LOL Friday: Weaving in Ends, Magic Yarn Balls

I’m really enjoying knitting my Aranami Shawl, but there are so many loose ends waving around. I’m spit splicing where I can and weaving in at the end of every row, but there are still lots of ends hanging off the back. In that spirit, here are some funnies about weaving in ends.

So you’ve woven in all your ends and you have leftover yarn, probably not enough to make something else but also too much to just throw out – what on earth are you going to do with it, other than add it to all your other leftover yarn? Make a Magic Ball using Russian Join! Organize your yarns by weight and color and start joining & winding!

 

Advertisements

TBT: World’s Oldest Needle

You’re looking at the oldest sewing needle in the world, found last summer in a Siberian cave. It’s estimated to be 50,000 years old and made by our Denisovan ancestors, a recently-discovered hominin species or subspecies named after the cave in which evidence of their existence was found. The needle is made from the bone of a to-be-identified large bird and appears to still be perfectly usable after all this time. More information about the find here, with more information about Denisovans and our ancestry here.

The Week May 22-28, 2017

Last week’s goals with progress indicated:

    • Finish (sans blocking), wear, and photograph Aspen. Update Ravelry project notes.
      Done. But I’m still working on it; I didn’t pick up enough stitches for the button bands & collar so it pulled (you can see it in the bottom hem in the picture) and it wasn’t going to block out. So I ripped the whole thing out and picked up 1 st per row of knitting instead of 3 st for every 4 rows. I’m on the second set of short rows (after the buttonholes) and might finish today, if not then tomorrow for sure.

Owl Creek, Aspen

  • Look at and maybe choose patterns for a summer top to get started on.
    Nope. I was too busy being unhappy with the collar on Aspen.
  • Work on Aranami (knit at least 1 new wedge) OR spin more.
    I finished a row of wedges and started the next row! I have 2 rows left and then a different final row that gets bound off all at once (instead off binding off individual wedges). I’m going to have yarn left over, too. Maybe I’ll make some socks with it – it is sock yarn after all.
  • Go to TKD once or walk on the treadmill.
    Nope. I know I need to do these, I just am not.
  • Ethan’s graduation party planning: order food from Wegmans, pig from that place in Alexandria or Arlington or wherever the pig place is.
  • Make college physical appointment for Ethan for the 1st week in June.
  • Start cleaning for Melanie’s visit Memorial Day Weekend.

This week:

  • Finish (sans blocking), wear, and photograph Aspen again. Update Ravelry project notes again.
  • Look at and maybe choose patterns for a summer top to get started on.
  • Work on Aranami (knit at least 1 new wedge) OR spin more.
  • Go to TKD once or walk on the treadmill.
  • Ethan’s graduation party planning: remind Ky to order the pig.
  • Super clean kitchen, vacuum Thursday, clean bathrooms Friday for Melanie’s visit.

I also visited the kittens again on Saturday. I have a favorite, or at least a type; I’m not sure if the same black kitten fell asleep on me this week, but a black kitten definitely fell asleep on me and I really, really would love to have one of them. Pucka, the girl, is a little odd and standoffish with the others, but she’s also a bit of a battle cat. Selkie, the boy, still suckles his mama (Irelyn) even though the kittens are fully weaned at this point. But he’s also an adventurer and a bit of a battle cat (not afraid to play). Either one of them would fit in well with Jeff & Eevee and the dog crew.

Selkie
Awake!
Selkie
Getting sleeeeepy …
Selkie
Asleep! All in a few seconds.
Selkie
Totally zonked out Selkie. I repositioned his head so it didn’t look uncomfortably crooked.

May is Mental Health Awareness Month

May is Mental Health Awareness Month and after much deliberation, I thought I’d share some ramblings. I have a mental illness that is currently stable thanks to medication, therapy, and lots of great support from my family and friends. Three years ago I would have told you without hesitation that I had depression, officially diagnosed at least 5 times, including twice with postpartum depression. But in 2015 I had an alcohol-induced breakdown, attempted suicide, and was hospitalized (both in a regular hospital and in a mental hospital to stabilize on new medication). And I had a new, much less socially acceptable, more stigmatized diagnosis: Bipolar 2 Disorder.

It took me more than a year to learn more about accept this diagnosis; I only heard the Bipolar part of the diagnosis and my immediate thoughts went to the mother of one of my best friends in high school who was diagnosed as manic depressive (aka Bipolar Disorder). She tried to kill herself, not for the first time, following what must have been a manic phase – I vividly remember my friend telling me she had started to wash the living room ceiling but didn’t finish; the mania ended and she attempted suicide before finishing, the two-toned ceiling told the story. Also, one of my grandfathers, who was somewhat distant with us grandkids (or perhaps my exposure was just limited) was diagnosed as manic depressive. My mother suspects that it was caused by the brain tumor that would kill him, but I have my doubts. And then I had heard stories, both fiction and non, about Bipolar Disorder – the soaring highs that made people think they could do and be anything that sometimes entered the realm of psychosis, the spending sprees, and then the opposite – people unable to get out of bed or even take a shower.

I wasn’t like that at all. Life wasn’t a mood roller coaster for me; I spent most of my time feeling depressed and anxious and just … other. (I still feel “other” but am, I guess, more comfortable with that and know that lots of people feel that way also.) I was never so down that I didn’t get out of bed or shower, but there was that period just after college when I was jobless and couldn’t leave the house and, one day in an attempt to feel safe and secure, spent an afternoon in a closet (with the door open). And the period that preceded it, when it felt like everyone was looking at me.

When I wasn’t feeling depressed and anxious, I sometimes had periods of great productivity. I vividly remember spending most of a day in the university coffee shop writing what I thought was the best essay of my life (and it was good), feeling like the words were flowing through me onto the page with no effort; I was in the zone, but it was more than that – it felt like I could do anything that day. One night years later, after having two kids and recovering from post-partum depression a second time, I started cleaning the kitchen and foyer floor on my hands and knees at 9pm after the kids had gone to bed. I didn’t finish (or exhause my energy) until 3am. One time I polished my stainless steel flatware (um, it’s called stainless steel for a reason, but I could still see flaws and an imperfect shine). There were so many other similar times – I polished a friend’s heavily aged copper kettle, I organized all my books following a system of favorites and size – that I had thought were just how normal people felt when they were functional or at worst, what people did when they needed to work through something. But I had no out of control spending sprees, no over-inflated ego trips, no psychotic episodes.

After denying the diagnosis for more than a year, I finally started to research Bipolar 2. Unlike Bipolar 1, people with Bipolar 2 spend most of their time being depressed (check), with periods of normalcy and periods of hypomania – hypo meaning beneath or below, so a mild mania (check). In Bipolar 1, the mania is much more pronounced, the mood swings more severe and a little more even. I joined a bipolar forum on http://www.psychforums.com/ and other people’s problems, symptoms, stories, and medications really resonated with me and the more I read, the more I accepted that this disorder best describes what’s wrong with my moods.

I have always been open with my children about my mental health and my experiences, just as my parents were with me, warning me about a pre-disposition to addiction and never depression, exactly, but just to be on the look out for something, just in case. I have been telling my boys the same thing: be wary of being dependent on any substance and if you’re overwhelmed or need help with anything, ask. I realize now that relying on a depressed person to ask for help is silly; the last thing I want to or can do when I’m depressed is ask anyone for anything, I just hunker down and hope it passes.

I missed the signs in one of my boys and wish that I had followed my hunches and forced him to get help earlier than I did, but I hope I’ll do better next time and with my friends and extended family. It’s hard to notice when someone has withdrawn, not because I don’t miss them, but because there can be so many reasons (new job, problems at a job or at home, obligations, etc.) for not seeing or talking to someone as often as I used to – I know it’s the same for lots of other people, but it’s important to reach out to the people you care about to make sure they’re doing okay. If something seems off, reach out – the worst that can happen is an awkward conversation and the best is that you’ll help a friend who really needs it.

After the breakdown that led to the Bipolar 2 diagnosis, a lot of people told me that they wished I had called them or told them something was going on instead of trying to solve a temporary problem with a permanent solution on my own. The truth is I had been reaching out in subtle ways but I didn’t know that I needed help or, if I did, what type of help I needed. Ultimately, I don’t think I would’ve gotten the help I needed without things happening the way they did. I’d still have the more inaccurate diagnosis of Major Depression, I probably wouldn’t have gone into the hospital, and I don’t think I would feel as good as I do now. I guess the point I’m really trying to drive home is to reach out and keep reaching out until you know that someone is in a better place mentally.

I have much more to say about mental illness, particularly the stigma around it and the biases people have against those of us with it. But I guess I’ll just end by saying that I think of Bipolar 2 as being kind of in remission, that I’m more functional than I have been in years, and that I’m very grateful for the support of my family, friends, and those complete strangers who are brave enough to speak/write about mental illness: this is for you.

 

LOL Friday: Cat Squad Goals

My apologies for skipping my usual posts for this week. Part of me thinks that so many posts a week is overwhelming for people following me (and sometimes for me) and part of me thinks that having a regular M-F schedule is a good thing. At any rate, it’s been a busy week!

Is anyone with me on this? If not tiny sweaters, perhaps:

The Week May 15-21, 2017

Last week’s goals with progress indicated:

  • Continue up Aspen‘s back.
    The back is finished. The collar is finished. I’m in the middle of seaming – I have to set in the 2nd sleeve, sew the side seams, and sew the buttons on. If I can get it done today I’ll be able to wear it tonight before the weather heats up tomorrow for the rest of the week.
  • Work on Aranami (knit at least 1 new wedge) OR spin more (crucial since I got more fiber at MDS&W but still have all the fiber from last year).
    I finished 2 more wedges of Aranami – it’s my Wednesday meet-up project.
  • Embroider more.
    Nope.
  • Go to TKD once.
    Nope! I don’t want to get ahead of the friend I’m doing TKD with and she’s having surgery this week, so I walked twice on the treadmill to get up and moving.
  • Write post about MDS&W to replace one of my regular days.
    Not exactly – I didn’t have to write anything because I chose Wordless Wednesday as the easy post to replace.
  • Start planning Ethan’s graduation party before it’s June and I haven’t done anything.
    Guest list set, evites sent.

This week:

  • Finish (sans blocking), wear, and photograph Aspen. Update Ravelry project notes.
  • Look at and maybe choose patterns for a summer top to get started on.
  • Work on Aranami (knit at least 1 new wedge) OR spin more.
  • Go to TKD once or walk on the treadmill.

I’ve been trying to keep this list fiber-related, but I’ve started to slip a little with using my bullet journal to track everything else (as in: I’m not really using it for planning at this point). In that spirit:

  • Ethan’s graduation party planning: order food from Wegmans, pig from that place in Alexandria or Arlington or wherever the pig place is.
  • Make college physical appointment for Ethan for the 1st week in June.
  • Start cleaning for Melanie’s visit Memorial Day Weekend.

I’ll leave you with a picture of the sweetest kitten ever. I have friends that are kitty fosters for a few different local rescues. They currently have a mama (Irelyn) and her 6 week old babies. The gave the kittens Celtic names in keeping with Mama’s (misspelled) name, so this is Pucka, who fell asleep in my arms during my second visit. I’m smitten with this kitten.

Kitten time again and we tuckered poor Pucka so much that she zonked out in my arms. I'm never leaving The Cat-House! #cats #catsofig #catsofinstagram #cats_of_instagram #catsoftheworld #kittens #kittensofinstagram #kitten #blackcat #puckaCat