Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Survey says: Knitting & Crochet is good for your health!

Print Friendly and PDF
Proof positive that knitting and / or crochet is good for you!

Later days,

Monday, April 27, 2009

Dedicated to the Memory of Aunt Roxanne

Print Friendly and PDF

written by my daughter
17 April, 2009

Days of sun, days of ball
along with Baby Roxy,
On the farm, hear the call
"Strike Through!" from the Umpire

Days of work, days of seeking
Single halter lost in a field
Boring walking; someones peeking
Baby Roxy must go too!

Here she comes, the little pursuer
Approaching the drainage ditch
A leap too short, a smell of sewer
Bright Pink pants, covered in muck

Screaming, shrieking and howling
and mother yelling from the house
Brother and sister pull hard, scowling
as Baby Roxy pops right out

Shock and laughter fill the air
as the pop was more like a fart
disgruntled giggles from Roxy fair
situation....., though dirty.., settled.

Big sister and brother get on the bus
Little Roxy running fast to catch up
Wishing to give them goodbye fuss
The kiss of snot.... Yvon was given

Years go by, with sadness and joy
House burns down, replaced with new
A new born baby, a little boy
Here comes Martini and Roxy!

Decades fly by, in speeds undefined
Tenderly and lovingly, a girl is born
She grows, so beautiful and kind
Bouncing and bubbling, a boy is born

Small bundles of love, so quickly grown
Going to school and becoming adults
Frederick excels in school, without a groan
Genevieve grows strong, just like Mom

Then one day, a lump was found
in a breast, which wasn't supposed to be
doctors and nurses does Roxy astound
for she beats it back, blasts it away!

Life continues sneaking from behind
Time flies by, without a sound
Genevieve graduates from grade eight
Serene, joyful and beautiful in her gown.

Then It came, unwelcomed, unwanted
Pain flaring up from everywhere at once,
Roxy is strong, she knew what she wanted
She would blast this one, just like the last

Cancer this time, was not as fair
it took no notice of her strength
though that made her glare
and fought on still, tooth and nail

In the end, she did not win,
although she did her best
so much, there could have been
but cancer was too aggressive.

Full of compassion, hateful she was not
She loved many things, with much passion
Her family and animals, her camping spot
Reading, colouring... so much love

We WILL remember her, for her strengths,
for her love, compassion and care
all the memories she graciously gave us
we will hold dear, within our hearts,

Till we meet again Roxy
for Daddy and his little girl
are back together, forever.

Friday, April 17, 2009

What can I say....

Print Friendly and PDF
Today, the Dr will be unplugging the machines sustaining my sister's life. I hope her passing is swift and as painless as possible for her sake. Memories crowd their way into my mind, most of them are from her childhood but some are of her holding her newborn son and tracking down her young daughter at our brother's wedding 11 years ago. She will be at peace... finally.

The Doctor unplugged the respirator at 2 pm and my sister took her final breath at 4 pm. She went peacefully, never woke up which was best considering the cancer had invaded her brain. She leaves behind a heartbroken husband, her 11 year old son and her 15 year old daughter. She also leaves behind her Mother, 2 brothers and myself, her sister, countless nieces and nephews who will all miss her.

She sent me a card for Valentine's Day. In a telephone conversation a few weeks later she said she sent me the card because it expressed what she couldn't say and had been looking for exactly this card for many many years. The text is in french but I will translate it.

Dear Sister, For you on Saint Valentines Day. It's not only because you are my sister that I send these wishes to you but also because you are my best friend. All my love.

I will cherish this card all my life.

May she walk in beauty.

This video is dedicated to my sister, who she was, the footsteps she left through our lives, the love she gave freely to her family. This is the beauty that reminds me of my sister.

If you wish to help, make a donation to your local cancer society, give some of your time, knit or crochet some hats, comfort shawls. Any of these things will be appreciated.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Update for my sister

Print Friendly and PDF
My mother called and gave me the news. Her heart stopped this morning while they were doing an MRI to see what the extent of the cancer was. Her husband had made the decision that she should be reanimated, so the Drs reanimated her.

After reviewing the results of the MRI in so far as it was done, the Oncologist told my family that the cancer is extremely aggressive. It has grown compared to the MRI done a month ago. It has now spread to enclose her heart, her brain, and major organs. The envelope around her heart is filling with liquid.
Currently, she is on a respirator and has a drain tube attached to remove the build up of fluids around her heart. She has 4 IVs connected to her. The Dr is keeping her sedated since if she were awake, she would be in excruciating pain and unable to breathe properly on her own. He is waiting to find out what her husband will decide; to unplug or to try and extend her life for a few extra days.

I hope that he decides to let her go. There is no hope for her recovery. The cancer has invaded every organ and is destroying her from the inside out. She has fought this monster long enough. It's time for her to take a well-earned rest.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

My sister & her shawl

Print Friendly and PDF
Cancer is a lot like a tornado when you think about it. Just as a tornado will skip over a house, a school, a church and wipe out the building next to it without a second thought, so does cancer. Why does it take one person but skips over the next. Is there anything that predisposes the person it takes? Research shows that it may be genetic, environmental, dietary or just plain old bad luck. Any way you look at it, cancer sucks rocks big time.

My sister has already had 2 chemo treatments. The treatments have been very aggressive to say the least. On Easter Sunday, my family, that lives near her, went to visit. Brought food so there would be no need for her to fuss or cook, just enjoy her company and spend time with her at home. She was weak, but still had a nice time with everyone.

Yesterday, I received a call from my Mom. My brother who is an EMT had taken the day off and brought my sister to the hospital. She was catatonic, unresponsive to outside stimuli. The Drs quickly diagnosed low blood sodium and began treating her. But she wasn't responding and they suspected an infection and scheduled tests for this morning. I wasn't told which tests. I received a call from my Mom today letting me know that the family is on their way to the hospital. My sister's heart stopped this morning after one of the tests. They successfully reanimated her, but they were not going to complete any more testing until she was stabilized. The Dr's prognosis was not very positive.

I wish I lived nearby, but unfortunately don't. With my being out of work, it means no funds for any travelling either.

I was on my way out the door to ship the shawl I made for my sister but my mother recommended I hang on to it for 24 hours until we know more. Here are the pictures of the finished shawl. It is 80 inches across the topline and 40 inches down the back. I used acrylic worsted yarn since she requested it be warm and big enough to wrap around herself. I added removable ties to each wing tip so she can wrap it and tie it behind her back to leave her hands free.

I also made two hats for her. One my own design (dark green) and the other (light green) from a pattern (lacy chemo cap) I found on Ravelry.
I added beads in both hats as I like the effect the sunlight reflecting from beads gives. It's like stars sparkling around your head.

I wanted to make a cap for my sister that didn’t look like the average chemo hat.

The softness of Patons Nuance yarn made me think of something soft and cozy, like cuddling a kitten or baby goat. The earthy colors I know would appeal to my sister as much as they appealed to me.

Loving the cabled bands seen on many sweaters I adapted it to a hat. Making the band, joining it and then picking up sts from the edge to knit the lacy hat gives it a nice shape and it should stay on her head without using the ribbing seen in so many hats. I also added beads in the lace just to make it a bit more special.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Financial Woes

Print Friendly and PDF
3 weeks, no work... what does that give you? Financial woes of course

I normally temp and the agency has had nothing come in all this time. I applied for employment insurance and that won't kick in until end of April.

So what to do in the meantime.
Tighten our belts.
Cancel things like cable, cell phone.
Comb the want ads and job sites for any local job in your field and apply.

Our biggest sticking point was food for our baby, Gambit.
Since the bank account is empty after paying rent, we had no money to buy cat food.

I belong to an online community called Ravelry. Within this community is a wonderful group called RAK (Random Acts of Kindness) where you post a wish list and if someone can help you, they do. This is purely volunteer of course. I posted about not having enough food for Gambit and 2 wonderful ladies responded and gave me a gift card each to buy food for our baby. Words alone cannot express my heartfelt thanks for this selfless act of kindness. I do know that I will pay this forward to someone else in the future since that is what RAKking is all about :)

Art & Crochet

Print Friendly and PDF
ART The standard definition:

The application of skill to the production of the beautiful by imitation or design, or an occupation in which skill is so employed, as in painting and sculpture.

That leaves out a lot doesn't it.

In my opinion, art is the physical manifestation of the sights, sounds that your mind interprets, your thoughts and feelings. This can be expressed in the usual ways, as above, through paint and sculpture but also in a thousand other medias or mix thereof.

What of the native beadworker. The work produced is viewed as functional yet it is art. Never 2 pieces will be exactly the same even on the same piece of clothing or adornment. Each piece has it's own power, it's own small piece of the beadworker's soul in it.

What of the knitter or crocheter. The clothing designed by hand knitters and crocheters are again works of art and beauty. They are an expression of the designers thoughts and feelings. What I find of larger interest is the artists who use fiber to express themselves. I came across one such artist while searching for crochet patterns for flowers.

She produces some of the most original, fresh works I've seen in a long time. She takes events and interprets them with yarn and crochet. For instance, her feelings over the big solution on keeping terrorists out of the US, The Fence. Ceci created vignettes from crochet showing the lunacy of this solution. She has found ways of expressing her views using only yarn and a hook as the media and manages extremely well in conveying her thoughs and feelings on a variety of subjects. Take a look at her book completely done in crochet. How can anyone not call this art?

Another piece she executed and donated to the Empty Bowls fund raiser in Houston. The piece entitled "Let Them Eat Soup" was exquisite in it's expression of how empty a bowl or life can be and reminds us that not everyone has a full belly before bed.

She also participates in a challenge group known as Textile Tuesday. The group has weekly challenges where each participant endeavours to produce an artists view point of the challenge of the week. One of the pieces I especially enjoyed is Forest Tea. I love her compositions done exclusively in crochet. Each part of the finished piece is expressive and beautiful to behold.

And speaking of expressing emotions, she crochets the most intriguing faces. Each one is different, expressive and is a window into the artist's soul.

You must go and see the rest of her work here! Leave comments, how else is an artist supposed to know if people like her work?

Falling in love with Crochet once again

Print Friendly and PDF
Yes, it has happened. Something I thought I'd never go back to, Crochet!

I did crochet as a teenager, self taught using a Stitchionary. I wasn't very good at it. The yarn I used really wasn't the best but it's all I had. The problem was that I wasn't happy with the feel of the finished projects and after 10 years or so, gave it up in my mid twenties and moved on to sewing for my kids.

Last week, my girlfriend became a grandma for the first time. A gorgeous little girl born 1 minute to midnight on March 31st. Almost an April Fool's baby. Right then and there, I decided to knit a welcome to the world jacket for the little princess. I found a very nice pattern for the jacket but did not want to use ribbon since I find it's fussy and inhibits the wash n wear you need for baby clothing.

I substituted said ribbon for flowers. I searched high and low for some really nice knit flowers and leaves but most of what I found had to be felted. Since I don't have wool in my stash, that was out. I figured maybe I could find something nice in crochet. Shouldn't be too difficult to do and I have much better yarns now than I did as a teenager.

Searching through Ravelry's patterns for flowers, I found some I liked, but still not THE flower. I then turned to the internet, typed tiny crochet flower pattern and the 3rd site listed on the page was Attic24's. I clicked on the link and it brought me to the prettiest little flower patterns that I had ever seen. Also included with the flowers was leaves! simple ones, no fuss, no muss. So off I went looking for a crochet and some yarn small enough to do some flowers for the jacket.

She also had a pattern for a double petaled flower which I really liked and found the perfect spot along with a leaf to keep it company. I wanted to add a bit of weight to the hood and that was the perfect spot for that flower and leaf. Something pretty to look at from the back.

The flowers and leaves came out gorgeous and were the perfect addition to the jacket. I even used 3 of them as buttons! The leaves still need to be appliqued, but you get the idea.

I have to say that her blog is amazing, she has the simplest instructions, lots of very good photographs of how to do specific crochet stitches. She also lives in the sweetest village in the UK I've ever clapped eyes on judging by the photographs she posts. It all seems so quaint, reminds me of idyllic pictures you see of an era gone past. Add to that living in a 100 year old Victorian house and there you have it.... my dream.

I'm also going to give her ripple tutorial a go since I love the way it makes the colors pop and no holes!

So all this just to say, go check out her blog!!!!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

The Good, the Bad & the Ugly

Print Friendly and PDF
What can I say, life comes with all 3. Usually one at a time, but sometimes all at the same time. Life sometimes throws you curve balls and if you don't duck fast enough...well....

What to talk about first....

I think I will start with the Ugly and make my way to the Good. That way this post will end on a high note.

The Ugly

Cancer. It's ugly. It leaves you scarred, scared, a survivor in a nightmarish war with your own body. My sister is a warrior in that war. I can only hope she is strong enough to win.

Kidney Stones. Something I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy. My husband suffers from these on a daily basis. Doctor diagnosed him as a gravel maker which means ultra sound treatments, pills, etc won't do much to help since the stones are already gravel. The Dr described it as toothpaste being pushed out of his kidneys. I think my husband would rather describe it as a steel ree-bar with razor blades added just for fun being shoved through the tubes and his bladder.

The Bad

Unemployment. It's bad when you temp and no one calls. You know you're in trouble when the want ads dry up, big companies move away or close down, hiring freezes are everywhere and you still have to find money to pay rent, meds, food and bills. Employment insurance doesn't even come close to what you made which leaves you at a deficit. So you rob Peter to pay Paul until Paul squawks and you rob Joe and on it goes. Let's hope this economic downturn doesn't last long. More and more people are ending up with no job, food banks are running out of food and the waiting time for welfare is not getting any shorter. When you read that welfare applications have grown exponentially since the beginning of 2009 you know it's bad.

The Good

A wonderful lady on Ravelry sent me a size 10 US circular needle to finish my sister's Adamas shawl. It's now done! and it's gorgeous. Binding off, the shawl unfolded like a butterfly emerging from its coccoon. Now to find the money to ship it to her.

I also knit 2 caps for her. One is of my own design and the other from this pattern.
Both feel very soft to the touch and since she wanted green, I obliged with some warm rich green yarn, soft as velvet to the touch. The cap I designed is for those cooler nights/days while spring grows into summer. The other is for warmer weather, eyelet lace lets air circulate freely and the design doesn't make it stand out as a "chemo" cap which I think she will appreciate.

The shawl for my girlfriend is coming along very nicely. I'm adding beads every few rows to the double decreases. The pattern is called Waves of Leaves and it's a pleasure to knit. I'm using a size 10 circular with laceweight yarn held doubled. It has a nice fuzziness to it and the pale fuschia will make it look like she has a rose wrapped around her shoulders with sparkling drops of dew scattered over it. One more repeat and the final finishing rounds to go.

Once this shawl is done, I will then move on to a shawl for me. I've decided that it will be my wedding shawl once it's completed. The pattern is from BadCatDesigns and was a KAL in a yahoo group. I finally have the size 3 US circular needle, a gift from another fellow Raveler. The yarn was a gift from another wonderful lady on Ravelry, it is undyed white wool blend and will remain white until after my wedding. I will likely dye it but no decision on what color at this point. Likely something in the fuschia, or red range. Only time and my mood will tell.

What Color are you?

Print Friendly and PDF
I was quite surprised when I took this test. Most times, the answers are pretty non-committal and make my eyes glaze over with their boring assessment.

you are mediumorchid

Your dominant hues are red and blue. You're confident and like showing people new ideas. You play well with others and can be very influential if you want to be.

Your saturation level is medium - You're not the most decisive go-getter, but you can get a job done when it's required of you. You probably don't think the world can change for you and don't want to spend too much effort trying to force it.

Your outlook on life is brighter than most people's. You like the idea of influencing things for the better and find hope in situations where others might give up. You're not exactly a bouncy sunshine but things in your world generally look up.
the spacefem.com html color quiz

What really amazed me was realizing that the dominant hues being red and blue only happened in the recent past. I used to wear a lot of purple and black but over the last 7 or 8 years my tastes have gone to red and blue. My life changed dramatically 9 years ago and I know with those life changing events that my true self was allowed to grow and develop. I like the results :)