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October, 2010:

Nano No No

I really wanted to take part in NaNoWriMo this year. For those who’ve never heard of it, it stands for National Novel Writing Month and involves writing 50k of fiction in a month.It’s not quite a novel, more a novella size.

Now, I’ve written fiction for years and always have lots of ideas for stories but I’ve never really ever written more than a few pages of anything. I usually just lose interest or become highly critical of my work. As a result, nothing gets done. So Nano which is more about quantity than quality is the ultimate in losing your creative writing inhibitions.

When I interviewed Rachel Herron for KnitCast in March this year we spoke extensively about Nano and I said that I’d meant to do it one year and I think I even committed to doing it this year.

So, why aren’t I doing it? Well, writing 50k of words over 30 days even if you’re not getting caught up in editing them is a big commitment when you have other things that you also need to get done. I’ve been organising my house since last month, sorting things and getting rid of stuff that I don’t want or need anymore. Since I moved some years ago from a three storey house to a smaller one I’ve simply had too much stuff and I’ve not been able to enjoy my house or have people ’round because it’s been too full of stuff.

My craft room was finished this month and it’s been an amazing feeling just to go in there without  having to clamber over loads of junk. My walk-in-wardrobe aka the box room is now nearly done – about 8 bin bags full of stuff for charity from that room alone – then it’s onto the bedroom and then the rest of the house. So I want/need to keep that momentum going so that it’ll be done before Christmas and so that I can actually enjoy my home instead of being annoyed at not being able to find things/get into rooms/not have friends over/not be able to relax because of the mess etc.

So this month I will take part in Nanoroomo whereby I commit to finishing tidying my house by the end of November. This will be quite a challenge since one of the rooms, my study, is quite bad indeed. It’s not got boxes up to the ceiling as my craft room did but it’s still quite full. I think you’ll understand that I can’t do that and take part in Nanowrimo as well. It still doesn’t stop me wishing that I could do it this year especially since my friend Shalene in London is doing it as well.

So, November will be busy and I’m afraid that there’s no KnitCast for the month either. I went to the dentist with toothache last week and it turns out that the root of my teeth is infected and needs to be removed. I’ve been dosed up on antibiotics and painkillers and couldn’t combine that with editing the podcast. I need to be in full health for that since it’s a lot of work. But the tooth should be removed sometime this week and then I can get back to working on the house and everything else. And then next year I will be doing NaNoWriMo! 🙂

Fyberspates Open Weekend

I’ve still got lots of catchup posts to write but on Saturday the lovely Karen drove Doug and I to Jeni’s unit for the first day of the Fyberspates Open Weekend. And what a fab day it was filled with knitting, conversation and the eating of cakes!  What more could you ask for?

This was the first time I’d been to Jeni’s unit and look, there’s yarn every where!

Even bears love yarn.

Doug used to spin as a teenager and I had been hoping for ages to persuade him to try again. Alas spinning takes a lot of practice and letting more than twenty years pass doesn’t help.

Jeni’s mother Mary is an amzing baker and baked some lovely goodies

Some of Mary’s fabulous baked goods. I was able to get the recipe for the chocolate cake from Mary and hope to bake it soon 🙂

I managed to get Jen and Mary to pose for the camera but it was a bit difficult!

I had resolved to be strong around the lovely yarns and not purchase any since I do have a wall of yarn. But this lovely skein insisted on coming home with me. It’s and is rather difficult to capture the shade exactly. Be assured that it’s a rather rich, vibrant purple with a beautifully soft hand. I haven’t decided what this will be just yet but I feel that it is calling to be knit in a cabled design.

At one point Jen found some perspex yarn bobbins which I joked looked like knitters throwing stars! We tried to get Jen to pose as a knitting ninja for photos. I got her to wear a skein Lara Croft style but she wasn’t playing yarn ball 😉

It was wonderful to see Jen again, it was over a year since we’d last seen each other, and even better to see her in her element amongst her work 🙂 I need to do another interview with Jen sometime since the last time she was on KnitCast was five years ago. I’ve seen Jeni’s journey from the first time she began dying, to selling skeins on eBay, to giving up her old day job and working at Fyberspates fulltime. I can’t tell you how happy it makes me to see my friend do so well. And my god, she works so very hard. She deserves every success she gets and more.

A OK

Went to the hospital today and my results were good. The weird black thing was just breast tissue so huge relief all around.

Now I can get back to the rest of my life 🙂

Edited to add – Thank you so much for the lovely comments! Really appreciated them 🙂

Crafting a room, fraternal socks and “warning – contains health issues”

This has been a busy week again. I’ll write a proper post about it later this week, but in short, I had a fantastic time on Wednesday! It was wonderful  to meet Heather and Dianne and to see Amy, Brenda and Tonia again. And then in the evening there were so many knitters packed into Dempsey’s! It was just fantastic!

Doug and I have been busy turning what was my crap room into my craft room.

Yarn Stash!

I’ve wanted one of those IKEA Expedit Units for years 🙂 Still have a bit more work to do in the room though before I can start making things in there again.

I also managed to buy some yarn from King Becky.

King Becky's Halloween Yarn Candy

I’ve wanted to buy some of her yarn candy for ages now. I love the way she’s photographed some of her skeins as though they were lollipops. This yarn is called Ombre and it’s a two tone yarn. It’s half Black Cat and half Spellbound. I can’t wait to knit this! But I also can’t quite decide what to make from it. I’m veering towards gloves at the moment.  Since the black shade is caled Black Cat I’m hoping to get a picture of it with Emma soon. 🙂

Meanwhile two fraternal socks from Fyberspates sock yarn.  I can’t remember when I started knitting the first one but it lay in a bag on its own for many years before I decided to cast on for what would be its sibling rather than its mate. I knit the second sock from the outside of the ball rather than from the centre as I normally do and I think that may be why the shading is so different.

Purple Fyberspates socks

I realised too late that the first sock had a ribbed cuff rather than the rolled cuff I prefer now. So the second sock is now too long to start the cuff. My options are to try and fix some of the stitches by turning them into purls with a crochet hook or frog down and begin the cuff again. Think I’ll try the crochet hook method first. In the meantime, while I was tidying the craft room I found another Fyberspates sock in progress so that’s now on the needles instead.

Now, I’ve had some health issues recently and I’m going to write about them here but there’s a warning just before.

If you’re of a nervous disposition, easily squicked out or don’t want to read swear words then I recommend that you stop reading RIGHT NOW. Go and look at Jeni’s or King Becky’s yarns or something.

Ok. Sure you want to stick around for this? I wasn’t sure about posting this tonight but I had to write about it as part of trying to process it.

A few months ago I developed what appeared to be some eczema on one of my breasts which just wouldn’t clear up. It became a wound that wouldn’t heal. Because of where it was located I was referred to the local hospital. I was told that this was a routine measure.

And then I found out that I had to have a mammogram because of my age – ie I’m an oldster at being over 35. I started to panic a bit about that. I hadn’t felt any lumps or anything but I was nervous that some would be found. And I’d also heard about how you got squeezed which sounded awful. They basically flatten you out so that they can take a good image of the tissue. They FLATTEN you! The radiographer was lovely, really she was and understood how awkward it was. But my god, when she asked me if I’d heard of the “squish”!  Yeah, I didn’t look forward to that. A mammogram is a pretty painful procedure.

Today, a week after the mammogram, and I have my appointment with the consultant who looks at the area and tells me that although it resembles a type of cancer – at which point my head explodes because I had no idea that was such a thing – he doesn’t think it is that particular condition. They’ll have to take a skin biopsy. Ok, it’s not great but I was expecting that since they have to rule everything out. I’m told I’ll need a scan too. I go for the scan and the doctor there finds a dark area that she’s concerned about. I see it on the monitor and she says that it’s probably just inflamed tissue but she needs to take a biopsy too to rule things out. A deep needle biopsy. Suddenly I wish I’d had breakfast before I left the house earlier. As she explains what they need to do and that the biopsy needle device makes a bang like a stapler I  start becoming concerned that I may faint. That, since I’ve had to budge over so that she can sit on the bed to do the scan, I will faint and fall off the bed. “Do you understand what I’m saying or have you gone somewhere?” she asks. I’ve taken every word in but dear god if I could have gone somewhere, anywhere, I would have.

They give me two doses of local anaesthetic and that’s the most painful part of the procedure, really. Everything else is in my head. I try and distance myself, try and become detached, try not to think of the fucking big needle I’ve just seen. The needle that’s going where no needle should. I focus instead on bits of the room, looking at the ceiling. “It’s going to make a bang now” “Safety switch off” and the first stapling sound which once the needle is in me is a lot quieter and less scary than when they demonstrated the noise to me. The nurse is lovely, the doctor is very nice too but I focus more on the nurse. I had mentioned to her that my surname is Iranian, that it’s all I have of my father and that I’ll probably never be able to visit the country in my lifetime. On either the second or third biopsy she says “I bet you wish you were in Iran now.”! I don’t think she realises what she’s actually said! Bless her, she’s trying to be nice. I point out that that what happens to people over there is probably a lot worse than these biopsies.

I go back to the waiting area and rescue the stitches of my sock that have fallen off one of the needles. I try and focus on knitting but my mind is racing, my head’s everywhere. I go from thoughts of how it’ll be fine and that I’m a strong person, to wanting to cry. It seems silly since it’ll probably be ok. I hate sitting in that waiting room. Really, really hate it. Earlier I heard a woman talking to her friend about how she’d found two more lumps in the same breast where she’d previously had a tumour removed. She’d decided that this time she would have a mastectomy. That does not add to my comfort levels. I wait and eventually I’m called for the skin biopsy. In the cubical it feels like an age before the nurse and consultant arrive although I’m sure it wasn’t that long. I’m freaking out in my head thinking of that darkened tissue. The anaesthetic injection seems more painful this time but this biopsy is a lot easier and is over very quickly.

I get my results on Thursday. I’m still veering between things being fine and worrying. I wrestled over whether to tell my mother about the procedures. I didn’t want her worrying about them but it would also have felt quite wrong to withhold the information. She won’t see this post because she dislikes using computers. I  was told some women go to the clinic end up having biopsies and don’t tell their husbands. I really can’t understand how they wouldn’t be able to notice though.

I can’t think how to end this blog now. I don’t want to leave you all on a downer but I can’t be super positive about it either. I still feel very up and down about things and will do so until I get my results on Thursday.

Playing Catchup

I’ve been meaning to blog for ages. I like to plan my entries and have had a few planned but not got around to posting.

But less of what I’ve not been doing.Let’s move onto what I have been doing. 🙂

Firstly, there’s a new edition of Knitcast out! This time I interview Lee Meredith of Leethal Knits. Such a lovely lady!

Secondly, there’s tidying!

I moved into this house in May 2008. At the time Doug and I were just friends, not dating and I told him that I’d be unpacked in three months.  My god, have I been ribbed over that statement! The problem with having a lot of stuff is that when you do go to deal with it, it can seem so overwhelming that you do nothing. Ok, maybe you move a couple of things or shift things around but mostly you just think “I can’t deal with this right now, it’s just too much”. And that’s been my attitude for much of the time.

The downside is that I’ve not been able to access my craft room and actually make things in there – ever. So I’ve busy unpacking all the boxes in there and making space since on Friday I get new yarn shelving and a cutting table! 🙂

Tomorrow I have a very busy day ahead of me. I’m spending it with Heather Ordover, Amy Singer, Dianne Read-Jackson and the rest of the peeps on the CraftLit: London, Bath and Wales tour. And in the evening we’re going to a huge meetup of all the Cardiff knitting groups at Dempsey’s Pub! It should be fun! And exhausting!