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Monday, July 28, 2014

Boy I miss spinning

I have not spun one thread since the dreaded neck adventure started.  I've knit very little.  I'm doing my exercises to keep the muscles alive until the disc settles down.  I experienced a MRI.  This was one of those tests that was put into action way after I started my career.  There were a lot of bugs to be worked out after the test was thought up in the early 50's and led to a Nobel Prize in 2003 for it's application in medicine.  But then I digress.

There are a million screening questions about previous surgery, metal parts, shrapnel, etc.  I certainly would not want anything rearranged accidentally by a giant magnet.  Luckily I'm not claustrophobic...a friend shared her story of freaking out and requiring anxiolytics.  I kept by eyes closed the whole time and listened to the Mumfords. I figured something loud would drown out the noise.  Well sort of.  It  was like being in a machine gun for 20 minutes.

                                    I also visualized Nausicaa being rejuvenated by the Ohmu.
                                        or Arriety floating down the river in the tea kettle.
                                                       I can't float without relaxing.

The good news is that there is hope of recovery without surgery, but the bad news is that it's indeed a bulging disc slight compressing the spinal cord and impinging on the C5 nerve root.  It does not pay to get old.   So my plan is to go to on the great MidWest adventure next month.  I plan to take a drop spindle or two and signed up for some classes in an air conditioned place. Before coming home I'll visit some family.  When I come back I'm going to start spinning again. 

In the mean time, I make cards, shop, knit and sew a bit,  and eat and mostly watch the weeds grow instead of attacking them..  

Flip it cards are all the rage and there are a billion dies, cutters and methods.  The minion is made with the Stampin' Up Owl Builder Punch (Stampin Up UK Crafty Hallett Christmas Minions with the Owl Builder). I made several flip it cards following Stephanie Barnard's instructions, from The Stamps of Life.  She has a youtube video called "Make a Hidden Panel Card with Stephanie Barnard from The Stamps of Life".  Jackie Topa has a nice video on the Envelope Punch board sliding gift card holders.  After holding out on getting a EK Success Stamp-A-Ma-Jig, I broke down and got it, and now wonder why I held back.  It is quite useful for getting images stamped where you want them to go.

I saw the movie Begin Again since I like Mark Ruffalo and Keira Knightly. Adam Levine is quite good as well.  He makes a brief appearance in one scene wearing a cabled slouchy hat.  Try as I might I have not found a screen cap of that hat or the afghan Keira Knightly wraps up in when she crashes at her friends house.  What is is with these movie people?

Friday, July 18, 2014

Punch Totoro Tutorial

Blogless Muffy has been bitten by the stamping craze, and got me obsessing on the Stampin' Up Owl Punch.  Besides owls, there are so many ideas.  This appeals to me as it hits a fond memory of mine from childhood making paper dolls with my sisters.  We cut a lady out of a magazine, and glued her to cardboard.  From there we traced around her and designed clothing, complete with tabs to hold them on.  If I remember correctly they were stored in cigar boxes, no doubt from my uncles, especially Uncle John from Maui.

When we last got together to make cards, the gang was making owl medical folk, and I was hooked.  Furry Tale Cards and Crafts has a cute example on her blog.  I obsessed on the owl punch.   I searched for a Totoro, but couldn't find one.  So here we go. My first attempt. 


Owl Builder Punch from Stampin' Up
Large Oval Punch from Stampin' Up
Blossom Petals XL from Stampin' Up

Card Stock:  Grey or Blue, White, Black
Inks to sponge edges
Adhesive of choice.  I used Tombow Mono Aqua

In main color, punch out 1 owl body, 3 smaller petals
In white, punch out smaller circles from owl punch and one oval
In black, punch out small eyeballs, heart and feet.  

From body, trim off feet and ears.  I made a little template for future use.  Trim the oval for the tummy.  Sponge all the grey edges and tummy piece. 


Glue the eyeballs on to the white.
Glue feet on back of body.  Adjust up so just his toes are showing.
Turn heart upside down and glue on the back of the tummy piece to make his nose.
Add his ears and tail to the back.
Add tummy markings.  I used a glaze pen.  

The Landcaster says they still look like owls. Bah humbug to him, lol. 

Add:  7/19/2014

Tried some different punches.  Petal from small 5 pointed flower...a little too small imo.  Wedges from the scallop punch for tails and arms.  Also found some very tiny googly eyes that are cute. 

I saw a specialist for my neck/arm/shoulder problem and she confirmed a Cervical Radiculopathy.  My MRI is scheduled on Monday.  She also poked a really big needle in the muscles along the C5-6 vertebrae and injected steroids.  Not as bad as it sounds. The hope is that some of the weakness will improve over the next week.

Still no spinning, but I watch the Tour de France on TV and admire all the wonderful spinning going on and beautiful yarn being produced by folk like Mokihana on Ravely.  And I knit a bit because I can't help myself.  The Plover Shawl is working up nicely in my Blue Heron Metallic.

At the rate I'm going it will be a long term project.

On this journey with my neck issue, I'm looking back at the vinyl much great music to review the past and make peace with it. 

Monday, July 14, 2014

Just a Little Knittin' to keep myself sane

Needle:  size 9
Yarn:  Cascade Tangier, colorway 6, Galaxy
Mods: none
Comments:  I made the shorter version which wraps around twice and can cover my head if I want.  The colors are better on the first photo.  Ravelry has many striped examples that are quite stunning.  I went with a self striping yarn because I have two skeins of Tangier and mostly because I'm too lazy to sew in ends.  This is such a clever construction, starting with a mini-shawl, and not requiring stitches to be picked or anything.  If I would have changed anything, it would be the YO.  Because of my size 9 needles, the holes were larger then I like and look a bit sloppy.    The yarn is very nice and comfortable against the skin.

After seeing Msknottyknits' beautfiul example on Rav,  I've CO for Plover Shawl by Amy Christoffers from Savory Knitting with my Blue Heron Rayon Metallic.  I'm thinking this yarn is too fussy for this pattern, but I will knit on for a bit.  

I am enjoying watching all the spinning going on for Tour de Fleece this year. Wish I could spin :(

The good news is that the pain in my neck/should/arm is much improved.  The bad news is that it is a pinched nerve causing the weakness and that can be very bad indeed.  I'm seeing a specialist soon.  The MRI is on hold until my records can be reviewed for mesh and clips and stuff I've forgotten about.  I'm trying not to freak out about the possibility of surgery.  Me and surgery don't have a good history together, but I just have to remind myself that I'm still alive so it couldn't have been all that bad.  I'm keeping my fingers crossed the disc will settle down before it gets that far.

Lot's of crepe myrtle in bloom at Ho'omaluhia and around town.  The lavender flower is a giant variety.  The red-orange flower beneath are from the Flame Tree.  The orange flowers on the top row, second from left are from the Sorrow-less Tree.  The Sanskrit word for this tree is Ashoka, which apparently means sorrow-less. 

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Aloe Dye Fail, Skully stitch marker success.

Not being able to spin has left me a bit discombobulated.  I've limited my knitting to a few rows at each sitting.  The arm/shoulder/neck pain is improving, but the arm weakness is about the same.  I saw PT today and will see Sport's Medicine tomorrow.  The meclomen is helping the pain and not irritating my stomach so far like other NSAIDS, and it is on the WalMart $4 RX list.  YAY.  I really dislike taking meds.  My son had fun reading the two page handout that came with the pills and keeps asking me if I've had any sudden weight gain or puffing up. 

I'm knitting  Foolproof by Louise Zass-Bangham from Inspiration Knits. Not free but clever.  It starts off like a shawl and ends up a cowl.  There are no seams.  I'm using a self-striping yarn, Tangier to avoid having to weave in ends.   I must say, the striped versions with higher contrast are more eye-catching.

My aloe dyeing was a bust.  I was inspired by the lovely pink Kai got with aloe. I got a rather pale yellow which is actually quite nice.  I learned a lot.  First, always label packages of white powder.  I'm now sure the white powder was soda ash and not alum.  Secondly and most importantly, don't be in a rush when it comes to dyeing anything.  Third, my churro spun on the Navajo spindle was not spun well, and fell apart with the abuse. 

Mom brought a good point when I whined about the least I have tried it.  I may try it again, too when the aloe plant gets out of control.  Somehow it seems better then throwing the thinnings away. Also cooking aloe does not smell too bad and is non-toxic.

In lieu of spinning in the Tour de Fleece I'm shopping online (mostly card-making supplies), surfing for inspiration and re-potting my poor neglected plants, including 3 sea island cotton plants.    I even managed a set of skully stitch markers and some very dangly acorn earrings.  The bone skull beads were funky smelling when I got them, and they were boiled, soaked in bleach and paint thinner and left in the elements for awhile (like years, lol) and they no longer smell bad. 

I'm signed up for Stitches felting class, and one rigid heddle class.  The only knitting class is intarsia in the round, so I'm hoping my shoulder/neck/arm problem will be better by then.  I was going to take Cherry Baby with me, but I decided not to spin for all of July and maybe August.