Well, I said I would Post on Tuesdays…

…but I have not been knitting still, so I wanted to talk to you about my favorite charity knitting program, The Seamen’s Church Institute’s Christmas at Sea program.

According to their website:

Since 1898, during the Spanish American War, volunteers of the Seamen’s Church Institute have knitted, collected, packed, and distributed gifts to mariners who are miles away from home during the holidays. The gift consists of a handknit garment, a personal letter, and information on SCI’s services for mariners. In addition to this, SCI also includes several useful items like hand lotion, lip balm, and toothbrushes—things difficult to come by when working long stretches on the water.

My own experience with them began a few years after high school, when I wandered down to their headquarters (which was then in lower Manhattan), and requested the patterns they were offering. At the time, there were four patterns on offer: scarf, hat, vest, and socks.
These patterns, plus several more, are now available for download from their website, along with mailing instructions, materials preferences, and a host of other information. I have knit or them many times, since they accept projects all year, with a rough deadline of Thanksgiving for inclusion in any particular year’s donations.

This year, they are also doing a project called the 1200 TEAny Hats Project, making small hats to put on iced tea bottles to be sold at Starbucks to raise awareness about the seamen and women who work on the cargo ships that still transport much of what we use on a daily basis.

With all the worthy causes out there to knit for, I still think this is one of the best, because it brings joy and comfort to those who are giving their time and energy to support us.

Note: Credit for photos in this article goes to the Seamen’s Church Institute (used with permission).


Fail (although not epic)!

It’s been a long summer for me. And my knitting and writing has all suffered as a result.

For some time, I have been feeling incapable of doing much more than knitting and sitting at the computer. This culminated in my thinking I had the flu again in late June. Unfortunately, it was nothing so easy.

When I didn’t answer her phone calls for three days, my sister turned up on my doorstep, and demanded that I go to the hospital. She offered to take me to any hospital I wanted, and was even willing to let me consider it overnight. Fortunately for me, I realized that my not having the energy to tell her to go away probably meant that she was right. So we headed off to the hospital, with an assist from my ex. (It took both of them to get me out of bed. I literally did not have the energy to stand up.) When we got to the hospital, I found out that my blood pressure was 96/52 — not good for a woman whose untreated blood pressure can only be described as obscenely high! I was admitted and diagnosed with cellulitis that had not only gone septic, but systemic…as the doctor put it on my third day in hospital, “If you had taken the overnight to consider, the question would not have been which hospital, but burial or cremation.” And, yes, that scared the heck out of me. I have been on antibiotics since admittance — in hospital, I was receiving one bag of Vankomycin a day, as well as an oral dose of Cipro. Since release, I have been on Vibramycin (Doxycycline Hyclate) twice a day. Mostly, all antibiotics make me want to do is sleep, so both my writing and knitting have suffered.

The upshot of my hospitalization is that I now have Medicaid, so I don’t need to worry about medical bills, and the insurance that I got assigned to is one my local doctor takes.

And that’s where the fail comes in. I am barely 1/3 through my Ravellenic Games project (which I will finish, darn it!), halfway through my Socks for Stephen Colbert project, and only on the second pair of socks for my accountant. The baby blanket I have been crocheting for charity is only about half done, and the writing project I need to turn in (with pictures) on the 18th is going to need an extra week or two, which I need to discuss with the client.

As for blogging, I have not felt up to much, especially since when I was just starting to feel better, my roommate got sick. It took me a week to get her to go to the doctor, and the day following her appointment, we got a call that he was sending an ambulance for her, it would be at our house in half an hour or less, and she was going to the hospital, no arguments, because her hemoglobin was 5. I tossed on clothing, and we headed to the ER in the ambulance, and I stayed with her until she was admitted and in a room. She was in the hospital from Friday afternoon until Tuesday, so that meant I had to do some of her chores, including feeding the cats and changing their litter. (We have an agreement that I will not ever have to do because she is the one who insisted on getting the cats. However, the litter seriously needed changing, so I did it.)

At any rate, I am back, plugging away at my Ravellenic Games project (Bea Schmidt’s ). After that, I will get the Colbert socks done (and they are coming out beautifully, although slowly), then get back to the socks for my accountant.

I am just hoping I can get back on track enough that I can finish out my YOSS for this year. I need to make three pairs of socks to be caught up, and the two I’m working on will help do that.

Still, it feels like fail, even though it’s certainly not an epic fail, and I do understand that the health issues are a lot more important than whether or not I get 12 pair of socks knit this year.

May has not Been the Kindest Month this Year

Life has been happening this month; nevertheless I have been knitting.

My May YOSS Project was Marilyn Phillippi’s Tilting Tardis Cowl. I used Fleece Artist’s Nyoni, in Melon, and the shawl came out perfectly gorgeous! This was made out of the yarn that was left over after I had completed my Marrowstone Shawl. It just needs the right buttons, and I am planning to get those in the next few days.

Knitting Marcy Vandale’s Marrowstone Shawl was great fun! I forget who on Plurk turned me on to this pattern, but thank you whoever it was! It worked up fairly quickly because the trim of the shawl was knitted sideways, then the stitches for body were picked up along one side of the edging. I chose this to increase my options for Wear A Shawl Day, which is the 11th of each month.

For this month’s charity knitting, I picked a crochet project, Cay Litchfield’s Baby Bobbles Blanket, specifically to use up a donation to my stash of acrylic yarn (National Yarn Crafts’ Natura Deluxe Acrylic) from a friend’s late mother’s stash. The colors so far are medium blue, lavender, light blue, and two different pastel ombre yarns. This is being done as a contribution to Project Linus.

My next stash-breaking project is Martina Kastanek’s Sunday Morning Shawl. I am using up a lot of fingering weight yarn for this project; It’s good to watch the odds and ends become something useful and pretty! It’s also good to reduce the number of small balls of yarn in my project basket! This project is another addition to my Wear a Shawl Day collection.

My last project on the needles is Wendy D. Johnson’s Toe Up Feather and Fan Socks. These have been lying fallow for a while, because I have had Real Life to deal with, but have now been picked up again, and I am about 1-3/4″ away from starting the heel. The yarn is Ethereal Fibers’ Nebula Sock in the “Thump” colorway. Sadly, the light in my room is yellowish,so the picture does not do the colorway justice. The colors in this yarn are truly luminous in daylight.

So, knitting-wise it has been a busy and productive month.

And my next installment should have some exciting news, if all goes well!

Project Sweet Caroline

Okay, you guys know I don’t push things very often.

However, I am taking part in an ongoing project to knit hats for preemies. The project is called Project Sweet Caroline, and is being run by Melissa, aka Meliabella on Ravelry.

If, like most of us, you have an accumulation of small bits of superwash sock yarn lying around (wool/nylon blend or just 100% superwash is great, but please no cashmere, silk, etc. as some babies have a sensitivity) and a little time to spare, please consider joining this ongoing project.

There is a link to the basic hat pattern on the page, and it’s a really great way to use up small amounts of yarn. The hats are really easy, and I found it took less than an hour to knit one.

Curious George wearing a hat for Project Sweet Caroline

Information on where the hats will go is also on the page, and Meliabella says that she can be messaged through Ravelry so that people can let her know how many hats they are contributing.

Thanks for considering contributing to this project. Hopefully, I will soon be seeing a bunch of new preemie hats on folks’ Ravelry pages!

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