Wednesday, 29 August 2007

Crochet sweater was too small so I improvised

I haven't caught up with my blogging for various reasons. I have done something to my ribs on the right hand side. Had an X ray but that revealed nothing. Got antibiotics in case it was pleurisy but then another doc said no it wasn't that. So here I am still strapped up with my neoprene back support without which I am in a great deal of pain. With it I am in pain but am able to function to some degree.

I finished my 3 coloured sweater crocheted in Patons cotton I had started many moons ago and discovered that I am now a couple of sizes larger than I was when I started it and as cotton in a solid pattern has very little give in it. I felt disinclined to pull it undone as it had taken so long to crochet so I had a brain wave. Using the ball of cream I fortunately had left over I crocheted a panel of cable and inserted one panel either side of the sweater under the arms and made the sweater into a split sided top. Success! A garment that now fits me. I am quite giddy with my designer skills!

I have also managed to crochet one colour of the Coats Gedifa (see previous post) after many false starts. Photos will follow once I have sewn on the buttons. The yarn had all the charm and consistency of a dishcloth on a couple of the patterns I started. It splits like mad when I was working with it and was riddled with knots. No wonder it was reduced in the Sale! I have managed to make a short sleeved cardigan in the end.

I have also been knitting. I have made a shrug from some left over chunky from a free pattern I found on some one's blog. (See there is a point to reading other people's blogs!) and whilst it is looking quite loose on 8mm needles it was one way of making something with 200grams of chunky other than a scarf! Photo of that to follow once I have sewn in the ends.

I have finished one Jaywalker sock (free pattern on from my Opal sock wool from Angel yarns sale and today I managed to find 200grams of some obscure 4ply wool in the charity shop for 50p that will make 2 more pairs of socks for my dog walking and I also managed to get a pair of brand new walking type boots from the same charity shop for £4.50p so well worth my trip in there today. The dog and I will appreciate those on wet days. On the way back from shopping my old car broke down yet again so maybe my trip out will not turn out to be such a bargain after all. I have to phone the mechanic back after 2pm. Oh to win the lottery and get a decent car that goes!

Saturday, 18 August 2007

Crochet yarns at a bargain price

I went into Dunelm to buy a new lasagne dish and came out with bargains galore but no dish! I was distracted by a whole pile of yarn marked down to 99p per 50gram ball. I could not, of course, being a true crocheter pass anything by that is a bargain. I snatched up 13 balls each of Coats Gedifra (50% linen) marked down from £3.95 in 2 shades of dusky pink and 16 balls of Jaeger Roma (15% angora) marked down from £4.95. They had a glittering aray of fancy yarns with lurex and furry bits but I refrained as my retired life style of dog walking and chores doesn't usually run to lurex garments. I already have far too many fancy garments unworn in my wardrobe so decided to stick with the practical yarns although on scrutinising the labels I find they recommend hand wash (bummer) for all of the yarn I purchased.

I started crocheting Gedifra to a DK pattern I already had but decided it had all the attraction of a dish cloth so I am going to browse my stitch pattern book and choose a more attractive denser stitch. I liked the chevron edging of the sweater I have chosen so I will leave the beginning and just change the main body stitch. I will post a pic when I decide on the chosen stitch. It will probably have to turn into something short sleeved instead of a regular sweater shape as the yarn does not seem to have a very good yardage. One ball did about 6" on a mostly treble (UK term) with filet spaces so a closer stitch will be maybe more like 4 - 5". I will work a sleeve next and see if half the yarn will be enough for that. I am getting quite an expert at unripping ( or frogging as the US bloggers call it)

My sock knitting leather belt arrived today from Jamiesons Shetland Wool site and I am really impressed with it. I had a trial run this morning and my speed has really picked up. For years I have never knitted anything using 4 or 5 needles as I have to knit with one needle firmly wedged under my right arm which as you can appreciate is not possible with short sock needles. I remembered my father telling me that when he was stationed in the Shetland Isles during the 2nd world war that ladies used to walk along the road knitting away with a Makkin ( a leather belt with a horsehair pad) with one needle firmly wedged in it. I found this amazing site and found out that the ladies of the Shetland Isles still use these belts on a regular basis for their wonderful fair isle knitted yokes and fisherman seamless jumpers. I ordered one and am now happily knitting away. Sock knitting rocks! Thanks to all the amazing free patterns on (and those lovely ladies with sock knitting blogs in the US - Sockapalooza sites etc) I will be wearing lovely lace patterned socks this winter. I never thought anything would tempt me away from my crochet but this has. It's so addictive!

Thanks to Freecycle I am now the proud owner of a lovely filing cabinet in beige and brown and once I find a web site that does cheap hanging files I will organise all my crochet and knit patterns into one space. No more hunting about the house for that certain pattern I crocheted in 1968! I organised the loft space last month. Retirement is turning me into an organised person instead of the hobo gypsy I usually resemble. They always say creative people are the messiest so that is my usual excuse for my crochet and knit corner in the living room that looks like an explosion when I am in one of my more frantic moods. I now have stacking wicker boxes so it is getting a little tidier when I am not working on anything. The filing cabinet will now house the spare needles etc once I drag out the sewing machine and make some rolls to organise my knit pins and crochet hooks. There are some marvelous ones on the Flikr site that make me think that with a little imagination and perhaps one of my unworn skirts or dresses I could make similar rolls for my needles to keep them together in pairs. One for metal. One for bamboo. One for sets of sock needles and one for crochet hooks. Gosh that's a lot of sewing, perhaps I had better buy a couple of metres of fabric from the market!

Saturday, 11 August 2007

Crochet shrug finished

I have returned momentarily to my crochet. I have finished off the short and sweet shrug from the Stitch n Bitch The Happy Hooker book. I have made adaptations to the pattern but still think that the garment is a little bulky looking for my taste. I had made the garment previously for my niece using a lovely linen type yarn but for this one I just used cheap acrylic DK. I made the largest size but on a 4mm hook. The width came out OK but I had to add more pattern rows to the armholes and then add a complete pattern under the arms to give a bit more bust room. I then worked a lot more pattern rows to make the length that I wanted as a shorty shrug just isn't me. I can foresee some more pattern adaptations ahead to work it out in 4ply? I think it would make a lovely summer shrug in a finer yarn.

I am still knitting my socks. I have completed the leg portion of the second sock ( My last post about my first sock and showing the pictures seems to have disappeared from my blog - showing in my archives though) and my tension has improved greatly so much so that I will now have 2 odd socks! My niece was ordering from Angel yarns because I have tempted her into the realms of sock knitting and she has ordered for me some Addi bamboo set of 5 needles and 2 balls of Opal sock yarn that is on sale. I love the other yarns that they sell for socks but the prices are just way too expensive for my pensioner's pocket. I only ordered because she was ordering and paying the postage for her order. I would order more on line but I think the postage charges are way too high. I will just have to search for a wool shop that sells sock wool locally and I can use my free bus pass to go and collect. When I order knitting and crochet books I use Amazon because if I order more than £15 then I can choose the postage free option. I don't mind if my order takes a few days longer to arrive.

My garage is almost cleared. I have advertised the timber that I no longer want on Freecycle and Emma and her boyfriend are supposed to be calling around on Sunday to collect it all. My car has now returned from the repair shop. it has passed its MOT so is good to go for another 12 months hopefully so yesterday I took the bags of old loft lagging from the garage to the dump. All I have left to do now is to persuade my son to come and take the bits and pieces of motor bike that he has stored in the garage and I will be ready for the builders to put a new roof and doors on. It will be nice to have some dry storage for the lawn mower etc and also I will be able to use the garage as an entrance to my house on wet muddy days when I walk the dog. At the moment I have to try to take my shoes off and grab the dog for paw wiping in a hallway the size of a postage stamp!

Tuesday, 7 August 2007

No crocheting - I have been knitting socks

I have been lured into a realm I never thought I would ever venture. Hand knitted socks. I blame all these US knitting blogs I have been following with their Sockpalooza. I have now knitted my first ever sock on 5 needles. A first indeed for a girl who has to tuck her needles under her armpits to knit (try doing that with a 7" double pointed needle). I managed in my own fashion by pinning a thick wedge of spare knitting to my waistline at my right hand side and jamming the needle that I am knitting onto into that. I have the bruises to prove it from the few times I jabbed me and not the wedge. I saw the idea in the Shetland Isle Knittters of old who used to walk along the road knitting with the needles jammed into an oval padded leather pad on a belt (Wish I could find one of those) Success! I am still working on my tension though as I have knitted the first sock a bit loose for my taste. I will have to knit the second sock the same but next time I will take the needle size down one.

I got seduced by this Monkey Sock pattern that I had seen knitted up so many times on the blogs that I made them up. I have not yet been dragged into the hand dyed multi coloured socks as yet. I just made them from Sirdar Country Style 4ply (UK thickness) in black as I am sorry but I refuse to pay £10 or so (plus p&p) for a sock kit. I will try to find some sock wool next time I visit the craft shop in Ramsbottom. I tried the local yarn shop in Bury but they looked at me very strangely when I asked for sock wool and had very limited choice in 4ply. Mostly baby shades apart from black and navy.

I went to the gym for the very first time ever today. It has been a week of firsts for me. I am on the BEATS programme for people who the GP thinks may benefit from doing exercise to help with a long term condition. ie, my bad back. I have heard back from my MP who is investigating with the hospital for me as to why I am still waiting for an operation after being put on the list in May 2005! The MP's letter says he has had a letter back saying they are looking into it for him so I guess there won't be an answer this side of Christmas! They haven't answered my last 5 phone calls so I hope he has more luck than I have had.