Posted by: christinelaennec | October 5, 2016

Tilly Returns, plus The Oregon Cardigan: The Final Cut

Thank you, everyone, for your very kind comments and thoughts.   It’s a double-feature post today.  (Remember double-features?  Memories of my Dad taking me to “the flicks” at the Sellwood Theater!)  Firstly, Tilly is now home after 48 hours in the veterinary hospital, being treated for a badly infected wound from the surgery she’d had two weeks previously to remove a lump.

Tilly is so glad to be back home...

Tilly is so glad to be back home…

While at the hospital, she had tests done a few weeks earlier than planned.  This showed that the cancer hasn’t discernably spread beyond the lymph node.  Also while at the hospital, she fought every single procedure they did with her, even proving greatly resistant to sedation.  “She’s a real hothead!” one of the vets told me over the phone.  The plan now is that she will have one more operation, to take out the cancerous lymph node and other mammary tissue.  But she will not have any chemotherapy after that.  She gets too stressed and uncooperative to tolerate many more medical interventions.

Tilly happy in front of the fire. 5 October 2016.

Tilly happy in front of the fire. 5 October 2016.

I think the oncology vet thought that he would have to convince me about not doing chemotherapy.  He said, “Because of her nature, and the risk to our staff…”  But I completely agreed with him.  It isn’t about prolonging her life by as many days or weeks as possible.  (Median survival time once all known cancerous areas are removed, and with no chemotherapy, is 414 days for cat breast cancer.  The average with chemo goes up to more than 1,000 days.)  It’s about her being as settled and happy as we can make her.  I think she can manage one more operation, and a few more checks, but not a lot more than that.  He was doubtful that we would manage to clean the wound twice a day, or give her the antibiotic tablets – but she has so far been very good and cooperative with me and Michael.  So perhaps just being at home will be the most life-extending thing for her.

Kaffir lilies by the summerhouse. 5 October 2016.

Kaffir lilies by the summerhouse. 5 October 2016.

"A Shropshire Lad" in bloom for the third time this season. Headed skyward! Glasgow, 5 October 2016.

“A Shropshire Lad” in bloom for the third time this season. Headed skyward! Glasgow, 5 October 2016.

It would be so nice to think that she could enjoy the end of summer this time next year.  She has only been out in the garden once since September 18th, and it will be at least three weeks until she can get out again.

[Intermission:  in other news, my mother is home and doing a lot better with a new regime; and the Dafter had a good day today at college.]

The second part of this double-feature post is about the Oregon cardigan, which I realise is a rather specialist interest.  If this is as far as you read, thank you, and I hope to post again soon!

Today I did the last steek cutting that it will require, namely the rest of the front steek.  You might recall that in July, I sliced the V-neck part of the front steek so that I could try it on (photo here).  It has had no special handling since then, I can assure you.

Body and two sleeves done.  Now the buttonbands remain, plus last finishing.  In order to do the buttonbands, I need to slice the front steek below the V-neck

Body and two sleeves done. Now the buttonbands remain to be knitted, before last finishing. In order to do the buttonbands, I need to slice the front steek below the V-neck

Just to be quite certain I only cut through one layer (the front of the cardigan), I put a book between front and back.  Photos from Life Magazine, if you're wondering.

Just to be quite certain I only cut through one layer (the front of the cardigan), I put a book between front and back. Photos from Life Magazine, if you’re wondering.

Starting to cut up the middle of the steek.  Note nothing frightening is happening!

Starting to cut up the middle of the steek. Note nothing frightening is happening!

Continuing to cut the steek.

Continuing to cut the steek.

The front steek is now completely cut open, from the bottom of the ribbing up to the grafted shoulder seam.  Because the centre steek is where each row begins when knitting the body, all the loose ends are here.  You can see a few that I will need to darn in, but almost all of them begin right at the centre of the steek.  These can just be trimmed off.  Not having to sew them all in is one of the advantages of using steeking in colourwork.  (I will still have to darn in the ends going up the underarm of the sleeve.)

The front steek is now completely cut open, from the bottom of the ribbing up to the grafted shoulder seam. Because the centre steek is where each row begins when knitting the body, all the loose ends are here. You can see a few that I will need to darn in, but almost all of them begin right at the centre of the steek. These can just be trimmed off. Not having to sew them all in is one of the advantages of using steeking in colourwork. (I will still have to darn in the ends going up the inside of the sleeves.)

Loose ends trimmed.

Loose ends trimmed.

Picking up stitches for the button band, beginning at the bottom of the right front.  I did not do a very consistent job with my edge stitch (the row of stitches that runs between the steek stitches and the pattern). I don't know how I managed to have it meander so much, and also - something I became aware of and changed when I reached the Vneck rows - I managed to do the edge stitch in the motif colour rather than background colour.  Hence two rows of yellow shades next to the pattern.  However!  Knitting being as forgiving as it is, I was able to meander slightly so that I had two knit rows to the left of the edge stitch on the ribbing, and then I picked up the edge stitch I wanted all the way up.  The safety pins are where, when I knit the stitches, I have to pick up another stitch to have the right number.

Picking up stitches for the button band, beginning at the bottom of the right front. I did not do a very consistent job with my edge stitch (the row of stitches that runs between the steek stitches and the pattern). I don’t know how I managed to have it meander so much, and also – something I became aware of and changed when I reached the Vneck rows – I managed to do the edge stitch in the motif colour rather than background colour. Hence two rows of yellow shades next to the pattern. However! Knitting being as forgiving as it is, I was able to meander also when picking up for the button band, so that I had two knit rows to the left of the edge stitch on the ribbing, and then I picked up the edge stitch I wanted all the way up. The safety pins are where, when I come to knit the stitches, I have to pick up another stitch to have the right number.

This is what works for me:  instead of picking up and immediately knitting, I pick up and count until I have all the stitches on a long circular needle.  Then I begin knitting at the right-hand side of the circular needle.  It may stretch the picked-up stitches, but in my case the damage is far greater if I try to pick up and knit each stitch on the first pass. I end up taking it all out so many times that the end result is pretty mangled.

This is what works for me: instead of picking up and immediately knitting, I pick up and count until I have all the stitches on a long circular needle. Then I begin knitting at the right-hand side of the circular needle. It may stretch the picked-up stitches, but in my case the damage is far greater if I try to pick up and knit each stitch on the first pass. I end up taking it all out so many times that the end result is pretty mangled.

That’s as far as I got today.  Once I have knitted the buttonbands, I’ll show you the final finishing.  For now, some helps:

Things I find helpful when knitting stranded colourwork:  I make myself a wee chart of the various yarn colours, so I can check if I'm not sure; I keep little shade labels for each ball that I have wound (they generally stay tucked in); and I work with photocopies that I annotate mercilessly.  You can see where I've planned decreases.

Things I find helpful when knitting stranded colourwork: I make myself a wee chart of the various yarn colours, so I can check if I’m not sure; I keep little shade labels for each ball that I have wound (they generally stay tucked in); and I work with photocopies that I annotate mercilessly. You can see where I’ve planned decreases.

So that is my news for now.  I am hoping that life will settle down a bit more soon.  And I am still looking forwards to sharing our Harris trip in August with you.  Thanks again for your kindness and moral support.  I hope you are having a good week!

 

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Responses

  1. So glad to hear that Tilly is on the mend, Christine. Being home with her family is probably the best medicine now.
    Your Oregon cardigan is really lovely. I have yet to cut a steek for a cardigan, although I have one knitted and put away ready to be steeked for the past 11 years! Yours has inspired me to dig it out and have a go – nothing to lose at this point! You mention picking up all the stitches first for the button band rather than knitting as you go. This is what I like to do also. I find that using a needle one or several sizes smaller helps to keep the stitches from stretching out. Perhaps you already do this. Looking forward to seeing it completed and you modeling it inthe near future.
    Lynda

  2. Heart rendering to hear about Tilly but at least she is safe and at home surrounded by people who love her, that will be the best medicine. I am in awe of your talent with knitting, looking forward to seeing the end result. Glad to hear the Dafter is doing well.

  3. Poor poor Tilly. She’s certainly been through a lot. Good that she’s now at home for some TLC.
    I’m still completely boggled by the whole steeking process and will have to research it more. I really feel it’s a technique I need to master as I love knitting in the round and prefer cardigans to jumpers. Really looking forward to seeing yours finished- the colours are gorgeous.

  4. I have been thinking about little Tilly and hoping that she was getting better. It’s good she’s home and hopefully her next surgery will go well. She is such a blessed little kitty; my heart goes out to her. I’m so happy that your dear Mom and the Dafter are both doing better. Your trip to York looked amazing. What a delight to sing in such a beautiful cathedral. Of course, I had to read about your steek as I find this knitting technique so fascinating. And, thank you for sharing some great tips, too. I’m sending you hugs and good wishes for you and rest of the family. Take care dear friend. Hugs, Pat

  5. I’m so glad Tilly is home and seems happy.
    I’m fascinated by the Oregon cardigan. It looks like a real triumph!

  6. knitting well beyond my realms of capability, its beautiful

  7. Glad to hear puss is home again. I very much agree with not prolonging her life with chemo. Far better for animals to have a peaceful shorter life, than a longer miserable one. She looks very happy to be home with you now. Your cardigan looks beautiful, you have done a beautiful job. I bet it will be warm and cosy. Having just finished a norwegian Fanakofte for my husband, I am contemplating starting one for myself. I loved the pattern. Glad to hear your girl had a good day at college. Blessings, for all two and four-legged, Pam in Norway

  8. Poor little Tilly :(.

    Your knitting is amazing!! xx

  9. Wow Tilly has been through a lot! And I’m sure that means worry and concern for everyone in the household too. Poor kitty. I hope she begins to pick up quite a bit now. Glad to hear your mother is improving! And that the Dafter had a good day at college! Your cardigan is just amazing!!!!! Can’t wait to see it on you!!! Haven’t had any chance to blog about our trip to Alabama last weekend. Hope to post soon. Each day is so full with the children’s schooling I can hardly keep up. 🙂

  10. Poor kitty, I hope she is better soon. That is a beautiful cardigan!

  11. J’ai été très heureuse de voir que Tilly avait retrouvé le calme de sa maison ! Vous avez fait le bon choix, je pense. Qu’elle passe, heureuse ces jours avec vous. Bon rétablissement également à votre mère et à votre fille !
    En vous voyant couper le steek j’ai eu l’impression d’assister à une opération chirurgicale !! Bravo à vous ! Votre cardigan est magnifique et tricoter un tel chef-d’œuvre doit être gratifiant mais aussi, tout au long du processus,un excellent moyen de se recentrer ! Très bonne semaine à vous, plus sereine, j’espère !

  12. That cardigan is amazing. Warmest wishes to Tilly.

  13. It is heartening to read that Tilly is cooperative regarding her meds. One of my dearest cats [gone now, these two years] was the gentlest of creatures normally, but when any procedure–even clipping her nails–was needed she became hopelessly frantic.
    That must have been a wonderful experience to be one of so many voices raised in song in a great cathedral–being part of a choir is special.

  14. Good to hear on Tilly. That sweater is beautiful. It looks rather scary to do something so elaborate. I will have to dig back to some old posts, I have been gone, out of the loop for a time here. Great to read up on your doings again.

  15. Poor Tilly, what a trial for her, but home is best so hope she is relaxing a little more. The steeking is So Exciting! I understand the general concept now but I just can never believe that the ends don’t unravel! I never get tired of seeing it! And the little colour chart is very nifty.

  16. Though I no longer seem to blog or to read blogs, I think of you and your family often and remember you in our prayers. So happy to hear The Dafter is moving forward with her studies. Tim is in his first year of college, and it has been a bit of a roller coaster. Loved the picture of York Minster. I spent a year at the University of York a zillion years ago. Lovely, lovely city.

  17. I’m delighted to know that Tilly is improving at home, I’m sure being in hospital was a stressful experience for her. My jaw has dropped at the cardigan steeking business. I am completely in awe of your skills.


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