Monday, October 29, 2012

I'm Still Here

Happy Monday everyone!

Sorry it has been so long between posts. The first part of the month I went to Virginia for a week to visit my nephew, his wife and their two adorable baby daughters. A few days after I got home I got sick with a cold or flu, but am finally feeling better.

Here is a picture of one of my nephew's adorable babies wearing a crocheted hat I made for her while I was there:

Isn't she a doll? It was so much fun spending time with her and her big sister, I hated to leave. I got their Mama into crocheting while I was there, and she was happily working on a scarf when I left! She kept commenting to me how relaxing it was... so happy I made another convert... ha ha!

Thanks so much to everyone for your comments on my post about my father-in-law. Several of you asked about patterns for chemo caps. You can really use any hat pattern that you like. I found a great website called Knots of Love that has some excellent patterns for both crochet and knitting. If you go to the link "Our Caps" at the top of their home page, it will take you to their pattern page. I made one called the  Red Poster Cap and it turned out really cute. I don't have a picture of it because I made it while at a chemo appointment with my in-laws and donated it right then.

My father-in-law is doing pretty well, all things considered. He has found a doctor and oncology clinic closer to where they live, which will be easier on them. They have decided to start radiation in addition to the chemotherapy to try to shrink the mass in his lung. He has already started losing his hair, so I will be making a couple of caps for him.

I can't believe that it will already be Halloween on Wednesday. Before we know it, Thanksgiving and Christmas will be here and another year will have gone by. Seems the older I get, the faster the time goes.

Wishing everyone a great week :)

Friday, October 5, 2012

Getting Serious

Hello my crocheting friends. I have a serious subject to talk with you about today, so there will be no photos, just lots of words. I hope you will stick with me through it.

Our family was dealt a huge blow last week when my dear father-in-law was diagnosed with Stage 3 lung cancer. He has COPD, and his lungs are in such bad shape that he is not a good candidate for surgery. Therefore, his only option at this point is chemotherapy in hopes that they can shrink the mass in his right lung.

To say that this has knocked us all for a loop is a huge understatement. We have been feeling all of the emotions you go through when something like this happens - denial, anger, frustration, etc.

Since I don't work, I volunteered to go with my in-laws to the chemotherapy treatments. He had his first one yesterday. Thankfully it was not as bad as we all thought it would be, and we are praying that the side effects will be minimal. The doctors and nurses who work in the oncology unit at our local VA hospital are absolutely wonderful, and I know he will get excellent care there.

After his diagnosis, I knew that I had to do something, anything, to help, so I decided to make some chemo caps to take with me. I took several with me, and finished one while I was there. Later in the afternoon, one of the nurses saw me sitting there crocheting and asked what I was making. When I told her, she asked if I had made the ones that were sitting over there on the table and I told her I had. She was so excited, and told me that one of the patients there receiving chemo had already picked one out and was wearing it, and she wanted me to meet her. She took me over to meet Judy, a wonderful little old lady without a stitch of hair on her head. But there she was, proudly wearing that purple cap I had made with the biggest smile on her face! She thanked me profusely, and said she absolutely loved her cap.  Boy did that make me feel good. :)

A little while later, a breast cancer survivor came in to say hello to the nurses and she saw me crocheting and asked what I was making. When I told her, she got tears in her eyes and said that when she was undergoing chemo and lost her hair, it made such a difference to her that people cared enough to knit and crochet hats for her to wear.

This is where you, my crocheting friends, come in. As crocheters (and knitters too) we are blessed with an awesome gift. You may never have thought about it that way, but you are. You have the gift to make a huge difference in the life of a cancer patient.

I felt very strongly today that I needed to write this post to encourage you to crochet and/or knit some hats or caps and donate them to your local cancer center. It may not seem like a big deal to you, but to someone undergoing chemo who has lost their hair, it IS a big deal. All you need is a skein or two of some very soft yarn (Caron Simply Soft is what I used) and any hat pattern, although the less holes in the hat the better (hides the fact that there is a bald head underneath it).

Thank you so much for reading this, and I hope you will take some time to make a few hats and donate them to your local cancer center.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Completed Projects and Other Stuff

My Granny Shawl is finally finished.... well, sort of. Here is what I mean:

All the crocheting is done, I just need to weave in all the ends. However, our Black Persian cat Pepe has sort of adopted it as his blanket now, so I hate to steal it from him to finish it up! He is our 15-year old with kidney disease, so I figure I will let him have it. :)

I also made a Round Scarf that I absolutely love:

The picture does not do it justice. I plan on wearing it wrapped around my neck twice like a cowl. Neicee from Insomniac with a Hook posted about this scarf HERE.  As soon as I saw the video, I knew I had to make me one. Once you do a row or two you will have the stitch memorized. It is a very unique stitch, I don't know if it even has a name, but it makes the scarf very stretchy. I used a "K" hook and Red Heart Super Saver yarn - think the color was called Cafe, and I made 10 rows. I am currently making a blue one for my sister, then will do a red one for my niece! I may even make a few more as Christmas gifts.  Note that there is no written pattern for this one, you have to watch the video to learn how to do it. It is very easy once you get the hang of it, and doesn't take too long to make.

Several of you asked me about the ergonomic crochet hook handle that I showed you a few posts ago. Here are all the parts and pieces to it:

It is made by Boye and comes with eight "washers" so that you can use the handle with hooks from size B-D all the way up to K. There is a color-coded card that shows you which color washer matches with which hook size (although frankly it would have been a lot easier had they just engraved the hook size into the washer, because some of the colors are very close to each other!) The handle comes apart, and you stick the end of your crochet hook into the blue part of the handle, add the appropriate washer onto your hook, then attach the green part of the handle. I got mine at Wal-mart and I think it was $5.96.
The only thing I didn't like about it was that I felt like it slowed down my crocheting. It also feels a little strange holding that bulb end in your hand when you are used to holding a slim crochet hook. I will keep using it, though, and see if it grows on me!  BTW, I keep the washers in an empty baby food jar so that I don't lose them.  Well, that and my cats would think these were play toys, and the dog would probably eat them, so I need to keep them away from them :)
Have a nice week.