Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Twinkle Titties – Rated R

I promise, I’m not starting a trend of rated posts. But this one is about breast prostheses. Knitted ones, to be precise. With pictures, no less. One of my dreams when I got into fiber arts a little over a year ago was to be able to design my own patterns for knitting and crochet. Of course, in order to do that it would be helpful if I could knit and crochet myself. My dad used to always tell me (when he wanted my help putting a bike or toy together) that I had spatial vision. I’m not sure I really do, but I do recognize two qualities in myself that are helpful in this area. 1) If I can figure out how to manipulate the material I can make almost anything and 2) things are almost always put together in a logical fashion and if you can figure out the logic you can put it together.

All of which meant that, in theory, if I could figure out *how* to knit I could design patterns. I got some books to help me but of course have been too busy to read them yet. And in the meantime I’ve found the need to make knitted breast prostheses. In the back of my mind I’ve wanted to start a line of chemo products for nearly a year. My idea is that if I can find volunteers to do the knitting and I donate the spinning and make my own patterns we can donate the products to oncology departments for women going through chemo and people who are not inclined to knit can buy them for friends with breast cancer as a little treat during a bleak time.

I started my first chemo cap several years ago when I found out a mom in my daughter’s class had breast cancer. I broke a needle before I finished and it ended up getting put aside. Then I got seriously interested in fiber arts and I thought wouldn’t it be great to make chemo caps from handspun, really soft, fun and funky yarn? And then I met another breast cancer patient and I thought it was a great opportunity to try out my idea. So I spun up some sorbet colored merino/silk and knit a chemo cap, found a pattern for a knitted titty, spun up some angora for the skin side of that and Patty, my MIL knitted it up for me. That pattern can’t be used for anything but personal use so I knew I needed to make up my own. (To be honest, Patty and I had to fight with the yarn and needles trying to follow that pattern so I was just as happy to have to design my own, which is much simpler and produces an incredibly realistic nipple, if I do say so myself. But don’t take my word for it, look at the picture.)

So, what you see in these pictures is the result of my pattern designing knit up in luscious pink silk with a few scattered beads to “twinkle” and look pretty, and a crocheted edging just to pretty it up a little more. Honestly, it almost makes me jealous that I can’t use it myself.

Here’s how my chemo fiber arts projects work. I’m planning to sell my pattern, my own designed and knitted prostheses, and kits on my Etsy site. It takes me about 4 hours to knit one and that doesn’t include the edging, stuffing, closing, or finding and painting words of courage and hope on a stone placed inside for weight so don’t think I’m making a profit on these. But I’m hoping it’ll allow me to splash out on really nice fibers that I don’t care to spin up (like silk and bamboo) for prostheses that are suitable for summer months. I am also looking for volunteers to knit them and I’m accepting donations of fiber for the prostheses and the chemo caps (I’m still working on my own pattern for those.)

All the donated items will be available on my Etsy site for donation to anyone you know who is undergoing treatment for breast cancer or you can purchase them for general donation as they become available. I am currently looking for a general donation site. If you know of or can recommend one let me know. I am donating some of my own flock and herd’s fiber (luckily I raise some of the softest sheep available) and am looking for a fiber store to at least donate the shipping on other soft, pretty fiber. I have one in mind, but haven’t contacted the owner yet. All of this has come together rather suddenly and I’m super excited about it, but at the same time am still sane enough to know I need help to make it work.

And that is the story of the humble beginnings of the Pretty Titty Knitting Endeavor of Twinkle Titties where we feel that choosing a breast prosthesis should give you that same little thrill of feminine excitement that choosing a pretty bra does.

If you would like to read a hilarious account of how this all got started for me, click here.

Bunny Love (PG-13)

There was a time when my life didn't revolve around bunnies.

I think.

Warning: the following post is rated on account of the contents which describe my first bunny mating supervision. It's ridiculous really. I was so excited to have baby bunnies that I could hardly sleep waiting for the day to come. Lucas brought Lucky Buck (seriously, that's his name) over to my house Friday and we sheared both him and the mom-to-be, Poppet. When I say"we" I really mean Lucas. He did all the hard work. I just held the bunnies.

So Sunday was the day I picked because I was supposed to have the whole day to do what I wanted. Which is rare for me. Lucas said to bring them for a drive early in the morning. I kid you not. Something about the vibration helping start ovulation. For all I know he was having a quiet chuckle over his morning coffee picturing me taking the love buns on a little excursion. But since this was my first time and I didn't want to leave anything to chance I did it. I took them to my local quick stop which also houses the branch post office where I get my mail. I did have a fleeting thought of finding a lover's lane and taking a little walk to give them some privacy but pulled myself together because a) that's rubbish, and b) the computer guru called just before I left and said could he come and fix my computer today? (Sure, why not, this is only the MOST IMPORTANT DAY OF MY YEAR SO FAR.)

So anyway, back to the barn and popped the bunnies into Lucky's cage so Lucky could, well, get lucky. (You knew I was going to get that in there somehow, I know you did.) The thing is bunny love isn't at all romantic. This is what was *supposed* to happen. Lucky was supposed to chase Poppet around for a bit. Then I was supposed to *help* him by putting my hand on her head so she'd drop down. Then Lucky was supposed to do his thing, grunt, and fall off. But Lucky practically went to sleep after doing his *thing* for awhile. No noise at all. Not a peep. I wanted to offer him a cigarette and ask if he was done but instead I pulled Poppet out of the cage. She gave me a disgusted "how in the name of all that is green could you do that to me?" look and I had to pet her and coddle her until she settled down and forgot about it. I don't know what the rabbits thought of it, I suppose it was all quite natural for them. I, on the other hand, felt slightly sick about it.

A few hours later we had to go through the whole process again. Still no grunt, nothing. Last chance at night chores and finally, finally, yep, he grunted and fell over like someone had shot him. Just to be sure I let him do it again; same thing. So I think *finger crossed* that we are expecting. Now since I'm so heavily invested emotionally I'm wondering if I'll have sympathy pregnancy cravings and stuff. And what will I crave? Plantain? Dandelion greens? Carrots?

Lucas thinks it's funny that I expect to be able to sell the babies (I do too if you must know) but if I don't I won't be able to have any more so I have to sell them. Both Lucky and Poppet are registered French Angoras and we have one of their previous offspring, Arya, who has the most amazingly dense coat I've ever seen on any rabbit. She's a blue and next in line to be bred. Since she lives in the house she can be bred any time so there may be a Christmas litter coming. We are starting a waiting list for these babies so if you or anyone you know is interested get in touch.

More later . . . I have to go decorate the nursery.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Reports of my Death . . .

have been greatly exaggerated. The reports of Fergal's near death experience have not. I almost lost my little cutie to bunny colic (or GI stasis, or whatever clinical name you want to give it.) But Dr. Bruce pulled him through and I'm relieved, thankful, and grateful that he made it because I just wuv that rabbit!!!

My camera has been overexposing everything (ie, pic left) and I had to bring it to the shop. Turns out it was operator problems. Somehow a setting had been changed so no actual repair was needed, but it did curtail any photo documentary I was contemplating for quite awhile, hence my photographic silence. As well I've had computer problems.

It's been a rough summer. My husband had a couple major work related accidents and my computer finally died. (I'm getting a new cherry red laptop as a result so I'm not complaining too loudly.) But I did get to see the ocean one day and that's always amazing. I've been feverishly making yarns, batts, and stitch markers for the shops and the farmer's market which I've been attending on Tuesdays. I've about stretched my "vacation" days as far as they'll go and so far I've actually had two days all summer to call my own, but that's life.

Next time I'll try to explain my newest fiber adventure, dubbed by my chemo-undergoing friend Janice as "Pretty Titty Knitting." So, stay tuned. You're not going to want to miss this. And since the camera is working there may even be pictures.