Of pain and exhaustion

My herniated disc is at it again. I am walking and sitting, but the pain is constantly present. The nerve to my right leg got pinched badly this time around, leaving it in a constant state of ‘bad leg cramps’ that have begun to feel like fire. My toes feel partially numb and my leg gives out every now and then.

This would be manageable, I think I built up a massive pain tolerance over the past 4 years dealing with this crap, if it wasn’t for the accompanying exhaustion that the pain brings. Everything you do suddenly requires so much more effort. The pain keeps your body in overdrive throughout the day and even the night. Some nights I spend 5 minutes figuring out the best way to get out of bed without too much pain (or god forbid, collapsing on my bedroom floor) just to go pee.

No fun. Add to that the dropping of the outdoors temperatures, my period finally having ended, and my glucose values climbing a little because of it. I was doing so well on my first week of insulin, but as I suspected this was partially due to the heat wave and my period partying together like there was no tomorrow. My day curves this week are up by 2 mmol/L on average compared to last week, which kind of sucks. I exceeded 10 mmol/L twice which disappointed me a bit, but I have to admit that overall, my numbers are still in the green. The peaks might be a bit of a concern, but I’m getting in touch with my doctor on Friday, when she’s back in the office, to discuss a couple of details with her. I’m definitely not in any sort of red zone right now though, which is good!

Injections are still relatively painless. (Maybe that’s because of my high pain tolerance?) I’ve noticed that if the needle hurts me when I lightly poke the skin without piercing it, the whole injection will hurt and burn. If I carefully poke around until I find a spot that doesn’t hurt, the whole injection is as good as painless, save for a very, very, very minor burning sensation sometimes. I’m not sure why this is, but maybe my belly’s stretchmarks play a role in this? Either way, if I do have to end up bolusing, I don’t expect it to be a big deal if I can get another pen. I’m surprised at how easy it all really is when the mystery is gone.

I want to pick up my two currently pending knitting projects, but I can’t sit still long enough to get much done. My summer cardigan is dragging on and summer will be over before I finish it. It makes me want to take out the sleeve and start over in a plain stockinette stitch rather than the diagonal openwork I have right now, so that I can turn it into a winter cardi. But I’ve also come so far, and I’m really close to finishing! I still have to rip out the cabled socks I was working on and start over, which I’ve been aching to do on and off. I just can’t get my head right for it.

So instead of doing things I should be doing, I’m watching the first Pokemon season (Indigo League) and playing my Pokemon XYORAS games. I’d be up and about playing Pokemon Go like nobody’s business if I had a phone that supports it, but my Galaxy S3 can’t handle the game. My friend has a spare phone he’s sending out to me soon, so fingers crossed!

While we’re here, I want to share with your the deliciousness of my dinner the past two days. I threw fancy out the window and went back to good old Dutch basics.

My glucose values were perfectly in range after these, which is fantastic. 🙂

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The mystery of the missing stitch

I’ve been working on my two projects, the cabled socks and my summer cardigan with moderate success!

I did mess up on the socks and am looking at a tough decision to make. I made a mistake counting the rows in the pattern and got confused, tinked back (only to find out I was on the right track after all)… and mysteriously lost a stitch. It didn’t drop because there’s no unraveling ladder, and it doesn’t look like I k2tog at any point either. I’ve been fidgeting, staring, moving stitches back and forth and generally grunting in anger at it for the past two days. I know for sure that the stitch count was correct before I tinked because I double checked the numbers before I undid my work.

Just… Poof. Gone. And as cables are still new to me and I haven’t had enough practice to be able to read cabled stitches well enough when trying to fix mistakes, I’m not seeing any way to fix this that will go unnoticed. It’s guaranteed to show if I bulldoze through and make a new stitch where the one is missing.

Now I put a lifeline just past the toes before beginning the pattern, so it can be as easy as ripping back and starting over. I wasn’t too happy with the decorative siding I chose either, so this could be a chance to fix that up as well. If the yarn was heavier than sock weight, I might have been able to fix it, but I’m not confident that I can do it with dark, fuzzy, wooly sock yarn this time. Sigh.

lhL4LIRThat leads me to my bigger success story: my summer cardigan! I’m getting closer, even if it’s at a snail pace. That vacation really took the wind out of my sails on this one, but I’m finishing up the hemming of the body right now with a double moss stitch. (R1-2: k1, p1* — R3-4: p1, k1* *repeat to end of row) I’m planning on doing the hemming all around the sides and neck in a double moss stitch as well in the same orange color as the bottom.

But first I have to do the sleeves. I’m still debating on how to make them look nice and decorative without being too warm. I have some ideas for a nice, horizontal pattern, followed by a diagonal openwork, but it all depends on how many stitches I end up with when picking up the sleeves. That’s the only downside to knitting with measurements versus # of stitches, you design as you go along and have to ditch your original ideas a lot!

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I hope to bind the bottom hem off tonight and get started on the first sleeve tomorrow!

Are you having any problems with your projects right now?

FO and WIP Saturday

Because I’ve been busy! Let me start off strong by showing my finished socks.

I really, really love how they turned out. The pattern was really just a lacy-v stitch repeated three times over the front, and past the heel also three times across the back. I had 3 stitches too many to make it a nice ‘all the way around’ pattern (66 sts for a multiple of 9 pattern) so there’s a plain stockinette stitch area of 6 sts on either side between the sections. The only downside to this pair is that the yarn’s coloration is very busy and doesn’t show the lace too well, but I can live with that!

If you’re interested in the pattern for these socks, let me know. 🙂 They’re toe-up socks, and can be knit TAAT or single.

Before I get going with my WIP, let me share some very exciting news with you: I’m going on vacation! My daytime activities group organized a 5 day getaway at a beach resort in Zeeland (province of the Netherlands) that up to 7 people could go to, counselor included. It cost €100, but it includes… well, everything. Three meals a day, the rent of the large family sized vacation home, activities in the resort and the drive to and back. The house also has all sorts of facilities, like a coffeemaker, washer and wifi. 🙂 We’ll be doing whatever we feel like, which is super nice because I don’t like the pressure of sticking to a strict schedule of activities. I get along great with all the women who are joining the vacation so I expect nothing but oodles of fun.

My WIP is a cardigan made with discontinued yarn from Phildar, which I’m hoping to have finished and be wearing by the time we leave. (The yarn is a nylon/acrylic/wool/silk blend, very soft and warm without being winter warm – perfect for a summer garment!). It’s a DK weight yarn. My goal deadline is June 4th, so two weeks from now. And it’s going to be an XXL for sure, too. I know some of you are going ‘She’s CRAZY‘ and maybe I am! But I finished a Worsted weight adult mean’s sweater in 18 days on my first sweater ever. I can do this too!

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This is what I have done within a single day. I’m about 2 inches away from putting the sleeves on holders and stopping the increases to continue working back and forth. My original ideas didn’t quite work out so well. I couldn’t get my head wrapped around the math involved with starting a lacy pattern on an increase section, so I opted for something different. The main body will be a plain stockinette knit, but the sleeves will be a gorgeous swirling mesh pattern with a fancy edge on the end of the sleeve.

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To make the cardigan even more interesting, I’ll be using all three colors shown in the photo above, in that order from left to right. Every 25cms (10 inches) I’ll knit a gradient stripe to gradually change the colors. If my math is correct, it will be something similar to this:

  • Knit with MC
  • R1: CC – 1
  • R2-5: MC – 4
  • R6-7: CC – 2
  • R8-10: MC – 3
  • R11-13: CC – 3
  • R14-15: MC – 2
  • R16-19: CC – 4
  • R20: MC – 1
  • Knit with CC

I think this will look much nicer than a harsh, sudden change of color that results in three ‘blocks’ on the cardigan.

Once I finish knitting the body and sleeves, I will pick up stitches all around the sides and neck and knit about 2-4 inches of seed stitch in one of the three colors. It depends on how much I have left, I may have only enough of the pinkish color for the body, but we’ll see about that when we get there. (The yarn is discontinued, so what I have is what I get to work with here.) I’ll knit in 1-3 button holes and find some nice buttons to go with this so I can be comfy and warm on a cool summer’s night.

Knitting discipline

The weather has been very, very lovely here the past two days. According to the weather predictions, the 20C+ temperature will last until Thursday with a little bit of rain on Wednesday and Thursday. Then the temperatures drops back below the 15’s, yuck.

I grabbed the chance to do laundry and hang it up outside on my balcony. I’ve been living on my own for over 5 years now, and this is the first time I’ve had the ability to do this. My jeans, shirts and towels were dry so fast! One pair of jeans was almost bone dry after just an hour and a half, wowzers. I don’t own a dryer, and if it’s up to me I never will because I don’t have to, and the lovely air dried fresh laundry in my basket right now is all the motivation I need to hold on to that idea.

Of course I took some time to knit in the sun. I almost burned my arm after 10 minutes because I’m paler than a bucket of white paint. I don’t tan, I just burn, peel and go back to looking like the sun never hit me. The freckle galore on my face tells me there is a redhead gene in my dad’s side of the family. I’m looking for a cheap IKEA parasol to protect me.

The socks with the hand dyed yarn are coming along fantastically. I finished the heels and am working the legs now – the lace pattern is now on the front and back of the leg, with 6 stockinette stitches between the 3 repeats on each side. I was thinking of other ways to do it, but the stitch count wouldn’t let me. I can’t say I’m unhappy with the results though. 🙂

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The colors in this yarn really pop out in the bright sunlight, holy cow. You can also see the pattern, though it’s all scrunched up due to a lack of wearing/blocking. I am determined to finish this pair before I start with my summer cardigan. I still have many, many skeins of that lovely combo tweed yarn that got discontinued, which I bought in bulk from my LYS at a steep discount, and the fiber mix is just lovely enough to work with a loose, lace patterned open cardigan for those chilly summer nights. I want to avoid having twenty projects on my needles, so I need to step up my knitting game on these socks.

Brand New Start

Whew! It’s been two and a half weeks since I moved in to my new apartment. My old lease finally expired and I handed over the keys, so I’m absolutely done with that nightmare.

Let me start off by saying I feel like I’ve finally come home. This apartment is spacious, beautifully light and everything here works. My old place was missing many key features, my new place is the average, standard apartment with all features included. That means my own internet, tv and telephone, and my own hot water supply for the shower and kitchen. While I can hear my downstairs neighbors (as you can with most apartment complexes), they’re not being obnoxious. No more slamming doors, daily fights, weekly parties and so forth. My days are filled with peace and quiet.

I can definitely tell that having lived in my old place for 5 years has left its marks. I find myself lapsing into ‘worst case scenarios’ panic attacks over small things. If I drop a spoon by accident late at night, my first response is a bad panic attack and preparing myself for a visit from the police or bullying from the neighbors. I’ve even broken down crying twice over my cats playing and making noise, something that really isn’t an issue but that used to be an issue with my old neighbors, you know? It really shows how bad my life was and how terrorized I felt. The weird thing is that I never realized just how bad it was until I got the chance to move out, distance myself from that situation and compare it to what a ‘normal’ situation looks like.

The change of scenery was a bit tough to deal with at first. I don’t do change well, and I’m glad that moving took weeks to accomplish rather than mere days. I had to put flooring into my new place (houses in the Netherlands are usually offered ‘stripped’ – i.e. there is no flooring and there are no appliances, you have to bring it all yourself. It’s common for tenants to lay laminate flooring and then take it out when they move to put into the new place.) and paint a few walls before I could move my furniture over. It was mainly just my dad, me and my dad’s trailer moving all of my belongings over. We’re both cripples on disability with back issues, so we had to be super careful not to hurt ourselves in the process. One or two loads in a day was our max, and then we were done for for the rest of the day.

We managed to pull it off eventually! All my stuff is here now, I have a new bed (a cheap one from IKEA that is surprisingly sturdy and good quality for such a low price), I have almost all the appliances I need and my cats are all settled in as well.

I’m really happy that I’ve socialized my cats so well, too. They adapt to new environments very quickly because they’re used to traveling with me. I bring them with me to my parents’ and friends’ places, so they don’t fuss or get stressed from moving around. The first night, both of them were yowling at the door ‘to go home’, but by the second night they slept through the night without a hitch. That’s all it took for them to realize we live here now. 🙂

Let’s see, my birthday was last week on Easter Sunday. I had my family over for brunch and cake, just a quiet get together! I was still pooped from the whole moving business so I didn’t really invite anyone else. I got a knitting book from my boyfriend and ended up knitting a bunch of swatches from it!

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First off, I have to say I LOVE the book. I’m sure I can find most of these stitches online, but having them in paperback for on-the-go and in one big collection to flip through is so much nicer than browsing an endless online database and having no real way of bringing that with me. Some reviews on Amazon complain about the way the patterns are written. They’re not exactly conventional, in the sense that the written pattern is usually combined with the chart. You probably need to be able to work with both to make full sense of it.

For example, a chart will have 6 rows. The written pattern is setup in a slightly weird way by saying “Row 1 (right side) and every alternate row: knit like this. Row 2 and 6: Knit all stitches in the manner they present. Row 4: Cable row. These last 6 rows form pattern.” Which essentially a complete pattern, complemented by a correct chart, but it’s not the way most pattern books are written in my experience and it throws people off. However, if you read carefully and follow the patterns step by step, they work out absolutely fine. I haven’t found any mistakes yet and I love the variety in the patterns.

The only thing I’m not too keen on is the fact they include an edge stitch in every pattern, and count this edge stitch in their totals. If you’re like me knitting swatches with a 5 stitch garter edge, it can throw you off when you’re supposed to get to ‘the last 4 stitches, p3, k1 (edge stitch)”. Because I will only have 3 stitches left until I hit the garter border, so my first reaction is “I MESSED UP SOMEWHERE” when I didn’t. But I think that’s also something that I’ll get used to quickly. All in all this is an awesome resource book for knitters, and for its price you really don’t have to leave it on the bookstore shelf.

It also prompted me to knit my first cables ever. They’re something I’ve been wanting to do for a while now but never really felt inspired to get around to. There are so many variations and I wasn’t quite sure where to begin. I picked 3 slightly similar cables to work with and made the above swatches. No blocking because it’s leftover acrylic yarn that doesn’t block well, but it works out!

I wanted to see how cables behave in a fabric, with and without proper borders. Found out that the more stitches you cable (like a cable 6 versus a cable 4) the more they pull. My next swatch will be in the round to see how that works out for socks and the like! I’d hate to ruin a project by guessing wrong so I love knitting swatches.

Somewhere throughout the move I also managed to finish a pair of socks for a friend.

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I ran very quickly out of yarn for these socks for some reason. I’m not sure why, they’re not particularly big ,the gauge is the same as with all my other socks and it’s the same kind of yarn. But they turned out fine and I hope to be able to send them out soon. I might have enough yarn for my frankensocks too, I might incorporate some cables or lace from the book to make something different for once!

What have you all been up to? I’ve been so busy I didn’t really have time to get caught up with my blog feed, I’d love to hear summarized updates!