Tuesday, October 10, 2006

three a.m. wooly-headed report

Just off of a searing headache—at some point, I become the kind of hostage that bargains, with Advil Migraine, one, then two, with Claritin, with caffeine, anything to make the buzzing/burning stop. It seems that whatever makes the pain so miserable releases at ten p.m., almost every time. What is that? The headache has been building for nearly a week, hanging around the edges with a little burning in my head, some sinus stuffiness related to allergies. Last time I had one this bad was in early May, six months ago.

The headache subsides, but my muscles are so tensed, and the caffeine still kicking—thus I am writing at three a.m. I will try horizontal again, soon.

I remember, a few hours ago, the feeling that the world was tipping with this pain, and then my ears would latch onto something like the train whistle, a mile away, or the gull cries, or my sense of smell would grab the scent of those fresh green beans I was preparing for dinner, or the salt air. Each of these markers of some good, real joy roots my feet back to the ground and spurs me to simple endurance.

Sometimes I grab my drop spindle and spin yarn, mustering focus from the sickening swirl. The spindle is how I distracted myself from headaches for nearly six months last year. Today’s yarn is a sea green, varied with specks of blue and spring green. I have no idea what this yarn will become, or if it will become anything at all—I just know the concentration pulls me away from the pain.

I was in the middle of “felting” several sweaters, i.e. recycling and re-fashioning the pieces into other creations, when the headache expanded to something difficult to manage. While the pain was in full force, a rich fuzzy brown wool and a patterned blue and pink fair isle emerged from the dryer, plus a sweet girl-sized boiled wool cardigan shrunken from an extra large cardigan with embroidered flowers. A too-bright Bolivian wool sweater will get a good look tomorrow, to assess its good qualities. Will it become mittens? A hat? I sewed two charcoal ribbed sleeves from a ruined sweater into very warm black mittens with long cuffs, and they shrunk to just the right size. Yesterday I asked children to help me scrub and shrink two pair of mittens for the school store—and somehow, though I intended to sell these three pair of mittens, one adult and two children’s pairs, there is one pair of just-right mittens for each of us, and I’m not certain I can part with them.

The day before yesterday, I dipped into my recycled sweater stash to find a formerly huge pink sweater with a hideous Aztec sun design on the front and back. It’s Madeleine’s size, after half a dozen washes, and the scratchy homespun yarn changed to a soft, thick wool. Hot water, agitation, and an alkaline soap make the fibers shrink, and the “split ends” create a beautiful fuzzy haze or “halo” over the sweater. I “needle felted” a swirling sun of gold and orange into the center of the Aztec design, cut and rolled the cuffs and collar with bright yellow wool whipstitching. She wore it to church yesterday, shining like the sun, herself. I’m eager to re-fashion the other sweaters, as well. Imagine, gorgeous one-of-a-kind garments from the “buck-a-pound” thrift shop. I’m working to re-fashion something specifically for Brendan, next. I have a matching Aztec sun blue sweater, which I whacked the sleeves off in haste to make mittens—I may need to re-knit sleeves for the damn thing!

And on the very bottom of my recycled sweater stash is the little hat Brendan wore until he was three, the dancing people hat. Suzanne tells me the hat is Peruvian, and that she bought it as an adult hat, but the combination of damp snow and body heat has shrunken it to toddler size. I took a scanned image of the hat, with hopes of recreating the knitted pattern in an adult size again—but this time in washable wool, for my friend! All that is for later, though. First a hat for Sasha, made from handspun wool from her sheep. Or perhaps sleeves for a blue Aztec sun sweater. (Let me just say it here: I can’t really believe I’m going to put sleeves back on that sweater. Grrrr.) All knitting projects are for days without headaches, not today, not the middle of the night.

Horizontal. Will try horizontal again, and hope for the best.

Woke in time to make breakfast and pack lunches—head is okay enough, this morning.

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