Thursday, May 30, 2013

I'm baaaaaaaack and knitting more than ever!

My last post was in 2009 and refers to my mom and her failing health.  I ended up losing her in 2010 and it's taken me awhile to get back to this blog and move on with the "new normal". I am forever grateful for the time I had taking care of her and while it was the hardest thing I've ever done I would do it again in a heartbeat.  So if any of you knitters or fans are on the fence about an ailing parent I can give you lots of information as support.  Once a social worker always a social worker.

I've heard blogs aren't popular anymore?  Is that true?  I guess I'll find out.  I have my Ravelry ID as Phyll, I'm on Facebook as Phyll Latta Lagerman and also Lagerman Knits (please "like" this page!) and that's it.  I'm going to try the blog again.  It seems like those other venues are for shorter posts.

Right now I am knitting and designing full time and hoping to continue along this avenue.  I have been published in which has really made me happy.  There are so many talented designers out there and to be picked for publication is an honor.  Also, I'm opening my Etsy shop and will be selling some of my finished work there as well as patterns.  I always have new designs so check back often! did a feature article on myself and life as a knitter.  I did the Expo last year for the same group.  It was a blast and I had a lot of help from Evelyn, Marsha, Barb, Malia and everyone forced to listen to me obsess over the booth.  We won 1st place in the booth contest.  Trying again this year.

I still teach at Beyond the Rainforest.  I am looking to branch out to more knitters so I can continue on my journey in life as a knitter.  I'm just getting ready to start a sock class and below is what the students are going to be knitting.  My sock designs right now are based on vintage post cards.  I found a great postcard from Central Park New York.  I used dreamincolor smooshy with cashmere for this pair.  I need Malia to come over so I can take a photograph with them on actual feet!  They really are pretty and perfect for a New York moment in the park. 

See you soon and thanks for hanging in there for me.  Must knit now,  Phyll


Monday, July 13, 2009

Knit One, Dialysis Too

"Am I dying?"

My Mom asked me that question when I arrived at Lancaster General Hospital June 1, 2009. What we all thought would be a brief visit for recovery turned into repeated hospitalizations, open heart surgery and eventually dialysis.

"Yes you are" I told her. My Mom has never been one to mince words and it was such a direct question I felt she deserved the respect of an honest and direct answer. She was dying. The renal disease on top of everything else was destroying her body. She weighed 84 pounds and was wasting away. It was the most gut wrenching experience of my entire life. Still is...

"I don't want to die. I want to live."

"I want to go home."

I fed her. I spoon fed my mother as much and as often as she could possibly tolerate. The food tasted horrible to her. I told her to eat it anyway. Renal disease causes a decreased appetite and the food tastes like metal. Lovely, huh? I made her eat all the time.

"I want to see Malia get married and I want to see my great-grandchild." My mother chose to live. We spent 16-24 hours a day together in the hospital and then at Landis Homes for three weeks so she could get enough strength back to travel to Ohio and return home.

We are back in Ohio. She is home. She is at dialysis right now. It's been the best thing that ever happened to her. I truly believe that. We aren't out of the woods yet and I still ask for your thoughts and prayers as they are most appreciated.

Once again, knitting kept me sane. If you look at my projects page on Ravelry you'll see a lot of market bags, seed stitch and the like. I chose projects that were satisfying and relatively mindless. My mind was too full to think about designing. It still is.

I'll get some pictures up here later. Right now I have to get back to the dialysis center and pick her up. I miss my daughter, I miss my friends. I have enough knitting here to keep me busy when I get a chance. I am grateful she is still on this earth and we can laugh and cry together. She is a remarkable woman and I have great admiration for her.

Sooooooo...I'll grab my knitting and head off to the DSI center to pick up Mom. Maybe we'll take a drive in the valley. If you read this please keep her in your thoughts.

I love you,Mom. And you're not a burden.

Must knit now,


Tuesday, March 10, 2009

I Knit Through It All

That's my Mom, Jeanne. Since last July it's been one thing after another for her. She's had 4 knee replacements. How does that happen? She said the first 2 must have been factory rejects. So, in July she had the 3rd one done and then the other knee gave out in September. As if that wasn't enough Thanksgiving Day her appendix burst. Twelve days later she had a heart attack. Now we are all in the process of learning about dialysis. That's the next hurdle.

Why bring this up? A lot of my knitting since that July has taken place in emergency rooms, hospital rooms, critical and intensive care units, rehab facilities, waiting rooms, therapy rooms, Mom's house when I hang out with her and so on and so forth. If you see any projects on Ravelry under Phyll (that's my Ravelry ID) a lot of them are hospital projects.

I knit through it all. I knit with desperation at times. I knit in the dark and I knit with tears. I couldn't control what was happening to my Mom. I couldn't take her pain away, make it all better for her and get her back home. I couldn't do much of anything except be an advocate for her, keep her company and try to smile through it all. And knit.

And knit I did. Controlling the yarn, the needles, the project...those loops made one after another...thousands upon thousands of loops was all about control for me. It kept me sane. It gave me something to do during the hours and days of this whole nightmare. I'd show my Mom what I was knitting, the nurses and doctors, anyone and everyone would ask me about my knitting. All of those Cindy Lu Who stockings were knit in some health care place.

I just hauled it everywhere. If I didn't believe in the therapeutic benefits of knitting before this I surely do now!

I learned a lot too. In spite of the dismal news coverage day after day I have found an incredible amount of kindness in this world of ours. I've learned it's the little things that matter, like salt on mashed potatoes or coffee, or just a smile. I've learned that I have an incredible Mother who has a deep strength and although she may not feel it at this moment I see it in her. I've learned there are so many people out there with similar circumstances and that has given me hope. I've learned that I have a really wonderful family. Distance, kids, life, work can get in the way of learning how wonderful family is. I've also learned that sometimes it's okay to cry and laugh at the same some very odd things let me tell you! We won't go there.

So, I'll keep knitting. I miss my Mom a lot. She's with my brother Steve and his family right now. I'll see her soon. If I don't post a blog for awhile you'll know why. I was going to put up a bunch of hospital projects but decided to just leave this with my Mom's picture. If you read this please keep her in your thoughts.

I love you Mom.

Must knit now,


Friday, November 7, 2008


Socktoberfest was awesome. Everyone loved the yarn from The Unique Sheep. These are my finished socks from there(let's see if I can put a picture in the proper place this time!) This is the Hope Floats pattern I did for Breast Cancer Awareness Month. I'm really happy with the results and I donated them to Kylie. I've never met Kylie but my friend Karen is going with her to U of M Monday for some more reconstructive surgery. I thought she should have these!

The other pair is my Curb Socks done in the Gradiance Collection Tinsel Toes. Amazing how the colors blend, isn't it? LET'S SEE IF I CAN PUT THE PICTURE IN NOW IN THE RIGHT PLACE! Okay, it's the one on the left. Eventually I'll figure out how to put the pictures where I want them.

My birthday was Wednesday and it was really fun. I had received my gifts from Malia last Sunday as we work different shifts and I wasn't sure if I would see her on the 5th. She had 3 bags full of all sorts of goodies. One of my favorites were these guys up top. Aren't they just too cute? Everytime I come downstairs and see them I smile. I call them sheep and she calls them lambs. WHATEVER! I haven't named them yet and am certainly open to suggestions if any of you have them! Anyway, I had lunch with my friend Karen and then taught Sock of the Month class. That's always a lot of fun for me. I came home and KNIT all evening. Really a perfect day.

Right now I'm tearing my hair out trying to get the Cindy Lu Who Christmas Stockings done. A family had their handmade Christmas stockings stolen last year, can you imagine? They were knit by the Dad's mother who has passed away. He stopped in Beyond the Rainforest and asked if anyone could knit stockings to replace the ones stolen. I was happy to do so and told him I would if he gave me free reign to knit them as I knew I could never replace the ones his Mother had knit. Oh, I'll throw in a picture now...who knows where it will end up on this page but you all are intelligent and can figure it out, right? Oops, there it is up on the left. I made them all different and really enjoyed the whole design process for this project.

As a special request to my dear friend Candy and because the picture is so darn cute I am adding the Waterloose socks I knit for her daughter and granddaughter, Mary and Cadie. Candy and I have been friends for 38 years! I knit the girls a matching set and got the pictures from Candy. This one will probably be in the glob of pictures at the top, it's the one with the little feet and the big feet! Here we go!
So, today I'll finish a sock! That always feels good. A show day, a big show day when I get the second sock done and they are finally on someones feet! Tomorrow in class we are working on the windowpane heels for the Cindy Lu Who stockings. If you are interested in purchasing that pattern it will be on Ravelry soon. My Ravelry ID is Phyll.
Think snow will be here soon?
Must knit now,

Friday, September 19, 2008

Oooh, let me see what YOU are knitting?

Fall is a busy time at Beyond the Rainforest. I am a knitting instructor and I have a busy schedule of classes. Last Wednesday was my first class in knitting a sweater. I've taught this class many times and it's always fun for me anyway! I let the students pick the sweater they want to knit and pray that it's one I can actually help them with! I consider myself an intermediate knitter and hope they don't show up wanting to knit some truly advanced design in some foreign language or something that I can't even begin to understand. So far so good. When I talk to my son about this he'll say, well aren't you the best knitter Mom? I tell him noooooo....I am not. I'm good for this class though and we are going to have fun.

The ladies (no guys in my classes yet) are all doing different sweaters. Let's see, there are 2 patterns from Ann Norling, 1 from Maggiknits, 1 from Knit Simple and one from Rowan. One children's sweater and the rest are all adult sizing. I'll post pictures when I can figure that part of blogging out! It's a great mix of knitters and patterns and over the next 6 weeks everyone will see their work progress and hopefully have a sweater when all is said and done.

The best thing for me is I have a lot of fun doing this. We laugh, cry (sometimes) and get to know each other. We see how all the different patterns are written and how they knit up with the yarn chosen. I like to teach knitting. My students tell me I am a good instructor and I really appreciate that.

What am I working on? I just finished the Warm Ups for The Natural Dye Studio, still haven't mailed the socks to England (or do they say Britain?), mailed Tiffany her present, finished the sample of the Mystery Sock for Socktoberfest, finished the Spartan Scarf for one of my customers (that was painful as I am an Ohio State fan) and now am working on the Warm Ups for Wednesday's Sock of the Month pattern.

Oh, and the Thank You scarf. Oh, and the Hope Floats sock and pattern. Oh, and the felted Christmas Stocking. Oh, and Andy's U of M socks (another painful knitting process). Now that I start writing all of this I better get to work!

Must knit now,


Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Lipliner and Eyeliner are NOT Interchangeable

Okay, here's what happened...

I'm all excited and wound up today. Those of you who know me know I tend to get like that on occasion, well, regularly if the truth be told. I'm making good progess on the Mother May I's going to Australia on Monday, I have my last sock class tonight and the knitters are doing a great job. I think there are some TV shows I like on tonight even though the new season of Criminal Minds hasn't started. I have a new idea for a sock and while I'm still struggling with the Shirley Temple Socks(frankly, I'm getting downright p_ssed that I can't get my idea to work out) I'm pleased with the one I have in my head right now.

I like to wear makeup. All those little bottles and brushes and colors and lotions just make me happy. I've worn makeup since I was a teenager. So, I'm getting "powdered and perriwigged" as my Mother would say and thinking about my new sock idea and cursing Shirley Temple(sorry Shirley). I put my eyeshadow, eyeliner(I stopped when I was doing this and thought hmmm) then moved right on to the mascara and so on. I grab my lipliner and start to put it ever so carefully around my lips and think, "Why is my lipliner eggplant and not red/terra?" At that point I looked at my face and eyes....yep, I did it again. I had my lipliner(this reddish brown terracotta color) on my eyes and part of my lip was this purple color. I swore, actually I think a string of curse words came out! Now I can get the purlply crap off my lips but I'll have to start over to get the red eyeliner off my eyes. Not going to do that I can tell you! So, if you see me today and I have extra heavy eyeliner on and wonder why....I'm not going for the Cleopatra or Goth look. I'm trying to cover up my red/terra lipliner I so gleefully put on my eyes. I've actually done this more than once!

What else am I up to? Mailing Tiffany her birthday present. Apparently I don't know how to connect with Flickr yet to put a picture here. My Flickr ID is Phyll2001. Tiffany is in medical school at Ohio University and just had a birthday. I know it's after the fact but she'll be happy I hope.

And, getting ready to mail Amanda some socks. She is the owner of The Natural Dye Studio and I hope she like them. I'll try the picture thing again. Well, it's not in the right spot but those at the top are what's headed over the pond! I like them. The question is, will Amanda?

Hey, the Breast Cancer Awareness Walk is October 11 in our area. Sign up if you haven't already done so.

Have to run and fix my face. Damn lipliner. I suppose I should have looked at the thing. Oh well.

Must knit now,


Sunday, September 7, 2008

What the heck am I doing?

I know how to knit, I know how to purl, I know how to cable and I know I'm a girl! This whole blog thing has me baffled. I've been fooling with it while I'm watching House and the MTV awards(I thought Britney Spears was going to sing) and here I am back at the computer getting ready to post my first post! Well, it's a start anyway. It seems as though everybody has a blog and this will be mine. I'll most likely write about a random assortment of things that float in and out of my head while I spend my day working and knitting. Who knows what you'll find here? I certainly don't. I've got the Ravelry stuff down for the most part I think and spend a lot of time there. Oh, I'm Phyll on Raverly, how original?

Okay, I think what I'll do is post this and see if it actually works and if anyone actually looks at it. I'm going to go back to my knitting.

What am I knitting? Samples for The Natural Dye Studio, our Socktoberfest at Beyond the Rainforest, Christmas presents and miscellaneous goodies just for the fun of it. I like to knit! I'm waiting for yarn from The Unique Sheep so I can knit up some Hope Floats socks and I hope it comes soon. They all have gorgeous yarn!

Sooo........we'll see how this goes and if you looked, thanks!

Must knit now,