Thursday, October 08, 2009

Mel, I was briefly worried by your swine-flu comment yesterday. But then I happened to stumble across this – news from Mexico (and who should know better) that the seasonal flu injection may actually give some protection against swine flu. Believe what you will. Like you, I’m going to have all the injections they’ll give me, and try to stop fussing.

I wonder whether the comparative immunity of old folks is just a reflection of the fact that many of us live out of the world, less exposed to danger. It’s folk like Mel and Angel who are close to lots of people every day, who are in trouble.

Angel, I’m sorry you’re so tired. It sounds tough. I’m glad you still call in here. And thank you for the Kindle link. There’s a phrase in there which makes it sound pretty certain that will be selling the new international Kindle soon – and Christmas is coming. But I haven’t got time to read; I’ve got to knit.

I had another good day with the ASJ. I think, if I conscientiously neglect other responsibilities, I may reach the half-way point between cast-on and underarm today. I forgot to tell you that I had my first exciting session with my new double-headed crochet hook the other day. When I was knitting the swatch, I split several stitches. That isn’t happening with the real thing, but I found a stitch facing the wrong way, purled where it should have been knitted. It must have slipped off the needle and gone down a row and been replaced the wrong way.

It really didn’t matter. The smooth, st st side of the stitch was on the wrong side. But I wanted to have a go on the crochet hook. It wasn’t entirely easy, but I eventually more or less got the hang of it.

Here is the nice, straight line of one of the mitres. The trouble with EZ's prescribed decrease -- slip 1, k2tog, psso -- is that the line is difficult to follow even when established. Believe me, I tried.

The Faculty Meeting Knitter has just bought more yarn than (surely) she could knit in a year, following a yarn-binge in August. Angel got in a modest, sensible amount to celebrate her PhD. I had a good weigh-in this morning – another pound and a half, and I can say with hand on heart that I’ve lost two stone this year. Maybe today is Finullgarn day.


  1. JennyS9:48 AM

    Jean, my understanding is that the current "swine flu" bug is a variant of a flu bug which was last widespread about 50 years ago. Therefore most people of 50 or over have already had a flu of this type - which is what gives them the immunity. My GP sister says they have had very few if any over 50s in the surgery with the swine flu because if they have any symptoms at all these are so mild as to go basically un-noticed.

  2. The problem with a lot of these studies is that the numbers are so small that they don't have a great deal of statistical power. So they should always be taken with a grain of salt. Besides, just because a group has a greater or lesser risk on average doesn't always mean that your individual risk is any different.

    I had hoped to get more work done on my Expedition tonight, but work has been quite busy with no real downtime, as yet.

  3. Dawn in NL10:06 AM

    Further to Mel's comment, it is easy for researchers to get caught up in what is statistically significant and forget about the Clinical Relevance of what was found. There was an article about this in a Dutch newspaper last weekend following a report by a PhD student on this phenomenon.

    In my job, we have to keep this in mind too (running clinical trials, but not on flu vaccine ;-)).

    All the best,

  4. rosesmama11:50 AM

    Checking in from the flu front: in the elementary school clinic where I work, we are seeing 4-5 cases a day, though yesterday there was an uptick to 10. The kids are mostly having cough and a lowgrade fever and feeling better in 3-4 days. There have been a couple of deaths of children in our area, though, one of a previsously healthy child, which have made parents very nervous and more willing to vaccinate than ever before. I get several calls a day asking when both vaccines will be in. I am teetering on the brink of 50, and am guessing that the day of bodyaches I had last week was a mild version. My co-workers, who are of an age with me, seemed to be more under the weather, but only for a day or two. We (the nursing staff) had our regular flu shots early September, and I will still get the H1N1 when it ever rolls out.

  5. Sue in CT1:42 PM

    I prefer the sl2, k1, p2sso for a centered double decrease. It leaves a nice raised center stitch which is easily seen. I haven't knitted the ASJ but I did knit the Baby and Bears for Adults which is based on the ASJ but is in stockinette rather than garter.

    On the H1N1 2009 front, I work at a private boarding school in NE Connecticut and we haven't had any cases yet but we're gearing up for them. I'm in my early 50's and it's probably the first year I'll get a flu shot but only the that one.

  6. Anonymous2:13 PM

    You are making wonderful progress on the ASJ. The colours are beautiful.
    Ron in Mexico

  7. Bravo for the two stone! And all your talk about the surprise sweater makes me want to try one this winter.

  8. Anonymous3:42 PM

    Great jacket Jean, I love the colours so far & can't wait to see the rest.

    I work as a practice nurse & did my first (seasonal) flu vacc clinic yesterday and had some very disgruntled responses from the older folks when told that they would be later to be offered the swine flu vaccine as we will be immunising younger high risk patients first. Some people seem to find it difficult to understand that those more likely to be badly affected should be jabbed first. Although I can see that each person's individual risk is not necessarily the same, the factis that older people can probably keep themselves isolated from the infectious more easily than those who have to work or care for children. We have no idea as yet when we'll be getting the vaccine and are dreading it as we'll then have to run 2 immunisation campaigns side by side! And I had my seasonal flu vacc yesterday & knitting is a little uncomfortable today: post flu vacc sore arm!

    Christine (as seen in IKnit)

  9. Congratualtions Jean, your weight loss is an amazing acheivement. I wish I could get into the right head space to do something about my weight, I'm unfortunately increasing instead of decreasing!
    I commented a while ago when you had finished your Princess that it had inspired me to have a go at a major lace project, well I have almost finished my first proper lace shawl. Nowhere near as impressive as your Princess but am really happy with it.

  10. I'm loving the colors on the ASJ so far. Looking forward to the completed article.

    I work for a large healthcare company so at least I have access to reasonably reliable information. We were told that swine flu was no more a risk than the seasonal flu but that it was more easily transmitted from person to person. I've also heard that it was more likely to affect folks born after 1957, the last major flu outbreak. The good thing about all the hoohah is that the company is making people stay home when they're sick with fever, so the Typhoid Marys who come in with colds and such are staying home and not infecting the rest of us.

  11. Yesterday in class so many students were coughing and sneezing that my lecture on Unitarians and Transcendentalism was totally drowned out, and I had to stop for a few minutes to give people a chance to go outside and get some water and to go blow noses and stuff....

    The thing is, besides swine flu, I have students going down with the common cold, strep throat, allergies, and all kinds of random viruses.

    Thanks for sympathy on the tiredness Jean, I think I just have to get used to being a real professor, versus a grad student or teaching fellow... its just an adjustment period, I hope. I just need to find a way to make time for knitting, because its not happening, and I miss it...

  12. =Tamar2:45 AM

    EZ's centered decrease is just the other one done from the reverse side; to locate it, could you look on the other side of your knitting for the center stitch?

  13. The whole flu preparedness is interesting. At the university where I work, their sick leave policy has changed dramatically. Now, if you have a fever and cough or fever and body aches, you are to stay home - no doctor's excuse needed - an unusual departure from the regular policy.

    Congrats on the 2 stone. I need to follow your example.