Weird Wool Wednesday: bursitis and wipitis

The bursitis is nearly solved! The cause is tensed up muscles in upper leg and buttocks. They squish the bursea against the hip bone, getting them irritated and inflamed.

My muscles tensed up because I’ve gotten “swole” in February:

I didn’t get particular muscular but I lost the bloating in my belly and as a result I stand, sit and walk with my muscles actively engaged. So much proud!
Coto on the rock Coto the tiger. Pic by Tambako The Jaguar

I lost the bloating by eating FODMAP and Low Residue. Both for medical reasons: I now sleep 6 hours instead of 4,5! This is amazing. My whole life I’ve woken every night in a jolt after 4,5 hours. Yes, really. I’m 46 now and I’ve probably have not slept through the night more than two hundred times in my life. It’s why my adrenals broke.

Anyhoo. Hoo knoo? Bursitis without a clear cause can be because your muscles got too tense. Apparantly you’ve got to relax your muscles every day? Did you knoo? And not by exercising but by taking a bath, by going to the sauna, by doing yoga or by having someone massage them. I did not knoo!

I learned this all last week, when I had my first Deep Tissue massage to loosen up those tense muscles. That’s not a relaxing massage by the way… that’s a massage that makes you squirm and try to hobble of the table.
High Fivepic by Ashley Buttle
But it works wonders!

I’ve only had one massage and already the pain is gone. I did have a massive reaction though, from all the waste products getting loose from the muscles and floating around my body before I could pee them out. Head ache, nausea. Drink liters of water. Next week I have my next massage and then one more and then the bursitis is probably gone!

As long as I make Muscle Relaxing a part of my days.
Monday Baths pic by Danny Barron

Because I can only do one sensible thing per week I’ve started another vest with the yarn I got at Wolbeest last Saturday, with a provisional cast on at the back, working my way up to the neck line and shoulder straps:

Totally ignoring that my upper back is an ice cone swimmer triangle.

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Pushing back, looking forward :)

Today it has been 10 years that I fell ill.

We travelled back from Oslo. We were there to look at apartments, to emigrate there. My husband had a light flu for a few days. Then he confessed that he did not see himself living in Norway. He’s just not the kind of guy to live in another country.

I stomached the disappointment because some things are non-negotiable and I complimented him on finding the courage to disappoint me. It’s a huge thing for him.

On the way back there was a small hiccup where we travelled underground to the airport instead of on the surface and I didn’t get a chance to see the city and say a proper goodbye to the place that feels so much like my true home. I bawled my eyes out over this for a few minutes but then buckled up because we had a plane to catch and I had to navigate for the both of us. (Since then I have come to recognize these short, violent cryings as a signal from my bodily stress-system, the HPA-axis. It’s a signal of total overwhelming and need for immediate rest and shelter.)

Back in the Netherlands I fell in my bed, exhausted, and woke up with the same virus that had plagued my husband. Only mine lasted. I didn’t get well for months. Years.
It was Q-fever that evolved into ME/CFS which eventually turned out to be adrenal insufficiency (amongst other things).
I’ve recovered only about a year ago and will never take health for granted again.

I never visited Norway again. But the pain of missing it has subdued and I can think of it again. I will travel there again one day.

Now, all this telling will end into a positive, I promise 😉

Thing is, my mind seems to live ten years behind. I dream of things that happened ten years ago. In my mind I walk in buildings I knew ten years ago. I cringe at things I said and did ten years ago.
It’s a weird thing. It seems I can only process things and put them behind me after a decade of mulling over them.

So for the past year I’ve been dreading today. The day I’d look back at how things fell apart ten years ago. How deep I fell. How ill I’ve been. How much I missed. The living, the loving, the friendships, the adventures, the career, everything.
How I stumbled through the years of illness. Not allowing myself to have the cabin at a comfortable temperature. Not having the right medical care. Not having the brain power to notice things that were wrong. Not righting them and getting better sooner (if that had been possible at all). So much stumbling.

I woke up this morning with a sigh. I WhatsApped my friends and one of them wrote back: “Looking forward has the best perspective.”

Bam.
Done.
Embroider that on a canvas and hang it on the inside on your glasses.

Not looking back today.
Have done enough of that over the past year. I’m done. There’s no need to chronicle where I’ve been and what I’ve done. Who cares? Everybody has a story. Why waste time, the present time, on reminiscing? The present time is a gift. Unwrap it.

Looking forward today.
I’m going to make some snowy stitch markers. I’ve finished sewing a dress shirt (blouse). The mushroom spencer already has a neck band and might get done before Thursday. There’s a cat that wants to sit on my lap. There’s an itty bit layer of snow left and somebody put their big feet in them:

First thing I did this morning was have chocolate custard for breakfast. And I’m looking forward to a bonbon-filled lunch.

Second thing I did was order a felt I crown from Mathilde van den Broek, from Feltstudio “Bij Til Thuis” on Facebook
Example:

She embroiders them! They are so full of love and detail, they are spectacular! I’d love to have one and wear it on a wool party.

This is the inspiration collage I just send Mathilde for mine:

Light green, daisies, pine forest. Nature!

I added this one to introduce me and my husband, who is a gentle, nature loving fox at heart.

Mathilde loves it and will felt the base today and I’m thrilled that we will both be working with colours and nice materials today.

The Dutch light over the Dutch canal with the antique ships also looks amazing today:

No belly button gazing today. I’m looking up and looking forward.

Tour de Fleece Day 16: sitting outside celebrating the day.

Spinning the second half of the gradient pack. It’s a beautiful day in the Netherlands. Tomorrow it will be nearly tropical and the same on Wednesday. 30 degrees Celsius and more.

During the day I’m sitting inside with the curtains and shutters closed. I come outside early in the morning and late in the afternoon, just after all the commuting traffic has passed. It’s lovely.

Lovely the second: I’m baking a lot of pancakes!


Pancakes are celebratory food in my family. When I lived in Norway I was baking pancakes and at the same time my brother was baking pancakes, while studying in Spain. Together we spanned the European continent, with my parents somewhere in the middle.
Pancakes also featured in my wedding celebration, ten years ago.

I haven’t had pancakes in a couple of years because it was thought I couldn’t handle gluten but it turns out it’s bran that’s the problem.

Can’t have bran and nuts and corn and seeds and raw vegetables and broccoli and kale and any sulphur rich vegetable and cheese and mascarpone and ham and bacon and alcohol and yeast and fried vegetable oils and garlic and onions. I think that’s about it? And artificial vanilla flavouring.

That leaves me eating pancakes!
This week I learned to make them in a regular pan, not one with the anti-sticky bottom. A real pan needs more fat (I use coconut) and needs to be really hot before you pour the batter.
Then it sticks like mad but if I leave it alone for a while it unsticks itself. The taste is amazing! You are invited to come visit and I’ll bake you a pancake and we can both worry whether it will come loose from the pan or not and then you can taste for yourself!

I eat them with jam/jelly.

(‘jelly’ is American for jam, the Brits use ‘jelly’ for ‘jello’. Don’t try to make a PBJ sandwich with British jelly.)

So I eat pancakes or white bread with full fat butter and a fruity jam once or twice a day.

My third meal is protein rich, to get all the repair-proteins for bodily maintenance and regular operating procedures such as cell division on board.
It can be four runny egg yokes on white bread. Drumsticks, steak, homemade curries, chicken soup, fish. Liver.

Proteins are quite hard for me to digest, what with the weird bodily makeup I have.
First my stomach acid is not acid enough due to low cortisol. But if I supplement cortisol and I overdo it just the tiniest bit digestion is suspended because my body thinks we are in Fight or Flight.
Secondly my duodenum is twisted in an irregular way. The human body isn’t build too smartly anyway in the area where the exit of the stomach is. Organs are stacked on top of each other, with tubes running every which way trying to deliver digestive enzymes and bile. On top of all the colon comes for a visit, twisting its way from the back to the front and then to the back again, just curling forward to keep the exit of the stomach in a choke hold it seems. At least mine does.
Thirdly my liver isn’t willing to produce bile at the moment.
I have to coax and aid all of these factors. No wonder I have to lie down after this meal, when the stomach is ready to release its content.

Then fourthly, if proteins do manage to get absorbed into my bloodstream, I do not have enough blood pressure to push them into my cells.
Fiftly my cells cannot handle proteins very well because of DNA unfortunalities in the mitochondria. I aid this with activated vitamin B12 (methyl-B12 and methyl-folate). For years I couldn’t do this because mB12 is like pouring rocket fuel into your cells: you boost the processes big time. If there are heavy metals or other toxins or not enough minerals and cofactors in the cell the process will burn and crash spectacular, making the person crash too.

It took me a few years to get rid of all the heavy metals, to bring minerals into balance, to boost my blood pressure to minimum working levels and to calm down the various organs and nervous system.

Now I’m at the stage that I can take mB12 and mFolate on a regular basis without burning or crashing. So now I can eat protein and hopefully use it for needed repairs and adequate hormone levels.

And that is how I recovered from ME/CFS. I have a bunch of other problems still to deal with such as Adrenal Insufficiency, messed up neurotransmitters due to MAO A and MOA B being too slow and a traverse colon that won’t work (sending me into Fight or Flight every night).
But I’m not complaining. At least I’m no longer in my bed, very ill. I can sit outside again and spin a bit.

Which calls for celebratory pancakes!

So whatcha doin’?

Well….. I’m knitting a sock waiting at the doctor’s office:

A new pair of SlipStripeSpiral socks by Mylene Pijpers. I want something to complement that gorgeous blue green purple ball. And I’m all into greyish purples at the moment so I expect great things from this 50 gram ball of Regia.

The doctor is running late:

Apparently it takes me one hour to knit a toe.
How I pitied the other people waiting! They have nothing else to do but delve into their phones or leaf through germ ridden magazines filled with soul-eroding advertisements.

The dr. appointment went well. I got the OK to officially self manage my adrenal insufficiency from now on and he will tell his successor so.
The way he said that last part was: “Are you on my list of difficult patients?”
I am now.

Then we talked about DNA and Methylation and he concluded our visit with: “Every time you’re sitting here I think: what will you teach me today?”
That got me all flustered. I don’t feel like an expert at all, more like stumbling and good at choosing which pits to avoid.

I walked home and had a little cry. It has been so scary to go up against a mysterious illness that no doctor can explain and had me near death in my bed. Then tweak things a bit and get a foot hold here and there and eventually recover a bit and develop a working theory that makes sense but I cannot comprehend in its totality. My GP agrees on my theory and supports the drugs and tests I want to take. But now I take these dangerous hormones and I have to be smart and cautious at the same time and I’m scared all over again. Scared because now I have a chance at health but now I also know there’s so much (medicine/biology) that I don’t know and there’s so much in a body that can go faulty. That I can actively cause to go faulty. I know we all have to die of something in the end but I’m actively stirring the pot of options.

Brrrr!
After my little cry and a big hug from Robert, Lillepoes and some chocolate, we packed up and travelled to the cabin. Estimated travel time: one toe.

Seeing the two yarn together I decided I didn’t like the colour combination. The bluegreen is such a happy and vibrant and smooth yarn (Trekking) while the grey purple is muted and kinda fuzzy (Regia). No, neither colourway profits from this combination. So I put the one toe aside and cast on a second toe in the greypurple colour, from the inside of the ball:

It was done by the time we got to the cabin. Now I have to wait the long weekend before I return to the city to chose a better sock yarn to go with these toes and another yarn to go with that green blue yarn.
I’ll confess that I’m looking for options to buy some 50 grams balls of yarn tomorrow. Because I don’t have good colours in the stash, I already know.

This is the other project I forgot to take with me:

That’s right, it’s the mitten design that I’m making into a vest and I finished the stranded part yesterday! Now follows a bit of plain knitting, starting with the decreases for the waist. An excellent knit for a car ride. If I had thought to bring it with me…

But I didn’t forget everything. I brought the Rose and Thorn Sock Madness sock that now goes under the new name Purple Sock. That’s good for mindless knitting. And I brought some lace shawls. I’ll tell you about two of them in a next post, right now I want to show you the one that I finished knitting:

It’s the I Believe shawl. For World Wide Autism Awareness Day come April 2nd.

The cabin has a centrifuge, a top loader, excellent for wool projects. So now the I Believe shawl is blocking, upstairs on the spare bed in the little attic.

It’s so pretty! It’s already night time now but I have a torch.

My trusted critic:

I used a semisolid yarn to bring out the Holding Hands lace motif:

Battery in the flash light died:

Hopefully it’s dry tomorrow and I can take daylight pictures. I’m also very curious to see whether the edge will roll, because it’s all stockinette stitch. But it’s 100% silk so I may get lucky. An interesting experiment.

I used exactly 100 grams of yarn for the shawl, both yarns together. But I thought people wouldn’t trust that round number so I put 99 grams into the Ravelry database.

A bit like when Mount Everest was measured and it came to exactly 29,000 feet (8,839 m) in height. The story is they added 2 feet [0.6 m] to make it look more believable.

Can’t fudge 2 feet in a Dutch landscape though. Holland is flat:


Like a green pancake.

stranded hat: Estonian braided cast on

I’m still so filled with impressions from the fair! I want to show you a thousand things but I don’t know where to start. Also want to knit knit knit with things instead of writing about it. How am I supposed to write about it sensibly? Hang on, I’ll just show you what I’m doing RIGHT NOW. That’s a good place as any to start.

JUST NOW the post arrived and it brought a needle size 2,25 mm that Trude is borrowing me when she read I was knitting multiple projects on just the one needle. Thank you Trude! You are very smart.

I am less smart so instead of spreading my existing projects over the two needles I now have I took the new needle and cast on a new project:

That’s a braided cast on that is. Vikkelbraid? Kihnu braid.

Let me tell things chronologically, in an attempt to sound logical.

FIRST
Alexandra from Atelier Het Wolbeest was wearing a marvellous hat at the fair, in handspun pink and grey:
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It’s dolls holding hands! The pattern is Dollheid by Kate Davies (A title that makes me giggle because the Dutch word “dolheid” means “madness”)

Alexandra’s hat had me in awe, with the contrast and the happy pink colour and the special ribbing at the edge. It’s currogated ribbing, where you alternate colours but also knit and purl stitches. (I think, I haven’t read thus far in my pattern yet)

THEN
The booth next to Wolop was manned by Lidaholm, a woman with a passion for Swedish yarns. She goes there every Summer and visits small farms and spinning factories and imports their yarns to the Netherlands to spread the joy.


Sweden has some special breeds, some of them particular for wool quality.

I had to pass these yarns multiple times per day. They caught my eye because they were ridiculously soft and spun just the way I like to spin my own yarn: soft, lofty but yet a well plied yarn that looks like a string of pearls.
I got talking to Lida and she told about this small independent Swedish yarn manufacturer who have everything under one roof. They spin their own lambs fleeces on machines that are tuned to handle them particularly softly. They sell yarns but also finished products and their own designs.
Lida has so much enthousiasme and such technical knowledge it was a delight to talk to her.

AND THEN
things came together and I wanted a stranded hat like Alexandra, knitted in these yarns that are so sympathetic.
A hat to celebrate our successful weekend at the fair, a souvenir.
I felt the urge to perform an act of pure joy and not be tight with spending money on myself and later on regret it because a chance was there and now lost.

SO I WENT BOLDLY and bought yarn for a hat I hadn’t planned.
I even went out of my comfort zone, colour wise:

Salmon pink? That makes me look green or grey. I must have lost it.
I’m lost in giggles, that’s true. All these ice-pastels are making me so happy! The dark grey will set them off nicely and together they’ll have the same values of contrast that I have in my own face, with my darkish eye brows and hair and light eyes and fair skin. In theory this hat should make me look good.

They were in the skies too, these ice pastel colours, when we were driving back south on Sunday morning, a clear winter morning with a crisp sun. A perfect compliment to the timing and the colours of this yarn purchase.

NEXT
I spend Monday relaxing and admiring Alexandra’s hat online and looking at other stranded hats and deciding that whatever pattern I chose it should have a pompom because Wolop is wearing pompoms on all her hats.

THEN THIS MORNING
I knew which patterns I wanted to combine. Plus pompom.
It’s going to be the base of Simply Harika by Renee Burton

Simply Hakira offers different edges. I’ll do the braided edge and currogated ribbing (which I’ve never done before).

On top will feature pattern As The Leaves Begin To Fall by Eliza Jarvi. Plus pompom.

Leaves in light colours, back ground in dark.

As the Leaves begin to Fall really needs a new name…. all day today the ear worm in my head has been alternating Jingle Bells with that song by Jermaine Jackson & Pia Zadora:


GAHHH!
31 years after the release of this song is still too soon, apparently.
(you’re welcome. Sharing ear worms is my secret hobby.)

AND THEN
I was putting the laundry in the attic for drying and had to stop for a bit. It’s part of this therapy I’m doing to keep the nervous system out of Fight or Flight and thusly without the need to exasperate ME symptoms. Get bored? Feel symptoms rising? Stop what you’re doing and go do something fun. Endorphines, baby!
So I stopped midway and was just standing around for a bit thinking “now what?” (because I’m very new to this therapy).
AND THEN THE POSTMAN RANG.
WITH NEEDLE.

And that’s the story.
So here I am, casting on with endorphine yarns for an endorphine hat in interesting, endorphine creating, techniques.

Starting with the Kihnu braided cast on.

Kihnu is an island in the Baltic Sea with a proclaimed cultural heritage and a matriarchal nature.
“The most visible emblems of Kihnu culture are the woollen handicrafts worn by the women. Using traditional looms and local wool, the women weave and knit mittens, stockings, skirts and blouses which often feature bright colours, vivid stripes and intricate embroidery. Many of the symbolic forms and colours are rooted in ancient legends. Unlike Kihnu men, the women wear their national costumes in everyday life.”
What? Splendid!


You know that’s us!
This is also the place where Pippi Longstocking’s mum must be from.

The Kihnu cast on has a braid on both the inside and the outside of the outer edge. That’s a bit different from the braided cast on I know from Latvian mitts.
Skeincharmer on Ravelry has this picture:

The braid looks the same on the inside too.

I learned Kihnu braided cast on from this video, as the patterns suggests.
The designer of the Simply Harika hat says it’s best to follow it up with a purl row as it has a tendency to curl a bit otherwise.

I’m doing size Adult Medium for Fingering Weight gauge. Even though I’m knitting with sport but I’m on a 2,25 mm needle instead of my fingering weight needle size (2 mm).

Now I’m going to knit some more. Cast on isn’t done yet.
I’ll tell you more about other things I brought home from the fair a next time. I’ve bought other wonderful things. And there were so many wonderful people! Both sellers and buyers. Such a wealth of knowledge too. How was I ever to gain some knowledge of these wonderful soft Swedish yarns? Or of a life that involves going to Scandinavia often?

Come to think of it, Östergötlands Ullspinneri that makes these wonderful yarns is right between Denmark and Stockholm. Not that far away really.
I was practically halfway there, when I was at Midwinterwol.

I felt courageous and cheerful driving cross country and being so comfortable doing it. Now that I’m back home I’ve started dreaming of going on holiday. I haven’t been on an adventure out of the country for years now. Stockholm seems doable. Especially when there’s gorgeous yarn along the way and lovely wool people.

UPDATE

That cast on video is not very efficient. Lots of extra movements. I’ve found this video and am doing the rest of the cast on this way. Without a crochet hook, I’m just using my needle. It’s easier to keep the tension even.

It’s a yarn over combined with a knit stitch. The knit stitch stays on the right hand needle, the yarn over happens on the left hand needle. The yarn over really is the casted on stitch, the knitting on the right hand needle is just “to keep me busy”. Or to anchor the yarn/new colour.

It all happens at the left hand needle, the one with the yarn overs. That’s where you twist the yarns around, keeping track which one goes over and which one goes under.

kihnu-cast-on_medium2

The last bit is done this way, the tension is more even and more tight than the bit on the right. I’ll be frogging it all and starting anew, keeping it all even.

 

Weird Wool Wednesday: Hipster Wool Soup.

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I’m cooking something hot hot HOT. The water is so hot I need to wear gloves and I use a bamboo spoon to handle the goodies.

Ready:

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It’s the glorious Noble Holst yarn!
By washing it very hot before knitting it looses all the spinning oil. The oil was added to make the fibres run smoothly through the machines in the yarn factory.

It’s ok to knit with yarn that has spinning oil in it, you can wash it out later. But I’m a sensitive wuss, somehow when I knit with these yarns I lay awake at night. Can’t explain why. Won’t argue with my body about it though. It’s just something I’ve noticed and now I work around it.

To get rid of spinning oils: fill a container with a piping hot soapy water. Washing up soap is the best, it destroys fats much better than washing liquid.

Put the wools in and let stand for 20 minutes. You can swish them around a bit, make sure everything is wet and soap gets everywhere. But don’t stir too much, otherwise the wool will felt.

Now fill another container with just as hot water, but no soap. Lift the wools from one container to the other. The trick to prevent felting is to coax the wool into a sense of safety: no sudden changes from hot to cold and no rubbing or vigorous squeezing. Nor throwing the wools about.

Change hot waters once more.

Now lift the wools out of the water and leave them in an empty container to cool off. Don’t mind that they’re still wet. Once they’ve cooled down, also on the folded inward parts, they can be put into the spin cycle of the washing machine. This cycle does throw the wools about so it’s very important there’s no soap or lukewarm temperature left in the wool. Otherwise the machine will be felting for you.

The other thing in my wool soup:

Untitled;

Woolen longsleeves and trousers. Pants? Undergarments. Long johns? Warm thingies, for warmth.
The blue is a 100% Merino top, a try out. Won’t use it much, it is too short. The white ones are 70% Merino, 30% silk.

I used to have a set like these, the wool silk mix, when I lived in Norway. They are excellent for wearing under your wetsuit, when you’re out kayaking. The point of kayaking in Norway is not to fall into the fjord at any time because that’s really dangerous but floating on the fjord you’ll be sweating and that’s dangerous too. These woolen garments are excellent for keeping you warm even if they get wet.

Will I be doing any kayaking in a Norwegian fjord I hear you ask.

No.

But I will be at this fair next week:

It’s a Midwinter Wool Fair. Specializing in all things woolly: wool, spinning, knitting, crocheting, felting and weaving.
I’ve never been but I love winter fairs. And wool!
I’ll be helping Wolop in her stall full of woolly goodness. We’ll be there two full days.

Here are pictures from last year’s Fair.

The fair is held at a horse riding facility, in their biggest indoor paddock. No heating. Fine dust on the floor. This will be hosed down to prevent it stirring up, I think. This will make it very, very cold in the barn. And we’re not allowed to bring our heater or water cooker.

pic by Daan Meeuwsen

So we need a lot of provisions to keep us warm!
Tea. Drumsticks. Curry. Chocolate. And lots of wools to wear. Luckily we have some of that, yessiree, we do happen to have some wools to wear.
We have things and materials and skills hipsters haven’t even discovered yet!
We’ll be bringing sweaters and hats and mittens and legwarmers and fleeces to sit on. And woolen undergarments!

You know the fun part of ordering these garments?
I’ve ordered children sizes and saved myself a lot of money!
On average I can fit in the largest size for children: 164/176. Especially when it’s boys clothing because girls’ clothing nowadays all has to be tight and flimsy and cold. And without pockets. But how girls don’t get to wear normal clothes is a rant for another day. For now I know I fit in these sizes and those are what I ordered.
The blue one is 164, which is too short in both the bodice and the sleeves. Oh well, something learned.
The white ones are 176 and they are perfect!

And they’re made of plain white wool and silk. Which takes on dye so very well. Or so I’ve heard. *eyebrow wiggle*.
The next 10 days I don’t have time (or the tools) to dye them but I certainly will do so in the new year. Isn’t that great?
Cheap garments of good materials that you can customize, with a long tradition and that keep you warm and happy!
I should grow knit a beard and learn to drink artisanal coffee.

I love wool. Especially when I get to have fun with it.

Wolop:

sock in progress and an ME recovery story

I want to present James7a also known as Bananaboy. He’s a young man that was severely ill for years with ME/ Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/ MSEID. He got cured back to 100% health.

He cured himself. In a way that I’m convinced works.
It’s not complicated to understand but it is hard to do: don’t look for the one pill/remedy but attack this illness on all fronts. Examine all aspects of your life and optimize them for health. All aspects, that’s the hard part.

I could go into the science of the various aspects but it really comes down to the few simple practical things he states in his videos. It’s wonderful to see his succes. His total succes. He recovered 100%. Cheers mate!

He did a series of 7 short video’s that I highly recommend. For ill people. For healthy people.
Easy to understand. Just a regular guy.

I’m watching them as I rest on the couch, coaxing my body back to a non-alerted state. I’m having a good day in this, I think it’s on the horizon, I can feel it coming.

The knitting helps. Just simple round and round, in a yarn that sparkles from the nylon that’s spun into it.

My cat friend is with me on the couch, overseeing things:

On close inspection things are very much approved:

Knitting for the overstressed ill.

The cold has gone. But now the ME/Adrenal thing is in full flight: I’m tense and wired all the time. It’s a natural reaction to the strain I’ve been under since January but I do wish my body would learn to default into relax mode soon.

Anything causes me stress. Noises, telephone calls, blood sugar rises. Hot showers, mother-in-law, vegetables. Reed that might soon be out of bloom. Planning to try on Petrie Shell. Having to sew lining into the pockets of Pumpkin Ale.

So I’m avoiding all those triggers until my body feels safe again.
As far as knitting goes I just want to knit around and around and around and not think too much. So that’s what I’ve been doing:

One Noro Kureyon legwarmer finished. 60 grams used and it’s 65 cm long. I love the stacked stripes! And the colours!
You can see the jogged line where I switched colours. There are solution to that and I had a look at them (Techknitter for example) but understanding jogless stripes gave me stress so I let it go.

Knitting on Emma Cardigan is stressfree too, mostly. Just follow the pattern. I’m doing bustdarts now and pretty soon will start with the lace part. I’m just knitting and knitting and not fretting about fit or size. It may be too tight in the end but then I’ll just widen the button bands untill it fits, just like I did with Holla Cardi (aaargh, buttons!) and

Yesterday me and Noro got bundled up in the car and were brought to the cabin. There my green dyeing pan had cooked up a surprise in the week since I last seen it:

All the pink stuff I left here last Sunday has grown into greens!
I put it outside to dry in the shadow. (I didn’t rinse it yet.)

This has turned out quite dark and there’s still a lot of reed and colour left in the dye pen. So I put in another shirt and some yarn, let it soak for a while and then transferred the goods to my other, smaller dyepan, added hot water and brought it to a boil:

Let cool overnight and this morning I unwrapped my second reed surprise:

Very yellow pale green. Probably because I didn’t cook it in the reed water but in new, clean water.
I actually wanted something in between, to combine with the darker green. There’s still a lot of reed and colour left in the dye pot so I could …. there’s also more reed at the pond nearby… I could go and….
Nope. Today is for sitting and knitting. Not for going about and planning things and trying to achieve a certain goal and throwing expectations about like they’re peanuts.

Another thing giving me stress is the rain we’re getting today. “Summer will be gone! Help!”
That’s why yesterday I felt I absolutely needed to go outside and experience the last day of Summer. I felt obliged by Summer and Summer Spinning and all the plans I had for spinning and enjoying the outside life back in June and July.

I know it was not a healthy thing to do but the pressure of this stressor was just too big.
So I sat outside, with the cat, and did a tiny bit of spinning in the lovely Summer afternoon:

Looking back I have mixed emotions. It was a lovely 20 minutes with the sun and the smells and the birds and nature and Summer and the lovely spinning.
But having surrendered to the stress was not very good. Neither was sitting upright when I was too weak. I paid the price for it that evening and even today. I’m weak and wired and weepy. But it was a bit of joyeus spinning and that weather looks gorgeous.

Since then I’ve been inside and laying about, peering at my iPad and mostly reading about knitting instead of actually knitting. In this weird state of mind I joined a new Ravelry group: I love clogs.

For people who enjoy wearing clogs. I enjoy wearing clogs!
You know I always have a wooden pair that I use outside at the cabin, the typical Dutch traditional klomp:
marvelkn-header-oktvestmodel3b.jpg
This year I also bought some run-of-the-mill farmworkers clog, with a plastic sole and “leather” top, that I use both at the cabin and in the city. They’re very comfy and with the rubber sole they’re more quiet:

But I’d rather have a nice clog: with wooden sole, real leather and some design.
The group has put me on an internet crawl amongst all kinds of beautiful clogs! Dutch and Swedish and German and Portugese. Wonderful things are out there! I want some of them!

At the moment it’s only a matter of determining how much money I actually want to spend and then choose the design and colour and how to deal with fit issues. I’ve wanted trip klompen made in Eenrum for a long time now but you’ve got to visit the studio because they want to guarantee a good fit:

I’m not able to visit. Not by a long stretch…
I think I’m willing to risk buying online. There’re some sellers who allow returns cheaply.

But this might not be a good thing to embark on when you’re in a bit of a fever-brain state as I am now. I’m wired, tired and hyper-alert.
I better be smart and not getting out my bank card yet.

Still my mind needs something to focus on, some sort of diversion that’s entertaining and engaging but not stressing. An online diversion.
The Dutch Karma Swap Group has come up with just that: a sock-a-long. It starts on Monday. There will be one pattern that most of them will knit but any pattern is welcome.
I want to join with this sock yarn, hand dyed by Kleurvol:

in a simple round and round and round pattern. No twisted stitches, no cables. I’m collecting patterns on its stash page but I’m thinking something like Prickly Pears:

I love herringbone and faux ribbing with round shapes (“koffieboontje!”)

For really no-thinking-yet-entertaining round and round knitting I have this handspun ready for socks:

Also handdyed by Kleurvol.

And when I finish that other Noro legwarmer I guess I could do armwarmers with the left overs, round and round and round.

where the WIPs at?

Let me check the state of all the WIPs I have going on at the moment.

Nothing was done at Spring Brioche Shawl. I know where it is though.
For Deco Cardi I did the necessary research. It’s now time to apply theory to the wool.
All of the socks are pretty much where they were when I photographed them on Wednesday.

Pumpkin Ale saw some serious progress in two days:

I’m knitting in Fingering weight while the pattern states Worsted. (There are two sizes between those: Sport and DK. It’s absolute ridiculous that I get a worsted gauge (21 st/10 cm) in a fingering yarn. On sock needles.)

My row gauge differs from the pattern though, so I’ll probably work way more rows than the pattern says. This is 12 cm long and twice as dense as the examples of others.

This week I’m spending many hours lying flat on the couch, (I’m having a relapse in health), and knitting on an interesting project prevents me from going out of my mind with boredom. This Ale Cardi is perfect.

Lots of strange things happening this week. Somehow the mirror in the cabin refused to function any longer unless I did something about the WIPs that I’ve been claiming to love so much. I couldn’t look myself in the eye anymore!

So I picked up Sprig pullover and within a few hours had completed the body:

Ahh, knitting with handspun is such a nice craft to perform.

When ill it’s also good to have a project that does not require attention, where you can just knit in the round and the round, while your brain marinates in whatever juices this stupid illness produces. (ME/CFS/SEID)
But now the marinating is done because the next step is working on the yoke, which is done sideways and features a branch:

detail from pattern Sprig by Alana Dakos

Here too I’m working at a different gauge so I have to understand the pattern thoroughly before knitting it in my yarn and on these needles.
For the numb brain knitting I have my various Skews.

When I was able to sit upright for a while I did some further spinning. I’ve now spun away two of the three boxes of Hollands Spotted Sheep, the organic sheep from organic farm Laan van Wisch:

This is one half of the white on the bobbin. There’s already a skein of half white/half brown and two smaller skeins.

This needs a few more hours of spinning white and then I can attach a new leader to an empty bobbin for the dark brown. The dark brown will take longer than the white because its staple is shorter. That means I have to do much more hand gestures per inch than with the white. And it’s way more fiddly to make the fleece grab onto the thread and cover it completely. I’m not looking forward to it, to be honest.

The next picture gives some clues of how much I’m not looking forward to starting the brown fleece… (or for how often I got to sit up and spin this week). That’s all the Skews and the Coexist sock right there. Conveniently at reaching distance from the couch.

Driving through life with wool on the backseat

Life has gotten in the way of woolly things for a while now and today I’m grumpy about it.

grumpy sheep

I can’t knit because first I have to design the green Wollmeise shawl in more detail. And for that I need my brain. Which has been out of commission what with the cat stress and all.
I’ve got all the inspirational pages and notes the shawl open on my computer for two weeks now, constantly. Waiting for my brain to get into gear again.

I haven’t spun since last time I talked to you. Those turtles must be in deep wintersleep by now!

sleeping turtles

I cannot grab some sockyarn for mindless knitting because if I put one more project on the needles one of the others is bound to fall of the disc of my mind.
Contrary to modern theories about the world being a sphere, my mind is still a disc with definitive endings. Projects and thoughts that near the edges too close will sail off the cliff majestetically. They’ll fall down in space, all the way down past all the stacked turtles.

Untitled

Just after the kitty disaster was averted I got a major health scare because that’s how my body likes to do things. As a result I had to cancel some really fun woolly things at the last minute. I’m still moping about them!
For example two weeks ago I was to meet two spindlespinning friends for tea in a lovely shop about handmade things in my city. They’ve just opened a tea salon! We were all looking forward to going and then two hours before we were due to meet my body did flop. (It was scary too because the hydrocortisone took no effect and then you know you’re really exhausted and possibly damaging something in your body. Luckily my brain went flop too and I had no power left to worry about things.)

Then one week ago I was going to meet a herd of sheep to cuddle with for Valentine’s Day. In the east of Holland there’s this sustainable herd of land breed sheep and the shepherd generated publicity for it last year when the council thought it’d be cheaper to mow their meadows mechanically.

With big press the herd became visible and the people of the community and the entrepeneurs of it made known how valuable a local sheeps’ herd is. Because of historical reasons. Because of Slow Quality of Life reasons. Because of embellisment of daily local life reasons.
The whole thing made me cheer for the shepherd and when I saw his invitation for the Valentine Hug a Sheep Day I wanted to visit very much.

“Come and take a picture among the wool with your sweetheart!”:

landschapskudde valentijn 2015

“If you don’t have your sweetheart with you the shepherd may be persuaded to step in.” How fun must that man be! I really wanted to go and say hello.

My alterior motive to go was to see if they had any.. ahum… plans for allll the fleeces once they shear the sheeps? Because… you know… I could give one of them a good home… if need be.

But no. I had to stay at home. Look at the walls. Look at the cat. Get better.

Which I did. I was diligent. I ate the good foods my liver could handle (bland). I took many rests (snoringly). And I was optimistic about the stressful things that now belonged to the past and about all the nice things in the future that was soon going to be here.

I read up about Portugese knitting, what an interesting technique. Might help me to knit more without annoying my right shoulder.
I started to gather some nice blogs to read on Blogloving and if your want you can Follow my blog with Bloglovin.

I did some sewing:
Bleuet Dress by Deer&Doe

This is from last week. It’s a testament that my brain is catching up.
I had done some sewing before this, with the dark blue wool I showed you on Weird Wool Wednesday. I did that while I was stressed out with the cat and let’s say… it turned out a better cat bed than it is a dress. It’s all wonky!
A wonky, silk lined 100% woolen cat bed… ouch

Yeah, it’s the weirdest thing how my brain just bails when I’m under stress these days. Because in my previous life I used to be the cool cucumber leader in any stress sitution.

But for a week and a half now all the stresses have gone and last week my brain function was returning. The cat’s doing fine. My liver is scrambling out of the pit it had fallen into. And I can sit in a chair for an hour a day again. Yay!
Yes, yes, just a couple of more weeks of rest and we’d all be on track again. Do the things we love. Wooly things!

Cat scetchings

Then last Wednesday came rolling around. There was an email. From the lawyer that is fighting plans for a major manure facility that the county has planned in the adjacent fields.

The email asked me to produce a technical rapport on the smell emissions for that facility. ASAP.

I’d tell you about my education as an urban engineer and my experience as a science journalist but suffices to say that I’m good in understanding a technical research document and I’m good in rewriting it into a language that’s understandable for any audience of my choosing. (or so I used to be, before I got all brain foggy from the illness)

So when the manure factory and the county government that pushes it produced elaborate research to prove that manure in fact smells of roses I was the one who could get down to the knitty gritty and understand how they had come to that conclusion.
And debunk it.

I had written about it a year and a half ago, when I first learned about the plans. It was a babbling, hazy piece.
Last year I rewrote it but it was still a bit rambly. Thanks brain.

By now we are at the highest tier of the judicial system in the Netherlands, the Raad van State. Whatever this judge says goes. Now is the time to strike with a clear, understandable piece of writing.
For which the lawyer mailed me last Wednesday. He needed it NOW.

I didn’t have it. I had been working on it a bit for the last few months but with all the stresses of the past month it had gone right out of the window. I thought I had time.
I didn’t.
It was due Thursday, 15 o’clock.
And I am the only one who can produce it.

Here’s a non-technical picture about how the proposed plant actually compares to the two plants that were used in the research on which the whole permit is based:
bva10x

The report had to be written. It had to be done by me.
So I did it.
I’ve worked very hard all Wednesday. Went to bed at 19 in the evening with a massive head ache. Worked on it on Thursday.
Send the document to the lawyer two minutes before the deadline. It is good. It’s sufficiently good.

But now I’m done.
Totally done.
I have pushed my body and my brain cells beyond the limits they preferred and pleaded with me.
My liver has gone flop again, everything hurts. I’m hungry and nauseous at the same time, all the time. I have not been outside, have not been walking all week.

So now I need to rest up and heal once again.
I’ll have to cancel my wooly plans for the next four weeks.

And they were such fun plans!
The end of March has a big spinners’ meeting in a city nearby, it was so much fun last year!

This year I was to have a little stand there and sell fun stuff to knitters and spinners and weavers. For example I’ve taken up drawing again and I was thinking of a whole range of mugs and cups with drawings on them for wool loving people.
But I haven’t drawn a thing in all those weeks. Only the 3 drawings I did for you today, at the top of this post. Now the practise and confidence is not there to draw on cups and mugs.

And I had plans for an enamelled spinner’s accessory. I have everything ready to go in the city! But I could’t sit up straight long enough to make them.
And in the coming weeks I should not stress about making things and finishing them before the end of March. Only thinking about it brings on a head ache.
So as soon as I post this post I will be cancelling that little stand. And probably the event too, it’s so big. I’m more happy meeting wooly people in small groups, it’s way more comfortable for my excitable neurons and my frayed attention span.

I was hoping to visit a knitters’ fair (Brei- en Haakdagen) in March too. Forget it.
Or reschedule that Tea with Spindle Spun Friends?
It’s all out of the window.

I shall be sensible and patient and do what’s good. I will spend days in the cabin or in the city, just pottering around a bit. See how Spring arrives. Do some drawing for my own pleasure. Sew another dress hopefully. Do some knitting. Spin some sleepy turtles.

Yes, I will be patient and sensible and get healthy again.
But by golly I will gripe about it every now and then!