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Friday, February 27, 2009

Dumps & Sparkle

Down in the Dumps

I've been meaning to post for weeks now but my six weeks of healing and down time have passed and I still need another. Physically I'm healed enough to start working again, I'm knitting wool as I don't know if I can tackle cotton which is harder to use pulling and pushing the machine carriage. Anyway, I've suddenly found I'm in the dumps, got that 'well that's over how do I get my act together' feeling and this is a bad time to get that though it is the time that is contributing to that. I am at the better end of my two years wrestling with breast cancer and it has put me waaaaay behind with my work. Little knitting, and being overwhelmed with forms and photographs that bog down this time of year applying and registering to return to the shows for another year. Finding the funds is difficult if not impossible as the knitting slowdown and missing the 2007 Chicago One of a Kind while the economy was still up (ish) meant a dive in income. I get together with other artisans and I know they feel the same from time to time, all the time, sometimes. We commiserate and empathise.

Having done this for 27 years I've been down before and come back up but not with cancer and not for so long. For instance, with sales down in recession one can still plod on using materials that tend to collect in one's studio. Creativity and inventiveness abound when there are too few full cones of yarn and things get crazy colourful. Stock starts to pile up and when sales return there is stock to sell and new designs to custom for clients. This time it was my recession and stock did not pile up, sales happened and stock diminished... and that's how I'm heading into show season!!! All my new designs are still in my head!! This also goes with yet another rejection for a grant to help me study, explore and create anew and a rejection from a travelling art show I applied for. Sigh, oh well....




On the sparkle side however, I did take part in a fashion show at '
Chameleon Nation', a really hip gallery in Kingston. Two shows on February 7th, a Saturday with my friend Dale accompanying me (I was not lifting or driving then and didn't like going out alone with so little arm use). She's in the fashion biz so it was great fun.

There were two quite different crowds in the small and intimate gallery with models young and old, men and women. Here is a model in a version of my 'Construire', every one stood about and there was a pathway through the attendees marked by the little glass light you see on the floor in this pic.








At the afternoon show, one of my dear clients was there having fun with some girlfriends and, yes, wearing one of my creations. When the music started and the models started to go around with my five items on she started to dance and parade her own jacket.... this is a shot I took as she was dancing away from me!! She's wearing 'Twister'.
What can I say, that's just the kind of woman who wears my work. I love it!!!







I advertised two workshops, Garment Designer for one day and a weekend Machine Knitting workshop. The GD day turned out to just have my friend Sonja from TO attend so we decided to have a play day and experiment. She showed me stuff and I showed her more stuff. We had the machine there so we did a bit of experimenting. She had been able to attend the Inspiration 08 seminar last year and imparted a lot of info and photos from that weekend.

When we took a break to hike to Tim's for lunch my Mum and Dad came along then another friend joined us. Out of the window I spied a colleague in a wedding gown with her partner in a great suit... it turned out to be her wedding day and the photographer was taking pics of her in the neighbourhood. That was as great and busy day. Mum and Dad came back to the studio and took up residence on the sofa and with five of us in the studio it was loud and giggly!


When it quietened down and Sonja and I got back to work she mentioned plying yarn with one cone above the other with the yarn from the lower cone threaded through the upper one. She said she uses an old milk carton and I had an 'aha' moment. I had seen locker shelves at Staples on sale for $8 for 2 and thought they might work. Well here are a couple of pics I took of yarn cones above and below the my $4 locker shelf. Works great as it's full of holes and the legs fold up for easy storage!

A small downer is losing precious sweaters. ( I sound like the Yarn Harlot in her marvelous calendar which I so enjoy reading each day) I lost two good wool ones... well I turned out my sweater shelves both in the house and studio. No luck and I really wanted to wear one to the workshop I'm attending in Ottawa this weekend. As I hadn't seen them since returning from Chicago I surmised they must be in the basement with my show packing stuff and mannequins. Yes I finally found them at the bottom of the hanger box. Sometimes you just want to get out and on the road after a show no matter how you back things!!! Whew!! my babies are back.

Well, thanks for listening. I feel better now, oh and by the way, I'm enjoying my new boobs and beingn Winter I sometimes find myself chuckling at the idea that without nipples I don't know when I'm cold!!!! Tee Hee.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Down and Up


Well, it's been an Up and Down time since my last post, that was the day before I went in for the big op, the bilateral M and reconstruction. A down? As I mentioned to the lovely male nurse who escorted me into the OR too bad I got this all set up before I could get Liam Neeson to come and kiss the 'girls' goodbye! As I lay on the narrow table being hooked up (and not in the fun way) I peeled back the sheet for a last look a hand came over my head and pulled it up again and the owner must have looked at my manly nurse as he said 'It wasn't me!'. I said it was me having a last look and they could bring on all the construction workers I've been avoiding for the past 30 odd years!!! Anyway, I wish you could meet the nurses afterwards as I wanted to thank that nurse for digging under that sheet and finding my free hand to hold when I said I was scared. I'll always remember that soft, comforting hand.....that was definitely an Up!

Another Up.... none of the predicted nausea, even if two of the other women on my ward did their share of throwing up. Also the grapes and tangerines my dear husband brought in when I was installed in one of those fab motorized beds.... boy did I miss that when I got home he next day....had to sit up under my own steam, no mean feat with your chest all chewed up and bandaged to within an inc of it's life! Down: having more pain from my reaction to the sticky adhesive than from the op!!!

I have to give a big thank you to both Dr Ross Walker my breast surgeon and Dr Kim Meathrel (who has U Cosmetic) my plastic surgeon, for getting together to do this 'tag team' procedure and getting me out of two more surgeries if I'd had mastecomy>expanders>implants.

While looking myself over soon after the op, I realized my port was gone (the bump on my chest in the Tit Bit photo) and I wondered why there wasn't an incision like when it was put in..... then it dawned on me.... the surgeon took it out from the inside!!!! Hmmm.

HUGE Up.... second post op visit to my plastic surgeon had her look up my pathology and announce I had no abnormal cells in the tissue removed!!! Yay!





Up: my sis coming over with a fab pair of pink PJ's from La Senza, a cake she had decorated in her cake decorating class she goes to with my niece... it was Rainbow night ....and in her PJs ready to watch TV with us and my parents who were there too! She fussed over me all weekend (what a love) and even took me out for a walk in the snow on day three. I still haven't worn the PJ's, I have to hab do head code, no 24/7 sports bra, no bed head.....







Though I can't use my knitting machine for six weeks (no heavy lifting, pulling or pushing) I can hand knit with no problem. I'm knitting another of Canadian knitter Beryl Tsang's Tit Bits as I gave the first one I made to my plastic surgeon, the nurses had a giggle over it. As my surgeon is about to give birth it'd make a cute soft baby toy for a the baby of a woman who makes her living making boobs. It actually doesn't use as much yarn as it seems to say in the pattern in the book Knit Knit.







The picture a the top is of my feet in one of my hand knit socks... This pair is years old and I happened to be wearing them the day of my photo shoot with Deb Stagg. I love the way she's done it in black and white but left my sock coloured.


I did actually knit one thing on the machine, a very fine cami, very simple out of a lovely fine Merino wool which was long overdue for a special client. That's the beauty of knitting on an old and well used knitting machine the carriage just glides back and forth. Knitting lace in cotton and doing the body shaping with my tools is going to require pecs, mine of which are out of commission.

Meanwhile, however I have found that I have way too much to do to be bored, one of which was set up my Etsy shop for my buttons. I don't know how it will go but I'll just have to promote it. I've been asked so many times if I make buttons for sale and they sell well at shows so - here goes: www.bARNETTdESIGNS.etsy.com

Lastly, while entertaining my Mum one afternoon I surfed YouTube and though many must have already seen this, I fell in love with this video.....