Posted by: christinelaennec | October 17, 2016

October Break

A most unusual thing has happened:  I have been home by myself for a couple of days!  It’s the first time in 20 years that I’ve been home on my own without at least one child to look after, although I do have the rats and Tilly to care for.  Michael has taken the Dafter off for the weekend, and they have been having a great time!  It’s the sort of thing that I would find really stressful and wouldn’t manage, physically, because it takes a lot of strength to push the wheelchair, nevermind with a suitcase as well.  So I am very happy for them, and I’ve enjoyed my time here.  I have done quite a lot of cleaning – things best done while the others are away, such as the fridge and the Dafter’s curtains.  But I also went visiting (I was able to use the car on Sunday, so drove to a friend’s house in the countryside for lunch – another first, as usually if I have time off, Michael has to have the car to help the Dafter).  One thing I haven’t done is attempt to patch the rat sling:

The rats love their sling but this is what happens if you leave it too close to their cage...

The rats love their sling but this is what happens if you leave it too close to their cage…

I was very glad we had planned for me to be here, because Tilly has needed a lot of reassurance and help:

A cuddle with Tilly (interrupted by a photographer).

A cuddle with Tilly (interrupted by a photographer).

We managed to give her all 10 days’ worth of antibiotic tablets (despite the vets hospital not thinking that was possible given her fiery temperment).  She was very cooperative about having her wound cleaned twice a day.  But to my surprise it was difficult for her to adjust to having her cone collar off.  She would get very upset and start running around anxiously, washing and twitching.  Then she would calm down when the collar was back on.  So I did it in stages, over several days.

Beginning to relax a bit in the sun.

Beginning to relax a bit in the sun.

I took the collar off when she was relaxed.  What I realised was that she would then begin washing herself, and would become upset when she was able to reach her shaved tummy, her shaved elbow and her shaved ruff.  I think she just became horrified at what had happened to her body!  Over time she got used to it, and is now without the collar at all.  She will go for the second and final operation in a few days, to get all the cancer out that they have identified.  I have pondered the wisdom of taking this step, but in the past few days she has been playful and frisky again, and I feel that she will manage one more operation okay, with plenty of love and care afterwards.  I feel pretty certain that it’s her best chance of living to see this time next year.  And I don’t think we are doing this primarily so that we will have the pleasure of her company, but because she does want to live and enjoy life as long as she can.

In other news, I am very relieved to tell you that my mother is continuing to do well.  She recently was able to have one of her two planned cataract operations, which was very successful, so she is thrilled to be able to see a little bit again.  The other more fundamental problems are being well-monitored and she is enjoying life just now.

I’ve been working on my Oregon cardigan.  For those who are interested, here’s what I’ve done since my last post.  I knitted the ribbed buttonband, and began casting off as per the instructions.  But I didn’t like the look of the cast-off:

First attempt at casting off buttonband - I didn't like how the gold showed through, so I took this out, knit one row of the dark blue, and then cast off over that.

Oregon cardigan designed by Alice Starmore.  First attempt at casting off buttonband – I didn’t like how the gold showed through.

So I took that out, knit a row of dark blue, and then cast off in dark blue.  For similar projects, I have preferred to do a double buttonband, with a row of purl as a foldline.  But for a V-neck, I don’t feel certain of what would happen to two layers at the point where the V angles off.  So I’m hoping I will be happy with this.

Tilly came right over to help me photograph the jacket once all the knitting was done:

All knitting done, and ready to finish.

All knitting done, and ready to finish.  (Is this not a kitty mat? Tilly wonders.)

The sun came out, and I thought I would show you how I discovered a dropped stitch on the back:

Safety pin holding a stitch I dropped sometime last March or so!

Safety pin holding a stitch I dropped sometime last March or so!

I will darn that in from the back.  Here is the buttonband (without buttons yet):

Buttonband in the sun. I am hoping the edge will be persuaded not to curl.

Buttonband in the sun. I am hoping the edge will be persuaded not to curl.

The next step will be to trim and stitch down the steeks, which are now lying nicely folded back on the wrong side:

Turning the buttonband back, you see the steek stitches. Notice they are just sitting there very obediently and not unravelling wildly.

Turning the buttonband back, you see the steek stitches. Notice they are just sitting there very obediently and not unravelling wildly.

Another photo (the sun had disappeared behind a cloud), with a piece of paper stuck behind the steek stitches, so you can see them a bit more clearly.

Another photo (the sun had disappeared behind a cloud), with a piece of paper stuck behind the steek stitches, so you can see them a bit more clearly.

Some people sew ribbon over the steek stitches, which looks beautiful.  But I can’t find any ribbon that seems right.  I will just do as I have done in the past, and stitch them loosely down.  I’ll take photos of the process to show any of you who are curious about steeking.

The Dafter and her father are due back in a few hours.  This coming week is the October Break.  I know she will need some days to recuperate – I hope she won’t have too steep a price to pay.  But, although with ME/CFS pacing is essential, we have also discovered that sometimes overdoing it a bit in order to have a joyful time is just as critical to good health.

I wish you all a great October and a good week!

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Responses

  1. How wonderful that the Dafter and your husband have managed to get a few days away together. Must be nice to have a few days to yourself, I know I always enjoy some quality time on my own. Glad to know Tilly is doing well, long may that last. Take care.

  2. How good to have pottering time. Tilly appreciating it too. x

  3. Lovely to see progress on your Oregon jacket. Those colours are just right for this time of year. I think the yarn ends on the inside of the front bands will just blend into the surrounding fabric without needing to be covered by ribbon. Happy knitting!

  4. Fabulous. So lovely for you to have some well earned time for yourself. Yes please keep updating the progress on your cardigan. I am totally intrigued by the whole process of steeking and still can’t believe it hasn’t all fallen apart! Hope the Dafter had a great couple of days away and doesn’t suffer too much.

  5. Nice to have some ‘me’ time and great news about your mom. Tilly is looking good and your jacket is just beautiful!! The steek stitches still amaze me.
    Enjoy your October! ♥

  6. Your sweater is an incredibly beautiful and interesting work of art to me, Christine. I hope you enjoy every second you wear it.
    I was surprised to see how the rats ravaged their cozy sling and hope it was not too difficult to repair.
    Cheers for you all as you make the best of your challenges, working together to support and encourage each other…so glad for your change of pace weekend, and to hear of the good progress your mom and Tilly are making. Much love to you all. xx

  7. That cardigan is a masterpiece – it looks like a stained glass window – is it a Kaffe Fasset design? Well done for you diligence. Glad you had some lovely laid back time to rest. Judy.

    • Hi Judy! Still love your key fob by the way. It is a bit grubbier after a few years of constant use. The Oregon cardigan is designed by Alice Starmore, and I bought the kit, with her Hebridean yarn, from her Virtual Yarns website. Like Kaffe Fassett, she is a genius with colour. I hope you are doing fine.

  8. Thank you everyone for your nice comments! Thank you for sharing good news with us. The Dafter and her Dad had a stressful last afternoon in London – nearly missed their flight because with the wheelchair and a suitcase they missed the train they were supposed to get to the airport. However, they got home and had lots of happy things to Show-and-Tell. Gracie, I think the rat sling is pretty much a-goner, although I may try to patch it severely. Haven’t been able to face it this past week, to be honest!

  9. your Oregon cardy is so beautiful, Christine. I love watching it come together; you have done such a fabulous job on it. Glad to hear everyone is home safe and sound and that you were able to have some quiet time for yourself. Also good to hear about your mum and glad that Tilly is feeling better.

  10. How lovely for the Dafter and Michael to have some time together and for you to have the house to yourself. That’s Great news about Tilly, and your mum. The cardigan is looking stunning.

  11. Great to hear things are getting better on all fronts and you are sounding much happier. I love the photo of Tilly inspecting the beautiful cardigan!

  12. So glad everyone was able to get a break! Hoping the recovery hasn’t been too hard. LOVE the pictures of your cardigan — it is amazing and beautiful!!!! Glad Tilly is improving and hope that all continues to go well for her. One week down of “back to school”. Our weather continues to hold — so lovely!


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