I have finally finished the Tortoise and Hare gauntlets. These feature many of the same design elements as the sweater of the same name – 3×2 ribbing, vikkel braids, colourwork – and might be regarded as a sort of elaborate swatch for the larger garment. I’ve made mine elbow length, but a shorter glove is easily achieved by working fewer chart repeats.

It is actually quite difficult to photograph gloves and mittens. The conventions of knitting photography dictate that these garments are best displayed grasping an apple, or a mug of steaming hot chocolate. Here, however, I’ve opted for the no-less conventional option of hugging a tree. I show you this next photograph because I have no shame.

These photos were complicated by the cold, the fact that I’m not feeling up to much right now, and Bruce, as per, attempting to muscle in on every shot. . .


. . .but you get the general idea. The Tortoise and Hare sweater is being test knit as we speak (huzzah!) and I’ll release the pattern for these gauntlets alongside it.

Tortoises seem appropriate in my current situation, as I have unfortunately been laid low with fatigue for the past three days. This has really been pretty grim. In all honesty, I find the fatigue much harder to deal with than any of the physical challenges I now face. While I am perfectly capable of pushing myself, and struggling onward up a hill however lame I am, dealing with the fatigue involves what seems to me to be essentially an admission of defeat — acknowledging that one is capable of doing nothing but sitting on one’s arse all day. I have to say that this pacing malarchy everyone goes on about doesn’t really seem to work at all in my case: as, as far as I can make out (and I am keeping a pretty close record) the fatigue is totally unpredictable (it doesn’t seem to be related to an excess of activity on the previous day or two, for example). And it is not just like being tired, or something. When it comes on, I get a weird itchy headache in the place where I had my stroke, and then I start to notice that everything is a little worse: my weak arm is weaker, my gait becomes more and more impaired, and, as it starts to escalate, I find I can’t even think straight. There is no point in saying to myself, ok, I’ll just sit here and finish that chapter, or wind that ball of yarn, or whatever. I just can’t concentrate on anything, and there is nothing to do but go and lie down and wait for it to pass. This is how I’ve been since Friday, and needless to say, there has been no hill walk or, indeed, much of anything for me over the past few days. I am sick of it. Anyway, today I decided that I had to force myself to go outside into the park for ten minutes of tree hugging photography, and then write a post, so I could at least feel I’ve got something to show for the weekend. I am sorry to conclude with this moany paragraph, but am sure you understand that it is important for me to keep recording how I am feeling over time. I know this bout of fatigue will pass eventually, and I must just sit tight and try not to get too frustrated until it does.

Oh yes, and I mustn’t forget to mention that the woolly green tunic I am wearing in these photos is an old dress I refashioned three years ago, and wrote about here.

72 thoughts on “gauntlets

  1. hello,
    i’ve not commented before, but have been reading for a while. just wanted to express some empathy for the fatigue. i’ve only known a fraction of what proper fatigue is like but a number of people very dear and close to me have struggled with what you describe. it’s so not fun :(
    you have tremendous strength and perseverance (and beautiful gauntlets!). you’ll find your way through.
    x

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  2. The ‘weird itchy headache’ on the site of the trauma – yes!! I have had that ever since a concussion in April, and you are the first person to refer to anything similar. THANK you. I am sorry you have it but so relieved to discover I’m not alone and not going mad/ being a hypochondriac etc. Mine is only sporadic now, thank heavens, and that indescribable fatigue – which no-one could easily understand – has worn off; but my injury was far milder than yours. I do hope yours will pass too in time. Meanwhile, trees have tremendous energy and don’t mind sharing – hug away!

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  3. Oh how I feel your pain. What the heck is pacing anyway??! I have my first appointment with the Fatigue Management team in November. That’s 9 months after my SAH. Not sure how they’ll be able to help but am open to suggestions! Get that rest and keep smiling :)

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  4. Hooray for tree hugging photos! i’m an unashamed tree hugger myself, so…..=) (though, it can be a bit dicey around here, as the trees are often covered in moss, which retains water rather well).

    I know from my personal experience with chronic pain that fatigue can be so incredibly debilitating and depressing! ugh – i hate not being able to do all the things i want to – i hate meeting my limit all because of my body! unfortunately, hating the fact and being frustrated doesn’t make it go away. Learning to deal with my own personal limits is incredibly difficult for me – I want to do, do, do and go, go, go! Unfortunately, my body and sometimes my mind have very definite limits that I have become acquainted with over time…..

    all that is to say – have courage, kate! and moan away if it helps you process and deal. sometimes just talking, and acknowledging that what is going on is REAL and not all in your head can be helpful. as i think you know. =)

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  5. The gauntlets are beautiful but I especially love your outfit. It makes me think of a super-heroin I loved when I was a child (actually, I still love her). Named Fantômette, she wears the samed outfit but with different colors and, of course, a black mask. I wish you the good spirits and the energy of a super-heroin !

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  6. Sorry if this sounds trite but
    life is not about accomplishments & getting things done altho we are brought up to think it is and to feel dissatisfied when we don’t accomplish & then consume as expected

    your journey is unique (as we all are) – be as kind to yourself as you would be to a dear friend.

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  7. Love the gauntlets! No pressure but I do hope you will be able to release the pattern soon, will test my knitting abilities, but willing to give them a go.

    I do also hope that the fatigue passes quickly, not much we can say but to encourage you to keep going and let your body heal itself, even if it’s doing it at a tortoise’s pace rather than Kate’s…

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  8. The gauntlets are perfect! I have to say, I prefer the tree-hugging look to the usual ways of showing of hand-coverings.

    So sorry to hear about the terrible fatigue. I have such a hard time describing to people what fatigue feels like, but your description is so evocative. It’s so hard not to know when you’ll be able to do things, and when you just…won’t.

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  9. You are lovely in your trials. You take it all with such grace and ferociousness. (Is that a word?) Anyway, I do love your gauntlet gloves. Carry on with your bad and ferocious self! And most of all: Fingers crossed that even though it will not be an easy thing to do, that very soon you will find your footing again.

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  10. Oh Kate, I love, love, love the Tortoise&Hare Motifs, your sweater design, and now these gauntlets. You are *so* photogenic it is crazy, and how Bruce seems to have an omni-presence in nearly all of your photos is just wonderful actually; this big puppy bounding into the frame from all angles. Love it ! I am feeling for you and your fatigue, and only wish I were in your city, and I’d come by and spend a cup of tea with you and talk about how crappy it is, just to get it blown out. But, all I can do is ever comment on your posts, which I look so forward to, pre and post stroke. I can’t wait to knit the Tortoise & Hare sweater, as it is SO me (too), as I bound, then freeze. Well, I’ve been called more of a squirrel at times….( hey, that gives me an idea for a design)… but nothing, I mean n o t h i n g is as cool as your T&H design. Love Lots, Jen from California

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  11. I am amazed at your level of creativity and productivity, in spite of your fatigue! Improving yourself must be a full-time job right now, I’m pretty sure in your situation I’d be stretched out on the sofa, sorry for myself and watching the same DVD over and over because I couldn’t get up to change it…I love that you share honestly the bad as well as the bloomin’ lovely (gauntlets, Bruce), and can’t imagine you ever letting yourself get moany. The frustration I can imagine – but it’s got to be healthier than thinking, “Oh well, I had a stroke, this is the way I am now” – you’re striving, and I admire that so much.

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  12. Not moaning, just telling us how it is and we all want to know how you are feeling. They are fab gloves and I am sure the jumper will be grand too.

    With very best wishes.

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  13. Hey there Kate!

    I personally love everything about your outfit in this posts photos… the red, the gauntlets, the tights, everything!! But I must be very selfish and tell you that I can’t wait for the pattern for the sweater to come out… and now the gauntlets as well; I can’t take it! You are so talented!!

    I am an American who is currently living in Sweden. It hasn’t been the easiest of moves… (I didn’t know the swedes were hard to get-to know…). We moved here because of my husbands job and I can tell you this… I look forward to your posts more than you know. The good, the bad, the ugly… I look forward to them! I suffer from really horrible migraines and I often feel like you describe feeling now. I also have 3 children under the age of 10 that I must mother and sometimes find difficult to do because of the fatigue. Please know that you are not alone and are thought of from those of us who have not ‘met’ you but love peeking into your life.

    hugs…
    Heather

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  14. Love the gauntlets, such a perfect color combo. Can’t wait to try it out. Seems like quite an accomplishment to me to get them photographed and blogged!

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  15. Sorry to hear the fatigue is so crippling, but why shouldn’t you “moan” about it on your blog? I think it serves a useful purpose too, most of us aren’t aware of what a long process recovery is, and how much of it can be in fits and starts.
    I love the gauntlets, indeed the whole outfit, and the tree-hugging! Hope it made you feel a bit better.

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  16. The tree-hugging photograph shows off the gauntlets to perfection, and is a shining example of how more designers ought to display their work to best advantage! It could be me, but all those allegedly artistic shots of mitten-clad hands clutching apples only call to mind the cover of a certain book (concerning ineffectual, deeply irritating sun-deprived creatures – I’m sure you know which one I mean!) and would never, ever inspire me to make the item in question for myself. Your gauntlets, on the other hand… especially the braids, a technique I’ve never tried before and am very much looking forward to practising.

    I’d also like to join many other people who’ve commented here by noting that I’ve never once found your incredible blog to be ‘moany’ – it’s awe-inspiring, without exception, to read about how you’ve coped with your experiences this year, and one is simply left with the hope that we might all deal so well in similar circumstances.

    with very best wishes,
    Kate.

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  17. Kate,
    Even though you may be feeling like shite, you remain a beautiful (the tree-hugging photo!) and talented (the Hare & Tortoise design! The green frock! Your Blog!) inspiration to all of us who are following your story. I send pleasant and happy thoughts (and thanks) to you every time I wear my o w l s sweater… it gives me warm hugs and I like to think of my thoughts returning those hugs across the miles.
    You are a truly amazing woman.

    …and Bruce is so cute it just about kills me!

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  18. Sorry to hear about the wretched fatigue. But, you surely read my mind about the tunic. I wondered about it and admired it in the photo. Thanks for knowing that some of us out there would want to know.

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  19. as so many have said, i LOVE the tree hugging picture:) i’m a proud tree hugger myself:) the gauntlets look awesome:) the dress is way cool, love the burgundy top and tights:) i hope the fatigue leaves you soon so you can enjoy some more tree hugging:)

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  20. HEY KATE —oh so love the gauntlets — cannot wait to make them —

    –what a pain in the butt this whole fatigue thing — especially bad because intervention in any way is imposable since it just happens
    – totally understand — its hard when you are a productive active person to not be up to par with your own standards

    – you are doing great though — look at your hare and tortoise sweater and the gauntlets — these are wonderful creations

    – always hard to be satisfied with the green grass and flowers at the bottom of the hill when the top calls to you

    – always great to hear from you – and pictures of BRUCE are always welcome

    best —pat j

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  21. I love the gauntlets. I especially love that you made them such an elegant length. As for the fatigue… I have a liver disease that absolutely wipes me out at times. I find people can be very unsympathetic (fatigue is much more than just being tired) but I also find the worst critic is myself. I was a very energetic person before my disease and on fatigue days I berate myself for not pulling myself up by my bootstraps and getting on with it. I hate it when people say I need to pace myself. On days where I have the energy, I like nothing better than to exhaust myself with “doing.” It feels good to collapse into bed tired because I’ve actually done something. I’ve learned to appreciate a window with a view and the art of daydreaming on the days I’m too exhausted to even knit.

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  22. Love the colours of your tunic against the sleeves and tights… That’s what autumn is looking like these days with the brush turning grayish and the flowers still blooming with determination. You are my hero, from the first time I saw your walking skirt through a friends link last December! Be well! Lois from Ontario

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  23. Hello Kate
    I love your gauntlets. I love even more that you are out there hugging a beautiful. benign and beneficial tree. Great stuff and very well done…………

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  24. Congratulations, Kate, on those lovely gauntlets, and on handling that hideous fatigue so gracefully. I’m sure you feel quite the contrary, because you get all the hideousness of it, but to us who only see you, you are doing quite a good job of it. I’m wondering whether just hearing an interesting radio station could alleviate somewhat the boredom and frustration of those days – it is what I do when I can’t do anything else, and though I don’t really understand a lot of what I hear I still manage to grasp a few pleasant or interesting tidbits. Please forgive me if I’m right off the mark and that suggestion just rubs salt in the wound – and thank you for that very welcome post.

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  25. Hi, your mitts are so very cute and your pics are really great. As is your outfit that I was admiring the second I saw the pics!
    I wouldn’t have guessed for a second how bad you were feeling, if you hadn’t mentioned it. I’m glad you did and hope you are feeling better (like being in charge, it’s hard for me to explain it in English, sorry) for doing so.
    Love Christina

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  26. i applaud your honesty, and the fact that you say, in essence, this part of my new health *stinks* rings true. and real. and hard. you have made remarkable progress, you know. your bravery has inspired me.

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  27. Gauntlets! I didn’t realise such things existed (apart from medieval armory) until just recently when I bought a Berroco pattern. And you have, as usual, put your own spin on them and made them “must haves”.

    The tunic is stupendous.

    You are stupendous.

    Nuff said.

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  28. You look very pretty hugging that tree. I imagine you thinking, OK, I’ll have to crawl back into bed, but just at this moment the tree and the air smell good. I can be happy with just getting this done.

    Patience is a bitch, huh?

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  29. I love the tree-hugging and the beautiful gauntlets. Do let me know if you need any tech editing – I’d be happy to do it for fun.

    Nice to see you, Bruce, and Tom out enjoying the lovely autumn weather.

    Liz x

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  30. Oh honey, the fatigue is incredibly frustrating, it’s OK to be cross about it. I find that all you can really do is just try to ride it out without going loopy. I hope this bout passes soon. Please know that you are loved, cherished and respected for who you are right now, even on your bad days.

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  31. i appreciate your candor about your condition; i think it’s actually important that you “moan” about it here. i have a friend who is chronically ill with a wide array of problems that leave her bedridden a lot of the time, and she faces ableism on a near-daily basis. much of it is from well-meaning friends who wonder when she is going to get better (the answer is “probably never”) or who think that if she just tried this or that positive-thinking program she’d lift her spirits and recover. illness seems to be a real source of shame in our society, and it’s definitely not talked about enough– people often hide their struggles because of “pride” or “not wanting pity,” but the result is that there is a lot of blithe ignorance about what it’s like to live with chronic illness. so, thanks for providing such an insightful and honest account of yourself!

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  32. I am sorry you have had a bad few days – yes, you know it will pass – but how frustrating for you. Life does through muck and you have had more than your fair share.

    I am glad that you have a good old moan online – why not? We get the good parts so we should get to share the not so good.

    Lets hope the tree hugging helps.

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  33. Dear Kate,
    All I can say is that you have a huge fan base behind you along this journey of recovery. I (and I’m sure many, many others) send supportive thoughts to you so that you know you are not alone. Thank you for showing us a sneak preview of the gauntlets. I can’t wait until your newest patterns are released. Take lots of care and give yourself credit for how far you’ve come already.

    Sincerely,
    Lisa

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  34. Beautiful gloves! (And also beautiful Bruce – I’m afraid I’m fully in support of his efforts to muscle in on photos!)

    And I’m sorry you’ve had a bad few days – I can sympathise with the fatigue as a mild flu-like virus has had me in a very similar state for the last few days, and it really is incredibly frustrating. I hope that your bout of fatigue passes quickly.

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  35. Kate, I’m sad to hear about the fatigue and frustration and I’m glad you choose to share your struggles with all of us here. I think you show an amazing amount of courage and perseverance! I hope this latest bout of fatigue takes leave soon and that with time the fatigue will come less often.
    I love the gauntlets but I love the tunic even more! I am in awe of your sewing and alteration skills. I hope to learn to make a skirt for my art class next term. (I’m at teacher’s college and we take all the subjects we will be teaching from junior kindergarten to grade six. For art we will be challenging ourselves to learn a new skill and fabricate something using said skill.)

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  36. Lovely mitts, Kate. I am sorry to hear it’s been a crummy few days. Hang in there. The photos are lovely and I look forward to the pattern. Rest, take care of yourself, trust it is some further healing taking place deep within.

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  37. I love seeing you pictured as a tree hugger! I do not comment much here, but I will say this. I was diagnosed with cancer at 38, I will spare you the details except to say that I deal with fatigue and it sucks. Like you said, you can’t just sit and knit or read, all you can do is lay down and wait for it to pass. I have found we have so much in common as far as recovering and the frustration of it all. You are in my thoughts and from now on I will picture you hugging that tree.

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  38. Sorry to hear you were feeling so foul – sounds as if the only thing you can do is enjoy the good days and sit out the bad. It must be so frustrating, not being able to plan anything. On the other hand, you do seem to be achieving a heck of a lot on the good days – those gauntlets are brilliant, and thats the best excuse I ever saw for tree hugging!

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  39. Moan all you want, Kate …… I think having a good moan is much more therapeutic than putting on a brave face. I love the gauntlets (even if I am itching at the thought of wool against my wrists!!)

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  40. First: I totally LOVE the tunic and its history. Bravo!

    Your terrible fatigue sounds like what happened to me when I had parathyroid disease and my blood calcium was high. It also sounds like the way I felt in the hours after surgery for the aforementioned, when my blood calcium level tanked temporarily. That’s just “for what it’s worth” as strokes are insidious monsters that mess with everything.

    You were right and brave to hug that tree in spite of how you felt because the resulting photos are gorgeous and the gauntlets are glorious.

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  41. Sorry to hear you’re low, hope you feel better soon! Thanks for sharing the mitts with us even though you probably didn’t feel like it.

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  42. Oh, the fatigue sounds horrible. I’ve had a minor cold this week, and the physical symptoms weren’t very pronounced but I had a lot of fatigue and a huge loss of brainpower, as well as feeling very fragile and teary. It wasn’t very pleasant. Unlike your fatigue though it was definitely related to activity – for example, the day after a conference I had trouble stringing sentences together. It reminded me of when I had glandular fever and the months-long recovery from that. I remember reading something that said watching TV took less brainpower than staring at a blank wall, and as I’m sure you’ve discovered that is NOT true. I tried watching TV, and had to resort to staring at a blank wall instead.

    It must be even more horrible for it to be completely unpredictable. And on top of all of the other after-effects of a stroke.

    As you’ve said, no two stroke victims are alike. No two *people* are alike. But there are people who know how some of it feels, some of the time.

    I love the photo of you hugging the tree. I’m a big fan of tree-hugging!

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  43. Hurray mittens with half-fingers! I’m a bit sick of fingerless mitts which just slide up my hands at inconvenient moments.

    You look very happy hugging that tree. You should do it more often.

    also, I am coveting your coat now. You should probably do a fashion post :-)

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  44. The gauntlets are lovely, I’m very much a beginner knitter (still), so I think they’d be beyond me, but they make me want to actually improve!

    Thinking of you

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  45. I love the tree hugging, and the gorgeous knitting. As for the fatigue, all I can do is to send you good, healing vibes and expressions of admiration for your immense courage, grace, and honesty.

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  46. i’d say this beautiful photoshoot is quite the accomplishment!

    i’m in awe of the beauty of your gloves! they’re a great style. I’m such a big fan of fingerless gloves (always have been, even before i knit, and before i found out they were cool!), and these are some of the best. They look comfy and warm!

    i notice the animals are situated so the wearer sees them right way up. i would have flipped them around (being a showoff, *ahem*), but i think they look really nice either way.

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