Saturday, January 27, 2007


Sailor beware

Submitted for your approval: a Koigu cap which was knit on size 2 circs and thus took a bloody long time to finish. The pattern is the matching hat for a sweater design called "Tipsy Sailor" which came from an Interweave Knits of several years ago. The hat in the magazine photo was made from Koigu solid, so the top decreases looked especially cool, but alas, in mine the color splashes detract from the spiral effect and just make the whole thing look messy. So much for trying to show off! But hey, it's another public appearance for Edith Head. She's gonna need her own booking agent before long!

Still trying to recover my health--there has been much coughing, sneezing and nose-blowing the past couple of days. Not a huge deal though, because in exchange for being cancer-free, I'll gladly endure a good, old-fashioned cold. I am so glad that I don't have to have chemo or surgery, and I can't say enough how much it meant to me that my readers (whom I prefer to call online buddies) offered their prayers and support. Germ-free, virtual hugs to all!

Thursday, January 25, 2007


When hockey hair strikes

...the best thing to do is to just let it run its course. (Borrowing heavily from the late, great Mystery Science Theater 3000, the Final Sacrifice episode, which was billed as "the worst thing ever to come out of Canada.")

DISCLAIMER: The above citation in no way reflects the blog owner's opinion of our great neighbor to the north. I'm eternally grateful to a country whose contributions to the world include the best band in the universe!

*ahem* On to a more serious subject. I didn't feel that a mere blog post was sufficient to convey this most awesome news:

(courtesy of Church Sign Generator. Who knew?!) OK, so I wanted to tell y'all that I DON'T have cancer in the cleverest way I could think of. The anguish of the past week has left me on the verge of a nervous breakdown, and in the throes of a sinus infection, but stress, sickness and yeast be damned, I celebrated with a big ol' slice of cheesecake. It'll be a while before I'm clear-headed and healthy enough to contemplate the size of the bullet I've just dodged. To knock out the breast infection for good and aye, I've been put on a new course of antibiotics (something called "Doxycycline," curiously enough, which gives me an instant mental image of little dachshunds on tiny bicycles. I guess you gotta a) love dachshunds and 2) be on drugs.)

And my Stitches West class info came in the mail today, which I am looking forward to with renewed enthusiasm! I'm signed up for a day-long class called "Embraceable Lace" with Galina Khmeleva, who co-authored Gossamer Webs.

The little Koigu hat I started, thinking I was gonna need a chemo cap, is about half done. Pic should be up over the weekend. I'm still exhausted and sick--but be assured, I'm also very, very grateful, and glad to be alive.

Amen, Shalom, and Blessed Be.

Monday, January 22, 2007


Diagnosis: Hurry up and wait

My thanks to all who took the time to pass along good wishes and positive thoughts--knowing my online friends are pulling for me helps me more than I can say. I wish I knew for sure what was wrong with me. I went to a surgeon today and had a biopsy done. When he examined me, the first thing he said was that it didn't look like other cases of IBC that he'd seen. It's entirely possible that what I have is a deep, stubborn infection that isn't responding to the antibiotics I've been prescribed so far, and all I need is the right medication and enough of it to kill the damn bug. In addition to the tissue samples taken for staining and freezing in the lab, at least one sample was sent for a culture. The upshot of all this is that I won't have results until this Friday at the soonest, or next Monday at the latest. One thing I could have done without was this particular doctor's sanctimonious, Dalai Lama-esque rap along the lines of "if this turns out to be an infection we can easily take care of, just use this experience as a wake-up call to make changes so that you're living your life the way you want." Puh-lease! I hear this guy has a book coming out: Chicken Droppings For The Soul. Ah, well, surgeons never have been known for their bedside manner, but I still think he's a bit of a jerk.

To be updated as soon as I find out what's going on. Because I'm always thinking ahead, I cast on for a cute little Koigu hat which could double as a chemo cap. Or not. All I know is, I've eaten half a Cadbury bar and several graham crackers, and it's a good thing I'm in my bathrobe because the vicious sugar/stress cycle that has become my life has me exhausted.

Good night, good people.

Saturday, January 20, 2007


It's still a knitting blog

My friends, for once I've got to be absolutely serious, with no pictures or jokes, and blog with naked honesty. I may be a lot sicker than I thought, although I don't yet have a firm diagnosis. I developed a breast infection a week ago, which caused my fever, chills, headache and general yuckiness. The antibiotics I received made most of my symptoms go away, but the breast itself didn't get better. After another visit to the doctor, I had an ultrasound and mammogram, and the radiologist suspects breast cancer. I'm going to a surgeon on Monday.

Three and a half years ago, I had something called "DCIS" (ductal carcinoma in situ) which was classified as Stage Zero breast cancer. I had a lumpectomy and radiation, and knew somewhere in the back of my mind that the cancer could recur, but still when the doctor told me, I was floored. I thought I'd make it to at least five years. Even though I don't have a diagnosis as of yet, I've been educating myself about something particularly nasty called Inflammatory Breast Cancer, the symptoms of which I am bearing.

This story will unfold agonizingly slowly, I'm sure, having been on the cancer circuit before--nobody in the medical community wants to get sued, so they're being vague. At least when I see the surgeon day after tomorrow, I'm armed with some information, and know what questions to ask. My husband arrived home tonight from a business trip, and he'll be with me at the doctor visit. My concern in posting all this is that I've wanted to keep my blog about knitting, and other life's pleasures--for me, it's a nice little "space between," and one of the cardinal rules I strive to follow as a writer is "only write what you would want to read." I don't want this to become the Terms of Endearment of knitting blogs, for cryin' out loud! Yes, my craziness includes the following imaginary reader reaction: "Damn, Chickenlips Knitting turned into a cancer blog! I won't be looking at that one any more." But, pardon the cliche, it's a whole new ball game.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007


If you've ever been too sick to knit...*

Nope, you're probably not a redneck, but chances are you're pretty sick and should seek medical attention right away. Such was the case for me Sunday and yesterday, as the nagging skin infection for which I have been unsuccessful in getting effective treatment broke down my skin to the point where truly evil bacteria invaded. Last night, my fever crested at 103.5, which sounds rather like an FM radio dial setting, but I can assure you it wasn't pleasant. All I could do was lay in bed or sit in my chair bundled in nightgown, robe, blankets, heating pad and dachshunds, and moan. Forget knitting--just using the remote was an effort. However, I did see my primary care physician yesterday afternoon, and the antibiotic she prescribed (Bactrim, in my case) began kicking in overnight. When I woke up this morning, there were no fevers, chills or headaches, no runs, no hits, no errors and none left on.

But there was a crapload of snow.

Since the hub had to go into work, he chained up the car and gave me a ride to the office, where I was told I was just in time to go back home because the office was immediately closing due to the weather. (Dear Portland Area Meteorologists: Just because you can't effectively predict snow doesn't make this a "freak" storm.) Some of the side roads are glass, because there's packed snow on top of ice, so tomorrow morning getting to work should be a real comedy.

Just One Mitten For This Kitten

Meh. Feh. Too small, really. But it works in a pinch. I would have completed the pair over the weekend had it not been for the nefarious flesh-eating disease. (I'm exaggerating a tad there.) This evening I'll set to work in earnest, so that I have a pair of green angora mittens.

*My riff on the Jeff Foxworthy joke "If you've ever been too drunk to fish..."

Sunday, January 14, 2007


Down in the dumps, or just dumpy

Photo lifted from a so-so knitting publication. This sweater is a glaring example of knitwear model abuse, because to swaddle this otherwise svelte young lady in such a manner makes her look like she's either a) pregnant with a craving for Ben & Jerry's Phish Food so sharp she's got several pints stashed in there, or b) the Michelin tire man. I also have to pass along that the magazine blurb about this pattern reads in part: "...gently outlines your curves." Is that a euphemism for "makes your ass look like it has its own zip code?" I rather think that just like "the real killers" and "WMD's", it's merely a lie.

The above will have to suffice for my weekly entry of Wayback Wednesday--not so retro, but goofy knitting. In fact, my schedule and life being what they are, I'll just have to be catch-as-catch-can about posting whatever photos I can find that may give a chuckle, if not updating the old blog itself!

But hey, I'm not so distracted that I'm not knitting, or buying yarn. I finished this creation yesterday morning:

It's another Lacy Scarf. This time, I used 2 balls of Artful Yarns' "Heavenly". It's soft, twinkly and mohair-y. The colors in it helped perk up both my somber winter wardrobe and my spirits, it being dreary, gray January in the Northwest and also fuh-fuh-freezing.

Purchased but not pictured: 2 hanks of Lavold Angora in lime green. It's so bloody cold that I need a pair o'mittens like nobody's business! Once again, I searched the trusty Knitting Pattern Central and came up with a basic mitten pattern knit on 2 needles. I've already started the thumb gusset on the first mitten; my goal is to have the pair finished tomorrow.

Sunday, January 07, 2007


Ends and odds and evens

I read that in one of Amy Tan's books, the second one I think. Although it isn't the best ESL, I think it's a pretty accurate description of this post. Let's start with the goodie I received in yesterday's mail:

From my Secret Pal. It's awesome!! Every day there's a blurb about someone's favorite yarn, or a knitting-related quote, or a handy idea dubbed "nice tips," (hey I'll take it as a compliment,) and a pattern every Friday. How cool is that? Thank you, Secret Pal! What a nice way to keep the fun of SP9 going for the whole new year.

A Couple of FO's

Prominently displayed on our Christmas tree is something I've started calling "The Long And Skinny Scarf," with apologies to Lennon-McCartney--although the song "Long And Winding Road" was probably written entirely by the walrus, Paul. He was pretty much running the show back then, telling everyone else what to do, and although everybody blamed Yoko for the breakup, it was really his fault. There, I've put that controversy to rest once and for all. But seriously, I even started writing my own lyrics (bear with me):

The long and skinny scarf
That winds 'round your neck...

OK, that's as far as I've managed to get, but I tell you what. Finish the verse for me, and I'll send you a nice new ball o'yarn from my extensive stash. 'K? (note-it must be singable to the tune of "Long And Winding Road," and it must rhyme.)

Back to the scarf--I made it for Diana, the co-worker for whom I knit handwarmers in the same yarn, which is Berroco "Foliage." It took two skeins, and was K3, P3 rib over 27 stitches on size 7 straights. I have to admit, it looked smashing on her. Another Diana project is in the planning stages--those lace-up fingerless gauntlets I raved about in my last post that Diana had described to me are actually from the Leigh Radford book "AlterKnits." I'll knit, she'll model, and I'll post the pics.

The ribbed cap, modeled by the trusty Edith Head, was made from just over 1 ball of Bliss Cashmerino Aran, so it's soft and smooshy. I received an offer to subscribe to Vogue Knitting, and they graciously included the free pattern, intended for a skein of Kureyon. I've been a VK subscriber before, but IMHO VK (sorry for all the acronyms there, hope you're still with me) patterns don't stack up to Interweave Knits, my favorite and only knitting magazine subscription.

The sharp-eyed may notice the skull ornament on the Christmas tree. I picked that up a few years ago at a store in Northwest Portland called "Christmas At The Zoo." I picked it up for Michelle, because she has always loved anything having to do with Halloween. I no longer have the lore that came with the ornament, but glass decorations of that type are supposedly an ancient tradition from somewhere in the old country--Germany or Austria I believe.

Thursday, January 04, 2007



From a 1942 booklet of sweater patterns. Poofy hair...poofy shoulders...glad I was born during the postwar baby boom. I don't have to make sure things are, um, poofy before I leave the house for the day!

Song Lyrics

No knitting to display--I'm in one of those floundering modes tonight. I don't feel like working on any of my WIP's, and in a half-assed spurt of inspiration I cast on for a hat, but it looked like hammered shit, so I frogged it. (Hope you've got a good mental image there.) The juices are aflow, however, because my coworker Diana (for whom I've knit handwarmers and a scarf) told me about a pair of fingerless gauntlets she saw, which sounded fabulously goth diva. They were elbow length, knit of a thick/thin, "unspun" yarn (brings Manos del Uruguay to mind), and--get this--they were laced from about mid-forearm to elbow with a swath of tulle ribbon! It really got me tweakin' to go grab some Manos, jot down a few notes, and get knitting. Thank Mother Earth and Father Sky that tomorrow's Friday. Pagan and proud here, yo!

And scatterbrained, it seems. Inspired by a friend's proposed novel, sample chapters of which I'm going to get to read, (yay!!!) I began writing a memoir of sorts, of a specific time and place in my life. But since it's nowhere near ready to share, I'd like to put up lyrics by a band whose music has kept me putting one foot in front of the other on my journey since 1991--the year they released the following song, and incidentally, the year I took my first tentative steps toward a college education that did no less than take me to the other side of the world, and changed me forever.

The band is Rush, and the song is called "Bravado."

If we burn our wings flying too close to the sun
If the moment of glory is over before it's begun
If the dream is won, though everything is lost
We will pay the price, but we will not count the cost

When the dust has cleared, and victory denied
A summit too lofty, river a little too wide
If we keep our pride, though paradise is lost
We will pay the price, but we will not count the cost

And if the music stops, there's only the sound of the rain
All the hope and glory, all the sacrifice in vain
And if love remains, though everything is lost
We will pay the price, but we will not count the cost...

Monday, January 01, 2007


Starting off the New Year right

...with Koigu socks. I was fortunate enough to have snapped up the last two hanks of this colorway at a LYS. The pattern I'm using, which I like more than any other sock pattern I've tried, is Ann Norling. Second sock has been cast on, and I have 3" of the cuff completed.

Just wanted to wish everyone a very happy, healthy and prosperous 2007. I've spent the past couple of days watching the "Twilight Zone" marathon on the SciFi channel--I was always most intrigued by the episodes that had some sort of futuristic bent--and when I was a kid I imagined that by now we'd all be zipping around in flying cars. When I mentioned that at the Christmas Eve family gathering, someone commented that it's a good thing we aren't, because there are so many bad drivers on the road! It's absolutely true, so there wasn't anything I could say to that.

Thought He Was Gonna Drive Me Into The Sea, But He Just Gave Me A Ride To The Beach

Gray, cold and damp it was in Seaside on Saturday afternoon, but that didn't keep folks away entirely. This week is the height of the grey whale migration, and there were whale watching posts set up all along the Oregon coast. We spent some time at Cannon Beach looking at the ocean, and saw a couple of ships but no whales. The most interesting part of this particular quick beach trip was seeing the extensive damage that the recent wind storm did to the trees and guard rails on the highways. Bit of a mess there.

I did promise a progress photo of Salt Peanuts. Although I have yet to snap a picture, I can tell you that the back of the garment is complete and I have just cast on for one of the fronts. My goal is to have it ready to wear down to the Bay Area for Stitches West at the end of Feb. It's probably a good thing I'm enrolled in a lace class with Galina Khmeleva, as the all-day session will keep me from filling a rolling suitcase with yarn.

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