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Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Invisible Disabilities

I'm reading an ongoing discussion on one of the facebook groups I'm on for knitters and I just have to say, I think that people who deal with invisible disabilities have to be some of the most resilient and strong people around. They not only deal with pain and suffering from their illness and how to cope with that, but they also have to cope with other people who are judgmental and cruel, who make unsolicited comments and have attitudes that bully and hurt. I know that people will all kinds of disabilities have to deal with that some, but it just seems more prevalent with people dealing with something that isn't immediately obvious to the observer.

Unfortunately,  it isn't usually a stranger, but someone they know well, who lives with them or comes to their home that makes the comments, gives the exasperated expression, etc. As a person who has had fibromyalgia for a few years, I know that I am on the sensitive side and tend to pick up on it way too easily. I have to resist the urge to immediately defend my actions, when I really shouldn't ever have to.

I have to say that I'm really lucky to have the family that I have. They support without judgement and understand that pain isn't something that a person "chooses" to have in order to get attention. They know that I would give anything to be able to work and support myself instead of depending on the Government to support me. They know how important it is to me to be able to do all that I physically can before I ask for help for something and when I do ask, they know that it's my last resort and I don't do it for attention.

Its my prayer that everyone else can have the same support and love from the people that are important to them.

Gentle Hugs

Monday, March 2, 2015

Hand stretching exercises for knitters

I always hear people on the different knitting groups talking about the arthritis, and other types of pain that they have in their hands. There are a plethora of products to help with it. On one of my earlier posts on this blog I put a link to a site where you can buy gloves to help with the problem.

Well, today I actually found some exercises to help with the pain. My own remedy is to take frequent breaks or to switch up to another type of craft or way to hold your needles to give certain muscles and joints a break. When I take a break, I usually stretch my hands and rub lotion into them to help. I really look forward to trying out these exercises.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

My Latest Attempts at Getting Healthy

I was looking at my daughter and the somewhat morbid thought ran through my head, "What would happen to the kids if I were to die young like their father did" and it startled me. I realize that as much as I love both of them, they aren't ready to go it alone yet. Age is a number only. Even if your child is an adult, there isn't a magical cut off date when they'll be ready to move out on their own. Through no fault of their own, or any fault of Randy and I, they just are not ready yet, either emotionally or psychologically to do it on their own.

So that made me realize, that until they are ready, I need to do what I can to get healthy. That means I need to stop making excuses for why I'm not watching what I eat and I'm not getting regular exercise. No more blaming my lack of motion on my fibromyalgia and arthritis and no more telling myself that it is too hard to eat properly to deal with my diabetes. I just have to get on it.

I went to my doctor last week and let her know that I want to start the Veteran's Administration's M.O.V.E. program for weight loss and exercise. I got signed up on Friday and saw a nutritionist. The put in a referral for my doctor to ok me to visit the gym on the hospital campus and  to go to meetings for weight loss support. I started yesterday officially, but today I went to the park and got exercise by walking my dog. I also got a blog started to track my weight loss and blood sugar and to encourage myself to keep going.

This is me and Shadow at Spanaway Park in Washington (near my home in Lakewood). You may notice that I have my knitting bag on my arm. It goes with me everywhere, and yes, I did stop at one point and do some public knitting.Haha!

So wish me luck. I'm hoping the exercise and weight loss will help me with all my health problems, including my fibromyalgia. I will keep everyone updated on my progress, hopefully without boring everyone to tears with it.LOL

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Why I Don't Go to Church Anymore

Dear Visiting Teacher,

Please stop calling me. In order for me to listen to your message, you take minutes away from my phone that I need for doctor appointment calls and I can't afford more minutes.

Besides, I've stopped going to church and don't intend to go back. You see, I only make enough money on Social Security to pay my rent and utilities and nothing more. Yes, I do get food stamps, but they don't cover the cost of living each month. I have enough money left over after rent and utilities to pay for my bus fare for the month and half of the laundry, none for tithing, toilet paper, dish soap, cleaners, cat food, clothing, or anything lunch with my church friends, or an extra casserole for a funeral. If my food stamps don't make it to the end of the month, I eat nothing but biscuits or potatoes until the next batch of stamps arrive in my account. (I might make a copy of this to give to my doctor who suggests that I eat wild salmon a couple times a week and organic vegetables to regulate my blood sugar)

 In order to control my skin conditions, I wash my cloths by hand when the laundry money runs out so that my skin won't break out. I gave up my cable for my TV, I don't have a phone, other than the little track phone that I have to pay to put minutes on, and I get fabric and yarn from clothing that I find and friends that have been generous, otherwise I can't afford to spend on that as well. When I didn't have money to pay for milk, I bounced my checking account and was forced to sell my wedding bands to pay the fees. When a surprise fee was withdrawn for a book store account, I sold my violin to pay the bank for that oversight. I have nothing left to sell to make up for any other mistakes or emergencies that I might have happen.

So when you tell me that I need to have faith that God will step in when I pay my tithing each month, and that he will get me through, I'm not listening any more. I know better. When the Relief Society President and the Bishop tell me that I need to rely on food stamps for my needs and that I can only ask for help from the Bishop Storehouse in the case of a dire emergency, I smile indulgently and turn away, because, for some of us, getting through each month is a dire emergency. And when you tell me that I should try and convert my inactive son and my non member daughter to the church, I laugh. If it weren't for them, I would be homeless right now.

As a church member, my only help would be if I were to marry someone just for convenience sake and have them support me. I don't intend to go there.

Yes, I could kick out my daughter who works part time so that she can deal with her anxiety and OCD that she is unable to get disability for and my son who chooses to deal with his autism without being labeled as disabled and held back from accomplishing his goals that he has set, even if I was able to get past my conscience and do that, I would not make enough to continue living here and would end up homeless or in a dangerous neighborhood where the rent is lower. Right now, the only way we are making it at all is to stick together.

So, I guess you can say that I've been questioning my faith a lot lately. I don't believe that God would be able to love his children and still leave them desperate and hopeless. Would he have me pay tithing and be homeless? Because that is what I look at when I make that decision. There are no other ways to trim expenses and cut costs here. There isn't another "source" of income to be had. I have no other valuables to sell. My health doesn't allow me to miraculously start working again for income.

Do I believe in God? Yes. I believe that he knows my situation and he has given me the intelligence and resourcefulness to find a way to survive, but I don't believe that he expects what the Church expects. I don't think that he expects me to have blind faith and that he'll provide for me while I do.


Tuesday, January 13, 2015

More Proof that you should pick up those needles!!

Seems that whenever I get my rear in gear and update my blog after being dormant for way too long, I come across a new article and want to share it...after I already published my blog entry.
So here it is (if I already published it, I call a time out due to Fibro fog. It's a great excuse).

I know it helps me, if for no other reason than the fact that while I'm knitting, I'm sitting and resting and still getting something accomplished.LOL

My basic sock pattern

I decided to share my basic sock pattern. I have it downloadable on Ravelry, but I figure that people who don't want to go through the trouble of downloading something can just bookmark it here if they want.
Basic Cuff Down Sock Pattern

Knitted with worsted weight yarn
These were made with Red Heart yarn. I prefer to use a short row heel for my socks. The needle I use is a set of size 5 double points.
Cast on 40 (36, 48) stitches for a woman’s size. I’ll put child and man’s sizes in parentheses. I usually like to cast all the stitches onto one needle, then I separate the stitches so that I have one needle (needle #1) with 10 (8,12) stitches, needle 2 with 20 (16, 24) stitches, and needle 3 with 10 (8,12) stitches. Make sure not to twist the needles so that all the stitches are aligned.
I do a knit 2/purl 2 ribbing for 2 inches, working in a circle from one needle to another. Then I switch to a stockinet stitch (all stitches are knit) without breaking the yarn. Work in a stockinet stitch until your work reaches, from the very top to the needle, to measure 6 (5,7) inches. (I just use a standard ruler to measure my work with).
Starting between needles 1 and 3, and leaving needle 2 alone, knit to the end until you have only one stitch left on needle 1. Pulling your yarn to the front to start, wrap the yarn around the base of the stitch that is on the end and turn your work so you are looking at the purl side. Keep the yarn to the front of the work after you wrap it.
Row 1: purl across both needles until there is only one stitch left. Wrap the yarn around that last stitch and turn your work. Pull the yarn to the back of the work.
Leave the wrapped stitch on the needle throughout the work. You should now have 9 (7,11) regular stitches and one wrapped stitch on your needles.
Row2: knit across both needles until you get to the 2nd stitch from the end. Wrap your yarn around the 2nd stitch just like you did for the 1st. Turn your work.
Row3: Purl to the 2nd stitch from the end. Wrap it like the other stitch on the needle and turn. You now should have 8 (6,10) regular stitches on your needles and 2 wrapped stitches on each needle.
You keep going back and forth between the knit side and the purl side until you only have 4(3,6) unwrapped stitches on each needle. Now you are ready to finish the wrapped stitches and the heel.
Knit across the 4 (3,6) stitches on the needle. When you get to the wrapped stitch, use your needle to pick up the wrap yarn and slide it onto the needle in your left hand so that it is next to the next stitch. Then work both strands of yarn at the same time and knit them together. Turn your work.
Now purl across those stitches and then purl across the 4 (3,6) unwrapped stitches on the other needle. When you get to the 1st wrapped stitch on the needle, pick up and purl both the wrap strand and the stitch on the needle together. Turn your work.
Knit across including the stitch that you knitted two together on the last row. Work the next wrapped stitch the same way, pick up the wrap and slide it onto the needle next to the stitch and knit the two strands together. Turn
Continue knitting and purling across in this fashion and working the wrapped stitches.

When you get all of the wrapped stitches worked you will knit to the end of needle 1 and then pick up a stitch between needle 1 and needle 2 so that you won’t have a hole there. Knit across needle 2 like normal. Then pick up a stitch between needle 2 and needle 3 before knitting all of the remaining stitches on needle 3. You should now have 11(9,13) stitches on needle 1, 20 (18,24)stitches on needle 2, and 11(9,13) stitches on needle 3.
On the next round knit to the end of needle 1 and knit the last two stitches together. Knit all the stitches on needle 2 like normal. Knit 2 stitches together on needle three, then knit the rest of the stitches like normal.
Knit across all needles like normal. You should have 10 (8,12) on needle 1 now, 20 (18,24) on needle 2, and 10 (8,12) on needle 3. Continue knitting straight across all needles until your foot portion of the sock measures 7 inches from the edge of the heel to the needle. (I lay my work flat on my table and use a ruler to measure the foot)
When your foot portion measures 7 (6,8) inches, knit across needle one so that you are at the side of the foot.
Row 1: knit one. Knit two together, then knit across the needle until you have only three stitches left on needle 2. Slip the next stitch from the needle to the working needle without knitting it (slipped stitch). Then knit the next stitch. Slide the slipped stitch over the stitch you just knitted and off the tip of the needle. Knit the last stitch on needle 2 normally. On needle 3, knit 1, knit 2 together, then knit across the rest of the stitches. On needle 1, knit until there are only 3 stitches left on the needle and then slip a stitch, knit the next stitch, then slip the slip stitch over the knitted stitch. Knit the last stitch on the needle. You should now have 9 (7,11) stitches on needles 1 and 3 and 18 (16, 22) stitches on needle 2.
Row 2: knit across all three needles normally
Row 3: On needle 2, knit one, knit 2 together, then knit until 3 stitches from the end. Slip a stitch, knit a stitch, pass the slipped stitch over the knitted one, knit the last stitch. This stitch is called a PSSO (pass slipped stitch over) and is a type of decrease stitch. On needle 3, knit one stitch, knit 2 stitches together, knit the rest of the stitches normally. On needle 1, knit the stitches normally until you get to the last 3 stitches. PSSO. Then knit the last stitch.
Continue with the toe rotating between one row of decreases and one row of regular knitting. When you work the last row of decreases, you should have 4 (3,6) stitches on needle 1, 8 (6,12) stitches on needle 2, and 4 stitches on needle 3. Slide the stitches from needle 3 to needle 1 so that you now have two needles that have 8 (6,12)stitches on each. Leaving a long tail, cut the yarn.
You finish the sock with the kitchner stitch. Place the tail of yarn on a yarn needle. Hold your sock up on the two needles with the needles side by side.
Insert the yarn needle into the left side of the front stitch (stitches on needle 1). Angle your needle to the right so that you only pick up the front post of the stitch (knit wise). Pull the yarn through the stitch and slide the stitch off the knitting needle. On the next stitch on the front needle, put the yarn needle through purl wise and leave that stitch on the knitting needle, but pull your yarn needle and tail all the way through.
Now work the first stitch on the back needle (needle 2). Pull your tail to the back and on the first stitch pull it through purl wise (from back to front). Slide the stitch off the knitting needle and then insert the yarn needle into the next stitch on needle 2 knit wise and leave that stitch on the needle.
Working the front needle again, insert your needle knit wise, then slide that stitch off the knitting needle and insert the yarn needle into the next stitch on the same knitting needle purl wise and leave that stitch on the needle.
Work the next stitch on the back needle. First pull you yarn through purl wise, slide off the stitch, then pull the yarn through the next stitch knit wise.
Continue in that fashion, working off each stitch until you have done all the stitches. Pull your yarn to the inside of the work.
Turn your sock inside out and work in all the loose ends.

I'm Amazed!!!

The last few days have been wonderful! After all this time that I've struggled to get something going for my craft business, it looks like its finally going to go somewhere! Let me start from the beginning...
In the beginning of December, Chelle and I met with our friend Angel to discuss the possibility of starting a business together and decided that our best choice would be to combine our interests to do a business that would sell crafts as well as thrift store items. 

Then the Holidays hit and we were too busy to think about doing anything but get gifts made. While I was up to my ears with gift making, my friend Debbie asked me if I could make her some more socks (I made her some a while back and she really liked them). I made a couple pairs and posted them before Christmas, but really didn't get the chance to do much until after Christmas was over.  Here are the socks I made for her

I posted each pair on facebook as I finished them. After the first couple, people on the knitting groups I'm on mentioned that they would like the pattern. I started off just telling them that I didn't have a pattern and was doing them from memory, but they kept insisting, so I eventually decided, "Hey, maybe I should write down my pattern and try to sell it..." (this is where I did a mental facepalm). So I wrote up the first pattern and was amazed that people were actually interested.Haha!

Then I got the bright idea that if I put my basic sock pattern up, it might draw people to my Ravelry page so I put that one up for free.

I decided that I would post that one to all the knitting groups I'm on on facebook and was shocked to find that the downloads for it was in the hundreds!

I quickly finished up today by putting the other variations up for sale

I also was surprised to have people asking me to knit them socks and to make my fingerless glove pattern available. 
So now I have to decide how much work I can take in and be able to do with my pain issues. Not only that, but I need to come up with prices that are fair to customers, but not unfair to me. And, finally, I need to decide how much I can do and still be able to keep my goals for making socks for the Veterans like I planned. 

I'm really glad it's taking off like this. It's good to be able to make your creative venue into your daily job.