My current work in progress:

Seaforth designed by Alice Starmore, knit in British Breeds 5-ply Guernsey Wool on US 3 needles.


More Miscellany

You may have noticed that there has been no knitting content here for the past week or so. For the past week I’ve ceased all work on my blog project, the Hanging Garden Stole, to concentrate exclusively on a stealth project that has a deadline. I’ve actually felt a little guilty about having no knitting content on my blog, but it can’t be helped. I’ve got a couple of projects to complete that have a definite deadline and I need to concentrate on them exclusively for a while until I feel comfortable about my ability to meet said deadline.

So for now you will be getting an assortment of blog oddities. Bloggities, if you will.

This morning I made an appointment to donate blood at a work blood drive this week. I will confess to you that for the past several years I’ve ignored the regular blood drives at work. I used to donate regularly, as often as I was allowed to. I have AB negative blood, and they always seem to want that. As many of you know, I work in a large federal building, and a Red Cross bloodmobile comes every two months.

However, in the last year I was donating, I had a number of very bad experiences that caused me to stop donating at work. All of these bad experiences were, I’m sorry to say, due to the appalling lack of professionalism displayed by the volunteers staffing the donation. They would be so busy chatting amongst themselves, flirting with each other, and singing and dancing along with the radio, that they would not pay close enough attention to the poor slobs donating. The last three times I donated, I came away once with an arm black and blue from wrist to shoulder,ย  once with an arm with blood vessels popped from elbow to shoulder, and once slightly bruised from fainting dead away while trying to get the attention of one of the volunteers because I knew I was going to faint. (I tend to do that after donating blood.) I did call the local Red Cross chapter and let them know each time, but I think they were so short on volunteers that there was not much they could do.

So when the notice of this week’s blood drive came out, I ignored it as usual. But I found out via email this morning that in a federal building that has approximately 5,000 employees working in it, they had only 21 people make appointments to donate blood. So I sucked it up and made an appointment for Thursday morning. I figure it is the least I can do. Pray for me to survive, won’t you? ๐Ÿ˜‰

Hopefully there are some new volunteers since the last time I donated . . .

WendyKnits sez:


“Rock on!”

Lucy sez:


“I am mortified by Momma’s behavior.”


  1. I stopped donating for the same reasons. Hopefully the volunteers will have it together. Good Luck!

    Julie Es last blog post..FOs on parade

  2. Wendy, I’m impressed. I’m sure all will be well. Love the hair – and Lucy, of course! luv.m.

  3. All I have to do is see the needle and I pass out.

    Karens last blog post..

  4. I’m with Karen, can’t watch needles approach me for any reason. Maybe you should try telling the volunteer hooking you up about your tendency to faint. Might give you some extra attention. Good luck!

  5. As a former Federal employee, I know we got four hours off as “recouperative” time. Hope that still holds true for you. Got a pair and a half of your great fingerless mitts done. At the half way point. My bad boys Billy and Neil are nudging each other for the right to sleep in a Poland Spring water box. I see two of your cat beds in their future.

  6. My daughter also has AB- blood. She donated regularly in high school but is now 2 hours away at college. I’ve explained this all to the local Red Cross chapter – but they call at least once a week asking for her. She’s now in her junior year – you think they would have caught on already! We don’t even answer the phone when they pop up on caller ID.
    And yes, I’m a needle-phob too.

  7. Thank you (in advance) for donating. I hope it goes well and you can again be a regular donor. I donate platelets, which is a longer time commitment, and they are desperately needed, too. My dad used a lot of blood products before he died, and I am eternally thankful for all donors!!

  8. I donated regularly for years, but can’t now due to medical history – they won’t take me – nothing, really, at this point, but they won’t have me. Hubby still donates regularly, so I only feel half guilty. I hope your experience this time is better. I used to give where I worked, and we always had a group of seniors as volunteers. I often wound up with bruises, but nothing on the scale you’re describing.

    I’m going to suggest a stealth pre-emptive strike – call the Red Cross and say that you’ve been trying to encourage other donors, but their past experiences with the volunteers have turned them off, and you’re hoping you can give them a glowing report this time so the defectors will return.

  9. Wait a mo – the people doing the actual draws shouldn’t be volunteers! Hope you get better nurses this time.

  10. I also had the same experience when I worked for the Federal government. I can no longer donate due to medical issues. Good luck Thursday morning!

    Shirleys last blog post..My Town

  11. I’m glad you’re giving them another chance.

  12. I have my 3-gallon pin but don’t give anymore. The guilt is sometimes overwhelming but the bad experiences with phlebotomists has given me an aversion. It really isn’t my fault my veins have started to “roll” and if you can’t tell where I have a vein for heaven’s sake, get someone more experienced, don’t experiment on me! (end of rant)

    I hope you have a better experience this time, Wendy. AB is a precious commodity.

  13. I also stopped donating blood for the same reasons albeit 20 or so years ago!
    When my daughter enlisted 7 years ago in the Air force, she was stationed right away overseas! First in Turkey, then Afghanistan (ugh), and now in England (yay)! Through this so called war, she’s made me aware how much my O negative blood was in high demand for the troops here and abroad. (the type mixes with all blood)
    Well I started donating again.
    Have things changed in the Red Cross since my last experience? Nope. But my daughter is doing her part for this country, the least I can do is support her efforts, no matter how much it hurts!
    Thank you Wendy for doing your part too. It helps!

  14. Its nice to hear from you nonetheless…my knitting is “quiet” right now too b/c of it all being for Christmas but we’ll all be back to normal soon I hope. In the mean time it was so nice to see you in the recent issue of Knit1 as promised ๐Ÿ™‚

  15. One piece of advice I can offer is to eat some protein the morning of your donation and drink plenty of water. The water makes your veins plump up and easier to find for the person taking the blood. I had to get blood taken a lot (once a week) due to a medical condition a few years ago, and learned quick on this point.

    Mindis last blog post..Episode 2 – Socks

  16. Wendy, I’m so happy to read your post because I’ve stop donating because of a myriad of problems too. One time the needle fell out of my arm (!!!) and it took two or three minutes of me saying “excuse me” to get someone to take care of it. That, and the staff members that REEKed of cigarette smoke, got me to stop donating.

    I hope your next experience is a good one.

    kim in oregons last blog post..Snow!

  17. I am right there with you on the fainting after donating blood. I was brave once (in high school…we got out of class to go donate so I was all over that!). But I’ve had so many traumatic experiences having blood drawn at labs (massive bruises, 15 sticks to find a vein, etc.)…haven’t been able to make myself donate again.

    May the force be with you.

    knittinandnoodlins last blog post..The Big Move

  18. I hate the feeling of passing out so much. The fact that you know you might pass out, but you’re still willing to give blood–that’s pretty awesome! The one and only time I gave blood, I left work in an ambulance. That was embarrassing. I’ll find other ways to give, but I think those who donate blood are uber-cool.

  19. Ugh, unpleasant! I recently read that, if you have had negative experiences with the Red Cross, you can arrange to donate blood at any local hospital. Whether there is a downside to this, I don’t know, and I haven’t called my hospital yet to verify it is true, but I will explore this option when I am able to donate again. (I am pregnant now and in general I am borderline anemic, so often giving takes too much out of me.)

  20. As a recipient of blood products several times-thank you for donating.
    Even if it is inconvenient and the volunteers are unprofessional–think of the lives you are saving-really.

    Cindys last blog post..Wrap It Up

  21. AB- blood is truly a valuable commodity. My father was AB- and was called upon even after recovering from hepatitus. This was long ago, in the days when they had to have tons of blood for heart surgery, etc. They have much better ways to do things now, thank goodness. I have A+ blood and did pheresis for years but have become too sensitive to the anticoagulant to continue that any more. So, I go to the local Red Cross and donate whole blood. I am lucky, we have an excellent group there. Good luck on your donation, maybe this time will be better. N

  22. Why don’t you start your donation process by telling the folks there why you stopped coming, and what sort of treatment you’d like to get from them? You may actually have a better experience!

    Candys last blog post..Opinions needed

  23. I’m sorry that happened. I was a phlebotomist for years and that behavior is unacceptable. I’d call and complain to the company. Honestly, I think they deserve to know why they are losing donors. The phlebs are paid for their work. Even if they weren’t they need to be held accountable for the lack of compassion.

    Anyway, that’s a nice thing to do. If only knitters’ blood gave the recipient the ability to knit and love wool.

    alexs last blog post..Cheesy Mittens

  24. I also donate platelets. It can take longer, but trust me platelet donors are treated like royalty. You get great care, watch a movie and are fed before you leave. The downside is both arms are involved so no knitting. Instead you get first run movies. I am the primary platelet donor someone in NC who has sickle cell anemia. Platelet donors are tissue matched, not blood type.
    You might try bringing food with you. Sandwich something small but helpful.
    Good luck with your time with the Red Cross. I hope it all goes smoothly. From everyone who has ever received blood, Thank You

    Suzanns last blog post..Jeanโ€™s Hat Drive

  25. They’ve stopped asking me because there’s never enough iron in my blood any more. Maybe I should fatten back up so I can give? That would be fun! I don’t mind donating; it’s a good thing to do.

    pdxknitteratis last blog post..Sing a song of entrelac

  26. I hope your donation experience was much improved over your previous ones. I can understand why you had to keep away from them for a while. I have also encountered some less-than stellar bloodmobile staff, and have not given blood since. I understand the importance of and need for blood donors, but I do not want to put my health at risk. Maybe I will find the courage to try again soon.

    Sarahs last blog post..Losing Track of the Days

  27. I received six units of blood after my first surgery, to get my level high enough for me to tolerate a second surgery to find/fix the bleeder. I’m extremely grateful for whoever donated those six units of blood. God bless you!

    Barbara-Kays last blog post..This one counts!

  28. I used to give blood regularly, too. B negative — always a hot commodity. But apparently I could be carrying the human version of Mad Cow Disease (I lived in Germany, as a military family member, over 20 years ago), so I can no longer donate. There’s no way to test for the disease.

    I never had a bad experience; most of my donations were done at a Red Cross donation center. My 16-year old son recently gave blood at a blood drive at school, and he waited … and waited … an hour or more past his appointment time, they finally started his history. More waiting, then he took his place on a lounge chair. More waiting till someone could come and get him started. I don’t know what the problem was, but I could see how this would discourage people from participating next time.

    Julies last blog post..Lucy Ellen Surko Reth

  29. Happily, the Red Cross vampires here in n.w. Wisconsin seem to be very conscientious and competent. Maybe you should donate here (hint, hint — I’d love to have you come visit ๐Ÿ™‚ )

    kmkats last blog post..Secretary of [Sustainable] Food.

  30. Theresa in Italy says:

    I hope this time you receive more professional treatment! There’s no excuse for that. Good luck!

  31. Good for you! The dh used to give as much as they would allow to the Virginia Blood Bank. He was always treated well, but he stopped going because he got tired of hearing me bitch that they call the house everyday, up to three times!
    I had a mess of an arm after giving blood. It was taken by the company nurse, and after the supervisors saw the monster lump and black arm, I was told to fill out an accident report! Heehee, last time she took blood.
    I hope it goes well for you!

    Rock on? ….

  32. I am so sorry for your negative donation experiences. Except for passing out the first time I gave (way back in college, alas, so long ago now) I’ve never had any problems. Of course, I give in a suburban Indiana town, so the supply of phlebotomists probably has less demands upon it. Rolling veins are an issue for me too and although they never seem to find one on the first stick, I’ve never had anything as painful as you have. Just remember that the need is great and the recipients (my father included) and their families are truly grateful. Thanks for helping out, Wendy!

    Ariadnes last blog post..Christmas is the Time for Fruitcakes

  33. AB is a tough one. You are a good person.

    Lauries last blog post..Z is for Zocalito

  34. Rock on, Wendy … rock on and do well. There are quite a lot of us here on the farm now: eight cats, two dogs, my husband and I, and my daughter who is expecting. We will all be pulling for you and for your arms and the general health of your blood today. You are so good hearted to do what you can inspite of personal risk — many people would not ever go back after even the first bad experience.

    Best wishes for your stealth projects as well.

    Happy holidays lovely knitting lady,

    fireflys last blog post..A sense of wonder

  35. It’s wonderful that you can donate blood. I donated once but they told me I probably shouldn’t because my veins are so small. I am O positive so I hear they h ave tons of my blood floating around ๐Ÿ˜‰

    LittleWits last blog post..FO – Bustahโ€™s Hat

  36. Lucy, my Mom can be pretty lame-o too sometimes.

    Love, Gandalf

    Brigittes last blog post..All’s Well

  37. Wendy- When we were kids, that used to mean “bullSh*t”-

    I give blood on a regular basis, but they are picky now about who they accept, and pretty soon there will be no one, with that kind of nonsense. This is supposed to save lives, and they mess around like that.

    Lorraines last blog post..A Dragon Christmas Tail

  38. From the families of all the leukeumia patients, please accept our thanks. I know it can be unpleasant, but my dad’s life would have been shortened so much if people did not give blood. Even though he passed away in January, I donate whenever I’m eligible. It’s a small inconvenience (bruising and fainting) as compared to what happens to those who need the blood but can’t get it.

    Dianas last blog post..They Stole Our Tree

  39. I often get fainty at the end of donating. My solution is to get them to lay me down immediately after starting and that seems to take care of it.

    Bloggities. Good word.

  40. I can’t donate because I have Mad Cow Disease. Ok, I shouldn’t joke. I was in England for a year 1992-93 and it is right there on the Red Cross board those travel dates are excluded. Or it was last time I checked.
    Good luck!

    Ann in CTs last blog post..I Could Have Told You That

  41. I’m still giggling about the look on Lucy’s face. Those tag lines are just the cat’s meow (or something). Bloggities sound good.

    And I know just what you mean about trying to do a good deed and having it spoiled by folks acting in an unprofessional way. Here’s hoping this year’s volunteers are better!

  42. I used to donate regularly (I was always so pleased to donate), but they no longer want my blood. I lived in London for six months about 20 years ago, and because of “mad cow” disease, my blood is considered at-risk. Thankfully, I have never developed the condition. I check every once and a while–but they still have that rule.

  43. Hope your experience was okay this morning.

  44. Thank you for donating again. As someone with a child who required blood after surgery, I am so appreciative of all who make the effort! (I’m sure Lucy would donate too if she could meet the weight limit ๐Ÿ™‚

  45. Blessings on you for signing up again. I hope your experience this time is better; as someone mentioned earlier, the volunteers should NOT be drawing blood, it should be a qualified nurse. Sadly, the tiny ratio of donors to building population is typical; I used to help organize blood drives for a major company and we barely would get 10% volunteering to give blood and perhaps 50% of those would be disqualified for various reasons on the day.

    CatBookMoms last blog post..Time to Give

  46. It’s been years since I donated blood, and now I’m ineligible again due to being recently tattooed. Sigh.

    Imbriums last blog post..Not Awesome

  47. They used to like my blood, too, but now with the SLE chemo? They get a bit funky about that. Good luck, will be thinking good thoughts and hoping for a truly gifted phebotomist for you! (I know about those times they don’t pay attention and blow veins and all…ye-uck)

    Knitnanas last blog post..Holiday Hysteria?

  48. Working in our hospital transfusion service, I really appreciate people taking the time to donate blood. There really is no good substitute for it, and you never know when you may be on the recieving end. I am sorry you had such unfortunate experiences in the past…the folks at the red cross do an awesome job…good luck!
    I’m sure you know that AB neg is very rare, as most of the population are type O or type A…

  49. I concur with Mindi….eat protein! I’m a fainter too. Also if you are borderline with your iron count, avoid tea prior to giving. I was told that something in the tea binds to the iron in your blood.

    Just to lay a little guilt on your building…my mom has assisted with blood drives for my little home town (pop 750.) They average almost 30 people attempting to donate and usually get 20-25 donations. So a building of 5,000 should get approx 200 donations!

  50. Good for you planning to donate despite your past experiences. I recently had a similiar experience to what you described, only I was at an Excel Laboratory for a blood test that my doctor ordered. I was very disappointed by the phlebotomist. He was too busy talking with another worker about the political affiliation of the last patient and not focused at all on me. The test was over 2 weeks ago and the bruise is finally gone away.

    BTW, I agree with another commenter who said to share your reasons for why you stopped giving when you 1st arrive to donate.

    Sherrys last blog post..Chickadee Cowl

  51. I try to donate blood each time the Bloodmobile comes by the workplace (we donate to a local hospital), and I’ve thankfully had good luck with the experience pretty much every time. My next donation date is in early January!

    Seanna Leas last blog post..recovering well

  52. I just want to echo those who told you the blood drawing is done by professionals ONLY. Volunteers should be doing paperwork (none that is personal), organizing and getting you juice and cookies.
    As for the bruising (I’m a nurse and have drawn my share of blood), if you feel any burning, aching or otherwise uncomfortable in the area of the blood draw – you should get the attention of a professional LOUDLY, if necessary. Also, look at the site occasionally while the blood is being drawn and if you see any bleeding, redness or swelling, again with getting the phlebotomis immediately. Unfortunately, in today’s climate of healthcare (and this is a healthcare site), the patient needs to be as vigilant as they are capable of being.
    As for difficult “sticks”, there is no way for the person doing the “sticking” to know this until the needle is in there and searching for the vein. Sorry. The vein doesn’t come with instructions on the best way to get into it, if it is going to be difficult. We professionals can only approach it the best we can and use our experience to guide us. We definitely appreciate being told ahead of time if your veins “roll”, “blow” or are just tough to get. Also, you can show the phlebotomist your best vein, if you know where it is.
    And my rule of thumb was always – no more than 2 tries. After that, I’d get someone else. (not to brag, but I was usually the “someone else” that other came to).
    Hope this helps all of you who have trouble giving blood for whatever reason – blood banks or blood work.
    Knit on!

  53. Hi Wendy! Thank you so much for donating! My mom almost died from cancer while waiting for blood that matched up to her own the best; therefore, would be the best for her in her condition. I remember waiting those hours thinking about the people who donate.

    Marthas last blog post..Winter Knitty Rocks

  54. At least you are allowed to give blood. I was donating regularly until I got to 97… then babies started to come into my life! Thus, it’s been almost 2 and a half years since I’ve been allowed to give blood. I can’t get those last few (to achieve 100) until the littlest one is 9 months old. 9 months! I asked the blood bank why. Apparently new mums are a bit tired!


    I’m also a cancer nurse, so I’ve given more transfusions than donations, I’d bet. It’s very, very essential to many lives, so everyone should do it if they can. Especially if (unlike here) you get paid for it! lol.

    end of sermon!

    Had a look through your fantastic flickr pics, and now I feel about as small as the little knitted olives I’m currently attempting. I love the black lacey shawl. If I ever learn to knit lace, I’m definitely not neglecting black. I’m not sure I’ve even seen black lace knitting in all my blog travels. Wow.

    Happy knittings!

    Tams last blog post..Green bits

  55. I am so proud of you for donating, Wendy! I passed out the last time and managed to rip the needle out of my arm. Then they were going to throw away my blood because I hadn’t filled up the tube all the way. There was no way I was letting that happen since I had spent so much time there already. So I had to lay down in a bed and wait in order to fill up the rest of the tube. Haven’t been back since. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Maybe I’ll go back too…. if Wendy can do it….

    Danieles last blog post..Christmas Stash Enhancement