08 April 2020

Wordless Wednesday

07 April 2020

A Mile (or more) in My (ancient) Shoes

During the last (February) snowstorm I walked in prior to going to work, my beloved Hoka shoes finally developed the long-threatened built-in water circulation system. By the time I got to the train, my feet were soaked and absolutely freezing. I took off my shoes and my socks once I got to work, and my feet were still so cold, it sometimes was difficult to concentrate on my work.

By the time I got off work, the socks had dried just enough for me to get them on without going through the ceiling due to refreshed chill, but the shoes were still soaked, and by the time I got off the train, I was ready to cry.

I dug around in my storage; I rarely throw out anything that might be recycled. I found an old pair of Merrell hiking boots, probably from around the turn of the century. They, too, had built-in plumbing, but the intake holes were not as wide as the holes in the Hokas. I thought the shoes might do for a while.

Each day, the left side of the bottom of my left foot became more and more sore. I couldn't figure it out. I hadn't done anything to hurt it. The day my work closed with an order for all employees to work from home until further notice, I had parked four miles from the park and ride. I thought it would be a piece of cake to carry home in a re-usable cloth shopping bag the things I'd need in order to work from home.

Oh, and my backpack was loaded, too, so my walk was like carrying gear for a three-week back-country adventure. I probably had last worn these particular shoes while climbing a mountain or two! But they were comfortable, then!!!

Holy moly. Just looked up my last peak, and it was way back in 2009!!! Could it possibly have been that long ago?!? That's when Lizard and I climbed Uncompahgre with three crocheted bears, earning me the nickname Goldilocks.

While walking to my car from the park and ride, fully loaded, I had to keep stopping. Not because what I was carrying was too heavy. Not because I was out of breath.

I had to keep stopping because my left foot was so painful and getting worse by the step. I honestly didn't think I'd make it to my car. Tears were spilling down my cheeks as I rounded the last bend and I could see my car at the tune-up shop.

The next two days, as the world changed minute by minute, the bottom of my foot continued to get worse. I finally looked up foot pain on the internet, just to get an idea of what to say to my doctor during my annual checkup this month. I had thought perhaps gout because it, unfortunately, runs in my family. I'm about the only one from the older generation now who doesn't have it. This foot made me wonder if I'd actually caught up to my siblings and cousins.

Of course, arthritis is always suspect, too. I hoped it wouldn't be that. I have more than my fair share in my back and hips.

Fibromyalgia was suspect, too. I'e had many co-workers who have battled that or are battling it. It's another diagnosis I strongly hoped against.

Plantar fasciitis and metatarsalgia never crossed my mind, even though I've also known many people who've suffered from plantar fasciitis. Even though I don't want either of these, the possibility was a breath of fresh air when compared to the other potential diagnoses.

I stopped wearing the old shoes. The only other non-dress shoes I own, apparently, are the heavy duty Italian hiking boots I wear primarily in back country, which I can't access now, and during winter storms. They are a bit much for work. Plus, they are a little difficult to maneuver when driving. Fortunately, I don't have to wear shoes at home. When we do have to go out, such as for PT or when I pick up prescriptions for Lizard, I've been wearing his slippers. Not the bear feet, but they are tempting!!!

My foot has gradually improved, and now I'm ready to begin daily walks again, in solitude, of course, or with my Lizard. I don't really want to walk in slippers. I thought I might be able to make a Walmart run at some point for things I can't find at the grocery store, such as lotion and bandages. I could get a pair of cheap sneakers, too.

Lizard was totally against that and wanted me to spend the money on a good pair of shoes with adequate support that will last longer. Makes sense. But the shop where we typically buy our cycling and hiking gear is now closed under my state's Stay Home order. Could I wait two or three months for a new pair of walking/hiking shoes???

After not being able to find a few things we need at our local grocery store, I decided to order them on Amazon. While I was "there", I decided to look up my favorite hiking shoes. By golly, they are just a bit cheaper than buying them online. I'm a big one for buying local when I can, and I sincerely apologize to my local shop for not waiting, but I will visit the shop again when it's open.

In the meantime, I got my new shoes!!!

06 April 2020

Snowflake Monday

I haven't had much crochet motivation ever since my county's Shelter in Place began. As I've said many times, most of my crocheting is done on the train, and I'm not riding the train for a while. I have extra time every day because I don't have to commute to Denver, but that time seems to be gobbled up day after day after day.

I feel as if my crochet hook has been quarantined away from me!!!

We got another gorgeous snowstorm Thursday night (after a gorgeous 70-degree Wednesday), and because I didn't have to commute, I was able to shoot some snowflakes after I got off work. If I'd had to commute, I'd have missed the flakes yet again.

In about half an hour, I shot 122 photos. After editing them, which took longer than shooting the photos AND warming up my hands, I was pretty happy with 26 shots! I think that's a little better average than normal.

I was editing the photos when Lizard called my attention another direction. When I returned to the computer, my screensaver had kicked in, and I found myself shooting snowflakes again!

This storm put me in the mood to dig out the crochet commute bag and reminded me why I love snowflakes. I need to make a new snowflake! I started with the one at the top of this post. I hope to crochet some of the others soon!

You may do whatever you'd like with snowflakes you make from this pattern, but you may not sell or republish the pattern. Thanks, and enjoy!

Finished Size: 5inches from point to point
Materials: Size 10 crochet thread, size 7 crochet hook, optional bead, empty pizza box, wax paper or plastic wrap, cellophane tape, water soluble school glue or desired stiffener, water, glitter, small container for glue/water mixture, paintbrush, stick pins that won't be used later for sewing, clear thread or fishing line

Corn Teen Snowflake Instructions

Make magic ring.

Round 1: [2 sc in ring, ch 15, 1 sc in 5th ch from hook and in each of next 10 ch] 6 times; sk starting sc; sl st in next sc. Don't pull magic circle too tight.
If you're not reading this pattern on Snowcatcher, you're not reading the designer's blog. Please go here to see the original.

Round 2: [Ch 2, working up spoke, sl st in 3rd sc; ch 3, sk next 2 sc, sl st in next sc, [[ch 5, sl st in next sc]] 2 times, ch 3, sl st in ch 4 tip, [[ch 5, 1 dc in same tip]] 2 times, ch 5, sl st in same tip, working back down spoke ch 3, sk next 3 sc, sl st in next sc, [[ch 5, sl st in next sc]] 2 times, ch 3, sk next 2 sc, sl st in next sc, ch 2, sk next Round 1 sc, sl st in next Round 1 sc] 6 times; bind off. Weave in ends.

Finish: Tape wax paper or plastic wrap to top of empty pizza box. Pin snowflake to box on top of wax paper or plastic wrap.

If using glue, mix a few drops of water with a teaspoon of glue in small washable container. Paint snowflake with glue mixture or desired stiffener. Sprinkle lightly with glitter. Wash paintbrush and container thoroughly. Allow snowflake to dry at least 24 hours. Remove pins. Gently peel snowflake from wax paper or plastic wrap. Attach 10-inch clear thread to one spoke, weaving in end. Wrap fishing line around tree branch (or tape to ceiling or any overhead surface) and watch snowflake twirl freely whenever you walk by! Snowflake also may be taped to window or tied to doorknob or cabinet handle.

02 April 2020

WIP or Will

No WIP progress during the 2020 winter quarter, but I did finish another set of masks.

These masks have non--woven interfacing; I couldn't believe I actually had some in my stash from probably more than a decade ago. These latest masks, which go to a home health nurse who had no masks at all, have blue pillowcase fabric on one side and maroon pillowcase fabric on the other side.

Pillowcase and T-shirt fabric have been shown to be the most effective, although the weave is not tight enough to block this year's ugly germ. Interfacing, however, will do the job. Nurses who have been working non-stop have begun to request different fabrics on the front and back of handmade masks so they know which side goes toward their mouths when they need to temporarily remove the masks during a shift.

I've been making two masks for each nurse who requests a mask so one may be worn while the other is being washed.

Although I didn't work on any of my WIPs last quarter, I did get some piecing and machine embroidery done on the green batik leftovers dress.

Perhaps I should join or start a WIP challenge group for dresses. I think I have about 10 in progress now, plus about six more I hope to make one day (fabric in stash, and stash pattern chosen).

And then there are the shorts projects. It's almost time to wear shorts again, too, so that would be pretty timely.

I'd be in serious trouble if anyone ever counted my mending WIPs.

I probably need a crochet WIP challenge group, too. While working from home, I've been able to do a little bit of closet organizing, and it's sometimes embarrassing to see how many crochet (and even a few knit) projects I started and did not finish.

The only thing I've crocheted (so far) since our Shelter in Place began is a toilet tissue cover instead of my weekly snowflake pattern. I thought that would be humorous for those of us old enough to remember when dolls on the tank and TP in a host of colors were all the rage. I intended to stitch some thread-crocheted snowflakes on Elsa Blue's dress, but that hasn't happened yet.

I remembered a bag of doll heads and hands I bought during a shopping trip to Juarez with a European master knitter back in the early '80s. I thought I remembered the name of the shop being The Cat, or something like that. Finding the still unopened bag of doll heads proved my memory isn't all that bad, and my heavens... look at the prices on those heads!!!

El Gato was my first-ever all yarn store, and the addiction has lasted a lifetime. Finding the bag from the south-of-the-border store reminded me of Super Yarn Mart outside Salt Lake City, which I would make annual runs to with my Utah fiber nut aunt. Aisles and aisles of every kind of yarn I could possibly imagine, and in colors far beyond my imagination. I would spend hours in there every single time I went. How could that store possibly have closed!?!

I've sold a very small few TP cozies over the years, and there's one in the basement still waiting to be finished. Best part of this particular WIP was it still had the toilet paper inside, which came in so handy last week!!!

While joking with my mom on the phone last weekend about TP Cover Days, she asked if I would make one for her. I'd made a hat TP cover for her for Christmas when I was about 10 or 11 years old with my first ever variegated yarn. Her favorite color was blue, and when I spied that blue-to-white skein in our TG&Y store wall of yarn (which was the closest I could get to heaven back in those days), I thought surely an angel must have spun that bundle of loveliness, and I've never grown tired of gradient or variegated yarn since! It was the beginning of a beautiful love story!!!

gradient electric blue from 2019

I made a hat with a curly rim for my mom to put on the extra TP roll she always kept atop the toilet tank so we seven kids wouldn't constantly be screaming we were out, especially during summer when we were all home. I imagine the giant TP packages they have now would have been a godsend for my mom back then!

My mom loved her TP cover so much, I decided that would be the perfect Christmas gift for others the following year. I saved up my babysitting money and made more TP hats with curly brims in a rainbow of variegated colors. As I recall, there were a couple of pastel solids, too, one blue, and one lavender. I had so much fun wrapping and delivering them. My mom didn't remember me coming home in tears because some of the recipients were so offended by a roll of toilet paper in what they called "a total waste of perfectly good yarn."

I wonder if crochet-covered toilet paper rolls would be considered a waste of yarn now??? But then again, do I really need to start yet another project?!? Perhaps I should just finish the TP cover in the basement and send that one to my mom. With a roll of TP, of course!

For now, however, perhaps it's best to keep my WIP challenge simple and just try to finish whatever I can finish when I can, and not worry about too many groups to keep my head above water. I can't even keep up with my blog sometimes!!!

Here's my still-too-long and unchanged quilt WIP list for the new quarter:

1. Hawaiian Punch

2. Lizard Toes

3. Hexie Booboo

4. Tickled Pink, the Sequel

5. Teal Shadows

6. Goodbye Hollyhock Road

7. Snowflake Strip Bar

8. Green Floral Batik Postage Stamps

9. Lavender Sunrise

10. Giant Dahlia

11. Showcase

12. Snowbike II

13. Autumn Splendor

14. Time for Me to Fly

15. Venetian Squiggles

16. Moda Blockheads

17. Tiny Triangle Leftovers

18. Matthew's Quilt

19. My Little Angel Owls

Linking up with Alycia Quilts and Confessions of a Fabric Addict.
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