Monday, April 30, 2007

Market Squares Felt 2

Well, I managed to get a chance to try felting the bag in a top loader washing machine. Put a few pairs of jeans in and a towel (prob not a good idea), and the bag and straps were in a fine mesh bag. I set the machine to hot water and put some gentle soap in. I did not manage to catch it before the spin cycle but it seems to have been fine.

The bag shrank more and the fabric is thicker and stronger. Still a bit floppy but much better. I attached the straps using nylon thread and backed the attachment point with a button on the inside. I don't have a closeup of the felted fabric but here is the bag:


Cool and much closer to the picture of the finished product in the pattern book.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Caregiving Front

Good news, our new nurse had to do an evaluation and status update on Mom and used that to help justify extending the health aide hours. So as of Monday, she will be with Mom for 8 hours instead of 6! Now I just have to get myself in gear and get out of the apartment earlier so I can leave work a bit earlier reducing the time that Mom is home alone.

I also joined a couple of caregiving groups on Yahoo which has been helpful. The issues being raised, various solutions and knowing how everyone is coping with it all.

Mom's anxiety has thankfully decreased so she is not roaming the apartment at night. And has stopped thinking she needs to open the door to check on something or even trying to leave the apartment to meet me downstairs. She has been pretty much sleeping through the night except for a couple of bathroom trips. Whew!

It's Been Awhile

Well I did finally file my taxes, Sunday 4/15 the deadline was 4/17 this year.
I used Turbo Tax and efiled my Federal and State returns. Got my Federal accepted status within a day but it took the state a bit longer. Surprise!

Knitting Update
I gave up on finding something solid to use to shape the Market Squares Bag after felting. I figured I could always use a plastic bag filled with something. Then I was planning on using one of the top loading washing machines to felt it but things conspired against me and I wasn't really able to get down to the laundry room when it was unlikely to be packed. Since the top loaders are a little cheaper they are often in use. So I bit the bullet and figured I would try hand felting and I could always continue to felt in a machine if necessary.

So I took an extra large ziploc bag put the Market Squares bag in and filled it with hot water and some gentle soap. I tried zipping it shut with most of the air out and aggitating the knitting. However on occaision the bag would open in mid aggitation spewing soapy water out of the sink onto the bathroom floor. Fun!
I then tried just doing it by hand. The colors ran a bit but I did succeed in felting it. Then I felted the handles.

Here is the result:

And a close up of the felting:

And here is how the bottom turned out:

I am not sure if this felted enough the bag is pretty floppy. I don't know if I want to redo the felting. As for the handles/straps, I am not sure if they are strong enough but I will try them out for awhile and see. I need to get stronger thread and some buttons to use on the inside to reinforce the attachment point of the straps.

Hopefully I will be able to attach the straps sometime this weekend.

I brought it into my office and of course there were requests from some of my coworkers for me to make them bags. I might try to make something smaller for them but still using some entrelac. Time will tell.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Stress and Tax Time

Here it is Sunday 4/15 and I still have not filed my taxes. Do I owe the IRS any money? Is that why I am so late? Nope, I actually get a refund and just couldn't get my act together to finish and file. I did finally install the tax software and I have managed to get my supporting documents together. I have even managed to do a first cut on my Federal and State tax forms. I just need to reconfirm that all is correct and then I will bite the bullet and pay for e-filing and actually file. Thankfully both Federal and State returns are actually due for Tuesday 4/17 this year. Whew!

Now, what has been the hold up? Could be trying to get the supporting paperwork together as a first issue. Then both work and caregiving stress just had me too tired to actually work on them. I will check everything tonight and file as soon as possible.

On the Caregiving front - both my geriatic cat and my Mom have been having some issues lately. Sometimes at about the same time or almost. Just when you think things have settled something else comes up. Like just when you are ready for bed you find that the cat has managed to cough up hairballs and accompanying food several places on your bedroom carpet. *sigh*

Mom's hearing is a bit better after the two visits to the Ear Doctor for wax vacuuming out of her ears. At least it is easier to communicate with her and calm her down when she has gotten anxious after hearing conversations that we can't hear.
The Ear doctor has recommended two visits a year to try and keep her ears clear. They performed a hearing test and it seems about the same as last year. The audiologist in their office has recently joined the Managed Medicaid plan that we are in. Once I get a new id for the plan I can drop by the office so they can photocopy it and then the audiologist will be able to confirm whether she can provide a hearing aid for Mom. Of course it won't be one of the newer nicer models. They would only pay for the basic model but at least I can perhaps get her one so she has it and can use it when she wants to. Two visits will be necessary but at least I am comfortable with the office and the providers there. Nothing worse than travelling to a provider for a service and not being comfortable with them and what they are providing.

At least she doesn't seem to be wandering about at night or if she is I must have been deeply asleep. I still put a sign on the door lock and one on the curtain I have at my bedroom doorway just in case she does panic and wander. It just tells her that everyone is okay and I am sleeping in my room and that she should go back to bed. Hopefully that reassures her enough to make a difference.

I found a couple of groups on Yahoo that are for caregivers or deal with dementia. Everyone seems to be very nice and it is helpful to be able to vent to people who have experienced something similar or unfortunately even worse.

Now, besides dealing with alot of backlog of work at the office I have to find the time to take the cat to the vet for yearly exam and booster shots. I prefer to take her to senior vet in the practice so that means taking off from work for a weekday appointment.

Thankfully the pet food scare did not apply to her since she always hated any of the can food with gravy and does not eat any of the other types on the recall list. I can imagine how hard it has been for those whose pets had been sickened or even died from the tainted food. The sadest thing is that the brands we have always considered premium instead of the brands usually available at supermarkets were mostly the ones on the list. So trying to take good care of your pet could have done them in. Well my little spoiled geriatic diva cat is fine except for the hairballs. Too bad she doesn't cough up diamonds like the cat in the NY Lottery commercial!

Almost Time For Felting!

Well, I finally finished the body of the Market Squares bag and I am working on the straps.
When the second strap is finished I have to find something that I can use to shape the bag once it has been felted. Not to mention having the time to actually felt the bag. *sigh*

Here is photo of the finished knit bag:


You can see what I meant about my stitch tension varying especially on one edge of each rectangle on a tier. You can't see in that picture how the decreases look on the bottom of the bag. So here is another photo of the bottom with the bag kind of gathered.


Hopefully I will find something to use to shape it while drying after the felting. With luck all will turn out well. Here are Smaller shots in case the larger ones don't display properly.