Sunday, March 3, 2013

Finding a Stitch Pattern : Neglected Post from January

I love how things lump together in life. They don't necessarily occur in threes, but if I read an article about sea turtles this week, a friend will mention a documentary or participation in a rescue next week, and maybe I'll find one in my bathtub, too. That happened this week with a stitch pattern.

When people talk about knitting, they tell you that you just need to learn two stitches-knit and purl. What they don't mention is that there seems to be an infinite way to put those together to form fabric that functions and looks different. I am knitting an infinity scarf from Noro Cash Iroha, a lovely yarn with the following fiber composition: 40% silk, 30% lamb's wool, 20% cashmere, and 10% nylon. While wool and nylon are fairly elastic fibers, the other two have very, very little. I don't want this scarf to be saggy-it needs to drape, but not hang flaccid-so I'm choosing a stitch pattern that will add its own elasticity. This is a custom order and I cannot spend an infinite time (an infinity scarf is knit in a ring so that it has no ends; the name doesn't come from how long it takes to knit) constructing it. Cabling is attractive, classic  and elastic, but takes pretty good time and effort, so I'm going to make faux cables. Faux cables have no real crossing but give the illusion of it. There is a faux cable I used once that I love. It has a pretty, rounded appearance with a little eyelet in the middle. I have looked on and off for this pattern without success. Yesterday I found something close to this in my handy stitch pattern book, but it wasn't exactly what I wanted and when I began to knit a swatch, the book instructions were wrong. I corrected the instructions and made a nice swatch, deciding this was an acceptable pattern to use.

That should be the end of the story. Today, a free pattern offer led me into the Tahki yarn website, and as I scanned several pages of freebies, a sweater appeared with the pattern of faux cables I love. I quickly downloaded the pattern, and it is working beautifully in the swatch I'm knitting.

It is rare that I reveal my true knitting geekiness, but there it is. Stitches matter.

I held onto this post with the intention of adding a photo of the finished product. My photo isn't great, but you see it.  The scarf is long since delivered, and I had forgotten this draft.


Tricky Immunosuppression: Body Maintenance Work

In this new year, things must change. Last year I worried nonstop and worked frenetically on my few available fronts to stem the political tide of venom and ignorance in this country. This year, I am backing away from politics. I want younger people to see the light and feel the atmosphere and take up the standard. I am going to work on myself.  The results are more satisfying.

I'm sure my usual optimistic, cheery demeanor fools many into thinking lupus is like hypertension-take your medication, eat right and exercise, and it's all under control. Last week I took my semi-annual treatment of the B-cell killer. Two days later, after a normal morning preparing breakfast and caring for dog, fatigue hit me and curtailed all my weekend plans. Today I am dealing with a skin infection that developed in a matter of hours from normal skin to a bright red, oozing, malodorous expanse that will require special care for days. I feel like a leper. Does hypertension ever make anyone feel like a leper?

Matters of the immune system are tricky. If medicine is suppressing its function, infections begin with little warning and progress quickly to far beyond what is normal in a non-compromised system. The infection I have would ordinarily be a little itchy redness, not the awful mess that I described. I wouldn't have to pull out all the stops to treat it and prevent it from spreading-my body would handle it for me with minimal help.

Sometimes I tire of being the maintenance crew for this damaged body. I stay away from people when I feel like this. I don't want to hear them talk about the difficulty of finding the right gold dress or how long it took for their plane to arrive. I don't want them to look in my eyes and see that faint suicidal longing that I will not indulge but cannot escape. Yesterday I heard someone close say "I feel like I'm in exile." She thought it was because she was not where she wanted to be, but it is because she is not who she expected to be. I get that.