Thursday, February 26, 2009

Anyone care to join me in the frogpond?

Yes, here I am again after a short hiatus. Quite a lot has happened in the last three weeks or so since I have been here...

My sister's birthday - what there is of our reasonably local family celebrated by going out to dinner at an Indian restaurant. Not my favourite type of food (definitely not my daughter's!) but it was ok.

Granddaughter's first birthday! A big event in a little girl's life. We travelled up to Ashburton taking Dad with us. It wasn't quite her birthday but her "real" birthday fell on the Monday. D was already up there as he has been helping our son cut up trees that were felled in a strong wind last month so I had to drive. We had a lovely time there but I missed a little drama centred on my Dad when D drove me out to the farm to show me how the firewood was progressing. Dad was fine but didn't tell me what happened (he fell off his chair and narrowly missed going through a window giving everyone there a huge fright!). The drive back home was a bummer, though, with Dad being hypercritical about my driving - I was always doing something wrong in his opinion! (Just a note here, I believe my driving is very safe. I have often been complimented by friends when I taken them somewhere and have never had an accident - Dad has had several!) By the time we dropped him off I had had enough. If I didn't see Dad until next year it would have been too soon. No, I am not exaggerating but I have got over it. He did totally spoil what should have been a special day, though.

T's real birthday, 9 Feb, saw me in hospital for a scheduled eye operation. It wasn't a huge procedure (the excision of a pterygium and a conjunctival graft) but I have never been "under the knife" before. Apparently, patients having this operation usually have a general anaesthetic. My opthalmologist felt I was a good candidate for a local anaesthetic. Much better for a good recovery, but scary! I didn't even have a sedative. It was offered but, never even having had one of these before, I wasn't sure how it would affect me. Just call me brave!

Once I was settled in position on the operating table (how narrow are they!) my head was wrapped up and some sort of sticky stuff was put over my eye and a window peeled off. Anaesthetic drops were put in my eye and, once they had taken effect, an injection was inserted to numb the area around the eye. The surgeon then got to work taking off the growth and taking a graft from another part of my eye to cover the wound. I didn't bother to count how many minute stitches he made(after more drops were put in - I could feel the needle!) but it was quite a few. Dissolving ones, thank goodness. That was it! Not too bad after all and only took about 45 minutes. After half an hour or so (I was allowed something to eat then - yay! as I had not been allowed breakfast or even my cup of hot chocolate!) I was able to go home and recuperate.

All the material I had been given said that there was normally a fair bit of pain for which the doctor would prescribe painkillers. I took the paracetemol and ibuprofen as prescribed but, apart from a little prickling from the stitches and a sensitivity to light on the first day afterwards, I was fine. I saw the opthalmologist the day after the op and he, again, warned that I could expect to experience quite a bit of pain for some time as the eye healed. What can I say. I'm not normal! I did have a bit of a black eye for a while and the eye is a little red but otherwise I'm fine. I could even read without discomfort.

What DID hurt, though, was putting my back out the following day bending down to pick up something I had dropped on the floor! I think my back muscles had tensed up a lot on the operating table and bending down did them in. It has taken ages to come nearly right but it still hasn't settled down completely. I may need to seek treatment of some sort for my back as it often plays up if I do a lot of bending. I guess losing a bit of weight would help, too.

Coinciding with my eye operation came a radical change in the weather. I went in to the hospital that morning with the sun shining and the temperature, at 7.30 in the morning warm enough for me to be wearing a t-shirt. When I came out, just after lunchtime, a southerly had come through and the temperature had plummeted. Over three weeks later and it still hasn't been warm enough to do that outside since. Rain and cloudy skies have been the norm with the sun only making its appearance yesterday and today. It seems as if we have moved from a very warm Summer into Autumn overight, and February is supposed to be our hottest month. I feel cheated.

The plus side of the cooler weather is that I have once more got back into knitting. Well, after all the spinning I have been doing over the last few months, don't you agree that I needed to? Trouble is that I'm not working on using up the yarn I've been spinning. I am using yarn from my stash, though, so it isn't all bad!

I don't know if you recognise this but it is the beginning of Alina Khasanova's Braided Pullover from IK's Fall 08. The yarn I'm using is a merino/alpaca blend from the Milton millshop (Quality Yarns). A soft heathery brown (not grey - the camera lies) it is wonderfully soft and warm. But I have a problem. The pattern calls for a gauge of 20 sts to 4 ins, my gauge is 19 sts to 4 ins. So, not wanting to swim in my jersey, I went down a size. However, I have had a feeling something was wrong for a while. This morning I finally felt I had knit enough to carry out a measurement check. I put over half the stitches on another needle, spread my work out and applied the tape measure. What? Six inches too small? Try again. Same thing. I even tried it against a jersey that fits me comfortably. I was not mistaken. Unless I want the jersey to be stretched to its uttermost limits while it is on my body, I will have to start again.

I have no idea why this is so. Divide the measurement of the finished jersey by 4, multiple by the stitch gauge and I came to 209. Therefore I cast on 216, the closest number to 209. Before you ask, yes, I have checked and rechecked the number of stitches I cast on. It is correct. I really like this pattern so I will try again and see what happens. Sigh.

On a brighter note...did you notice the stitch markers in the photo above. No? Look here then -

Aren't they cute? I bought them on Trade Me for the princely sum of $1.50 plus $1 postage! I couldn't make them for that (considering I have never made any...yet!). Unfortunately the top ring is a little small for the 4mm needles I'm using so I use the larger ring instead. Still works for me, though.

Anyway, I guess I will have to face up to it and restart my jersey. If anyone wonders where I am I'm the one in the frogpond!


Stell said...

kathy - what a week! Hope the eye continues to heal, and yes you are one brave cookie. I'd have gone for a general just to escape feeling the prodding and poking. I love my dad, but he sounds a tad like yours (maybe its a generational thing?), nothing is ever as good as it could be. Lets mutter after our visits in sympathy with each other shall we? And that is one pretty pullover, almost to nice to be a pullover. now - before you frog or maybe i'm to late - but did you wash the swatch? some of that milton stuff relaxes quite a bit ... maybe not enough - but then again maybe.

any way - all the best and see you in Timaru !

Kris said...

You are one brave woman...just the thought of anything going near my eye makes me flinch.

The jersey looks fabulous. I guess my only advise is alpaca stretches, but being a blend I'm sure it wont stretch over that 6 inch difference. sigh. good luck!

Nicky said...

Geez u r brave !!
Good to see u back blogging

fleegle said...

Adorable stitch markers!

I hope you are all better now, too!

And yes, I tried Superfloss, but found it more trouble than a crochet hook. And thanks for your kind words about Iris :)