Sunday, April 14, 2024

My Goal Today Is. . . .

My goal today is to put in a few stitches accomplish some hand stitching on the 2022-2023 Temperature quilt. I thought that ten days post surgery after a knee joint replacement, I'd be well into the first side. I haven't been able to sit in my chair because the foot rest is too low which makes my surgery leg uncomfortable after a few minutes. During the day, the couch is where I spend my time.

Mostly, I'm spending the day walking one 15-30 minute session, riding the ROM Tech bike five times for 15 minutes, doing PT exercises and icing my knee. I spend my down time with my leg elevated above my heart. I'm not sleeping well even though I am able to lay in bed. A typical night is one hour and a half or maybe two of sleep before  knee pain wakes me up and I need to walk. Sometimes a few minutes is sufficient; but often it is more like a ten minute walk. 

Reinforcements are headed my way
Some nights, I can't go back to sleep for a couple of hours. Last night was one of those occasions. Perhaps, tonight will be the start of better sleep. My fingers are crossed! 

My PT group tells me I'm doing really well. I do
see/feel improvement every day. I am listening to audio books. I'm working on sketching a design for an improv mystery quilt as well as a design for our Modern Quilt squad small group challenge.

I look forward to being able to stitch regularly soon! In the meantime, reinforcements are coming. My London granddaughter and her dad are coming to spend a few days to give my husband a break. Linking to Cynthia at Oh Scrap/Quilting Is More Fun Than Housework.

Wednesday, April 10, 2024

Knee Joint Replacement Surgery--one week later

Bruising the day after surgery
WARNING: This is a non sewing, quilting post.

Almost ten years ago while on a walk with the dog, I tore the meniscus in one knee. About six weeks later, I tore the meniscus in the other knee doing the same activity. In 2013, I had arthroscopic surgery on one knee and a few months later, I had it on the other knee. At no time, was I ever able to recoup my range of motion or strength that I had before the tears. 

Over the years, I tried acupuncture, chiropractic treatments, physical therapy, cortisone shots, synvisc shots and massage to manage the pain and loss of functionality. Some treatments helped; but, nothing got me anywhere near where I was before the initial tears. 

Support stocking marks day three
Fast forward to Spring vacation 2023 when we took our granddaughter on a trip to London and it was obvious that I needed more intervention regarding my knees. The family trip to Greece summer 2023 confirmed that I had exhausted all coping strategies.

COVID caused a backlog of people needing orthopedic surgeries. COVID also caused a lot of medical staff to retire. In our area, anesthesiologists are in short supply. I waited six months for an appointment with an orthopedic clinic. I waited another six weeks for a reply to some of my pre surgery tests. 

Day three--
Wound under water proof bandage 
At that point, I researched and chose a different orthopedic clinic. Again, I had to wait about six months for the initial appointment which was scheduled early December. The day of my initial appointment, my knee had swollen so much that I was unable to bend it. The surgeon prescribed PT until I had surgery which wouldn't be until June. 

I started PT in January. While I didn't think it would help much, I was wrong! I was able to strengthen some muscles and improve my gait which did help combat the pain. I also called the surgery scheduler early March and asked to be placed on the waiting list if someone canceled. I figured, I'd be at least a month earlier than scheduled. 

Leg sleeve for the Nice ice machine
The scheduler returned my call the next day and let me know that there were no openings until June. Bummer, I thought. But, I told her that we were going to become fast buddies because I was going to call her every Monday until I had a surgery date. She laughed and said she appreciated what I was trying to do; but, June was going to be my month.

Imagine my surprise when she called me the following day to say that an extra day had opened on the schedule and would I like it. I called back and said whenever it was, I'd take it. It was for April first!!! I took a breath and said I liked her style of humor. She replied . . .What??? April first is April Fool's Day, I said no fooling??? She replied that she was dead serious although she did chuckle!!!

ROM Tech machine

It was a whirlwind to complete the tests needed for the surgery to take place. At every appointment, I asked to be able to go home the same day as surgery. Again the clinic staff let me know, it wasn't an option with this surgeon. Although the physician's assistant said if I had good results from the hospital pre-exam there might be a chance. I asked to use the ice machine which insurance does not cover and to use the ROM Tech machine which insurance does cover.

At the hospital pre exam that I was told to plan on being there for three hours, I was out in about 45 minutes. The nurse practitioner who examined me said I was a great candidate for home same day as surgery. . .I hadn't even asked!!! Other than being overweight and having arthritic knees and a neck fusion, my body was in better shape than I gave it credit!

Then it was on to the twice daily showers. To lessen the chance of infection, I got to shower morning and night with five minutes spent gently washing the surgical area. I used a special liquid soap the hospital supplied. I found that soap challenge to rinse off!! Late afternoon on the day before my scheduled surgery, I received a call that my surgery was canceled. 

Five days post surgery

My surgeon's flight had been canceled and he wasn't able to return in time. Turns out my surgeon was in Cancun, Mexico. They had confirmed their flight; gone to the airport and was told there that there flight was canceled. No worries. . .they could fly out on two days later!!! I'm sure he had a lot of calls to make for rescheduling and then he also had to figure out where to stay!

I had my surgery on Wednesday, April 3 instead of Monday, April 1. The reason that he was able to reschedule with relatively few days between is that it was Spring Vacation in Washington and many doctors were out of town.

We checked in for the surgery at 5:30am. This meant I was up at 2:40am to drink 16 ounces of apple juice that is recommended. I took yet another full body shower, dried with a fresh towel and put on freshly laundered clothing. I did pack a bag in case I wasn't able to go home on the same day. We left home at 4:30am. 

Ankle five days post surgery
At 6:00am, I met the pre surgery nurse who confirmed I was being admitted. I said I hoped that I could go home the same day. She said not likely; but, possible if I was able to get the okay from all the medical entities. When I said the nurse practitioner had said I was a candidate at my pre surgery appointment, she said we would try! 

I donned the warming gown. By 6:40, the IV nurse had inserted an IV line into my hand. The CNA placed a thigh high support stocking on my left leg. The right leg stocking was placed in my bed to go to the operating room. Support stockings are used to prevent blood clots. At 7:10, I made one final trip to the bathroom. The pre-surgery nurse kept me and my husband informed at every step of the process.

Leg and ankle eight days 
post surgery
At 7:15, the anesthesiologist had a conference with me. He recommended a spinal block as I would require less drugs and would have an easier time waking up. I went with his recommendation. At 7:25, the surgeon signed the knee joint to be replaced and asked if I had any other questions. At 7:30, I was on my way to the operating room.

I saw the operating room and moved myself to the table. I had the spinal block. I felt the anesthesia medication going in through my IV. I noted it was 7:35. I next noted it was 9:25 and I was in the recovery room. I had no headache, no nausea and felt fully awake. My husband said that I was out of surgery at 9:07 and that the surgeon had stated it went well.

My first questions were about the anesthesia. I learned I handled it well and that it was a good option for me. My second set of questions were about the knee joint. Did the surgeon test it before he stitched me up for maximum flexibility and extension? Did the surgeon test it after he

Comparison of legs for swelling eight days post surgery

had stitched me up? The nurse said yes, lots of testing was done before I was stitched up and after I was stitched up. She also said these were not questions she often received! I told her it was a quality check. I wanted to be sure the part was installed well and correctly!

She asked if I could handle ice chips, I gave it a try and said that it was too bad they weren't lime flavored. She asked if I would like a popsicle which was lemon flavored. It tasted great and by the time I had eaten it, I was back in my short stay room. I lucked out in that I had the same nurse post op that I had pre op. I ate a container of jello and a cup of broth. All stayed down.

What I didn't realize was the spinal block takes time to wear off. Sometimes, the brain can't detect full bladder symptoms. . . enough written. Once I could wiggle my toes, PT came and ran me through the exercise program. I had a visit from the nurse practitioner who again quizzed me and my husband about our home situation. Then a member of the orthopedic team came by to test me. They all gave me a thumbs up on going home the same day. All that remained was the surgeon's sign off. I was in the bathroom, when he came by; but, he signed me out and a little before 2pm, we were headed home.

It was wonderful to be home. My husband, Bob, is and continues to be an excellent caregiver. He had to deal with the support stocking which wouldn't stay up around my thigh. It ended up rolling down and acted like an elastic band around my thigh. It gave me a rash and a bruise. By the third day, I couldn't stand the pressure and took them off. The clinic nurse sent me knee high stockings in the mail which arrived today. She would have preferred my husband drive to the clinic and pick them up. The clinic is 40 minutes away with light traffic. I feel okay being on my own for an hour; but, not more than that!  

The materials regarding the surgery state someone is needed to stay with the patient for a minimum of three days post surgery. I can't imagine being on my own for meals, bathing etc after three days. I still need a watchful eye getting in and out of the shower. I can make a sandwich; but, can't carry it with the walker so end up eating it standing. My husband fixes me a plate and serve me. I have eaten at the table; but, most often it is more comfortable to eat with my feet up. I'm still working on the muscles to raise my leg. . .so far those muscles are on vacation!!!

I've ridden the ROM Tech five times every day---that is the prescribed amount of sessions. Each session has a passive and an active movement phase which helps with the range of motion of the knee. You can adjust the pedals to keep the 12-15 minute time manageable for pain. I use the ice machine 30 minutes of almost every hour that I'm awake. At night, I leave a gel pack on the area that feels the warmest or aches the most. 

I believe the coolness along with the extra strength Tylenol has helped manage my pain. Moving and stretching also helps. I've taken two narcotic pain tablets which I split into four dosages over the second and third day. I also take aspirin twice a day to prevent blood clots and Celebrex twice a day to reduce swelling.

I've taken photos of my leg and the pretty colors it is turning. If I had been able to stand wearing the support hose, the bruising would have been less. It looks awful; but, it doesn't hurt. A waterproof bandage covers the incision. It will come off on April 18 when the stitches come out.

The second, third and four days were when my leg was the sorest. I felt like I'd been in a car accident! I am appreciative of the flowers a couple sent me as well as a the paper bouquet my friend Sharron sent. My in town daughter and her two daughters dropped by for a visit on Saturday. My quilters friends have sent me healing wishes, A number of them also have sent me photos of the quilt show so I could view some of the entries! I'm appreciative of the multiple calls my London daughter has sent! 

Life is good and getting better every day!


Sunday, April 7, 2024

A top. . .counting it!!--Secret Agent post 3

 My knee joint replacement surgery was delayed a couple days. I took advantage of the extra time and worked to get my Kerr and Ringle mystery to a top. When I last posted about this project, I was working on clue number five. 

Putting the sections together
I thought I was being careful following the layout. I stitched the pieces together and posted a photo on the Modern Quilts Studio Facebook page. When I headed to bed Tuesday night, I saw I had turned a block.

What the top looked like Tuesday night
Wednesday, I was up early to drink some apple juice before surgery. I had time before we needed to leave so I ripped out the errant block, oriented it correctly and restitched it in place. I was feeling great about the top. I took another photo,

What the top looked like Wednesday morning
I saw another error. Sadly there wasn't enough time to fix that error. I think this is the last oops! I will fix it once I can sew again. For now, I'm counting that I met goal number six on my April list. I like how it looks. It measurers about 49x49 inches.

I'm linking to Cynthia at Oh Scrap/Quilting Is More Fun Than Housework. Regarding my knee surgery, I'm planning to write a post about it on Wednesday. The short report is my knee is healing and I'm doing okay.

Wednesday, April 3, 2024

March Update and April Goals

Lime Sprinkle finish
My March Goals were: 
✔1. Finish Lime Sprinkle.
✔2. Make progress on the Farm quilt.
✖3. Complete the February and March embroidery software lessons. Didn't open the software.
✔4. Make selvage squares in the Rainbow Scrap Challenge color of the month which is purple.
✖5. Make progress piecing the blocks together for Indigo Way. Looked at the blocks; but, didn't have extended time to be able to leave the blocks on the floor.
✔6. Make progress on the Modern Mystery quilt along with Bill Kerr and Weeks Ringle.
✔7. Sew at least one kitchen towel.
✔8. Piece some blocks for the 2024 temperature quilt.
✖9. Make progress on the blocks I began in the Cindy Grisdela workshop.Thought about making more progress. Worked on the Kerr and Ringle mystery instead.
✔10. Visit the Vancouver library exhibition of Portland Modern Quilts.
✖11. Sew with Miss K should she be available.She wasn't available.
Get the blocks from the
Modern Mystery into a top!
✔12. Make progress on the 2022-2023 temperature quilt.
✔13. Make progress on the quilting for the Farm quilt.

My April goals are:
1. Make progress on the 2022-2023 temperature quilt.
2. Glue selvage squares in the Rainbow Scrap Challenge color of the month.
3. Complete the February, March and April embroidery software lessons.
4. Begin planning a modern mystery quilt along for next year.
5. Catch up with the temperatures for the 2024 temperature quilt.
6. Get the Kerr and Ringle mystery to a top.
7. Do my PT and follow the recovery plan so that I will heal correctly and be able to have the range of motion to kneel for: CPR training, or quilt blocking or to play with the granddaughter. 

Today I'm having knee joint replacement surgery. The surgery is the reason why I listed goal number seven. Recovery is going to take some time. I'm looking forward to being more mobile.

Sunday, March 31, 2024

Secret Agent Mystery--post 2

Color code/key
This modern mystery quilt along began in January through Bill Kerr and Weeks Ringle. Kerr and Ringle are the creatives behind Modern Quilt Studio. I was intrigued to join because transparency was the method we would explore as secret agents. The reveal happened February 16. The pattern is available for purchase. Because I was working on the Improv classes with Irene Roderick and Cindy Grisdela, I didn't get beyond making the color code/key until this week. The finished quilt is about 51 inches by 51 inches. 

Clue number 1
I did purchase the fat quarter bundle from Modern Quilt Studio to make this project. Since I purchased a small amount of fabric, I don't have room for errors! I carefully cut the fabrics for clue one and stitched the pieces following the directions.

Pocket made to collect spy clues

We also stitched a pocket to hold specific items. I put a piece of interfacing in my pocket to give it a little bit of stability. I was supposed to come up with a secret agent name. Gertie, my inner squirrel, has been uncharacteristically silent on the subject. Rosanne from my Friday Sit and Sew group suggested 00Q like 007 and sort of like my e-mail which includes two zeros!

Last Sunday afternoon, I finished stitching clue number one. Clue one had me stitch a singular block as well as a set of four blocks of another design.

Part A of clue 2
Working through clue number two took longer because there were more steps. The first instruction was to make a square in a square block. My secret agent persona got to make a choice of jumping out of an airplane or running through fire. While I don't know that I would do either in real life, I chose jumping out of an airplane. Making that choice meant choosing a specific fabric to place in the center of the blocks.

Part B of clue 2
This second instruction contained some curved piecing! That curve is fairly tight. I pinned the heck out of the curve and sewed slowly. Whew! I didn't have any tucks. I call that a win! I will share that improv curves are easier to piece!

Part C of clue 2
The third instruction had me make two more blocks. I like how the fabrics play with each other. I hadn't considered transparency as a method to drawn the viewer's eye to the project. I'm curious as to when I'll begin seeing the transparency effect.

Blocks stitched before beginning clue three
The fourth and final instruction of clue two, had me make a much larger block. Each block or sets of blocks have a code name. It's a fun way to participate in a mystery!

Small blocks sections
For the remainder of the week, I've continued stitching through the clues. There are six clues. I am currently working my way through clue five. I'm beginning to see how transparency is achieved.  

Most of clues 1-4
Making progress on this project was goal number six on my March list. I'm linking to Cynthia at Oh Scrap/Quilting Is More Fun Than Housework. I always enjoy sipping a cuppa as I catch up on projects that my fellow bloggers are stitching. Happy Easter! Enjoy the day with friends and family.

Wednesday, March 27, 2024

Purple Selvages for Rainbow Scrap Challenge

Purple selvages
Angela at So Scrappy chose the color purple as the Rainbow Scrap Challenge for March. I've sewn with purple often so I was extra surprised as I dug through the selvages to find few options! I was concerned that I wouldn't have enough to make squares for three blocks!

Range of purples--first set of squares

I began the process. Purple can come in a huge range of colors from blue/purple to red/purple and then add grey or white to make even more colors! For the first set of squares, Gertie, my inner squirrel, challenged me to use as many different purples as possible. I really wasn't excited with the muddy purple in the middle of the square. Gertie told me to go for it. I did. She has been vacationing so when she put in an appearance, I wanted to acknowledge her thoughts.

Second set of squares
Of course, because I followed her idea, she was ready with ideas for the second set. She challenged me to incorporate a red purple selvage in the middle of the square. While I wasn't "all in" for that red purple, I again acknowledged her idea. She was surprised that she was two for two!

Third set of squares
For the third set, Gertie wanted to use selvages that were the same purple tone. I was definitely on board. Unfortunately, I didn't have enough selvages to make it work. Gertie swished her tail. She said to use some of the plain selvages. I balked because I would miss the white edge. Gertie's responses were: So what? It won't matter. Try it. 

Close up of thread options

I did try it. I liked the results. Gertie was chirping happiness. . .she was three for three with me taking her suggestions! For the non white selvages, I did stitch close to the edge with a matching thread. Making these squares was goal number four on my March list.

Sunday, March 24, 2024

Lime Sprinkle Is Finished--post 4

Back of the quilt
In my previous post, I had finished quilting this project and had blocked the quilt. I trimmed the edges and cut the strips for the facing. This time, I cut the strips two and half inches wide by the length of the sides. I pressed the strips in half and clipped them to the sides of the quilt. 

Facing clipped to quilt; ready for stitching
I cut the strips for the width one inch shorter than the width of the quilt. Again, I pressed the strips in half and clipped them to the quilt top. I stitched around the perimeter of the quilt using a quarter inch seam. I trimmed the bulk from the corners, pressed the seam to the outside of the quilt. Next I pushed the corners out and pressed the facing to the back of the quilt. I pinned the facing to the back of the quilt and hand stitched it in place.

Trimmings and thread used
Next, I created the label and the sleeve. This time, I cut my sleeve 11 inches wide instead of my usual nine inches, I constructed it a bit differently too. After I had pressed the sleeve in half, I opened it up and pressed the edges to the fold line. I hemmed the ends, turning in a quarter inch twice. So far, these are the steps I usually use. What I changed was I top stitched about an eighth of an inch from each long edge. Then, I stitched wrong sides together to complete the sleeve. It was easier to hand stitch the sleeve in place. One of our book club members shared a You Tube video tutorial that shows the steps I used. I will use this technique again!

I shared photos of my finish with my instructor, Irene Roderick. She wrote back, "Thx for this email!! I needed the reminder to keep going! Great piece!" What a terrific response from an amazing artist and instructor!
Finished quilt before second blocking
I blocked it again because after I hand stitched the facing, the edges didn't lie flat. I'm pleased with the finish. I used about six yards of fabric in this project. This brings the amount of stash I have used this year to negative half a yard. Again, my goal this year is to use what I have and to not buy fabric. . .the buying part is so easy and fun though! Soon, however, I'll really be reducing my stash! 

After the second blocking

I'm linking to Cynthia at Oh Scrap/Quilting Is More Fun Than Housework. Finishing this quilt was goal number one on my March list. It's my first quilt finish this year!

Wednesday, March 20, 2024

Kitchen Towels--Two More


Parts for two towels
Goal number seven on my March list was to make at least one kitchen towel. I made two! I found it was easy to make two at the same time. 

Stitching the top of the towel
My original plan was to use the tree fabric for the main fabric; but, I ended up using the fabric for the decorative band instead. The holly fabric was a scrap that I was able to cut two main fabrics and one band. There were some leftovers.  . .like a two inch strip and some smaller pieces that will work for strings.

Ready to stitch the sides
I figure I've used a quarter yard of fabric. This brings my use of stash this year to negative six and a half yards. I will need to purchase more Dunroven towels to make more decorative towels. 

Finished towels

Sunday, March 17, 2024

Moving Closer to a Finish (Lime Sprinkle)--post 3

Quilting detail lower right section
This week, I finished quilting Lime Sprinkle. I thought that I would have it finished in time to post about it today; but, I didn't finish. Instead, I'm sharing photos of my quilting. 

In process quilting view top left 
First, I used a monofilament thread to stitch in the ditch to anchor all of the piecing, Because creating texture was my goal, I quilted the pieces using a combination of curved and straight lines. 

The first time I quilted an around an X shape

The lines are about a quarter inch apart. I used the same color thread as the fabric. Sometimes, I used a ruler to stitch the lines and sometimes I eyeballed the space as I stitched.

In process view quilting upper right.
Second time to quilt around the X shape.
If I was stuck with how to quilt one area, I moved to an area where I had an idea of how I wanted it to look. If I still was stuck, I considered repeating a quilting design. I used the shape below at least three times!

Quilting detail lower left of the project.
Third time to quilt an X shape.
Most of the top is quilted with straight lines going in different directions. I did a little planning to alternate horizontal vertical, and diagonal lines. The quilting felt right. It takes time to quilt the lines about a quarter inch apart! 

Quilting detail upper middle left
My friend JoJo often hand stitched small areas on her quilts to leave behind her hand in the project. I decided to include a little hand stitching in this project to leave behind the mark of my hand. I used red Aurifil 30 weight thread to stitch a simple running stitch to form an X next to the skinny lined X that I created in red fabric on the black fabric. I used the same thread and stitch to accent the tiny lime blocks in the quilt. 

Quilting detail hand stitches middle right
To view the quilting, you will have to be up close and personal.  Yesterday, I washed it to remove dog hair and the starch. Our dog is a sweetie. She is a shedder, even though I brush her every day!!! To ensure it would be dry today, I tossed it in the dryer for ten minutes. After ten minutes it was damp dry in most places. 

Detail of hand stitching around ghost block
Then, I blocked it which it needed. Before quilting it was 26 1/2 inches by 52 inches. It now measures 24 1/4 inches by 50 inches. Today, my goal is to trim the edges, machine stitch the facing to the quilt, make the label and the label. I'll be hand stitching the facing, label and sleeve into place during the week.

View after quilting
Perhaps, next Sunday, I will have a finish to post. I am pleased with both the progress and how the project look. It's been a super fun project to stitch. I definitely will be employing Irene Roderick's techniques in other projects!

View after blocking. The dark areas
indicate areas with more wetness. 
 I'm linking to Oh Scrap/Quilting Is More Fun Than Housework, Do pour yourself a cuppa and enjoy all the inspirational projects people share that they are stitching.