Saturday, July 26, 2008

Five foot one half inch of Energy

Mom was never Five foot tall. She always added "and one half inch" as if it were a badge of honor. That one half inch seemed to be filled with extra energy. Mom never walked she bounded. Her one arm would be swinging back and forth as she walked to get out extra energy so her short legs could keep up with everyone. Life was meant to be lived at full speed ahead.Mom's stove had 2 temperatures - off and burn. Her car had 2 speeds - accelerate and brake.

This energy field around her would often drive me crazy. She would tell me my bedroom had to be cleaned by Saturday and by Wednesday she would be in my room cleaning because she couldn't wait for me. I was just a bit more casual about housekeeping and would have gotten around to it - really!

Everyone loved her. At church she served where ever needed and with the same energy. At lodge she served and gave her all. In the neighborhood she was known as the cookie lady and all the kids knew they could come over for a hug and a cookie. Even at the sr. apartment where she spent the past couple years she went nonstop at all events. She didn't know people's names anymore but was a friend to everyone.

Two weeks ago I got a call from the staff at Mom's apartment. She was having problems at breakfast eating and didn't seem to be able to swallow. We went to the ER to get things checked out and over the course of a couple days we discovered she had several old strokes which explained the confused words and dementia. They also seemed to have affected her nerves in the neck area causing an inability to swallow without gagging. Within a few days she couldn't get anything down.With everything going on - dementia, etc.- I called my brother and we decided no extreme measures, no feeding tubes. She wouldn't want that. The past couple weeks I've been spending my time between work and the hospital.

Yesterday morning this bundle of energy had no more to give. She died quietly in her sleep. It's a every strange feeling. I'm sad but not. How could you be sad for someone who lived such a full life and was so loved by everyone she met.

Mom loved red and especially cardinals. We had a billions cardinals around the house. Once things settle down a bit I'm going to design a bag. It will be red and full of energy. Mom will like it.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

See You Soon

I have some family issues going on. Mom has taken a turn for the worse. I need to concentrate on her for a while and won't be posting for a little bit.

Thanks everyone for all your comments about the Boys (Chief & Bert), the Rust Goes Green bag, and showing interest in my daily life. I'll be back soon with more stories and more knitting. Have a great July!

We'll be back soon!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Rust Goes Green keeps on going

I have a stat counter on my blog. I think most of us do. Tell me who's been here to visit, how many have been here, where you come from. Just a lot of fun facts. Today's fun fact is- I had over 1,800 visitors already today. I thought the day I hit 600 was huge. This is monumental! What caused it? I check where people came from and most came from the same spot.

Heading over to that site turns out I was the crochet pattern of the day today. Rust Goes Green has had an interesting journey this past couple weeks. As a result I submitted a crochet pattern to a magazine. It's time to get back to designing and enjoying that part of my life again. I have a few ideas for knitting and this is why I've been pretty light in the knitting photo part of the blog.

In other news. I've had some family trauma the past couple days. Mom ended up having to go to the hospital with swallowing problems and slurred speech. So far with all the tests they've done they can't find a reason. More tests tomorrow. This and a few other family things have limited my blogging time and knitting time other than the sock I keep in the car - just in case. It got a lot of action yesterday between waiting for doctors and tests.

I'll get back to stories about the Yarn Shop I worked in back in the early 80s soon but, sorry, not today. When I do, you'll hear about my notes I have from Elizabeth Zimmerman, my first tries at designing, what kinds of yarns we used to knit with and probably the best shop owner and best mentor a young girl could hang around with - Vivian Skoog.

Take care -

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

How it all began

Since I can’t show what I’m working on I decided to look back a few decades and write about what it was like to knit in the late 70s / early 80s. Back then I hadn’t knit for a while. Actually, quite a while. I learned how to knit in the mid 60s when Grandma C taught me to cast on, knit and bind off. That lesson gave my Barbie doll several scarves and the kitchen a few pot holders but – not much else happened after that. I got into stamped cross stitch, sewing and other fiber crafts for the next several years.

My first year of college one of my friends and I bought Coat and Clarks little green book on how to Knit and Crochet. It cost $.35 back then. That and a ball of yarn and a crochet hook started my crocheting. Problem was - learning to crochet from littler drawings of the end of the hook meant I held the yarn and hook the same way I knit - throwing the yarn. To this day I crochet "wrong" but - it works for me. For the next year I became friends with the yarn section of Lee Wards (the Michael’s type store of the 70s). They had their own plastic (acrylic) yarn that I used for afghans and an incredibly ugly green sweater that was ripped out eventually. The sweater was more of a jacket – mid hip length. Two strands of yarn, one lime green sport weight and one Kelly green worsted weight. It was crocheted to “look” like knit. Oh good grief what was I thinking!

I still use my shades of blue granny square afghan – check out the last post, the boys are sleeping on it. That’s the great thing about the yarn back then – it will last FOREVER! Plastic does not die. The royal blue is now a faded denim blue but it still works. We didn’t have too many choices back then. Most stores had some yarn but it was all the same hard plastic or crochet cotton. I did make a lovely doily out of bright yellow. Nice doily – terrible color. Then there was the toilet top doily out of variegated pink. Mom loved it. It’s obvious I was big into bright colors back then. Weren’t we all? Oh – I also made things in shades of brown. Enough of this terrible stuff. I need to move on a year to when I started knitting again. Things get a bit better.

Thanksgiving my sophomore year we went to my Aunt’s. My cousin had made an afghan that was knit in blocks of purl and knit. Mom liked it. I decided to start up knitting again and make it for Mom for Christmas. What could possibly be wrong with this idea? One month to relearn to knit, knit a complete afghan, finish the quarter and study for finals. Sounds easy to me. I bought needles, yarn (Ben Franklin had softer acrylic) and got to work. I knit while reading & studying, knit while watching TV, knit whenever I could. The Christmas Eve came. It was not done. But it was close. I sat in my room and knit like a woman possessed. I told my brother to hold off present time as long as possible. At one point Mom actually knocked on my door and opened it. There I was with the afghan spread out on my lap as I knit. Afterward she said my face had such a look of shock that she didn’t even see the afghan. Two minutes before present time I finished a beautiful afghan made from 2 strands of royal blue and 1 strand of gold on a size 13 or 15 needle (can’t remember). It was 10 sts and 10 rows of stockinette and reverse stockinette blocks. That was back in 1974 and that afghan is still in use. I was back to knitting!

Next time – what it was like to work in a yarn shop back then. I go to work part time to help a friend of the family and learn what real yarn is!