Friday, June 29, 2007

An Unexpected Gift

America is not like a blanket - one piece of unbroken cloth,
the same color, the same texture, the same size.
America is more like a quilt -
many patches, many pieces, many colors, many sizes,
all woven and held together by a common thread.

-Jesse Jackson

Today is my very last day of internship. That seems very dramatic considering that I have a whole 2 1/2 days off before residency starts on Monday. But that makes today both a good time to reflect, and the perfect time to tell you about my clinic last week. Read on - it's better than it sounds.

I had an amazing surprise last week in clinic. You probably recall that I'm doing my residency in Internal Medicine, which is a field that broadly encompasses everything from the ICU to Rheumatology and Infectious Disease to Primary Care. So all year long, no matter how many nights I've been in the ICU or the CCU or the wards, or doing shifts in the ER, or even my Derm roatation, every Thursday afternoon I go to My Clinic. And to this clinic come My Patients.

There are about 60 or so right now, soon to increase up to about 100. And from my very first day ever as a doctor, these patients and their multiple medical problems have been stuck with me as their primary physician. They see me for routine check-ups. I check their cholesterol, bone density, blood pressure, blood sugar, and the "spots" on their lungs. I ask about their family history, tell them to stop smoking, and make sure they get their immunizations. When they are sick, I get called to see them in the hospital. When they are less sick, the ER calls and asks me to squeeze them in this week. When they are a little less sick, they walk into my office with back pain, fevers, headaches, and any number of other complaints I won't talk about here.

Among these 60 patients, there are a few I've never seen more than once. Many I've seen about 2 or 3 times now. And some I've seen at least every month, maybe more. Last Thursday, I saw one of these latter patients. A woman sent to my clinic by a colleague because she needed "a doctor." And she did. So many office visits and telephone calls and coordination with different doctors in different departments later, she's doing much better. So much better that she's able to get back to one of her favorite activities.
Sewing. This patient of mine made me a quilt as a wedding present. It's lovely. And I'm just (nearly) speechless. What an amazing gift.


Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Little Boy Blue

For the sword outwears its sheath,
And the soul outwears the breast,
And the coat outwears the pants,
Till there's nothing left but the vest.
-Theodore Morrison

2 buttons
8 minutes
1 finished baby vest

Wow that was fast!

(The color was truer in Monday's photograph, however. More of a slate blue.)

Little Boy Blue Vest
Pattern: Textured Stripe Vest
Yarn: Debbie Bliss Cotton Denim Aran in Stonewashed - this used 2 skeins with 1 yd to spare - about 140 yds total!
Needles: US 6 Brittany Birch straights
Notes: My gauge was 4.5 sts/in rather than the 5.5 sts/in called for, so I cast on 40 sts and used the numbers for the small size with the measurements for the 3rd size (12 mos).
Best Thing About This Project: While I don't think baby boys need all blue, I do think they look cute in SOME blue. Here it is.


Monday, June 25, 2007

Stealth Project

Snips and snails,
And puppy dog tails,
That's what little boys are made of.
-Poem, author unknown

Ever have a project that just takes you by surprise? Like all of a sudden it's seemed to have knit itself?Meet the Textured Stripe Vest from Natural Knits for Babies and Moms. It's not quite done - it needs two buttons on the left shoulder. (That's for effect, btw. The edgings make it so that it doesn't actually open.) I got home from a BBQ Saturday night and cast on - on a whim. I had 4 balls of Debbie Bliss Stonewashed Denim Aran that I thought would work, with a basic and minor gauge adjustment. I wondered if my 68m x 4 balls would be enough. Turns out it only took 2 balls to make the 12 month size. I had a whole yard left over. Guess it wasn't quite the stashbuster I was looking for, but boy was it fast!

Off to find some buttons and move this into the FO pile . . .


Saturday, June 23, 2007

All Your Questions Answered

I chose my wife, as she did her wedding gown,
for qualities that would wear well.
-Oliver Goldsmith

Q: Where is the FO shot for the Chuppah?
A: This will have to do until the wedding:

Don't you think it deserves a real FO shot from the real wedding?

Q: What wedding are we talking about here?
A: Not mine (although, yes, I am getting married - the wedding is in April). The flitgirl and Toasty Joe are getting married on the most popular wedding date ever. The Chuppah is a Jewish wedding tradition, and the lucky couple are having an interfaith ceremony. Although we would love to use The Chuppah as much as humanly possible, neither the beau nor I is Jewish. (But I do know what "Mazel Tov" means - and thanks!)

Q: Will you make me a Chuppah for my wedding?
A: No.

Q: Why not?
A: There are very few people in the world I love this much, but the flitgirl is definitely one of them. She even changed her wedding date early in the planning to accomodate my military schedule. We've been the best of friends since middle school, and no friends ever quite know you as well as the ones who prank called your seventh-grade crush for you. (And yes, I am nervous that the beau will be meeting the flitgirl - why do you ask?) Seriously, though, I think it would kill me to knit that much more white lace. Just ask JayJay - she has my extra Zephyr.
Q: What did you think of the Chuppah in Interweave Knits?
A: Too many people have asked me this to plead no comment. But they used doubled DK weight yarn and size 13 needles. I used laceweight and size 4s. And I think mine is much lovelier. I do like, however, that they knit it out from the center. For my next Chuppah . . .

Q: Will you ever knit lace again?
A: I wound the yarn yesterday. I'm making the Paisley Long Shawl from Fiddlesticks Knitting (the same wonderful people who have brought you the Peacock Shawl and the Tina Shawl - and may I say that my order arrived from Toronto about 2 days after I ordered it!). The yarn in questions is KnitPicks Shadow in Jewel - a lovely heathered blue that has no white anything whatsoever, a gift from Jenn when we were passing through Texas last summer. At that time I was working on the Peacock Shawl, getting ready to swatch for the Chuppah - It all does come around, doesn't it?

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Thursday, June 21, 2007


All weddings, except those with a shotgun in evidence, are wonderful.
-Liz Smith

Having a space with 3" to spare: Monthly rent.
Breaking only a dozen pins: $1
Old sheets getting a brief respite from Goodwill: Free
Finally blocking: Priceless

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Wednesday, June 20, 2007

In The Details

God is in the details.
-Ludwig Mies van der Rohe

This may be my finest sweater yet. The knitting, the ruffles, the decreases, the ribbon, the buttons. It's all here.


Pattern: Rowena from Knit 2 Together
Yarn: Knit Picks Ambrosia
Needles: US 4 and US 3 Addi Turbos
Notes: I've previously discussed my raglan and ruffle mods, otherwise I made it as written. The ruffles were fiddly, but in a good way. The hardest part was probably finding a complementary ribbon.
Best Thing About This Project: Sshhh . . . . It's a surprise. There should be a modeled shot from the recipient later this summer.

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Monday, June 18, 2007

Cast On Fever

I've got a fever, and the only cure is more cowbell.
-Saturday Night Live skit

"What about the projects you already started?" - The (affianced) beau asked me yesterday. Little does he know the inevitable response to finishing projects.

It's a cast on fever:

In no particular order, above, are a pair of lacy socks in Debbie Bliss Alpaca DK, a Bobbi Bear from Blue Sky Alpacas in orange Cotton Ease, a Backyard Leaves scarf in Knit Picks Merino Style in Asparagus, and a mini-sock keychain.

Not to mention that it is (finally) the 13th and final month of my internship. We're actually now 2 1/2 weeks into this last rotation (Heme-Onc, for those following), but it's been a busy first couple of weeks. And I'm down to about 3 books still untouched (or dispersed of) in my Book-o'-the-Month Plan, so it was tough to narrow it down. Although there were several patterns in Vintage Knits calling my name, I finally settled on Cynthia from Melissa Leapman's Hot Knits for two reasons - 1) It goes great with a skirt I have and 2) I didn't want to make all my summer knits long-sleeved sweaters.

Here's the (very) beginning -
So now I have no shortage of projects sitting around in their little baskets. I wouldn't want to finish all my UFOs at once, would I? That wouldn't be keeping with my UFO Resurrection plan!

And, coming later this week - a finished Rowena, more thoughts on summer knits, and lots more thoughts on stash. Because something has to be done about this.

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Saturday, June 16, 2007

A Larger Problem

It gives a lovely light.
-Edna St. Vincent Millay

I won a contest. Normally this is good news.(Here was the contest.)

But the goods arrived just as I finished updating my yarn inventory spreadsheet for more Ravelry fun.The total? 496.5 skeins and 108,296 yards of yarn. And this doesn't count oddballs I couldn't characterize. The 20,000 yards of laceweight on cones are killing me here, but clearly there's a larger problem. We'll talk more about that later. We'll also talk about the limitations of Flickr (and why most of this still isn't uploaded, but that's a topic for another day.

In the meantime, here's a teaser:
Rowena is all things lovely.

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Thursday, June 14, 2007

Not Now

There are very few human beings who receive the truth,
complete and staggering, by instant illumination.
Most of them acquire it fragment by fragment, on a small scale,
by successive developments, cellularly, like a laborious mosaic.

-Anais Nin

I actually received my beta invite before it went public. But until I finished the Chuppah knitting, my stash held only a fraction of its former interest. Now? It is a realm of possibility.I'll be back later. In the meantime, I'll be at Ravelry. (Oh, and to spare you the Google issues I had, FD's Flickr Toys here.)

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Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Aunt Theresa Teaches Knitting

Those that know, do.
Those that understand, teach.


I know you're all here looking for photos of a blocked or blocking Chuppah. Well, you'll just have to wait a bit for two reasons:
  1. I haven't figured out where to block it. My bed is not at all big enough. My spare room? The width between the bookcases only measures about 6 1/2 feet. Anyone ever fold anything in half and block it that way?
  2. Just call me Aunt Theresa. Seriously. A major perk to marrying a youngest child is becoming the instant aunt to three kiddos. . . one of whom wants to learn how to knit!
I've taught a number of adults how to knit, friends in college, etc. But teaching a 9-year-old is a whole new ballgame. Fortunately, her mother wisely decided that maybe it was time for her to knit, too. That way, when they're back home . . .

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Sunday, June 10, 2007

Something Missing

Respect the masterpiece. It is true reverence to man.
-Frank Lloyd Wright

Something is missing from this picture. Can you tell what it is?The knitting needles, of course. The Knitting. It is done.

Excuse the late-night photo of the blob. I wanted proof. Blocking will follow.


Thursday, June 07, 2007

The First of Many

Marriage is the alliance of two people, one of whom
never remembers birthdays and the other never forgets them.

-Ogden Nash

Do you want to feel sorry for my (afianced) beau? My birthday last year fell approximately three weeks after our first date. Quite a lot of pressure for a new love - apparently it took him more than an hour to pick out a card! And then I got lucky . . . months and months and months to prepare for his birthday. Want to feel even more sorry for him? He's on call on his birthday. (And it looks like I'll be on call in the MICU on mine.) It means a girl has to be a little creative in planning birthday fun.

Want to stop feeling sorry for my beau? Not only did he get the video iPod he wanted so much (he goes to Best Buy like I go to yarn shops), he also gets a pair of handknit socks. There are advantages to a birthday that falls after our relationship is so much more established . . .
Retro Rib Socks
Pattern: Interweave Knits and Favorite Socks
Yarn: Koigu in Gray Mix
Needles: my favorites - US 1 Brittany Birch 5" dpns
Notes: The only mod I made was to add an extra 8 stitch repeat. The pattern claims that they are stretchy - and they are - but not quite stretchy enough for a US12 (men's). Also, don't they look great in the varigated yarn?
Best Thing About This Project: Do you even have to ask?
Happy Birthday, Beau! Here's to the first of many together.

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Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Not Quite Meant to Be

There's just no quiet in Vegas.
-Barry Manilow

It turns out I'm getting married. And it turns out that when that happens, one's girlfriends have a perfect excuse to embarass their friend and drag her around in public wearing fake veils, matching t-shirts, and any number of other indignities. It's called a bachlorette party. Given that 2 of my friends are deploying in July, and the other sometime in the fall, we made the universe (i.e. our call schedules) align for a little weekend away. A trip to an undisclosed location provided a great deal of car-passenger knitting. And it turns out that socks are just about the only thing one can knit in the middle of the world's ugliest desert.

I made great progress on the Retro Ribs, and even better progress on the Diagonal Ribs. But my riding-in-the-dark knit, these Regia socks, are not quite meant to be exactly this . . .Don't you see it? These were meant to be my first pair of Jaywalkers!


Monday, June 04, 2007

More in Black

The uniform makes for brotherhood,
since when universally adopted it covers up
all differences of class and country.
-Sir Robert Baden-Powell

Rather than choosing a UFO this month, my UFO chose me. See, this pair of plain black uniform socks had been sitting, rather neglected, in the bottom of my backpack for these many months. And then one day early in May I found myself with a spare half hour and nothing else to knit. No delinquent notes to write. No telephone consults to answer. Not even any admin to do. You see, last month I was living the good life on Dermatology. No call. Weekends off. And a long lunch break. Not to mention that I can't even feel guilty about it - it's a required component of an Internal Medicine Residency. But I digress. So, with my first long lunch break, I picked up this long neglected socks and began knitting. And once the first sock got finished, it was an easy matter to take care of the second sock. And here they are, extending my working-sock wardrobe. Just in time to go back to Internal Medicine (and my last month of internship!).

Black Uniform Socks
Pattern: 1x1 rib cuff, 3x1 rib leg and foot, standard top-down, etc.
Yarn: Sockotta (wool-cotton mix) in, um, black
Needles: US1 bamboo 5" dpns
Notes: I wasn't a big fan of the wool-cotton sock yarns. Until I moved to San Diego.
Best Thing About This Project: One more day before sock laundry becomes necessary.

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Friday, June 01, 2007

Progressing . . . Still

Was it love at first sight? It wasn't then - but it sure is now.
-Ann Meara

One last in-progress shot before I finish this . . .

And, just so you can see what I mean about the lovely corner-turning: