Tuesday, November 10, 2009

A Very Special Afghan for Cathy

I grew up just down the street from my Bopchi and Jaja.  That's Polish for Grandma and Grandpa.  They both taught me many things, but it was my Bopchi who taught me how to knit and crochet.

My Bopchi mainly crocheted.  Every year for Christmas all of the women in the family would get a bunch of dishtowels that she had crocheted a "top" onto so that it could be hung from your refrigerator door.  I knew I was a woman the first Christmas I got some of Bopchi's towels.  I would post a picture of one, but I keep all of the ones I have left in storage.  I don't know what I am saving them for, but they are too precious to wipe my hands on.

My Bopchi also crocheted afghans.  I am sure that all of her fourteen Grandchildren got an afghan from Bopchi.  They were all the same zig-zag pattern.  Mine is two shades of purple and a yarn that goes from white to purple. I have it stored at my parent's house - it has seen better days, but just like the hand towels it is always there when I need it.

My Bopchi may have taught me to knit and crochet, but my love of fiber I had to develop on my own.  I cannot remember her using anything other than acrylic yarn.  It comforts me to know that no matter the moths or nuclear bombs - Bopchi's afghans and towel tops will survive.

Just after Christmas last year my Cousin Cathy had a recurrence of her Breast Cancer.  My first reaction was to knit her something.  My first thought was a cashmere hat and cowl.

This was months before my Narcolepsy Diagnosis, and I would spend most of my time at home napping.  One of the characteristics of Narcolepsy is that you reach REM stage really quickly.  Since REM stage is when you dream I can often have really awesome dreams during just a 20 minute nap - we'll save the bad bits about this for another time.

I had a dream and my Bopchi was sitting in her chair crocheting, and said, "Well, someone has to make Cathy an afghan!"  I woke up and started planning an afghan for Cathy - I have no doubt that Bopchi wanted me to do this - for her, for Cathy, and as it turns out, for me as well.

The worst thing about my Narcolepsy is the guilt and shame I feel for not being able to follow through on things.  So, I put aside those feelings, got myself to a yarn shop, and started crocheting an afghan for Cathy.  (See, Bopchi knew I needed to crochet this afghan)

Cathy doesn't know about the afghan, but I did ask her for her favorite colors.  She said crayon purple and green - no pastels.  I went to The Yarn Basket and decided on a purple and green in Lamb's Pride Worsted. I decided to "update" Bopchi's afghan a bit by using the Soft Waves pattern from Jan Eaton's 200 Ripple Stitch Patterns.  After some experimenting I decided to use an "N" hook.  I found that using a large hook would allow the afghan to be large and warn without being heavy.  I want the afghan to be somewhat portable if Cathy wants to bring it to a treatment or test.  My ripples are based on the Fibonacci Sequence, which I found in this scarf pattern.

I am at about the half way mark.  I will be seeing Cathy next week when I see Dr. Scammell in Boston and hope to have it finished by then.   But, if I don't, there will be no tears, I will be seeing Cathy again when our families get together for Christmas.

1)  I am NOT a Medical Professional.  Nothing in this blog is intended as Medical Advice.
2)  If you read something about Narcolepsy on this blog that you find to be incorrect, unclear, offensive or interesting please e-mail me at knittingwithnarcolepsy@gmail.com
3)  I am a BAD ASS knitter.  Everything in this blog that relates yarn (and other related fibers and materials) may and possibly should be used as crafty advice.
4)  I LOVE links.  I use Wikipedia whenever possible for continuity.
5)  I am blogging anonymously in order to avoid any discrimination from current of future employers.  Please respect my anonymity.  If you know who I am, which many of you do, please do NOT use my name in your comments.


  1. (do you mean do NOT use your name in the comments?)

    knit on! and crochet too!!

  2. Hello -
    Thank you for reading my blog and connected me to yours! I love your writing and look forward to reading more posts. Its my hope that slowly but surely, people will gain a better understanding of narcolepsy. Sharing our personal experiences is a great place to start. - Julie/REMRunner
    at remrunner.blogspot.com

  3. Hi,
    I am glad that I found your blog through your comment. Your afghan is beautiful, by the way! I added your site on my "other blogs about narcolepsy" section.
    By the way, I also blog anoynmously to avoid potential employment discrimination in the future. I haven't mentioned this on my site, but Ellie actually isn't my real name, it's a nickname my sister calls me... So, you are the first to know my secret! lol
    So, perhaps we need to find you a nickname to use for your site - or you can go the clever route and be Ms. Knit (or Pearl...) or what have you lol :-).