Saturday, October 28, 2006

The Professor's Brain

It was discovered that Natty had a very large Medulloblastoma tumor. This type of malignant tumor is among the more common in childhood cancers. The surgeon is hopeful that it was completely resected, and testing later today will tell us for sure. We are also waiting to hear if any cancerous cells are present in the spinal fluid.

Based on the answers to these two looming questions, a course of treatment including radiotherapy and chemotherapy will be determined. If these treatments are able to keep the Medulloblastoma from recurring for five years, Natty has excellent chances for living a full, cancer-free life. Unfortunately Medulloblastoma is very persistent and very agressive. So we really need to devote our energies into keeping this away from our boy.

Please send Nat and his family your best thoughts and healing energy. He needs our strength right now.

And while money doesn't solve anything, I just don't want Nat's family to have any extra worries right now. So if you're feeling as helpless as I am, and you'd like to contribute, please consider donating through Paypal. If you'd prefer a different form of donation, please contact me.

A group of artisans will band together to offer auctions and raffles to raise some money for the Professor. If you have something you'd like to contribute to such an effort, please contact me.

Immediate expenses include the hospital deductible and co-payments, costs of complementary treatments, and all of the little expenses that crop up from living on the road.

Donate here.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

All About the Professor.

Well, not all about him. It's hard to say all about anyone, isn't it?

The Professor was born 3 weeks after my Squid was born. They met when we moved to this country, so the kids were about 9 months old. Here's that auspicious meeting:

That's the Professor reaching out to touch the Squid's face. See how their teeny toes are intertwined? See their matching diapers? Aren't they sweet?

Though the Proffer lived ages away, we got together several times a year, when he came to visit his Great Grandma Shirley the former vaudvillian tap dancer from Coney Island. Or we'd go see him when we needed a little vacation, a little suburbia, a little peace and quiet.

Through the years the kids have spent a lot of time together. He's a great kid, a nice and kind (if a bit demanding and opinionated) kid. He's a big brother now, to a 7 month old baby. He goes to school, he has a kind of intense affinity for nursery rhymes. He has a brain tumor.

I've been talking to his mom. He's been sick to his stomach a lot lately. Dairy? Soy? Gluten? We've run through the various potential causes. She'd call me from the health food store asking me to look up this or that product. I did my research thing because that's what I do.

So yesterday she told me that she was called to pick him up at school because he was pale and wobbly. She said she'd call after she came home from the doctor but she didn't call.

The Professor has a brain tumor. Apparently it's rather large. They don't know what kind it is or anything about it. Who knew that vomiting was a main symptom of a brain tumor?

Anyway, I'm here feeling completely impotent, so I'm doing something. Whatever I can, however lame. So I quickly wrote up the pattern for that chemo hat. It makes a nice winter hat, too, actually. I wore one all winter last year, before it became a chemo hat. It's not much but the best I can do immediately. And I just needed to do something immediately.

So it's for sale here, as a downloadable PDF. I don't know what else to do but I figure money, right? the thing no one wants to think about but it's there. I know they're going to supplement whatever standard care he needs with some natural care, too, and those things, and the comforts, the travel, the time off from work... well, if nothing else they can buy him a really kick-ass present, right?

Friday, October 20, 2006

Oh yes. I made more socks.

These were knitted from the excellent "Widdershins" pattern from Knitty. The pattern was in the summer issue but seems to not have made it to the archive. Not sure what's up there. Anyway, the first sock gave me fits, but only because I insisted that if you have 36 stitches and add one you get 47. The second sock, once I got the counting thing down, was a dream to knit.

I used Brown Sheep Wildfoote Luxury Sock in the "Brown Sugar" colorway. I got this yarn from someone in a trade, I think. It's really anything but luxury, but it's fine. They don't feel icky while wearing them, which I was kind of afraid of, because they certainly felt icky while knitting them.

I also made these. They're for the Squid, she chose the colors from my stash of little leftover balls from Mosaic Moon. This is an organic merino that is everything the Wildfoote is not. Namely, luxurious. And not so much superwash, hence the halo you see in the photo. They've been through the wash once already. Surprisingly, they survived with only an excess of fuzz, no felting at all. Lucky for me my husband is a fan of the cold wash.

I knit these two at a time using magic loop. I always magic loop socks, but this was my first foray into the two at a time deal. I love it and will never look back. I also just made up the pattern using a short row, garter stitch heel, and that made life so much easier. no thinking. One of my biggest problems with sock knitting is that I use socks as my "go everywhere" project, and yet I always come to a point where I need to count and think - and that point generally arrives at an inappropriate moment, so the socks go on hold and I get stuck sitting somewhere without anything to knit.

Finally, a sweater. I made this using Targhee hand painted by Dashing Dachs. The yarn was sent to me by the sweater recipient's mom, and I have to say it grew on me. I wasn't so sure of those colors together but in the end I really like it. It reminds me of those blue-skied autumn days. Very unlike any we've had thus far in New York City.

Speaking of New York City, I'm desperately seeking a real 2 bedroom apartment for rent starting in January. So if you hear of anything, please let me know!

(By the way, Blogger's spell check wanted to replace "superwash" with "superego". I think that's perfect.)

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

I cannot stand the sight of this sock. Though not pictured, there really is another, matching one.

When I met my husband, he was wearing these hand-tooled Italian shoes and grey and light blue striped socks. It was an odd combination and one of the things, frankly, that made me fall for him. I was young. These things happen.

Fast forward many years. The socks are long gone. I discover knitting. I see everyone knitting socks and loving it. I figure that I can knit socks and love it. I buy some grey and blue self-striping yarn and open my Ann Budd handy guide to knitting lots of stuff and get to work.

Well. I hate the yarn. Hate. It feels like plastic. It squeaks. I hate my needles. I keep snapping them (I'm knitting dk yarn on size 2s. maybe that has something to do with it). I buy bryspuns. I like them a little bit better. I knit the first sock, with much agony, and start on the second. The second ball of yarn is full of knots. So I painstakingly snip, measure, find another repeat of the appropriate color, and splice together yarn, damned near every color change, the whole damned sock. So much for 'self striping' yarn.

I snap the bryspuns.

I toss the socks in a corner and ignore them.

Now I'm knitting my husband a sweater. He loves it. He's happy. He's already requesting the next one. He remembers the socks.

I pull them out, reluctantly, and find that all that's left are the toe decreases. A year wiser, I whip out my addi 40" 2s and magic loop the toe, finishing them off.

They're too big. They slouch. I made a mistake when knitting the gusset - I decreased every round instead of every other round, making a tiny gusset, and a weird tight-yet-slouchy part at the ankle. He loves them. Which is all that matters. Kind of. Because now, when looking at his stripey feet, instead of my heart skipping a beat, I cringe a little. Am I really considering making another pair? Do I really believe a better yarn will help? Do I really think that I'm smarter now?

Or, do I dig deeper within myself and figure if I was able to learn to live with the imperfect owner of the feet, that I can eventually learn to live with the imperfect socks? I mean, the relationship has made it a decade. I doubt the lousy socks will. Will they?

Friday, October 06, 2006

I've been hit!

So this is as far as I got in Sock Wars. The person who was after the person who was after me claims my socks will be here tomorrow. whoops. It's a nice pattern, and I got to use some Knit Picks merino DK yarn I had lying around, so it wasn't a total bust. Confirms my utter loathing of sock knitting, though.

In other news, Zimmermania is sailing along. It's my favorite blog now, I check in several times a day to see what interesting things people have made.

The Seamless Hybrid is fast and easy. I love the yarn. I love the color. I'm having hem issues.

I somehow got the same gauge on 8s and 9s, but went with the 8s because my husband is hell on sweater elbows and the fabric on 8s felt more substantial (though it really was the same gauge numerically. who knows). For the hem I went to 6s and didn't swatch. I've made this hem countless times. Nary a hitch. Now, for some reason, my gauge on 6s is the same as my gauge on 8s and 9s. So the hem looks a little poofy to me. I'm hoping that it blocks out, or I'll have to run a lifeline, snip and frog it when the whole sweater is finished and either go with a hem i have to sew (gasp) or a rolled edge, depending on how sick of the thing I am by that point.

I've also been machine knitting, I have a little block of time on Fridays that I devote to the machine. This bag was last weeks project.

It took weeks because one week I swatched and felted the swatches, the next week I made the pieces on the machine and assembled them, and today I felted it. The pattern was me just calculating what to knit to get the felted dimensions I wanted with the pockets I need. I ran out of yarn, though, so while i have the necessary phone, iPod, calendar, and knitting journal pockets, I'm missing any other organization. The yarn is from Knitting Notions, and I love the depth of color. It's a warm grey, lighter than charcoal, but very charcoal-like in nature.

So while that felted I started my next machine project, the Wrap Jacket from Ella Rae volume one. I'm using some Rowan chunky I got on ebay in a sage color. I'm not thrilled with the color but I'm loving how the fabric feels on the machine. I'm surprised that the machine is handling it, it's far bulkier than any other yarn I've successfully knit thus far. At this rate it'll probably be 2 more Fridays before I hand-knit the ribbing and seam it up.

And last but not least, I've had some patterns accepted by Debbie Stoller, which I find awfully exciting. She's chosen to publish a hat/scarf set in her 2008 calendar and a sweater in an upcoming book. It's the first time anything I've designed will be published by anyone who isn't me, and I'm pretty pleased, I have to say. My dear friend Pam had a very sexy lap blanket accepted, too, so it's celebrations all around!