Sunday, February 24, 2013

Pity party, table for one.

Another Monday, another appointment at the hospital. This is my second appointment in the last two weeks and my fourth for the year, so I am definitely spending a lot more time in the health system than I had hoped I would this year (although, on the plus side, I am now able to productively occupy myself for waiting room waits of up to three hours. Give the high number of people I see sighing, staring blankly at the walls and dejectedly checking their watches, I think that's an impressive and very useful skill).
Because apparently I am still a toddler who needs treats whenever they do anything they don't want to, I gave myself the day off from Finish it February and started a new sock. It's lovely working with Patonyle! The colours remind of Australia so I'm knitting this pair in my tried-and-true man size (72 stitches, 2.25mm needles) to give to my dad for his birthday in July. It's fun starting new projects! And I admit, I was glad to have something to be actually happy about because my test results weren't great and I have now been signed up to attend a clinic every year for the rest of my life. I know I'm lucky because what's a doctor's visit and a blood test and a scan once a year in the scheme of things, especially as the purpose of it preventative care and I don't need to pay for any of it. I know I'm lucky because 'keeping an eye on things' means that nothing is very bad and just ensures I have access to the medical services I require. My ridiculously high levels of self-awareness mean that I know that dealing with chronic illness often results in feelings of depression and helplessness and feeling blue after spending too much time in waiting rooms and hospitals is perfectly normal. But I've decided to give in to the pity party and my cat and I are spending this afternoon together with my new sock, a far-too-large bowl of ice-cream and all the Cary Grant movies I can fit in. Tomorrow I can start looking on the bright side again.

If you need me, I'll be in my most comfortable pair of pyjamas on the couch under a doona in front of the television. See you all later.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Gail (Nightsong): close and slightly smelling like feet

Finish it February powers on with yet the discovery of yet another project that is embarrassingly close to being finished.

On 1 January 2011 (over two years ago!) I unravelled the yarn from this bag that I never ever used and cast on for a shawl I'd been wanting to knit forever, Gail (Nightsong). I knit and knit until I ran out of yarn but I didn't want to buy any more because it seemed to counteract the frugality inherent in using repurposed yarn in the first place, so I grabbed the yarn leftover from these socks, figuring that I could overdye the project when I finished. Then I ran out of that yarn and, rather than make a decision as to what I would do to conclude the whole thrifty mess, I bundled up the whole project into a bag and hid it at the back of a drawer.

Fast-forward for today when I was looking for yarn to start a hat (ummm...not technically finishing but I'm on a deadline which always makes me want to start all the things) and I found the shawl again. The socks I made with Wendy Happy are seriously the most useless pair of socks I have ever made in my life. The yarn is very silky and smooth which feels nice in the skein but is awful to knit with PLUS it results in a sock that was all floppy (that's the technical knitter's term, I believe) so the socks continually fall down, meaning they never got worn. They suck. So, in order to get the yarn required to finish the sock, I hacked them up. It felt so. very. good. Plus, I now have lots of yarn (that admittedly does smell a little bit like feet...) with which to finish the shawl.

The one solitary row I now realise I have left to complete.

Hopeless, Belinda, hopeless.  Argh!! (although on the plus side, I avoided casting on for a hat. Yay for Finish it February!)

Monday, February 11, 2013

Dreaming of jumpers and wearing pyjamas in the afternoon

Finish it February is inspiring all sorts of strange and wonderful feelings in me. After finishing my Herbivore on the weekend I realised my 4.5mm tips were free, meaning that after *mumble mumble* years I am in a position to start the hood of Old Blue. 

I seamed up the shoulders, diligently using mattress stitch to match up the cables perfectly. This is completely the wrong way to seam the shoulders but it's the only seaming method I know and so mattress stitch it was. 

On a side note, I had to go to hospital again today for another check-up. Yes, I know I amazingly lucky to have access to the wonderful affordable efficient health care system I do and I am not complaining at all but Oh. My. God I really really hate hospitals. So within about forty seconds of arriving home at midday I had changed into my pyjamas and have been working in bed all afternoon. I'm not the only one who deals with traumatic situations by retreating to bed, right? Healthy coping mechanisms - I has them.

After joining the shoulders I picked up stitches from the fronts and the back and started knitting the hood. I'm so excited with this photo - it looks like there's a chance that the massive investment of time, money and yarn that I have put into this project may actually result in a wearable item of clothing.

Fingers crossed!

In other news

I took this shot while taking a walk yesterday. I think there are very few sights that are as wonderful as a clear summer Australian sky - what an amazing blue. 

Sunday, February 10, 2013

First Finished Object of the Year! (2013 FO #1)

I know the faces of most of the knitbloggers I follow very well, because they're always modelling their creations.

They seem so natural, posing in their handknits, while the thought of being the model of a photo shoot when I've been in the library all day and my eyeliner's smudged and my hair is a mess makes me what to do this:

But I'm trying!

Little by little...

(although next time I will check my eyeliner before heading outside!)

Pattern: Herbivore
Yarn: Madeleintosh Pashmina in Thunderstorm, all but 2g
Notes: Knitted using my digital scale to measure the weight of the yarn at the end of every repeat to get as big a shawl as I can from the skein. 

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Finish It February: Fix It Edition

Today Finish It February transformed into Fix It Then Finish It February as I pulled out the Herbivore shawl I wanted to finish before the Radiohead concert last November ... yes, I am seriously the worst at meeting deadlines. I had been working on this shawl while drinking wine one night and I dropped four stitches and in my drunk state I couldn't cope with fixing the problem so I stuffed the whole thing into a project bag and put it into a drawer.

Because drunk people are stupid the next day I was convinced I'd made a huge massive mistake that would take hours to fix so I continued to ignore the whole thing for weeks and weeks (months, really) until I looked at this chart and realised I had five measly rows to finish the project and then I would have a beautiful silky shawl to wear and stroke and be generally delighted with. So I gritted my teeth and pulled out the project from its hidey-hole only to discover this:

a mistake so tiny it literally took me 25 seconds to fix. Durrrrr!

In other news

This is what the end of a Bucks Day looks like. 

Someone else has (unsurprisingly) decided to join me for FebFast too!

Friday, February 1, 2013

FebFast Lite (Feblite? Febflite?)

Last year I took part in Dry July. I felt I’d been drinking too much and wanted both a break and a chance to explore how reliant I was on alcohol. I found it was (contrarily) easy and hard – it was surprisingly non-problematic to break the habit of having a glass of wine with dinner during the week but really very difficult to stop celebrating each and every weekend day with wine. Overall I enjoyed the (sober) experience and found it beneficial, so when I saw the ads for FebFast I knew I wanted to sign up straightaway.

My reasons for doing this are threefold. 

1. One-glass creep: I have absolutely no problem with regular responsible drinking. Some meals are just nicer with a glass of wine. Sitting in the sun on a sunny afternoon drinking a glass of bubbles or rose is divine and, well, wine just tastes really nice and I like the way it makes me feel. But, like any drug, it doesn’t take long to get used to the feelings it invokes and then you need more to make you feel the same way … so you have one-and-a-bit glasses of wine. It seems silly to pour half a glass of wine so it becomes two glasses of wine and then, since there’s just a little bit left in the bottle, you divvy up the remainder and without even thinking about it you’ve split a bottle of wine with your dinner companion. Taking a month off wine provides the opportunity to recalibrate my ‘one-glass-ometer’.

2. Waistline creep: One of the best pieces of weight maintenance advice I ever received was to not 
drink my calories. Soft drink and fruit juice has a lot of calories and none or very little nutrition and I’d much rather eat a nice bit of cheese and bread than have a sweetened beverage (the exception being when I’m hungover and only full-strength Coke will do but that’s fine because we all know there’s no calories when you’re hungover or on a birthday). Wine may have antioxidant and social benefits but it also contains a lot of calories, with a glass of cab sav coming in at 125 calories plus and, let’s be honest, how many of us actually have the recommended 150ml of wine anyway – wine glasses are huge! 125 calories is equivalent to almost two glasses of Coke or half a Mars Bar and I would never ingest either of those on a near-daily basis. Taking a break from wine will be good for my waistline and my ability to do up my jeans.

3. Basic obnoxiousness: Before Christmas I attended a few events where I decided to drive. I either didn’t feel like drinking or I felt I’d had too many calories recently or I just simply didn’t want to pay for a cab. I got such a hard time it honestly made me want to punch someone. I know we love a drink in this country but it’s freaking ridiculous what a big deal we make when someone decides not to drink and it’s stupid. I see my friends and family sober all the time and they seem to like my company enough then to continue to want to see me, so why act like the sky is falling in just because I’ve chosen to be the designated driver? The worst thing is I know I’ve done the same thing to others when they’ve decided to not drink (“Go on – you can stay here.” “If you get a cab I’ll come and get you tomorrow so you can pick up your car.” “Come on - I bought a really nice bottle of bubbles”). Drinking is so ingrained in Australian life that when adult members of society who we let make all sorts of other big life decisions without discussion decide not to have any alcohol we basically harass them until they do – it’s terrible and it really should stop.

I haven’t signed up for the official FebFast group because unlike Dry July it seems very fundraising focused and I don’t want to do it for money this time. I will be drinking on two days (a hen’s and a wedding) but other than that, for me this month is alcohol free and I (fingers crossed behind my back) just can’t wait ☺