One door closes and another opens...I've never much liked that saying, really, and yesterday I added another reason why I don't to the list.
19 months ago I took what my consultants called 'a car wreck' fall over a scatter rug in our front hall. Even as I went down that horrid morning I knew - was consciously thinking it - this was going to be very, very bad and I would be in recovery for years. And I was correct. 19 months equals one year and seven months and I am still in recovery. Based on my recovery so far, I will still be in recovery the next 19 months.
Yesterday afternoon I had to give up and admit it will be another 19 or so months before I can comfortably crochet with any yarn thicker than thread or knit with any yarn of any thickness. Yes, I know, comparatively speaking this is no big deal but it bl--dy well is to me! There are only so many garments one can crochet with thread and I knew this even as I was falling heavily and awkwardly to the hard floor in my front hall. Truly, as I went down my only thought was 'This is going to be really really really bad and I won't be able to knit or crochet for months if ever again - WAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!'. I was furious especially as I'd only just learned to knit well enough to plan my first pair of hand knit socks and knew I now might never knit that holy grail of knitting, ever...WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!
I think hearing the pops and snaps (as I tried desperately to catch myself mid-fall) of elbow and ulna breaking and biceps dislocating might have been my clue as to just how bad this was going to be. Well, that and as I lay on the floor screaming from the utter agony of the dislocated shoulder and broken collarbone, the combination of sounds and pain told me I was in for an extremely unpleasant long haul.
And of course I was correct. There is a bit of a danger in understanding anatomy, trauma, and recovery (an understanding acquired in my growing up years thanks to my father owning a boxing gym, our family's close association with numerous medics including orthopaedic surgeons, and my own unfortunate tendency towards clumsiness necessitating a deeper understanding as well). So I knew even before I hit the floor just how very bad things were going to be.
I have been conscientious about physio. Diligent. Faithful to the regimen. And that has helped, I have regained far more function than even the most optimistic of my consultants thought I might. I've found ways to compensate - new ways to accomplish daily tasks, to occupy my creative drive other than knitting and crochet. I decided to try surface embroidery - way hey! No pain! I now have so many embroidered table runners and other linens my husband has suggested I might like to open an online shop to shift some of the pieces out of our small bungalow. (Not. Gonna. Happen!)
One of my favourite crochet bloggers (Cherry Heart, she is AMAZING!) blogged about her foray into tatting...now, I've loved tatted pieces since receiving a tatted cross bookmark as a 6 year old avid reader and have always wanted to learn. I did a little research and discovered while shuttle tatting would require motions I am currently unable to make, needle tatting might be just down my street and a quick try using a milliner's needle (well, yes, I do live in the UK where ladies still wear hats and if I say so myself, I've a fair hat-making hand) told me I could needle tat for hours. Needle tatting is a skill surprisingly simple to learn. WOOT - tatted edgings are exquisite on linens and clothing, and those cross bookmarks are quick to make!
Learning tatting led me to think I might try thread crochet edgings as the hooks for thread crochet are only a bit thicker than tatting needles. I hauled out one of my vintage thread crochet edgings pattern books and gave it a go - hey, no searing pain, not even a lasting ache, I can do this, I thought to myself!
So we now have more thread crochet angels than are wafting about Heaven; more thread crochet coasters and table mats than Debenhams stocks in their homewares department. I can manage thread crochet comfortably and so thought perhaps now I could FINALLY try those knit socks or one of the delicious crochet gilet, cardi, or jumper patterns I have. All I can say is thank goodness I'm smart enough to buy classic styles as I know now none of those patterns will be usable for months more!
What happened was, I dug through the stash this past Sunday afternoon and put together the DK/3W yarn, pattern, hooks and tool bag for crocheting the Annie's Signature Designs Tolosa 'vest' - I have an apple green yarn perfect for a cosy body warmer and I was SO excited to believe I would be able to knock that body warmer out over a week or so...
(***US TERMS***) Gauge/tension: 12 dc = 4 inches; 7 dc rows = 4 inches. Yup, got that gauge swatch done (I went 24 dc and 14 rows...hmmm, a bit of ache forming in the upper arm...)
Row One: chain 81; dc into 4th chain from hook and across...
ARRRRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHH - by the 50th chain the ache had descended into full-on frankly searing pain extending from elbow to shoulder along the path of my healing dislocated biceps. I soldiered on in hope it was just a wee bit (HA!) of soreness and would ease off as I went along...I managed the 81st ch, ch'd3 and turned to begin the foundation row.
And by the 20th dc across I had to admit defeat. I am not ready to crochet anything more than thread weights. Down went the hook, rippit came the stitching, rewound went the yarn cake and it all went back into the bottom of the china cabinet I use for my yarns and supplies. Sniffle. I have to avoid looking at that cabinet for months more to come.
Here's a snap of the last finished embroidery piece (shown in progress) - done in neo-Georgian autumnal colours using satin, overcast on split, and my newest embroidery stitch skill - lattice fill (wow is that a simple yet scary stitch, and it's gorgeous when finished!):