Monday, June 15, 2009


Wow, it's been a long time. So, what's up with Circles? We've had a steady and gentle winter and spring. Our class offerings were filling up before we could announce them because people keep signing up for more. Which is lovely and we've had such a nice time watching our students go from being worried that making a knit stitch required the cognitive skills of a rocket scientist and the dexterity of a brain surgeon to a state of relaxation with needles in their hands and sheer joy as they watch their first sweater unfold. Such a pleasure to behold.

However, I noticed along the way that  announcing classes motivated me to keep communications happening on a regular basis. Hmmm, gotta fix that.

Of course, that's not the only reason I haven't been shouting out a lot in these past few months. I'm a little distracted. Well, a lot distracted. It's been a phased realization of the nature of my health problems and this winter, the gravity of it sank in. What a journey. In 2005, when I first realized that "something is wrong" it took two years to figure what that something was. In 2007, when I got a diagnosis, I thought, "Ok, now we know what we're dealing with, I'll get treatment and things will get back on track." Only my body didn't take to the treatment very well and by winter of 2008, I was in worse shape than before. Ok, then. Spring comes and we try a new treatment approach. Body is tolerating that better. Yay. Now, I'll get better. It's Summer of '08 and I *am* feeling a bit better. Fewer seizures, less foggy brain. Things are looking up.

Until they weren't. Some things stabilized and others got worse. (Fingers hurt so much it's hard to knit now!) By January of this year, I was experiencing some new and frightening symptoms. Why wasn't I getting better? More than that, why was I getting worse? Off for more tests.

In March, I learned that that two year delay in getting my original diagnosis meant that Lyme disease had been given free reign to wreak havoc and that I have acquired some disquieting auto-immune disorders along the way. Dysautonomia and Chronic Inflammatory Demyelinating Polyradiculoneuropathy. Yeah, that's a mouthful. The docs just say CIDP. It's very similar to MS.

Why talk about this here? Because I've really had to slow down. A lot. Dysautonomia means that my autonomic systems are not being properly controlled. You know that stuff like your heartbeat, your breathing, your digestion, your body temperature. This is not stuff I can fool around with and try to simply push through. I really have to consider how I spend my time.  I have to arrange my life so that I do what is important whilst keeping life manageable.

So, what is it I cherish about Circles? I love the social circles, of course. For me, it's all about the people I've come to love. I also enjoy teaching and designing. I can only commit to so much teaching, as my energy and cognitive presence are not always predictable. So, I must keep that limited, but I definitely want to keep doing it. Maybe 1 to 2 classes per week. Here are the classes I want to teach:

I'd like to have one ongoing class that is "open to suggestion". That is, sign up for 4 sessions and I'll teach whatever you want. The class will have limited enrollment to make sure we can get to everybody's agenda and each student can learn what they came for and so much more, because they'll be exposed to what others want to learn.

The second class is a custom knitting class. Bring a design idea or a pattern you want to customize and I'll work with you to achieve that vision. Combining both teaching and designing, this is nearly Nirvana for me. And, it will dovetail right into the Pattern Collaborative.

The Pattern Collaborative has been stalled a bit this winter, as I my attention got pulled away. However, we do have quite a group of designs ready to go and a hefty list in the test-knitting phase. I felt technologically stymied, as we wanted charts and diagrams to look professional and I wasn't up to the task. So, I put a call out and found someone to help us with that. Time for me to get that activity going again.

Or almost time. As I wait in limbo while 1) the docs figure out how to get insurance to cover the medical treatment I need, and 2) some big changes are going down in my household, I've decided to take a summer hiatus. So, until mid-August, the only Circles activity will be the Sunday Circle. In August, I'll start up classes again and rev up the Design Circle.

So, come on by any Sunday (Noon to 3) for social knitting and we'll see you in August for everything else. I appreciate your understanding until then.

Knit along now, Allison


Jeanette said...

I am sorry that this year has been so rough. I am happy to see you posting now though, and I hope that you are able to make some progress over the summer!

Village Books said...

Hi - I just discovered you!

I have similar health issues. Try not to "commit the sin of despair" and stay psychologically healthy. Other people & their demands, expectations and failure to understand are now your biggest challenge.

I'll keep folowing your blog & the wonderful work you're doing at Circle.

Always remember: there REALLY IS NO REASON TO HURRY!!!

Karen Jelenfy
Village Books
Washington, Maine