Thursday, 28 February 2008

I feel like I have a knee full of chopsticks

I feel rather like I have a lapful of spaghetti and chopsticks. I am knitting long legged soakers for a fellow Knitty Nora member's baby girl but the wool has not got a good yardage and so I do not have enough wool for the legs. The wool was hand dyed so I could not ask for another ball. I introduced some cream wool into the leg and last night knitted one leg in a broken striped pattern but when I got up this morning I didn't like it very much so I unravelled it. I decided that I would not have enough wool to complete the second leg the same way. I decide then to search out another set of needles and work both legs at the same time so that any striping would be identical and I could see how the wool was working out. So I now have 7 double pointed needles and 4 balls of wool to tangle with! I am a glutton for punishment. I just hope that she likes the finished random effect.

I went to the dentist yesterday to do the impression for my bite guard. I hate that squishy feeling when I had to bite down into the soggy sticky pink rubber tasting goo. I had a mouthful, a tongue full and even a face full by the time he had finished. Good job I wasn't wearing any make up as I had bits of rubber solution sticking all over my face and chin and not just around my mouth. I have no idea how it finished up everywhere.

I didn't make it to water aerobics today for various reasons (mostly laziness and apathy!) but I did get a bit of good news yesterday. I hopped on the scales (which is a thing I don't usually do) in preparation for trying to start a diet and discovered that I have lost 5lbs since my last weigh in 2 weeks ago. The hospital had weighed me then and I was convinced that their scales were wrong so I had hopped on mine when I got home. All I have done differently is to stop taking my HRT for the last 2 weeks. I had always insisted that I had gained weight after I started on them but everyone in the medical profession that I said this to just poo pooed the suggestion. They said it was just because I was eating more because I felt better. I knew I was eating the same amount as usual but thought that they knew best.

I found out today that one of my neighbours is having a very similar back operation to me in the next couple of weeks. Same hospital but different surgeon. I hope hers goes well otherwise it will start my nerves off if she has any problems. I am quite surprised they are doing it as she is quite a lot fatter than I am but maybe different surgeons have different rules for weight. I am not nervous at the moment as it all seems to be a long time away. My pre-op is not until beginning of April so I am not expecting to go in before May or June.

I had a shock today in the form of my gas bill. I haven't used any more gas and am pretty frugal with the central heating and the thermostat and it has really gone up such a lot. I was convinced that theymust have read the meter wrong but they haven't. The upshot of it is that they have now put my direct debit up by £10 a month to cover it. My pension is going up £4 a week but the way that every utility bill is going up people in my situation just get poorer and poorer. True we get £200 a year just before Christmas but that still doesn't make up for all the price increases. No wonder old people freeze to death. I am lucky. I am still pretty active despite my back problems but I do feel chilly in the house on really cold days. I couldn't afford to keep the heat on all day. I bought a calor gas heater with last year's heating allowance but haven't used it much. I can see I will be dragging it back out of the garage soon unless the weather gets warmer soon.

Wednesday, 27 February 2008

The earth moved for me last night ( well early this morning )

Wow ! Scary! I was still awake merrily adding some knit and crochet photos onto Ravelry and Flickr around 1am when the whole house started shaking. I thought something had fallen off the roof at first as I have a flat roof on the extension part of this room. The overhead light was shaking like mad and my rocking chairs were wildly rocking on their own. My PC chair was vibrating so under other circumstances it could have been quite an exciting experience! I looked outside but no-one else seemed to be concerned. The whole street appeared to be asleep in bed. I had a rum and coke to calm my nerves and eventually went to bed and forgot about it until this morning.

This morning I Googled earthquake in Manchester and found out it had happened in quite a large area of the UK with the Midlands appearing to be at the centre of it. It must have been one hell of a shake. I will watch the news later and see if there has been any damage. We are not used to this sort of thing in the UK although it has been happening more and more over the last few years.

The last time I remember it happening I was still working. Our building was one of those thrown together modern concrete affairs so we were used to a bit of building shake every time a truck went past or a tram pulled into the station. They were also building flats close by and had a pile driver thumping away and we could feel the vibrations from that on a normal day. I was having a coffee on my break upstairs in the canteen when the building felt like it was shaking apart. That quake felt much stronger than the one early this morning but maybe my house is built from stronger stuff (pre-war) and can withstand the tremors better!

I am off to the dentist this morning to be measured for a bite guard. No I have not taken up boxing - apparently I am grinding bits off my teeth when I sleep (I did wonder why I have half the length of teeth that I had on a photo from my son's wedding 4yrs ago) Another attractive feature for me to wear in bed along with the sleep apnoea mask! Is it any wonder I am still single. It would be like sleeping with Hannibal Lector. I shall add it to my list of attributes. Over weight, penniless, jobless, mask and bite guard wearing blonde with dark roots who cannot walk far desires a mate. I don't think that would draw much attention on do you?

Tuesday, 26 February 2008

I love my socks

My crochet socks are finally finished. I only went wrong about a hundred times but I are not thinking about that now just concentrating on the finally finished pair. I must say I am quite impressed with them not only for the speed that they crocheted up in but also the fit. I love the way that I could keep trying them on and make modifications as I went along a thing I haven't yet mastered with knitted socks as it's a little difficult to try them on when they are on 5 needles!( I can't knit on circular needles I can't do with all that waggling about - it slows me down to a snail's pace)

The pattern for the crochet socks came from one of my new books Crocheted Socks by Janet Rehfeldt and Mary Jane Wood (Amazon books). The wool was a gift from Vicky and I think it is Russian wool that she bought from E-Bay. The socks felt a little chunky and harsh on the hook but on my foot they don't feel much different to any other knitted sock which to be honest I can always feel the purl ridges under my feet it's just something that I have got used to.

I have shown a pair of my initial attempts at knitted sock making before I mastered my tension technique with the aid of a knitting belt. These are Jaywalker socks which was a free pattern from if my memory serves me right. I knitted them in Opal Elemental but if you look closely you will see that I got a faulty ball and the colour is wrong in one of the stripes plus there is a huge chunk of pale green on one heel where the wool lost it's multi colouring and went into plain. I knit from the centre of the ball so didn't notice until the heel was finished. I had to cut out and bin a sizeable ball that was the same plain colour otherwise half of the foot would have been plain pale green but luckily as I have very small feet I still had enough to finish pair. They were loose and baggy when I fnished them but after an accidental meeting with my washing machine now fit fine! The Jaywalker is still one of my favourite patterns as I think the zig zag stitch works so well with stripey wool.

Buster had to get in the act of course and is giving me that "Why are you taking stupid photos of socks when it's time for my walk" face.

I went into my local charity shop as I am ever hopeful of finding a yarn or knitting book bargain but of course there was nothing in there. No call for it they say! I did however find a pair of rejected Christmas present thermal gloves still with the label attached for £1.25 so my visit was not all lost. I ruin pair after pair of gloves throwing sticks for the dog.

I got some good news last night. My builder rang and said he is starting my new garage roof and doors on Monday. To be fair he did attempt to come 6 months ago but my son still had his wooden jeep (built from a kit) stored in the old garage so he couldn't exactly work around it. Since losing my time slot I had to wait until he had another slot for me. His usual work is big contract work so my small jobs is something he slots in between these big jobs. It will be nice to have some dry, secure storage space to keep the lawnmower and tools plus I would like a table in there so that I can use it for planting my vegetables into pots as I cannot bend and find that bit so so difficult. I think that is one reason why I wasn't succesful last year as I kept putting the re-potting off because of back pain. My house fund will have dwindled to almost nothing after he has finished the work but it all adds to the value of the house if I have to sell up. Apparently a garage is one of the best selling points of a house along with kitchen and bathroom. I can't afford a new kitchen but I had a new bathroom last year.

Monday, 25 February 2008

A hundred reasons why I don't need to knit or crochet for myself - but I still do !

Today I decided to catalogue my hand made clothes that are still in weareable condition.(1st photo) I soon got fed up as I realized it would take me all day to do that as I get bored very easily. I tipped out one shelf on the bed and then re-stacked it back again (2nd photo). I looked in the other wardrobe where I keep my thick cardigans stacked under my clothes and it was overflowing from the very deep shelf. You can only see a fraction of them as they are all crammed in (3rd photo). I went into the other wardrobe where you can see other crochet items slotted in between the tops (4th photo) and decided that if I never make another item for myself I will be clothed until I am about 90yrs old. What am I wearing today? A bought fleece top. I rest my case. I have more clothes in different wardrobes and I know I should have a clear out but most of them are in comparatively new condition so I am reluctant to part with any of them to the charity shop. And don't get me started on my shoe collection. I have at least 80 pairs of shoes and boots plus some high heels which I haven't worn in ages due to my back but I am hopeful of wearing again one day.

I think all this stems from my childhood and only having a few clothes. My husband would not let me buy many clothes and as soon as he was gone I just went wild and spent loads on clothes. Most of my clothes are chain store but I used to have a real clothes and shoe fetish which all stopped once I left work and no longer had much cause to wear them. My life these days revolves around dog walking and exercise classes so there is no need for posher clothes. I am hopeful of returning to some kind of work if my back operation is succesful so maybe they will get worn once again.

The stash is of yarn that I have collected purely because it was a bargain buy etc and most of it is acrylic and not terribly inspiring. There are a few items of value in there of mohair and cotton. Now you can see why I am on a no buy period in my life although amazingly enough I never have the right thickness or colour for whatever I want to make. The only sock yarn I have for example is a couple of balls I bought from the not so Angelic site and 3 balls that I had given to me by Vicky. So if I am still knitting socks when this is used up then I may have to purchase some more as I don't think double knit acrylic will make very nice socks!

If you click on any of the photos you will get them in detail. My friend laughs at the way I have to sort my hanging wardrobe colour co-ordinated. I tell her it's the only way I can find things. I have to put trousers and skirts in colour order as well as the tops. I even do the same with shoes ! I am not sure what that says about me these days as when I was young my mother was horrified at the state of my bedroom and wardrobe as I stored most of my clothes on the floor in a jumble. I would have never thought I would get tidy(ish) in my old age.

Sunday, 24 February 2008

Here we go unravelling again

I am officially the queen of unravelling. No photos of the finished crochet socks because they are not finished! I have gone drastically wrong with the second sock so will have to unravel it back to the heel shaping.

I went to the Knit Out of the Knitting Noras today (Thanks for the lift Vicky) and was crocheting my sock there. I know I was doing a lot of chatting but I can't blame my mistake on that. I think I started off with too many double crochets when I picked up along the heel and so it took far more rows to decrease down to the right amount. The first sock looks sock shaped but the second one looked more funnel shaped.I still prefer the look and feel of knitted socks but as I put my toe through yet another pair of socks on this morning's dog walk I need more crochet socks merely because they are far quicker to make. Even quicker if I don't go wrong!

Once I have finished the socks I am starting to knit some soaker longies for one of the Noras. Linda has the most adorable baby who sits and chuckles all through the Knit Out. The baby wears cloth diapers and bought trousers don't have enough rise in the bottom to go over the bump so Linda has found this pattern that is shaped to accomodate the extra thickness. Linda has dyed some multi coloured wool so they should make interesting pants.

The Knitting Noras had brought knitted things for the garden for International Womens Week. Vicky has knitted a fairy amongst other things, there was a beehive, a frog and a rabbit. Lisa has already been given lots of other vegetables and flowers and along with her helpers has the task of joining the knitted squares together to form the garden. I should be quite a garden when it is finished and hopefully there will be photos.

I am off to bite the bullet and unravel part of the second sock. I am not saying I will take a photo of the finished socks as I doubt they will be finished tonight.
Maybe by Tuesday?

Update - memo to self when it says on the pattern decrease 2 tog twice it does not mean do it once !

Saturday, 23 February 2008

Crochet socks - so quick to make

Yes I know they are not as attractive as knitted socks (but as I have been limping my way along with a knitted pair for ages and have not even got to the heel yet) I am so impressed with the speed at which they crochet. The reason for the part finished socks is not to avoid the second sock syndrome it's that I have an awful feeling that I may have to finish up with blue or lemon toes as crochet seems to gobble up the wool at a rate of knots and my ball is rapidly disappearing. I didn't want to have to unravel as I have been doing an awful lot of that lately so decided to stop the first sock and start the second and at least get them to the same point before I have to change colour. For the observant who may have noticed that one sock is slightly larger than the other it's because I could not resist trying one on after I did the heel just to check the fit was OK. I love the heel stitch if you can see it in the close up. I had to double crochet every alternate stitch 2 rows down and it not only forms a mock ribbing look it makes a doubled thickness for wear at the heels. I must waggle my feet about inside my boots when I walk because all of my socks wear out underneath my heel and not on the re-enforced heel part. My mother used to knit socks on her circular sock knitting machine many years ago and she always ran cotton or nylon thread along with the wool at heels and toes for extra wear. I don't know if this was her own idea back then as none of the old patterns mention it but I have noticed that on some sock knitters blogs people mention doing this.

I don't know why I still do my big chores on a Saturday. I think it is years of having to do chores at the weekend because I worked full time. Since I retired 2 years ago I still carry on with the routine even though I have all the week to do it now. Old habits die hard I suppose. I used to work on Saturdays when I had the shop but it was an early close day so I used to wash the bedding before I went to work and then call for my weekly shop on the way home, then start cleaning when I got home. My ex husband always watched or played football on Saturdays so he was never home much before 6-7pm. My son used to disappear at dawn on his bike and I was lucky if I saw him at all! When I stopped working Saturdays and got divorced I still kept this routine up and still do in retirement when there is only me to please!

I got a letter from the hospital yesterday confirming I am on the waiting list for my operation and although it stated that the maximum wait was 20 weeks it gave me no idea whether it could be before that. I know I am not on the next 6 weeks list as I was told that when I rang about stopping taking tablets etc before the op. This letter also gives me a list of what tablets I can and can't take. I cannot take my anti inflammatory pills for 10 days before which could be a bit painful. I am a bit concerned with the bit that says I have to be free of acne, dermatitis, eczema and psoriasis in the operation area. Anyone who suffers from any of these things knows how hard it is to stay clear all of the time. I guess I will have to be extra vigilant about applying my creams (or oinkments as my son used to call them) and pray I don't have a flare up of eczema at the top of my builder's bum as I am prone to. I will take a list of my prescription drugs when I go to the pre- op just to make sure what I have to stop taking. I have already stopped taking my HRT as that has to be stopped 6 weeks before so if I suddenly start getting mood swings and wrinkles then I can blame it on that! I have had a really bad headache ever since I stopped taking them but I doubt if that has anything to do with it.

I am off to Tesco now. I got £8 in vouchers so I can buy my hair dye this week. My friend Caroline is coming next week to cover up the dark roots once again. Surely I should be going grey or white by now? I have got white streaks over each ear so at least the re growth doesn't show there but the top is as dark a brown as it ever was! I may try to knit another of the Carrie tops before she comes as I still have wool left. There are larger sizes on the pattern so perhaps if I knit her a huge size it will come out big enough for her. I don't want to use the 10mm needles as recommended on the pattern to make it larger as the texture was loose enough on the 8mm I used. I think it would flop and drop after washing using larger needles. I like knitting/crochet to have a reasonable amount of body to it.

Friday, 22 February 2008

She is not THAT small !

I finished off the super chunky cardigan from "Fitted Knits" last night and I guess the Lidl wool wasn't chunky enough for the pattern. I am very bad at doing tension squares I only do them when I am making something important. The rest of the time I just gauge it by " rack o' th'ee" (my dad used this expression when he judged things purely by eye and didn't measure it and it usually works for me also). Because this was knitted all in one top down my ee failed me this time! I did choose to knit the smallest size as my friend Caroline is only size 8 but there was no way the finished cardigan would have fitted her. I gave it to the "small for her age" 13yrs old I have living next door and she was thrilled to bits as it fits her beautifully. Her mum doesn't knit or crochet and as she is on a small budget is always grateful for anything I make for her daughter. I feel a bit mean sometimes as her other two kids are boys and although I had a boy myself I am very guilty of not doing "men" type knitting except for hats. I can't see the boys wanting any of the "turned out too small for Caroline" garments that I pass on.

Undaunted I started another project. I just could not wait to start something from my new books. I am really impressed with the Doris Chan Everyday Crochet book and can see many things in there that I would wear myself but yet would still be fashionable enough for my nieces. A lot of the time I love the look of something in crochet books but realise that for my stay at home life style they are just not "me". I have in the past made many lovely things for myself and find they are now languishing unworn in the wardrobe as I think they are too nice to wear for cleaning and dog walking! Doris Chan says in the book introduction that we should wear our crochet every day and not save it for special ocassions and I must admit that her garments are every day weareable so anything I make from this book will we worn!

I did, however, decide to start something from the other book of Crocheted socks as my need for socks over rode my need for something pretty to wear. I did start a pair of crochet socks ages ago from a magazine pattern and was very unhappy with the way they fitted so I unravelled them. This book appears to have patterns that I would wear although I must admit some do look a bit chunky for wearing with shoes. House or boot socks maybe. I had to smile when I got to the page showing a model wearing a pair of transparent boots made especially for sock knitters so that the colours of the hand made sock showed through them. Only the Americans could think of something like that! I started with the pair marked "easy to crochet". I will let you know if they are easy once I reach the heel shapings. Vicky will recognise the sock wool as she gave me the ball some time ago and I have just got around to using it.

Ailsa commented on her blog (Not Enough Time to Craft) about the fact that we crafters have a good rapport between ourselves. I joined a knitting group (The Knitting Noras of Bolton) and started a blog and have gained so many new friends both in person and via the net. I think it's great when we bounce ideas off each other and share thoughts and ideas. It's a good support network for me and I suspect other bloggers also. I love to get an insight into other peoples lives on a daily basis helps me to get my problems into perspective on bad days. This time a year or so ago I thought I was a lone knitter/crocheter and now I find there are hundreds of us out there crafting away!

Thursday, 21 February 2008

Yeah for new books and a finished bolero

I love the feeling of excitement when my parcel of books arrives from Amazon. It feels like my birthday when I rip open the cardboard to reveal the goodies beneath. I knew what I had ordered but on Amazon you only get to see the cover page and a brief description so it's all an exciting mystery as to what is inside. I got Everyday crochet by Doris Chan which at my first brief glance is filled with very wearable items. I will tell you more once I have the time later to really browse through it. My second book is Crocheted socks and again looks full of fun patterns. I prefer knitted socks but think that I can rattle a few pairs of dog walking and house socks far quicker in crochet.

I photographed the black Sanctuary Bolero from the Sensual Crochet book by Amy Swenson. Terrible photos but black is so hard to photograph on a miserable dull day. I had to make the sleeves a lot shorter as I only had 200 + grams of yarn left. My niece had bought Patons Diploma Acrylic DK and it was lovely to work with. I love Yarn that glides through my fingers silkily. It has a really good yardeage which is why I had the 2 balls left over from her ribbed sweater. My other niece picked it up last night so it will be on it's way to it's new owner soon.

I started knitting Carrie cropped flared sleeve cardigan from the Fitted Knits book in some brown fleck super chunky I had got from Lidl. I am making it for my super skinny friend Caroline but I had to unravel and re-do the first sleeve I made. The garment is worked top down all in one so it was difficult to gauge the right size until the sleeve was finished. I know she has arms like Calista Flokhart on a thin day but this sleeve was ultra skinny. I unravelled it and increased the yolk to a couple of sizes larger and re-did the sleeve. It is so fast to knit. I am using 8mm needles but the pattern actually uses 10mm which is probably why the sleeves turned out a bit on the slim side. I knit quite loose so normally drop the needle size by one but as I didn't have any 9mm needles I had to use 8mm. I think I will probably have to decrease the body size back down to the smaller size once I join it all together again as the body is knitted downwards. It fastens with one button at the waist so will not look right if it is too large. I have almost finished the second sleeve so should have it finished by tonight. A cardigan in 2 evenings. My kind of knitting!

I am off to get a coffee and drool over my new books. I will let you know the final thoughts about them tomorrow.

Tuesday, 19 February 2008

You make my day

I am thrilled to find that Ailsa from Not Enough Time To Craft blog has named me on her list of her "You Make my Day" blogs. I am not clever enough to put links to people's names in my main page so I have made my list of people who make my day but the links to the blogs are listed down on the bottom right hand side of my blog page.

I found it hard to just name 10 as so many people lighten my mood and make my day that my list could go on and on so I have limited so as not to bore people completely. Many people are missed off that I would like to include so if you ever have the time browse through some of the ones I have linked to my blog I am sure you will be interested.

I realized when I came to make my list that most of the people on it have health and family issues but stay remarkably cheerful despite all of that. I think that blog land is a good way of dealing with the frustrations that we sometimes feel with our lives and that through craft we deal with what life throws at us. It's our way of distracting our minds from our problems. Sharing thoughts, patterns, ideas, photos of finished articles plus receiving and imputting comments makes me feel less lonely and passes many happy hours on the PC.

I have put Ailsa (Not Enough Time To Craft) on my list not because she nominated me but she usually lifts my spirits even though I know she has a lot of health problems herself. A lady of many talents who manages to craft many different items as well as working with the elderly which can be a very demanding job. A talented, amusing, busy lady

Vicky (Vicky's blog) who has become a great friend both in blogland and reality. I have only known her a relatively short time but she is very patient with my bad days and always there to encourage and praise my craft efforts despite leading a very busy life style plus having her own health issues. Her blog is always interesting with many photos of her visits to different places. She is into extreme knitting and has photos of her perched knitting in some very strange places. She has offered to knit by my bed whilst she visits me when I go into hospital!

Amber (Ambermoggie - the mog's blog) for her sheer dedication to raising funds for her cause despite her own and her husband's health issues. I have never known a woman who can churn out so many socks. I think she cat naps propped up in a corner knitting socks whilst the rest of us sleep in bed! I labour away with one pair of socks only to read on Amber's blog that she has finished a pair in the blink of an eye!

Rose (My new life in Romania) who has uprooted herself from her cosy retirement life in the UK. She has dealt with her retirement and divorce in a way most of us would like to do but lack the oomph. Her daughter and son in law run a home for the street kids of Romania so Rose decided to up sticks, buy an apartment and go and live there. Her decriptions of the different way of life over there are very interesting to read.

Zuleika (Life in the Zu) who I have recently got to know through Crochet UK. She is trying hard to design and sell her crochet on her web site and Etsy and I wish her all the luck in the world. I hope it's a success for her. She has given me many ideas for if I ever want to try to do the same thing. She has had many knocks in life and suffers from a bad back as a result of a car accident.

I have to nominate Franklin (The Panopticon) whose blog I came across by accident. He makes me laugh out loud with the exploits of Dolores the sheep and Harry and the guys. He is not only a knitter his drawings of Dolores make her truly come to life. I love his blog

Annie Modesitt (Knitting Heretic) as she is not only a great designer she has had a horrendous year juggling her husband's serious health problems, chemo and stays at the Mayo institute with travelling all over the US giving demonstrations of her knit and design work. It has been hard to be the breadwinner, juggling work, the kids and Jerry's illness. Thankfully he is a lot better at the moment and God willing he will remain so.

Notes from the Trenches purely because she has the most amusing anecdotes about her gorgeous kids. She has 7 of them and they are truly photogenic. The youngest, Miles, just makes me giggle which his 3 year old antics and sayings. I laughed out loud at the video of him making a peanut and jelly sammitch (as he called it)

Enchanting Juno because she is funny. She writes lots in her blog. This is an example of her blog
"(I have been reduced to stupid knitting for some time. For clarification, stupid knitting is for when I am at a low ebb of focus and fuzzy of intellect. The knitting itself is of at least average intelligence and often of great charm and beauty. Which is to say, it is the knitter who is stupid, not the knitting.)
(excuse me, I took a drink and missed and have just poured iced tea down my bra. It is quite cold.)"
(and also, I rest my case)

Finally Unraveling because she is juat one crazy lady. She dyes her hair strange shades of red and regularly has pyjama days. "For three whole days.
Of course, I need to run errands this afternoon. Once that's done, though, I'll take a bath and slip into my pajamas. I don't plan to take them off until Monday morning".

There are many many blogs that I read as you can see listed on the right hand side. I seem to find more interesting ones linked to the blogs I already read with every day that passes. I am building up quite a long list. No wonder I don't get as much knit and crochet done these days!

After the third unravelling of the sleeves. I ran out of wool again so had to make them even shorter. I have finally finished Kath's bolero tonight. The poor wool must be stripped and threadbare now with all it's exertions. I tried to take photos tonight but black does not like artificial light and I got some strange grey photos so I hope there is some sunlight tomorrow before the bolero sets off on it's travels to London.

I had to ring the specialist's secretary today as I was sure that last time I was scheduled for an operation he had told me to stop taking my HRT tablets 6 weeks beforehand (the op I didn't have 2 yrs ago because he said I was morbidly obese!) and I didn't want to have another op cancelled because I was still taking them. I found out that it was true and I should stop taking them asap so it's a good job I rang up. I found out that I am not on his 6 week operation list as he has that already planned out so hopefully I might be on the next list although she did hint it would be later in the 18 week time frame rather than sooner. I should get called for a pre op first so that will give me a clue.

Monday, 18 February 2008

Oh Dear - I Am Unravelling Once Again

I unravelled the funny shaped front on my niece's crochet bolero last night. I completely gave up on the pattern instructions the way that the book had written it and did my own thing (Now there is a surprise!). All was well when I did the sleeve. I understood the shaping ( well most of them) and had to shorten it as I knew I was running short on the wool. However when I had finished the sleeve I weighed the remaining wool and I don't have enough for the second sleeve! Bummer! I have no time to try to track down another ball as
a) I have had it quite a while and my niece bought it anyway and
b)I have to give it to my brother before Wednesday
as he is taking it down to my niece in London so I guess I will be unripping part of the sleeve so that I will have enough wool for the second sleeve. More haste - less speed so they say. Wish me luck as I improvise once again with the sleeves.

I got a "new" mini hi -fi system last night courtesy of Realcycle (or Freecycle depending on your area)last night and for once I only had to travel within my town to pick it up. My system has stopped playing CD's and as it was a bit old I was unsure if I could get it repaired. I am not usually lucky when I ask for things that are offered. I have only been successful on a three occasions. I am always amazed at the amount of unwanted stuff offered for free on a daily basis. If you are on a tight budget or if you care about the landfill situation then please check it out. The only stipulation is that you must pick the things up yourself which is not always possible for me. There is no way I could pick up anything big or heavy. I also only ask for things within a certain radius as travelling miles to pick up something small is defeating the object as I am using fuel and therefore not doing my bit to save the planet. I think it is such a good idea though. One person's unwanted stuff is another person's treasure trove. I have used it to get rid of things that I no longer want but they still had plenty useful life left in them.

The sun is shining today but it is quite cold. I will wrap up warm whilst walking Buster. I have been wearing the doubled hat that I thought was too hot for me to wear these last few days.

Sunday, 17 February 2008

Cymbals, drums and off key singing

Remind me not to choose the Chaophraya Thai Restaurant as a treat for my birthday. The food was excellent but there were 6 people dining there last night who must have had birthdays that day. At the end of each of their meals the waiters, kitchen staff and receptionists all paraded to their table with a cake plus lit candle. The staff had various instruments, drums, big cymbals,finger cymbals and bells which they banged loudly as they walked and proceeded to sing an off key Thai version of Happy Birthday to you. They sang the verse twice, banged and played the instruments very loudly for about a minute, chanted I presume a birthday greeting in Thai and then sang Happy Birthday once again. The first time it was nice, the second time also nice but by the end of our meal we had sat through at least 6 of these chants so it had worn a little thin. Thank goodness although it was my brother's birthday dinner no one had alerted the staff to that fact or I very much doubt he would have been amused! He is 70 now and quite a serious person who hates fuss of any kind.

The restaurant was very charming but a nightmare for me and my bad back. The first set of steps had a hand rail, the next did not which was a bit tricky. First impressions were oh no they are practically sitting on the floor. They had these strange lounging type seats where the back was so slanted it reminded me of an aircraft seat in recline. We found out that we were seated in more conventional seats. Huge sigh of relief for me until I found out that it was up a huge flight of wooden stairs. I don't think the restaurant would figure very highly on a list of disabled friendly places to eat guide. The food was excellent once I had navigated my way around the menu (guess who forgot her reading specs?) in the dim lighting. The plates were strage shapes, well maybe not to the Thai, either square with upward curls on 2 sides or long rectangular plates with a slight bevel. My sister in law and her sister chose to have fried ice cream as their desert. I looked strange but they said it tasted good, Apparently it's ice cream rolled in some kind of coconut and deep fried. It looked rather like a doughnut casing.

Not much crochet done last night and I am going to have to unravel the front as you can see from the strange shaping. I am sure I have mis-read the pattern so I will have another try with the other front when I am less tired than I was last night and hopefully will come up with a better shape. The pattern I chose does not give hints as to how many pattern repeats that I should finish up with at different stages. I prefer patterns that say now you should have x number of pattern repeats. It's re-assurance that you are right before carrying on and making more mistakes. I am certain I did the back exactly to the pattern but it looks very narrow to me and I am usually a looser rather than a tighter crocheter. Maybe it is just meant to be worn snugly. My niece is after all only a size 8/10 so maybe it just looks small compared with my 16/18 garments.

Off to do some housework. I need to de dog hair the front room as I didn't hoover it yesterday and I have a huge pile of ironing with my name on it. I try my best not to wear clothes that need ironing as it is the one thing guaranteed to set my back off. I have tried sitting down to iron but then I am up and down off the stool so many times that it is just as bad as standing. I think I will leave the ironing until this evening when I can iron a couple of things in front of the TV and then alternate with a sit down and a bit of crochet.

Brr it's freezing I am going to have to put the central heating on. Normally the house stays warm from the couple of hours it comes on in the morning but today it had just gone really cold. Apparently it was -5 last night. I slept in my dressing gown as I didn't have my fleecy pj's on!

Saturday, 16 February 2008

Decisions (crochet ones) have been made

After many false starts and lots of unravelling I have finally rediscovered my crocheting mojo and made decisions as to what I am actually crocheting. I have started the purple sale wool as an openwork cardigan for myself with fingers crossed as to whether the amount will spin out (possibly slightly shorter sleeves?) I have found a use for the 200 + a bit grams of the black wool left over from Kath's sweater and am making her a small bolero. The red mohair shrug for myself continues to grow albiet very slowly. It will get finished eventually. So I now have 3 crochet WIP plus the everlasting knitted socks.

I have ordered a crochet book of socks from Amazon today as I desperately need socks. Crochet ones are nowhere near as nice as knitted ones but a few pair to wear as house socks whilst I am recouperating after my op will be very useful. Crochet socks are usually far baggier but that won't matter as I won't be walking far it's just a matter of keeping my cold feet warm. They will also make small hospital projects if I feel like doing anything whilst in there. I can crochet whilst propped up but can only knit in an upright position. I have also ordered another book of crochet. I will post photos when they arrive. I shouldn't really be spending any more money on myself but I thought I deserved a treat to lighten my spirits after this week's news.

Last night I went out to a 60th birthday party. It was good to get out and about and I knew a few people there from the arthritics water aerobics class but it was a very cold night and my back protested a lot as everytime people opened the door to go out for a smoke the cold air whipped across my back. Bad choice of seating and a typical hard plastic event chair didn't help either.

Today is sunny although cold and I have my bedding washed and blowing out on the line. A true sign that spring is around the corner. I am off now to walk Buster as he has been waiting patiently for his walk whilst I cleaned the bedrooms and bathroom.

I am off out again tonight for my brother's birthday dinner. It's funny how events happen one after the other. I haven't really been out for months and then 2 events on 2 days. I will wrap up a bit warmer tonight in case I get the draughty door syndrome again.

Thursday, 14 February 2008

Valentine's Day

Happy Valentine's Day to everyone. The postman as per usual delivered all my Valentines to the wrong address and the florist's van broke down on the way here. Well what other explanation could there be for my bare mantelpiece and my empty vase? Could it be the fact that I don't have any suitors? Surely there must be someone somewhere out there with a burning passion for me? No - Ah well I thought as much. How can they pass on such a catch as me? I am old, knackered, past my best, retired and out of work so therefore penniless, can't walk far, am drugged up to the eyeballs on prescription painkillers, and grouchy. Wow they just don't know what they are missing not having such a wonderful date as me! Roll Up, Roll Up and form an orderly queue!

The photos of the flowers are from an entirely different occasion last year but I thought I would put them up on my blog just because it's Valentines Day.

I didn't do any knit or crochet again last night. I am unhappy with the way the mohair shrug is crocheting up and it has put me off my work again. I might just put it to one side and start something else tonight or go back to the everlasting sock I have been knitting for ages.I actually bought 2 pairs of boot socks from Asda today as my dog walking socks are very threadbare. I had a busy day today. Water Aerobics and then a trip to the council Tax Office with bank statements as I am sure I am paying far too much council tax, I then nipped into Asda and while I was in there someone dented my demolition derby car again. This time when I came out of the store there was a dent and a crack in the front bumper. Last week at the hospital someone opened a car door into my door and left a big dent. I know my car is a bit of a wreck so people probably think it doesn't matter if they dent it and drive away. To add insult to injury my boot lock has decided to stay locked on me and so I had to get all my shopping out of it via droppng down the back seat. When is it my turn to win the lottery? Pretty please just enough to buy a new car.

Tuesday, 12 February 2008

I got my answers

Today I got to see my back specailist and got the answers as to why I have been in so much pain these last few years. He greeted me with well I think we now know what the problem is looking at these X rays and scan pictures. Two of my discs are so disintegrated that (the gel cushion between them has gone) they now resemble small triangles and as I walk they move about pressing on the nerves of my back causing not only excruciating pain but also numbness in my feet and legs. He says I need an immediate major operation which will definitely be within the next 18 weeks. He would like me to lose some weight if I can as the operation lasts all day and it is a huge strain on him in theatre the larger I am. Now that I have a goal to aim for I will do my utmost to lose as much as I can. He said normally he will not operate on anyone whose BMI is more than 30 but because of the seriousness of my condition he will make an exception to the rule for me.

I will be having steel rods screwed into my spine to stabilize it. I think he said he would have to remove the damaged and loose spinal pieces and a large area of spine will be encased with a titanium mesh cage for stability. My friends and family are shocked at this news but I am not. I have realised over the last twelve months that things had either rapidly deteriorated or I was a total wimp. I have a high threshold for pain but many days I have considered overdosing on the pain killers. Not because I was sick of life or that I wanted to end it just purely to stop the pain for a day. It is very debilitating being in constant pain the whole time. I lie in bed willing myself to put my legs over the edge of the bed as for the few moments when I first wake up I lie there pain free and it is such a lovely feeling. Eventually the need for the bathroom makes me get up and then the pain immediately jags through my body.

I am a litle scared of the operation but looking forward to it in many ways. The thought that if it is successful my pain will cease is enough to spur me on. As long as I remain able to knit and crochet during my recouperation then all will be well in my world. I am thinking positive. It will be successful. No if's and no maybe's.

My day has been a total whirlwind. I walked the dog, then went straight to seated aerobics,shopped for my brother's birthday card and present, came home, changed my clothes and then on to the hospital. I actually ate my dinner at 8.30pm. I totally missed out lunch as I had no time to stop and eat any.

I have done no knitting or crochet today and as it is now almost 11pm I don't think much will get done tonight.

The photo shows Buster's reaction to being left on his own most of the day with only one walk. This is his back to me, sighing as he looks outside, I am not talking to you pose.

Monday, 11 February 2008

I have mastered some technology

I have mastered some technology and linked most of us ladies together ( see link on right hand side) Apologies to anyone I missed. Give me a heads up if I have.

Maybe tomorrow I will get some answers

After some deliberation I decided to have a trial run of the shrug pattern with the unravelled mohair yarn. I am glad that I did because I am not that keen on the way it is turning out. It is very closely worked and taking forever to crochet. I should have known as the blurb that came with the pattern said it was a slow growing pattern but worth the time spent. The main body is done with V stitch which is 1dc, 1ch, 1dc all into one space, and the flared edging is done with half trebles. I am sure I have gone wrong quite a few times but luckily the mohair is forgiving and hides a mutitude of sins. I am going to use another pattern for the purple Sale wool I bought the other day.

After my walk up the hill in Ramsbottom yesterday I had a really bad back all Sunday and today when I woke up I was, to put it mildly, in agony. All fired up and tetchy I decided to ring the specialist's secretary one more time and actually got to speak with her this time and not the usual ansaphone. I think she realised I was in no mood to be put off any more times (my messages to ansaphone are never answered)and offered me an appointment tomorrow evening. It is 4 months since my 4th MRI scan so I think I am well overdue an appointment for the results. Unfortunately my niece is not able to come with me this time to be a witness. I have put on a bit of weight again (this was one reason he cancelled my operation over 2 yrs ago and then I got lost in the system and it took an MP's letter to get me back in the system again) so I hope he doesn't use this as an excuse once again to shelve doing anything with me. If he can't operate or feels it is going to make matters worse, as he hinted at last time, then he should tell me and then I know to stop hoping for a miracle cure and just get referred for pain management.

I am overweight. I don't try to make excuses for myself. I eat too much. I am a size 16 but then so are half of the women in the UK so I wasn't too pleased to be called morbidly obese when he cancelled my operation. He later denied saying this hence my need for a witness to what he says. I have got depressed about the whole situation that has been going on for 5yrs now without an answer. I am a comfort eater and as I am not as mobile as I should be despite the dog walks, water aerobics and seated exercise I haven't been burning off the calories I have been consuming lately.

People who are slim are so quick to say I could and should diet. I have dieted very succesfully in the past. The problem is that I can't stay dieted. Problems occur and I am in pain so I eat. I get depressed about all of this and I eat. I used drink a hell of a lot many years ago when I had marital problems (pre divorce) and although I was never quite an alcoholic ( I used to drink a bottle of rum a day) I found it far easier to give up the drink than dieting. The problem is that you can stop drinking and never touch another drop and all is well as the craving subsides. Once an alcoholic always an alcoholic and I can never really ever drink again. Dieting is not that simple. If I could give up eating all together and never have to taste food again then maybe I could do it, could lose the craving. I can eat sensibly and healthily, and I do, but even sensible food is fattening if you nibble away at it night after night. Knitting and crochet keep me away from food to a certain extent but in the end if I am depressed and in pain then the food comes out. Not chocolate or biscuits - I crave savoury - cheese on toast or something similar. I have tried nibbling on carrots but it must be the carbohydrates I crave for. I did once lose the craving for food but that was during my drinking days. People who know me now don't know I used to be an anorexic size 8 during that time. Food had no interest for me then - all I wanted was another drink. Pretty drastic way of dieting I don't think I will try that diet again!

Sunday, 10 February 2008

Ramsbottom Farmers market

I got there! I finally got to visit Ramsbottom when the Farmers Market was open. Although there are not many stalls they are of high quality. There are outdoor stalls with the meat, vegetables,pork,homemade soup, fudge and even a traditional black pudding stall. In the civic hall are small stands with jams, bread,more meat,greeting cards, pickles and there was a wood turning stall and one selling handmade knitted scarves and handbags. That stall was of interest to me but I didn't want to look and linger in case the lady thought I was a potential customer. The prices were quite expensive I thought but then I am on a budget so most things are expensive to me. I would be interested to know though how many she sold that day.

I just bought some vegetables (some still in their soil as you can see from the photos) and a couple of lamb chops which I must say tasted absolutely wonderful at dinner tonight. I did get tempted by the fudge stall especially when he had samples! Who can resist samples? I had to buy some dairy fudge and some rum and raisin especially when he said £1 a bag instead of £1.20 especially for you. My elation was somewwhat dampened when he said the same thing to another lady 2 minutes later. Ah well! How fickle sales people are. When I was young and used to listen to my mum and aunt discussing how wonderful the cauliflowers or the cabbage were on a stall I used to think I will never get that old that I think cabbages are wonderful. Guess what - here I am some 40yrs later going into raptures over a cabbage! It's true what they say that girls grow into their images of their mothers. I look in the mirror sometimes and it's scary when my mother looks back at me. I always thought I looked more like my dad.

On that way back to the car I heard someone call my name and it was my friend Vicky with her neighbour and daughter Perran. They were on their way up to the market. Laurie had gone to photograph the steam train that runs on a Sunday so I didn't get to meet him as we were in a bit of a rush to get home.

I managed to find Horwich yesterday and visited my friend Lisa. Anyone who knows my lack of driving skills will know what an achievement that is. I am the world's worst map reader and can never find my way anywhere, My dad used to say I would get lost trying to find my way out of a paper bag. Lisa need not worry though. I will not be wearing out my welcome by over visiting mainly because I probably would never find her house again! When I still lived at home my father was inspecting the back of my car one day and I thought oh no have I dented the car. I asked him what he was looking for and he said the 7 mile bit of string that is attached to your back bumper. I said that there wasn't one. He said well it's funny but everytime you go out the most miles you have ever driven is 7! These days I think the string has shortened to 3!

The strange looking objects in the last photo are my attempts to crochet mushrooms. The main reason I went to visit Lisa yesterday was to take up some knitted squares and the mushrooms for the knitted garden she is assembling for International Womens week. I hope it is finished in time to be exhibited. I also had a quick visit to the Arts Centre where Lisa has a unit. There weren't many artists there when I visited but I did have a quick peek in their units to see a bit of their work.

The knitted doubled helmets have gone to their new heads. My son and daughter in law picked them up and also took Buster for a long walk along with their dog Skye. I was very grateful for them doing that as the walk uphill in Ramsbottom really took it out of my back and I was dreading Buster's walk. I didn't like to say anything to my niece as I was so grateful for her taking me that I didn't want to appear to be a moany old crow. I try to keep my pain to myself when I am having a bad day.

Saturday, 9 February 2008

To frog or not to frog - that is the question

Frogging to me conjures up pictures of my youth when my friends and I would slop merrily along in our overly large (you'll grow into them) Compo style wellies armed with a fishing net and a jam jar into the fields to the local ponds. We would then proceed to deprive Momma Frog of her frog spawn and take them home and then on to school to watch the evolution of nature. We always kept our frog spawn in a fish tank on the window bottom at school and every day we had to search (and draw) for any changes in the tank, The poor little beggars used to be poked and prodded on a daily basis and always managed to make the final stage of turning into frogs over the weekend and so annoy the school caretaker and scare the cleaners half to death as there was always a few Houdini frogs that managed to escape the tank and make a bid for freedom.

Anyway I digress as per usual. I was searching through my stash and found a half made jacket in mohair that I had started many moons ago for a friend who after I had knitted the back and 2 fronts told me that she was allergic to mohair. She didn't know I had been making her a jacket as a surprise present so I just left it as it was. Too small for me to finish for myself I decided last night to re-use the wool. Thoughts came into my mind as to why the Americans and increasingly the Brits have started using the word frogging to describe the process. I looked in the dictionary and frog still has the same meaning as I remember it. An amphibian creature or an ornamental fastening. So why do we frog wool? I then looked up my word - unravelling and that meaning hadn't changed either. To undo or ravel knitted fabric separating tangled threads. Unravelling is a wonderful word it describes the action of parting the superglued together strands of mohair with loving care. I will leave frogging to Kermit and from now on I will unravel!

I started using the unravelled mohair for the crocheted bolero that I was toying with the idea of using the purple wool for. I thought a 6.50mm hook would be too large for double knit but on starting the pattern with the mohair I realise why they have used a large hook. The pattern stitch is really closely worked as it is mostly double crochet and half trebles. I worked about an inch or so of it last night whilst watching a programme about a couple who had 12 kids.Lovely kids but rather them than me. The father was a real hippy type when the going got tough he would take to the hills and play this wooden hurdy gurdy instrument and at one stage I thought his wife was going to chop it up! She kept saying how can he go off and make that awful noise when there are so many chores left undone. That's a man for you! I wasn't too keen on the bit where they emptied the septic tank. I was eating my supper at the time!

The hat is something I made up from left over wool from a couple of previous hats. Not enough of each colour to make a hat I decided to combine them to make a dog walking hat. The pattern is one of my own and it kind of twists when its on so the "cables" don't lie straight. I quite like the style though and may make it again one day in a nice yarn. I need to make it a bit shorter though as it falls over my eyes. All of my hats do that. I must be lacking in brains to fill up my head and make it the same size as everyone elses.

Friday, 8 February 2008

Doubled helmets finished at last

The hats are finished and ready for collection. I am looking forward to picking up my crochet hook tonight and deciding on what to make next. I still haven't decided which pattern to use for the Sale wool. I may crochet something else while I decide. I just don't feel like 5 needle knitting again tonight so the socks are back on the back burner.

I haven't done much today just the usual dog walking. It will soon be the weekend and a slight change of routine. I was just really de-motivated today. It's the weather I think. Saying I feel depressed is too strong a word it's just more a pissed off at life in general sort of feeling. The minute the sun shines I am a different woman, perhaps I have a touch of S.A.D syndrome. I wonder if those light boxes really work? Not that I am ever likely to find out as they cost quite a few quid. It would be nice to rent one for a week to see if it made any difference as I would hate to save and save to get one and then find it didn't work on me.

I didn't get to Bury market today. Rose reminded me (in her comments on my last post) of the black pudding stall in Bury market. I think my taste buds must have altered over the years though as they really don't taste as good as they used to or maybe the Fat Police or Gillian McKeith have been around changing the way they are made. I once made the mistake of getting a low fat black pudding. It had all the taste of herbed sawdust! A funny thing happened the last time I bought a black pudding in a paper to eat as I walked around the market with my friend. A seagull flew over and pooped not only all over her neck but also on my black pudding. Her little boy thought it was so funny he couldn't stop laughing for ages. You must read Rose's blog (you can get to it via the link of her name). She has moved to Romania and is starting a new life over there. I don't think I would ever have the guts to leave the UK and move somewhere else at my time of life. Nice thought though to have a fresh start on everything. Leave the past behind etc.

Some days when the sun never shines I feel very bored with my life and yet other days when the sun shines I feel energised and happy with my lot. I like GB it's just the weather that gets me down (and my ongoing wrangles with back pain and Hope Hospital of course)

My next door neighbour had her first chemo yesterday. I saw her walking her dog today but she was in the distance so we just waved. She is devastated at the thought of losing her hair. We had a long chat the other day and I tried to re-assure her and get her to look at the bigger picture. It is far better to concentrate on getting better and although it is very sad to lose her hair, it's a small price to pay for her long term health. She went out and bought a really nice wig this week so I think she is more resigned to losing her hair, hopefully only temporarily. It makes me put things into perspective. I may have chronic back pain on some days but it is nothing compared to the health issues people like my neighbour and some of my blog friends have to deal with on a daily basis. I think it is all to easy for me to say "Oh Woe is me" and get too wrapped up my own problems when others are having it far rougher. I do try not to moan on about my back but some days I just feel like having a right old whinge to myself and pampering myself a bit. Right moan over. Time to move on.

Yesterday I made some chunky vegetable soup from a recipe I found in the Manchester Evening News so I only have to warm the left overs up for my dinner today. Things always taste better the day after especially when I make Tater Hash. I have made a concious decision to cut down on the amount of meat I eat in a week. I usually stick with chicken or fish. It's not often that I eat red meat these days although I am looking forward to perhaps buying some organic meat from the Farmers Market on Sunday.

Thursday, 7 February 2008

Decisions, decisions, decisions

When I was in Bury on Tuesday I went into the wool shop on the Rock that is closing down and bought 8 x 50 grams of some unlabelled but lovely to feel yarn for 49p per ball. It appears to be a soft double knit and so I have been looking for a pattern to use. I could knit it but as I haven't crocheted in a while I wanted something to grow quickly to get my knitting and crochet mojo back. The first pattern for the circular shrug could be double knit but is crocheted on 6.50mm hook which is quite loose. The cardigan is probably more useful and wearable and is definitely in double knit says I need 10 x 50 gram balls for my size. I could, of course, make it slightly shorter or shorten the sleeves. I have put the ball of my bargain wool near the patterns so you can see the colour. I will have a think about it whilst I walk my dog. I have my best ideas whilst walking in the wood. I must not start it until I have finished off the knitting.

I finished off one half of the second helmet so hope I will finish them off tonight. I find I am a bit lacking in enthusiasm for this second hat. I am not too good at knitting the same things over and over. I like variety in my knitting to stop getting bored. I want to move along and make something else now or to knit my socks. I have only got 2 pairs of hand knit socks and a pair of footlets and my shop bought ones that I like are getting a bit holey.

The name badge is from my water aerobics class. I got issued with it today. It is supposedly so that the instructor knows our names but I think it's in case I forget who I am. I can look at my chest and remember! I will probably forget it is pinned to my swim suit and wash it one day. The class is great fun and I love it as I find I am quite athletic whilst in water. There is no pressure or weight on my back and I can do lots of exercise whilst bouyant. Needless to say I have had no response to my ansaphone (the specialist's secretary is never there) phone call I made to the hospital last week asking for an update on my situation. I seem to have drifted once again into the forgotten zone. I know as we grow older we grow invisible but surely the NHS is not supposed to keep losing me in the system.

I am off to walk the dog now. He is sulking in the front room as I left him all morning whilst I went to exercise class. He likes a routine. He is only happy when walks are at the same time each day. Hospital appointments and exercise classes spoil his day!

Wednesday, 6 February 2008

My new friends through internet blogs

I just want to take this opportunity to say a huge thank you to everyone who leaves comments for me on the blog. It's nice to know I am not chattering to myself (although I do that from time to time, if anyone catches me I say I am talking to the dog) I wish I was talented enough to put those box links down the side of my blog like the US girls do linking all you lovely ladies together, and crediting the blogs that I read, but as I am a true internet dummy I just about know how to type. Maybe one day I will catch up with technology but by then it will have moved on!

Thanks Juno for your comments on my last post I would like to return the favour of reading your blog but there wasn't a link for me to follow. I did manage to find several of your blogs Ambermoggie you are such a busy busy girl!

The photo today is of a crochet bolero I would like to make. it is in one of my new books "Positively Crochet". It is done in Sari Silk ( which looks very beautiful but is also quite expensive for something that I would only wear now and again. Vicky ( had also had toyed with the idea of using the yarn for a shawl but decided that it had no stretch and would be difficult to work with. I had thought of using instead the Marble chunky that I had found on Bury Market but knew they didn't have the colour I wanted. This is where the wonderful world of the blog kicked in. My internet friend Ailsa ( found out that I could get the yarn on line from Readicut. Cheers for that. I can now get the colourway I want. It is a bit more expensive than the market was but still a fraction of the price of the Sari Silk. Unfortunately it's not as vibrant as the Sari Silk but infinitely more practical for wash and wear.

The exercise class went well. They are a cheery bunch although a lot of them are on crutches or in a wheelchair. We have great hilarity and a sort of strange humour going on. One guy in a wheelchair has just one leg so when she said now tap the other leg he says I am tapping it - you just can't see it! Julie the instructor will say things like -squats and jogging next - and when everyone looks at her a bit startled she says "Aha gotcha that time that's next week!" It was as usual an undiciplined class with lots of wayward twanging or uncontrolled bands flying about. A lot of ladies have problems with co-ordination which is hilarious. As for the pelvic floor exercises - well I will leave the comments made to your imagination. The men find it especially humorous. No matter how old guys are they still keep the schoolboy toilet humour thing.

I have finished the second piece of the man's doubled helmet and started on the first piece of the ladies. I can now make them without looking at the pattern I have made so many of them. No progress on the socks. I am longing to do something other than the hats but orders come first. I knit a lot slower on the 5 needles than I would on a pair so am chomping at the bit to get some straight needle knitting or crochet so I can feel I have achieved something for a week's knitting.

The sun is shining and the garden is such a mess. Overgrown plants and dead plants in pots etc. I am not in the mood today but must get to grips with it soon as Spring is around the corner and it will soon be time to attempt to grow some vegetables in pots again. Last year I played at it and wasn't very succesful but I am determined to make more effort this year. The dog has killed what was left of my lawn and it is very unattractive with huge dead patches and mud in parts. Hopefully it will recover as it did last summer when the sun shines.

Tuesday, 5 February 2008

Missing photos from previous post

I think the answer is to post the photos before I type any words! I will try that method next time.

Rubber Band Day

Today I am off to join the seated exercise class once again. We get to twang long red rubber bands to exercise arms and legs whilst seated on our chairs. Not exactly taxing but if it helps with mobility then I am all for it. At least it is in a class and we have a laugh unlike when I tried the gym where everyone was so intent on doing their own thing it made the whole atmosphere quite unfriendly. I will never be a gym bunny. I lack the enthusiasm. If it's not fun then I don't do it and pedalling a bike to no-where will never be fun to me! I used to see the same people there pounding away on the treadmill for hours. I can understand joggers who get to view the scenery but people on treadmills facing a boring cream wall is all rather sad to me. They do have soundless TV's showing 4 different channels and I could never understand that bit either until someone said that they bring headphones so they can listen to which channel they want. No-one ever told me that bit but I did say they weren't particularly friendly.

My sock knitting has hit another stop. I now have 2 more orders for those doubled Peruvian styled helmets. One with embroidery and one without. I have knitted one piece and half of the second piece of the man's plain helmet. I decided to knit them now even though they are not getting picked up until the 29th. Hopefully this time I will remember to photograph them before they go. I would rather finish them early and then maybe I can back to my socks.

My sister in law phoned with an invite to a Thai dinner in Manchester on the 16th in celebration of my brother's 70th birthday. I have no idea what to buy for his birthday I will have to enlist the help of my nieces for some ideas.

I must try to get back to the stall on Bury Market and see if they still have any of the bargain random chunky left that I have been using for the helmets. It is really nice yarn to knit with but seems to be a job lot and he didn't have a lot left last time I went up. I have never heard of the brand before (James C Brett Marble Chunky 200 gram balls) but it has worked up lovely and soft with a random colouring. He only opens the stall on certain days to I will have to try to get up there on the right day. (Today isn't one of them)

Buster had his walk this morning but no doubt he will want another one when I get back from class. Someone has straightened the drunken carved owl up but he seems to have now lost his beak. Poor soul. You can just see it to the left of the photo of Buster on the bridge. The small carved throne is to the right.

Spring has arrived to my front garden. The crocus and daffodils are pushing their way through. I hope they survive the onslaught of wind, rain and the neighbour's kids. Once again Blogger won't post my photos with this blog. I will try separately.

Sunday, 3 February 2008

Photos for previous post

These are the photos that should bave been attached to the previous post but for some reason Blogger didn't want them to be attached