Sunday, August 16, 2015

The Long Hot Discombobulated Summer
It's been a long time since I was here and I've been using as an excuse the fact that I'm not traveling so I'm not discovering new fiber events to write about.  But probably that's a rationalization.  I'm good at those.  So I'm going to pick up a long way from where I left off.

First, a bit of background for this post and the ones to come.  I've been home all summer and home is New Orleans.  It's been probably the hottest summer in a very long time with far less rain than other years.  One of the reasons I stay here is because I need rain and usually we get plenty.  There's nothing that makes me happier than a nice rainy day when I can stay home and knit.  I believe I get seasonal affective disorder (SAD) from not enough rain, which is why I probably couldn't live in the desert.  Technically I'm sure you can't get SAD from not enough rain, because it's about light deficiency, but it is my version, scientific or not.
Where I'd rather be than here...

Even though I haven't travelled recently, it has not been an uneventful summer.
Why I'm discombobulated:
1.  See paragraph above.

2.  I had a cataract removed, which means that with the replacement lens I can now see perfectly at a distance with my "new" eye.  But I can't see close with it.  Having been nearsighted all my life, I have always had good vision up close without glasses.  Great for knitting and reading, two joys in life.  Now I can see near but not far with my other eye, and far but not near with the new one.  Makes it difficult to adjust to reading and knitting.  Frustrating, but soon the second lens will be replaced and I'll be able to correct vision with glasses.  That should resolve this issue.

3.  I have been having some lower back problems, which are in the process of resolving, hopefully, but which make sitting uncomfortable.  Not being able to settle into a comfy chair with my knitting is unsettling to say the least.

4.  I have finally gone off lexapro, an antidepressant I've been taking since not long after my firstborn daughter died suddenly in an accident in 2008.  I began using it for treatment of severe anxiety I was experiencing, after seeing a therapist just wasn't enough.  For a good while now I have been feeling stable and not anxious, and I have finally weaned myself off of it (my at least 3rd attempt to do so).  Now let me just tell you that there are severe physical effects from discontinuing this drug, at least in some people, me being one of them.  They manifested themselves in me as what I call electric shocks in my brain and body, leaving me feel like an electrical storm has short circuited my being.  They are not imaginary.  The first time I stopped taking the antidepressant, I didn't know what to expect, and when I realized what it was, I went back on it.  I tried at least once, maybe twice again, but went back to taking the drug. This time I was determined that I would succeed, and I have.  What a relief.  After about 5 weeks of the after-effects, it now seems to be out of my system, and I rarely feel more that a quickly passing "brain shudder" or two.  Totally tolerable and I am doing well.  What has happened however, is that I do feel the lows of normal life "normally" again.  I can cry at movies and when I'm having a self pity party.  Like we all do.  This is good.  I believe that this means that I also will feel the highs better, too.  Yippee I like me a good feeling!  But this transition has also led to the discombobulation effect.

5.  Finally, the summer itself is the first one in which I haven't left the city for the entire months of June, July and August; and, as I mentioned, they have been hot ones.  Taking all these factors together, it's surely been a trial.  But I will survive and things will get better and the temperature cooler.  Looking forward to fall and a new outlook.  And some traveling, starting with a trip to the Texas Hill Country and a big swimming pool for my sister's birthday.  Can't wait for that water to lift me up.

So what have I been doing knitting-wise?  Crocheting.  Not my forte nor my favorite craft, but I was drawn by the Sunday Shawl that I happened to see on Ravelry and felt compelled to make.

Really cool border

I have to say, I did enjoy the process and do appreciate crochet more.  Might even have to do some again.  The border is much fun.  I've completed it all except for the final finish along the top edge. And that I have attempted at least 5 different times in as many ways.  Help!!! After doing the single crochet row it called for (I didn't like it on mine, although this is not a criticism of the pattern but of my crochet technique), I tried reverse single crochet, otherwise known as crab stitch over a single crochet row and on its own.  For the life of me, I can't do that stitch!!  I have repeatedly tried it on the shawl and on swatches, and it just does not work.  I am not cut out for that.  I can knit with the best of them, cables, intricate knitted lace, no prob.  You name it - nothing in knitting has defeated me (well, maybe intarsia), but I can't do backwards crochet.  So I thought, how about knitting an edging that looks crocheted?  Hmmm.....  The opposite of what is usually done (i.e., crocheted edging on knitting.)  I tried using a 3 stitch i-cord but every other row I wrapped the yarn around the outside (in front) of the i-cord instead of behind, trying to achieve a look kind of like crab stitch. I call it syncopated i-cord.  Since the edge goes across both the multi-colored border of the shawl as well as the main colored body, I used the purple from the border edging along the border piece then switched to the main color for the body of the shawl.  The edging looked good (to my somewhat compromised eyes) over the border part but the main color part is not to my liking.  Take a look:

The purple part - kinda cool.  Looks crochet-y

Where the colors meet

The main color  - not so great

So now I am engaged in finishing the shawl with yet more experimentation - suggestions are welcome, y'all - and looking forward to my next project.  I'm thinking fall.......

Guess what - It's actually drizzling out - things are looking up!

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