God grant you the light in Christmas, which is faith;
the warmth of Christmas, which is love;
the radiance of Christmas, which is purity;
the righteousness of Christmas, which is justice;
the belief in Christmas, which is truth;
& all of Christmas, which is Christ.
--Wilda English

Monday, February 25, 2013

I'm Working On A New Knitting Project

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Dental Update, Blogger Problem Continues

Thanks to everyone who has offered me their good wishes & prayers regarding my dental problems.  The endodontist returned my call yesterday & apparently the swelling means I have an infection for which he prescribed a week's worth of amoxicillin.  He also told me I could increase my hydrocodone from 1 to 1.5 pills every 6 hours.  The increased dosage works well but only lasts for 4 hours.  I spend the remaining 2 hours urging the hands of the clock to move quickly so I can get another hydrocodone fix.  At least things are getting a little better pain wise.  The swelling really doesn't seem to be lessening very much though.  I guess it takes time.

Last night I had John take a couple photos of me in all my swollen glory thinking I might share one with you.  However, the photos of the swelling, along with no makeup, eyes red from crying, & hair pulled back from my face, were not what you'd call flattering; therefore, here's a photo of me in healthier times.


I have been reading blogs for the past 2 days or so but not really commenting.  I just don't have the energy. Do know that I'm reading though.  And speaking of blog comments, I am still unable to leave comments on blogs that have the comment box at the bottom of a post ... a white box that you just click on & start commenting.


 
   

If comments have already been left by others, the comment box will appear below them.  I don't know why I can't leave a comment in these boxes & of course Blogger doesn't list a phone number or email address where you can contact them directly about problems.  I've not seen anyone else mentioning this problem so it seems like it's only happening to me.  Please know that if your comment box is set up like this, I am not ignoring you ... I just can't leave a comment.  Sometimes I try to use someone's email address when I'm wanting to comment on a post they've made.  I have even tracked down people through their shops on Etsy or other selling sites in order to comment on their posts.  This takes a lot of time though, so I can't continue.    

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

IHKW Report ... & More

I'm a bit late doing my International Hermit & Knit Weekend report.  In my post this past Saturday, I mentioned that I would be going back to the endodontist on Monday to have the second root canal infection treated.  I wrote that I anticipated a simple procedure, quick healing, & little, if any, pain.  Remind me not to anticipate things anymore.  The procedure itself lasted an hour & consisted of drilling a hole through my crown, through the metal post it was attached to, removing the old root canal filling material, & treating the infection.  The root canal was then filled with new filling material, the hole in the post repaired, & then the hole in the crown repaired.  I wondered how in the world a hole could be drilled in my crown without damaging it but I figured this procedure has been done thousands if not millions of times throughout the world so I had no worries. However, the endodontist filled the hole in the crown with regular cavity filling material & told me I now need to see a regular dentist to have the hole filled with porcelain, if possible.  If it's not possible, I will need a new crown.  Isn't that nice?  I just bought this crown last year & now I might need to buy another one?

Before the endodontist started my procedure, he said he was going to need to numb me (duh) & I asked him to shoot me with enough novocaine to numb an elephant. He stated that I probably didn't need a whole lot but thankfully he gave me a whole lot anyway & I felt no pain during the procedure.  I was not even worried when I heard him say "I can't believe how long this root is" or "I need a longer file."  I only had mild concern when he filed & filed & filed away at this second infected root canal, just like he did with the first one.  It never occurred to me that I would have any problems.

We didn't get back home until quite late (6 p.m.).  I was feeling a little sore as the novocaine wore off but it was nothing I couldn't handle.  The soreness seemed to intensify as it got closer to bedtime & I decided to take one of the leftover pain pills that he prescribed for me after the surgery in January.  I woke up yesterday morning still feeling quite sore.  The soreness turned to pain.  I tried to hold out as long as I could, wanting to take another pain pill at bedtime so I would sleep, but by 8 o'clock I couldn't wait any longer.  I was feeling like my face was swelling & sure enough, when I got up to take the pain pill, I looked in the mirror & the left side of my face was quite puffy.  I couldn't do much of anything for the remainder of the night because the pain got worse instead of better.  I cried & cried & cried.  The prescription stated to take 1 pill every 6 hours.  I went to bed near midnight with 2 more hours to wait until I could take another what appeared to be useless pill.  I couldn't get to sleep because of the pain & at 1:00 a.m. I got up & took another pill rather than waiting another hour.  I went back to bed & must have dozed off for a while because I remembered dreaming. Either that or I was hallucinating.  I looked at the clock & it was 2 a.m.  I decided to try sleeping in the recliner.  No could do.  The second pain pill was as useless as the first one.  The pain increased.  The swelling increased.  I cried throughout the night.  I finally was able to doze off for a little while after the sun came up ... maybe 45 minutes or an hour.

When the endodontist's office opened, I called & left a message explaining how swollen I am & how much pain I am in.  The receptionist called me back & said she is going to try to have the endodontist see me today.  He won't be in until after 11:00 so I am waiting now to find out what's going to happen.

I must admit that I have a nice looking upper lip.  I lost my lips several years ago.  I had no idea it was happening.  One day I just looked in the mirror & wondered what happened to my lips.  Rather than the pouty, kissable lips that had always been there, I suddenly needed a magnifying glass to see the 2 pink pencil lines that replaced them. Sure, this lip is giving me a lot of pain right now ... along with it's friends nose, cheek, & jowl ... but it's nice to have a lip again.  Here I am ... finding something good in the midst of a bad situation.

My IHKW was rather uneventful.  I did work on my sock but ended up taking it apart & starting again.

I turned the heel & was merrily stitching my way to the toe when I thought it looked a little big.  I decided to try it on.  It was just a tad loose everywhere except at the cast on edge which was way too tight.  I took it apart & started it again using a German twisted cast on which is supposed to be very stretchy.  I hope so.  These logs I have for legs need all the stretch they can get.  

Saturday, February 16, 2013

New York City

Oo ah oo ah oo oo, Kitty (or anyone else)
Tell me about the shops in New York City
Okay ... maybe I made a mistake in that bit of lyrics, but this is what has been going through my head for the past week or so. John & I will shortly be spending a few days in New York City.  Neither of us have ever been there before.  Our discussion seems to center around where & what we can eat ... lol!  However, I am on a search for "can't miss" knitting shops & yes, cross stitch shops as well.  If anyone can throw a few shop suggestions my way, I would greatly appreciate it   : )   

Not much has been happening here.  We are oh so slowly working on getting the house ready to list it for sale in April.  On Monday I have an appointment with the endodontist to take care of my second root canal infection.  Since it is a lesser infection, the major surgery I had to have done in January will not need to be repeated ... thank God!  I anticipate a simple procedure, quick healing, & little, if any, pain.  Yesterday I finally finished putting together my complaint against the dentist I had so many problems with last year.  My insurance paperwork is not close to, but nearing, a blessed end.  My health seems to be relatively okay at the moment.  The "very, very, very bad thing" is in the hands of an attorney who assures me that all will be well.  Please do keep praying about that one.  

I cannot bring myself to stitch yet but I will not let IHSW pass me by.  I will, however, be participating in my own adaptation ... IHKW (International Hermit & Knit Weekend).  I am continuing to work on the socks I posted about on Wednesday.  I knitted the heel flap on Sock #1 last night & will next be turning the heel.
I you are puzzled as to why my knitting is lying on a bunch of puzzle pieces, it's because John & I started working on a jigsaw puzzle the other day.  We enjoyed doing the little 160-piece one that Santa brought me this past year so we decided to purchase a 1000-piece one.  You can't tell but it's a winter scene showing a quaint little village with lots of snow, & of course while I'm working on it, I'm thinking "I wish I lived in this place!"  I cleared off the dining table so we'd have a work space & here's what it looks like in here right now.
I apologize for the clutter you see in this photo, but be thankful for the clutter you can't see   : )

The birds have been enjoying the seeds we put out for them ... especially these little guys.



Sometimes that bush you see in the first photo is filled with 8 pair of cardinals.  It's gorgeous, but the moment I grab my camera, they decide to scurry.  At least I can capture a single one on film every now & then   : )

Other than knitting, & puzzling, & doing a bit of house sale preparation today, I will be making killer potatoes.  It's a good day for killer potatoes.  For my followers who may not have seen my post regarding the preparation of this artery clogging creation which John & I came up with years ago, feel free to look here ... & here.  Mmmmmmmm ... I'm looking forward to dinner   : )

I wish you all a happy weekend!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

I'm Not As Stupid & Incompetent as I Thought!

Hooray!  My fellow knitters on the Ravely knitting site have instructed me that yes, my shawl does have to be blocked which will make it wearable for someone other than a Munchkin or a mouse (Hi mouse!) so I have ordered myself a blocking board & will give that a try.

I learned to knit in the late 90s.  I found out that there was a knitting group in the next town that got together at someone's home once a month.  I was thinking it was once a week but no, it was once a month. Anyway, I called the lady who hostessed this group & she met with me one day to show me how to knit.  She started me out on a dishcloth.  I can remember sitting & working on that dishcloth, tears rolling down my face, sobbing all the while, until I got it right.  Of course I didn't want to learn to knit so I could make dishcloths!  I wanted to make sweaters & socks!  I then got some yarn & a pattern & taught myself to make socks.  I had one sock done & was working on the second when I attended my first meeting with the group & saw the hostess who was speechless when she saw me working on my second sock.  Apparently knitting socks is supposed to be difficult.  Well, no one told me so I just jumped right into it!  I made myself at least a dozen pair of hand knit socks which I would wear & save to hand wash all at one time.  One day I was sorting the laundry & apparently not paying attention to what I was doing because the socks ended up in the washing machine along with one of the piles of laundry, then in the dryer, & I ended up with a whole bunch of baby booties.  This kind of bummed me out & I put down my needles & never knitted again until the interest was rekindled last summer at which time I started working on a shawl, had some problems with it & walked away.

Since my cross stitch PTSD continues to prevent me from stitching, last night I decided to start knitting a pair of socks.  I've chosen to start off with a really simple, basic pair of socks to get myself back in the sock knitting saddle again, & so far, so good.

I'm sure I'll be stitching again ... I've actually purchased 3 new charts in the past couple days ... but I apparently need this break, which is fine.  I plan to be around for another 59 years so I should have plenty of time to get everything done   : )  

Monday, February 11, 2013

Kill Me Now

It is quite shocking for me to see that the last time I did a blog post was 10 days ago. Along for the Ride really did a number on me.  If I even walk too close to my stash, I break out in a sweat & start to shake.  I absolutely cannot stitch right now.  My guess is that if I were able to pick up a piece of linen, choose a pattern & threads, & sit down to stitch, I might be able to do it, but the picking/choosing/sitting associated with it all I just haven't been able to do.  I'm sure I will stitch again.  Could be today, could be next week, could be a year from now.  It will happen.

In the meantime, I decided to knit something. There is no way I can just sit at night & do nothing.  I chose to knit a shawl.  I like shawls, & I could really use one when John & I sit out on the front porch & the wind is a bit too cool.  I had some yarn I bought last year so I looked on Ravelry for an uncomplicated shawl pattern.  This is the yarn.

This is the shawl.
Make a mental note of the size of this shawl. The gal who made it indicated that she used 5 skeins of the above yarn brand (different color though) & that she knitted the shawl on size 8 needles.  I had 5 skeins of the yarn & I had size 8 needles.  I eagerly began knitting, picturing how lovely & warm it would be around my shoulders.

This type of yarn is self striping meaning that it makes stripes as you knit with it.  The colorway I used, #250, has several shades of purples, pinks & blues.  I like purples, pinks & blues.  However, after knitting the first skein of yarn & seeing the stripes materialize, I started to hear Cher singing "Gypsies, Tramps & Thieves" in my head & she never shut up.  Although I like these colors, I quickly realized that stripes are not my thing. Despite this realization, I continued to knit deciding that, if nothing else, I could always gift the shawl to someone or maybe even try to sell it.  

I used 40" circular needles so the shawl bunched up as I was knitting it, but this was not unexpected.  Last night I finished knitting the last skein with enough yarn left over to bind off.  This is what I ended up with.
I left my feet in the picture thinking it might give you an idea of the shawl's size.  It would probably be a large, comfortable shawl for a Munchkin.  For normal size people, it's more of a shawlette.  For me, it's like a neckerchief. To say I am disappointed is putting it mildly. I will be the first to admit that I don't possess an extensive knitting knowledge, & I assume it's possible that I need to block & stretch the shawl to make it resemble the one this other gal proudly displayed on her fence in the snow.  It would need to be stretched pretty dang far though   : (

On the bright side, I did learn a few things while knitting this shawl.  On the skills level, I learned to do a cable cast on, a seed stitch, a seed stitch bind off, & how to splice.  On a "know thyself" level, I learned that I never again want to use striping yarns.

I don't know where I'm going to go from here. Try knitting another shawl?  I have plenty of yarns & patterns.  Knitting a pair of socks?  I have plenty of yarns & patterns.  Fingerless mitts?  Again, plenty of yarns & patterns. Cross stitch something?  Doubtful, but then again, who knows.  I'll give it some thought today & let you know what I decide.          

Friday, February 1, 2013

The Breaking Point

I thought it might be a good idea for me to explain what finally caused 9 nights of stitching, unstitching, & restitching to go from a little bit beyond this,
to this.
If you have read my posts chronicling my stitching of this design,


then you know I was standing at a crossroads when I discovered that I had missed stitching an entire row of stitches making up the snowman's body.  Because this error caused the reindeer's antlers to be out of place, I decided to unstitch the snowman & restitch him.  This occurred the evening of January 30.  Here's what happened last night ... the evening of January 31.

1.   Feeling proud of myself for not giving up on this design, I next stitched the reindeer's antlers after which I noticed that I did not quite get the stitches to meet in one area. How that happened is beyond me, but it happened, & I dutifully picked out all the antler stitches & stitched the antlers once again, this time with success.  

2.   The reindeer needed a colonial knot eye. I made the eye but I really wasn't thrilled with it.  However, I decided to leave it as it was as I moved forward with the design.  My thoughts were that I would continue with all the other stitching & if the eye still did not look good to me when that was finished, I would simply redo it.

3.   I next stitched the railings alongside the house.  This was accomplished relatively easily with just one restitch when I discovered upon making the first vertical rail on the left side that I had positioned one of the horizontal rails incorrectly.  An easy fix, & I thought the finished stitching of both rails looked quite nice.

4.   There was a particular reason that caused me to purchase this chart.  It was not the snowman, nor was it the general look of the design itself.  What prompted me to purchase this chart was the inclusion of the 2 cows in front of the house.  In the past I had a love affair with cows.  I had cow things everywhere.  I still have a soft spot for cows & I thought how wonderful it was to have these 2 little cows in this design! Imagine my disappointment when I discovered they were sheep ... & not simple cross stitched sheep, mind you.  No, they were sheep made with upteen colonial knots ... that hellish contribution to the stitching world from satan himself.  However, by this time I felt rather feisty & decided to give them a go.  I made several attempts knotting the sheep on the right until I got the knots to look sort of nice all bunched together. (There must be a secret to bunching up knots but I don't give a care what it might be because I am never going to try to bunch them again.) I actually completed knotting that first sheep & it sort of looked okay, but I wasn't sure.  Also, I made a knot or two before the last one which looked rather wonky.  I wasn't happy with this but was it worth cutting out all the other knots & starting again?  I tried to fix it by sort of pulling it down into the mass of other knots & it looked a little better, but not much.  Like the reindeer's eye, I decided that I would decide what to do about it if it was still bothering me after I completed the rest of the stitching.  I then moved on to knotting sheep #2.

5.  The knotting of sheep #2 was not going well at all.  Sometimes the knots looked okay, sometimes not, but no matter how many times I tried knotting that sheep, it looked bad.  It was at this point that I decided it was time to give up on having knotted sheep. I cut out the knots made on sheep #2 & then went back to sheep #1 & cut out those knots as well.  I decided I would just stitch the sheep with cross stitches & try to get them to look more like cows which, as already stated above, I thought they were in the first place.

6.  I cross stitched the cow on the left, added the legs & then the ears.  Now here's a pet peeve of mine.  Okay, one of my pet peeves.  Why do designers want you to make a half cross stitch on top of an already completed cross stitch?  It always splits the 2 threads of the top of the cross in two, & sometimes the bottom 2 threads as well, & it looks really sloppy & stupid.  This is how  the designer of this chart designed the placement of the sheeps' (now cows') ears. After trying a time or two to follow the designer's ear stitch placement, even though I knew what the outcome would be, I adjusted the placement of the ears but they still did not look good.  In fact, after completing the ears on the cow on the left, its head look more like the head of an elephant with a skinny ear pointing up at the top & a skinny trunk hanging down.  Once again I thought "maybe this will grow on me" & I decided to start stitching cow #2.  

7.   As I began stitching cow #2, I thought maybe these 2 critters would look more cow like if I stitched a tail on them.  At this point I had stitched the top row of cross stitches on this cow & I decided to stitch her ears right away rather than waiting to add them when I was done stitching her body as I had done with cow #1.  However, I could not for the life of me get this cow's bottom ear to lay nicely.  

It was at this point that an immense loathing of this design sprang up in me.  Initially I thought it was a nice design, even when I discovered the cows were sheep & even when I discovered the designer had included well over 70 colonial knots.  But at this point in time ... after 9 nights of stitching, unstitching, & restitching ... I knew I would never want to look at this design again, even if I were to complete it to my satisfaction.  I sat there in my recliner, stitching in hand, grabbed my scissors, & did this.
However, it wasn't enough ... it wasn't enough at all ... &, well, you know the rest.  
I think I may have stitching PTSD after this experience.  I have a file full of HE designs but I fear I may never be able to stitch any of them.  The joy of stitching anything has actually escaped me for the moment.  I'm sure I'll stitch again.  However, I will take a very careful look at any charts I have, & if this, or any other designer, includes these stupid half cross stitches on top of already completed cross stitches, or more than a few colonial knots, that chart will immediately go in my sale/trade pile.