Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Lest we forget....

Monday was 3 months till Christmas. Just sayin.

And I neglected to put up the weekly glucose sensor report. That sharp uptick on Wednesday afternoon is a small cup of Ben & Jerry's Chocolate Therapy, had in response to bottoming out at lunchtime, where the thought process was that it would somehow take only half as much insulin as usual to cover this. I don't make good decisions when I bottom out.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Boston Knit-Out 2006 - Brought to you by

I was going to take a whole lot of pictures of folks involved, but I keep forgetting that after 8 when folks start showing up I get involved, too and don't get my camera out.

One person I did get a picture of was Lucy on her front steps at 5:20 (a.m.) with her tiara and Sheep on a Plane T-shirt. She and shop loyalists loaded the truck the night before, so we were ready to roll off to the Common.

We met the folks from Petersons Party Center on the Common and sat back to watch them put up the tents. Yes, it was a little dark at first (6:10). Trust me there are tent parts and workers in this picture.

See, by 8:15 the light is better, the tent is up and the volunteers showed up looking for things to do very soon after.

Then things got busy and I pretty much forgot to take pictures.

Another person who was there early was the Friendly Federal Employee, though later in the day he apparently didn't want his picture taken. He and his colleagues seemed to enjoy the day, not that we have much trouble they need to take care of.

I was charged with minding the Mind's Eye booth in the Exhibitor tent for Lucy, so Lucy could run the whole show. This year the display was kept simple, and we had a whole crew of folks (that, ahem, I forgot to docment) with our shameless promotion shirts and a bunch of enthusiasm. It was a blast, as usual.

The Boston Knit-Out is brought to you by a dedicated team of volunteers, both those who work just on the day and those who gather for the 6 months ahead to do the organizing. If you'd like to participate in the organizing, you don't necessarily have to come to all the meetings, just keep us informed that things are being done. We can use volunteers to make phone calls and emails in July and August following up on the letters sent out to shops earlier to see if they want a booth or take advertising in the program. Many other things, too, that I'm too tired to ennumerate.

Just happy memories with a lot of good friends.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Points of progress and gauge appears got

At this point, the Boston Knit-Out is 2 and a bit days away and it's time to be sure to get enough sleep in the next few nights. Sunday will be a long day, and time will go quickly.

The next week I get to focus on getting older.

In the meantime, the sleeves for Himself's sweater have reached a stopping point. I've done all the increases, and the top, when off the needles and encouraged to spread out on the string, is indeed 19 inches across the top, as the diagram says it ought to be. Gauge appears to be on track. Ever wonder why a number of my projects involve gauges that don't need to be exact? hmmmm.

Time to move on to the back. I'm leaving the sleeves uncast-off, on string, with the balls of yarn uncut so that when the drop-shouldered body is done, the true sleeve length needed can be determined. This is the best photograph of the project so far, though Himself points out the color is waaaay off from the rich, dark navy that the yarn is. I don't care, since any other time I've tried to take a picture the dark blue just won't show detail.

In other knitting, the 8th iteration of the baby surprise jacket commuter project is moving along. At this point we're in the long stretch of decreases down to 90 stitches. I don't understand how this happens, but it seems that the decrease section takes a long time, and then the increases thereafter move more quickly. It doesn't make sense, but the jackets seem to grow much faster after that point.

Lucy and I will have a long wait on the Common on Sunday, watching the nice crewpeople put up the Knit-Out tents before the volunteers and donuts get there at 8:30. Progress will be made-- it's the one time we get to knit on the day!

Monday, September 18, 2006

Going Eep! Versus Doing Good in the World

We just had our ultimate organizational meeting before Sunday's big event. At this point, it will happen, rain or shine. Whether anyone shows up or not. Whether we have sufficient electrical ties and can round up a few more clipboards. There are still plenty of T-shirts available. We can but hope that we will not have many leftovers.

|:Fuss, worry, fuss, worry, fret, fret, fret. :| Compulse.

On the other hand, a very worthy cause has just announced that it will continue into next year. It's been one of those things that I tend to hear about the Dulaan project just after the deadline to participate has passed. I wonder if they could use several iterations of the Baby Surprise Jacket Commuter Project?

And on the third hand, news on the family front is that I get my actual birthday to myself this year. I do have to share the celebration the next day, per usual, but given that this one ends in 0, I'm happy to be unencumbered on the day, except for what Himself has already planned. He makes much nicer fun than Mom does.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

In which we discuss the need for having knitting with one

For those following along on the BG meter, this week's graph can be seen here. In looking at this week's results, there will be a therapy shift to try to bring down the post-breakfast rise, which will, hopefully, make lunch a much more reasonable number, without needing such a high correction. There's a question whether my evening basal rates are (in)correct, or do I really do that badly at figuring out dosing to cover supper?

Friday's commute was fairly productive. Here's the seventh iteration of the baby surprise jacket commuter project. You can see the large blocks from vacation week. I think the dark brown is from the trip to the PawSox game, which would make the long red block from the day we went to Davis' Corn Maze. What I'm surprised at is how the gauge seem to relax once I got back on the subway. I'm not sure if that's things getting stretched out in the briefcase, or just what.
As usual, actual sewing up of seams and ends and putting on of buttons will wait for a batch to be ready sometime later.

In the meantime, the 8th iteration was cast on starting at Park Street Station, and here's how much I was able to get done by the time the bus got to Arlington Heights. Not bad for progress.

Turns out I didn't pack Saturday's color after all, even though I thought I had. So there was no contrast yarn yesterday for our day-trip to Portsmouth. The Telluride by the Sea film fest is in town this weekend and Mark's friend had invited us up. We choose to see Ten Canoes showing at 2 in the afternoon. Since the tickets are general admission, the Music Hall keeps the folks who paid more money happy by having 3 classes of line outside the doors, taking up the side street they are on: Patrons, Weekend Passholders, and Individual Ticket holders, on the theory that they let the Patrons in first (several dozen people at the shown we were at) about 25 minutes ahead of showtime so they get first pick at seats, the Weekend Passholders next, whose line took 5 minutes and 20 seconds to file past us and the Individual Ticket holders last to get seats where they can.

Being the knitter that I am, I had thought about this a bit in advance. The sleeves of Himself's sweater are definitely long-time, sit-still, car knitting. They need the time and the per-row checklist, and they aren't small-space portable. I had thought about bringing the Baby Surprise, even though I wouldn't be able to work on it during the movie, but not having the contrasting color put the kabash on that. We got in line at 1:10 for the 2 p.m. show, and by 1:15 Himself was only half-joking about didn't I want to run over to the Yarn Basket, only a couple blocks away since I didn't have anything with me to work on. In the end I decided not to, though there were regrets later. (draft-dodger's note on local venues: Portsmouth Music Hall has constant cold air blowing on the seats in the balcony.) But we had an interesting discussion of perceived need to knit under any given opportunity and how, really, I can give it up anytime, anytime I don't have something on deadline that is.

And now the Knit-Out is just a week away. Eep!

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

7th Iteration of the Baby Surprise nears the end

Here's the 7th iteration of the Baby Surprise Jacket Commuter project, in a really bad twilight-hour photo, just after the buttonholes. Told you it was near the end. The big patches were worked on during the last week in August when I was on vacation. Last week I did a lot of reading on the T, because seats tended to be in short supply. Things are slightly better this week, seat-karma-wise, so the commuting fairies may be realizing that cold weather is coming and charity knitting will be needed.

The other thing nearing the end is the supply of the red-orange yarn that doesn't go with much else (except the grays and browns) in the quantity of J&S jumperweight I'm trying to use up. At this rate, I figure it's probably about 3 more sweater's worths left in these two skeins, and then I'll be able to get back to the beloved pinks/blues/purples. That will make for much more interesting sweaters. By now I feel like I keep making the same sweater over and over (well, I am repeating the same instructions) because the only colors that go together are all dull (except for the red-orange) and kinda boring.

The 7th sweater has just had its buttonhole row, then comes 6 rows (to make 3 ridges) and then casting off in purl. Not sure how many more commutes that will take, but I'd best be prepared to start the eighth in the next few rides.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Back to Cute and Fuzzy

As of last weekend, I had only enough stuffing for one and 7/8ths hedgehogs, so last night I picked up the new bag of stuffing and finished these guys off. The one in blue is made with 100 grams of Plymouth Galway and 50 grams of an eyelash I've lost the label for. The brown/red one is 100 grams of Cascade 220 and 50 grams of Happy. The remains of each skein is in front of its respective hedgehog.

Faces are a non-toxic fabric paint, just sort of globbed on as the last step of the project. Some excess fuzziness may need to be trimmed off.

I'm happier with how the Cascade 220 version turned out, versus the blue where you can still make out stitches. This was a relatively simple pattern to follow (FiberTrends #228), provided you can handle repeated short-rowing, and knits up quite quickly. I can see myself making up a bunch more of these before the Granite State Knit-In next June, when the NH guilds collect for Precious Pals. I suspect that eyelash is going to be selling for a song, soon, if not given away (wink). The pattern calls for worsted weight felting wool and eyelash for the fuzzy back in the quantities listed above, perfect for using up leftovers, particularly if you want hedgehogs of colors not seen in nature.

Fun to do. Use up the eyelash!

Sunday, September 10, 2006

What my days and nights look like

On the other hand, despite my whining about being kept up at night by the alarms, the Gov'ner does have a remarkable benefit. About once a day I upload data from the sensor (through the pump, through the carelink meter) to the website, where we can look at it. The sensor gives a reading every five minutes throughout the day (when it's working) and with this my doctor and I can see way more of what's going on than with the usual 5 - 10 fingersticks a day. We're already working to reshape the bolus for breakfast.

Worth a grand? You betcha. I'm still hoping my insurance will cover it, but I'm doing my best to pay for it myself in the meantime.

(yawn!) I asked for this, didn't I?

One of the benefits of having the Gov'ner is that it goes bing at me if my glucose values go out of range. It is part of what I was asking for, wasn't it?

On the other hand, being woken up every 20 minutes after midnight until it registers you're above 80 mg/dl is not how I want to spend the small hours of the morning. Nor is being woken up every 2 hours if I'm above 240. And to kick it, that's what it's measuring in intersitial fluid, which doesn't match capillary values, nor is it expected to be really close (it has a 20% plus/minus accuracy range) to capillary values that a traditional fingerstick measures. In other words, if it alarms, you really do have to turn on the light and do a fingerstick if you're going to respond appropriately and not risk overdosing. To say nothing of determining if it's in calibration in the first place. The other night it told me I was 250, when the meter said I was 168.

Gotta love intensive management. Then again, the sooner I can bring down the highs, the less damage they will do over time.

For those of you new to glucose management, normals (i.e. the non-diabetic population) have blood glucose that standardly ranges 70 -115 mg/dl and might rise as high as 140 mg/dl within the 2-hours after a large meal (think Thanksgiving). The A1c (how much glucose is clinging to your red blood cells) ranges 4.6 - 6.4%. Bear in mind, if you choose to borrow someone's meter and you get a higher measurement than this, home meters are not sufficiently accurate to permit outright diagnosis, but it would be a good idea to phone your doctor and ask if they think you should have a lab test. Diabetes, especially type II, is rampant in the American population, much of it undiagnosed and contributing to many secondary complications like heart disease. High blood glucose can do a lot of damage to a body without even being felt.

Then again, being at the doctor's office on a Friday morning and having a glucose higher than their in-office meter can read will get them to phone to the hospital asking for you to get a bed for the weekend.

I haven't been knitting much this week since I got back to work. The lovely vacation-level readings are history, so I'm back to dealing with swings, and being up in the night dealing with highs has made it hard to stay awake in the following evenings. I've also been dealing with a number of Boston Knit-Out details that just take time. If anyone else responds that they can't possibly volunteer for the event because this year the date co-incides with Rosh Hashanah (yes, we're sorry, but would you rather it was on Yom Kippur?), I'm going to let them know what needs to be done through June, July and August and early September.

Last weekend I restarted work on Himself's impossible-to-photograph dark blue Wonderous Woven Cables sweater. It's still on the sleeves. It's going to take awhile. Seats are still scarse on the Red Line, so the 7th (?) iteration of the Baby Surprize sweater is going very slowly.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

I meant to have a post

Friday I meant to have a post. I was going to be cute and imformative and put up the .pdf of the output of the Gov'ner (Real Time Glucose Monitor) to show what goes on in my metabolism over the hours, even if last week was laughably stable (solved that yesterday going back to work).

Turns out Blogger won't post .pdfs. Himself has cheap web hosting, I should get me some. The budget will stand a couple dollars a month, his is only $2.95. I know next to nothing about webhosting except it exists and costs varying amounts of money for varying products I can't tell the difference between.

Getting my own domain was easy. Then his hosting service won't let me sign up with them because they think that pobox is a free email service (hell, no , it's not, but I think their spam filtering is worth paying for, and their reliability of delivery is far better than any of the free services I've used.). So we started trying to find me a hosting service at low cost that I won't know how to use once I get it, other than that it will let me put things up that I can then link to from my blog that my blog won't otherwise allow me to post.

We're still looking. And my post is stuck in my head.

I could talk about making 3 more calla lillies over the weekend. I managed to figure out where I left off in Himself's Wonderous Woven Cables sweater in the light-sucking dark blue from Mountain Mohair, and get going again.

I ruminated on how I've been giving myself a knitting bye by just making lots of simple things, rather than work on patterns with patterns where gauge matters (not just shawls) and there's a fair bit of sludging through rows without pretty lace showing up to keep you motivated.

And I finally realized I should have set the high glucose alarm snooze for every two hours rather than every hour if I was going to get any sleep. The RTGM graphs are no longer laughably within the "good management" limits.

Anyone want to recommend a realiable, inexpensive, web hosting service for a relatively low-trafffic site?

Friday, September 01, 2006

Report on the big batch of felting

I meant to do a batch of felting earlier in the week, but things got happening. Wednesday we had errands to run and then we went to a Pawsox game in the evening (don't get the cheeseburger and the fries are overwhelmingly salty). Thursday morning I helped Lucy with some Knit-Out tasks, then in the afternoon Himself and I went to the Davis Corn Maze out in Sterling.

Last night I got to felting. My method is to put the item(s) to be felted in the dryer, soaking wet, along with several soaking wet towels. The batch consisted of one Calla Lily from Pickup Sticks (one kit's worth), four daffodils, also from Pickup Sticks, and two hedgehogs from FiberTrends. The hedgehogs are shown top, pre-felting, with a size 7 shearling slipper. Next is the calla lily, also pre-felting, followed by the blossoms of the daffodils.

Everything was put in the dryer all together at 7:40 on high temperature. Everything was done by 9:15 (flowers by 9), checked every 10 minutes or so, so they actually felted quicker. I resoaked the knit items a couple times, the towels once.

The flowers started out very soft and floppy. As they felted, the outer petals thickened and curled up and the inner part curved and thickened, too.

The single daffodil is shown after about 20 minutes of felting, as is the blue hedgehog. The fabric is starting to thicken up, though the front of the hedgehog (all wool) shrunk up faster than the back (all wool yarn held with eyelash yarn). I was concerned about the backs of the hedgehogs not being as well felted, but at 9:15 I was ready to take them out and be done for the night. The beauty with felting, of course, is that if you decide you want to take the felting further you can always start the process again with soaking wet towels, knit item and hot dryer.

Shown on the left is the finished Calla Lily and one of the daffodils. I like how the lily came out and was impressed at how the really fussy knit just a few stitches with each fine gradation of green at the top of the stem really paid off in a stem that blended nicely into the blossom. Since the kit came with all the colors I did it as directed, but I'm not sure I'm going to seek out all the fine gradations in the Cascade 220 to replicate this. Since I liked how the flower turned out, I think I'll try it another time with just a plain dark stem like the daffodils and see if I like that as much. The white really curled up into a bowl under felting, cupping the stamen like a real petal does. I have a feeling there will be a lot of work with the floral wire to keep it properly shaped when it's upright. The daffodil petals curled in the shrinking process. The ruffling in the center portion is a function of the sudden increasing in the last couple rows before the center is bound off. Yes, the one on the right has a yarn end that got loose and felted. It will get trimmed off close once it's all dry.

Last, but not least, here's the hedgehog. I'm happy with it for now but will still reserve judgement over whether it's felted enough. I have a history of stopping the process too early and lately I've been unhappy with my earlier efforts.
Here are pictures of the front and back of the creature. The back has had the wool shrink up so that the eyelash tightens into a better fur. There's still some stitch definition in the front of both this and the blue one, so I may go for further shrinkage before I'm done.

One thing that worried me was whether or not the eyelash would come out in the dryer. One reason I was checking every ten minutes was to make sure the lint screen didn't get clogged. I was surprised at how little came out. I've had the mohair of Lamb's Pride made a worse mess.

The hedgehogs are cute, relatively easy, and don't have to be made in "natural" colors. I have a feeling I'll be getting more eyelash (none in the stash) and working these up with my existing wools to make a batch to give to Precious Pals at the next Granite State Knit-In. Eyes to be made with non-toxic fabric paint.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?