Monday, 31 December 2007

Last post of 2007

Another year almost over. 2008 will be here tomorrow. Is it just me or are the years hurtling past at an alarming rate? Seems but months since I retired from work and yet 2 yrs have passed in a blink of an eye. Even the hours seem faster. Today I had so many plans for what to do with my day and yet I did hardly any of them.

I got up a bit late and so by the time I had showered, stripped the bed, sorted the washing, cleaned the bedroom and bathroom it was time for lunch not breakfast. A few years a go I would have had all that done in the blink of an eye. Guess I haven't noticed the passing of time has slowed me down. Mentally I feel like a spring chicken but physically I am more of an old boiling fowl. Still at least I am still able to do my chores, albeit slower than before, so I should be thankful of that.

I am still getting to know my PC. Still experiencing teething troubles with Internet Explorer and getting into my e mails. Hopefully the guy across the road will return from wherever he has been over Christmas or my son will visit soon and sort my problem out. It will be something very simple I am sure. My niece's boyfriend who set the PC up for me is safely home again in London so I can't mither him.

I am still unsure about the size of Kacey's hat. I doubled checked my tension and it is spot on to the pattern so maybe children's heads really are that large. It has to be lined so maybe that will take it in a bit. I am not sure if I will manage to embroider the snowflake as seen on the pattern (Itty Bitty Hat Book by Susan B. Anderson). I will press on regardless as I am in no mood to unpick (or frog) the hat any more times.

I am sure I will post tomorrow but just in case I wish everyone a Happy New Year. Good health, much happiness and may lots of wealth come your way (yeah right - if it does remember you know me so I don't have to write any begging letters !)

Sunday, 30 December 2007

Crochet scarf finished

I managed to finish Vic's scarf off this morning as I had nodded off on the sofa last night with 4 rows still to finish. It took 300 grams of super chunky and I used Sirdar pattern 8577 which also has a crochet newsboy hat on it.
I have had about 4 starts on a Peruvian style hat for Kacey my elder great grand daughter but the first one in the lovely wool I had bought in the Sale was turning out so big that despite a couple of adaptations I did a lot of unpicking so I gave it up. I started again with a lovely soft ball of chunky that I bought from Bury market a little while ago but am still unsure if it is working out too big again. I am hoping that 2 -3 yrs old heads are larger than I remember them. That is the only problem with working from US books. The wool weight is all a bit of a guesswork. Aran thickness would have been the perfect match but as the pattern was shown in a shaded variegated yarn I was trying to get as close to the pattern as I could. Aran yarn only came in solid or fleck colours. The yarn I am using now is variegated but working up a lot darker than it looked in the ball. I will press on and finish it tomorrow and see how it looks with the embroidery and the brighter trim.

Not much knitting achieved today all in all. I am off to bed before 1am tonight as I am feeling a little tired from all these late nights.

Saturday, 29 December 2007

Another late Christmas present finished

Today I gave my niece the black crochet waistcoat I hadn't managed to finish before Christmas. I was crocheting merrily away on Christmas day only to find I had mis-read the pattern (which I didn't take with me) and so had to re-do the 2 fronts and back from the armhole up to the neck. I finished it last night but as it is very low fastening I was a little unhappy with the bagging at the front. It's my own fault for not counting the double crochet stitches and making sure they were the same on both sides. I put a line of running stitches through the double crochet all the way around the band and that seems to have solved the problem. The close up of the stitch photo didn't turn out and I had already given Vic the waistcoat before I found that out.

Tonight I started a crochet chunky scarf using the remaining 3 balls of tweed yarn I had left over from my niece's jacket. I will have enough to make a reasonably long scarf but she will have to fringe it with a contrasting colour if she wants a fringe.

I am still slowly doing a few rows on the doubled hat. Another unfinished Christmas present. I won't be making another one of those as it really has taken me such a long time to get to about 4". I think having to unrip about 2" really put me off my stride and I never really got back into it after that. I will post it off to Chris once it is finished.

My other niece who lives in London wore her crochet wrap around cardigan to visit some friends and they liked my work and so I could possibly have some orders in the near future. I will never make a fortune out of my craft but it would be nice to earn a few pounds to eke out the coffers. I crochet to pass the time mostly and because I enjoy it but I own far more knit and crochet garments than I can ever wear so making for someone else is a far better option especially if I can get paid as well ! One of the requestees (is that a word?) for my craft lives in Paris France so Ooh La La I am going continental! I like working with the better quality yarns so I don't mind when my niece buys yarn for me to crochet or knit for her. My purse usually only buys acrylic unless I spot a sale bargain. I have given my nieces instructions I will just charge a set fee, depending on garment, if their friends buy the yarn then it is up to them how much they decide to spend on yarn. People who don't craft often have no idea just how much the raw materials cost so I would far rather they bought their own yarn rather than faint when I tell them a finished price.

I am still getting to grips with my PC but my terror is subsiding a bit. I am now getting a little more adventurous and trying to find out where programmes are etc. My niece installed the Microsoft Office and the new web cam for me today so it's all systems a go go once I work out where the system is.

I got rather wet taking the dog for a walk today. My new waterproof suit has certainly got a good christening these last few days as have my new birthday walking boots.

I put my 18 month old web cam (incompatible with new PC) and unused floppy disks on Free cycle and was inundated with requests. It never ceases to amaze me that people want things I would throw away. The guy who took my web cam also took another older web cam that worked but was missing the screw to hold it onto its base so it was rather like a rolling eyeball. I had tried to stick it to the base with Blu Tack but that meant you could not reposition it.

Thursday, 27 December 2007

Bewitched, bothered and bewildered

I am still on the white knuckle ride with my new PC. I am a little bit more confident today. I guess it will take a while for me to find everything and get used to where things are on it. I went today to PC World in all the rain and surprisingly they let me in even though I was clad in extremely wet waterproofs, big hiking boots and a green hat (see photo) knitted wrongly from a pattern that was sliding over my eyes in a good imitation of Victoria Wood's huge beret in the sketch on TV where she is asking "Have you seen my friend Kimberley she is very very tall" I caught sight of myself at one stage and shocked myself so I am surprised I got a lovely young assistant manager coming to my aid and helping me to choose from the bewildering array of about 20 different web cams one that was compatible with my new PC. He probably thought I was on a day trip out from the home for the bewildered.

All I have to do now is to figure out how to put the web cam and the other hardware ( or should that be software?) that I bought at the same time.

My poor dog's routine is all awry. The last 3 days his timetable has been altered and he is an unhappy bunny. He likes the routine of morning walk, food, sleep then afternoon walk again, followed by more sleep, food, more sleep and then bed.

I have barely put hook or needle to wool these last 2 days. Today I went to my local wool shop in Bury to get some lilac yarn to replace Kacey's hat that got blown away in the wind and found out it is CLOSING DOWN due to redevelopment. The assistant said they are looking for new premises but to be honest the rents in any new property will probably be too high for them as it is only a small shop and I doubt the turn over profit would stretch to a larger rent. I managed to buy some lovely textured bubbly variegated chunky to make a couple of hats for the girls. It was buy one get one free so at £2,49 a ball I will get the 2 hats under a fiver. Photo will follow when I get the web cam sorted out.

I also got a bargain in Thorntons chocolate shop. A box of Christmas milk chocolate covered fudge,raisins and toffi-chocs for £1.49 instead of £2.99. Naughty I know but it is Christmas. I had put on weight before Christmas and weighed myself today and to my surprise had lost the weight again. I must be one of the few people to lose weight over Christmas. Mind you if I eat the whole box tonight then it will all be back again by tomorrow!

Wednesday, 26 December 2007

Completely technophobic

I have decided that I am not cut out for modern technology. It all passes me by. For Christmas my lovely family all clubbed together to get me a new pc which is wonderful news and I am over the moon as my old pc was just about ready for the knackers yard. I feel like Hyacinth Bucket as I have a slim line screen ( not a slim line white telephone!)

However, technology has not moved on a pace it has moved on a massive leap since my last pc and I have a lot of gizmo I shall probably never get to grips with but have lost a lot of things which I would have loved to keep. My Outlook Express e mail hasn't brought the archives across with it so whilst I can still read my treasured e mails on the old pc they are not on the new. Ian says I should be able to link my printer (once it has some ink) to the old pc and at least print them out but some of them had some photos I would have liked to keep. I just hadn't thought fully all the implications of having my pc changed over otherwise I could have saved the photos to folders. I have also lost all the treasured archived conversations I had on Yahoo messenger but I am hoping that they are still stored on the old Yahoo on the old pc so if I can find some way of connecting the old pc to the net then I can recover them at least onto a disk. Hereby lies another tale that will hopefully resolve itself when I buy a copy of Microsoft Word as the disks I have with stored data on won't be able to be read on this pc. It all looks so easy when the experts do it. Let's hope this pc outlives me this time
Kath's boyfriend was an absolute star. He struggled a lot transferring a lot of stuff for me and was here for hours and hours connecting my to the net and shifting stuff about. I bet he will never want to see in the inside of my house for a very long time. I would never have manged it all on my own. I would have had a new pc but still in it's box for a long time. I envy people who can just do things like that. I can type and navigate my way around blogs and web sites and that is the most of my knowledge. The younger generation grow up with them so they don't hold the same white knuckle terror that they do to me.
Hopefully I will get to grips with locating my photos from whichever folder they finished up in and maybe post something on here before the end of the week. My web cam isn't compatible with this pc so that's another shortcut I can't use any more.
No knitting or crochet today as I just haven't had the time. Tomorrow I am off to the PC store for the Microsoft programmes I am missing from this pc and perhaps a new set of speakers as these ones look awfully tatty now I have a new pc.

Tuesday, 25 December 2007

Happy Christmas

Happy Christmas to anyone who reads my ramblings. Thanks for all your kind comments over the last few months. I wish you a Happy Christmas and hope you have a lovely family time (with a few pressies of course) and celebrate in the traditional way.

My photo today is of Christmas past taken when my mum and dad were still alive and the children in the family were all small. My son isn't on it as he took the photo. Hard to believe that my nieces are now in their thirties, my sister - in - law and brother in their 70's and my husband gone to another family. The photo is happy memories from the past.

I am just about to take my first Christmas Day walk with Buster ( I didn't have him last year) but am hanging on for a little while until the mist lifts a little and then I won't lose him in the woodland.

I am off to my brother's for lunch and to meet up with my son, daughter in law and possibly my great grand daughters. My son doesn't stay for lunch as he has a big Christmas dinner planned with his 3 grown up step children plus the babies and whoever calls around to see them.

My ex husband called around yesterday to wish me Happy Christmas. He has a huge family dinner planned as he also has 3 grown up step children plus 5 grand children to cater for.

Happy Christmas one and all - have a wonderful day. Hope everyone (except me) finished all their projects in time. Love from Jan.

Monday, 24 December 2007

Kath's cardigan finished in time

Kath's cardigan is finished in time for Christmas. The photo isn't a good one as I haven't had time to block it to make it hang properly, I don't like to use an iron on a yarn that is all acrylic as if I make a mistake then it stays limp, over steamed and over pressed. I made it from the Fabulous Flirty Crochet book and used 400 grams of Sirdar Bonus double knit. Even though I knitted for a couple of hours I realised that there was no way the doubled hat intended as a second hat for Chris would be finished on time no matter how late I stayed up tonight. I had a few visitors and phone calls today so I didn't manage to put in the hours required to finish the hat. If that happened to my mother she used to parcel up the knitting plus needles and wool and then once the recipient had opened it she would confess it wasn't finished and carry on working on it! No one seemed to mind.

The dog is managing to trash the house tonight for some reason. He has taken every cushion from the sofa and chairs and thrown them on the floor so all my hard work of tidying up doesn't show at all. He has now followed me in this room and thrown the cushions and the throw off the recliner in here! He didn't get his second walk today as I had visitors at his usual walk time and it had gone dark when they went so he didn't get rid of his excess energy today. He doesn't like any disruptions to his routine so I will be in trouble tomorrow when I go to my brother's house for Christmas dinner and don't take him with me. My brother isn't a dog lover so I dare not suggest taking him with me. I just the dog can keep his legs crossed whilst I am out of the house for a few hours and doesn't bark the house down at everyone who passes by the window.

I hope everyone is having a Happy Christmas in the warmth of your family.

Last minute frenzy

My friend Caroline came yesterday and helped me to wrap all the presents (except hers of course) and put them under the tree. I have still to stitch up Kath's cardigan but I did manage to finish off crocheting all the pieces last night so that will be done - Yeah. I have today and tonight to try to finish knitting the doubled hat. Sounds easy but I am finding it very slow going slipping one and knitting one on one row and then picking up the second colour slipping a different stitch on that row and purling. All it needs is a moments loss of concentration and I knit when I should purl or I slip when I shouldn't and I have to unravel again. Argh!

On Saturday I finished off the food shopping. Whatever I don't have will stay un bought and I will work around it. I felt like I was queuing to join a queue in Tesco and it really is true that ALL the mums (and Dads) go to Iceland!

On Sunday I polished and hoovered the house, washed bedding, dog's bedding, cushion covers and throws until my washer and dryer were shouting "Mercy" so that didn't leave much time for my crochet or knitting. With the help of my friend and her son we managed to heave a very reluctant dog into the bath for his Christmas bath. To say he was not impressed is putting it mildly. He let us bathe him, dry him with the hair dryer but then curled in a ball sulking for the rest of the day as if to say I smell like a girl now!

This morning when I took him out for his walk he has rolled in all the mucky leaves he can find - Ah well he was nice and clean whilst it lasted. We had unexpected company on our walk. A heron swooped past us and perched in a large stagnant pool of water just by the side of us. It was like a tableau in slow motion. The heron stood perfectly still on one leg just like the plastic ones in people's gardens. I stood still so as not to scare it and even the dog just stopped and gazed at it. We all stood frozen in time for what seemed like ages (probably a minute actually) and then the heron took off again and disappeared into the woodland. I have only ever seen one before in there but that was standing still and sort of in hiding in the reeds. It is the first time I have seen one in flight. An old guy came shambling along with his dogs and I motioned him to stay still and pointed out the heron and he was so drunk (at 9.30am!) I doubt if he could focus on his dogs let alone a heron.

I am going to have a final push at finishing off the cardigan and hat but firstly a drink of coffee to get my strength up. I am using my new "Christmas present to myself "mug and I might break open the Christmas biscuits to go with it

Friday, 21 December 2007

I work better without a pattern

I know this cardigan is crocheted in very thick wool (courtesy of Lidl) but considering how I struggled with the cardigan I made from the Fabulous Flirty Crochet Book in the same thickness for my niece Kath due to ambiguous instructions. I decided to "freestyle " the one for my other niece using the other cardigan as a template. I changed the pattern stitch and didn't put a collar on this one and crocheted in just a few hours. I think I am better doing it that way. My mind just doesn't work with US patterns that tell me what to do every row (sometimes wrongly) plus I have to convert the US stitch names to UK ones at the same time. I can visualize a whole lot better with just the wool and a hook. The garment is a little snug fitting on me as you can see from the photo. I am hoping my niece is still smaller than I am. Like a lot of the western world she has put a bit of weight on but I just didn't want to insult her by making it my size. It is shaped in for the waist (hence the 2 button fastening) and out again for the bustline in case you think my hips are even bigger than they are!

Tonight I am going to start to crochet the sleeves on Kath's other jacket. I only have those and the belt left to make to finish that off , and the knitted doubled hat to finish. Anything else I make before Christmas will just be a bonus to add to my presents for people. I have a few small items in mind if I have the time.

On the subject of wrong instructions on patterns I actually read on a blog ( a US one of course) where the designer was defending the fact that mistakes on patterns often happen and says knitters and crocheters should use their brains and work around these things and not complain so much. Excuse me but am I paying £15 - £20 a book for the pleasure of correcting mistakes? I was in the hand knitting trade for over 30yrs and I can hold my hand on my heart and say pattern mistakes from our UK designers were very few and far between and if any were found then the pattern was withdrawn immediately until a corrected re-print could be issued. They took that kind of thing very seriously and never once was it suggested that the knitter should work her way around the mistake! The US designer in the blog actually stated that she was thinking of bringing out a book of designs without any instructions and tell people that they had to work out how to make it. That is extremely arrogant of her. Lots of people are not gifted in that way and can only work to definite instructions, without adaptations, so she is belittling a whole lot of people. What is the point of buying her book anyway. It will be just a load of photos which we can see in any fashion magazine anyway.

Thursday, 20 December 2007

Don't we queue well

I had the delight of an appointment at my local NHS hospital today for 10am. I made sure I was there for 9.45am because it doesn't do to keep the docs waiting. I took with me instructions for crocheting 2 pockets for Kath's cardigan as I felt sure I would have time to do that whilst waiting. Silly me. I should have taken the pattern and the other 200grams of wool! My appointment was for 10am but when you wait for a long time in a clinic waiting room a spirit of camaraderie appears and before long the why are we waiting jokes start. For example we discovered around 11am that a whole bunch of us had 10am appts some had even earlier We did take bets as to whether the docs had mince pies and sherry in their rooms as although they did a lot of too-ing and fro-ing they didn't do a lot of name calling from the queue. I did have one hysterical moment when my name was called after 10 mins but that was only to weigh me! I think they do that to get your hopes up that you could be seen shortly. Funnily enough I got weighed at my BEATS appointment yesterday so either I put on 5lbs whilst sleeping or someones scales are out. I'll take the lower weight please.

I did get seen at 12.45pm but instead of an apology I got told that I didn't really have an appt they just squashed me in so that was why I had to wait so long. So were all the other queuers squashed in as well? I think only in the UK do we queue so stoically. I can't imagine the continentals sitting reading the free newspaper and chatting amicably for almost 3hrs can you?

I have been told that it's probably a blocked saliva gland that I have but I need an X ray done after dye is injected to confirm diagnosis. I went along to the X ray dept with hopes of getting that done. I am always an optimist. I got shot down in flames with that notion. Leave the card in the box, put your phone number on the top and we will either ring you or write out to you with an appt time. The specialist said I can't get another appt until I have had this done

The photos are of my WIP's. Kath's cardigan with the collar band pinned on. I haven't made the sleeves yet but decided to bite the bullet with the tedious bands. The grey is another chunky cardigan but this time made to my own design hence I made the back in record time. I just followed the shape of Kath's cardigan and made it larger. The hat is still on the needles and hasn't grown any since yesterday. The other photo shows how little room I have to sit to crochet on my sofa due to Buster sleeping on the other end. I woke this morning to find him with his head on my pillow snoring in my ear and underneath the duvet. Must have been a cold night I guess!

Wednesday, 19 December 2007

Amy Winehouse the first

See what I mean! Amy Winehouse hairdo as seen on Blackpool Pier with my best friend Anne (complete with Dame Edna Everidge's glasses) back in June of 1962. It had got a little flattened by the usual Blackpool bracing breeze. Not sure what I was wearing but obviously pleated skirts and polo shirts were the "in" thing back in 62 as Anne is wearing them as well !

Still plodding on

No photos today as I am still plodding along with Kath's crochet cardigan and the doubled knitted hat. The cardigan now has a back and 2 fronts so it's getting better. I have not enjoyed this project as although the stitch is easy every row is counted as there is lots of shaping and I like to zip along mindlessly whilst watching the TV in the evening. The dog doesn't help as every time I get my pattern, bit of paper where I am keeping row count, my pen and my crochet sorted out he jumps up and either sits all over it or wants to sit on my knee!

The doubled hat is now back to where it was before my disastrous mistake the other night. The principle is easy but it's very slow going. I could have knitted 3 single thickness hats with the length of time it has taken me with this one, but I like the effect so will persevere. I am doubtful if I will make another one this method again. Unless of course it turns out so wonderful that I grit my teeth and knit another one. I usually find that whatever I have hated knitting or crocheting is the one thing everyone likes and asks me to make one. Sod's law I suppose.

My friend Caroline has already asked for a cardigan like Kath's. She might get one but done with my adaptations and not worked to the pattern. Now I have seen how the shaping works out I can do my own modifications far quicker by just crocheting the shape in my own way. That is how I learned to crochet garments as way back when I was 18 the crochet patterns were very old fashioned or the trendy ones were few and far between so I used to stand outside shops or go in and inspect garments several times and then make my own copy. Naughty I know but I cared not a whit about copyrights back then. I still think it's hard to copyright a garment anyway as unless you slavishly follow a pattern stitch by stitch who can say it IS an exact copy and not just that 2 people had a similar idea at the same time. It's wrong to make a business out of selling exact copies but for personal use I don't think there is anything wrong with making something similar for a friend. I am old enough to see patterns now labelled as "designer" when I have the almost similar pattern from way back when in my pattern stash. My mother used to say there is nothing new in fashion just the old ideas re-vamped. I am now old enough to see a lot of my teenage fashions being worn by trendy young things who would be horrified to find out that this old granny figure has photos of herself wearing almost an identical garment. Don't worry folks no photos exist of myself in my crochet hot pants or my mini dress and white high boots. Now that brought memories of my Amy Winehouse beehive hairdo way back in the 60's. Yeah for the trendy old grump.

Tuesday, 18 December 2007

Drat, drat - more haste less speed.

It's true what they say the more haste the less speed. As you can see from the photo the hat has not progressed much more than yesterday. That is because I was merrily knitting away watching the tv, the phone rang and I answered it and then carried on knitting. After about 3" I thought the hat is pulling unevenly. I scrutinised it and found out that when I answered the phone I must have changed my rhythm and slipped when I should have knitted (you will understand what I mean if you have read the pattern) and so had half a row of the wrong colour. If you get the two pieces of the hat clipped together then it ruins the reversibility so regretfully I had to unrip it. It was a nightmare trying to pick the stitches back up again making sure I had one of each colour in the right sequence in order on each needle. Argh not a good evening. I never got to Kath's crochet cardigan at all and this hat is virtually the same length as it was last night.

I did manage to finish the black chenille crochet scarf and fingerless mitts although I had to bleach the colour out in the photos so that you could see the pattern stitch so it looks rather grey. Having a moulting dog when crocheting black chenille doesn't mix well . Luckily the mitts and scarf are for my daughter in law, Buster's former mum, so I am sure she won't mind having bits of him interwoven in her crochet. I have a lint roller but it seems like every time I get up from the sofa to make a coffee etc Buster jumps not only into my warm spot but also lies on my crochet or knitting. Perhaps he is guarding it from Santa's Elves?

Time to wash the dishes and the kitchen floor and then maybe get some knitting or crochet in before the next dog walk.

Monday, 17 December 2007

Brr It's cold outside

I have just got back from taking Buster out for his walk and it's definitely a thicker knickers kind of day! Not that I am a thong kind of girl anyway more of a harvest festival (all is safely gathered in) underwear wearer. My friend's daughter calls them my apple gatherers or belly warmers. All I know is that Billy Smart could hold his circus in a pair of mine but they are WARM and that's all that interests me these days. Boy I really am getting old. My sexy undies are put away along with my stiletto heels which I may wear again one day if I ever get my back fixed.

I finished the hat for Caroline's sister using the same pattern (Guys Hat) I used a couple of blogs ago. I really enjoy knitting that hat - sort of mindless tv knitting. I have started another hat which is going to be more of a challenge. Not so much hard to knit but I have to keep my eye on the ball so to speak. I found the pattern on Alison's blog (The Blue Blog) and bookmarked it as being a really warm hat. I have started it using some left over aran but as I have to knit 2 rows for every one it will be slow going. If you click on the link you will understand what I mean

It is looking nice though so I will finish it off hopefully before Christmas as another hat for Kath's boyfriend from London as he is a weekend hiker and I thought it would be warm and more windproof for winter walks.

I am off now to watch Loose Women and crochet a bit more on the black chenille scarf. I decided to finish it off as I had done quite a bit. It is a bit on the narrow side but I can always put an edging all around it when it is long enough as I don't really want to fringe it. Tonight I must push on with Kath's crochet cardigan which has been in limbo since Friday night.

Sunday, 16 December 2007

Oh Christmas tree, oh Christmas tree

Well today I felt very Christmassy. I put the tree decorations on and all the fairy lights. Trimmed the windows and got out the Christmas nativity. It's very old and battered these days but to me it's a part of my Christmas. I have had the figures since I was a little girl so who cares if Baby Jesus is missing a hand and that the other figures are chipped. I love Christmas. The glittery the better. Buster started off being interested in what I was doing but retired to his chair with his monkey and ball after a while as you can see.

I call it Christmas. To me it's the spirit of families, the remembrance of what it is all about, The Nativity, Baby Jesus, Midnight Mass, Father Christmas and the giving of gifts. I make no apologies for loving Christmas. I don't want to call it winter holiday, winter solstice or whatever the PC brigade want us to call it. I don't get offended when the Jews celebrate Hanukkah, the Muslims celebrate Eid, the Indians with Diwali so why should I be made to feel that it's wrong to have a Happy Christmas, sing carols and worship in the way I want? I am not offended in the least by anyone who follows their own religion. It's a free country and it would be an awful thought if we were not free to worship (or not) in our own way. I am not overly religious, I don't press my thoughts onto anyone so why should I be made to feel uncomfortable and worried in case I offend people. I have many friends in the Jewish and Asian community who all wish me a Happy Christmas and some send me cards so who started all this PC business anyway?

With all the house trimming and dog walking there hasn't been any knit or crochet done today. I didn't even finish off the hat last night as my hands were feeling the strain and my wrist ached badly. I will try to get some speed up tonight after I have cooked Sunday dinner, Another tradition even though I live alone these days. Got to have my roasted potatoes, chicken and veggies with gravy. Yes sir, I am an old fashioned girl when it comes to Sundays. Bacon and eggs to start the day and a roast dinner to finish it. You can't beat it.

Saturday, 15 December 2007

Fetching mittens finished.

My friend Caroline came today to revert me back to a blonde without dark roots and I gave her the pair of fingerless mitts I had knitted for her sister from a pattern called Fetching. I used a double knit and worked an extra set of cables on the hand before the top ribbing. They worked out tighter than the Knitty ones as I think worsted is more like a thick double knit or a fine aran. I forgot to photograph the pair before she took them home with her so the photo here is of the first pair I made without the K1 P1 ribbing. The pattern calls for a different cast off but when I tried it that way it frilled out and the gloves curled back into the palm. This time I made the thumbs with a 2 row rib finish after the 4 stocking stitch rows of the pattern.

I am now making another hat like the one I finished off on Thursday using remnants of the grey wool from the mitts and the green/grey fleck wool left over from the other hat. I though that using some of the grey would make it more of a match to the fingerless mitts. The trouble with using remnants is that there is never quite enough wool! Caroline's son Michael has requested a pair of black mittens. I thought at first he meant gloves as he was trying on the fingerless mitts but making descriptive movements which I took to mean longer fingers. As he is 13 I thought he might have made a mistake with his description so I showed him a pair of my mittens and he said "Yes just like those but in black and not thick ones" He said he wanted his fingers all together for warmth. My hands are already aching like mad today from all the knitting so I just hope I can get everything finished off in time. I have warned Michael that the mitts will probably be after Christmas as I think they had better be in 4ply if I can find a pattern.

My Christmas tree and baubles have been reached down from the loft but I didn't feel like assembling everything tonight. I will leave that joy for tomorrow. I had hoped that Michael and Caroline would help me to decorate but they arrived rather late as Michael had been playing basket ball in the park and they had to leave before 6pm for church service on the way home.

I just can't believe this one

Just a quick blog to show you this link I got sent from Google crochet. Apart from the obvious fact that the Missoni hat is knitted and not crochet just get a look at the price!

I hope the people I have made free hats for appreciate my talent. I could have been a millionaire if I could have got this kind of money for any of them.

Friday, 14 December 2007

Whew - still knitting and crocheting

I am still hard at it (knit and crochet that is). Today I am making a pair of fingerless mitts for Caroline's sister which I apparently promised to make in a mad moment. I must be mad. I have enough to do without adding stuff! They are half done so will photograph them tomorrow. The crochet has taken a bit of a back seat but last night I finished the back of Kath's cardigan and started the front. The scarf remains at 20" no decision made as to whether to continue or not.

Today I went for my repeat prescription to the docs but couldn't get it from the pharmacy as their high tech equipment has broken down. Gone are the good old days when the pharmacist (or in my day - the chemist) opened little drawers and found the right pills and potions. Now we have a sophisticated system run (or not run a lot of the time) by robots. We can watch in amazement as the pulleys run along the ceiling and deliver our prescription as if by magic from some storeroom in the sky. They even have a camera trained on it with a wide screen so we can gaze mesmerised at the wonder of it all. Except of course when it breaks down. No prescriptions can be dispensed. Can you come back tomorrow? What if it was for urgently wanted drugs? I presume that person would have to get in his car, walk or bus to the next pharmacy. What I can't understand is why can't someone walk upstairs and get the drugs or is that something unheard of these days. Not all progress is good, when humans dispensed at least I didn't get broken pills from when the boxes crash down into the receptacle on their journey from the skies.

The photo today is of a wedding dress for a teenage doll that I made quite a long time ago for a friend's daughter but obviously never gave it to her. I had forgotten all about it and discovered it whilst looking for something else. I think I found out after I made it that the little girl was into karate and not dolls and my great grand babies are too young to be given anything like that for quite a while.

Thursday, 13 December 2007

Great hat to knit

I loved knitting this hat for my niece's boyfriend. I think the top shaping is great. I found it on a blog

and it was entitled Guy's Hat. It looks quite small on the needles but fits well. I knit this one with Sirdar Bonus Double Knit and the colour in real life and not on my dodgy web cam is a sort of army green fleck. I had quite a lot left from a 100gram ball as the yarn is acrylic but it would probably take the full ball in pure wool. Since I found the makkin (knitting belt) on Jamiesons Shetland web site I really enjoy knitting on 5 needles. I am looking forward to making socks for myself in the New Year from my birthday sock book. Previously I had never been able to use small length needles due to the fact that I have to knit with one needle jammed under my right armpit. Try as I might I cannot knit with my needles waggling about. I guess it's the way I was taught. Circular needles will forever be a no no for me.

I have continued to crochet the black chenille scarf but am still not sure whether or not I like it but as I am now about 20" along I will press on regardless.

Today I went to water aerobics and then to Asda for a few Christmas bits to go along with presents for my family. I have just got 3 people now to buy something for. My daughter in law and my 2 great grand daughters. I am awaiting ideas from my son as to what they might like as I don't trust my taste for presents for any of them without hints.

I got sent a link via my e mail yesterday and when opened it was a clock with a countdown to Christmas with the days, hours minutes and even seconds ticking away. Aarrgh. It sounds so close when you see it written down like that and I am far from ready for Christmas. Not a card written, no tree up or any decorations, no presents wrapped and worse than that many things still to finish off.

I had better stop blogging and get crocheting! Whew, guess it will be yet another late night. I had better make a strong coffee.

Wednesday, 12 December 2007

Another present finished

Last night I finished crocheting my sister in law's scarf. It is crocheted rather appropriately in Patons Blur which usually is a description for my photographic skills. It doesn't help that I have put the manual in a safe place (i.e.lost it!) or that I totally lack basic skills in photography. I am going to have a tidy up of my collection of papers that are strewn around the house in various hidey holes so hopefully the manual will be found. I usually keep in in the camera box so am a bit puzzled as to why I thought it would be safer somewhere else.

I started Kath's cardigan on Monday eve just to get a feel of the pattern but as I had reached the shaping for the waist bit I didn't do any last night as it was late and my concentration was at a low ebb.

I started a basic shell scarf in some Sirdar black chenille I had in stock but am still unsure if I will continue with it. Everything black that I crochet ends up with lots of Buster hair woven in it as no matter how much I lint roll and brush everywhere he has a habit of shedding over my work (or so it seems) If it's not Buster hair then it's mine. I usually wear it twisted up but long blonde hairs get woven into most garments I make. Perhaps Buster and I should wear those dashing net hats they wear in food production? Buster would have the all in one overalls of course.

On with the day. Buster has decided that my breakfast looks far more tasty than his breakfast and as we still haven't been for the morning walk so I am not in his good books. Ah the joys of owning a dog. My friend Caroline's dog has just had to be put to sleep on Monday so she is very upset. He had been quite ill for weeks, back and forth to the vet's, but she kept putting off the inevitable. She says now she realises why I was so upset when my little 14yr old cat Ollie died in my arms a few months ago. She had never had a pet before and didn't understand my grief. Her dog Jack was a demented un-trainable idiot but she loved him and that's all that matters. Her relatives will be sad for her but glad that they will no longer get bitten every time they visit her, and the neighbours will be glad of the break from his constant barking.

Tuesday, 11 December 2007

Lovely day

I had a great day today. I got a visit from my friend Vicky and we had a chat and a discussion on crochet hats - technique and stitches to use etc. Vicky in embarking on one with some lovely yarn (chenille I think) in my favourite colourways. I am sure it will appear on her blog any day soon.

I got a lovely gift from Vicky of some Rowan Kid classic in my favourite colour of purple. The packaging was a work of art as you can see in the photo also the card. I love anything handmade as it shows that a great deal of time, thought, effort and love has gone into the packaging as well as the gift. My skills with paper, glue or sellotape are legendary in my family. I would never make a presenter on Blue Peter that is for sure. I can manage to turn anything into a tattily wrapped mangle in no time at all! Glue welds itself to my fingers and that in turn welds my fingers to the parcel. Sellotape has a life of it's own even with a dispenser. I have yet to place one piece of it on anything without a copy of my fingerprint and a fold in it. My family were amazed one Christmas at my parcelling skills. I had curls of ribbon etc and everything was wonderful. I had to confess that a friend of mine who is skilled in the art had visited me just before Christmas and taken pity on my Klutziness and done them all for me! Why did she have to marry and move away?

The scarf to match the Kilim cap is finished and fringed. It really was a labour of love as darning in ends of yarn in is not my favourite task and as the colour changed with every row you can imagine how many tails I had to stitch. Luckily for me my niece isn't a perfectionist so won't mind if she has little ends of wool working their way out of the scarf as she wears it. Adds to it's homemade charm?

I have started the openwork crochet cardigan for my other niece Kath. The pattern stitch is quite straightforward but the garment has lots of shaping for the waist and wrap over fronts so the pattern was labelled as for the experienced so I hope there won't be too much cursing tonight.

I have crocheted half of the mohair scarf for my sister in law so hopefully that will get finished off tonight.

Monday, 10 December 2007

Caroline's aran cardigan - finished

I have finished off Caroline's aran cardigan. As I was working from a 400 gram of aran and could not get another ball it finished up as a long short sleeved cardigan. I am pleased with the result though as otherwise the ball would only have finished up as yet another hat and scarf set.

I did crochet and knit a lot yesterday and even though the tv was uninspiring. I am not a lover of the Royal Variety Performance so I finished up watching Ray Mears in the rain forest with Ewan McGregor instead. Now I know how to put up my hammock in the jungle! I don't know what I would do without my Discovery channels as terrestial TV is so bland these days. The only thing worth watching is Loose Women and 60 minute makeover although if someone gave me vinyl or laminate floors and a leather suite I would scream. I like my warmth and scruffiness with a carpet and dog hairy throws! I doubt if I could live in a showhouse type of environment for more than an hour without messing it all up. They don't cater for us crafty types who have projects spilling out all over in every room. Someone once said tidiness shows a lack of creativity and I use that as my mantra. It means I can justify being very messy as having a creative mind!

My craft/messy corner is home to a three quarters finished scarf to match the Kilim cap (ends stitched in as I go) and a quarter of a mohair openwork crochet scarf for my sister in law. I will probably start my London niece's crochet cardigan today and get the pattern set whilst it is still daylight. I like to do my cursing in the daylight. It is from the Fabulous Flirty Crochet book so no doubt the air will be blue as I try to work out the rows as they will inevitably be wrong somewhere. If the book gets one pattern right I will say a loud hurrah tomorrow!

I am off to walk the dog as he is sulking on the sofa because I had my breakfast first. He does sulk to a fine art, hasn't even eaten his breakfast. I have dared to vary his routine. I should know it's walk first and then breakfast. He will stop sulking once I rattle the lead though. I need to nip to the shops for a crust of bread and a few necessities later. Whew - another busy day.

Sunday, 9 December 2007

Knit and crochet until I drop day

Well that was what I planned and it is now almost lunch time and not a stitch knitted. I will pick up something after I have finished this and washed the dishes - honest I will. I have now finished the back of Caroline's aran due to some hard knitting last night. I am on the sleeves but they will have to be short ones as even though Caroline is such a wee thing my wool will run out long before I get the sleeves finished. I am knitting both at the same time to eliminate having to unrip one when the second one turns out shorter! Lucky for me she usually wears short sleeved cardigans. Whew!

Next on the hook will be my niece's long cardigan (thankfully crocheted) but that will be after I have finished off the scarf to match the Kilim cap (half done). After that I only have a couple of hats, wrist warmers and a small scarf to do ( Is that all! Wow easy peasy she jokes!) plus any spare time left over I have some Bunny slippers to make. I still have to shop for my son and his wife's present, (I don't think somehow he would like bunny slippers) something for my ex hubby and the great grand children. Surprisingly enough I am more organised this year than I usually am. I am normally the mad Christmas Eve shopper who buys the first thing I see that looks remotely suitable!

I should get the Christmas tree down from the loft but that will use up a day's crafting so maybe I will leave that until I have more crocheting under my belt. At least this year I know where it is since I had the loft re- lagged and boarded. In years past it has been a dark brush with danger balancing on the beams trying to remember which dark dirty corner I put the tree and trimmings in the year before. With my dodgy balance I always had visions of crashing through the boards and finishing up in one of the bedrooms. Now I have a light and safe footing so it should technically be a lot easier. I have been up into the loft a few times for buttons and patterns since I had the work done so it was well worth the money spent. Now if only I could only get my garage roof and doors done I could organise that as well ! My family won't know me soon. I will be too tidy. Hah - as if !!!

Friday, 7 December 2007

What kind of angel are you?

christmas quiz

I found this on a blog and had a try at it. I sound a bit of a goody two shoes but I did answer the questions honestly!

Thursday, 6 December 2007

Fabulous Flirty Crochet

Kath's cardigan ( sorry about the blurred photo but the yarn is so dark) is finished and blocked to try to stretch it out as it did come out very small. The pattern was riddled with mistakes. I did read the errata page and amended my book but it was still wrong in quite a few places. I really do get so annoyed when I pay £10 -£15 for a book and then finish up having to work out the pattern on my own. It's bad enough that the US books call the stitches by the wrong names for us UK crocheters but I haven't bought one book that hasn't had mistakes in it.

I still have one pack of yarn left but the next one I make will be of my own design! I will just look at the picture in the books and do my own thing. I find that when I do that the garments fit better anyway. The close ups show the collar detail and the button tab detail.

I have done roughly half of the scarf to match the Kilim cap and stitched the ends in thanks to Gok Kwan and his How to Look Good Naked programme. I love that programme. Much better than the horrible Trinny and Susannah who are so rude to everyone. I would hate them to do a make over on me their taste is clothes is abysmal and if they came anywhere near my boobs I would punch them.

Caroline's aran is progressing. I have done 2 fronts and part of the back. I will photograph it tomorrow. I have to switch from knitting to crochet throughout the course of the evening to rest my hands. I started a knitted scarf in mohair but the lacy stitch was annoying me when the stitches kept sticking together so I cast it aside and have started to crochet one instead. I hope I like this one as I will have less and less wool if I keep discarding pieces of knit and crochet that I don't like. If you have ever tried to unrip mohair you will know that it is virtually impossible so I have about 5 false starts curled up on the sofa like big fluffy false eyelashes.

It was water aerobics day today and I usually enjoy it but today my legs went very numb and wobbly and I kept overbalancing. It has never happened to me in water before. It happens on dry land a lot and I have a big bruise on my right arm and leg to prove it. I almost fell through the porch window when I lost the feeling in my legs after Buster's walk and overbalanced as I tried to get up the step into the house. Once I sit down the use comes back almost immediately although I do get a burning sensation and pins and needles for a while.

Wednesday, 5 December 2007

Knitted birthday suit

Today I went into my loft to find some buttons for my almost completed crochet cardigan for my slim niece. It is a good job she is so slim as although I crochet on the loose side it has turned out extremely small. I am using super chunky so the original wool the pattern had used must have been as thick as rug yarn! I will photograph it tomorrow. It has only taken one pack of yarn but I will have to work in some contrast yarn on the other pack to make anything more normal sized for my other niece or myself. I don't feel like going to Lidl again in the rain to see if they have another pack left. They wouldn't have had the same dye lot anyway as there were only 2 packs of any colour in the same dye lot.

Anyway I digress. Whilst up in the loft I decided to rummage through the patterns up there ( as if I don't have enough patterns downstairs!) and found this birthday card that I got sent to me many years ago. The friend who sent it to me also worked in my shop and I was devastated to lose her to breast cancer at the age of 36. She had lost her husband to what I presume is now called MRSA suddenly the year before and they left 2 teenage girls. It was so terribly sad.

I remember her most for her wicked sense of humour as you can see from the card. The instructions say it comes in 2 sizes - Twiggy and Dolly Parton. I can forward the instructions if you have 10 (small?)balls of 3ply and wish to make it anytime! I love the making up instructions. Embroider nipples and navel in chain stitch. Work pubic region in loopstitch with mohair yarn. Brush up for fluffy effect. Wax bikini line as required!