take the elevator over the stairs. Why anyone would care that I'm taking the elevator over the stairs I don't know. The petty things that people make a big deal about still amaze me. I'm not taking the elevator because I'm lazy I'm taking it because I know if I take the stairs I could end up in so much pain I can't sleep that night. I try not to let it get to me and generally I mentally flip them off and go about my day. They don't realize that I would love to be able to go up and down the stairs without pain. I live in a two story home and have to go up and down the stairs several times a day. If I can avoid the stairs in a building that is not my home then that makes it a little easier for me when I have to go up them at home. I now have all the proper documentation in our military exceptional family member program file (yes that's right the Air Force thinks I'm exceptional because of my RA!...lol) that states we are to be placed in a single level home in base housing. It also has a provision in there that states that the Air Force can not send us anywhere that does not have a Rheumatologist. We could probably push for them to move us into a single level home but we would lose all the space (the single level 3 bedroom homes are a lot smaller) and frankly I'd rather deal with the stairs then to move our stuff again. Not to mention the fact that we have really good neighbors.

It's frustrating when you try to make them understand that you have arthritis but then they inevitably come back and say young lady you are too young to have arthritis. Rheumatoid Arthritis doesn't have an age limit. It strikes the very young, old and in between. I'm 32 years old and was diagnosed with RA 2 years ago. It is more common in women then it is in men. I read somewhere that approximately 70 percent of RA patients are female. I had a Physicians Assistant (PA) tell me that I didn't have RA because I didn't have a negative RA factor. After talking to my Rheumatologist I now know that the PA was wrong and that I should have been referred to a rheumatologist to make that determination. The PA wasn't even remotely close to being qualified to decide if I had RA or not. Not all RA patients have a negative RA factor. The test is not flawless and it's found that around 20% or more of the people with RA have a negative RA factor. Then to top it all off there are people who have a positive RA factor who don't have RA. It's definitely not a flawless test. I worry about the increase in risk for my daughters to develop this disease later in their lives. It's obviously not under my control and it's not my fault but yet I still worry.

I just needed to post about this. I won't hold it against anyone if they don't feel the need to comment. I've hem hawed over posting this but then I came to the conclusion that this is my blog and I can post what I want too...I now have the song It's My Party stuck in my head. I swear the weirdest stuff pops into my head. I write for myself and if people enjoy reading it then it's just a great bonus. I have met some truly wonderful people through my blog. If this helps one person understand that RA is an disease and it's not something that you get because you're getting old or makes some one want to understand what RA does to a person, hell if it makes someone think about anyone with chronic pain in a different light then my post was worth it. Chronic pain is debilitating and it not only effects the person dealing with it but everyone that is close to that person.