Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Taos Wool Festival 2016 and So Much More !!!

Most of you that follow me regularly on Facebook and Instagram may know the forthcoming but I am sharing it here too as it allows me an opportunity to expand on some of these thoughts and events. 

Monday I shared with you all the current scarf project that I'm working on and I am so stinkin' excited about this scarf! First of all, I don't think there are enough unisex/men scarf patterns available. My goal was to develop something that was reversible (I hate non reversible patterned scarves with technically only one "good" side) and linear and textured and that's exactly what I've achieved with this pattern and I can't wait to get it finished, photographed and written up and onto Ravelry. I have been working on it now for a couple of weeks. Even through my last surgery. 

Those of you who follow me regularly know of the health issues I have that I have shared with you. I have Multicentric Castleman's Disease. This is a disease of the lymphatic system that causes lymph nodes in my body to become enlarged, painful and very angry. This diseases carries a 25-35% rate of progression to lymphoma so the lymph nodes have to be biopsied to make sure they are cancer free, or not, whatever the case may be. After 5 years of being symptom free, or in "remission" I woke up one Friday morning about 3 weeks ago with serious pain in my left groin area and I knew exactly what it was. It was that pain. I kept it to myself for several hours before saying anything to my Mom. Later in the afternoon I said something to her and my Aunt Betty and they both urged me to contact the NM Cancer Center (where my doctors are) right away. So I did. I was in their office the next day (a Saturday) and with the process started. Later in that next week I had an ultrasound done to confirm the enlarged lymph nodes. I was in surgery a week later. In the past I normally would go to the ER for this because they act much faster than the Cancer Center does. This was the first time I had followed the protocol the Cancer Center had asked me to follow when it happened again. And it will happen again. Its what happens with this disease. Surgery was quick and without any complications other than I never can seem to hold my O2 saturation levels post op and they always want to admit me and keep me overnight. This time I fought it. I just wanted to come home. I have sleep apnea and sleep with a bi-pap machine and I knew I would be fine. Its just the way anesthesia works in my system. While its still in my system it messes with my oxygen levels. As my doctor had left for the day another one came round to see me and talk to me about the situation. I explained that other than being a little groggy still from surgery I really was fine and I preferred to go home. After some talking to he agreed to let me go home. Where I was fine. Sleepy but otherwise fine. 

The bummer of all it was this... I had a scheduled Trunk Show at Mooncat Fibers in Taos, NM on that SAME DAY...Thursday the 29th of September. The Thursday leading into the Taos Wool Festival. A day that, if you took any classes at Taos, you were already in town and would be able to come and see my show. Designers and teachers like Franklin Habit and Galina Khmeleva were to be available as well. And I had to freaking miss it. It was like a bad dream. It was the biggest trunk show of my life so far and I couldn't be there. But in my place went my Mother, Frankie, and Giovanna to hang and take care of my show for me. Bless them. And the shops owners, Cathy and Martha, were so wonderful to help as well. Mom and Giovanna took lots of photos for me. Even checked in with me via text to let me know that the shop was packed and was standing room only really. I was so pleased. Franklin Habit stopped by but it was so packed and my Mother was talking to people that he popped in then popped out. Later the next evening though, he caught up to my Mom in the parking lot of the place where he was giving a presentation Friday Night. Giovanna took a picture of the two of them holding my magazine and then he signed it for me. I was so touched...



I was almost sick to my stomach that I couldn't be there for all the festivities. This was no doubt the biggest Taos trip ever and I had to f**king miss it. Ah well. Everyone agreed, myself included, that my biopsy had to be done immediately which just happened to be that very same day. At any rate, here are some of the pics from my trunk show at Mooncat Fibers...the BEST YARN SHOP in Taos, NM by far...


The ever lovely Ahza Moore came to support my work. She is awesome in her own right. She is an amazing knitter and teacher and is the co-author of the book "When Bad Things Happen To Good Knitters." If you don't have a copy of the book, I suggest you add it to your collection because its FABULOUS! 



My shawls hung randomly around the shop with people trying them on, putting them on Lucy (my dress form) etc. That's Giovanna to the right in the forefront of the frame. 


There are six of my shawls in this frame.


On the left is my Mother Kay, and on the right is Cathy Books, one of the owners of Mooncat Fibers. She is flipping through my pattern books. Many of my shawls were spread out on the table here for people to see, along with a stack of Knitters Magazine issue #K123 which has my design on the cover...


This is my shawl Ferryn which was a collaboration with Crave Yarn of Santa Fe in the colorway "High Tea With Elizabeth." This pattern can be purchased in my Ravelry shop singularly or as a part of my first eBook, Sexy Spines Vol.1


Here is a Crescent and Arch from the cover of Knitter's Magazine. This is the second one that I did as the original went to Knitter's for the magazine. The pattern can only be purchased through Knitter's themselves and here is the link. You can purchase either the physical copy or a digital download of it, whichever is easier for you. Here is another pic of the shawl from a previous trunk show where you can see the whole shawl a little better...


The yarn I used for this second version was positively delicious to work with. It was a blend I had spent time looking for as I found it difficult to find. I had been wanting to work with baby alpaca, silk & cashmere. I found an Etsy shop out of Greece and bought her yarn but the color wasn't quite what I expected so I passed it onto my mothers stash. Then I discovered "Sapphires & Purls" who was selling this same blend in this wonderful colorway which, for the life of me, I cannot remember the name of. At any rate. You can find her shop here. I highly recommend shopping with her. Free shipping over $40.00 which isn't hard to do! AND, she currently is selling silk/camel for $18.00 PER SKEIN! I almost can't believe it. I am considering it myself. That and her Linsoft. A beautiful blend of baby alpaca, silk and linen. Its absolutely gorgeous!

One of the vendors we always visit when they come to Taos is Galina Khmeleva and her husband George of Skaska Designs. If you do not know who Galina is I high recommend you pick up one of her books and or DVDs to add to your collection. She is amazing. She has single handedly saved the art of Russian Orenburg Shawls so that they didn't just become part of the country's history. I think she walks on water. That aside, she's one of the nicest people you'll ever have the pleasure of meeting. If you have a chance to meet her or take a class from her, DO IT. You will not regret it. Mom went to see her and Galina knew that I wasn't able to make the Festival so she sent a Get Well gift home with my mother to give to me...that's how fabulous of a person she is. This is what she sent...



After coming back from Taos, Mom went straight into Spinzilla mode. She was trying to beat what she accomplished last year which was somewhere around 2,100 yards. She spun for a week straight and hit 2,088 yards. Here are pictures of what she spun...



Her spinning is amazing. She has really mastered 2 ply fingering weight yarn, so much so that I want to steal some of it and use it. This particular Spinzilla she worked on long draw drafting and spun for heavier weight yarn. She has a project in mind already for it and I absolutely cannot weight to see it unfold! The one day that Mom missed spinning for Spinzilla 2016 was Saturday. Saturday she was signed up for a class, sponsored by our Knitting Guild, with The Jane Thornley. I did not sign up for the class as I was not sure if I would be well enough to take the class after surgery. Jane, Mom and I have all been Facebook friends for some time now. When Jane heard that I had a trunk show in Taos and she missed it, I offered to bring my collection to her at the end of the class for her to see. She was so excited, I couldn't believe it! I ended up dropping Mom off for the class in  the early morning so that I would have the car to come back in the afternoon. When I dropped Mom off, I literally had rolled out of bed, threw my contacts in and we left. When we arrived at class, Mom got out of the car, and two friends of ours, Celeste and Debbie told me to hold on a second. A minute later Jane came running out to the car to meet me and shake my hand. She told me how happy she was to meet me and that she was so excited about seeing my collection later that afternoon. I promised her I would look much more presentable when I arrived in the afternoon. The whole moment was somewhat surreal for me. Jane Thornley? THE Jane Thornley was excited to meet me? I had to let that one sink in. The I got there later in the afternoon with my collection she was so excited to see me shawls. She had questions and was interested in what I was doing. Her husband took pictures of many of my shawls. She said that she admired that I knitted with such technique. She asked about blocking too. I explained how much I really loved blocking. To me blocking is, and has always been, that "tah-dah" moment of all of the hours of hard work that you put into your project. I like seeing that unfold before your eyes. People ask me to do their blocking for them. I actually have a stack of blocking I need to do now. Now that I am past my surgery I can start to get to them. (Ladies, all of you that have given me shawls to block, I promise you I will get to it!) Anyway, meeting Jane Thornley was amazing. She is so stunningly talented. I was honored when she asked me to stand with everyone for the photo at the end of the class...


Then of course there had to be selfies too!



It was a wonderful afternoon! A surreal moment for me. 

Albuquerque has also had another International Balloon Fiesta and thankfully, the weather held out for most of it. I love Balloon Fiesta! It doesn't matter how much time passes as I live here, the balloons never get old. Ever. After dropping Mom off in the morning for the Jane Thornley class, there was finally a mass ascension. While I was driving. So I took pictures. While I was driving...



The following pictures are courtesy of my friends Kat Coventry, Ariane and Robert Moran, and Kim Judge, and Giovanna Fregni...




The sweet little girl in the above picture is my Fairy Goddaughter. Isn't she a cutie?! She was old enough this year to be really mesmerized by the balloons this year!




And some pics I took from previous years...




And from my very first Balloon Fiesta...


I saw the other doctor (my oncologist at NM Cancer Center had been out for a month herself) at the Cancer Center to follow up and get the pathology report for my surgery. They didn't have the final report but they did have the preliminary report back which was negative. This is a good thing. My LDH levels (pre-cursors for cancer) are also normal so they feel this is likely benign. The problem remains that my blood chemistry is a mess. My white cell count is very high and since this last incident with my lymph nodes, my WBC is climbing. It went from 16.1 to 17.6 to 17.8. Its the highest its been in a while. my platelets are over 650. This is a problem. I have always had high WBC and platelets and its never really been investigated. High platelets is a disease in itself...Thrombocytosis. And it is treated with chemo. I received a call this morning from my oncologist office and even though she is completely booked for the month of November, she wants to see me rather quickly. I have an appt for November 2nd. I haven't had a bone marrow biopsy in 5 years and I have a feeling that she will want to repeat that and try to get to the bottom of it. I may require treatment with chemo, I won't know for a while. Either way, it is what it is. 

Its really no surprise to me. The lymph node I had removed a week and a half ago was my 4th surgery for my Multicentric Castleman's Disease and the 4th surgery I've had this year. 20th surgery overall; believe me, I'm used to it shit not going my way. But there's always knitting and designing and folks, I cannot begin to tell you how sane that keeps my world. No matter what happens, knitting is a constant in my life which does not change. All of my family, friends and connections I have made in the knitting world I am so very thankful for. Y'all get it. Because I can no longer work a traditional job, it has allowed me to pursue my dreams full time. My next design projects are laid out. Next up will be teaching. I have been wanting to do it for a while now. I just need to put it all on paper and work it out. Then I need to get over my fear of public speaking and dealing with a room full of people I don't know. I'm nervous as hell when its a room full of people I DO know, let alone people I don't know. But that's all secondary because teaching is what I really want to do. 

Whatever you have going on in your life...Knitting, Crochet, Weaving, Dyeing, whatever fiber thing it is that you do...that is your constant. Hold onto it and the friends and connections that you have made. We are all here for each other. Let us not forget that. Until next time folks...KNIT ON!

No comments:

Post a Comment