Sunday, April 5, 2009


It does fly, doesn’t it? The last time I posted I was just back from Rockin’ Sock Camp ‘08. It’s a year later and I’m feeling hugely jealous of the knitters who went this year. Obviously I’m not one of them. I hope I’ll hear from some of the people I met last year and missed seeing at this event, but I also hope they’ll lie to me and tell me it just wasn’t as good. (Fat chance!!!)

Looking back, the year gone by has really been a mixed bag. I put a huge effort into getting my knitting program translated into Open Office software and adding the features that I knew it needed to make me happy. That even pushed aside most of my actual knitting.

It was all coming together last September when my world caved in. Only a year and a half after my stem cell transplant the cancer was back in force. My annual bone marrow biopsy revealed that the multiple myeloma had taken back a third of my bone marrow.

Time. Thought I’d have more before having to deal with the chemo drugs again. I’d actually hoped there might even be as much as five years. And of course there was the huge stress of wondering whether this next chemo drug was going to work at all. Good news there... It’s working great. It did a better job of knocking down my numbers close to normal than the stem cell transplant did. What a relief!

Unfortunately this particular chemo has an insidious side effect not mentioned in any of the literature. It didn’t make my hair fall out. It didn’t make me anemic, (well not too badly anyways). It didn’t even make me nauseous. It just drained away every ounce of the motivation and focus that normally powers my life. I was able to keep my job mostly on track, but outside of work I became a true zombie, staring blankly at the TV or the insides of my eyelids and not remembering what I saw or might have been thinking. Knitting stopped. Programming stopped. Yarn purchasing stopped. (Yes, even that!)

I grasped one last straw before slipping into the chasm completely. I called Tina from Blue Moon Fiber Arts to see if she was still interested in PaintKnits TM. Her answer was “yes” and she was kind enough to talk me through the steps I should consider in getting the thing available to my fellow knitters. I sketched out a plan and immediately became a bullet from the movie “The Matrix”, screaming along at bullet speeds while my target moved away infinitely faster. It’s the passage of time. It’s just freaky.

Pulling myself together to get to Camp didn’t happen, and finishing up PaintKnits didn’t look like it was going to happen either. I went back to my doctors and begged and grovelled and whined for dosage reduction on the chemo. Amazingly my numbers cooperated and all of a sudden one evening in February I realized I was knitting again. Next I was finishing up PaintKnits and even had gotten a license agreement set up. I set my sights on sending Tina a copy before camp. I guessed she’d be too busy to deal with it but I wasn’t going to let the cancer win. That was my mission and I was gonna make it happen!

So Tina, on the long shot that you’re reading this, I apologize again about the timing. It was just one of those weird little battles that cancer sets you to fighting. We celebrate smalll victories in my world. I’ll be looking forward to hearing from you when the dust settles in your world.

Now let’s talk some knitting!!

As I mentioned, my knitting’s picked up again and I’ve made some really good progress on my beloved Surf cardigan. I’ll flatter myself that some of you might remember that I started writing PaintKnits because I fell madly in love with a particular yarn, Fiesta Boomerang in the colorway Surf. (No one remembers? Oh well.) I refused to knit a splotchy, random sweater out of this amazing fiber. My goal was control. I needed an analysis tool that would allow me to bend the play of colors to my will. Hence PaintKnits.

This project isn’t finished yet, but here’s the back as planned in PaintKnits TM

And this is the back of the cardigan. The center panel is done as intarsia, so the back is knit in one piece from three skeins. I've added a purl motiffe to help the center panel stand out.And here the analysis for the sleeve center panel...

The sleeve was also created using intarsia, same technique as the back. The shaped sides were designed in PaintKnits TM to minimize pooling while otherwise looking random.
I’m so excited about the look! Next I want to do something with STR yarn and the ideas are making my head want to explode. If only there were more time…