Wednesday, 30 April 2008

My Knit Picks rock!

It took me a couple of months to make the first Tiger sock on bamboo needles and 3 days to make the second sock on Knit Picks. I am also crocheting a shawl at the same time so it wasn't constant sock knitting. I find that I have to alternate knitting with crochet during the evening to stop my hands aching too much. I am really impressed with the needles but I do have to be careful that my stitches don't slide off the needles as they are so smooth. The pattern is a free pattern by Northern Sunshine designs
It is a Knit 2 Purl 1 ribbed sock and was a very easy pattern to follow but I think I chose the wrong colour for knitting the pattern in dim lighting. The stitch is too easy so I tended to lose track whilst watching TV and knitting.
I was going to post some photos of my new sock yarn colours but they may be on tomorrow or it may be photos of the Short n sweet shrug that I made for Perran. Vicky took the photos so they look far better than the ones that I had taken whilst it was a WIP. I only like to post 3 or 4 photos at any one time. It is something for you to look at whilst my projects are under construction. I have finished the triangle of the smaller version of the Sweet Pea shawl and will crochet an edging around it tonight. I may however get swayed into casting on my niece's separate toe socks, or maybe a bit of both?
I haven't done a lot of anything today as my back is still recovering from Monday. After a really bad day it can take a few days for my back to settle down again. I have water aerobics in the morning and have to get there on the tram. I just hope that it is not raining heavily or I won't be going. I get very wet when it rains hard as I walk so slowly from my house to the tram and from the tram to the Leisure Centre. I am going to miss my car on Thursdays from now on. I keep thinking perhaps not many more lessons before my operation but the weeks keep passing by and my letter doesn't arrive. I am starting to run out of patience as my back is getting progressively worst and every week I can do less and the pain is more. If anyone from Hope Hospital reads my blog please give Mr Mohammad a reminder that I am still waiting patiently and painfully.
I am making leek and potato soup tonight and as usual find it hard to make small size portions just for me so there will be plenty left over for the next day or so. It's a good job that I don't mind eating leftovers.

Tuesday, 29 April 2008

I love my Knit Picks Needles

The sun is shining. My back feels so much better than yesterday so all is well in my world. I have quite a few photos of finished articles and new sock wool still to post but today is all about my new needles. I had heard about Knit Picks needles on several sock blogs and how sockers loved them so I asked , well more like sweet talked and coaxed, Vicky to order me a set when she next ordered from Get Vicky being the good friend and trouper that she is promptly ordered for me. I really must learn how to order online. But then again maybe not as I would order far too much and have the screaming hab dabs when the credit card bill came.
Anyway I digress as per usual. I got the Knit Picks needles on Sunday and was going to use them when I started my niece Vicky's socks (2 Vicky's it's very confusing at times) but of course I could not wait to try them out so swopped the long term ever lingering Tiger socks onto them and am so impressed with the speed at which I can knit on them. I had managed to knit an inch or so on the second sock at the Knit Out using the bamboo US1 needles and on Sunday evening I progressed so fast on the Knit Picks that I actually turned the heel. Wow. They are though a tad slippy though and last night at the Knit Out in Salford I lost a stitch off the end of one needle and as the lighting in the pub is very dim I had to stop knitting as I could not see to latch up the slipped stitch. I am using the size US2 and not the US1 as when I tried the needles through my gauge they are slightly smaller than the same size in bamboo. I had already read on someones blog that they are slightly finer than the wood or bamboo which is why I tried a needle through the gauge first. I have done more inches of knitting per hour on the sock in the last 2 days than I have in the months they have been on the needles. I can't wait to start Vicky's socks now.
I have started crocheting a smaller version of the Sweet Pea shawl for Perran. I chained 20 sts less and that gave me 18 repeats instead of the 20 as the book. I have also dropped down to a size 4.50mm hook instead of the 5mm I would usually use. I know the book says 5.50mm hook but I tend to crochet slightly loosely so always drop a hook size for most things. I think that this will be a better manageable size for her.
The middle photo is some treasure trove that I found in the local charity shop. I always look and am rarely lucky but yesterday I found 2oo grams James C Brett Marble chunky, 200 grams of Patons Symphony and 400 grams of Patons Fab DK in a mix of colours all for £5 so I have plenty of hat yarn ready for my next hilarious attempts to make myself a wearable hat.
The electricians have just turned up to put a light and some plug sockets in my garage so I have to stop Buster from menacing them. He is not the best dog in the world where tradesmen are concerned. he takes it all very personally when they need to come into the house.
I think I came back from the Biobank with more than I went in with. I hardly ever get a cold and yet today I am sneezing like mad and my nose and eyes are running. There were a lot of people getting tested at the same time as me so there were probably a lot of germs lingering about. I can't take any cold remedies other than honey and lemon as the pain killers I am on have paracetamol in them and over the counter cold remedies contain it and so would overdose me. I have had flu jabs over the last 5 years and so rarely catch anything. I can't remember the last time that I had a bad cold. I have had two freshly squeezed oranges and will eat some more fruit today in an effort to boost up my Vit C levels.
I met my neighbour Jean today. She had a similar back op 6 weeks ago to the one planned for me and says she has never felt better. She is walking quite well and has hardly any pain now. Her X rays show that the bone fragments are knitting together nicely and everything is well. I feel more hopeful of the outcome of mine now although my op is more involved than hers it still shows me that things can only get better.

Monday, 28 April 2008

Rainbow hat for a rainy day

This is a rainbow hat I made for Lisa. We had been discussing how she likes hats - the sillier the better and so I decided to make her this hat as a surprise. When I got to the Knit Out on Sunday it was me who got the surprise because Lisa turned up wearing a striped jacket that was almost a match to the hat and neither of us did it knowingly. She very sportingly wore it all through the Knit Out so if anyone was passing the cafe and saw a lady in the window wearing this hat then it was all my fault! I don't think she sallied forth wearing it on her way home but who knows! The bottom photo has the truest colours to the hat by the way. My web cam muted the photo with the hat on my head.

Vicky gave me a lovely heart made from amethyst quartz to keep with my other crystals and to accompany me to hospital for my health and well being. My heart came in a lovely little purple bag so that don't lose it. Yeah for purple. I rang the hospital today and spoke to the Surgical Care Practitioner but she could not tell me if I am on the list for May. She said that she would let me know so fingers crossed that she remembers to do that and the letter arrives very soon.

I went out today to Biobank in Bury to take part in some medical tests for research. In the words of Tony Hancock I donated another armful of blood. They asked me so many questions that I was unable to answer. The dates of all my operations etc. I sort of knew how old I was roughly when they happened but who keeps exact dates in their diary? Do people celebrate the 10th anniversary of their tonsillectomy? Go out to dinner to celebrate the date that their broken nose got fixed? I had tests on the PC to test my reflexes and a grilling on my life style. I had my cholesterol done and it was a bit high and my weight was of course too high for my size. Sigh! The column next to weight had severely overweight ticked. At least it's better than the morbidly obese tag I got from the hospital a couple of years ago. I know I am chubby ( a polite way of saying I carry too much weight) but when I looked around the waiting room I would say that the majority of the ladies in there were far larger than I. One lady was out of breath just walking down the corridor and almost touched the sides of it as she swayed by. When I looked at the size of her belly slapping on her knees as she staggered by I thought now hang on a minute THAT is what I would call morbidly obese. By the time she got to the bottom of the stairs she was almost ready for intensive care!
Their advice to me on how to lower my cholesterol was to take more exercise. I wish I could, I would if I could, I would love to exercise to help me lose weight but after a day of screaming agony just walking from house to tram and tram to Biobank I am afraid that exercise was the last thing on my mind. Getting from A to B without resorting to crawling on all fours snapping at everyone's ankles was the priority of the day.
Charlie has just rung and said that she is able to give me a lift to the Salford Arms so I will have another Knit Out to go to tonight . I do love my little outings and hope that I will be fit enough to go to them very soon after my op What op? Is it a figment of my imagination? Is it tomorrow - the tomorrow that never comes? One day my op will come. I think my painkillers have kicked in and gone straight to my head. I shall away and splash my face with cold water to recover my equilibrium.
My ex husband came today to see how I am and had a look inside the newly re-furbished garage and discovered that the roof is leaking in the corner. Why did it have to be him that spotted that bit? I rang the builder and he was really upset and said he would be round asap to sort it out. He is a lovely man and I hated telling him as he really prides himself in doing a good job. He sounded really upset about the leak. It's probably just something and nothing and the driving rain has found the small chink in the roof's armour.

Sunday, 27 April 2008

Anna's soakers revealed

These are the soakers for Anna that I crocheted but couldn't post photos as I wanted the finished results to be a surprise. The little 1st birthday girl looked great in her new pants and modelled them for us at the Knit Out today. They are crocheted from Morning Glory Longies pattern which Linda bought online from Ladybugz Farm. They are made in an organic aran wool that she bought from New Lanark They are designed to fit over clothies and I was concerned that the butt area looked rather large, as you can see on the last photo, but they fitted just fine on Anna. She is a little young to be worried whether her bum looks big in them! The first pair was as the pattern (plus my own idea of adding crochet flowers) but the second pair I just let my imagination run riot and added hearts and little kitties in tapestry crochet. I had just enough yarn for the two pairs.
I gave Nikki the crochet hat (photo in last post) and she seemed pleased with it. I still think it looked rather large as she has such a tiny face but she seemed happy enough with it and would like another hat in the second pattern that she chose.
The Knit Out was held today in the new cafe in Bolton Town square. It's a much bigger venue to hold our ever growing band of knitters. I was grateful to Vicky for taking me there. She also brought me some new sock wool goodies which I will post photos of tomorrow. She also brought my new Knit Pics needles. I haven't tried them out as yet as I didn't want to switch needles in mid project and I am still slogging on with the second Tiger Sock. I might just have to cast on my niece's toe sock to try out the new needles but I have e mailed her with a choice of colours since I have added a couple more since she originally chose from my sock wool stash.
One of the Knitting Noras (Caroline) is thinking of adding our group to Ravelry so I must learn how to add the link to this blog. I hope that Caroline makes a little badge and tells me how to add it. I am a bit of a dunce with anything like that.
The photos over the next couple of days will be of the projects I did last week and could not post. watch this space!

Saturday, 26 April 2008

No substitute for elbow grease

No matter how hard I try I cannot keep Buster from putting dirty paw prints on things. I wash and dry his feet and under carriage after walks and brush him regularly I even hoover him with the attachment (don't worry it's not an instrument of torture he actually loves it and runs to me every time I turn the hoover on) Despite all of this he gets mud and hairs everywhere. Today I took off my bed throw to wash it and discovered amongst the flowers big dirty paw prints. I put it in the washer with its washing powder and a scoop of this magic wonder stuff that is supposed to take ALL stains out (well it does when the lady shows it on the TV advert so we all know that it must be true! ). The throw came out still decorated with mud. Nothing else for it but my mum's remedy. Green Fairy soap in a block and a big scrubbing brush. Not an easy task man (woman?) handling it over the draining board to scrub away but I managed it in the end. After yet another cycle in the washer the throw is once again cream and clean. Elbow grease triumphs over technology once again!

I have been beavering away on secret projects so there are no crochet photos today. After Sunday my blog will be awash with them! Today however I am taking advantage of the sun and washing everything in sight as well as hoovering etc. I should clean the windows as well but I don't think my energy levels are running that high. I will see how I feel after walking the dog. The upstairs is done but as any visitors don't usually see the upstairs I had better make a start on the downstairs.

Gone are the days when a good weekly clean would suffice. Pre dog and pre retirement the house used to behave itself and stay reasonably clean all week. Now I am home and a dog owner those days are gone. I hoover daily and the amount of hair and dirt in the bag shock me on a daily basis. Where does it all come from. Do the dirt fairies come and sprinkle bags of dirt as I sleep? My washer never stops. I wash suite throws and cushions on an almost daily basis. I use as much washing powder now as I used to when we were a family and I had my motor biking son living here.

Off to peg out the bedding now. Buster loves to help me with this as you can see from the photo ! I love to see clean sheets blowing on the line. Takes me back to my nappy washing days. Say what you like but there is nothing like the feeling of a line of snow white nappies blowing in the breeze to make you feel maternal. My nappies were threadbare by the time he was trained but still snowy white! Boiled to death. He never had a sore bottom once though despite them not being washed in all this special washing powder for babies malarkey. I had a twin tub washer in those days and they were rinsed and rinsed so no soap left in them. They came out almost bone dry from the super fast spinner.

Sometimes I wish I still had a twin tub. It was great for things that only needed a swish and not a full wash. Took minutes to wash things - washer filled in moments with hot hot water from the tap. Great for hand washing also. A big drum full of water is much better for a sweater than a piddly little sink. Now washing may be automatic but it takes forever (not to mention how much electricity it uses) to wash a few smalls. I still wash a lot of things by hand especially in the summer.

Thursday, 24 April 2008

Some people suit hats - some don't

Now you have seen the photos you can tell I am one of the ones who doesn't! I did try wearing it on top of my head like a giant mushroom slouched but it looked too silly for words. I only hope that Nikki suits the hat better than I do. She could always pass it on to a Rastafarian to keep his locks tidy if she doesn't.
It is supposed to be a slouch beret and my tension is spot on to the pattern but it looks huge to me. I do hope that Nikki likes it and it looks OK when she wears it. This is what it is supposed to look like.

It doesn't look half as big on the model but then it is probably modified to fit her. I once watched a knitwear pattern photo shoot and they used masses of paper clips, clothes pegs and safety pins to get the fit right on the models so it's no wonder we don't look the same in ours.
I once reduced a woman to hysterics in British Home Stores whilst trying to find a hat for a wedding. She was crossing her legs she was laughing that much. She apologised to me and said I am so sorry you weren't thinking of buying any of those hats were you. I said no. She said oh thank God cos none of them suited you, you looked so funny.

Every year I make about 6 hats and never really like any of them. The nearest one this year was Foliage cap from Knitty. com. I think that would have suited me if I had read the pattern right. There are 2 versions in different thicknesses of wool and I accidentally knitted the finer version in the thicker wool so it falls over my eyes now. The pattern stitch is lovely though so I will try another one and get it right this time

The weather has been very fluky today. I pegged out all the washing on the line and set off in sunshine to walk the dog. I had only been out for five minutes when the heavens opened and it not only rained - it hail stoned on me and I got very wet as I was only dressed in a fleece without a hood.
I am not sure what I will be working on tonight. I have the Tiger socks still on the needles and also a pair of purple thicker ones that need an unravel before I can carry on with those. I went wrong whilst chatting too much at the last Knit Out!

Wednesday, 23 April 2008

The designer likes my work!

I was so surprised and honoured when Lavonne3ca commented on Ravelry about my versions of her Short n Sweet shrug from the book Stitch n Bitch - The Happy Hooker. Wow. The actual designer likes my work ! I wonder if it was all of my photos of various shrugs that gave her a clue that I liked hers?
She said
Hmm - I get the idea that you like the pattern - nice job

and when I thanked her she said

Its crocheters like you that make my design popular my friend! I like to hear when someone likes my designs enough to make more than one. Keep on hookin’
I will come back down to earth sometime later. I am so glad that my humble efforts with the pattern reached her eyes and met with her approval, I shall follow her blog with interest from now on. She has an amazing multi coloured shawl on her blog this week and when I asked she said the pattern was from another design and she adapted it and used it for a shawl. Sounds like a lady after my own heart. I do that all the time!
I still haven't finished the second pair of soakers. I spent too long soaking in the bath to ease my aches and pains from lawn mowing and hedge trimming yesterday. I am so glad that I did it though as today it is raining once again.
Vicky has got my set of needles from Knit Pics and my other sock wool. Yippee. I am so looking forward to seeing them on Sunday at the next Knit Out so expect lots of photos later. I think I have said before that I am a complete numb skull when it comes to ordering things on the net. One day technology will reach me. One day I will find out how to organize this blog the way it should be with proper links and photos that don't turn out in a row like little ducks!
For now I shall just bask in my five minutes of glory from Ravelry. I would like to add more projects to my Ravelry but as every photos comes through Flickr and that site tells me I can only have 200 photos on it at one time unless I buy a pro setting (which is in dollars so numb skull can't work that bit out). If I delete anything from Flickr it disappears from Ravelry so I just can't win.

Tuesday, 22 April 2008

Why don't I look like this now?

I have just finished hanging out my washing on the line to dry in the sunshine. Yes folks, make the most of it, Manchester has sunshine today. As I pegged out my over large unsexy harvest festival bloomers (all is safely gathered in) my thoughts drifted to the time not that long ago when I not only fitted in these size 14 trousers but my underwear was a lot more lacy and flimsy looking. The ones I wear these days probably frighten the neighbours and take as much room on the washing line as a pillow case!
What brought these thoughts on. A step on the bathroom scales did. I decided to check my weight to see how the half hearted weight loss for the op was getting along and horror of horrors I have gained 5lbs! Not quite the result I am aiming for. So it's zip my mouth up time. Is it too late to run to the store for a big box of Slimfast? I must do something asap otherwise I run the risk of the op being cancelled yet again because of my weight issues.
I never have been a skinny girl but these issues have come about since my relative inactivity. When I had the shop I was on the go all the day. The stockroom was upstairs so I ran up and down many times during the day. Plus my stock went to the ceiling and so I was up and down ladders so any food got worked off no problem. I gained a bit when changed jobs as in administration there was a lot of PC work so I sat on my bum a lot but still the weight gain was minimal. My back got worse, I stopped work and my weight ballooned.
I am doing some housework today and praying that I burn some calories off. I have changed the brown throws on the suite as lovely as they are they are brushed and Buster's hair sticks to them as if they are magnetized. I have just chopped up an old faded , shabby green throw to make 3 seat covers and hopefully they will be easier to keep hair free. Ugly but the hair doesn't stick to them. I promise that I will sew the edges up one day when I can lift the sewing machine up to the table.
The day has whizzed past today and I got up late. I was crocheting until 2am last night as I didn't feel sleepy and so consequently I didn't get up until 10 am this morning. Such a waste of the day. Buster wasn't impressed as he has missed his morning walk. I will take him out soon.

Monday, 21 April 2008

My favourite knitted hat pattern

I have knitted this hat many times and still love the way that the top circles around with it's decreases. It is simple yet effectively shaped. It came originally from a free pattern, but when I came to look for the link I find out that she is now selling the pattern for $5.
This is the web site should you wish to purchase one. It is called Guy's hat named I think after her son who she knitted it for. I find that it is unisex.

Luckily I printed mine out when it was a free one. I have nothing against purchasing patterns but as I live in the UK it is a little difficult to order and pay for just one pattern from the US. I have just finished the black hat for my niece with the left over wool from her black crocheted jacket but have included a photo of a lighter coloured hat so that the shaping can be seen clearer.
I have finished one pair of Anna's crochet soakers but am a bit dubious about the shaping for the bum area. I hope that it looks better on Anna as it rather resembles the fat suit that Eddie Murphy wore whilst in drag in one of his films. I call it a shelf butt. I know it is shaped to accommodate the clothies but it still looks rather out of proportion. I have started a second pair but I won't post any photos until after Sunday when Linda gets to see them for the first time. I still have to crochet a hat for Nikki before Sunday but think I will need another ball so I might be finishing that hat off at the Knit Out. I am not going to the Knit Out at the Salford Arms tonight as my lift cannot make it. She isn't well and is having an early night.
I now have a garage door handle and the electrician has called today about fitting a light and plug sockets in there for me. One day soon I will be able to take a muddy dog through the garage and into the kitchen for a feet wash instead of trying to capture him and towel him down before he dashes into the lounge. Then I will have no excuse for not re polishing the parquet floor in the small hall and sorting out the wellies, boots and dog towels in the porch. Then I need a new door mat and a coat of paint on the walls. Why is it when you get one job done it leads on to another? I have told the builder, my son's friend, that if I need any more major repairs I will have to leave him shares in my house instead of paying him! He still has to re plaster the bay window in my bedroom from before he repaired the roof and the rain was coming in. Then the bedroom desperately needs wallpapering but not for a while unless the wallpapering fairy ( my friend Caroline) takes pity on me. It won't be any time soon as I am the gloss painter and of course I won't be able to do that for quite a while after the op. I am not looking forward to this bit as I painted the doors, skirting board and radiator red last time I decorated ! So it will be a complete strip down and not just a coat of paint.
Mattenlou I loved your comments. I think we are cloned. I do the same thing. Search through my patterns for hours and then toss them back into the boxes and use a pattern from the net! I had to chuckle when you said you would use the purple dress pattern as bedroom curtains and I thought maybe my red bedroom is not as whacky as I thought! Ailsa you must have know that "When I am an old woman I shall wear purple " is one of my favourite poems. I intend to be completely eccentric and strangely dressed by the time I grow old(er). Hey I am more than half way there already. My mother always used to say I marched to a different drum than everyone else. Why not? March on the off beat - it confuses everyone!

Sunday, 20 April 2008

Patterns from 1976

Guess who was rummaging through the old patterns in the loft? Hey they don't make patterns like this anymore although in most cases it's probably just as well. My eyes were immediately drawn to the purple mohair cape. What an entrance I would make wearing that but I doubt if it would fit my life style of dog walking and trips to Tesco these days. The long dress drew my eye as of course it was in purple. Maybe I could use it as a wool nightie? The Peruvian style poncho is a must for any ageing hippie's wardrobe and how can you resist the helmet? I have actually knitted and crocheted several similar ones very recently so I guess I must still have my hippie tendencies.

I shall bear in mind the wedding dresses if I ever marry for a second time but I hope the groom will give me a lot of time as they are crocheted in 2ply! As the would be groom is still a figment of my imagination then I certainly have got years to do it in.

I found the pattern that I was looking for - a cravat pattern scribbled on a piece of paper by an elderly lady about 30yrs ago so watch this blog as it may be appearing anytime soon. I rarely throw patterns away as Vicky can testify having seen a fraction of them when she visited and can usually unearth something somewhere from my stash to suit most occasions. Nothing changes much and with a little tweaking they can look bang up to date. Some patterns are so old they have come right back into style.

I did a little more crochet on Anna's soakers last night and they are an extremely strange shape. The bottom is more of a shelf shape but maybe they will look better on Anna than off! I certainly hope so otherwise they will go rippppppp anytime soon.

I am off to walk Buster. I have waited in vain for the rain to stop so I will have to don my waterproofs and wellies and brave the rain. He wants a walk no matter what the weather is doing. I am so not looking forward to this bit!

My niece has just texted me to say she is wearing her Doris Chan Tall Latte today and has received a compliment whilst shopping in Manchester. It does fit well though and is really flattering so I can see myself making more from the book even though it wasn't the best of experiences.

Saturday, 19 April 2008

Anne's finished birthday shawl

My niece Vicky came today and took the belated birthday presents of the black jacket and hat for Kath and sweater and scarf for herself. She loved Kath's jacket but thought she could not have one as the pattern is only for a small size on the pattern. I assured her that if she wants one I can adapt it to fit her so that might be a project for later. There is also a long jacket in the dreaded Doris Chan book that might fit the bill.
I also gave her the cream shawl intended for my sister in law Anne whose birthday is the 23rd. I made the shawl from an old book circa 1980. It was quite a simple pattern to make but I did change the edging as the pattern has a collar and a frilly edge which I didn't think Anne would like. It took approx 325 grams of Patons Fab double knit. I would have chosen a better quality yarn but as time was of the essence it was the best I could find at the time. Buster assisted in the photography by using his paws to point out the detail. He thought that I had spread the shawl out for him to lie on! Any wonky wiggly edges on the shawl are because as I was spreading the shawl out Buster insisted on helping. It isn't really lob sided honestly.

Today we went up to visit the Yarn Barn in Shaw. It's a very small shop but quite well stocked if you happen to like Sirdar. They had a very limited amount of Regia sock yarn and some sock kits but scant choice of needles, I only saw one set of bamboo and one metal besides the usual plastic pairs of needles. I hadn't gone to buy anything today just to browse for the future. My niece picked up a couple of patterns and I have noted some nice baby patterns if my niece's ex housemate has a baby girl next month. She has chosen not to find out the sex and has plenty of clothes for the newborn so I will make something appropriate for boy or girl when it is born. The shop has a lovely window display of 'loaned from Sirdar' display garments all in my favourite shades of lilacs and purples plus quite a few baby cardigans on display inside. The new owner plans to go online with sales in the near future. We shall no doubt visit the shop again as Vicky found the Sirdar chunky wool that she wants for a chunky cardigan and will buy it in the next school holiday. As a teacher she only finds the time to knit during the holidays. I saw quite a few interesting yarns in Sirdar that will work up well for future projects. I know where I shall be shopping for Xmas present wool. I wish we had gone up earlier and then I could have bought better wool for Anne's shawl.
I picked up Anna's crochet soakers again today. It's always a mistake to put things down half way through as it takes ages to remember where I am up to on the pattern. I never write anything down but I think I have sorted it out now and so will be crocheting those tonight.
Vicky chose the pale lemon and blue Opal for her toe socks. I wish I could have found a single colour as they are lacy but she seems to think they will look just fine in the random. I thought I might start them but I find that I am already using the needles that I need for my Tiger socks so that is another reason to push on with my second sock. If I go to the knit club on Monday I will only take the sock. The light in the pub is quite dim though and the wool is quite dark. Maybe I should invest in a miners helmet with a light?

Friday, 18 April 2008

Tribute to Warren Flood

In my long winded road to back surgery I had many setbacks. The last being taken off the operation waiting list because I was allegedly morbidly obese and was subsequently lost in the system for over 2yrs.

In the end I enlisted the help of my local MP Ivan Lewis and met Warren Flood who listened with great empathy to my problems and was instrumental with his letter writing and phone calls on behalf of the MP to the hospital in re-instating me to the waiting list.

So it is with great sadness that I learned from the local newspaper today that he died suddenly, aged only 42, whilst coming round from back surgery at Fairfield Hospital. My friend asked me am I not more scared now but I have to think positive. I have a great surgeon and a different hospital not that I am suggesting that the hospital was in any way to blame. The inquest will decide that.

Sad loss to the community Warren was such a caring lovely man

Rottweiler wrangling is my speciality

Yesterday was just like a normal Thursday. Water aerobics in the morning and dog walk after lunch. On that way up the hill on my way home I could see my neighbour Carol flapping down the road like the Pied Piper of Hamlin shepherding her kids and a few others that she collects from school shouting get Buster in the house quick there is a mad Rottweiler on the loose.

I pushed a rather indignant Buster through my front door and went to investigate as my son has a Rottweiler and although strong they are usually gentle creatures. I gently called the dog to me and let him sniff all over me and tentatively put out my hand. I was instantly bowled over with love. He jumped all over me licking me to pieces as if to say at last a friendly person. He was panting and obviously needed a drink so I gave him one and he was my instant friend. He had no collar and so I looped Buster's lead over his neck and then the wrangling began. I was trying to phone the local police to see if anyone was missing a dog whilst he was busy trying to chase every bit of flotsam and jetsom that was blowing down the street and all the neighbourhood cats. Trying to hold back a 7 stone ( well it felt like 7 stone) over large puppy whilst taking pieces of plastic bag out of his mouth (he almost choked) and speaking to a not very helpful copper on the phone takes a lot of strength and my poor back was protesting enormously.

Another dog owner neighbour, Karen, came up the street and volunteered a collar and chain lead as the poor dog was choking on my lead and her daughter offered to hold him for a while until I summoned some kind of help. He was obviously a pedigree and well looked after so I wanted to know if he had been reported as missing. He had already been hit by a car (witnessed by my neighbour) and although he seemed unhurt I wanted him checked by a vet. The police were no help and offered me a dog warden number which turned out to be out of date! We decided to see if he would walk us in the general direction of his home. No such luck - he was a puppy and wanted to go up everyone's path! We met another neighbour who said he had seen the dog around 2pm on another road a mile away so we gave up the local neighbourhood trawl after that. My dog lead neighbour then had a brilliant idea to phone the local vet and thankfully they knew who he was and the owners were contacted.

They arrived later but Preston (that was the dog's name) was totally unconcerned about them apart from a hand lick and a bottom wag (no tail) preferring the dog biscuit treats that were in my neighbour's pocket to them. They said he had escaped through the fence and had broken it down once before. Hello people - wake up - waveylap wood fencing and a Rottweiler do not go together if you are going to leave him loose whilst you are at work. They were a very young couple so I do hope that they look after the dog properly. I have never seen Preston before on Buster's dog walks which is unusual considering dogs from local and miles away get walked in the woodland where we walk. We see the same dogs over and over and get to know their names.

Buster was watching a lot of this through the window and was not amused at mum playing with another dog. When I came home I was sniffed from head to toe and he sat on my feet for the rest of the evening as if you to say you are MY mum not his!

The photos are of the dream catcher that Ambermoggie sent to me. I am a rubbish photographer as I line the shot up and then my hand shakes it off line when I press the shutter. I tried dreamcatcher in the window. Lovely shot of my old banger and the rest of the street but not much dreamcatcher. I then tried dream catcher in the plant and chopped off it's feathers. I then tried card and crystal on the window bottom and missed the crystal off altogether but I did get the elephants in! So I setted for an uninspiring view of the crystal on the window sill which isn't good as it is dark brown and dulls the colours. The last photos is of a stained glass wind chime that my niece Kath bought for me whilst she was teaching English in Poland a few years ago and has hung in my window ever since. It catches the light in the sunshine and send pretty colours all around the room. The dream catcher must have caught the bad dreams last night as I had an untroubled sleep and although I did half remember a dream when I woke it can't have been a bad one.

Not as much crochet done last night due to the couple of hours I spent wrangling Preston. I finished Anne's shawl but it needs some kind of blocking to flatten the edging. I am not going to steam it as it is 100% acrylic and it goes rather limp. I will try to dampen it and pin the edge somewhere large where Buster will not try to lie on it Not easy finding that place! Wish me luck. I will photograph it tomorrow if I manage to block out the edging.

Thursday, 17 April 2008

My new life saver - Hurrah for CPAP

No - it is not a new knitting bag although when it is not in use it could be? It is my latest super dooper high tech CPAP machine. Basically I have sleep apnoea and have done for about 10 yrs now so I sleep hooked up to this baby and it breathes for me when I forget. Its no big deal to me any more unless my machine develops problems. I was going to have it checked over before going into hospital. Don't want an electrical fault to fuse the entire ward do I? However a couple of days ago it developed a leak and water and electricity are not a good mix so a check was needed asap.

When I got there the technician presented me with this baby. Wow I have moved into the latest technology. Its half the size of my other machine, wonderfully quiet and as I can testify from last night's amazing sleep it is working 10 times better than my old one. I have awakened refreshed, full of the joys of Spring and raring to go. I think my other machine was CRAP and not CPAP! I had it about 2 yrs so it was overdue a maintenance check. I am getting a new mask as well next week. I did enquire if I could get one in black leather with studs to make it a little more fetish looking but she didn't see the humour of that remark! Hey it was just a joke I am not weird - well I dunno maybe a bit weird?

I have my eyes on the new bag to use as a knitting bag when I visit my knitting clubs so imagine my joy when she asked me did I want to the old bag as it was no use to them. Apparently they are designed to fit the machines and all new machines come equipped with their own. My old machine was being scrapped so the bag was redundant. It looks like a useful shape (bottom photo) and the see through pocket in the lid will house the patterns etc. The royal blue one has lots of pockets and looks rather glam so I think I will sport that one to future Knit Outs.
The shawl has progressed as far as the the border. That will take a little time but I should have the finished shawl to photograph tomorrow. Cathrine if you e mail me at fullbodiedwoman at I will endeavour to tell you the method of the increases. The pattern is so old that I doubt if it is still in existence. You might be able to see the increases if you click on the photos of the shawl - they go a lot bigger.
I am going to water aerobics this morning. The weather has gone dull again but luckily I did the bulk of my washing yesterday and it all dried on the washing line - Yeah for sun shine! It's summer please let the sun shine.

Wednesday, 16 April 2008

My horoscope was almost right

I don't really believe in horoscopes, well at least not the ones in the daily papers, but I did glance at yesterday's and it said I was to check e mail and text addresses carefully before I sent them. So what did I do today? I sent an e mail meant for Rose to Vicky! Luckily Vicky alerted me to the fact and all was well. So the horoscope got it almost right - just got the wrong day!
My sister in law's shawl has progressed well. I have now worked up 200 grams See how well I understand UK instructions particularly from ancient patterns. This was from a booklet circa 1980. The last time I made it I was using stash wool and so cut it shorter than the pattern but this time I will make it to it's full length. Still not sure about the edging though (see pattern on previous post) . That might have to be a modification as I doubt that she would want a frilly collar.
I started a hat for Kath with the part 100 gram ball I had left. I am using a pattern that I got free from the net. I wanted to forward the link to Rose but discovered that the lady in question who designed Guy's hat has now jumped on the bandwagon of selling her patterns and the link has changed. I am all for people making a buck but it does make life difficult for us Brits who might only want one pattern. I get confused sending away for things in the UK so have no chance with converting to dollars and have never mastered Pay Pal. I might have got to grips with some of the internet but most of it remains a huge mystery to me.
My niece Vicky has offered to take me up to the Yarn Barn in Shaw for a little look around on Saturday. I don't need anything (famous last words?) but who can resist an offer of a ride to a wool shop?
This afternoon I am off to the hospital to get my CPAP machine checked out in readiness for the operation. I did ring last week but the technician got a garbled message from me. I relayed the message via a secretary - I am going in hospital, need machine checking, plus I need a new mask and container as container is leaking. She got message - Not an urgent message as Jan is going in hospital for a few weeks and so won't be able to come to any appts! I didn't think I was that hard to understand how can it not be urgent when I have a leaking container. Water and electricity are not a good mix are they?
I have washing blowing in the sunshine - yeah for sunshine and am off to walk my dog before I have to go out.

Tuesday, 15 April 2008

A new day - a new project

I have to use up as much of the wool I have for one project. There is something about me that cannot put the extra ball into stash. I had a full 50 gram ball plus a part ball left from my niece Vicky's jumper. ( June - I made the jumper in Sirdar Click DK sorry for not mentioning it last post) On
my niece's last visit she had expressed a desire for a scarf that was lacy and done in circles linked together.
I started this scarf but soon realized that not only did linking the circles together drive me nuts but that it was coming out too big and I would not have enough wool. I then remembered seeing a vintage crochet dress pattern in a lacy stitch in my stash and so used that stitch to make a scarf.

I am quite pleased with the effect and how much scarf I managed to make with so little wool. I crocheted a fringe out of chain as I knew there was not enough for a fringed one, I hope that she won't mind that it's not the circle one that she liked. I will maybe try that pattern out again in finer wool next time. I still have to use the part 100 gram ball left from my other niece's cardigan but think perhaps a knitted beanie would be more her style.

I went to the Salford Arms knitting club last night. We had a half hour delay in getting there as there appeared to have been a bad accident further up the main road. Lots of flashing lights and ambulances flying about. I hope that no one was seriously injured. Our visit was therefore quite a short one but I did manage to start the second Tiger sock and do a few rounds. The lady who knits with strips of plastic bags was there and she had a couple of finished ones with her. I might have a go one day as they make really strong bags for shopping and it's such a good way of recycling supermarket bags into something useful. She was making another bag out of brightly differently coloured bags for a beach bag. She said that she put one up for raffle and raised £50+ pounds for charity. Good idea. Another of the members has almost finished a knitted dalek. It is for a gift for an avid Dr Who fan and it looks really good now she has almost finished it. One of the guys from the bar came to us with his camera phone to take a photo of the dalek as he was so intrigued with it.

Today I started the crochet shawl destined for my sister in law. I made her one with a slightly different edging than the pattern for Christmas in black and she loved it so much that she hinted that she would like one in a different colour. I chose cream as that's another good all round go with most things colour. My sister in law has conservative tastes and would never wear a strong colour like I would choose. I will decide on the edging when I get to the end although the one on the pattern has a sort of collar effect and I doubt that she would like that. One reason I changed it last time. Her birthday is the 23rd so it's all sytems a go. Midnight oil will be burned.

I still have to finish Anna's soakers and Nikki's hat before the next Knitting Noras Knit Out - whew - mush mush Jan get those hooks a flashing!

I had a good night's sleep again last night so hopefully the bad dreams and wakefulness have gone away for the time being. Poor sleep affects my mood and energy levels for the rest of the day. Hopefully I will be able to get some more shawl crocheted today in between dog walks.

I just read the Panopticon (see link at the side) and I was rolling about laughing. If you have never read Franklin's blog then please just take a look at it just once - he is such a funny guy (as well as being a good knitter) I love Dolores the sheep (and Harry) and am a member of the Ravelry group named in her honour.

Monday, 14 April 2008

Doris Chan - love your designs but your instructions drive me nuts !

Everyone loves Doris Chan. There is a Ravelry Group named "I love Doris Chan" so I guess I must be the only person in the world who loves her designs but find her instructions baffling and bewildering. I struggle somewhat with US terms but have learned to disregard 40 odd years of calling a treble a treble only to have to be told it's a double crochet according to the US designers. I have learned to live with that annoying though it may be.
I got my Everday Crochet book and drooled like everyone else over it's contents. They are amazing designs. Simple yet effective or so I thought until I was poised with hook in hand ready to start. I started Tall Latte with my base chain. Then it got confusing flipping pages until I found the instructions for the size I was making. Ah found it - oh bugger it says rows 1-3 are the same as size 33 so back flip pages. Then I look for abbreviations oh they are on page 37 as for Jewel - OK more page flipping. Back to Row 4 - 6 to find they are the same as size 42 then row 7 - same as size 39. I am sure that by now you have got my drift. My poor book is dizzy and keeps falling off the sofa with all its twists and turns. It gets worse the further down the sweater it gets. I understand that you try to cater for many sizes Doris and you do have to repeat yourself a few times but I would far rather have a larger book that takes me from A-Z without all this page and size flipping.
By the time I had reached the joining together of the body underarm and neck (it is worked top down) I had lost the will to crochet (plus it was far too large) and so from then on it was a Jan inspired by Doris design. Sorry Doris but I winged it from then on and guess what my sweater fairly zipped off the hook from them on! I do love her ideas and will use them again but in my own way. From now on I will look at her photos and in the words of Frank Sinatra - I did it my way!
I guess people who learned to crochet the US way will understand her terminology and let's face it there is a dearth of good UK designers and even UK learn to crochet books so the younger crocheters will probably grow up learning the US way. Everything is US these days. Even the spell checker on my pc tells me I spell the words colour and labour wrong. Nope I don't - well not according to the concise English dictionary I don't.
The good side is that the jumper looks great and fits wonderfully well. I will give you that bit Doris. Using shell stitch makes the garment wonderfully stretchy and it flatters the figure ( well not mine as the last photo shows) and feels so comfy when it is on. I like her idea of adding a couple of rows for extra bust room on the front. It makes the sweater stretch less across the bosom as in previous sweaters. Plus I shaped the body in as per her instructions for shaping sleeves to add a waistline as my niece, like me, is a typical hour glass figure type and so many sweaters end up like tents with the correct bust size. I didn't shape back out I relied on hook changes to give room for the hips.
I slept until 10.15am this morning. OK I did wake up at 4am for a wee (Buster as well) break and a dry off as I was having one of my hot wet flushy moments but after a drink I went back to sleep and slept dreamlessly (well no bad ones) until the postman woke us up. Waste of a day as it is now lunchtime and I have only just had breakfast and done nothing except shower. Time for Loose Women now so I guess not much will get done today. Great Carol McGiffin is on a rant about phoning customer services for the Internet. You go Carol. We have all been there phoning number after number at 40p a minute only to get passed around and around to people who barely speak English and and keep advising me to check my connection wires. Already done that dummy ! I did all that before I rang you! I am not that thick. They will never admit anything is their fault.
Ah well tomorrow is another day. Maybe today I will get to the Salford Arms for a Knit Out tonight. For the last 2 weeks things have happened that made it impossible for me to get there.