New (Quarantine) Project

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Dahlia Cactus hexagon in Scheepjes 'Spirit', colour way 311 - Butterfly. The first of 10.

Dahlia Cactus hexagon in Scheepjes ‘Spirit’, colour way 311 – Butterfly. 1 of 10.

No, I’m not actually sick and a lockdown is not the same as a quarantine but as the first 2 weeks of the lockdown came to an end I was starting to feel a little frustrated. I don’t go out much anyway but I’ve never done well with being told I can’t do something. Plus, my dogs are loud and sometimes I just want to get drive-thru to get out of the house. Can’t do that when everything is closed. (I have absolutely no issues with the lockdown itself. Public safety and well-being is so important and COVID-19 is largely avoidable. Though the response was a little later than it could have been in some ways, I think the UK government has and continues to do a good job. Also, with high blood pressure, I am in a higher risk group so, yeah. I’m staying in, thanks.)

Anyway, 2 weeks in and I was starting to feel the effects of cabin fever so I went to the Deramores website to look at all the pretty yarn. I wasn’t actually sure they were still trading but was also looking at yarns for a shawl for my mother (more about that in a later post). Whether they were still selling or not, it’s eye-candy and it pleases me. But they are still selling (though their usual 2-3 day delivery is slowed to 7-10 days), which means yarn was bought. The yarn pack I bought was for a ‘Tiny Garden‘ blanket (designed by Rachele Carmona – find it on Ravelry) made using crochet hexagons in Scheepjes ‘Spirit’ yarn (cotton/acrylic so no allergic reactions for me!)

Scheepjes yarn is quickly becoming a new favourite of mine. I’ve used several of their yarns now and they are always lovely. I am finding the slight halo on this particular yarn a bit frustrating though because as I pull yarn to work with from the centre, it catches against itself and the fluffy bits sort of felt together. They pull apart fairly easily but it’s a bit of a nuisance. As I use the yarn, this seems to be less of an issue. I guess that with the lower density in the middle of the ball there is less friction on the strands.

I’m calling this a Quarantine Project instead of a Lockdown Project because I’m going to attempt to finish it in forty days. 82 full hexagons, 12 half-hexagons, 16 small triangles and fitting it all together. The biggest distraction I face is World of Warcraft but given that the hexagons take about 30-60 minutes to complete (depending on stitch complexity and my general attention span), getting a few done every day won’t be a strain.

(I’ve read through this twice now and I *think* it’s coherent. The fact that I’m not entirely sure of that shows just how short my attention span is and how poorly my brain is doing with being forced to stay home. Please let me know if it’s nonsensical so I can fix it :))

NB: I am not affiliated with the pattern designers, yarn company or Deramores. I earn no money or payment of any kind for this post.

For the betterment of my mind

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Three months is a long time to spend in hospital and it messes with your head. Since coming home in January, I have faced a deeper type of depression than ever before as I try to reestablish myself. I will likely always be susceptible to pain in my abdomen from the damage my pancreas took. I will likely always live with the fear of the return of the indescribable pain that sent me back to the hospital. But in the more immediate future I am dealing with the frustration of waiting for my gall bladder to be removed. I have heard nothing from the doctors since February, despite my efforts to the contrary and this is amping up the fear that I will end up in hospital again with the same problem. It also means that despite increasing discomfort in my back, I won’t be going to the osteopath to get it sorted (it was immediately after my last appointment that this all started and though I’m not saying the treatment was the cause, I do worry that it shifted something that acted as a catalyst).

Logically, I know that I’m giving this all too much space in my head but emotionally… well, it’s not great. I find myself staring for hours at blank walls on bad days and there are more of those than ever. I find that often, any positive event is followed by a disproportionately low period. My ability to focus and concentrate is sporadic and very short. And worst of all, I find it difficult to enjoy my crafting in the same way which takes away most of my personal productivity.

I’m working with a therapist on CBT but I’m not sure, in fact I’m fairly certain that now is not the best time for this. I am already vulnerable and unsettled, and the trigger is something that I cannot resolve on my own.

I don’t know where I’m going with all of this, or even what it all means but I’m hoping that venting here will help me some.

I have a new long-term project. A friend in my knitting group showed us a crocheted blanket she was working on and my friend G and I decided to get the kit and make our own. She’ll need some crochet lessons but it’s a simple pattern repeated several times on every row so the paper pattern is really only needed for the colour order. It’s this pattern/kit by Attic24 (I have no affiliation with Wool Warehouse but can tell you that my order with them was a smooth transaction and arrived quickly).

I’m 2 rows in but have crocheted as much as three – I missed a stitch at the beginning of the first row but didn’t notice until I’d reached the end and I’m enjoying it a lot more than I expected to. 200 stitches is a lot more than I usually work with.

Things I’m trying to do to regain some control over my scatter brain :

* daily journal/planner that allows me to record mood, craft/education, tasks, cleaning and eating/medication.

* limiting the number of projects I work on for any given craft. For example, in my work bag I have 1 knitted shawl (Solar Flare), 1 knitting design (a headband and it’s variations), 1 art therapy colouring page, 1 large crochet project (ripple blanket). This is enough to keep me entertained and give me some choices but doesn’t overwhelm me (and some days, just choosing which coloured pencil to use is too much).

* going to therapy

* going to my knitting groups

* spending time with my friends outside those groups.

It probably looks like a pretty regular sort of plan to most of you. It’s a lot of hard work for me. Trying to rein in my attention is exhausting.

Day 194

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Didn’t feel like knitting but as with praying, it’s when you least feel like doing it that you are most in need of doing it. I have been struggling since coming home from the hospital with being on my own. This shows in many ways but one of the most blatant is my withdrawal from crafting.

That being said, I can offer no visual proof of actually knitting my trapezoid tonight because the battery on my phone has finally given up and is refusing to charge. And so, I am without a camera.

Tonight is Melissa Etheridge for no other reasons than that I love this song and her voice is incredible.

Day 193

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And I’m exhausted. Visitors have returned from whence they came, my house is somehow cleaner than when they arrived and I have a cold because both my husband and my visiting son brought one into the house this week. I hate having a cold. You aren’t really sick but you feel like crud. The sinus headache is the worst part for me.

Got my knitting done though and added another section to my husbands Doctor Who scarf. I have 9 days. I may yet get it done…. maybe.

I have 3 days left of the current blanket plan. Can you believe I’ve been working on this for so many days? Me neither.

day 193

I really, really, need to sew the ends in though. Every piece has 2 ends so right now I have 386 ends to sew in. Putting in a couple of hours a day will have it done in a week, I just have to convince myself to do it and I can’t watch tv while I do it because I have to concentrate and watch what I’m doing, which is why it hasn’t been done yet.

It is very gratifying to see others using this technique after seeing the blanket and asking how it works. One of my fellow knitters has made a blanket out of large squares big enough for a single bed and is now using up odds and ends of baby yarn to make a blanket with mitred-squares for a neighbours baby. This is why knitting groups are making a comeback, as much as the social aspect. I know that there is often very little knitting actually happening at my knitting groups but there is often discussion of projects or techniques or yarns. Or worse, the showing of completed projects that lead to adding new projects to the ‘I need to make this’ list.

I have an unhealthy love of catchy pop tunes (there’s a lot of ABBA in my childhood) and this one is one I love the lyrics and the video. She’s got fans doing the dance! It’s a dance I have managed to resist actually learning but there are many I haven’t resisted. I love to dance even though usually my moves are more Molly Ringwald in ‘The Breakfast Club’ than Pussycat Dolls (and given my size, that’s probably not a bad thing).

Anyway, music is a Thing The Brings Me Joy and ‘What doesn’t kill you (makes you stronger)’ by Kelly Clarkson is on that list.

Day 192

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Photo catch-up!

Grey trapezoid was day 190, red square was yesterday (day 191), and the pink trapezoid is today.

day 190-192

I almost forgot this again today. I have been enjoying the company of my son and mother-in-law and working on my husband’s birthday present. There’s a lot going on this weekend.

I’m trying to think of things that aren’t my mental health or this blanket to write about. One of the things I was considering, other than the discussions promised at the beginning of this blog, was how to correct your gauge, and why it works the way it does. Is anyone interested in this?

Looking back over the last 2 weeks of posts, it is glaringly obvious that my music tastes are somewhat eclectic. It gets worse today. Not sorry 😉

This piece is very appropriately called ‘The Typewriter’ and I first heard it as part of a collection called ‘Wagner’s Rinse Cycle’. It was a collection of ‘musical oddities’ – songs played on obscure or improvised instruments, songs that are meowed instead of sung – pieces that are singular in the musical world for one reason or another. You’ll see why this one was included immediately.

I’m particularly fond of them ‘tuning’ the typewriter to the orchestra.

 

Day 190

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Too tired to muck about with photos today but rest assured that the knitting was in fact done. The other trapezoid was added around yesterdays small square. It is in considerably fewer shades of grey than that literary affront.

Straight onto the song today because it’s live Led Zeppelin with the very awesome ‘Kashmir’ – another of those songs that gives me happy shivers, particularly live versions. Also, I love Robert Plant’s hair! And his voice and the sound they achieve with this very complex piece of music. I love it when rock bands show their talent goes beyond being loud.

Day 189

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I’m feeling really tired this evening. I’ve been struggling with pain for the last couple of days. The doctors did warn me that even though the pancreatitis is resolved, I may never be completely rid of the pain. It’s still not serious but it is uncomfortable and sits at the same place on my torso as my bra so you can imagine how a restrictive elastic band exacerbates the situation.

Still, it’s so much better than when I was in the hospital. I was on regular, strong pain medication and not having access to it via IV was one of my most worrying thoughts after I left the hospital. I have been very blessed to not need it and to have paracetamol and buscopan be all I need when pain does flare up.

I got a few more rows of my husbands very belated Dr Who scarf. It was meant to be for Christmas 2 years ago. I have only a quarter of it to go and yes it is like the multi coloured one that Tom Baker wore and is now an iconic part of Who lore. His birthday is in a couple of weeks and I really want to get it finished for him. I know I can get the knitting done but I’m not sure about getting all of the finishing done. There are a lot of ends to sew in because I love knitting but kinda hate sewing in ends. This is not a problem I alone experience.

Lots of knitters have a stack of WiP’s (works in progress) and UFO’s (unfinished objects), and most of those are only unfinished because they need assembling. Finishing a project and making it look good takes concentration that many of us can infrequently force ourselves to gather. Personally, I need to stick to my resolution to finish 2 items completely before starting something new. It’s easier to do when I don’t spend time on Ravelry where there are 10’s of new patterns daily.

And of course the meditation blanket cures me of some of that Startitis because it lets me start a new item each day. And today’s cure is mostly in pink and purple.

Day 189

 

Judy Garland was lost to the world in 1969, due in large part to mental ill-health. Much like Robin Williams though, she is not remembered for that but for being an incredible talent. Did you know that they wanted Shirley Temple for the role of Dorothy? You can’t imagine it, can you?

Here Judy is in 1950 from the movie ‘Summer Stock’ which also starred Gene Kelly.