Monday, May 8, 2017

World Ovarian Cancer Day

I couldn't finish the day without mentioning World Ovarian Cancer Day.  I have written about it before and will continue bringing attention to this cancer that is often missed until it is too late.

This is just one link describing what to look for and it encourages women to become their own advocate.
Ovarian Cancer Symptoms

If you don't care to go to links, here is a brief rundown of the symptoms.
1. Abdominal or pelvic pain
2. Indigestion
3. Loss of appetite
4. Bloating
5. Urinary frequency
6. Feeling full quickly
7. Constipation, diarrhea or alternating between both
8. Lower back pain
9. Sudden unexplained weight loss
10. Vaginal bleeding
If you experience any of these symptoms over a 2-4 week period of time, make a visit to your doctor and express your concern. There are no screening tests for this cancer, but there are tests that can be run if you have symptoms. Be persistent.

An Update on My Disease
I was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in July, 2013.  I underwent extensive surgery and six cycles of intense chemotherapy.  After completing the initial chemo, I was put into a clinical trial with chemo treatments every four weeks for a year. I followed up with my doctor every three months, per the trial protocol.

At the end of two years, about the time I was supposed to start six month check-ups, I started experiencing the symptoms again. My CA125 test had been rising, so my doctor kept my next scheduled exam at three months.

About a week or two before my doctor appointment, I started bleeding rectally. I was told to go to my regular doctor to be checked. I called my local surgeon and he got me into his office a half hour later. A colonoscopy was scheduled for the following Monday. A tumor was found and the biopsy found it tested for ovarian cancer. I met with my gynecologic oncologist and he scheduled surgery for the following Monday.
I had a bowel resection and exploratory on April 3rd, five weeks ago. Here I am, ready to head to surgery. Boy was I puffed up from two colon preps in a week!
On a positive note, I had a great roommate for the week I was in the hospital.
Our daughter Carolyn came over from Green Bay to visit and brought her sister Becky (no photo) from Petoskey.
My aunt and uncle and family sent a beautiful plant.

Three and a half weeks later, I started chemo treatments again. I will be having a treatment every three weeks with two chemo drugs. My next infusion, another non-chemo drug will be added that is supposed to shrink blood vessels, and hopefully starve any new tumors that may develop. Other than days four and five after chemo, which I pretty much slept through, I have been doing well, as long as I don't overdo.

Weaving Again
I finally picked a small weaving project to start on yesterday. I finished the design this morning, and got the warp wound this afternoon and had it wound on the back beam by this evening.
This only shows half of it spread in the raddle. Hopefully I can start threading it tomorrow after I get back from the infusion center in the morning. I just need lab work drawn. Hopefully it will be in the okay range.

Friday, May 5, 2017

Taming Towel Hems

A few sewing techniques that aren't common knowledge can make a difference in how hems on towels turn out.  After taking so much time designing a beautiful towel, the goal is to have a hem that is equally attractive.

The techniques I use avoid some common complaints such as flared hems, rippling hems, and weft threads unraveling or poking out from the ends of the hems.

The first thing I do is serge apart my group of towels before wet finishing, leaving a thread tail of about 1 1/2" - 2" at each end. Serger chains tend to unravel, so an overhand knot on the chain somewhere will allow the chain to stay intact during wet finishing.  Many of the machine stitches on a sewing machine will work also if a serger isn't available, but the ends should be very secure so the weft doesn't unravel.

Wet finish using standard instructions for your yarn type. Dry and steam press.
 I turn the hem while doing my heavy steam pressing.  Don't let the hem area flare out.  The best time to control flaring is with pressing during wet finishing.  That is the press that will set the threads into memory.  If they are allowed to flare at this point, it is almost impossible to correct it later.

Pull the tail onto the first hem crease, pulling a tiny corner of the towel into the hem.
Fold up the next fold, enclosing the tail and corner. There shouldn't be anything sticking out. Pin if necessary to keep control. The top and bottom layer should be aligned.

Pick a thread color that is the least conspicuous when placed across the cloth and thread the sewing machine.
Starting at the top corner, one warp thread in from the hem edge, put the needle down through the layers and check the alignment again at the edge.

Do not sew over pins, unless you like to fix snagged warp or weft threads, purchase new needles or to pay for your machine to be timed again.

Stitch to the corner and reverse back to the start point, leaving the needle in the down position. Raise the foot and pivot to start sewing across the hem.
If you look carefully at the photo, you can see a little ripple of fabric in front of my finger. (Clicking on the photo should enlarge it.)  This is an easing technique used in the sewing industry. The little ripple is pushed toward the foot as the hem is sewn. It actually eases a tiny amount more fabric under the foot than the feed dogs are pulling and keeps the hem from flaring. Don't ever pull on the hem while sewing.

If you don't have a lot of control of your machine speed, you may want to use something other than your finger to do the pushing. Pierced fingertips will leave blood on your pretty towel!

Remove pins before you get to them, keeping stripes or pattern aligned until the other end of the hem is reached.

As you get close to the end, the beginning process will be repeated.  If you didn't turn in the other chain and tiny corner when turning up the hem, do so now.

When you reach the end, put the needle down one thread from the edge, pivot, align the edge and sew to the bottom corner, and reverse to the top of the hem.