Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Weekend Update - Warm Hearts

Last week I talked about what's been going on with me health wise...

... Therapy means I work those muscles and tissues juuuuust to the point of being worked and not painful.  But it definitely reduces my desire to work with my hands.

I continue to get great information and suggestions from my therapy team and have hit the maximum benefit of my Remicade treatment just in time to spend time with the grandkids this weekend.

But you know me right?  While I might have slowed down crafting wise, I always fall back on certain project types.

In  particular, I like to lean on reaching our to other people by making hats and scarves for homeless veterans, or shawls for local hospice and prayer shawl ministries.

This cozy shawl has a very straightforward stitch pattern making it easy to do even when I'm feeling tired.  It's Michele DuNaier's Lady Edith's Comfort Shawl.  Michele is one of my favorite shawl designers because she does *all* the math.  Her patterns often include specific instructions on how to customize to your taste.

The dense edging adds weight to the fabric which will give it "swing" and help it stay in place.

This is especially nice for someone who it bed ridden or in a chair most of the day.  I know it will give comfort to the recipient as much as it did me in the making!  It is aptly named.

The other thing that comforts me is my family, kids and grandkids.  When we went to Zoolights, Grandson #2 reminded me that he has the biggest beanie collection of anyone, and he does!  I know I can count on him to love anything... but it reminded me that his younger cousins are of the age when characters they recognize are part of the fun. So I turned my attention to Christmas hats!

First, the most famous reindeer of all! 

Using this photo as inspiration, I used my Built for Speed beanie pattern as a base, adding the details that give it character.

You can read more on my Ravelry project page.

Grandson #4 seems to like it!

Ok, he probably likes that big hug from his Mama, but maybe he's thinking she just looks so cute in the Santa Hat?

Next is Frosty the Snowman.

This is the photo I used to design the features, again using Built for Speed beanie in white, with 2 rows of red for his scarf.

You can find more details on my Ravelry project page.

Grandson #3 like Frosty best... and even wore it to school the next day.

He spent the rest of our visit singing!

You'll have noticed the Santa hat by now, and that was part of the trio.  Simple box hat worked to the same number of stitches as the other two by working both sides of the foundation chain in the round.

All three are made to adult size so anyone in the family can wear them... hopefully year after year.

These projects have warmed my heart in the making and giving, and they will certainly warm the hearts of the recipients... and hopefully yours too. 

Til next time... if you ever feel like retreating into yourself, try reaching out to others.  It works for me!

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Weekend Update - Best Laid Plans

What day is it again? 

Welcome to the wonderful world of "flare-ups"... all of a sudden, all you can do is hang on for the ride and wait for it to pass.

All you can do is focus on *TODAY*...

... and if you survive today you get to do it all over again tomorrow - when it becomes the next today.

It happens to us all!  For me, my shoulder injury added an extra layer of SO NOT FUN. 

The possibility of shoulder surgery meant I had to cancel my Remicade infusion for Psoriatic Arthritis (because of the possible increased risk of post surgical infection).  Taking Tylenol #3 meant stopping the methotrexate for Psoriatic Arthritis because while they are both useful, they are both toxic to the liver. 

So along with the pain that comes from two large rotator cuff tears and neuropathy that leaves my entire arm feeling like it's on fire... I got to anticipate the PsA flare that was inevitable by postponing treatment. When the meds wear off, my fingers and toes feel like I broke them by slamming them in a door.  I have to watch helplessly as in a matter of days, the bone in my fingers are visibly and irrepairably damaged 'pencil in cup' style. That's in addition to the enthesitis...

Those who know my history know that a mild case of Spastic Diplegia (Cerebral Palsy) basically means I walk a bit funny, trip up a lot, and my feet and calves are constantly cramping (like 24/7 plantar fasciitis with a bonus 24/7 charlie horse).  Adding enthesitis of the heel to that combination is indescribably uncomfortable, and I only use those words because I can't think of any more accurate.

That said, since the orthopedic surgeon recommended physical therapy first to help determine how much of my pain is really from the tear and how much is actually from nerves compressed in my neck, I was able to get a Remicade treatment in (it's like magic!), and those symptoms are fading away.  I see the spine/pain doc later this month for another consult, and in the meantime my PT team has managed authorization of a TENS unit at home, which helps with shoulder pain.

The positives in the last few weeks allowed the flare to pass, and me to spend a lot of time hanging out with my grandkids - that makes managing the rest worth the effort it takes to manage.  I am one happy Gramma!

But where's the crochet right?  LOL 

Here's what has been off the hook...

I decided the simple repeat in Elisa Purnell's Tunisian Ripple Scarf was perfect. I added a repeat and used Tunisian knit stitch instead of simple stitch.  While working in lace yarn had it's moments, I love the drape!

The yarn is Miss Babs Mulberry Silk in the Biker Chick colorway.  If Santa is listening... Miss Babs Mulberry Silk is extremely high on my list of favorite yarns.  Although Miss Babs Wild Silk is pretty high up there too.

Speaking of cool yarns... I had 165 yards of Sirius Surprise handspun leftover after making a shawl.  I used it for Heidi May's slouchy Cade Cap!

Apparently, you can also tell I am a huge geek by peeking over my shoulder to Maleficent, a Quibbler, TARDIS, Merida and my Spectraspecs hanging on my Alex Kingston (River Song) autograph on my Shelf of Good Things.  Haha!

Last but not least, I dug into Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer Crochet by Kati Galusz.

It seemed obvious to start with these two beloved characters, but I will be making my way through the rest of the book as time goes on.

It's amazing what you can do when you focus on *today*.

Til next time...

Merry Christmas!