Saturday, 31 May 2008

My Interweave crochet mags have arrived

My Interweave crochet magazines have arrived today from Pavi yarns. I have only browsed the pictures so far and not inhaled, pawed and slobbered over any instructions as yet. Interweave seems to like motifs and there are an awful lot of projects containing them in each book. I am not a lover of motif crocheting. It's not the crocheting I don't like it's all the joining together especially the granny squares with multi colours! There are quite a few projects per book that I like so I think it was money well spent. I just hope that my niece's eyes don't spy something in motifs that she likes! There is an article by Carole Ventura on Tapestry Crochet plus an article in each by Doris Chan covering shaping crochet garments. I don't think that she covers the thing that I struggle with the most which is the way she writes down her raglan shapings. I have read other peoples comments on Ravelry who have struggled but some write that it was the easiest garment they had made. I suppose it is all to do with the way we read her instructions and whether they make sense to us or not as in my case. The jumper on the front cover is one of Doris's wouldn't you just know it. My head will be spinning once again. The mags are full of adverts for lovely garments but as it is a US magazine it is a lot harder to send for them by post etc. I am still very much a novice at buying from the net. I surprised myself with ordering from Pavi. I have only ever ordered from Amazon before. I am OK if it is straightforward and I know that I can trust the site (ie someone has used it and recommended it) and it tells me in pounds and not just dollars.

I did a bit more on my secret project last night. I have to keep my mind occupied as at the moment it is alternating between utmost despair and homicidal tendencies towards certain members of staff at Salford Royal Hospital. I have an appointment with my GP on Wednesday to try and sort my feelings out. I keep bursting into floods of tears when I am not even thinking about what has happened. I would also like a re-check on my urinary infection to make sure that it has gone altogether and not still lurking unknown in my bladder to rule me out of the next operation date. I am very prone to these kind of infections. I do try to drink enough water but I am guilty of not drinking enough which doesn't help.I am also experiencing shoulder and neck pain which is making my arms and fingers tingle. I thought it was my carpal tunnel syndrome from my left hand but now I am not so sure as I never had pain and burning sensations in my neck and upper back when it was my right hand. Whatever next. I am falling apart bit by bit!

Today I am doing some cleaning which will more than likely result in strong back pain tomorrow. It has to be done though. Buster sleeps with me (you try persuading him that his place is not next to me on the bed) and so I have mohair bedding despite putting a throw over everything. I have to keep changing and washing it. If I was ever lucky enough to pull a guy and get to the bedroom bit then he would finish up looking like a Yeti if he got a bit sweaty!

I have the same problem with the sofa and chairs in the lounge. I have tried buying him different kinds of dog beds but they are a waste of money as he still sleeps on the furniture. I tried in the beginning to make him lie on the floor but it was like emptying the bath with a teaspoon so now I have given in and let him do exactly what he wants. Again I have throws to wash a few times a week. I will wear out my washer soon. I think I buy the same amount of washing powder that a family of 4 would use.

Buster keeps watching me and trying to comfort me when I am upset. This is the face I got today when I was telling him mum wasn't in the mood for taking him out just yet.

off to peg out the washing. Anyone got a spare line? My 3 are full already. Hope something has dried and then I can peg out more.

Friday, 30 May 2008

Salford Royal - no wonder you changed your name from Hope

Salford Royal used to be called Hope Hospital. As far as I am concerned that is something of a misnomer. No Hope or abandon Hope is what it is called to me. I didn't post yesterday as I was alternating between anger and despondency. I was so angry over what had happened and so depressed about feeling that the only way I can get through to anyone is to have to complain. I feel that I should not have to resort to this in this day and age. Is this what they want me to do and then they can say well if you don't like it then find another surgeon. I wouldn't be at all surprised if they have the right to do this also. A patient these days seems to have no rights. We should consider ourselves lucky if we get seen at all.

I am from a generation where we expect good treatment from the NHS and not to be treated like we have no rights to good service. I have worked and paid my dues since the age of 18 until I reluctantly retired through my back problem at 60. I have only had 6 weeks out of work when I had to sell my shop in all of that time. I had a couple of weeks off when my son was born but as I was self employed I didn't qualify for any benefits nor any child benefit, Nor did I when I had a hysterectomy and subsequent throat and nose surgery. I didn't have the luxury of any sick pay (self employed people didn't get any) so I had to go back to work. I had been treated well with those operations at North Manchester General Hospital but my former doctor referred me to Hope Hospital saying that they had the best spinal surgeons. This might be true but the treatment I have received since being referred to them leaves a lot to be desired. They probably are very good but it seems like I am never destined to ever find that out.

It seems that since the government told hospitals to cut waiting lists and get on with it it has all backfired on patients such as me. In order for the hospital to keep it's records looking good then they get rid of as many from the waiting lists as they can. Overweight - you are off. You smoke - then you are definitely off, Urinary infection (they take you off as well but in my case forget to tell me). I weighed 13 stone 7lbs at the time they took me off the list the first time. This is heavy but I wouldn't have classed myself as morbidly obese and in danger of dying on the operating table but apparently the surgeon has the right to veto and I can't challenge his opinion. It is so hard to keep the weight off when I can only totter about and can't exercise because of the pain. After that happened I got lost in the system for a couple of years and every phone call after that got ignored until the MP Ivan Lewis got involved.

Why should I have to write to complain etc. Surely I deserve better treatment. I first got referred to Hope Hospital in 2000 and here I am without any treatment. I read yesterday that bereaved people can have their relatives MRI scanned instead of an autopsy but they will have to pay £500 for it. I am about to be referred for my 6th or 7th MRI scan so that is a lot of money that the NHS have spent on me without an operation. If they had given me that money then I could have paid for my operation privately.

Thanks to everyone for their support but for that I think yesterday would have been a lot bleaker than it was. I have an appointment with my GP on Wednesday to chat to him about the situation and the way that I am feeling inside my head. All of the feelings that I have been suppressing have all resurfaced. I had pinned so many hopes on surgery being the solution that now it has been postponed yet again they are swamping me and churning around and around in my head. I feel that I am fighting not to let depression overwhelm me. I just keep bursting into tears all of the time.

I have been trying to immerse myself in crochet but it is hard to concentrate when my mind is in such a whirl. I have done a lot of crocheting but also a lot of unripping as I am not happy with what I have been making. The photo is of the colours and the book from which I am making a secret project which I will reveal after the weekend. The white mesh is a market bag that has been crocheted and unravelled so many times the cotton is soiled. It may get finished or it may get unripped yet again.

I was thinking as I walked the dog that if I had kept Buster suffering in pain for as long as I have been left then I would have been banned from keeping a dog but yet Salford Royal can leave me in pain for years without caring one jot about me. All I get quoted is hospital policy decrees this and that. What about my rights as a patient? Do I not have the right to be treated properly? Do they not care that they are messing not only with my physical health but also my mental health as well. I have better not tell them that bit or maybe that will be another reason for them to take me off the waiting list yet again. Got a touch of depression - oh can't operate on you then - it's hospital policy!

Wednesday, 28 May 2008

If it wasn't for bad luck then I wouldn't have any luck at all!

I am so annoyed. I am speechless with annoyance. Which is quite a feat for me. I rang the hospital and finally got to speak to Mr Mohammad's secretary. When I asked about my place on the hospital list I was blithely told that I had been taken off the waiting list as per hospital policy (dictated to them by the government) when I was deemed to be unfit for surgery because of my water infection at my pre op testing.(Cured a week later by a course of anti biotics) Oh sorry did no one tell you? Did you not get a letter? Shall I send you one now? Sorry but there is nothing that I can do as I am just a secretary and the manager of the department is on holiday but the good news is that you got put back on the list on the 24th April. When I asked her what date does that give me for an operation then - sometime in August? She said she could not tell me said she would have to have a word with the manager when he comes back from holiday.

When I enquired why she hadn't answered my e mail or ansaphone message and was it not obvious from them that I had no idea I had been taken off the list she said Oh I didn't answer because I didn't have a date to tell you! What happened to politeness? I then explained that my MRI scan would be out of date by then as Mr Mohammad had told me last time that he could not operate with any results over 6 months old. She is now booking me my 7th scan! More waste of NHS money? I suppose I will need another pre op test as well as those results will be out of date as well. God help me if they find another infection at that one. This could go on and on ad nauseum. This is ridiculous. Is this how the hospital meets all it's targets?

I am going to complain. I don't like doing this as I think it makes the specialist see me as a trouble maker and to be avoided etc. I am going to contact the hospital for an explanation of why hospital policy was never explained to me. It might be well known to them but not to patients. I was fully expecting to go in hospital 18 weeks from my letter from February as that was the last communication I have had from them. Hope Hospital (or Salford Royal as it is now known)- you need a massive revamp on the way you treat your patients. My experiences over the last few years have been very unimpressive. What happened to the Patient Charter?

My crafting has taken a back seat today. I have managed to finish the edging of the pink variegated shawl but nothing else. I am finding it hard to concentrate on anything. I feel very depressed about everything. I had set my sights fixed on an end to this constant pain and now find I have to put up with it for another few months. It might be nothing to them but it is the world to me. Many tears have been shed today which no one at the hospital cares a jot about.

Tuesday, 27 May 2008

I presume that Victorian ladies had more time on their hands

I have had this book for many years and often read it as bedtime reading. Other people read novels I read crochet books. I have yet to have enough patience to make anything from it but adore reading it. It is reprinted in the form of pamphlets bound together as they were originally printed. Each issue cost 2d and the year's subscription (with postage free to any part of the world) was 2s 6d and they were originally published circa 1895. I just love the patterns and wish I could share with you every one of them. Antimacassars, smoking caps, baby's bootikins and opera hoods or fascinators. What wonderful mental images a fascinator conjours up. The edgings for curtains and mats are magnificently intricate. I think the Victorian ladies must have had a lot of time on their hands - perhaps whilst the maid did all the work? They could surely never have done this fine crochet in lamp light. I would love to make the chemise edgings and to keep my chemise in the nightgown case illustrated. I would keep my tea pot warm with the tea cosy in the bottom photo. The ladies must have gone into the haberdashery store to "purloin 2 ozs single Berlin wool" as instructed by the pattern. The edgings are worked in Strutt's or DMC cotton which was still around when I was a girl. There are some fantastic edgings for window blinds crocheted around cardboard shapes. I presume to keep the crochet stiff. Obviously the Victorians didn't launder their blinds or the cardboard would go rather soggy.

My own crochet hasn't progressed much today as I have been visiting my cousin David who I haven't seen for over 30 yrs. He emigrated to the US and is over with his whole family. His brother Eric who lives in Canada is arriving tomorrow but I doubt I will get to meet him as they are travelling up to Scotland in the morning. His sister Hilda is taking time out from her around the world sail to meet up in Scotland also. Her husband was a commander in the Royal Navy and when they retired they sold up and bought a yacht and are spending their retirement sailing from place to place. Last year they were in the west Indies. What a great way to spend a retirement! The whole family are all home for a memorial service for my Aunt Lena (their mother) who passed away last year. She had moved with her husband to Scotland when I was young but I used to see her twice a year when she visited my mum and dad. She had a serious stroke and spent the last few years in a nursing home in Plymouth so this memorial service is so that family and all her friends in Scotland can attend to honour her.

I am on the border of the multi coloured pink shawl and will have finished it by tomorrow. I have found a pattern on line for a reduction market bag. It is made in fine cotton so I will make one more or less to the pattern to get an idea how it is made and then make more with some thicker cotton that I have in stash. I just have a couple of balls in 4ply cotton that should be OK. Most of my other cotton is DK or Dishcloth weight. The bag folds down into a small purse so it should be interesting to see how it all fits together. I must get back to my purple Doris Chan. I have put it down and am finding it hard to pick it back up again. I have also got the second house sock to finish off.

I rang the hospital today and of course only got the ansaphone of the surgeon's secretary. I left a message but of course I have had no reply. This is exactly what happened last time I left a message. I have not had a reply to the e mail I sent to her last week either. I hate to complain but I have just re-read the letter and it is dated 18th Feb and it says "We will try and do the operation in the latter part of the 18 weeks period that we need to do her operation in" Today is 16 weeks by my count since the letter was typed. I thought I would have least been given a time frame by now. I feel that I am just going to have to mither until I get some kind of an answer. If I am not on the June operation list then why not and how long until I am?

Monday, 26 May 2008

The Blustery Day

From: Winnie The Pooh and the Blustery Day
Written by: Richard M. Sherman and Robert B. Sherman
Performed by: Sterling Holloway [Pooh]

Hum dum dum ditty dum
Hum dum dum

Oh the wind is lashing lustily
And the trees are thrashing thrustily
And the leaves are rustling gustily
So it's rather safe to say
That it seems that it may turn out to be
It feels that it will undoubtedly
It looks like a rather blustery day, today
It sounds that it may turn out to be
Feels that it will undoubtedly
Looks like a rather blustery day today


My patio chairs are a blowing in the wind. My plant pots are whizzing around the garden and in the woods the branches are broken and flying about. More leaves on the ground than Autumn - it is indeed a rather blustery day! It's a good job that both Buster and I are substantially built and therefore in no danger of blowing away!

I have great friends

I am so lucky to have such good friends. Over the last year I have had so much love and support from them and I am so appreciative of them even though perhaps I don't tell them often enough. A year ago I had nothing much to look forward to. I was in pain and without much hope of relief. Floundering in a sea of red tape as I batted my head against a brick wall with the hospital. I made a good friend in Warren Flood who using his influence as aide to MP Ivan Lewis got me back on the operation waiting list. Sadly he lost his life due to a bad reaction to anaesthesia during an operation. So sorry to lose him. I owe my operation (when it ever arrives) to him.

I joined the Knitting Noras just over a year ago and through them have made so many good friends. It's lovely to be able to meet up once a month, chat and have a good knit ( or crochet). there are also many e mails from them every week to keep in touch. Vicky has proved to be a wonderful friend. She ferries me to the meets without complaint and has ordered sock wool etc online for me and got me great bargains ( I am a bit of a numb skull when it comes to anything like that). I am totally indebted to her. Yesterday I got some knitting mags and a ball of jazzy sock wool from her which is pictured above. I was itching to start some socks with it.

Another good friend Eadaoin gave me some lovely hand made ear rings and some crochet stitch markers with hearts and stars with little clasps so that I can hook them into my shapings. She listened to my ravings about the troubles I had keeping track of Doris Chan's shapings amd made them for me. She is having a craft fair today in Bolton and I wish her well. Please visit her Flickr site and look at her lovely jewelry
Vicky had previously made me some lovely beaded stitch markers for my sock knitting. They both listen to my rambles as they made them in my favourite colour of purple.

The swan in the last photo is made from circles that I crocheted for Eadaoin. She sewed him together and made his beak from winding yarn around a pipe cleaner. She named him Cecil (pronounced Ceecil) and has adopted him as a good luck charm so I hope that he worked his magic for her at the craft fair. I used to make them and put gift soap inside them as little gifts. If I had a stall I used to make a few of them and put them on a mirror surrounded by green tissue paper to make them look as thought they were swimming on a lake. Just crochet 3 circles. 2 plain and one with a picot edge and stitch together as shown leaving a gap to push the soap inside.

Last night I finished the main part of the pink variegated shawl and have the edging to do later. I picked up my knitting and unripped the house sock that I started at a Knit Out a few weeks ago and went wrong ( too much chatting and not enough concentration) I managed to re start it from the bottom of the cuff and one sock is now finished. The sock are on large needles, thickish wool and are only ankle socks so take no time at all to knit.

On the subject of friends I would like to thank all of my online friends for their constant support and advice to me. It means a lot. I read every comment and take on board your advice to me about leaving housework etc when I am having a bad day. Today my back is not too bad but I am shutting my eyes to Buster's hair on the chairs and just running the hoover around,washing dishes and walking the dog in the wind. Having an easy day really.

My wish for everyone is to be blessed with good friends like mine. have a good day.

PS. On reading this post again it sounds as though I only appreciate friends for the gifts they give to me. Sorry if it comes across like that. I don't love my friends for what they give to me. You would be my friends without any of that. I just mean to convey that I appreciate that you take the time to create things for me with such thoughtfulness taking into consideration my taste. Amber for the dream catcher to chase away my bad dreams, Amber and Vicky for the crystals to aid my healing, Eadaoin and Vicky for my stitchmarkers and ear rings, Zuleika for my light up crochet hook and everyone for their support. If I can do anything for you then you know you only have to ask and I will try my best to do it.

Sunday, 25 May 2008

The wind blew my plant pots away

What a windy day. It was Knit Out day with the Noras and on the way home Vicky remarked how the car was being blown around when we were on the motorway. I got home to find that my plant pots were scattered all over the garden and my small plastic grow houses had been blown over. Luckily there was nothing of any importance in either the pots or the houses as I decided to give my attempts at vegetable growing a miss this year due to my impending operation. Had I know that was going to take so long I would have risked a few lettuce etc.

So much to blog about I will have to leave most of it until tomorrow. Today I shall concentrate on posting photos of the finished pink Sweet Pea shawl and leave the photos that I have taken today until tomorrow's blog. I think I over frilled the shawl but little girls quite like a bit of frill so hopefully she will like it. I have also started the variegated pink shawl and managed to do quite a bit today at the Knit Out so is quite a bit larger than today's photo. I must find out if I should over frill that one as well.

Yesterday I overdid it. I washed the bedding, the throws, cushion covers and everything else I could find. I had to rescue the duvet from next door a couple of times as it kept blowing off the line even though I used loads of pegs. I cleaned most of the house as well. After that I mowed the lawn and strimmed the edges. Of course by last night I could hardly move and even after a bath and using my heat pad I was still in a lot of pain.

This morning it was very hard work to walk the dog as both of my hips were aching. I am glad that I did it then as the wind has got a lot worse this afternoon and so did my hips. I almost got hit by a tree branch this morning as it blew off the tree and fell just behind me. Fortunately it wasn't a large branch and probably would not have hurt me had it fallen on me but it was the surprise that made me jump. I never heard a crack before it fell. It must have been balancing on another branch from a previous gust.

Buster here. My mum said I was in the dog house yesterday. I don't understand what she means as I am a dog and this is my house so surely I am in the dog house everyday? Just because I had a little memory lapse and ignored her calls to get my dirty wet feet dried after my walk and jumped all over her clean throws. Hey I am a guy and we are forgetful and selectively deaf. I can't remember small details. I can't understand why mum needs to keep washing them anyway. They smell great to me - all doggy and hairy. She washes them and spoils it all. She was naughty too. She said a swear word in front of me and she knows I am only 7 and shouldn't hear such language. I had a laugh later though when mum's underwear blew off the line and onto the fence! I am off now into the garden now these plant pots blowing around look like fun to chase!

Friday, 23 May 2008

What is mum doing?

Why is mum working on that pink thing? I keep giving her the eye and she still carries on working. Gosh this is making me tired watching her. I think I will just rest my eyes on this cushion. Yawn. I think I will just have a little sleep whilst I wait to bark at the postman! I can bare my teeth at him from this chair. Scares him to death! Let's see if he brings mum that letter she is waiting for. No? Well I guess I will just carry on sleeping then until mum puts that pink thing down and takes me for a walk. After that I will have another snooze whilst mum goes shopping and wait for the paper boy. Boy he really jumps when I bark at him! It's such fun. The first day he delivered our paper he almost fell off his bike. So funny. Mum says I am spoiling the back cushion of the chair but I keep telling her I have to lean my paws and head on something whilst I keep guard on the street. I can keep my head low from this vantage point so people don't see me until I jump up and bark. It's part of the game but she just dosen't understand and keeps tuttng at me and fluffing the cushion back into shape.

Yesterday I had the rat catcher man to bark at. He said next door had seen a rat. Hah. He looked in this garden but there was no sign of any rats. I could have told him that. Nothing is allowed in my garden but me. I chase everything else including Oscar the cat from next door who dares to sit on my fence and that dratted squirrel who runs on the shed. I will get him next time! Rats in my garden - as if! I chased off that fox didn't I - he hasn't been back since. Mum wants the PC now so farewell to my fans. It's time for another sleep.

No letter and no e mail so I guess that is it until Tuesday when everyone goes back to work. I have almost finished the pink thing ( another Sweet Pea shawl). I don't know what has been wrong with me this week. First I had a couple of days off because of my wrist and then every time I picked up my crochet it was a signal for me to fall asleep glasses on nose and hook in hand. My crafting has been virtually nil this week.

The wrist straps at night seem to be doing the trick. I have actually been having quite a few hours unbroken sleep which is good for me. No bad dreams either. I think the dream catcher that Ambermoggie sent to me and is now hanging from my ceiling fan is keeping the evil dreams at bay. I must find a better place for it as one of these days I will forget and turn on the fan and there will be a rapidly rotating dream catcher whirling around the bedroom.

I have been given an old lady 4 wheeled shopping trolley (courtesy of Ivy from Freecycle) and my son has picked it up for me. I haven't got it yet as it is still in my son's car. I could have done with it today as I was scared of hurting my wrist again when I dragged my shopping home in my 2 wheeled trolley. I had large tins of dog food and a big washing powder in it as well as my shopping so it really weighed heavy and took me ages to wheel it home from Tesco. I have never been so glad to see my street. My arms felt as though they were lugged out of my shoulders. Shopping day is the only day I really miss my car.

Tuesday, 20 May 2008

Yet another bad day

No - nothing to do with the hand. I rested it all yesterday. I didn't do any knitting or crochet and wore my wrist strap all day and even all night. Yes I know I am not supposed to wear it at night but I must sleep with my wrist bent and that is what causes a lot of the numbness in my fingers. The pins and needles pain as the feelings return is what wakes me up although Monday morning was especially painful. Usually by the time I have showered and dressed I can feel my fingers and the pain is a level I can cope with. Last night I slept in the wrist strap and there was no numbness so I will try it again tonight. I have a splint, with a metal bar to stop my wrist bending in sleep, that I was given when I had the carpal problem with my right hand but of course I can't wear that for the left hand. They were supposed to refer me for the left hand after the right one had healed but of course, being me, that seems to have been forgotten about.

The bad day I refer to is the fact that I have had no Internet connection for most of the day. I didn't realize just how much I use it until it was gone plus the fact I was waiting for an answer to an e mail that I had sent to the hospital. I have just got back on the net at 7pm but of course Mr Mohammad's secretary has not answered my e mail. I will give her a day and then give her a ring on Thursday. I got an answer from the care nurse on Monday and she said I am not on the TCI list (TCI means To Come In list) and she suggested I contacted his secretary as I said the 18 week deadline was up on the 17th June. I guess once again they will find some excuse as to why I am not operated on in the 18 weeks as they did 2yrs ago. Then they wonder why I am depressed! I feel like I am promised things that never happen. Other people have ops on time but every time in my life I have ever needed an operation I always get problems. I went to hospital 3 times before they took my tonsils out. Once they said they could not do it as I had tonsillitis ( now there is a surprise I had it every 2 weeks hence the need of an op) second time no beds, third time I got to the theatre and an emergency came in so they sent me home again. 4th time they operated. It took 3 attempts before I got my broken nose fixed. There must be something about my name or my face doesn't fit or something. I am getting overlooked again by the sound of it and it's not even the same hospital as before. Maybe I should consider a name change? Mrs George Clooney? Lady McCartney? Any suggestions?

The photos are of where I was up to before I got my hand problems. The purple is Doris Chan's Jewel. I got 4 rows done to her design and the rest of it is mine. I hope that I reach the armholes with the right amount of shell increases as I am winging it along. The pink is another smaller version of the Sweet Pea shawl. I am going to try a few rows tonight but limit it to a half hour and then a half hour break.

I was going to update my Ravelry today but as the net was down most of the day the feeling has passed. Maybe tomorrow? I will watch How to Look Good Naked and the Duchess of York in Hull instead.

Thanks to everyone for their kind comments. They help me enormously when I am having a bad day. Buster is a very good listener but not very good at entering into a discussion. Ailsa I will smuggle you a hat any day and June if I ever master Doris I will let you in on the secret. Knitting Dragonfly I am sure that you will master crocheting a sweater but I wouldn't start with Doris! Zuleika I will try the illuminated crochet hook the next time I need a 4mm hook.

I hope that tomorrow will bring me - Internet all day, no pain in my wrist and a good answer to my e mail to the hospital.

Monday, 19 May 2008

Not a good start to my day!

I suffer from Carpal Tunnel syndrome and had my right hand operated on in December 2006 and recently the left hand has been showing symptoms. I don't know if it was the all day/evening knitting of Caroline's shortie cardigan or my wranglings with Doris Chan last night (who will not beat me but that is a story for another day). Either way I was rudely awakened about 5am with the most excruciating pain in my left hand. All the fingers were white and dead looking and as I tried to get the circulation going in it again I almost passed out from the pain. It has woken me a couple of times this last couple of weeks but never this severe. For a while I thought I was not only going to pass out from the pain (and I am no wimp pain wise believe me) but that I was never going to regain the use of my hand and wrist again. I has taken over an hour to regain sensation and even now it is still cold and very pins and needly. Scary biscuits or what? It has made me wary of over using it today. Perhaps I should slow down a little on the crochet/knit front. I have still got a lot of pain in my shoulders and neck area so it's possible that I was sleeping with a nerve trapped.

The cardigan for Caroline is from the Fitted Knits book. I made her one before but it turned out so small that I gave it to the girl next door. I made a different pattern this time and knitted it in one colour as I thought the colours in the book a little vivid. When I got to the band I could not pick up as many stitches as they decreed but pushed on regardless. When finished it was awful (bottom photo)so I had to rippppp and re-do it my way. I wonder if there will ever be a pattern that I will knit from A - Z without modification? Caroline was pleased with the finished result and modelled it for me but insisted that I keep her face off the photos as she has been ill in bed all week with suspected Scarlet fever. The wool was a bargain unknown from Lidl but I think it has worked up quite well. Caroline especially loved all the darting for the bust. it has shaping down the back and on the sleeves also. The photos look dark but if you click on them the detail can still be seen. A pattern for the tiny though. Not one that I would make for myself with my matronly figure.

I honestly thought I had cracked it with Doris last night. I was poodling along thinking at last I have got the hang of it and then I got to the next few rows and it all went pear shaped again. I just cannot grasp what she means sometimes. I am going to press on regardless and just keep in mind the number of shell patterns I have to finish up with and the number of rows and I shall be doing a Frank Sinatra once again (doing it my way!)

Sunday, 18 May 2008

Finished hats for B

These are the hats that I finished and sent to B. He got them yesterday so I can post them on here now he has seen them. See what I can make with 100 grams of Sirdar Country Style 4ply (plus a few oddments) I finished up with a ball of just a few yards as you can see.
I think that I misunderstood what he wanted though. My instructions were to make a hat that didn't cover his ears which I interpreted to mean a short beanie. He says these are too big so I think he meant more of a skull cap that just sits over the top of his head and not a small hat. He is going to send me a photo of what he means with measurements so I can make one the right size. I did think that the one he chose was a bit girly with the picot edge but made it anyway. I made the others more manly. His mum has finished up with the girly one (bottom photo) so all is not lost.

Last night I decided to make my friend Caroline a chunky mini cardigan as she was coming around today to touch up my roots. I finished it and managed to take photos before she took it home with her so will post those tomorrow. She liked the black crochet cardigan that I made for myself but would like one with shorter sleeves (as on the pattern). I might make her one later but at the moment I don't have any suitable wool to make it, as I think she probably wants it in black, and I have a few projects already in the pipeline that take priority.

Vicky also called around and brought some wool for a shawl. She took Perran's Sweet Pea shawl home and borrowed the way out Boho baby book as I won't be using it for quite a while (if ever). She brought with her the shawl that she has started crocheting ( see Vicky's blog) and the colours are lovely. I can see she is going to be a good crocheter very soon. She has already chosen a pattern from one of her knitting mags that she would like to start one day soon. I will teach the world to crochet one person at a time. I am infiltrating the knitters one at a time and converting them into crocheters! I don't know why crochet is considered to be second class craft by a lot of knitters as it is such a useful craft to learn even if it is only used as edgings and not whole garments. Today's crochet garments are nothing like the hippy granny square waistcoats of the 60's and 70's that gave crochet such a bad name.

I look at the "crochet" jewelry on Flickr. Some of the beaded bracelets and necklaces on there are just so lovely. Just take a look at this lady's work.

I unfortunately don't have the manual dexterity ( I have arthritic fat banana carpal tunnel fingers) or the eyesight these days to try to learn anything like that. Big Sigh. I look at the quilts on Ailsa's blog (not Enough time to craft) and would love to make something like those also. If someone hoists the sewing machine on the table for me I can just about manage to sew a straight line these days.

I am still at the starting chain stage of my purple Doris Chan sweater so that may be my crochet for tonight but then again I might just start another shawl. It all depends on how riveting the TV is tonight as I have to really concentrate on the "raglan" start to Doris's patterns. One wrong move and it throws the whole balance of the "raglans" out. The stitch markers have a habit of springing out of thick crochet which doesn't help until the pattern is well established.

I love having company as it is such a nice change to spending the day alone as I usually do. My son and daughter in law may call around this afternoon and possibly walk Buster which will be great for him as he really doesn't get walked as often or as long as he should and he is tending to put a wee bit of weight on ( like me !)

Saturday, 17 May 2008

Learning to love Doris Chan

This is my second garment from Doris Chan's Everyday Crochet book and whilst I am still struggling to make them exactly as she has written them I am now understanding the method that she uses. This jacket is some of Doris and some of me. Either way I am very happy with the way it has turned out. I have no idea how much wool it took as I was using up a 500 gram ball of acrylic which had already been used for a project so maybe around 350 grams? I actually ran out for the ties so they are in Chenille (the nearest match in the black oddments that I had) but it's not noticeable to my eye. As my mother used to say " A man on a galloping horse won't notice!"

I made the sleeves longer than the pattern and mine has turned out less of a bed jacket and more of a wearable cardigan. For some reason the two things that I have made do not look as chunky as the book photographs but yet are similar in size when finished. Perhaps a tad smaller but I did make a larger size to compensate. I think US yarns are thicker than the UK Double Knit that I have used.

I have started another pattern from the book using the purple wool that I got from the charity shop last week. That yarn is unlabelled and appears to be a very thick double knit so will probably work out more to Doris's sizing. This time I am making Jewel which is a long sleeved jumper. I will post some photos when I get further along. At the moment I have only started the commencing chain for the neck.

I have posted the hats to B but have not yet got a text to say he has received them. Photos will follow once I get that text.

Yesterday I spent a lovely afternoon with Eadaoin. She wanted to learn how to crochet. She arrived with a lovely rose bush for me and a Thorntons Toffee cake covered in chocolate with fudge pieces on the top. A real treat for me (although I did share it I am not a total pig!) I didn't know Thortons made cakes. A real yummy treat for sure. Eadaoin was a very apt student and not only got the hang of chain, double crochet and treble but also managed to keep her sides straight on the second attempt which I am well impressed with. I will not cease until I have taught the world to crochet. I am infiltrating one person at a time!

My friend Caroline has been ill all week and texted me to say the GP thought that she had Scarlet Fever. I had that but as I was only 3 at the time I can't remember what it was like. I hope that she enjoyed the fever as she is normally a very cold person who insists that I crank up my heating to greenhouse levels and wears one of my housecoats when she visits. She may come around tomorrow if she feels better as my blonde hair is rapidly turning brunette ( or salt and pepper?) and is desperately in need of a touch up.

Thursday, 15 May 2008

Oh what a tangle to unravel

My crochet progress came to an abrupt halt last night when my large ball of wool collapsed inwards on itself ( I always work from the centre)and went into a superb tangle that my late cat would have been proud of. I spent most of the evening threading the yarn in and out of loops and undoing knots. By the time I had re-balled it I had gone off the whole idea of crocheting. That is the only problem with buying yarn in 500 gram balls.

This morning I was at water aerobics and this afternoon I am walking the dog. I had better run the hoover around and do a bit of dusting tonight before I disappear in a cloud of dog hair. I doubt the cardigan will get finished tonight. Tomorrow is another day!

These are some photos of the baby books. The first two are from Chic Knits for Stylish Babies by Patricia Wagner. The second photo is called Irish Leprechaun which would be appropriate for a bigger Charlie as his father is Irish. The last two photos are from Boho Baby Knits by Cat Doyle which has very few practical wearable garments. There are some cute ones and very unusual ones as you can see from the last photo which is called Poet Coat. It also has some very strange bonnets with animal faces on the back as well as the knitted fairy wings that I mentioned yesterday. Perhaps patterns for children of more avante garde mothers, Not patterns that I can imagine my great grand babies or Charlie ever wearing although my daughter in law might like the unusual bonnets for the girls.

I have parcelled up the crochet beanie hats and may get to the post office today or tomorrow to post them off to B in London. I hope that he likes them.

Wednesday, 14 May 2008

Guess what I have been doing today?

Well as you can see from the photos I definitely haven't been doing any housework! Yes I have been out in the garden all day working on my tan. The only trouble is I sit on a chair and only the front of me is getting a tan. The backs of my legs are as white as milk bottles! I think I will be rubbing in a bit of gradual tanning lotion on them after my shower.

Tomorrow it may be dull and I can hoover then. I made a little cap to match the jacket for Charlie last night. The striped jacket is a bigger size jacket that I crocheted last year waiting for a little boy to be born, It is actually denim blue and white but the sun makes it look 2 shades of blue. It is made in Patons Classic Cotton DK. The pale blue that I used for Charlie's jacket was either Sirdar Snuggly or Hayfield Babykin 4ply ( the label was missing)

The two shots of black crochet are firstly the results of last night's crochet (plus pattern) and the larger version is how it looks after a day crocheting in the garden. Buster of course thinks I sit in the garden purely to throw his ball around so I would have done a lot more except I did about 10 balls throws to every row! I am tackling the Doris Chan book again. Now I have got the hang of her ideas I am sort of doing some of hers and a lot of mine. I will show you the finished item later. Mine will not be as loose and bed jackety looking as the pattern. I am crocheting it from a huge ball of acrylic that I partly used so I am doing a bit of the back a bit of one sleeve and now the second sleeve. Just to see how the yarn will spin out. it might finish up with shorter body length and shorter sleeves. I am not a yarn snob with crochet as it doesn't seem to rub up and pill as knitting does. If I use a cheap yarn for knitting then I can tell but with crochet it doesn't seem to matter especially with shawls. I find I don't wear crochet as often as knitteds as I feel they are too fancy to walk the dog and clean.

My niece called around after work and picked up her toe socks and Charlie's jackets. The socks fitted her perfectly as she didn't inherit the wonky toes that I have. I have told her that I will finish off the 2 pairs of ordinary socks that she has started and thrown by the wayside. She has decided that she doesn't do heels or toes. She was also impressed with my Doris Chan partly completed jacket that I tried on for her and with the other patterns in the book that has promised that I shall be Doris Channing for her whilst I am recuperating!

The baby books I got from Amazon yesterday were a little out of the ordinary. I will post some photos later. I think they are better suited to girls although there are a couple of items that will suit Charlie once he is older. The Boho knits has very little in it that I would actually knit. Note to Vicky - Perran might like the knitted pair of fairy wings!

The hats I was making for B will get posted to him tomorrow so I can show you the photos later. I know he sometimes reads my blog and I don't like to spoil surprises.

Tuesday, 13 May 2008

I love packages in the post

I love packages that come in the post. I was about to write today's blog when the doorbell went and there was 2 packages for me on the doormat. The first was the books I ordered from Amazon with the e vouchers that I earned filling in questionnaires online. I was going to read them in the garden but it seems to be blowing a gale outside even though the sun is shining. I hope this is not the end of the sunshine. I will let you know my thoughts about the books tomorrow.

The second package was not quite as exciting as you can see from the last photo. It is my new mask for my new CPAP machine that I got the other week. I go to bed wearing this every night so now you know why my single status is not about to change anytime soon. Not exactly alluring night time attire is it? I have asked for it in black leather but so far I have had no success and just get boring blue stretch fabric straps.

The other photos are of Charlie's little jacket. Although crochet I hope that it looks suitably boyish. I am going to make a matching beanie with the wool that I have left over. The pattern didn't have one, just odd looking huge mitts which I doubt any baby would ever wear, so I will have to wing him a hat to match.

I have been making some adult beanies for my friend in London and have almost finished them. I will photograph them later. I had intended to photograph my sock wool stash for Ravelry yesterday but the sun distracted me and I sat around crocheting instead. I knew the weather would change soon so I am glad that I didn't do it.

The housework continues to stay undone. I don't care if my house is a little messy. we have so little good weather that I intend to make the most of it. Chores can wait for a dull day. There is only me to please and Buster doesn't care if I don't hoover and dust for a few days.

The wind has dropped a little so I am off into the garden with a coffee to read my new baby books.