Wednesday, 26 September 2007

Another pink crochet blanket finished

I think I am getting a bit fed up with the colour pink. I finished the basket weave blanket but as I ran out of donated yarn in that brand and colour I had to give it a white and green border so I am not really pleased with it. I think it would have been far nicer all in pink. I have cast on a knitted 4ply ballerina jacket that I found in Erika Knight's book Simple Knitting for Cherished Babies but I am getting a bit bored with it already as it is garter stitch which is not my favourite stitch. I feel that I am knitting 2 rows for every row the garment grows in length. Plus the fact I am on smaller needles to make it small enough for a premature baby. I will make this one and then adapt it for stocking stitch and try using the correct size needles and scale down the stitches next time. Guess which colour I am using? You guessed - more donated pink. I will have to change colour for my next knitting before I go mad even though I still have quite a few more balls of donated pink yarn.

My friend Vicky who I was helping with her crochet has had a mention on Debbie Tomkies web site.

Vicky is far more adventurous than I will ever be and has dyed her own yarn and I think has actually spun some yarn as well. She describes this on her blog if you click on the link. I am pitifully pathetic in that department and will probably continue to buy my yarns ready dyed and balled. Maybe one day I will get the urge to get some Kool Aid and have a go myself. Vicky is also getting involved with knitting miniature jumpers and handbags to be attached to key rings to be sold to raise funds for Breast Cancer. If anyone is interested I (or Vicky) could pass on details of who is running it if you are interested in making some to aid the charity.

My hospital appointment didn't go as well as planned. I was greeted with - Oh you are the lady with the tingling in her fingers!! I looked at my niece and she at me in disbelief. No I am not the lady with tingling fingers - that was dealt with last year by a different hospital thank you. I am the lady who got forgotten in the system for the last 2yrs the one with the bad back. He then said he needed another MRI scan as he can't work on one more than 6 months old and mine is 2yrs old. I am now waiting for my 4th MRI scan and X rays to see what he can do for me. He said it is quite possible that with my spinal stenosis and osteoporosis it would not be beneficial to me to have an operation as it could make matters worse ! Argh! I felt gutted to think I have been pinning my hopes on an operation that will cure the crippling back pain and now I get told that it may not be a feasible idea. I can have an immediate operation to stop my legs going numb but it will do nothing for the back pain. I am going to wait and see what the results on the MRI scan are first. I am carrying on with my diet even though he said there was nothing wrong with my weight, he said that once before and then at the 11th hour said he could not operate because I was morbidly obese ! I guess will be just a question of keep on dieting, keep walking the dog and wait and see.

I finally got the results of the rib X ray I had done 6 weeks ago (different hospital) and there is no rib fracture so I am free to resume my exercise programme with BEATS at the local gym. Tomorrow I will go back to my water aerobics class - car permitting. It must have been a deep muscle tear or sprain in the chest and rib area. It certainly was very painful for about 4 weeks but thankfully the pain has now gone.

The evening has galloped past and I haven't done much knitting or crochet tonight. I will try to get a couple more hours in before bedtime.

Tuesday, 25 September 2007

Still crocheting baby blankets for the premature babies

I am on my fourth prem baby blanket for the babies at Bolton Hospital. I got quite a bit of pink yarn donated so let's hope there are plenty of girls going to be born. I made the one pictured in a simple shell pattern but the second one I am making is in a basket weave stitch and it has gobbled up the yarn at a rate of knots so it will have to be finished off with some other colour from the donations. I didn't feel like frogging the whole blanket so I will have to improvise. I will use the basket weave as a centre and perhaps work a border around it. The photo also shows a couple of premature baby jackets. The pink one was knitted from an old Studley doll pattern and the yellow jacket was crocheted from a free pattern I found on Bev's Preemie patterns Internet site. She has posted a few free patterns on there. Her only stipulation is that they are used for donations or private use.
Tonight I am off to the hospital for an appointment with the back specialist. I had been overlooked and forgotten as I presumed. It is a pity that it has taken an MP's letter to the hospital to get them to admit it. They are, of course, blaming the secretary's for all of this. Conveniently the secretaries were temporary and they have now left so it's all too easy to lay the blame at their door when they can't answer back. My niece is coming with me to see what he has to say to me this time. The last time I saw him (almost 2yrs ago) he was lecturing me on my weight and telling me I am obese and in danger of dying on the operating table. I hold my hands up to overweight but as I am a size 16 (UK) dress size then half the women in the UK must be obese with me. It's all a scheme to get the waiting lists down. Overweight? then get off the list. You smoke (I don't ) then you are off the list also. There is a programme on ITV on Monday with Trevor McDonald I am going to watch as it is all about the subject of cancelled operations. I actually fit into a size 14 skirt that I am going to wear tonight and the waist is loose. Obese - yeah right!
I am hoping to get back to the gym on the BEATS programme as my Xray for my rib area that I had done at the local hospital (different one to the back hospital) the results have finally arrived at my GP's after a 6 week wait. I think it must have been a deep muscle sprain or tear as the pain went about 2 weeks ago (after 4 weeks of agony) I am a victim of the NHS. Does everyone else have such trouble. Perhaps I am just an instantly forgettable person.
There was a comment sent to my last blog that is (I think) in Portuguese. I have tried to find out how to remove it as it appears ( I tried to translate using Babelfish) to be soliciting for something. Please don't click on it as it mentions money and anything that mentions money makes me very uneasy especially as I can't quite understand what it means. I can't find the little dustbin symbol that is supposed to appear next to the comment to enable me to remove it. Anyone out there got any ideas? I certainly do not endorse anything that would cost money to view this blog. It is nothing to do with me folks, please ignore it!

Friday, 21 September 2007

Why I should never crochet with black

I have just finished my 5th short n sweet shrug from Stitch n Bitch The Happy Hooker. The friend I made a white one for asked for another in black which I finished off last night. I know now why I don't crochet with black yarn anymore. Not only does it affect my eyesight crocheting it in artificial light but I found this morning (even after being washed) that I had crocheted several hairs from Buster the boxer cross in with it. He will be forever interwoven into the shrug. I am hoping to get a break from the shrug for a while as I find I can crochet it now without the pattern which is somewhat worrying.

I have finally finished sock number 2 in Opal from the Jaywalker pattern I found free on I have started another pair of socks using a ball of wool kindly given to me by my friend Vicky and using my smaller 2.25mm needles as I feel my tension is still somewhat loose when I knit on a set despite using my makkin ( see previous posts for explanation). The set I am using is from the set of sets that I got through E bay (see previous post) as I never did receive anything from the less than Angelic Yarn site. I found out yesterday that they took the full amount of my order (£28) from my credit card on the day I placed my order even though one month later I have not received anything. They informed me by e mail that I shall be getting a full refund to my credit card but this may take some time !!! I am definitely NOT impressed with this and shall not be using the company again. They have known for some time that they could not supply me with the Sale yarn I ordered but yet still kept my money and it was only when I wrote to cancel the order that they said they would instigate a refund. Were they hoping I wouldn't notice I had already been charged for goods not dispatched? I am sorry but that is not very good business practise and not good customer service. I have never been charged automatically at the point of order with any other online company I have used. I am now faced with a bill for 2 orders on my credit card this month which is not funny when I live my life on a small budget. I will get charged for the interest on the balance that I am getting refunded as I can only afford to pay for my 2nd order from E bay. I am definitely NOT amused.

I am trying to organise what I will buy or make for family and friends for this Christmas. I left it rather late last year and it was rather a scrabble at the last moment. I have a few ideas in mind but of course I am not going to post anything on here just in case they read it.

I am still making some things for the premature babies for Bolton Hospital in between my normal knitting and crochet and have finished off one jacket. It looks very small but when I looked online I found that really premature babies have a chest size of 10" and my jacket measures 12" so perhaps it will fit. I am still going to make the next one a wee bit larger.

Tuesday, 18 September 2007

My sets of 5 bamboo needles have arrived

If you have been following my blog (or know me) you will be aware of my saga concerning trying to get an order delivered from a yarn site who let us say is less than Angelic! I have waited 4 weeks for a set of 5 Brittany Birch needles which will cost me (if they ever arrive) about £7 with postage. I have got so sick of waiting so my son ordered me this wonderful set of 15 sets of sets of 5 in bamboo from E bay for the princely sum of £14 and that includes postage and more to the point he ordered them on Sunday and they arrived today (Tuesday) Impressive or what? They aren't of course as good a quality as the others would have been but for the money they seem excellent value and feel lovely and smooth. The testing time will be in the knitting.

I can at last test my tension on smaller needles to start another pair of socks. Do these yarn sites realise the frustration of a knitter who is raring to go with a project and has to wait 4 weeks? I wouldn't mind if they had been in constant touch as to the state of play but I have only had 1 e mail over a week ago telling me one set of needles was in stock and on it's way to me and that was only because I had written to ask where my order was. Since then I have had no updates and no delivery. I will have to wait and see if anything shows on my credit card and if it does I will really start to get angry then. Needless to say I won't be using them again for an order. My niece is also waiting for a sock kit she ordered about 6 weeks ago. Similar story. She e mailed and they said out of stock, we will send when we can and since then she has heard nothing.

Today I am off to visit my neighbour who crochets blankets for the dogs at a rescue centre. I have got 2 partly made large crochet granny squares that were in a bag of donated yarn so I will take those with me and endeavour to finish them off into dog blankets whilst I am there.

Saturday, 15 September 2007

Short n sweet crochet shrug

My friend Caroline came to collect her advance birthday present of the white crochet Short n sweet shrug (see previous posts for photo) and liked it so much she asked me (she pretty please grovelled actually) to make her one in black as well. I think I will be stuck with making more of these shrugs for a long time to come. It is like a chain reaction. Everyone who sees them falls in love and wants one.

I wanted to finish knitting my green Opal Elemente Jaywalker socks but the second sock has been fraught with problems. I was watching tv last night whilst I was knitting so when I had turned the heel I noticed that my heel was a much lighter shade of green than the rest of the sock and also I had a very dark green half row half way up the leg. The penalties for watching something gripping on the tv whilst knitting. I then found out that quite a few yards of the unworked wool was also very pale green so I must have got a faulty ball. I have decided to overlook the pale heel and the half row that is faulty. I just hope that I can finish the second sock without any more mishaps with the dye. I have kept the pale green part of the ball that I had to ravel off the ball until the colour returned to normal. I do hope I don't have to finish up with a pale green toe.

I have still not received any news from Angel yarns about my Brittany Birch set of 5 double pointed needles size 2.25mm which I ordered over 3 weeks ago. I feel I need to get my tension right with smaller needles for the next pair of socks. Even using the makkin leather knitting belt my tension is still slacker using double pointed needles than it is using a pair. Today I got my son to order me a set containing several different sizes of sets of 5 bamboo double pointed needles from E-bay so I hope they are of knittable quality when they arrive. Size 2.25mm sets seem to be rarer than hen's teeth. I had visited web several sites who only stocked them in metal. I was tempted by the Knit Pics set of 5" metal double pointed as I had seen good write ups of them but decided to try the bamboo for the moment as I like the flexibility and the slightly longer length when I knit.

Friday, 14 September 2007

Two crochet blankets for the prem baby unit

I have finished off two blankets for the prem baby unit at Bolton Hospital. They were made primarily from donated yarn so are somewhat darker in colour than I would have chosen if I had been buying yarn but I suppose they will do the job of keeping babies warm no matter what colour they are. I have lots of pink that has been donated still to crochet or knit into cardies, hats or blankets so let's hope there are preemie girls to wear them or the boys will look pretty silly in pink bonnets. The blanket in lilac shades with white was from a book I got at Amazon - Cute crochet for Tiny Tots by Helen Ardley. It is a small size in the book so if you make it for a full term baby you will need to start with extra chain and work more length. The other blanket was just a shell or fan pattern with alternating oddments of colours. I didn't have a pattern for that one.

I spent a very nice couple of hours yesterday teaching Vicky to crochet.(well not so much teaching as pointing out a couple of things she hadn't grasped already) She is taking to crochet like a duck to water so it won't be long before she is well and truly hooked! I should have warned her how addictive crochet is. Vicky knits anywhere at different odd moments, and is cataloguing photos on her blog showing when and where ( one shows her knitting with the Daleks so that gives you some idea!) but crochet is far more transportable, only one hook and one ball of yarn, so new doors have opened up for you Vicky. Have hook will climb up and around things to crochet! You need less elbow room for a hook I used to crochet on the bus and the train. I suppose I have always been a little eccentric as I was one of the first to walk around junior and senior school at playtime doing my knitting. Irene Carr was my inspiration. She used to knit 2 coloured T cosies in infant school at the age of 6 or 7 yrs. I bet she never knew what an influence she had on my life. I wonder if she is still knitting now?

Today I have had a pyjama day. One of those days when you just can't be bothered to get out of pj's and face the day. Eventually of course I had to get dressed to take the dog for a walk. Bah hiss. I went out to find signs attached to lampposts in my street announcing that the road will be resurfaced ( well actually it said cosmetically enhanced with a light dusting - does this mean a machine will hurtle past at 40 mph scattering tarry pebbles in it's wake?) so between 8am- 6pm next Mon - Fri ( why they can't say which day I don't know cos it's not that big of a street) it is no parking or vehicles will get towed away. Now this should be fun as lower down my street it is maisonettes without drives and my street is like the street of a thousand cars on a good day. First home gets a space the rest circle the block hovering like vultures waiting to pounce on a spot.

I will offer my drive to the guys across the road so that will solve their problem but I can only fit 2 or 3 cars if they are very tiny on my drive. It will be something to watch and keep the dog amused next week!

Wednesday, 12 September 2007

Crochet hat in Sirdar Medici

I have just crocheted a new hat for the winter. I was out shopping and went to browse at the books in the local Oxfam shop as sometimes they have some good knit or crochet books in (hey the oldies are the goodies) and saw this wonderful yarn Sirdar Medici in a basket. It is shades of blue pink and lilac with very subtle lurex undertones and I just had to have it. I enquired how much for these 2 balls and was told 50p - yes 50p for both of them! Wow - a bargain or what! I couldn't wait to get home and turn them into a hat.

I started top down and used an alternating treble and double crochet stitch as the yarn is very soft with not much body. I had to use a largish hook as I was afraid I would not have enough yarn if I made the tension tighter. I had several try ons of the hat as I increased until I had the right head width and length. I changed to a fan or shell pattern for the brim. The fans comprise of 5 trebles with a double crochet in between alternating on the next row. The hat has turned out very light and warm and my best bargain of the year so far. A hat for 50p!

I have done a bit more on my crochet prem baby blanket but as I am using oddments there will be a few subtle colour changes as I go along as my 2 small balls of lilac looked OK in artificial light but when I looked this morning in daylight they are quite different. I am sure the babies will not notice this. I think I will run out of lilac before the end of the blanket so I will be thinking of ways to improvise as the stitch I am using has a 3 colour pattern change of dark lilac, pale lilac and white. I wonder if I could put another colour in it. Maybe I will stop when the lilac runs out and just make a larger border of dark lilac to compensate for the missing rows.

Tuesday, 11 September 2007

Crochet short n sweet shrug 3 sizes

I have just finished my umpteenth version of the short n sweet shrug from the Stitch n Bitch The Happy Hooker book. I know the stitch off by heart now and have done so many variations to use up different yarn from my stash for different sizes. The photo shown my own UK size 18, My friend's UK size 8 and the small version adapted for the teeny tiny teenager who lives next door. She is just like a doll. I made hers from some Sirdar Silky Look DK I had in my stash. I made it on a 4mm hook and just scaled the pattern down somewhat.

I have also finished knitting a short tie fronted bolero in Aran thickness from a free pattern I found on the DROPPS site (Garnstudio) I do find their patterns very hard to follow. They seem to be very loosely translated into English. I cannot follow the charts with the lace stitches on. In the end I blew up the photo of the cardigan and zoomed in on the stitch and did my own version of it. If I make this garment again though I would make the ties a little longer as there is scant enough to tie at the waist. I have started another of their patterns which is supposed to have mock eyelet style panels and I wasted all evening trying to make head or tale of that chart and gave up once again and decided to make my own version of a panel. They have some wonderful patterns and yarns. I haven't tried any of the crochet patterns as yet so will see if they are any easier to follow.

I have also started to crochet a baby blanket in 3 colours from Cute Crochet for Tiny Tots. My knitting groups is making things for the premature baby unit at Bolton so I thought it was time I started to make a few things for our next meet. I have not as yet been given any sizes of chests or blanket sizes so am just going to hope for the best and do a selection of garments and see which one they think is the most useful.

I am still sock knitting. I am on my second sock from the Knitty Jaywalker pattern and waiting for my order from Angel Yarns to arrive. I have waited 2 weeks and when nothing arrived I e mailed and got told sorry no more of that yarn available and yet 3 weeks later the site is still showing the Sale yarn as being available! I think it says somewhere is small print subject to availability but surely if 3 weeks has passed and they know there is none of that yarn left they should in all fairness take the offer down from the web as how many other people besides me have placed an order in? I have written back to say I will accept 3 different colours of any sock yarn for the same Sale price but as yet have not received an answer. Surely this is false advertising if they continue to advertise the yarn in the Sale knowing they have none left? This whole thing has put me off from ordering from them in the future. Garnstudio advertises sock yarn at a very reasonable price so maybe next time I will give them a whirl if I get no success with Angel.

Tuesday, 4 September 2007

Crochet short sleeved cardigan in Gedifra

I finally finished the short sleeved cardigan in the bargain Coats Gedifra Linen yarn I bought. I had about three attempts at it before I found the right pattern for the yarn. The first things I started had all the appeal of dishcloths. Seems that the yarn has a mind of it's own. My yarn was riddled with knots and split when I was crocheting it. I would finish a row only to find loose strands on one of the stitches so back it came. I did an awful lot of unripping before I finished.

The pattern I ended up making was from a Hayfield pattern book 7127 called Crochet Variations an old book I have had for some time. I will probably use the same book to crochet the other colour but use a different design.

I am still pleased with the finished effect but am taking a break from Gedifra (I still have one more colour left) and am back to sock knitting and making a knitted bolero with long sleeves for my friend's birthday in October. I am making it from a DOPPS pattern and that has been another trial as it is very loosely translated and their charts are very vague to say the least! I finished up looking closely at the pattern picture with a magnifying glass and making my own version of the pattern stitch!

I collected some yarn yesterday that has been donated for the project the Knitting Noras are involved in (making outfits and blankets for the local Premature baby unit). As yet I haven't started anything but I have sorted through my patterns for suitable ones and will probably share the yarn out at our next meet. The first lot I have picked up is mostly pink which is OK for the girls and very dark colours which I have re-donated to my neighbour who crochets animal blankets for the local animal sanctuary. I have still to pick up the second lot of donated yarn but the lady I spoke to on the phone said there is some white in there so the boys will get a look in!

I have ordered a couple more balls of Opal sock yarn in the Sale from Angel Yarns but as yet they haven't arrived (nor has the ball my niece ordered for me!). I will give it a few more days before I enquire where the order is. I have started the second Jaywalker sock with the ball and needles that did arrive from Angel a couple of weeks ago but as I find I am a looser knitter on 5 needles I am waiting for the smaller set of needles to arrive before I start another pair of socks. My local yarn store only stocks a few sizes of metal needles in sets of 4 which are no good for the US patterns which use 5. I also prefer the "give" I get from bamboo and wood needles.