29 August 2006

Farewell Nanna Jean

My grandmother is dying, not an unexpected event when you're 91, but still a sad one for her family. She has lived very independently at home until only 10 days ago, when she didn't show up for a regular massage appointment, and her nauturopath went to her house, and then called an ambulance. She's been at Albury Base Hospital since then, with my mum and aunt by her side. She has pneumonia and infected kidneys, and her body systems are just shutting down.

Last week she was quite alert, and spent ages telling her daughters what she wants at her funeral, and so on. I imagine it will be a big church affair, as she was a main stay of her church, especially known for her spectacular flower arrangements. She was always a wonderful flower arranger, with many prizes under her belt over decades.

I spoke with her briefly last week - she was only up to a 1 minute talk on the phone - her voice was so weak and almost unrecognisable. Still, I'm glad I called her, even though it was hard to do.

She's really ready to go - last week she said that if there was a button to push that would end it all, she'd push it. The doctors have honoured her wishes; on the weekend they stopped treating her pneumonia and infections, and are only providing palliative care now.

She may have died overnight - I haven't heard yet... she's just been curled up on her bed (in a private room now, thank goodness), breathing shallowly, and only slightly conscious.

This photo of her was taken at her 90th birthday party last year, which was a great event. Family and friends from far and wide came along, and it was such a good idea to hold this sort of a recollection of a life well lived while the person is still alive! She was always beautifully dressed and perfectly coiffured - in fact she used to apologise when caught gardening in 'these old things' (a classic Fletcher Jones' outfit). She was a consummate gardener and florist, and an excellent cook - oooh, those Melting Moments!

My Pop died just after my wedding (21 years ago), so Nanna's been alone since then, and has stayed active, alert, interested and connected with the community around her. She never learnt to drive (although she was a dab hand at controlling the car from the passenger's seat ;) and was known to all the taxi drivers around town.

While I wasn't very close to her - she was quite a formal woman - I have many fond memories of Nanna and Pop's home in Albury where I spent many good times as a child and adult. She taught me to crochet. Trains during the night, the scent of roses, lace antimacassars, fancy crocheted doilies, the smell of freshly ironed linen, the cool feel of a brightly-coloured anodised aluminium cup in my hand, and the sound of magpies singing in the morning always remind me of Nanna.

2 September Update

She's still hanging in there - getting weaker every day, sometime rallying a bit, then getting worse.... the nurses who've worked in palliative care think it will only be a matter on another few days...

17 August 2006

A hat to match

Here's the matching hat for hubby! It's based on this pattern on Head Huggers, except that I continued the cables right up to the top! How tricky is that? It looks so COOL, I keep nicking it... I'm obviously going to need to make one for myself. The Paton's Jet is just so lovely, not at all scratchy.

And of course the weather is warming up - how dare it, just when I've found a great hat pattern?!

14 August 2006

Funny birdy tea pot thingy

This is my very cute tea pot cosy, knitted using the very general directions in the locally produced Keepsakes from Mother's Table book. The original instructions are by Lynne Johnson (a well-known creative professional knitter around town). Although I bought this book in November last year, and the yarn for the project in December, it's not until now that I've really had the experience needed to create the custom-fitted pieces.

My tea pot has an egg shape, with 3 cute little black feet, so I used short-row shaping in the lower section of every 6th row, but in the midst of the row, so it bulged out, but then in again at the base of the cosy. The main knitting is done in Lynne's 'stranded garter stitch' technique, where you knit each stitch with alternating yarns (A-B-A-B-A), and off-set the next row (B-A-B-A-B).

As it is a metal pot, and has burnt me in the past, I added a flap (fastened with a button) to cover the gap in the cosy under the handle (ie where your knuckles get burnt when holding the pot by the handle). I picked up stitches at one edge of the 'gap', knitted a few rows in stranded garter stitch, added a buttonhole, and finished off with a curved end.

I'll see if I can dig out the labels for the two yarns I used... both were Heirloom yarns, I'm pretty sure. It needed a little hair-trim after it's inaugural use on Saturday - there's only so much fancy bouclé you want mixed with your tea after all!

I think it needs a name... Twisty Twitty Tweety Tea Bird or something? Suggestions?!

08 August 2006

Once again, with piccies

Here it is, the Jet Jumper, all done, on the actual hubby... don't you just love those cables? I'm a sucker for cables... I've left the neck not-sewed-down (it's supposed to be folded in half and stitched down). I'm letting hubby wear it for a while and then I'll sew it down if that's what he prefers.

And this is the finished Heart Scarf for my friend - she loved it. Her surgery went well, she thankfully hasn't had to lose a breast, and now "just" has months of chemo and radiation therapy, and years of hormone therapy to endure. Ain't life a bitch?

On the up side, our new ISP has all our online lfe in its gentle hands, and my new computer is gradually settling in.... who knows, I might be able to actually get some *gasp* WORK done soon!

06 August 2006

Happy Jumper Dance

It's all done! I finished the last seam at midnight, and it fits prefectly and hubby is nice and cosy warm today! I'll post pics when I've got my aDSL connection working (back to the bad old days of dial-up... how did I survive?)... Our incredibly fucking stupid old ISP cancelled our aDSL connection a week before the date we requested, showing a remarkable inability to read dates or follow instructions. Our nice new ISP is still submitting the paperwork... and now of course Telstra will bill us for a new connection rather than a transfer (churning), which is an extra $90. Grrrrrrrrrrr.

But we have a finished jumper - it took 8 weeks from buying to wool to the end product, so I'm pretty happy with that! And my new computer has arrived (replacing the one that was stolen a few weeks ago), and I now have all sorts of obsessive backup and password-protected measures in place so if anyone nicks my computer again, they won't be able to get into it, and I won't lose so much data. Painful lesson that one :(