Category Archives: health

WIP: Bill’s vanilla hat

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I was feeling so accomplished after the Paper Bag Princess project was done, despite the delays and discomfort from my wrist injury. At the beginning of this year, I had a goal in mind (uncharacteristically) to make 12 sweaters in 12 months. I whizzed through the first two, and was almost done with the third, all in the space of a month and a half, when the snowboarding crash happened.

It’s been two months since then, and for a while I couldn’t do any crochet or knitting. Then I managed some gentle crochet, left handed, and made a bulky cowl and finished off the doll project. Encouraged by that, I decided it was time to try knitting.

Of course, my sweater goal has been pretty much abandoned, at least for the time being. But I wanted to make something for my father-in-law, who, like my mother, is often very generous. He is getting on in years and I have heard he is feeling the cold more these days. Even though he hasn’t been a hat-wearer in the many years I’ve known him, I feel that he will appreciate one made out of a colourful yarn. If nothing else, he loves his colour.

So out from the stash came the Lion Brand Mandala in the colourway Chimera, which is what I would describe as a muted rainbow. Blue through dark and light green, mustard yellow, orange, magenta and brown. I have only made one other project with the Mandala – my Spill shawl – but I love this DK weight yarn and the colours it comes in.

The pattern I chose is the Vanilla Hat. It’s a really basic stockinette hat with a folded hem and a simple crown with four decrease lines leading to the centre. I’m not sure how many of the colours of the cake will fit into the hat, but I’m hoping for the brightest ones at least.

Progress is slow. When I first cast on, my gauge was a little loose so I ended up ripping out the first few rounds and restarting with a smaller needle size – US#4 (3.5mm). During my first session of working on this hat, I was feeling quite comfortable, thinking how my wrist seemed happy to be knitting. Unfortunately the next day I changed my mind. I think the fine motor movements of the Continental knitting, which does have a reasonable economy of motion, aggravated some out-of-practice muscles and tendons. So I am having to be careful to do a small amount at a time.

My hospital appointment for the six week post-surgery checkup is this Tuesday. I hope to hear that my recovery so far is typical for the type of injury. If I am to get back to normal, or as close as possible, I know that I have to exercise the hand and wrist and that some pain is to be expected.

I hope that you had a wonderful weekend and that your crafting is going well. What are you making?

WIP: The Paper Bag Princess

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The Princess doll has come along well in the last few days. Her paper bag dress is done, but her crown is not. I did try it with some yellow yarn but it came out too big and I’d like to find some metallic gold embroidery thread. 

Considering how much girls like to dress dolls, I decided to make the dress and cardigan from the same pattern but had to take a break when my wrist hurt too much. I’ll show you those next time. 

The grapevine wreath on my kitchen wall was looking very outdated as it still held the crocheted fall leaves, pumpkins and sunflower from autumn. Today it was taken apart and, considering my crochet output is so little at the moment, I cheated by using my Shaun the Sheep and a bunch of cotton minis from the stash to fill the wreath. It will have to do until I can up my game!


My wrist was quite sore yesterday and again today, and I think it’s partially due to exercises I did after watching a couple of physiotherapist videos on You Tube and partly the crochet. It worries me a little, but not having anything to compare with means I don’t know if my healing expectations are reasonable.  The skin is sensitive around my wrist – cuffs chafe unpleasantly now that I’m leaving off the brace more during the day – and the joint is still quite inflexible. 

Next appointment is April 10th, and hopefully all will look good. 

FO: Left-handed therapy cowl

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Hello again. I am excited to announce the conclusion of the cowl, crocheted with a 10mm hook and Loops & Threads Facets. I think Michaels have discontinued this yarn now as some of the balls I have were marked down.

At the point I decided to finish it, it was a bit long to seam the ends together for a cowl, but too short for a scarf, so I overlapped the ends and added three buttons along the top edge. The buttons were in my stash, found at work ages ago in the discontinued basket. With C2C there are naturally lots of buttonhole options, so I could probably get inventive and button it a number of different ways.

The last week has seen a couple of major events in my extended family. My mum celebrated her 85th birthday and of course seeing the photos of the party with the whole family there gave me a twinge of sadness that I was so far away. Even my cousins from England had flown over to the island for the weekend.

The other event is the death of my aunt, my mum’s older sister. She was just one week shy of her 93rd birthday. She hadn’t been very well for a long time and had been living in care homes for years, but it’s still a jolt when it happens.

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This incredibly hairy doll is the Princess Poppy doll which I am making into the Paper Bag Princess. I had made great progress on this in February, and was up to the point where I had crocheted the hair cap and starting attaching the strands of hair. Well, that was scuppered when I broke my wrist. However having finished the aforementioned therapy cowl I felt ready to tackle this project again. I’m using a teeny 3.25mm hook, and my left hand, but there’s still a lot of support work done by the right hand and after adding quite a lot of hair to the doll this afternoon my wrist was quite painful. In case you’re wondering, the strand of cream yarn coming out of her face is a guide I put in for her centre parting.

I think she still needs a bit more volume on top of her head and then she’ll get a haircut so it’s all the same length. She’s not supposed to look too “put together” really, as in the book the Paper Bag Princess has just survived having all the clothes scorched off her by a large dragon!

This typing is killing my wrist too. The wrist brace is off and I can type properly with both hands again, but OMG it hurts. I think I shall have to return to my library book (Strangers by Dean Koontz, nearly 700 page paperback, of which I have read three-quarters in two days).

We are definitely on the cusp between two seasons here. It snowed lightly today. However we have also had a huge amount of rain this week (a really great rainstorm that came along with a wind that lashed it against the back of the house) and already in some places there is talk of flooding. Spring melt plus rain equals swollen creeks. Apparently the snowpack is even deeper than last year and is likely to cause even more problems as the level of the lake rises over the spring. I guess there could be a lot of people pumping out their houses along the lakeshore again this year.

Cool fabric

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Cool fabric

Hello friends! How are you? I hope you’re enjoying signs of spring in your part of the world (or fall if you’re in the Southern Hemisphere).

I haven’t been outside yet but it’s a pretty mellow-looking day. Cloudy, no wind. The snow is almost gone from the garden. Our temperature the last week or two has been in the single digits, I think, warmer in the sunshine, still cold in the shade.

I have my wrist brace off to type this because I want to get my flexibility back. My right wrist is still a little puffy on top but the underneath is cleaner looking now. There is still a lot of yellow bruising up the arm.

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I mixed some coconut oil with some lavender, geranium and frankincense essential oils and I’m applying it three times a day to keep the skin soft and minimise scarring. I love being able to take the brace off when I want to bathe, but leave it on when doing daily tasks or sleeping so I don’t hurt it accidentally.

Some major milestones (or as  I like to call them, “smilestones”) for this week: wearing jeans as I can now do up the button and belt, crocheting (albeit slowly and left-handed), a gentle workout at the gym (treadmill, core, legs, and some one-armed biceps/triceps), and today I had a bath all by myself (no Tai Chi Man there to wash my hair or scrub my back and I even managed to hack through the undergrowth on my legs)!

So all in all, good progress!

I have to show you this fabric I saw at Fabricland when I went in there with my friend the other day. We were there for her to buy stuff to make a bag, so I wandered around with her and chatted to my co-workers. Well, this new quilting cotton jumped out at me and I just had to grab a metre of it to add to the stash!

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Isn’t it awesome? Kind of a vintage “caravans at the seaside” vibe.

Have a great day and talk to you again soon.

WIP: Left-handed therapy cowl

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Once my bandages were off, I was itching to try a little crochet. I had another play with the bulky green yarn and a giant hook and felt confident enough to pull out this Loops & Threads Facets yarn (Amethyst colourway) and a 10mm hook and start a cowl. I chose the C2C because it only involves a small amount of chaining. 

Working left-handed means I have to reverse everything which can mess with your head a bit, but it seems to be working out. I can only make a small amount of progress each day because I don’t want it to hurt. 

The above photo is the first day’s progress. Below is the third day. After this cowl is done, I’m hoping to go back to the doll. 


I had a lovely package in the mail yesterday.  One of the other moderators in the Crafternoon Treats Ravelry Group knew about my injury and asked for my address so she could send me something. She lives in Norway and by the time it arrived I had forgotten all about it. 


She sent two crocheted washcloths, a clay and rose water face mask kit, a rose-scented heart soap and some chocolate. How sweet is that? It made my day!

Spring seems to have arrived in our valley. The snow is mostly gone and Tai Chi Man says he spotted some daffodil shoots in the garden today. It’s mild and sunny this weekend. Ooh, I nearly forgot! I hit a milestone today (autocorrect changed that to “smile stone”) as I was actually able to put on a pair of jeans for the first time in over a month. But this typing is making my arm hurt like crazy so I am signing off for now. Happy Spring!

The next stage of recovery

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I was very relieved to have my appointment at the hospital today. They removed the splint and bandages which, thanks to periodic swelling, have been so  darned uncomfortable the last two weeks. I was disconcerted to find metal staples underneath and not dissolving stitches. My arm looked so pathetic – loose crumpled skin, loss of muscle, green and yellow bruising on the staple side.

The X-rays look kinda cool with that chunk of metal in there, and the line of staples too.

The staples were taken out, which was so painful I nearly cried (I couldn’t watch). Tai Chi Man was there and would have offered a shoulder if I’d needed it, but I held it together. Now I have a removable wrist brace, which I can adjust if I get some swelling, and have to take off now and then for strengthening exercises. Official physiotherapy starts in two weeks.

What a treat it was to get home and wash my arm, and put some arnica cream on the green and yellow bits. And maybe soon….a little yarn play?!

 

Halfway there

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One week with this splint and dressing…


One week to go. Thankfully I have only needed one pain pill on each of the last couple of days. It’s more uncomfortable than anything, especially when my arm swells up.

The weather went from snow on Monday to beautiful sunshine on Tuesday, and today we are having diffuse sun. I have enjoyed a neighbourhood walk the last two days which adds a bit of variety, exercise and fresh air. All my menfolk have been out working every day  this week so I’ve had a few days of alone time. This is fine as long as I can feed myself one-handed! Whilst I can do a little tidying and laundry, I can’t do vacuuming or complicated meal prep. 

Lunch today was a turmeric miso noodle soup, the recipe for which turned up in my email inbox from The Garden Grazer. 

I sat outside for a bit while the house aired. Took my giant cup of tea and kitchen stool out on the deck.


The calendar and temperature may say Spring but there’s still a lot of snow around. The clocks go forward this weekend.

Well, it’s back to my photo files. I’ve made good progress on the DVDs that we had backed up (although we did lose some photos thanks to lack of self-discipline) and I have made a mental promise to myself to treat myself to something nice when the job is done! Dangling that carrot…

Ouch!

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I went for my two week X-Ray on Tuesday. The image showed that my radius was shortening as it healed. The doc said one option would be to saw off the cast and manipulate my wrist and put on a tighter cast, and the other option, more likely to be successful, would be inserting a metal plate. Apparently, allowing the radius to shorten leads to problems with the ulna down the road.  

It took me a few minutes to decide. I really wanted to call my husband and get his oh-so-logical input. Instead I made up my own mind and said I’d go for the surgery.

In preparation for that, they sawed through my cast on both sides. Have to say, having a buzzing blade so close to one’s arm is scary!

I was called in the following day and went through lots of questions and waiting time. I changed into a fetching blue gown and slipper socks. I met the anaesthesiologist and the surgeon. And finally I was rolled into theatre. Seeing the operating theatre just before they knock you out is somewhat surreal. But you do get to hear the reassuring voices of your team as they welcome you and their cheerful banter. 

Waking up in Recovery is horrible. Suddenly you hear voices all around you, then the pain hits. And on a scale of 1-10, mine was a 9. The meds added to my IV worked slowly and I had a few extra doses, plus when I felt able to swallow I had a pill. I kept my eyes closed most of the time as the room was spinning and I couldn’t focus. Being wheeled downstairs made me feel quite sick, and over the next couple of hours I threw up a few times. Thankfully it was only liquid. Tai Chi Man turned up just as I was heaving into a bowl and said, “Well, there’s no need to ask how you’re feeling!”

He had to wait a long time for me to feel ready to go home. I agreed to a dose of anti-nausea medication before they took out my IV which was good, as I didn’t get sick in the car or at home later on. I was wobbly but managed to get dressed and had a little ride in a wheelchair to the exit. 

I managed half a slice of dry toast at home, and a very welcome cup of tea. Took a couple of pain pills and went to bed early. It was a wakeful night, during which I took two more pills. Overnight the numbness in my fingers wore off, but the splint and dressing are tight today.

You can see how swollen my fingers are. The redness is from whatever they swabbed my arm with before they started.


Today I got out of bed really early, at the same time as Tai Chi Man, and we both had porridge for breakfast along with our lemon water. I made myself a nest on the couch, with blankets and pillows and the essentials nearby, like water, tea, phone, iPad, pills. Over the course of the morning I alternately slept and tried to read or watch podcasts. My eyelids keep drooping! 

Ds3 made me some toast as I’m incapable of anything that requires two hands, even more so than when I had the cast on. The pain in my right arm is constant, despite the pills. 

The rest of my day is more of the same. Take a pill every four hours, nap, read, watch You Tube. That’s it! My next appointment is in two weeks. I’ll be curious to see the X-Ray with the metal in my wrist. If I remember, I’ll take my iPad with me and get a photo of it. 

Take care, everyone. Talk to you again soon.

Cast-ocalypse Week Two

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Aren’t these just the most awesome fabrics?! I had a friend drive me to the fabric store where I work today so I could say Hello to my co-workers and get a sewing pattern and this quilting cotton was on sale. I had had my eye on it for a while. I snapped up a metre of each in case they sell out before I get back to work. 

I attempted a bit more knitting and crochet yesterday but it was a pain, literally – I had to give up after a few minutes. 

I have adapted to the one-handed life now, and the family is learning what I can and cannot do. They are having to help with cans, jars, chopping, hand washing dishes, vacuuming, etc. I’m getting more comfortable with writing with my left hand.  

Over the last week I’ve read two ebooks and most of a regular one, and watched a season of Imposters on Netflix.

Today the big task that I’ve been procrastinating over for years was finally started. I pulled out the flash drive of backed up digital photos from the fire safe and started to upload them, rename them and sort them into folders for eventual creation of Photobooks. If I can get this job done while I’m off work, I will consider my time well spent.

Hopefully you are all well and happily crafting away. Talk to you again soon.

Cast-ocalypse Day 4

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So, what have I learned this week?

First lesson: obviously, not to crash on the ski hill. Taking a tumble over another snowboarder is a bad idea, in my case resulting in a fractured distal radius and a massive bruise on the opposite forearm.

Second lesson: broken bones hurt. Particularly at the time of the break, but also afterwards, including when in a cast. Not so much that I’ve needed painkillers since Monday, but enough to be uncomfortable.

Third lesson: don’t over-extend yourself. I was reaching for something last night, overbalanced and put pressure on the cast and it hurt like hell. Also too much activity means too much blood to the hand and the cast gets uncomfortably snug.

Fourth lesson: get help. These are things I can’t do

  • floss teeth (had to get dh to buy sticks instead)
  • open round door handles if left hand holding something
  • do up separating zippers
  • open cans and jars
  • knit
  • crochet
  • lift weights at the gym
  • squeeze a lemon properly
  • chop food that rolls around
  • lift a large pan from sink to stove or vice versa
  • drive my car (it’s a manual/stick)

On the bright side, I can read, watch Netflix, go for walks, write (very messily with my left hand, but I’m practising to get better), wash and apply deodorant, get dressed as long as doesn’t involve a bra, make tea and simple meals, do laundry, load and unload the dishwasher, and type. I could even, maybe in a couple of weeks, go back to the gym and go on the treadmill, or attempt a yoga class (just not downward facing dog)! The lovely yoga teacher is already planning modified poses for me.

I’m doing my best to balance my days, not spending too much time on any one activity. And I have friends who will give me rides to appointments or come over if cabin fever hits.

I am grateful for so many things. I only broke one bone, I have a lovely husband who helped me bathe and washed my hair for me (after taping my cast inside a giant plastic bag), I have three able sons, one of whom is home most of the time, who can do the things I am struggling with. I have plenty to do to keep me occupied.

Tomorrow we have a potluck planned with friends, which will be awesome.

Life is good!