Thursday, June 5, 2008

Scary Moments and The Market Bag From Hell

This week's scary moment:

Yesterday started out normally. I got up, had coffee, spent some time online, and began to get ready to see clients in the afternoon and evening. I got into the shower and began to wash. Then it happened. There. Under my right the armpit. A lump.

There's something about discovering a lump in a previously lump-free area. I don't know about anyone else, but it kicked my body/mind into major fight or flight mode. I finished my shower and picked up the phone. My doctor's office...yes, everyone in the office...was at lunch. The answering service asked if was an emergency, and I couldn't say yes. I then spent the next half hour watching the clock, waiting until lunch hour was over. When I finally got through, the receptionist asked me if I could be there at 3:00pm.

Damn straight, I could be there at 3:00pm. I canceled my afternoon clients and went to the doctor's office, where I didn't get seen until 4:00. By this time, I was experiencing jolts of adrenaline every 10 minutes and my vision was starting to blur.

I got into the office, whipped off my shirt and the doctor said...Hmmm...Looks like an ingrown hair to me.

Just to be on the safe side we're going to mammo it, and maybe do an ultrasound (for which I cannot get an appointment until AFTER vacation next week), and in the meantime, hot compresses with epsom salts to draw it out.

Altogether, exactly the diagnosis I was hoping for.

Statistically one in eight women will develop breast cancer in their lifetime. The discovery of a lump in an adjacent area, struck terror right down to my soul. So, while this was something simple, it just reminds me of how important that annual mammogram is. If you've been putting off making that appointment, don't. Pick up the phone.

On the needles:

I've been trying to make a market bag for a year now. I's insane, a woman who can knit lace and complete lace shawls, cannot finish a simple market bag. I, too, shake my head in disbelief.

Here's the story:
Last year about this time a new Farmer's Market was starting near Beau Knits a LYS where I am a sometimes attendee at Friday Night Knitters, and Barbara, the wonderful proprietress suggested we make market bags. Instead of finding a tried and true pattern, I decided to start designing my own. I mean, really, why by tires when you can reinvent the wheel?

I had a bunch of false starts, and then I really got on a roll. Enter my friend's 2 year old. Before we mention this, I must say that said friend is NOT a knitter. Never has touched knitting needles before. I was at her house and her two year old dove into my knitting bag while I was in another room. (I know, my fault for leaving my knitting unsupervised). By the time I got back into the room, all the knitting was on the needles, looking mostly as i had left it and I didn't think anything of it. I was knitting by itty bitty booklight in the car on the way home and didn't realize, until I was in better light, that they put the damn thing on the needles backwards and inside-out. Fortunately I realized this after only about 2 rows, so Iwas able to tink it back.

Then....a bizarre thing happened.

2. A brand new Susan Bates #15 Circular needle exploded! Well, it didn't actually explode. Fell apart is more accurate. First, one point came detached from the cord. Ok, this happens, I thought, and hurried to push all the stitches back on the cord so I wouldn't lose. Just as I managed to do this, without any dropped stitches, the other point fell off. Unable to contain itself the bag went crazy with stitches jumping off the needs and cord faster than you can say Rumpelstiltskin.

I salvaged what I could, taped the ends of the cord together (remember there are now no points on it whatsoever) and tossed the whole thing into the "current project basket". Before we go any further, you need to know what the current project basket looks like. It's a large wicker hamper that sits by a corner of the sofa....and breeds. Yarn finds its way in...half-done projects also find their way in...but rarely does anything find its way out. I now know why.

In our attempt to protect stash from moths, the entire basket got organized last week. In doing so, we discovered The Glob.

The glob was comprised of many half-finished projects, many started balls of yarn and many left-overs from other projects. Somehow, they managed to get themselves twisted together, with stitch holders, knitting needles, crochet hooks, blocking pins....and morphed into The Glob.

In the middle of the Glob was the market bag. Painstakingly we dissected and dismembered the Glob until all of its components were tamed in individual zip-lock bags. I looked at the market bag in its half-finished state. I thought about the guilt I experience every time I am at the local market and when asked if I need a bag, I hang my head and say "yes". I resolved to finish the market bag (now known as The Freakin' Market Bag).

I began to pick up the stitches, and those who knit will immediately understand how difficult this is when knitting *k2tog, yo, k1* in the round. After a half hour spent trying to make this look like it hadn't been taken apart and put back together by a 2 year old, and then having survived exploding needles, I decided to frog the whole thing back.

The next day, while in the car on the way to a funeral (I wasn't driving), I started the bag again. It was going to be great. I wanted a fairly firm bottom, knitted a rectangle in stockinette, picked up stitches all around, and began my pattern stitch. (Remember, I'm still not working from a pattern). I knit. I knit. I knit some more. I knit even more. I attached the 2nd ball of yarn (purchased at the same time) and discovered it was either a different dye lot or the first ball of yarn lost half its color while involved in The Glob. No worries...I decided this was about function, not form, and I knit intrepidly on.

Got to the point where I started binding off for the handles....and discovered that through some cruel twist of fate, I had not knit a market bag...but instead, as my dear husband pointed out, I had knit a hammock. For a very small person. Maybe a cat.

I frogged back the whole thing.

Back to square one. Or should I say, stitch one.

Deciding to change the design, I opted for a turkish cast on and magic looped until I could comfortably knit in the round again. And I'm knitting. Now, I don't get it. I've looked at other patterns for market bags...each and every one of them has said that it takes a few hours of knitting to produce one.

Not so much, in my experience. I've been working on this thing, in this incarnation, for a week. I'm not a slow knitter. I produced a lace scarf in 10 days. WTF????

So...the lavender market bag is still on the needles. I have lost hope that it will be finished for this week's farmer's market. Once again, on Saturday morning, I will buy organic produce and put it in a plastic bag. ::sigh::

While I soldier on with the Market Bag, notice I am NOT knitting the Traveling Vine shawl that I want to finish by Sirius Rising in July. My excuse is that I needed a break from knitting lace. I needed to be able to watch Top Chef while mindlessly knitting the market bag. I needed knitting that was not frustrating, that didn't take concentration. Right. See how well that's working?

Until the next time.....


Caroline said...

Good luck with the market bag. I have a pattern somewhere - about the size of a bookmark, from the *old* Patternworks (when they were in NY).
It's for a "European string bag" and came free with a hank of Euroflax linen yarn. Both of those - the pattern and the yarn - are somewhere in the depths of my craft room/cellar. In the meantime, I like my Hannaford reusable grocery bags.

BTW, I love Top Chef - and Hell's Kitchen!

Tina said...

Awww... I think this time you should use a pattern so you don't waste more time. Then you can get on to knitting something that doesn't make you crazy!

Tina said...

And I completely forgot to say that I wish you well on the lump. I've had the ingrown hair thing going on before too, it'll be ok. You did the right thing though.

Harriet said...

It's almost done. Sometimes it's fun not to use a pattern. But...

And thanks for the good wishes on the ingrown hair thing. It was one of the scariest moments of my life (discovering a lump where a lump ought not to be) but I'm glad it turned out to be something so benign. But yes, I agree, that having it checked immediately was the right thing to do.