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The Adventures of two Fibre Artists.



Contributing Artists

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Good-bye to a Dear Friend

Friday we, my husband and I, had to make a very painful decision to help our dear friend end her suffering. Mika was a loved part of our family for nearly 16 years. We adopted her from our local Animal Shelter as a pup. Because my husband and I do not have children we were one of those pet loving couples who treat their furbabies like children. Not to mention our respect for all God's creation.

Mika enjoyed camping and hiking but she especially loved anything to do with open water. We enjoyed many years canoeing the rivers of South Carolina (the Enorree, Elloree, Wateree,Edisto) and since we live so close to the Congaree swamp we spent many an afternoon enjoying the treasures this beautiful swamp offers. A few years ago when chronic pain from Fibromyalgia, herniated disc and other congenital back defects limited my participation in these activities, Mika continued to accompany my husband on weekly trips that I could not take. Her departure has been especially hard on him.

We discovered a tumor about a month ago on Mika's back hip which grew so fast and for the past several weeks she was in tremendous pain that could not be relieved with Rimadyl and Toradol together. Even homeopathic treatments offered no hope and at her age surgery, even if indicated, was not an option. These past few days were so hard watching her struggle to get some kind of comfort, she did not even want to lie down and would just stand in one spot until fatigue forced her back down. She would fall trying to manage just the few steps outside our front door and would need assistance to climb back up them.

Last Sunday dh took her on her last boat ride. He took great care not to cause any physical strain and considered not taking her at all if not that those outings were all she lived for.

With the vet's assurance that allowing her to continue the way she was, even for a couple days, would only cause more suffering, and that all other options were exhausted, DH lay on the vet's exam room floor with her as she quietly slipped away. Now we focus on the good times. How she would open the tent door at the crack of dawn and you could hear her splashing in the river before anyone else stirred. I remember the time I planted pansies only to find her behind me unearthing and throwing those just planted in the air. How she would pull the hair ties from my hair and toss them in the air and delight in catching them without fail, standing at the front of the canoe as if she were guiding the group down the river..... I am trying to take comfort knowing that God does not create just to throw away and I believe she is now running, chasing deer, or swimming a nice cool stream with other furbabies that have gone before her.

Good-bye my dear friend.


Thursday, March 20, 2008

A Stashbuster Ruana

Well I have added, yet another, project to those I am actively working on. This one will probably take precedence over the others, that is to say there is a functional urgency with this particular one that the other projects don't share....at least on one level. This project is a Ruana that I intend to use to keep warm while worshiping. Most Orthodox Christians spend many hours attending various liturgies, vespers, vigils and other celebrations. During some festal seasons it is not unusual to participate in services every day of the week, some more than one a day, and being cold natured as I have mentioned in previous posts I rarely find it warm enough, especially during the summer when air conditioning is constantly in use, causing great discomfort from the Fibromyalgia that can be very distracting when all I want to do is meditate, pray and worship. A ruana will be something I can easily wrap up in or pull off on that rare occasion that I find it warm enough to do so, and drape more securely than a shawl.

The pattern I chose for this particular Ruana, found in Cheryl Oberle's Folk Shawls, has more than one unique merit. The more obvious of those, for me, was that it is what can be categorized as a "stashbuster". That is to say that this project utilizes all those remaining, single, or less than full skeins of yarn from previous projects that won't contain enough yardage for a project of their own. Also many different colours, textures, gauges can not only be used, but is recommended for this project. I also like the way the back neck is designed. It will offer a better fit and warmth to the neck. Knitted length wise and including a formula to help work out a more customized fit is another great feature for me since I constantly am having to modify patterns to fit my tall, slim frame.

I want to use mostly lace weight yarns to keep it light weight as this is another consideration not only because heavy clothing aggravates fibromyalgia symptoms but also heavy weight outer clothing is not needed here in the south with milder winter temperatures. By starting with lace weight yarn I was thrown off when calculating my cast-on stitches. I was warned before hand to "knit the swatch" by those on
Ravelry who had already completed this same pattern and offered details on the project, another wonderful use for this forum. While I rarely knit swatches for projects that don't need exact fitting, I know...bad knitting practice..., I actually did start one as suggested, unfortunately by only using lace weight yarn on the swatch my measurement was not accurate. I knew that by using thicker yarn occasionally it would change the gauge a bit, but I had no idea how much. While casting on I decided to decrease from my initial calculated 550 sts to 320, and I am glad I did since after knitting several rows it became obvious that the thicker gauge yarns did indeed change things. My advice is to be sure to include all gauge yarns in your swatch for this project.

I am already learning to appreciate the joys of knitting this Ruana. While it is going to be labour intensive, time wise, especially when fitting full length for someone 5'10", it is a project that can be worked on when full attention can't be given as it is knitted garter stitch, but the biggest joy for me is to see the various yarns working in concert to produce a design that is as individual as the person knitting it.