Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Thank you

Carrie (daughter) here.

Dear Readers of Panhandle Portals,

If you weren't following Caring Bridge during my mother's health saga, things did not go well. In addition to the stage 4 metastatic colon cancer that was diagnosed, she developed a series of complications from surgery, followed by heart problems, followed by more complications, followed by another surgery, followed by more complications. She passed away on June 4 very peacefully in hospice, and for that peace, we are so grateful.

I've spent the last several months unpacking boxes (not finished yet by any means!), getting the old house on the market, and lately, porting this blog into a book as a keepsake for my dad, my brother and me, and the granddaughters.

What a blessing you readers were to her. Whether you commented or not, she viewed her blog as a form of therapy, much like her fiber crafts, and that is because of her readers. Thank you for the time you took reading her writing, and to those of you with whom she interacted on Ravelry, etc.

We feel that we lost her far too young, but we are so thankful that she is Home, and we look forward to seeing her again.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Complications

Carrie (daughter) here:

Dad's surgery and recovery went well.

Mom's surgery went well, but after going home, she had a complication. She is in ICU being treated for an intestinal infection/abscess, along with atrial fibrillation. She's had a really rough few weeks and could use your prayers!

Updates are here: http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/terricox

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

When You Can’t Knit. . . .

I have hesitated about writing this post for a few days, but I need to write it. Sock knitting is in hiatus for me right now.  The mental part of it is more than I can handle.

I usually regard knitting as therapy for practically anything, and I’ve certainly done, my share of it in hospital rooms and other high stress situations over the years.

My husband has had a couple of surgeries for basal cell skin cancer in the last two weeks.  Both involved problem areas of the face and nose.  He is in fine shape, and the fairly new surgical technique promises the hope that there won’t have to be further surgery, but some reconstruction was necessary.  Right now he has a black eye, enormous nose bandage, and swollen right half of his face.  But he’s ok.

A few weeks ago I had a rather nasty intestinal infection that necessitated some testing and a round of rather strong antibiotics.  Recovery felt very slow.  I also had a colonoscopy/upper GI last Friday.  Results—upper GI—everything fine;  colonoscopy—cancer.  I am scheduled for surgery this coming Friday morning.  Both the gastroenterologist and the surgeon agree on the procedure necessary.  I should escape a colostomy, and the surgery should be able to be done through a scope, reducing recovery time and the risk of infection.  However, the rest of “what to do” will have to wait on a check of the lymph nodes.  Prayers and kind thoughts will be much appreciated.  I am blessed to have such a wonderful husband and children and grandchildren at a time like this.  And blessed by friends and family in the physical and internet worlds.

Just so you know that fiber therapy has not failed me, I got out the knitting loom, and I’ve been making hats from stash for this charity project on Craft Hope.

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Monday, April 01, 2013

Comparison

First of all, let me say that my hubby’s first surgery, instead of lasting off and on all day, lasted an inch of sock ribbing and one pattern repeat.  The biggest part will be next Monday, but he is feeling less apprehensive since this went well.
Here are comparison pictures of one of the socks I frogged and the new sock that I began today.  I felt this first sock just did not show off the beauty of the yarn, or, for that matter, the knitting pattern:
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I decided to switch to a modification of the Lacy Mock Cable Socks pattern.  I have a solid gray pair that I’ve worn for a few years, and they are favorites because the elasticity of the pattern keeps them fitting well.  I think this pattern will show off the yarn’s color changes and intensity much better, and the texture will add that little bit extra.
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Miscellany—After two beautiful warm days, we have had a cold front come in, and we are in for a few chilly ones.  It’s supposed to be warm again by Friday. 
This afternoon, they poured the concrete footings for the house being built next door.

Extra knitting note--Another couple was in the waiting room this morning.  The husband was also having surgery.  The wife, who looked far more sophisticated than I, opened her large bag and took out a round knitting loom, hook, and yarn.  My husband immediately asked her if she was making a hat.  She said yes, that the hats were for charity, but she didn't know what charity or where they went.  She referred to a convention that they attend each year.  She and her husband, who also makes hats, take them to the convention and then they are sent somewhere.  They have over 100 ready to go for the next convention.  She asked what I was making, and I told her a sock.  A little later, when both of our men were in surgery, I told her that some of the hats I've knitted for charity require hand-knitted hats done on needles, but that I also knit with a loom to make some hats for a local children's charity.  She seemed to be rather offended that I referred to knitting on a loom, and told me that she did NOT knit--she used a hat maker.  I shut up about knitting and we discussed what was on the tv news in the waiting room.  

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Happy Easter!

With the celebration of the Resurrection comes the celebration of spring.

Here, on the newly green grass, is the first finished project of spring, the Tidal Wave Socks:

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They are quite springy looking.  I tried a picture using them as leaves in a tree, but the pattern didn’t show up well enough.  The pattern is the Tidal Waves Socks, available through Ravelry.  The yarn is Fleece Artist that I bought several years ago.

I have moved on to another UFO.  This time, I found some really nice Claudia Handpainted yarn that I had begun twice.  I had two partially finished first socks in different patterns.  Looking at them, I didn’t like either pattern.  The yarn and the patterns fought and neither showed to advantage.  I frogged both just before lunch today, and I’m beginning again.

My hubby is having some surgery tomorrow—basal cell skin cancer.  It’s not really serious, but it will involve time because they will be testing between steps to see what else they need to do.  I decided I definitely need knitting for the waiting.  Please keep us in your thoughts and prayers. 

Friday, March 29, 2013

Thursday Excitement

First of all, any day that includes turning a heel has a little bit of thrill in it.  I keep promising myself I will learn the toe up technique for knitting socks, but I get such a thrill out of the heel turn that I hate to give it up.  Isn’t that kind of silly?

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Yesterday was also a mostly spring-like day.  The early breeze was a little chilly, but compared to the day before, it was balmy.  By afternoon, things were great.

The new trees, planted in the late fall, are showing their first blooms, proving that they made it through a rather hard winter.  (My son pointed out that I also got a great shot of the construction workers privy.)

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And, the porch rockers arrived.  These are plastic, but they are like one my daughter has that is very comfortable and quite sturdy.  I wanted a dark color because I thought white would be too much contrast for our house and porch.  I do plan to make a couple of inexpensive throw pillows that can be replaced if they are damaged or become stolen.  These were that sort of slide-together design that is used on much of the preschool play equipment.  The first one went together easily, which is surprising because it did not include instructions.  I slid it together myself.  The second one, however, required both my husband and I pounding it up and down on the floor to get the bits to slide into place.  They are, however, just as comfy as I hoped, and I think they will look fine even though they are a little more modern in design than I would have liked.  My heart visualizes the kind of wicker my grandmother had when I was a very little girl, but I don’t want to deal with the maintenance or the expense.  In the picture, you can see the flowerbeds that are ready for spring.  We are still having hard freezes at night, so I’m determined not to plant until after April 15.

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Our back patio has a nice set of table and chairs that we brought with us and a chiminea that our son gave us for Christmas.  With shade on the east and west, we should be all set to follow the sun or shade to have some outdoor time.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

More than One Kind of Yarn

I failed to photograph the lovely yarn bowl my daughter’s family gave me last year.  It works beautifully.  When we moved, I carefully packed it in the middle of a tote of yarn, but I have not used it since moving because I had to go through stash to find the right tote.  I realize the green yarn in the photo and the Grandma cup from the other granddaughter make this look like some weird seaweed meal.

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Now for the other kind of “yarn.”  In, I think, 2007 because it was after I learned to knit socks and before I got on Ravelry, I began a pair of socks.  If I remember correctly, I was just learning magic loop and this was also one of my first projects using a chart.  I struggled a little.  I am not usually prone to second sock syndrome, but something interrupted progress, and I stuffed the yarn and the completed first sock, which is Fleece Artist, into a drawer and forgot about it.  I found them again when I packed for the move and dumped them into a tote.  Unfortunately, I had no record of what the pattern was.  I am in need of new handknit socks because some of my others are getting really worn out.  Yesterday I came across what could become a pair by only knitting one sock.  I stared at the completed sock, decided the pattern reminded me of some of the socks by Sockbug, and searched on Ravelry and the internet.  No luck.  I finally gave up, printed up another pattern that I like, and decided to knit a second sock and then frog and reknit number one.

However, before settling in for a warm knit, I remembered that we had not gotten the mail in the last two days because all the construction vehicles were parked along the street.  I was not even sure the mailman would have delivered if he had to get out of his vehicle to get to our curbside mailbox.  It was cold and windy and dusty, and I was jumpy after all the heavy equipment vibration from the machine that was packing the earth for the construction next door, so I took the lazy way to checking the mail-- getting in the car in the nice warm garage and driving around the block and pulling up at the mailbox.  With the gusty north wind, it was still a chore getting the mail without losing any of it.  I then drove on around the block to turn in at the alley entrance.  Just as I reached the corner, the word “wave” popped into my head.  I immediately realized it had something to do with those socks.  I ran back inside, searched for “wave socks” on Ravelry, and there it was—the pattern for the Tidal Wave Socks, originally designed for Tofutsie.  The picture confirmed that the pattern was correct.  Isn’t it funny how your brain can pull out the answer when you quit thinking about it?

And, yes, I realize that I could have studied the original sock and probably have deciphered such a basic pattern, but I am in the mood for some easy knitting right now.  I did some television watching, and finished the ribbing and two repetitions of the pattern.  My chart reading is much better than it was, so the pattern was memorized, and I was reading the knitting in nothing flat this time around.