Wednesday, 30 July 2008

A bit battered and bruised but I am home at last.

I came home last night around 6pm but was just too tired to blog at all. The ward was a mixed ward and some guy thought it was necessary to push his buzzer every few minutes all through the night which isn't conducive to much sleep for the rest of the ward.

In the end I had a mix of 2 operations. I was in theatre from 8am until around 2pm but in post op from 2 - 4.30pm as I wasn't very well after the anaesthetic. I woke up to be told that I couldn't be in pain. I was screaming and thrashing about by this time telling God I wished I had never had the op done. Half asleep or no - I can tell pain! I lost my stomach contents several times in a rather spectacular manner which made me less than popular with the post op nurses.

I came to a bit more to find out that I was paralysed all down one side. I was told it could be an effect of the epidural but very scary never the less. I was still in pain despite constant reassurances that the epidural was working fine. They had to back down the dosage to check that my left leg worked. Thankfully the feelings came back after a few hours. I suffered with the pain for 2 days until I demanded that the pain specialist took a look and she said Oh dear - the epidural is hanging out! Thanks for that - I knew I was in pain! Once they gave me morphine orally then the pain subsided to my normal level plus a few spikes every time I moved.

Today I am still trying to find a comfy position as my new sofas are lovely but way too low for anyone recovering from spinal surgery. I am now on the recliner chair with a spare sofa cushion under me for extra height so can at least get out of the chair better.

The operation was fusion at L4/5 plus all the ironmongery associated with this. The good news is that although he really struggled as the the nerves were stuck to the spine,and trapped very tightly, he managed to get them free by nibbling bits off the bone bit by bit. I presume he meant with a bone cutter. This meant that he didn't have to use any donor bone or any bone of mine harvested from another site. He also cleaned a lot of my own blood used anti biotics to clean it and reused it. This means less chance of infections as everything returned to me was mine originally. I had plasma and anti biotic drips also. I appear to have a scar around 5 - 6 " but as long as it heals well I am not bothered about that.

I won't know the success rate of the op for a little while as my legs rarely went dead in the house and the pain I have is from the swelling at the operation site so there is bound to be pain. The pain should reduce slowly. Today I didn't have such a good day. Mostly I think because I could not get my back comfortable on the sofa. Worst of all I haven't been able to knit or crochet today. My back feels like it is on an angle all the time instead of straight. I am supposed to be getting some aids for the loo, the bath (so that I can shower) and the bed but no calls from the physios today. I was given a bag of dressings and told to change them on Thursday and again at the weekend. Luckily for me my niece isn't squeamish as apparently the district nurses don't call and I would have to go up to the walk in centre. I was only given minimal amount of pain tablets on release and had a struggle to re-order them today. Fortunately my neighbour took my release paperwork stating dosage and medications prescribed by the hospital up to the GP's or I would have run out of meds before the weekend! Bite the bullet Jan as they don't give painkillers for long. I know it is a controlled drug but the pain specialist did say I should be pain free until the operation swelling goes down and the wound settles down in a week or so's time.

I am off to bed now. I had a fairly good night's sleep last night but every time I dozed of today either the doorbell rang or the phone so I am very tired. Catch up with you all soon and thanks for all your lovely words and thoughts. I am available for visitors to any of my friends who would like to call and see me now I am home.

Thursday, 24 July 2008

Latest news

I am still here waiting. I have to ring after 5pm to see if the guy occupying my bed gets transferred back to his original hospital.
Apparently they are waiting for the ambulance to come and get him.

Anyone want to help tip him out of the bed?

My son cannot take me tonight now as he will be suite removing so my niece is taking me now if I finally go in.

If you don't hear from me tomorrow then hopefully I will be in my bed in hospital.

My Interweave crochet books arrived this morning from Pavi Yarns so I have put them into my bag so I can browse them in hospital.

Waiting for 11am

I was chatting to my neighbour Carol over the fence yesterday. She was wearing a blood pressure armband and every few minutes it kept buzzing and inflating which caused us great hilarity. She is being monitored for a day and night to see just how high her blood pressure is. She is only in her 30's but she is a smoker so maybe that is causing it. In the course of our conversation she suddenly burst out laughing and said I like your new plant pot holder. I went around to see what she was pointing at and discovered a weed growing out of my car. Now this is definitely a sign that not only has it stood idle in the driveway far too long but we must have had too much rain! My son arrived later and his eyes immediately saw the weed and yanked it out. He said did you not see it? I said I thought it looked pretty and by the look on his face I thus confirmed his opinion that his mother is stark raving mad. When he was a teenager he once said "You know it hasn't been easy growing up with a ding-bat for a mother!" I did mention to him, in passing, that it might be hereditary so he soon shut up. He came last night to pick up Buster to stay with them for a few days.

After Buster went I went into a cleaning frenzy. The soon to be gone suite got a thorough hoovering to rid it of all dog hair. It was really hard work as hair does cling to velour (moquette) type fabric but I think it looks pretty good now. I like this suite - it is lovely and comfy but the constant hoovering was becoming such a chore. I have washed everything that isn't nailed down and have even done a load this morning when I first got up as the sun is shining and it will be dry soon. I am sitting here waiting for 11am when I am to ring the ward to check if my bed is still available so will leave this blog open so I can add a footnote.

I am also waiting for the postman to see if he has my Interweave Mags which Pavi Yarns have posted. It will be my luck that the Post Office will hang on to them for days and I won't be able to read then until I get back. I have not even got dressed after my shower. I don't want to tempt fate by putting my going into hospital attire just yet.

I rang at 11am to be greeted with - who are you? Oh who is your surgeon. I will let bed management know that you have rung and if there is a bed then they will ring you later. What is your number? Is it just me or does this not sound too promising? Watch this space.

Wednesday, 23 July 2008

Rain, rain go away

I am trying to wash the bedding and throws just in case (Ha Ha) I get called into hospital tomorrow but the rain is immanent and all of my washing is out there on the line. Don't you just love the British Summer. Buster is, of course, unimpressed with my cleaning efforts and just wants to play ball as you can see. He tried to give me two rather squashed squeaky balls while I was hanging out the washing.I think he knows something is happening as he has become very clingy these last couple of days. Wherever I am he is about 2" away from my feet. I have started him on some Glucosamene tablets to see if it will help his stiff joints but it is a constant battle trying to hide them in his food. Guess who always finds the bits and spits them out? I think my son is coming to get him tonight and if so then I need to give my suite a really good hoover before it goes to it's new home. I do it most days but the dog hair still clings to the velvety fabric and I would hate someone to think I am a dirty so and so who doesn't clean properly.

My crochet hasn't grown much as you can see as I have been doing other things instead of my crochet. I haven't gone wrong once with this garment so I am finally getting the hang of Doris and her shaping. I doubt if it will be finished before I go into hospital provided I do get the call tomorrow. The project is a bit large to take in with me so I will just stick with the sock knitting as planned. I might get a few rows done before my op. I can't bear to sit and do nothing. I was hoping that my Interweave crochet mags would have arrived before I went in but no sign of them today. I have e mailed Pavi Yarns to see if they are on their way but have not, as yet, had a reply.**** (See below) I wanted to browse them when I couldn't do any knit or crochet. I am always a very nervous Internet orderer and have only just started to do this. I worry all the time about using my cards etc. I think there are so many warnings about Internet fraud that it does make you very wary about parting with information. Maybe it's an age group thing or maybe it is me who has a suspicious mind. I would rather go into a shop and buy things that I can see but these days wool shops are rarer than hen's teeth.

I have added 2 more links to my blog. Charlie Chuckles and ArtYarn. These are two of the ladies from the Kings Arms Knitters. I hope that you do follow my favourite links to blogs from time to time as if not then you will be missing some interesting blog posts. I do love to read blogs. I find out lots of things from other peoples blogs and follow their links onto blogs that I otherwise would probably never read. The trouble with blogs and Ravelry is that I read too much and crochet too little some days. I haven't quite mastered the art of crocheting and blogging at the same time yet.

I am off to walk Buster now and then back to the cleaning. My back will be well and truly knackered if I do go in tomorrow but it has to be done. I don't want to come home to hairy carpets and a muddy paw printed kitchen floor.

Oh my neighbour Julie went to Christies yesterday and is having another op to remove the offending lump in her pancreas, that was left behind from the previous operations, and refused to respond to the chemo and has been re-asssured that she is not having any more chemo. I do hope that all goes well with her. She was positively upbeat about the consultation yesterday and feels happier about everything now that her questions have been answered. Her consultant seems to be fairly confident about it all so I pray that his diagnosis is correct. Her eyebrows have returned and some of her hair so that is helping with her confidence. Yesterday she was laughing out loud when we walked the dogs and it was so good to hear that sound which has been missing for so long.

****I am editing to say that Pavi have replied to my e mail and my magazines are in the post - Yeah! I hope that they arrive in tomorrow's mail. I love new magazines.

Tuesday, 22 July 2008

The socks are finished - on with the crochet again

The socks are finished. I put in a spurt at the King's Arms knitting club last night and got them finished. Rather jazzy don't you think? I am sure that my niece will love them. I can't remember the name of the wool except that it is Opal but I did post it on here a few weeks ago when I started them (as did Ambermoggie on her blog more recently) if anyone likes the colour. I had a good time at the club last night and we had two learner men knitters and our usual band grew to quite a largish band last night filling the snug despite a few regulars being missing. The guy at our table was a lovely young man and has managed to master his knit stitch quite well apart from the regulation few holes at the start.

On the subject of knitting has anyone read the article on Simply Knitting web site?
Apparently the Guardian has been doing pieces this month mentioning knitting and there is supposed to be a supplement in this Saturday's paper. It might be worth mugging a Guardian reader for his supplement.
Steve Wells from the Guardian has done an article saying

"The knitting craze is the death of both alternative culture and feminism. But it's even worse that that," Steve writes. "Scratch a knitter - discover a Knit Nazi. Like the Nazis, alternative knitters have no sense of humour."

I always think of alternative knitters being the ones who knit covers for trees and parking meters. I can't be an alternative knitter - nor can most of my knitting friends as I think we all have such a good sense of humour. Any knit out is always accompanied by lots of laughter. Perhaps we should do a tongue in cheek Knit Out and all turn up in jackboots? I draw the line at wearing the uniform though. Perhaps not the boots either or we might be classed as hooligans in bovver boots!

My Interweave crochet books still haven't turned up from Pavi Yarns but I did get an e mail from them saying their supplier had been to a trade show and should be back today. I do hope that I get them before Thursday as I fancied a bit of light crochet reading in between the hospital sheets.

The weather looks like rain yet again. Where has our Summer gone this year? I guess it will be the track suit bottoms again today. I have barely worn any skirts, shorts or summer tops this year at all.Is is any wonder that most things I crochet have long sleeves?

Sunday, 20 July 2008

Having a change from crochet

I had a change from crochet last night and this afternoon. I decided to try to finish off the Opal socks that I had started for my niece. I felt they had been on the needles long enough and I want to finish them off before Wednesday. I took a photo of the ball of wool as it looks really crinkly. I usually knit from the centre of the ball so have never seen a ball do this before. I have turned the heel so should have them finished on time.

I have posted another photo of the crochet even though it hasn't grown to show you what the colour really looks like plus the pattern photo from the book.

I went to see the sofas today. I wanted to sit on them just to make sure that they are comfy as they will arrive on Thursday when I should be in hospital. They are lovely and squashy and I am very happy with them. I have decided to put my recliner in the bay window as Buster's look out chair rather than have him jumping all over the new sofas. It's a bit past it's best but Buster only wrecks his look out chair. I can always revive it with a throw.When I come out of hospital it will be like walking into a different house.

I have ordered a couple of Interweave Crochet back number books from Pavi Yarns so am hoping that they will arrive tomorrow. I love the excitement of a parcel.

Back to the knitting now. I have turned the heel so may manage to finish off most of the sock tonight.

Saturday, 19 July 2008

Here I go again

No - you can relax. I didn't crochet this jacket in my sleep. Nor did I lash any pixies in my cellar as Ailsa suggested. This is a jacket I crocheted earlier (always a Blue Peter fan) but never wore as I had made the cast on chain far too tight and it would not button across my Junoesque thighs. I reached it out of the cupboard yesterday and unpicked the side seams. Double crocheted around the edge and then made a chain to lace the side together as it didn't look quite right with a wide split. I may make 2 longer chains and re-lace them later. The jacket was a bodge up from start to finish as I ran out of wool for the yolk and had to use flecked mohair for the yolk but I decided to finish it as I can always wear it as a house jacket in the evenings. The buttons finished up very unevenly spaced so altogether this was one of my OFF day jackets.

I have started another Doris Chan with the vintage Hayfield Fantasia yarn. I have started the Tall Latte as that will leave me scope for doing the neckband and the sleeve edgings in some plain brown toning double knit if I run out of wool before I reach the end. This will be another batch of stash wool used up so I am doing well this year with my stash reduction. Oh Hush yes I know I keep buying more but that doesn't count does it? This is from the bottom of the pile. So it's old stash and not new additions.

I have been madly tidying and hoovering today as I have been offered a set of practically new cream leather 2 and 3 seater sofas and they will arrive when I am in hospital (yeah right I know IF I ever get in hospital). I am hoping to have a trial sit on them this weekend before I get them as I would hate to arrive home to find they are uncomfy and I have got rid of my shabby but extremely comfy huge suite. I am not a lover of leather but have given in under the pressure of constant daily hoovering of the suite that I have and changing throws every day because of my hairy shedding dog. I realize that I will still have to wash throws but that will be half the job it usually is.

I have visions of making 2 granny square throws or brightly coloured chunky afghans in hexagons that I have seen on the net somewhere and thought extremely vibrant. I would like to use some stash but would rather have a co-ordinating colour scheme so that could be my winter project. I just hope that Buster wouldn't rip holes in them with his paws. I feel the cold when I sit on my friend's leather sofa so just know I am going to have to use throws. It will stop the leather getting scratched and dirty by someone who shall remain nameless but is sleeping by my feet.

I have to brave the rain in a little while as Buster doesn't have any tinned food for his dinner tonight. I can manage with something from the freezer or store cupboard but I doubt if Sir Buster would be impressed with egg on toast or a bacon butty for his dinner. He is not a biscuit only kind of dog so would be horrified with a bowl full of biscuits instead of his usual fare.

Friday, 18 July 2008

Insight finished in a couple of days

This has been a joy to crochet. It is Insight from Everyday Crochet book and made for Vicky. I wish this had been the first Doris Chan I had crocheted and then I would have not struggled so much with my previous projects. It was crocheted in Rowan Hand knit DK Cotton which although it was a joy to crochet with it was riddled with very small knots which I had to undo as I was afraid they would show or unravel if I left them in. I think it could have done with being a few inches longer but I am sure it will drop with wear as cotton is quite heavy. The tie is crocheted in with the edging which is a novel idea.

I have discovered the Doris Chan discussion forums on Ravelry. Quite why I haven't seen them before I don't know as I have read her blog many times. It's official now I am a Doris Chan groupie! I have joined her forums. It's great as she actually answers any problems that people encounter with her patterns. Not many designers (apart from Lavonne) take the trouble to do that and it is so good. I wish I had seen this when I was struggling with her patterns at first. She had also posted a solution to up sizing the Farpoint which I wished I had read before I made mine.

I have unearthed in my stash 500 grams of some very ancient Hayfield Fantasia DK. It's so old it is in 25 gram balls! It is a brown flecked with yellow and red (not as awful as it sounds) and so am going to try to make something wearable out of it. I will post tomorrow what I have decided to make.

It's raining again - what a surprise. I read Rose's blog and apparently Romania is having some kind of a heatwave. I wish she could post some of her sunshine over to the UK. Two of my fellow Knitting Noras Lisa and Jackie have gone to a music festival and are camping. I hope they haven't floated away.

Thursday, 17 July 2008

I wish I had made this pattern first

When I first started crocheting from the Everyday Crochet Book I should have started with this pattern. The instructions are beautifully clear and easy to understand and I have only gone Huh! once on this pattern and that was only because I had misread the row.Stitch markers are an absolute must for this pattern though as it is hard to distinguish the lace shaping from the normal lace. I think it is working up well and as I am only on my second ball I think there will be enough cotton for it to be a similar length to the pattern.

I had two pieces of sad news yesterday. I bumped into a friend walking her dog who I haven't seen in a long time and discovered that her husband passed away in January. She doesn't live that far from me but as I no longer work I haven't walked past her house in a long time. We were close friends back in the days when Ian and her children were all small but drifted apart as I started working full time. Sad news. he was only 64,

My other sad news was concerning my neighbour Julie, Buddy the lawn visitor's mum, who I also met whilst walking Buster. She told me that her chemotherapy treatment had not worked. What do you say to someone in those circumstances. I found it very hard. I have previously tried to keep her upbeat about her hair loss and sickness saying it was temporary and things like that but when she said it had all been in vain I just didn't know what to say. She has elected to have surgery to try to remove the last lump (They found 6 lumps on her organs but only removed 5) but the outcome is very uncertain. She is such a lovely young woman. I am trying to stay positive for her. Things like this make my problems fade into insignificance.

Today I have woken up to the sound of rain and it looks like it has set in for the day. I have the feeling that I am going to get very wet on my way to the shops this morning and walking Buster this afternoon. Thank goodness I have a couple of waterproof jackets.

Wednesday, 16 July 2008

Another date for operation

I had a phone call this morning offering me yet another proposed date for my operation. I have to ring on Thursday 24th July to check if there is still a bed for me and if so then go in and have the operation on the 25th. I told the secretary that if there are any more emergencies on that day then they can't have my bed no matter how urgent their need is. Enough is enough. It is probably very selfish of me to have this attitude but I really have waited long enough now so it's time for someone else to get cancelled instead of it being me every time. My son isn't happy as he had booked his holiday thinking that I was going in on the 4th and now has the prospect of looking after 2 dogs whilst on holiday if the caravan park will accept 2 dogs instead of the one dog they told them about. Once I am back home then I can get Buster walked from home.

I have knitted a little on the second sock for my niece but had to give up as it started hurting my wrist. I started a crochet jacket for myself in James C Brett's marble chunky but there is nothing to show you as I unravelled it. I wasn't happy so if in doubt then rip it out.

The photo on today's blog is my next proposed project. Vicky kindly gave me the Rowan DK cotton some time ago and I have hummed and haaed over what to make with it. I knew that she really liked the cotton and the colour but it just hadn't worked out for her in her intended project. I searched my patterns and could not come up with anything for me that took 5 balls and I was reluctant to use such a good quality cotton for a shopping bag or something similar. I decided to make this waistcoat for Vicky as there will be enough cotton for her considerably slimmer frame. True to Doris it is worked downwards so there is always the option of a different colour at the bottom if it isn't long enough or a different dye lot if the colour is still available. I will chain on whilst I watch Loose Women.

Vicky and Laurie came yesterday and kindly cut my lawn for me. It is a task that has become increasingly difficult for me. It's not so much the mowing but my garden has 3 levels and lugging the mower down 2 sets of 3 steps was the bug bear for me. Buster showed his appreciation by digging up part of the lawn as he wanted Laurie to play ball with him instead of pushing the mower. Buster doesn't take to people easily (especially men) but formed an instant bond with Laurie and cried when he left. This morning I opened the back door and next door's dog Buddy was having a wee on the bald part and had already left me a present in the middle of the lawn. What chance does my poor lawn stand? 2 piddles and 2 poops in the space of 5 minutes. I don't say anything to my neighbour as she is recovering from an intense bout of chemo and has enough on her plate at the moment. I wonder does she think her dog has constipation?

My washing is fluttering on the line but I have a weather eye out for rain. Time for a coffee with my feet up, crochet in hand by the TV for an hour I think before my lunch and Buster's walk.

Tuesday, 15 July 2008

One sock is finished

Last night I couldn't decide what I wanted to crochet next so I picked up the lingering sock knitting whilst I decided. I think this poor sock has been on the needles and unravelled off the needles twice and finally it has been third time lucky and I finished one sock. But I still have number two to start yet!

With my latest crochet items including a couple of shawls plus the wrap that Amber made for me I needed some way to fasten them and stop them sliding off my shoulders as I usually wear them in the evening whilst crocheting or knitting. Brooches and pins tend to get tangled in the threads and I dug around and found an old leather hair clip from way back when (possibly 60's as I don't throw anything away) and used that but it was a bit cumbersome. I then remembered that my mother had bought me a silver kilt pin from a trip to Scotland when I was a teenager. I was suitably unimpressed at the time as I didn't wear a kilt and so it has stayed in my jewelry box blackening happily away for many years. I have given it a good clean and at last it can be used for almost it's original purpose. Thanks Mum who would have known I would like your gift, and find a use for it, 45 years later. It is hallmarked silver so has cleaned up lovely. I should have taken a before photo as it was completely black before cleaning.

I have a couple of ideas about what to crochet next but as usual I am either uninspired by the choice of yarns I have in stash or there is not sufficient wool in the right colours for the projects I have in mind. I could always get the crocheting out from the drawer that I started a couple of years ago and went off making it. I still can't drum up enthusiasm for it even though I have almost finished the cardigan back. I like the colour and I like the pattern stitch but there is just something about it that I am not happy with and every time I reach it out and do a couple of rows I put it down again.

I will have another coffee and decide what to make next. Maybe another Doris Chan - maybe something different for a change. By the way if you look on my Ravelry projects Doris has left a comment on my Farpoint Topper. So nice of her to notice it,

Monday, 14 July 2008

Farpoint Topper is finished

My version of Doris Chan's Farpoint Topper is finished. It has taken 400 grams of James C Brett's Marble Chunky. As you can see in my version I have distinct lines around the raglan where I had to extend the motif to make it wide enough for me. I had to press out the motifs, which I normally would not do with acrylic as it takes the nature out of the yarn, in order for it to fit also. The pattern was easy and quick to make (2 nights) but it does need to be super chunky for best results. I have also stitched up the neckline to make a slash neckline and double crocheted around there and the bottom edge as it tended to curl, I have also stitched up about 2" under each arm so that it figure hugged as before I did that the topper flared outwards like a bib. It has got 2 sides to it as every motif came out a different colourway and as there is no front or back to it I could wear a different colourway tomorrow! I tried it on over several outfits and decided that it looks best either over a black dress or black skirt/trousers with a black T or sweater underneath. It would look OK with purple or green but needs to have matching top and bottom to look right. I tried it with a different colour top to bottom and as there were too many different edges it distracted from the V edge of the topper.I am not sure at this stage whether I will keep it on a long term basis. I will wear it and see. It's one of those sweaters that get hooked up on every door knob in passing so not exactly a day to day sweater. The bottom photo and yesterday motif photo are the correct colourway for some reason my web cam bleaches colour out of things but I cannot take photos of myself with a digi cam. I have tried the looking through a mirror thing and always finish up with a halo for a head and reflection everywhere.

I phoned the hospital about the letter I got yesterday. It is my POST op letter! The secretary said she would be phoning me very shortly with a new operation date but when I asked which op and which surgeon I got passed around from pillar to post. I got told various things including the fact that I signed my agreement to the lesser operation and should have discussed my concerns with the surgeon. I did say that I tried many times to ask him why it got changed but he never gave me a direct answer. Apparently now I am in a surgeons pool (wish it was a swimming pool in the South of France) and so it is unknown who is doing my op. I have expressed my concerns to Patient Liason who said I was speaking to the wrong person. Apparently I have a right to ask for a consultation with the surgeon or a second opinion (what good would that be if they are all consulting amongst themselves anyway) but that would mean that I say I don't want the operation planned for me now until it is sorted out - so more delays. I got referred back to administration who say they will try to get answers for me as to why I have got changed to a lesser op and who is doing it now. Watch this space. It just seems to me that they can do whatever they think they will and I have no say it what gets done at all. Interestingly amongst all the reasons quoted at me was a very quickly mentioned and very quickly passed over one about financial concerns and budgets. Is this what it all boils down to - big operations cost too much money to the NHS?

I am off to watch Loose Women on TV and have a cup of coffee as I haven't yet had my pills. I have wasted most of the morning on the phone so have only just had my breakfast and haven't even washed my dishes.

Sunday, 13 July 2008

Doris must be a considerably smaller lady than I

I am making a top like the one that Doris is modelling from her Amazing Lace Book (sorry Doris I borrowed the photo from your Flickr site) but am having a little difficulty. Not with the pattern this time but the fact that it is one size fits all and as anyone who knows me can see there is twice as much of me than there is of Doris. Plus the fact that I don't think my wool is as thick as the one that she has used.

It is so difficult to gauge what thickness US yarns are compared to UK. US 3 seems to be equivalent to most double knits but US 4 although listed as being thicker seems finer than our Aran and so I have used double knit for those patterns also and just adjusted for size. Not only do the US use different crochet stitch terms but their yarn appears to be different thicknesses also. I have used James C Brett chunky for this garment as it stipulated US 6 but now I look at the book again they call US 6 super chunky and not bulky which I think my yarn is. My wool is probably more of a US 5. My motif, as you can see, I have had to put 2 rows of trebles around it and even then I am doubtful if it will fit around my corpulence. I think Doris has used a super thick ribbon type yarn so that is probably where the trouble lies, Ah well I am sure it will fit someone when it is finished. I can't crochet or knit with ribbon yarn anyway as I flick the yarn as I work and ribbon turns into a twisted string. (Refer back to the chenille shawl which is still untwisting and looping - Grrr) I made 2 motifs last night and it only requires 4 for the garment so it is super quick to crochet. I will let you see the finished results later. Ambermoggie - search your stash for some super chunky (600 grams) as I know you like the pattern. It is so easy to crochet I could make you one in a couple of days! It would come out the right size in thicker wool.

The socks didn't make an appearance last night. When I am in the crocheting frame of mind then knitting takes a back seat. They will get finished off soon,

I went to Bury market yesterday and just happened to pass the wool stall on my way to the Fish and Meat Hall. They had some good bargains but luckily for my purse mostly not in my colours. I did buy some more James C Brett chunky and some purple double knit. The pale blue Beehive chunky I spotted in a charity shop for 25p a ball. Naturally I snapped the 2 balls up as I am sure I will find a use for them either in a shawl or for a hat later. There are loads of charity shops in Bury but I wasn't in the mood for searching every one of them, in the rain, to see if there was any wool (Usually not). I had Ivy my trusty stead with me and as most of the shops are very small and crowded on Saturdays the customers don't like me taking the trolley into the shop and bashing them behind the knees. The shops, unlike the market, are open most days so I can always do the rounds another day.

Today the sun is trying to shine so I have my bedding on the washing line to dry. Buster is lying hopefully on the grass with his ball in his mouth (no chance Buster) Housework is the order of the day I think. Vicky and family have gone to watch kite flying in Morecambe today so check her blog later as I am sure there will be some lovely photos of it on Monday. I never did get the hang of flying one of those things. I have 2 left strings. I used to run and run down hills etc and my kite never got off the ground so I admire anyone with the skills to make one fly.

Saturday, 12 July 2008

What is going on? I am really confused now

It doesn't take a lot to confuse me. I am a simple soul at heart but the letter I got today from Hope Hospital has me really scratching my head. I got a letter with an appointment to attend Mr Oxborrow's Complex Spinal clinic on September 24th. Who is he? I have a vague recollection that he might be the anaesthetist I was supposed to see 3 months ago when I had my pre-op tests done but as he was off I saw another person. I could be wrong though and it could be yet another surgeon that they are foisting me onto. Of course as it is Saturday I will now have to wait until Monday to find out what is going on now. To say I am not amused is putting it lightly. Here I am waiting for a call for an operation and there they are giving me an appointment for September! Getting the letter on a Saturday when I can't phone until Monday isn't helping either.

I have made a crochet flower which I have sewn onto a pin. It can either be used as a shawl pin, decoration for the shawl or even for the hat that Lisa has said she will crochet from the chenille left overs. As you can see there is still plenty left on the cone. The shawl is still drying and I will do a damage control look at it later to see if any more loops have emerged and see if I can darn them in if they look too bad,

I picked up my sock knitting last night and am now on the straight foot bit. It feels very slow going after crocheting so much lately. That's the only trouble with crochet. Projects grow so fast that it is difficult to go back to knitting on small needles and fine wool again.

It is raining once again. I was going to go to Bury market to get a few veggies, fruit and some meat or fish but keep putting it off because of the weather. I will have a shower and decide what to do later. I need to buy some proper food as I have been living from the freezer for the last few days and it is not doing me (or my diet) any good at all.

Friday, 11 July 2008

Seraphina shawl finished

The Seraphina shawl is finished and is drying on bath towels on the spare bed at the moment. I am not happy with the finished shawl. It is not one of my better efforts. Maybe the pattern was wrong for the wool or maybe chenille is not the best yarn to crochet with. Crochet involves a lot of hand and hook movements which slightly twist the yarn. As the shawl has finished the chenille has started to shed it's twists leaving uneven loops in some of the stitches. the pattern is not showing neatly because of this. I have never known yarn to do this before and it has never happened to anything else I have crocheted so I am guessing that it is the chenille that doesn't have any twist to it as normal yarn does and this has caused the problem. I just hope that Lisa's daughter likes it. I am a bit of a perfectionist and I am not happy with this project but there is no way to right it except to cosmetically darn in all of the loose loops (of which there are many) or just to leave it with the rustic loopy look. I will crochet the pattern again as it is very straight forward but next time I will use "normal" wool.

I have spent a lot of time today looking at the new patterns on Garnstudio DROPS free pattern web site. They have some lovely crochet shawls and bags on there. I think I am all shawled out at the moment and will carry on knitting the socks for tonight until I decide on my next crochet project.

Buster is still a bit out of sorts and is very clingy. No more wee accidents but he does seem to have tummy ache today and keeps sighing and crying. I will just give him a bit of TLC later although it is a bit difficult to knit with a big lap dog on my knee.

Thursday, 10 July 2008

Seraphina is growing slowly

Seraphina continues to grow but it is very slow progress now. Each row takes a half hour and the row measures 120" so it doesn't appear to be growing very fast any more. I like the shape of it as it provides a great wrap at the front and I feel it will stay anchored to the shoulders without the need for a pin. Neck to point it is 28" and across from point to point it is 60". There is still quite a bit of chenille left on the cone but of course every row takes a lot more wool now so I think it will start to run out after a few more inches on the length. I think the shawl will need a little light blocking to open out the pattern stitches as they are not as distinct with chenille as they would be with plain wool. I think it will just have to be a light sprinkling of water and try to block it out with pins on some towels. One of these days I will invest in some of those interlocking blocking squares. I find it difficult to find a place large enough to lie the shawl flat to do this without Buster lying on it. I will have to use the spare double bed, loads of bath towels and keep the door closed until it dries.

I reached out the sock knitting last night to give my hands a change of movement and have turned the heel of the first sock. Still got quite a way to knit on the first sock. I feel like I have been knitting this sock forever. I can't remember a pair of socks taking so long. It's my fault for deciding to change from toe up to top down half way through the sock.

Buster is still not back on form as can be seen from the sad face on the photo. My son and daughter in law called last night to see him and he was a bit sad after they left. He still appears to have a groin strain and is still limping. I am hoping that he hasn't picked up another water infection. He woke me at 6 am this morning with a very apologetic look on his face. He gives himself away when he has done something wrong. He doesn't just wait for me to discover it. I came downstairs thinking that he needed a wee only to find out that he had already had a wee in the kitchen. This has never happened before and he had his last wee around 2am when I went to bed which makes me think he is having a problem holding his water. My son said he had a few dribbles when he was with them but they work all day and to be honest Buster isn't used to holding his water long these days as I am usually there to let him out for his wees on a regular timing basis apart from the odd days when I have been out. I will have to watch him carefully for the next few days and make sure he has plenty water to drink.

We are off for a walk before the rain starts again. I am trying to get him just to go for a walk but Buster still finds me sticks and gets irritated when I only throw them a few inches. I am trying to rest his leg and groin and it is slowly improving.

Today I realized that I had not put my healing crystals from Ambermoggie and Vicky in my hospital bag. I have now made sure that they are packed and ready. I have put all thoughts of going in out of my mind so it will be a surprise to me when the call comes and even then I won't believe it is happening until I am on the operating table.

Wednesday, 9 July 2008

I'm so excited

I put my latest Doris Chan sweater on Ravelry describing it as Doris Chan with a difference and guess what? Doris left me a message!! Yes she did

"Here’s a brilliant example of turning an “oops” into a “do it like you mean it”! Terrific save!"

What greater honour is there than the designer looking at my efforts and leaving a lovely comment. I feel quite elated.

These are some more photos of the sweater but taken with the web cam as I have never mastered the method of taking self pictures with a digi cam. The colour is not true but you can get the general idea.

The Seraphina shawl is progressing but every row will now take far longer as the width increases. I have been very grateful for the photos on the pattern showing different stages to help me understand better where to start the next increase rather than read the pattern. I think every pattern designer should do that - take close ups of the relevant pattern bits. I find it so much easier to crochet by eye than to follow a pattern. I guess it comes from when crochet patterns (apart from doilies) were scarcer than hen's teeth back in the 60's and I had to learn to do it myself. The advantage of crocheting it in this downward direction is that I can gauge when the chenille will run out and stop at the end of a full pattern.

I definitely must drag out my sock knitting today as when I woke up this morning my middle finger right hand was as stiff as a board and it took ages to bend. Sign of too much crocheting. Buster is back home now so he occupies me so my crochet output will decline. I have looked at the front room and sighed. New throws please and bring out the hoover mum. Good job it looks like being a sunny day as it's time for a washer load.

Tuesday, 8 July 2008

Bit of Doris Chan - bit of me

As you know from previous posts that I had intended to make a version of Tall Latte from the Everyday Crochet Book but as I wasn't concentrating fully in the run up to the intended operation I omitted to increase for the front V shaping and so finished up with a square neckline. Unwilling to rippp it undone I toyed with the idea of keeping it square and just putting an edging on it but when I tried it on it was far too low and behold for what was supposed to be a winter sweater.

I improvised and filled the gaping square neckline in with crochet as you can see but as the stitches were too similar (and going in different directions) I decided to outline the neckline with a relief trim to distinguish between the 2 pattern stitches. I went into my loft to search in my thousands of buttons but as per usual nothing was suitable either in colour or style so I just made crochet buttons as I can put the sweater on over my head without actually undoing any buttons. I have found over the years that crochet buttons do not stand up to being used as fasteners on a long term basis. They get squashed and out of shape very quickly.
I will take some photos of it with my webcam when I try it on later and will put the photos on here and on my Ravelry projects.

Lisa's daughter has seen the beginning of the Seraphina shawl and loves it. I have done a few more rows on it but of course progress will seem to slow the wider the shawl becomes. I feel that it might have to be blocked but the weight of the chenille may spread out the pattern as the weight around the edge increases. I am reluctant to block as I don't want to spoil the nature of the chenille. It is all too easy to make it look flat and lifeless. I knitted with chenille years ago and if it gets a whiff of an iron or any kind of heat then it is ruined. I will maybe just keep hanging it when I put it down for the evening and let gravity work it's magic. The shawl pattern has no specific length so I will just keep on crocheting until it is either the right length or the cone runs out whichever comes faster.

I have left the best news until the last. My baby is back home! My hoover free days are over but it's good to have him back even though he has shed everywhere. He has slimmed down a lot and I am on strict instructions to slim him down a bit more. He is limping once again but we have decided that it is a touch of old age or arthritis and not an injury. I am going to try him on some supplements to see if that eases his joints. I am not sure if he is overjoyed to be home or not. I think in his heart he can't decide and would ideally like all of us to be with him. My son and daughter in law for the fun and exercise and me for the petting and fussing. Apparently he got a bit cross with Skye licking his face and messing with him all the time but at the same time it did Skye good to get put in her place and she has calmed down whilst he has been there. She is still at the bouncy 7 month old puppy stage but with all the strength of a Rottweiler.

Monday, 7 July 2008

Seraphina in green chenille

I decided to turn the green chenille into Seraphina - a free shawl pattern that I found on the net but can be seen made in many glorious colourways on Ravelry and Flickr. I had a couple of hairy moments when part of the chenille decided to fall off it's cone in a great lump. Untangling is not my favourite especially as the chenille welded itself together at every twist and turn. I think I have set the pattern in my head now. I wanted to do that in peace and quiet as I thought that I might be going to the Kings Arms to the knitting club tonight and wanted something to work on that I knew what I was doing. It's hard to chat and set a pattern at the same time.

Charlie who normally kindly provides me with a lift has a friend to stay so is not going tonight. Rachael - the founder of the club kindly e mailed me the photos of some of the knitters and my squares that I donated last week. Notice that I am rummaging in my bag instead of smiling for the birdie! As you can see the pub is quite quaint and a bit dimly lit hence my careful choice of projects to take with me. I have learned not to take socks as if a stitch slips off my Knit Pick needles then I cannot see to retrieve it. I have joked about wearing a miner's helmet with a spotlight and am seriously considering one of those battery operated lights that they sell to stick on the table.

The rain has hardly stopped all weekend and it hammering down the patio door windows as I type. Glorious UK summer weather. I wonder if we will have any more sun this year?

My back is giving me a reprieve. I have done hardly anything since my stagger to the shops and my back is loving it. Life would be so much easier if I could just sit all day and crochet or knit but it's not the answer. It's unhealthy not to exercise and keep fit. Although I am loving being relatively pain free it will not do me much good in the long term.

Buster is not back home yet and I am waiting for a phone call later to say what is going to happen to him. Is he staying at my son's until such time as I go in or is he returning for a while. I miss his company like mad but it is lovely not to have to walk him and hoover up after him every day.