Friday, April 28, 2006

More stress

I had written about 75% of a post about knitting, but my little boy had two more seizures today. Knitting was a very soothing thing to do at the hospital but I don't really feel like talking about it now. He is alright; these seizures were scary but not nearly as bad as his first, where I really was afraid he was dying. We decided to put him on the long term medications to (hopefully) prevent any more and keep his brain from getting in the habit of these electrical storms. I'll write more later.

Monday, April 24, 2006


The monkey has spent this past week healthy and seizure free. After the drugs completely wore off (it took until Wednesday) he has been the same normal kid he has always been. The one difference I've noticed is that his sleep patterns have really been thrown off schedule by the electrical storm in his brain. He hasn't taken a nap since, and his night sleeping is all screwy too. He woke up hourly with dreams for the first several days, which was only partly why I ended up sleeping on his floor so frequently. Maybe things are getting back to normal though. While he went to bed at 9pm last night and got up at 7am, he was pretty grouchy and went back to bed after some snuggling and an aborted attempt at breakfast.
Incidentally, in case anyone is here because they are searching for information about seizures. Sister #1 sent me this link recommended to her by a Neurologist she knows and the information has been extremely comforting. It starts out acknowledging your fears but follows quickly with "Knowledge is an antidote to fear," which I really learned working for years in a hospital. It has good advice and nice hard numbers, which I find comforting.

As promised quite a while ago, here is my latest project that was started and finished before even getting a mention here. Friday night Marc and I had a ROTC formal dinner and I wanted something interesting to wear. Mom* and I went shopping at Soul Spun and picked out a delicious skein of Mango Moon recycled silk. Amazingly beautiful stuff that was a lot more fancy than I would usually use. I knit it with some black #3 crochet cotton to unify the colors a bit more and keep it from being too bright. I used the Anthropologie Inspired Caplet pattern from Craftster, a pattern I've used before. It knit up beautifully.


It stretched hugely bad across the back. So much that by the end of the evening I was having a hard time keeping it on my shoulders. Now, this might very well be my fault. It took forever to dry after blocking, so long in fact that I had to throw it on wet to go (I really had no choice with the dress I was wearing under it. Imagine a strapless dress without a strapless bra; it was the shrugs job to hide that particular sin.) It started the evening fitting perfectly but as it dried on me (and under the air conditioning, burr) it relaxed a great deal. Is this my fault for wearing it wet? Will a good blocking fix everything? Or should I just frog the damn thing and try again, several inches less wide in the back.

*My mom loves to look at yarn and offers really good advice about patterns and yarn choices but I can not get her to learn to knit for anything. Seriously, I offer to teach her every single time we are together.

Thursday, April 20, 2006


It has taken me quite a few days to update because we've been pretty busy with some very scary stuff. Over the weekend I intended on writing about another knitting project started (now a finished object) but that will have to wait for another day.
Sunday morning Marc, the monkey, and I headed over to grandma's for some Easter fun. The monkey hurried down into the basement to play with the drums while I put some stuff in the fridge. Less than a minute later I followed him downstairs. This is where my life fell apart. I found him in the corner of the room, face down, having a seizure. I picked him up and, remarkably, started checking his ABCs on autopilot while apparently screaming for Marc. I must have told someone to call 911 but don't remember that; I do remember yelling and possibly swearing at Marc's mom that he was having a seizure not choking. Sandy City Fire Department arrived remarkably quickly and loaded my poor unconscious little guy into the fire truck to zip off to Primary Children's. After a couple checkups, blood tests and a CT scan we were informed that a small percentage of children will have one freak seizure incident and much relieved, we were sent home.
Two blocks later in the car he had his second seizure.
This one gets him admitted to the hospital for observation and bumps him up on the schedule for an EEG and MRI in the morning. He gets a spinal tap to check for meningitis and other scary things. Six hours after his first seizure he has his third in Marc's arms, which was really upsetting to the poor guy. Doctors and nurses were in the room in mere seconds, he was given some meds to stop the seizure and knock him out, and we were sent upstairs to the Neurology ICU.
For those of you who are shaking as much as I am right now I will let you know that the story gets better from here. He was given some anti-seizure meds which prevented him from having another one that night. He fell asleep right on schedule for the EEG (you get the best readings when the patient is sleeping). He was even good when they had to move his IV twice. Test after test came back negative. It is initially easy to think "crap, all these tests and still on reason for the seizures?" But this is actually good; when they find a reason for seizures it is something really scary, like brain tumors. About 80% of tumors never have a diagnosed reason. Over 90% are freak things that never reoccur.
We were given the option of putting the monkey on long term anti-seizure medications, but those are not without their serious side effects. When a child starts having seizures, long term treatment consists of medications for between a year and a half and two years. The point of this is to keep the brain from learning how to have a seizure and getting in the habit. After two years the brain will usually have forgotten. After very careful consideration we decided not to put him on the long term drugs. While he did have three seizures rather quickly each individual seizure was only 1 to 2 minutes long, and there is not a lot of indication that he will have another one. We also live less than two miles from the hospital so we could get there quickly in an emergency. We did opt to receive several doses of medications to give him in case one came along that lasted more than three minutes. Were he to have another seizure we would probably put him on the long term meds.
While this was definitely the worst Easter I've ever had, not everything about our experiences was bad. Marc posted a message for me on Glitter and immediately there were messages and calls pouring in offering support, prayers and love. It was extremely comforting in the hospital to get online on my cell phone and read the messages people posted for me. I can not say enough about the staff at Primary Children's Medical Center. I worked in hospitals for years and was still impressed with the level of care provided and the overall kindness of everyone we met. This experience has really given me the chance to see how very loving near strangers can be, and has raised my opinion of the world in general. Thank you.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

sock yarn

Hurray! Today my Knitpicks yarn arrived, so I can start my first pair of socks. Ok, not the first pair, I have made a couple socks out of big chunky wool but those are really more slippers than socks. But I do (hopefully) have an idea of how the technique works. The blue striped are for mothers day and the raspberry for #1 sisters birthday.

Since everyone has been flashing their stash this month, this is it. The entirety of my stash, minus a dozen tiny balls of leftover project yarn. And that horrible free eyelash crap.

I yesterday I wound up the entire mile of lace yarn for the Shetland shawl and started knitting. I'm so glad to be working on a project right now. Whipping out a half dozen Warm Up America squares while helpful, is honestly not that compelling. It helps that the yarn dyed up beautifully after layer upon layer of coffee and other. It is just about the size where any later photos will be a big lacy mess, so one last photo until I've got a finished object. That should be in what, two, three years?

And one last photo because I'm a momma most of all:

Monday, April 10, 2006

Houseguests and the pervading smell of coffee

Houseguests are exhausting. Even when you love them. Even when they play with your kid. Even when they buy you groceries. It is still hard work to be off your routine.

I did get my yarn dyed today though. I ran through an entire four ounce jar of instant coffee, mixing it thick enough to get a caffeine buzz through breathing the vapors. It took a number of times to get it right, as what I wanted changed slightly with each progressively darker swim, but I finished with something I am quite happy with that smells only slightly of coffee and black cherry Kool-Aid. Very pretty with the great subtle color variegation you get when you do it yourself. As soon as it dries I'll start the shawl.

This weekend I spent quite a bit of time tatting another snowflake, only this one is much larger (probably will be 8" across if I ever finish it). And I realized that, while it is very beautiful, tatting is just not that satisfying for me. It takes a long time to see any progress. And once you are finished, yipee, you have a doily. Ours is not a home where we really have that much call for doilies. I would much rather knit my monkey a sweater, or Marc a hat, or something useful. Even the lace shawl I've been talking about for so long will be more practical, I wear my one shawl all the time. I'm quite happy to have tried tatting though. But I will probably put up the tatting for awhile, until it better suits me.

It is a real shame that tatting is not a better fit though, I loved that a project can fit in my pocket to be worked on anywhere.

Friday, April 07, 2006


The monkey also had a difficult time sleeping last night, and I ended up sacked out on his floor wrapped in the blankets that everyone gave him when he was born. Thanks a million, assorted relatives! It was really cold last night and the heat was off. So he has been in a grump since he got up, as one is ought to do after waking up at least 5 times. Tired of his wining, I wrapped him in my shawl and we snuggled on the couch for a little PBS. Hurray! That cheered him up immensely. He is still wrapped in the shawl, just running around and looking silly now.
This shawl is something I had wanted for a long time. I learned to knit when I was 5 but have never done a big project before. Mostly hats, doll blankets, scarves, and about a million squares for Warm Up America. Also a bunch of golf club covers of my own blocky design. But this shawl was my first big project for myself. It is knit with this Malwart acrylic faux-mohair on big huge size 17 needles (this is before I learned that there is more to knitting lace than using bigger needles.) It is a little oddly shaped, with knots tied in the ends to take up a little length and add weight to create good drape. Technique and materials-wise it is nothing special. And I love it. And wrapping my little boy in it when he's not feeling great makes me feel wonderful.

Not sleeping

Once again I sit here at the computer, typing away instead of getting the sleep that I really need. It's not that I'm madly updating for my legions of fans, I just don't seem to sleep anymore. I'm tired, but that is just not good enough for me it seems. Last night I was up until at least 3am, and got up at 7. This really sucks.

Not much in the way of knitting/otherwise crafting happened today. I did spend a lot of time playing with the monkey though, hopefully making up for the boredom of another play indoors day. I also spent a lot of time cleaning silly little things that individually no one will ever notice (want to come look behind my fridge? Because it looks FANTASTIC) but I think they contribute to the global cleanliness of my apartment. You know the stuff: not just vacuuming but pulling out furniture and using the crevice tool to edge the place too, washing all your silverware and the rubbermaid thing you keep them in, shuffling around five thousand books so they line up in a more visually pleasing manner. All this (sort of) because my parents are coming in to town. (Hey, I keep my home very neat, but there is still that extra stuff you do before you have company.) They are supposed to arrive some time Saturday, a nebulous time period that prevents me from making any plans at all. I really get along with my parents but it is hard for me to have anyone over to my home. You want to know how frequently I have people over? The last time anyone besides Jeff (guitar player in my band) was over was the monkeys birthday. In October. And I had a panic attack before the party and ended up sitting in my closet for an hour, playing guitar. So now they are staying over for around a week and while I can't wait to see them and let them play with the monkey it is very hard for me to think about the routine change and a whole lot of crap being dragged into my small apartment (my folks never learned about traveling light and fast. If I can't personally carry it on a trip, I don't bring it.)

Oh, I lied! I did do something crafty today, to leave on a good note. I dyed my swatch the color I want my Shetland Tea Shawl to be-a warm chocolate-y brown with tiny hints of blue and purple. Once I finally get the yarn dyed than I can spend two or three days winding 1400 yards into a ball so I can get started ;) Thanks for sitting up with me tonight, I'm off to try sleep again. Have a wonderful Friday.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Coffee and new Lace

Yesterday it rained on and off all day, but was still very warm and I had all the windows open most of the day. Imagine my surprise when I woke up this morning to snow. Crazy Utah springtime, I thought the monkey and I were going to the park today. Maybe we'll go to Toys R Us this afternoon-none of the sunshine but just as much running around.
Last night I dyed my Shetland Tea Shawl swatch with coffee and blocked it out. The pattern looks really good but I'm going to need to experiment with color some more; the coffee didn't dye it very dark. Most definitely due to my technique. Not being a coffee drinker, the only coffee here was a couple of packs of instant from MREs (both my brother and brother in law are in the army and Marc is an Air Force cadet, MREs frequently show up here.) I got the swatch wet with a few tablespoons of water, sprinkled with a few coffee crystals and microwaved for a minute. It left me a light brown and delicious smelling swatch. The swatch measures a little big, but I'm going to assume that is due to the pattern stretch (confirmation from someone who knows better than I?)
Writing this out has lead me to consider all the lace I'm knitting right now. I'm starting this big lace shawl, I'm tatting a lot, my other knitting project is a big doily/small tablecloth. Why all the lace? Why not something practical, like a sweater for the monkey or a pair of socks. Why not at least pick something that takes slightly less concentration so I can knit at the Stitch and Bitch?

Wednesday, April 05, 2006


Due to some encouragement from a very kind person in bloggerland, I've listed a couple of the Pysanky eggs from the other day on Etsy. Thank you J., I really needed that.

In knitting news, I've dyed a few yards of yarn from my giant skein and have knit up a swatch for the Shetland Tea Shawl and it looks as cool as unblocked lace ever does. I'll post pictures after I've had some sleep. Maybe I should count sheep ;)

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Easter and reminiscing

With Easter coming I've mostly doing Pysanky, not much knitting. Finished five really beautiful ones in the last few days, along with two more still in progress that I'm not as happy with design-wise. I'm very disappointed that the two shops who promised to carry my eggs this spring ended up closing before carrying them, but I've been doing really good work and that helps. Still, I either need to get a job or sell a dozen of these soon. If I get my act together in the next week and shoot some slides I will apply with the library to have them displayed there. That would be pretty cool; I really like seeing the different art they display. And it is possible to sell things there, you get to give the library a price list in case someone inquires.
Plus you get that cool "ah yes, I had an exhibit there" resume builder.

In my opinion, this is the coolest thing I've done this week. The design on this egg was taken from an Anasazi bowl found in Zion National Park. The 1100 year old bowl now resides in Zion's Human History Museum, where the monkey and I saw it last Autumn. Good story about that trip: Marc and his AF friends were climbing Angels Landing, a hike I didn't want to do with a two year old. So the monkey and I hiked around the park by ourselves and had a wonderful time. Around nap time cranky-ness was increasing quickly and he wouldn't just quietly take a nap under a tree, so we went and watched the movie at the Human History Museum where he fell asleep in my arms immediately. I sat through 4 1/2 showings of the 20 minute movie so he could sleep on my lap :)