Monday, June 23, 2008

Knitterly weekend

This weekend I went to the Purl Jam knitting retreat in Blacksburg, VA. Gina, the owner of Mosaic Yarn Shop, organized a wonderful weekend full of shopping, knitting, and taking classes. The instructors were Annie Modesitt, Cornelia Tuttle-Hamilton, and Jared. I, of course, am a big fan of Jared's, so I had picked 2 of his classes as my first choice and 2 as my second choice. When I got my class assignments, I found out that I was in ALL of his classes. Ack! What was he going to think of me? Would we become friends, or would he think I was some nerdy Brooklyn Tweed groupie?? It was all good, though. He didn't think I was weird (or at least didn't let on that he did). After spending the weekend with him, I feel obligated to design an aran sweater knit in the round then steeked (!!!) to become a cardigan. I think I'll do this for Hayden for the fall - smaller scale, plus his McTavish cardigan is getting a wee bit small.

Yesterday morning Annie did a Tips and Tricks class for everyone. She's great - she teaches you the most amazing things so thoroughly that there's no way you won't catch on before you leave the room, and she does it in a very funny, entertaining way. Be forewarned, though: if you're in one of her classes, DON'T TALK. She's very clear that she is the only one to be talking.

In addition to taking classes from these incredible designers, I also did some shopping. 15 skeins of tweedy grey Kathmandu Aran for a Cobblestone Pullover for Mike. (I'm not providing a link to the sweater. If you're a knitter, you know which one I'm talking about. If you're not a knitter, you probably really don't care what it looks like. You can wait for the FO.) 10 skeins of Claudia's Handpainted wet spun linen for the Sasha skirt. 2 books - Cornelia's Noro Revisited and Yahaira Ferreira's Sensual Knits, which has a Jared design in it. I almost bought some more yarn for a Norah Gaughan cardi that I've been coveting for a while, but there were only 2 skeins of a color that I needed 3 of. Mike probably went in there before me and hid it so I couldn't buy it.

Here are some pictures from the weekend:

Is Jared really about to cut his knitting? In front of EVERYONE??? Yikes!

I suggested that he do a shot of tequila before picking up the scissors, but he declined. What a brave man.

Jared wearing the infamous Cobblestone.

Me with Jared and Cornelia. Although I didn't take any of her classes, I did get to spend some time with her. She's really funny and very super-cool.

Jared, Cornelia, Gina and Annie. Gina is kick-ass. I'd totally hang out in her shop if I lived in Blackburg. Go to her shop blog to see more Purl Jam pics, including one of me flipping her the bird.

I got quite a bit of knitting done in the car. I'm almost done with my Babydoll Top - a picture of it should be coming within the next several days. I must get it done soon so I can cast on for my new skirt and also for my Katharine Vest that I keep blogging about. And I also have to start designing Hayden's Aran cardigan. And I have some socks to make for him. And I bought the Rusted Root pattern last week. And Mike's Cobblestone. And I'm going to do a second Cobblestone for Hayden. And I'm going to join Mosaic's knitalong for a Central Park Hoodie. Good thing I'm an injured triathlete this summer and have more time on my hands!!!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

You've heard of Bennifer and TomKat - now meet...

... Snow Claus!

Yeah, I know - kinda scary looking. But props to Hayden - he created this character himself. Was dressed up as a full-blown Santa, then must've gotten tired of the beard and hat, so changed into Snow White wig.

This is his rendition of Gaston from Beauty and the Beast, ice cream drip down the shirt and all.

Update on the clot: have been to the doctor 3 times since I've been back in Nashvegas, and this past Thursday got some good news. It's not a deep vein, life threatening clot like we originally thought, but rather a thrombotitis of the popiteal vein. Your average blood clot behind the knee. The treatment is still the same. Lovenox shots in the stomach will continue until Monday morning, Coumadin will continue for 3-6 months. I have to monitor the amount of vitamin K in my diet, and I cannot drink alcohol. I have to get my blood checked every week to make sure I'm taking the right amount of Coumadin, and I have to be careful not to get bruised or cut. I can't ride my bike (if I have a wreck, I'd be SOL) or rock climb, and I have to be careful when shaving or flossing. And I can't pick my nose - bummer.

So in lieu of the working out I can't do, I have been knitting a lot. I'm plugging away on my uber-cute smocked babydoll top, but WIP pics are so boring that I won't subject you to mine. I got a bit done today at our local WWKIP* meetup. It rained in the beginning, so our turnout was small.

Still fun, though.

Must get done with this top soon - the list of projects keeps growing. Damn you, Ravelry! Sleeves for Alice, Katharine Vest from Spring IK, Rusted Root, February Lady Sweater, Cobblestone Pullover, Unmentionables, Rugby sweater for Hayden, purl-free Monkeys, striped socks for Hayden, River Forest Gansey, Hanami Stole, Pomatomus, Ziggy ...

* - WWKIP is Worldwide Knit in Public for my non-knitting readers.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Un memorable anniversario

To celebrate our 10-year wedding anniversary, Mike and I went to Puerto Rico. Here are some pictures:

This is the lovely dress my friend Alice crocheted for me. I've blogged about it before - now you know why I'm totally content to spend some time on Sleeve Island for her!

This is the Eyelet Surplice Dress from the Summer issue of IK that I was putting the finishing touches on on Tuesday night, the night before we left. It turned out really well. I used CotLin from Knit Picks and I'm very happy. My hair stuff exploded in the suitcase and even though I put that stuff in a plastic bag, some of it leaked out and got on this dress. Thank God CotLin is washable! I'm very happy with the dress, but I realized the night I wore it that I need to get a longer top to wear underneath. The skirt pulls the lace down a bit, and every once in a while I had to adjust myself so that the top of my hot pink thong wasn't showing in the back.

The happy anniversary couple!

This picture was taken yesterday morning as we were being discharged from the Metropolitan Hospital in Miami. I was taken by ambulance from the airport on our way home Monday morning to the ER where they found a blood clot behind my left knee. I was admitted and spent 2 nights there so they could get some blood thinner in me before deciding it was safe for me to fly home.

Story: We flew to Puerto Rico last Wednesday night. That night my left leg (the one in the walking boot) REALLY started to hurt. My calf was sore to the touch and the pain didn't go away the entire time we were there. I called my orthopedic surgeon's office on Friday and talked to a nurse about it. She said it was probably due to immobility and that I needed to stretch and take an Advil a day. She also said I needed to get it checked out if it started to swell or get warm to the touch. Everything stayed the same until Sunday night, our last night there. My ankle swelled, but we figured it was just because I had walked on the beach both Saturday and Sunday (something the nurse said I could do). The next morning we got up at 430am to catch a 630am flight. The swelling hadn't gone down at all, even though I had been taking Advil and was icing and elevating it after we got back to the room from dinner on Sunday. (Side note: At the restaurant Sunday night, a man told me to be careful when travelling in my walking boot because he was wearing one one time on a plane and got a blood clot which went up to his lungs and almost killed him. He was in the hospital for 3 days. 2 days before that, I said to Mike, "I wonder if I have a blood clot in my leg and that's why it's hurting so badly.") We went on, though, because it was so early in the morning. We flew to Miami then were supposed to catch another plane to Memphis to pick Hayden up at my parents' house. While waiting for the second flight, I called my dad to check on things and he asked me how my leg was. I gave him the report, and he said, "Sounds like you might have a blood clot. You should get checked out." We got the paramedics to come to me at the airport - their report was that I had some signs of having one but also some signs of not having one, so it was our call as to whether they took us to the hospital or not. We decided to go. The closest hospital was Miami Metropolitan - a Spanish-speaking hospital. I'm sure they figured I'd just get checked out and sent on my merry way back to the airport, but I wish they had thought about the possibility of my having to stay there. I know very little Spanish, and Mike knows even less. I think Hayden knows more than we do, thanks to his Dora the Explorer phase. An ultrasound done by someone who didn't speak a word to me revealed a blood clot behind my knee. The only English speaking doctor in the ER gave me the news and told me I'd have to stay at least for 24 hours. 5 hours later they admitted me to a private room away from all of the ER grossness. It was a surreal experience - the doctor knew English, some of the nurses had very broken English, but some didn't speak a word. It was an uneasy feeling to have such a serious condition and to be at the mercy of people who couldn't communicate with us. Who wants to be woken up at 5am by a man named Ignacio who sticks your arm, draws blood then leaves without saying ANYTHING? In order to be released, the doctor had to sign a paper for the airlines saying he felt confident that I could fly without having complications. We also had to order blood thinner shots that I get in my stomach twice a day, and they were overnighted to my parents' house so they'd be waiting on us when we got there.

My current situation is this: tomorrow I see my internist so he can start managing my blood thinner meds. I have to keep on getting the shots (Mike gives them to me in my stomach twice a day) and I also have to take a pill. The shots will stop once my blood level reaches a certain point, but I think I'll be on the pill for 4-6 months. (Pill as in blood thinner, not birth control. No more birth control for me, ever. That's one of the things that ups your risk of developing a clot.) I'm going to talk to him about my activity/exercise, but I'm pretty sure I'll be forced to be a couch potato for several weeks. I have to avoid things that could cause cuts or bruises since I'll bleed easily, so my American Gladiators goal is put on hold for now. (Make sure to keep watching the show so they'll continue it until I am well enough and back in shape enough to compete!) I'm pretty sure I'll also have to start seeing a hematologist.

So, what was the cause of all of this? I thought it was the change in cabin pressure on the flight from Memphis to Dallas that caused my walking boot to compress and squeeze the sh!t out of my leg. However, the doctor said no and he also says the pain in my calf and the swelling in my ankle (which is still there) is totally unrelated. According to Dr. Lopez, I had 4 strikes against me: an injury like a fracture, immobility, a long plane ride, and being on birth control. I've been on birth control since I was 17 (minus the time I spent cooking Hayden inside of me), but I had developed problems over the last several months and we had switched meds twice. I had been on Yasmin, but the high amount of estrogen was making me very nauseous. I then went on Yaz, but after a month I started bleeding 3 weeks out of the month. Thought it had to do with the incredible amount of stress I was under when everything fell apart with the behavioral consultant, but my OBGYN didn't think so. He switched me to Loestrin the week before we left on our trip. Everything was fine, or so I thought....

Well, that's my story in a nutshell. I'll keep everyone updated on my situation. And I'm sure I'll be knitting a bunch, so I'll have lots of pictures. (I did have some knitting with me when we were admitted to the hospital, thankfully. I am now almost done with a pair socks that I want to gift to Hayden's occupational therapist. Her last day is tomorrow.)