Sunday, July 10, 2016

A Month, More or Less

I've been AWOL now for about a month.  There is an explanation, or maybe a reason, although it's not one that I'm particularly proud of.

I take several different medications to help me manage my depression.  About a month ago, I was getting low on two of these medications, so I called the mail-order prescription service to have them fax a refill request to my dr.'s office.  Then I waited, because after all, it takes a little while for these things to filter through the bureaucracy.  When the medications didn't show up after a week or so, I called the prescription service.  "Oh, we put that request in, but your dr. never sent in the prescriptions."

OK.  So then, naturally, I called my dr.'s office.  "Oh, we sent that in to the prescription service.  We don't know why you haven't received it yet.  You'll have to call them."

OK.  So I called the prescription service back.  "Yes, we sent in that request, but we never received any scrips.  You'll need to call your dr.'s office."

OK.  So I called my dr.'s office back.  "Yes, we sent that in to them.  We don't know why you haven't received it, but since we sent it in, we can't send it again."

Lather, rinse, repeat.  I think you can see the problem I was running into here.  Each arm claimed the other was at fault; neither would take responsibility; by this point I had been out of my medications for about two weeks.

In the meantime, I was going downhill.  Sleeping more and more.  Having less and less energy.  Feeling less and less hopeful.  By the time I had called each office 4-5 times, I was getting to the point where I felt it was all just too much to handle and that I didn't have the energy to deal with it anyway.  A vicious cycle.

Luckily, at this point I told my husband what was going on.  He immediately stepped in and called the prescription service.  Of course, they told him it wasn't their fault!  Then he declared, "We are going in to the dr.'s office on Tuesday (the day after the Fourth of July), in person, and getting this thing straightened out."

So we did.  Of course, when you've been out of medication for 3 weeks, your doctor's first instinct is to say blamingly, "Well, how could you have let this happen?!  Have you called our office?"  And that's when I just wanted to beat my head against the wall.

Long story short, we did get my prescriptions refilled.  (As my husband rightly pointed out to me, it's much harder for people to ignore you when you're standing right in front of them.)  And I did start to take them again this week.  And, predictably, my mood is starting to improve.  I'm starting to come out of my funk.

One of the worst things about depression is the lack of energy that you feel when you're in its grip.  I've just had no energy or ambition to do anything at all for several weeks now.  Not interested in knitting, not interested in quilting, not interested in crochet, not interested in painting or paper crafting.  The only thing I have done is to do a little spinning while watching TV.  Not much.  But I still feel that I should be doing something and getting things done, so on top of the lethargy there is considerable guilt.  Another vicious cycle.

But, I am happy to report, my interest and ambition to do the things I love is slowly returning.  I picked up a knitting project again this week.

This is my version of Cheryl Oberle's Highland Triangle Shawl, from her lovely (and now, sadly, out-of-print) book Folk Shawls.  

I am making this out of some reclaimed 100% wool yarn, in this (I think) lovely heathered rust color.

So...I am back!  And feeling so grateful not only for modern medications, but also for my DH, who made it happen!

Monday, June 13, 2016

A Weekend at the Iowa Sheep and Wool Festival

My friend George and I went to the Iowa Sheep and Wool Festival this past weekend, in Colfax, IA.  Despite it being hot as blazes, we had a really good time!

One of our favorite things we saw was the stockdog demonstration.  These folks breed, train, and sell Border Collies for use in herding sheep and cattle.  It was really fascinating to watch the dogs control the sheep, and also to watch her doing some training with less-experienced dogs.

Of course, there was lots of opportunity for stash enhancement!

We also saw part of sheep show and competition on Sunday, and it was fun to see the kids showing these sheep.  Sometimes the sheep weren't all that cooperative, and the kids really had to muscle them around!

All in all, a fun weekend!

Friday, June 3, 2016

Wonky Stars

I decided that my liberated patchwork quilt that I revived this week needed a little something extra in addition to the black sashing--something as the cornerstones.  So I decided to make 3" (finished) wonky stars as the cornerstones.  These, again, are made with Gwen Marston's liberated quiltmaking techniques.

Since I want these to finish at 3", I am starting with 1 1/2" black squares to which to add the triangle star points.

I also used 1 1/2" squares, cut in half diagonally, for the star points, and sewed them onto one corner of the black square, making sure that the triangle would cover the corner of the black square when folded down.  I pressed that corner down, then added another triangle to the opposite side.

Of course, these all had to be trimmed down to 1 1/2" squares once the star point triangles were applied and pressed.  That's the fussy part of this whole process!

Then the block gets assembled in rows.

And that's where I ran out of steam for the evening!  I'll get these blocks sewn together tomorrow and start on the next round as well!

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Revisiting a UFO

I've been thinking a lot lately about all the unfinished projects in my life, and specifically about all the unfinished quilts I have in boxes and bags all over the house.  I seem to have a talent for starting quilts, but not for finishing them!  I decided that I absolutely MUST finish some of these quilts before starting any more quilt projects.

So today I dug out these blocks that I made many years ago.  They started life as 6 1/2" nine-patch blocks made from scraps, and then (those many years ago) I read Gwen Marston's Liberated Quiltmaking, and I suddenly saw these simple 9-patches in a new light.  I cut the nine-patch blocks down at different angles to 4 1/2" blocks (4" finished) and then started to play with framing them in black with slivers of different fabrics added in.  And there they sat, for the aforesaid many years.  There were only 14 of them, so not enough to make a very big quilt.

But in my newfound zeal for finishing things, I decided that it was important to complete some of these old projects, even if they ended up being small.  (I kind of have a thing about making bed-size quilts, or at least quilts big enough to nap under.  I'm not exactly sure why I'm so fanatical about making large quilts, since I also think that quilts are a legitimate art form and can hang on a wall quite happily with other art.  But I digress...)

Anyway, I pulled these out today and decided to put them together in a quilt top.

I decided that I needed one more block, to make a total of 15 blocks that I would set 3x5 in the finished top.  So I pulled out this little 9-patch that had been pinned to my studio wall for some time, cut it down, and started adding a black frame around it.

Then I started the process of adding 3 1/2" sashing around the blocks.  Here is my progress so far.  I'm pretty pleased, even though the new black fabric I bought yesterday for this purpose is darker than the old black fabrics I used in the blocks so many years ago.  I have just resolved not to let that bother me!

I'm still not sure if I'm going to add another border around the whole thing when the sashing is complete, and if so, what color that border should be.  But I can decide that another day.  For now, it's enough to have pulled out an old UFO and made some progress!