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August is going to be an interesting month for me. First the good stuff:  In August, the Fall issues of  Twist Collective and Knitcircus will be published. I have a garment in each of those ‘zines and am very excited to see the final layout and photos of my garments. I will also be devoting much of August solely on a very large secret project that I’m cooking up.

Above Left: Snippet of one of the projects on the needles. You can see my draft pattern in the background. Right: Part of the main body of the 2nd project and a tiny sliver of a contrasting element. C’mon, did you really think I’d reveal the secret and actually show you details? This is all the hints I can give. Y’all will just have to be patient and wait for a few more days until the publications’ release.

And now, something not so exciting, but hopefully will be very good in the long run…I plan to start an elimination diet on Aug. 1. I’ve contemplated doing the diet for a while now, but I always came up with some sort of excuse and lacked the motivation. Given my lifelong problem with allergies, which seemed to have worsened in the last 2-3 years, I definitely need to do it now.

IMGP2242 For over 6 months, I’ve been undergoing Allergen immunotherapy. And while I’ve seen some minor improvements already, the process is slow, time-consuming, frustrating and not to mention, costly (insurance covers most, but those copays add up). The treatments involves me getting weekly injections of custom-formulated serums of chemical and environmental allergens. My allergist generally starts patients on a tiny, tiny injection (we’re talking about like 1 drop) serum that’s diluted to 1:5000 (1 part serum to 5000 parts saline). Whereas the majority of people tolerate that very well, I was so sensitive that I experienced an anaphylactic reaction to that first injection and the Doc had to administer epinephrine as a result. So, she had to take me waaaay down and started me on a 1:50,000 serum. I am finally on the 1:5000 serum that “normal” people tend to start on.

Anyway, even with the immunotherapy, the highest allowed prescription for Allegra (other allergy drugs like Claritin & Zyrtec do nothing for me), inhalers, Advair (low-dose steroid), lots of $$ spent on super expensive mattress covers & filters and regular sinus rinses, I still get random eczema, hives, and other allergy-related reactions and breakouts that require me to supplement with OTC drugs like Benadryl and Sudafed.

Whatever the cost, difficulty or inconvenience, I don’t want to ever go back to this:

I’m really tired of it all, especially since my allergies aren’t that controlled on top of all the medications I’m taking. I suspect that there are foods contributing to some of these other issues, whether I’m just sensitive or even truly allergic to them. I already know that I’m sensitive or allergic to sulfites, preservatives, citrus and some melons. While the process will be very hard as I’ll have to give up things I love to eat, I think (I hope) that in the end, I will be much happier, more energetic, sleep better and just be much healthier.  I am scheduled to have some food allergy testing done in December, and while food allergy testing can help, the tests can also register false positives and false negatives. With me playing my own food detective, I can probably pinpoint some of the other culprits and help my Doc to formulate a better diagnosis for me.

I actually suspect an allergy to cherries, one of my favorite summertime indulgences.

So with the Doc’s approval and my desire to have a better daily life, hopefully free of daily headaches, more energy, more sleep, better breathing and no more itching, I’ve committed myself to start the diet starting August 1.  After doing more research and reading, it appears that given my ultra-sensitivity to so many things, I will need to eliminate lots of foods that other people on elimination diets can eat, which is a bit of a dismay. 😦 Because of some of my known and tested allergies, I need to eliminate foods that are commonly associated with those allergies.  I’ll have to cut out all fruits, some of my favorite veggies and all grains (even rice or quinoa!) during the elimination period; it’s the only way that I can really test to see if I am sensitive or allergic to some of those foods.

The plan: Make my diet public to hopefully help me maintain the motivation. I’ll do a 3 week elimination period and only test low-suspect foods like broccoli, carrots, bananas and rice first. All other foods will be eliminated for 1 month before I start challenging and re-introducing them, slowly and one by one. I’ll be keeping a food diary of everything I eat (or rather, don’t eat!) and my reactions and how I feel everyday and before/after each meal.

Saying goodbye: It’s so hard to say goodbye to some of my favorite foods, and it’ll also be hard to see all the food-related post my foodie friends make on Twitter and Facebook. In “prepping” for this upcoming very restrictive diet, I downed lots of swiss cheese and a quart of ice cream in the span of 3 days. The rest of this week will be filled with indulgent meals of pasta, sweets, chocolate, breads, tofu and sushi.

Goodbye, my friends, I hope I get to see you again. I know that I may not taste some of you for a very long time, if ever again…

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Have you seen Interweave Knits, Spring 2010 yet?

This photo is copyright by Interweave Press, LLC.

I am proud to say that I have a pattern in this issue: Rose Window Beret. Favorite it or Queue it on Ravelry here.

This is a relatively easy lacy beret that is worked from the top-down. It features a floral lace pattern that expands as the circumference of the beret grows. The pattern for the lace motif is charted and it’s worked in a DK weight yarn. When working the beret, I recommend placing markers between each pattern repeat.

The original sample in the magazine is worked in Reynolds Rise & Shine, a cotton yarn. Because the cotton might be difficult on those of you who may have hand problems or who simply just find it hard to work with cotton, I’ve listed some suggested yarns that might work well as substitutions here. I usually like knitting my own patterns, but I have to be honest in saying that due to the tendonitis in my own hands, it was bit hard and a little frustrating working with a somewhat splitty cotton yarn. Nonetheless, I am still quite happy with the results and I simply loved the color the editors selected.

Submission

A redacted copy of my submission to Interweaves.

When I first pitched the idea to Interweaves, I had no idea what to call the design, so I tentatively titled it “Amsterdam” because the motif I came up with reminded me a little bit of the tulips I saw during a trip to the Netherlands (went to Amsterdam and a couple of smaller towns). I correctly suspected that IK was probably going to rename the pattern ro something that probably fit better with the issues’s theme and probably with a name that would not conjure up images of hash for folks. 😉

RoseWindow1922 RoseWindow1924

RoseWindow2207

In addition to my pattern (of course I like my own pattern!), I also really like the looks of the Double V Cardigan by Melissa Wehrle and the Lattice and Hollow Cardigan by Kim Hamlin.

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Are you on the Knitting Daily mailing list?  They just sent out a notice that patterns from the Winter2008 issue of Interweave Knits is now up for individual sales on their pattern store.  Of course, Pfeiffer Falls is included!

You’ll have multiple choices for getting Pfeiffer Falls.  You can buy a back issue of the magazine, buy the pattern from IK’s store, or if you’re a little patient, you can buy it from my pattern site. I just finished formatting and rewriting it for the purposes of self-publishing. It just has to go to the tech editor to review so that I can ensure you as much of a flawless pattern as possible.

My self-published version will only be available on my site, as I cannot sell it on other sites but my own.  The difference from the self-published version and the magazine version (the original published version and the one IK is selling) is that the self-published version has additional photos, a written version of the pattern chart, and special grafting charts to help you graft in pattern for a virtually invisible and professional-looking finish.  I’m a sucker for special details and I think the grafting chart really helps you achieve that with ease.

I’m hoping to get the self-published version up and listed on my site within the next week or two. In the meantime, here’s a sneak preview of the actual pattern (click to enlarge):

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I posted this already in a few of my Ravelry groups, but if you haven’t heard, Annie Modesitt is compiling a book called 1000 Fabulous Knit Hats.  The deadline was originally July 1, BUT she and the publisher have extended the deadline to July 15.

It’s more or less an inspirational book on knit hats plus a contest for people submitting original designs.  However, you do NOT have to submit an original pattern or design.  All you have to do is to submit photos of hats that you’ve knitted whether they are your patterns or someone else’s! So lets get those Morgan submissions in there! I know many people have knitted it already — in fact, according to Ravelry, there are 188 Morgan projects to date!

The submission process is easy — you just have to make sure you fill out the Grant of Rights form, and a form to list and describe your photos, and make sure your photos meet the minimum size requirements.  Then you just upload them to a site. That’s it. Click here for the submission information.

I didn’t find out about the submission/book until about 1 week before the initial deadline, but it was just enough time for me to finish a new design.  (I managed to upload 17 projects and over 50 photos.) Now that there is a little more time, I may just be crazy enough to try and finish some more hats in my new collection, Liberation, just to submit it. Liberation will be a collection of several hats individually named after remarkable women in the 1920s. I’m planning to sell Liberation as a pattern collection and also as individual patterns, in case folks may only one pattern out of the collection of five.

BTW, the publisher of 1000 Fabulous Knit Hats is the same publisher that produced Sweater Surgery, in which I have tons of designs. 😀

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Knitscene Magazine

Knitscene‘s Fall 2009 issue is coming out soon…sometime in the latter half of July, is what a little birdie told me.

I have an accessory item that is supposed to be published in the issue, and I’m quite excited about it.  It’s my first Knitscene pattern, and it’s something that I really like.  I can’t share much until the previews go up or the issue goes live, but I can give you a sneak peek.  I know it’s not much, but I really can’t divulge much more.

ETA: June 30, 2009: You can now preorder your copy of Knitscene Fall here.  My name and pattern is listed.  yay.  The sneak previews won’t be up until 3 weeks from now.

Can I make do without Ns?

I love my laptop. In fact, I’ve loved it so much that many of the lettering on the keypad have rubbed off, and I’ve resorted to painting them on with white nail polish.  I type mostly by muscle memory, but every once in a while I do need to look at the keypad.

My “Enter” and “N” keys have also been popping off. I’ve managed to pop them back each time, except for today.  I couldn’t get the N back on. What’s worse is the little rubber thing also came off, making it near impossible to type (very very slow).  I tried gluing it with some E6000, but I haven’t been able to leave it alone lone enough for the glue to dry. I’ll have to try again later because it’s damned hard trying to type without N, and I’ve been trying to avoid words without it, but it’s not really working.  If I’m unsuccessful with the glue tonight, I’m afraid this is what all my posts, emails and patterns will start looking like:

I’ll have to write everythig without the letter &/or try to thik of words that do’t cotai the letter, but as you ca see, it’s damed ear impossible!  My laptop is a little older ow, but it’s still i great shape ad very usuable.  I hate the thought of havig to get a ew laptop just because I ca’t get oe of the letters to work.  I also hate the thought of havig to try to trasfer all my data & files to a ew computer.

Click to see Flickr Notes on photo

Damned Selfish Cat

The hubs & I have had better sleep since I’ve had to kick out the other cats from our bedroom due to my allergies.  We put up a baby gate at the top of the stairs. Brownie & Maggie are too fat and lack the agility to jump over it. The only one that can is Whitey Coyote, who actually like it that way (she’s the alpha cat).

The improved sleep is not just because of my slightly improved allergies, but largely because the cats like to hog the bed, as I’m sure all you pet owners can relate.  We only have one cat in the bed now, but she stil likes to hog the bed. Poor Mr. CD has been pushed to the edge of the bed and gets closer to the verge of falling off as the night progresses.

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I was intrigued when I saw the call for submissions for Knitting in the Sun in mid-2008, so I went to work and worked up 3 design submissions. I was very lucky and excited when 2 of the 3 submissions were selected for the book.

Originally, the working title for Alishan was “Summer Nights Hoodie” (name explanation in this post).  I got the inspiration for the design after a trip to the fabric store, where I was fondling some laser-cut velvets and silky sheers.  I wanted an airy look, while I thought the garment would look cool with an illusion-ish center panel that kind of looked like a tank.

alishan

alishan swatch

The swatch that I submitted was worked in a fingering weight alpaca yarn from my stash.  In the end, Kristi and I settled on Kidlin Lace by Louet.   Although I am mildly allergic to mohair, I didn’t think the small mohair content on this project would be a problem, since I had worked with mohair in the the past.  Little did I know of the horrid 6+ months of torture that I was about to endure thanks to my wonderful immune system.

I’ve always had allergies, but I never had them as badly as I did in the Summer and Fall of 2008, where it was grossly debilitating, even on tons of allergy drugs.  I was not able to sleep or function — my head and chest were so clogged that I wanted to rip them out, and my eyes were so swollen and red that I dared not go into public until absolutely necessary, or when I thought I’d pull out my hair with cabin fever.  If you’re a regular blog reader, you’ll probably recall the gross pictures and posts about my swollen and bleeding eyes.

The horrid allergy attacks made knitting Alishan almost impossible.  My head and nose were so stuffed up that I couldn’t think, and even if I could manage any knitting, mohair or not, I could not see since my eyes were so swollen and running like a waterfall.  Luckily, Kristi gave me an extension on my deadline and I managed to send it in by the extension date.  Now that I have more designing experience and have found some good sample knitters in the last few months, I think in the future, I will play it safe and have sample knitters work any garment that requires mohair.  (The positive update on the allergies is that I am currently awaiting a medical lab to concoct a custom formula for me to be able to receive allergy injections. )

Alishan book

image (c) copyright by Wiley Publishing, Inc.

While working up Alishan, I had to deviate from the original sketch  a little bit (especially around the neckline) in order to fit it to the wider neckline that I wanted to achieve.  After I finished with it, even though I was happy about it,  I really put it out of my mind, especially since it unfortunately reminded me of my allergy hell.  Then to my utter surprise, in the promotional materials for the book, Kristi is shown wearing my garment.

I don’t have the garments for the book in my possession, but the agreement is that after 1 year of the publication date, the garments will be returned to the designers.

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The book was released yesterday!  I gave y’all a sneak peak of my designs that are in the book a few months ago, when I couldn’t contain my glee at seeing postcards promoting the book with Kristi Porter wearing my garment, and when I saw my lace & cables cardigan at the Lorna’s Laces booth at the neeedlearts trade show.

The book has recevied really good reviews so far, and all of the contributing designers are quite talented, including several “known” designer names that you may recognize, such as Dawn Leeseman, Stefanie Japel, Marnie MacLean,  and me of course (::wink, wink::), just to name a few.

Alishan book2Btw, there will be a blog tour about the book later, of which I’ve volunteered to be a part.  🙂

If you look at the table of contents for the book, you will notice that the garment names have something in common.  We were asked to suggest names of some sunny places for the garments.  The names I came up with mostly were of places that held memories for me, whether I lived or traveled there. I didn’t know whether Kristi really cared or wanted a description of the places and/or why I selected them, but I did give her a verbose list.

Yehliu book2I’ve already posted both patterns and projects onto Ravelry.  Also, for those interested in the design to book process, over the next couple of weeks, I will post and document information about my experience, design process and working up Alishan and Yehliu.

1st Left: Alishan; 2nd Left: Yehliu. All images in this post are copyright of Wiley Publishing, Inc.

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