Saturday, 30 August 2008

New mags and hooks

I got my delivery of 2 Interweave magazines from Get Knitted today. As usual there are only a couple of designs per book that I will use but it's still nice to have them anyway. Doris Chan has her usual contributions but they are rather lacy as seen in the black ZZ topper. I can picture getting hooked up on every door knob if I wore that in the house. I like her Sugarplum bolero but without the furry fluffy edging for me. I like the little edge to edge cardigan but without it's bed jacket ribbon and the spiders web cardigan is a possible. I like the scarf and could possibly like the Diamond Sage wrap if it wasn't in such an insipid colour. I would omit the beaded edging as I am not really a beady kind of person.

I also ordered 3 Clover soft touch hooks with the wider handles. I hope that I can use these and that they are not destined to be given away like the Brittany Birch with their overly long annoying knobbly ended hooks and the snaggy bamboo ones I have bought in the past.

Ambermoggie loves the purple granny square shawl that I sent to her (see her blog). It's funny but as soon as I made the shawl I said this is more Amber than me. When she admired it on my blog I knew where it was destined to be re-homed to but it has taken me until now to send it. I love to crochet as you have probably guessed by now but once things are finished they are not always "me" so I have decided that in future they will get passed on to other homes if I have this feeling about them. No sense in putting them in the cupboard for them never to see the light of day.

My niece came to do my hair roots on Thursday and cut a few inches off the bottom of my hair. It feels really strange to have hair only to my shoulders now. It needed doing though as the hospital had swabbed my hair with some wet cloths soaked in some unknown cleaning substance in post op when I was so sick and my hair resembled Worzel Gummage, with his straw hair, from then on. No amount of deep conditioning helped so it was time to bite the bullet and chop it off. I can still just about tie it back and it will soon grow again.

I went to Julie's (next door)party last night. It was a jolly affair but got a little tearful when Julie thanked us all for coming and said it might be her last birthday and so this was her pre 40th in case she doesn't make her milestone next year. We had a bit of a laugh as someone had bought her a water feature for the garden and she put a couple of the blue toilet tank freshener things in it and it started foaming all over the garden and everyone was throwing foam at each other. I had to stick to Coca Cola because of the pain killers but I don't need alcohol to have a good time.

Chatting to the neighbours it appears that I missed a streaker in the Clough. If I had Buster back I would have seen him as it was my normal afternoon walk time. Apparently he stood naked apart from a pair of boots in front of Christine and started waggling is man parts about. I miss all the fun. I am sure I would have laughed out loud. He did get reported to the police - who caught him - as there were children in the Clough at the time and it's not a nice thought that they could have seen him. Or worse if he was some kind of a pervert. Amusing to adults but potentially dangerous for children.

I have started the sleeve edging for Rah Boom De Ay just to see what it looks like finished. I am still undecided as to whether my finished sweater will have a frilly edging or turn into a more boring version. Anything that adds inches to my hips or draws attention to their girth is a bit of a no no for me. If you look closely you can see a small photo on the pattern of the finished sweater.

Wednesday, 27 August 2008

Anisette Vest - take 2

This is the 2nd version of the Anisette vest from the Amazing Lace book by Doris Chan. My first version turned out really small. It's amazing how differently the same yarn and the same hook can turn out with different patterns. The Drops one turned out too large, in my eyes, although the finished version was supposed to be 42" which to me isn't S/M! I think that the Anisette will turn out fine once it is blocked and stitched to resemble the photos from the book. I will leave that joy to Vicky J as I haven't got any blocking boards yet. That's my excuse and I am sticking to it! She will know how much it has to stretch to fit her anyway. It just gets stitched up under the arms for about an inch once it is blocked to size.

Today my neighbour Julie drove me up to Tesco and pushed my trolley around so that I could do a bit of shopping. After than I walked up to the Post Office to post off a parcel to Ambermoggie. She admired my purple granny square shawl and I decided that I probably wouldn't wear it myself so I posted it off to her. I am always making things that I finish up not wearing and so have decided in future if in doubt pass it on instead of cluttering my cupboards up with things I may never wear.

I have finished off the 3 colours of the granny squares for Vicky J's shawl and am awaiting the 4th colour so that I can make the last 10 squares in order to finish it. Last night I started a red version of Rah - Boom - Dee - Ay by Doris Chan as a bit of a fun item for my wardrobe. I will probably chicken out and not make the edges so frilly in the end. I will try it and see. If too elaborate when finished I shall unpick the edging and go for a more conservative one. I know - I am such a boring old chicken but I really can't picture myself in flowing lacy sleeves dripping in the water whilst I am washing the dishes!

My niece Vicky is coming tomorrow to re-gild the lily (do my roots) and on Friday I have been invited to a birthday house party at my neighbour Julie's. I think she has got so fed up with all the negative news she has had lately on the cancer front that she has decided to throw a birthday party to cheer herself up. I must enquire if it is her 40th. I have just bought a normal birthday card. I don't want to depress her even more by giving her a card saying Happy 40th and she is only 39! It will be good to get out of the house but I will probably only stay a couple of hours as I can't really drink and can't get very comfortable unless I am surrounded by my cushions. My back is still very tender and ordinary clothes annoy my back. I have only been able to wear sweat pant type trousers that are soft and baggy as I can't bear anything with a back seam. I have to cut out all the labels even though they are nowhere near the scar. It's like all my nerve endings in my back top to bottom are still raw and jangly. I am sure everything will improve with time.

Monday, 25 August 2008

Too big or too small

I don't know what it is with me lately but everything I attempt is either too big or too small. Yesterday I thought that the DROPS bolero had come out too big. Last night I crocheted something from Amazing lace in the same wool I used for the bolero and when I looked at it this morning there is no amount of blocking that would make it fit. I now have a big ball of unripped wool ready for a restart this afternoon. It's a good job that time is on my side.

I will post photos today of the crochet bedcape that I made over 2yrs ago when I was supposed to go into hospital for the first time for my op. When I did finally go in I got the only week in July that was a heatwave and so never got to wear it anyway. The bedcape pattern is a very old Patons book which is long out of print and I have made several of these over the years for the elderly or nursing mums as it just fits over the shoulders and gives warmth and modesty over the bustline in these days of mixed wards and semi see through nightwear.

Today is another miserable dull day. Where is the summer? Was it the week I was in hospital? We are fast approaching Autumn and have barely seen the sun this year. I think I suffer from SAD syndrome. I feel so much better when the sun shines. It's just so depressing to think that the winter nights will soon be here again and my summer clothes have barely been worn.

Sunday, 24 August 2008

DROPS bolero customised

I undid the circle for the DROPS bolero and re-did it using trebles in the centre in place of the double trebles and the squares now lie flat. Even though the finished squares are exactly the right measurements as the pattern I feel that the finished bolero is a little on the large side but I am not about to unpick it all again. It's just a fact that I pass on in case anyone wants to make it. I used 5 x 50 grams Patons Vintage Shade 07005 it has 80m per ball and is 70% Acrylic/30% Cotton. I found the instructions for the bolero edgings very sparse and finished up re-doing the whole edging as first time around it was really slack and frilly. I used trebles in place of double trebles for all of the edging in my final version. I will leave the stitching up to Vicky J as it is only supposed to be caught up on one loop under each arm but she may want to amend this and stitch up a couple more loops when she tries it on.

Today has been quite sunny but I didn't manage to go out for a walk today. I lacked the enthusiasm as it's Sunday and a Bank Holiday so most places would have been closed. Most of my neighbours seem to have gone on holiday for the weekend so it's very quiet on the street. I am watching episode after episode of Monk on TV. Apparently it's Monk weekend. I do like watching things like this.

I have got a few balls of the Patons Vintage left over and another project in mind to use them up if there are enough balls. All could be revealed tomorrow if the project works out. I will restart the crochet squares for the shawl once I have done that. I still haven't drummed up any interest in returning to the knitted socks that I started before going into hospital. I think they are going to turn out to be my longest project on needles for quite a while. The wool I am using is gorgeous and soft but splits like mad when I am knitting and I get fed up of retracing my steps to deal with split stitches that I notice on the following row. Thank goodness it is only stocking stitch or they would have been ripped out long ago.

Saturday, 23 August 2008

Bravo Art Yarn

From tonight's Manchester evening News - 2 of the members of Art Yarn who are also members of the Kings Arms Knitters with their knitted and crocheted tree cosies.

I don't know why my links don't work - I hope that you can cut and paste to view it

Am I in the right country?

I woke up to blue skies and sunshine today so guess where I will be sitting today? You got it - in the garden. I will take my cushions outside and attempt to pad out my oh so uncomfy plastic garden chair and soak in a few rays. Tomorrow the forecast is for sunny patches with rain so it's today or never! (I spoke too soon as whilst writing this blog the sun has decided to go into hiding - bummer- I hope that it comes out again soon)

I wish I was well enough to go and see the Gay Pride parade today in Manchester. I am still looking for my Mr Right in case you are wondering about my tendencies but I have a few gay friends and love a good party no matter who is throwing it. It's usually such a fun time with floats and everyone dressed up in their finery. I have had to miss it for the last couple of years so hopefully next year I will be there with my flag waving! Another parade I have had to miss of late is the West Indian Carnival in Moss Side. The food is fantastic and the music in the park has to be heard (and usually is miles away!) to be believed. I am just a big kid at heart and love a parade. I will have both of these events marked in my calendar for next year for sure.

I started a square for the Drops Bolero crochet pattern but I am unhappy with the centre of it and anyone who knows me will know that this is a signal for a bit of Sinatra (I did it my way!) I doubt very much if any amount of blocking will turn the centre raised nipple effect into a flat circle. I am therefore going to start the next square and use ordinary trebles for the circle instead of the double trebles as per the pattern to see if that improves the overall look. I would far rather undo than put my name to something that I am not happy with. I still shudder when I think about that loopy green chenille shawl although Storm was more than pleased with it when she saw it and I believe has worn it ever since.

I might manage a trip up to Tesco later today just to get a few bits unless I can bribe the teenager next door to accompany me and push my trolley. I have to post something and need to buy a large padded envelope but our well stocked newsagents in the village has mysteriously closed very suddenly taking with it my usual source of padded envelopes. I can buy them at the Post Office but it is such a bind. I have to stand in the queue for ever to buy the envelope and then have to address and fill the envelope in the Post Office and rejoin the never ending huge queue once again to send it. I prefer to get everything ready at home and then I can bribe the teenager next door to take it up to the Post Office and post it for me! Crafty or what?

Well the sun is shining very weakly at the moment but I am hopeful of this sunny day that they promised on the weather forecast last night. Wish me luck as I attempt to sit in my garden.

I have been asked a few times if I think my operation was worth all the pain that I went through and I will say a big yes to that. I am improving so much every day and the pain is merely from the operation site now. It feels so good to be out of the crippling daily pain that now I can't believe how I put up with it for as long as I did without killing the people who cancelled my ops so many times. I feel that I have been given a second chance of mobility and whilst I am taking it very easily at the moment to give the bones and pins chance to knit together properly, as per instructions, I am very hopeful of the final outcome. It will be a slow process for some time yet but every day brings more hope. I am finding it hard not to be able to do things but every time I think that I will do this and that I stop and say Whoa Jan think of the bigger picture here and if it doesn't come easily then just leave it for another day. I have been blessed with such good friends without whose help I would not have got through this. Thanks to everyone - you know who you are so I won't embarrass you by naming you.

Friday, 22 August 2008

Cinnabar in Colinette

Vicky J came yesterday with her daughter and we spent a couple of hours chatting. She has taken the Blue Curacao shawl and has promised me some better photos of it once it is all finished off and blocked out a wee bit. I did take some photos of it with my web cam which I might post tomorrow.

Vicky liked 3 of the 4 revised squares for her granny square shawl so I can get on with some of them now I have finished the Cinnabar. She will let me know on the 4th colourway once it is decided.

I managed to get out for a short walk in the afternoon yesterday and walked as far as Iceland and M&S but this time without my stick. I must be improving. Luckily I got there and back before the heavens opened and the rain came down yet again.I am getting so sick of all this rain day after day. I will try another walk tomorrow as I need a few grocery items for the weekend. I can only carry a couple of items at a time but I don't need enough food to make up an online order from Tesco this week. I had stocked up the freezer and store cupboard before I went in hospital so have quite a lot of things stockpiled. I am in no danger of starving to death anytime soon! The main things I run out of are bread and milk.

The Cinnabar cardigan from Everyday Crochet by Doris Chan is finished (apart from sewing in all the tails). I have amended the pattern slightly and made the sleeves very slightly bell shaped rather than the tapered ones on the pattern. The colour hasn't photographed very well courtesy of our dull rainy weather. It took 400 grams of Colinette Lasso Colourway Castagna. It has a silky shimmer to it which might not be apparent from the photos. Another finished project for Vicky to pick up another day.

I am not sure if I will do some crochet squares tonight or make a start on another project. Maybe I will be a devil and do a bit of both? I didn't manage a walk today due to the weather. What happened to our summer this year? Bank holiday weekend and it looks as if it will be a another washout. I wouldn't have been going anywhere anyway so it makes no difference to me but I do feel sorry for people who get a couple of days off work and can't plan anything because of the rain.

I have lost a lot of my Sky channels again today because of all the rain. I hope that I can find something to watch tonight that isn't a repeat. I am so fed up of all the programmes that I like being re-runs.

Wednesday, 20 August 2008

Blue Curacao finally finished

I am very pleased to announce that the Blue Curacao shawl is finally finished. Sadly I had to unravel 2 balls worth of crochet this morning as I had thought I had enough wool for another set of pineapples only to find that I didn't and could not finish the edging so I had to unravel yet again. Because I have added extra sets of pineapples for length I haven't finished up with one pineapple at the centre back like Doris but I really cannot face any more modifications so I just hope that Vicky likes it as it is. It has taken 8 x 50 gram balls of Sublime cashmere merino silk DK Shade 011. I will post better photos of the shawl if Vicky takes them after she has blocked the shawl. I don't think it needs much blocking as I prefer it as it is when I look at some of the overstretched over blocked versions on Ravelry.It just needs a bit of gentle blocking to get the edges to lie straight but that's just my opinion and I won't be the one wearing it.

I am looking forward to returning back to the Cinnabar cardigan and a simple 2 row pattern. I might make a set of the 4 different granny squares for the shawl first just to double check that the colours are OK before I plough on with all of the granny squares. I can't exactly undo granny squares and re-use the wool if they are wrong.

I had a good night's sleep last night. I think I only woke up once. My back is still sore but not painful. Sometimes I forget all about it and do something silly and then I feel it for a while. At the moment it feels like something inside is pulling. I have the sensation that everything is sewn too tightly inside. It's probably just another stage of the internal healing. I have no idea just how long it takes the internal scars to heal. The specialist just said to me "much longer than you think" when I asked him.

There was no sign of the King's Arms knitted chandelier or any of the knitters in the M.E.N last night. Maybe they are waiting to use it in the ladies section of the paper on another day. Someone did mention the Salford Advertiser free newspaper but if that is the case then I may never see the article as I get a different area version of the paper where I live.

I was going to try another walk but as it has not stopped raining since I got up and I really cannot muster up enough enthusiasm for it although I probably need the exercise.

Tuesday, 19 August 2008

Knitters in the News

Last night I managed to get to the Kings Arms Knitters Club thanks to the very welcome lift from Charlie. I went, armed with my cushion, as sadly the Arms does not boast the comfiest of seating for my recovering back. It felt so good though to be out of the house and back to a bit of normality again. The big ocassion was the official unveiling of the knitted chandelier. I can't take any credit for this as the ladies of the club made this totally without a single contribution from me - oh shame on me! Last night a photographer from the Manchester Evening News came to photograph the chandelier and all of the knitters. We had a very good turn out and he took several photos. There will be an article appearing in the paper, possibly tonight, but you can relax as he didn't point his camera in my direction at all. (Maybe because I was crocheting?) The article has apparently already been written from a telephone conversation with one of the ladies so I have no idea what has been said until the article appears.

I also got news yesterday from the Bolton Knitting Noras group that I joined quite a while back. Lisa has been organising the knitted garden and if you have read my blog then I have mentioned this joint effort in the past. Several Noras made fruit, veg and aniumals for the garden and have been to festivals lately and taken the garden with them to display. Once again I was a sad participant and only made a few crochet mushrooms. The ladies have been offering their services (relax - purely as knitting tutors) to anyone at these festivals who might be interested. Apparently there was an article in the Guardian newspaper mentioning the merry band of knitters.

Pick of the week: Rock and pop
The Guardian,
Saturday August 16 2008
Article history
South Bay Beach, Wigton
Friday 22
Strangely wonderful mix of hula-hooping, knitathons and willow-making workshops among the likes of Supergrass and Róisín Murphy. Not at the same time, mind.

I have not made it to any of these festivals as I am allergic to camping under wet canvas. That's my excuse anyway. In actual fact I am just too flipping old for tents and hard ground. I have a millionaire's taste in holidays on a pauper's purse and if my camping doesn't involve a luxury caravan with hot running water, clean shower and toilet then quite frankly count me out! I am old and therefore I am allowed to be pernickety! I haven't been away for years but until I can afford to go in style I will join the fashionable stay at homes once again this year. If I ever get that winning lottery ticket then luxury holiday here I come!

If anyone is interested in viewing photos of these festivals and the knitted garden then visit Eadaoin's Flickr site (where you can also view her beautiful hamd made jewelry)

and the Bolton Knitting Noras Flickr site with photos of the ladies and the festivals.

I am still progressing with the Blue Curacao shawl and I have hopefully made no further mistakes since I completely restarted it. I have had to add more rows of pineapples than stated on the pattern. Doris used much thicker wool in her version so this one was lacking in length when made exactly to the pattern. I am working out if I have enough wool for another set of pineapples plus the fan edging as it does need to finish on a pattern repeat or it will look very odd. I am sure that Vicky J will block it down to a better length once it is finished. I have seen the before and after blocking photos on Ravelry and the shawl does "grow" considerably. I think that it would look nice semi blocked as some of the shawls pictured have been very overstretched but I will leave that to Vicky's judgement.

Today is another wet miserable day. I know that I need to keep up with my little walks for exercise but it isn't very inspiring when the days are so wet. Half the channels on my Sky TV are still missing so it looks like I might have to give in and call an engineer sometime soon to sort it all out. I think I will tough it out though until I get the tree sorted out first. I still have plenty channels to watch just not always the nature, home improvement and documentary programmes that I like to watch. The junk channels are all still there - typical!

Sunday, 17 August 2008

Too many loops on my pineapple

The Blue Curacao shawl has been unravelled and restarted. I could not understand why I kept going wrong and had to keep unpicking almost as many rows as I crocheted. All was well for the first few rows then it all went pear shaped. After my 4th or 5th unravel I decided to bite the bullet and restart with a new ball. I sat quietly with the pattern and counted and counted every stitch and every row and realised that in my original shawl I had one loop too many on each pineapple! I must have kept misreading the pattern over and over in the same way but by starting again I read it differently ie. the right way. I am hoping now that the pattern will make sense and that my pattern sequences will all match up this time.

I had said today to Vicky J when she called that I couldn't understand why I was finding it so difficult when loads of Ravellers had no trouble with the pattern. In my own defence I do struggle with Doris Chan's way of writing patterns out. She is not the easiest of people to follow. Too many * to " and ** to ** repeats on every row it is so easy to miss the odd * or repeat the wrong bit.

Vicky J brought me the crochet hook roll that she has made for me. It will be so useful. I had intended some time back to make one for myself but if you remember the disaster when my sewing machine blew up. I have not got around to getting it repaired as I won't be able to lift it onto the table for quite some time.

The tree in the photo is the holly bush that grew and grew. You can get some idea of it's size by looking at the garage roof which is to the right of the tree. Now perhaps you will see why it is creating such a nuisance to my Sky satellite signal.

The other photo shows my little regular morning visitor. He is quite bold and comes up to the window whilst I am in the chair you can see if you look carefully in the plant pot. Mr or Mrs Squirrel is under the spiky plant looking to see if there were any nuts buried in there. He/she is quite unfazed by my presence and comes right up to the window and looks at me.

Saturday, 16 August 2008

Landmark Day

Today marked a landmark in my progress since my operation. I managed to walk as far as Marks and Spencers in the village. I had to stop in the cafe for 10 mins with a Cappuccino when I got there as I felt a bit knackered. I could only buy 2 ready meals as I not supposed to be carrying anything but it was such a sense of achievement. My back was sore at the operation site but my legs worked fine ( a little wobbly but no sign of numbness) and I had no severe pain on walking which was something I wanted to test. I am in more discomfort since my walk but I am sure that it will pass. I feel very pleased with myself and the surgeon today. Now I can start to believe that the pain will be gone forever soon. The operation site was red hot when I got home and I had a very strange sensation of hot water trickling down inside my back so I hope all is well underneath the skin. Time will tell I guess.

I have not abandoned the crochet cardigan. I decided to leave it at the stage it is at until Vicky J can try it on. The beginning rows for quite a few sizes are exactly the same so I would only have to undo a few rows and increase a little more if the size isn't quite big enough. I don't want to carry on and have it pulling at the bust line. The yarn I am using is still working up a little on the small size but I don't want to go up a hook size as I think it would spoil the look of the crochet. The tension looks good on the hook size I am using now so I would rather go up a bust size and stay on the same hook.

I have started the Blue Curacao from the Amazing Lace Book whilst I am in limbo. The wool is Sublime Cashmere merino silk DK. I am using a 5.50mm hook. I think Doris has used more of an aran thickness but it is so difficult to tell with the US patterns exactly what US 4 thickness is compared to UK yarns. It seems to be mid way between DK and Aran but I really prefer the DK for a shawl such as this. Many Ravellers seem to have made it with finer yarn and added an extra set of pineapples to get the right length. The shawl will be blocked and that will also make a difference to it's finished size. I am still on the first ball but of course I will get less and less rows per ball as the shawl progresses. I guess I will just finish off with as many completed pineapple sets as I can with amount of wool that Vicky provided.

I accosted the landlord of the house next door today and told him I was considering cutting down his holly tree as he was obviously not going to make any effort to do anything with it. I had discussed it with him last year and he hasn't done anything at all and has no plans to do anything. It is supposed to be a holly bush but it has been neglected by him and years of tenants and is now a huge towering tree. It sways alarmingly in the winds very close to my roof but more than that it is affecting the signal to my Sky dish. He looked rather startled and said I could trim it and cut a wee bit off the top. I told him not to be ridiculous as the tree was higher than both houses. I said it is going down to at least half size or down altogether. He finally agreed to half way when I said I would sue him if it blew down onto my roof and did any damage. The whole garden next door is like an overgrown jungle so how can he possible say that the tree is an asset to the garden? It's not as if the tree ever has any berries. All it ever does is creak alarmingly and shed loads of prickly leaves onto my garden everytime there is a breath of wind. Plus my poor lawn hardly sees the light of the sun in certain areas because of it's height. Timber! Oops sorry the chain saw slipped - I will have to buy you a new small holly bush as a replacement. I would, if I dared, tell the tree guy to just chop the whole thing down. Maybe he will discover some ghastly disease which means it is a danger to everyone. I can only hope.

I hope that my little walk today will ensure another good night's sleep tonight. At the moment I feel more enlivened by the fresh air but hopefully by bedtime the walk will have tired me out sufficiently so I will sleep.

Sleep at last

Just a quick update to say that I finally got some sleep. My GP changed my prescription to Co-codamol ( a painkiller I had taken previously before my back pain had got really bad) yesterday and I went to bed at midnight and woke up wonderfully refreshed at 7am.

OK I admit that I did waken briefly a few times during the night when I must have shuffled into a position that my back didn't like but mercifully as soon as I adjusted position I fell off to sleep again in a matter of moments.

Thank God for sleep.

Friday, 15 August 2008

Midnight - One more night without sleeping

For those of you old enough to remember the late Frankie Vaughan you will understand today's title. It's from Green Door one of his biggest hits. I kept humming - Midnight one more night without sleeping. Watching until the morning came creeping. Green Door what's the secret you are keeping.

I was lying in bed last night sleep eluding me even though I am tired to the bone. I just could not find that magic formula that would tip me over the edge into sleep. I dozed for a few minutes at a time. Tried all the yoga tricks like focusing my mind on happy thoughts, holidays and waves gently lapping. I tried counting sheep and thinking of clouds. No success. I tried putting on headphones and having music gently playing. One minute I was freezing cold and the next raging hot and to make matters worse I developed a cough in the middle of the night. Probably through my constant trips in and out of the duvet!

My back pain has been good today I am just so tired.

I am still in the unravelling stage of my crochet. The Cinnabar that I had started for Vicky J would have fitted a size 0 when I reached the part where it joins together. Normally I crochet on the slack side and always automatically tighten my hook sizes to compensate but I must have crocheted to tension with the Colinette Lasso. I got up this morning from my restless night and pulled it all back again and restarted it. It is now looking the right size although I have had to add a couple of extra rows before I joined the jacket together for the body as I felt it was far too tight. It is now measuring 36" across the bust line so I hope that with the addition of the borders that it will fit. The next size on the pattern is 40" and I thought that would be too big. The pattern is very stretchy and could be blocked out if necessary to give a bit more ease. I have to do another couple of rows before I do the short rows to give the bust ease at the front. I don't want to make it too big as I think the style is more fitted than large and loose.

I will try to do a bit more on it tonight but I must admit that the tiredness is catching up with me big style and I find I am crocheted 3 rows and pulling one back as I have made a mistake on it.

Yesterday Charlie came for a visit and discussed whether I would be well enough to go to the Knit Out on Monday as the Manchester Evening News is coming to take photos of us and the knitted chandelier.

Caroline F came later to pick up her shrugs. I was giving her a bit of a crochet lesson. She mastered chain and double crochet and I got an e mail from her today to say she has progressed to trebles today. She is finding it difficult to find which hole to put her crochet hook in but it is more a question of tension as like most beginners she is gripping her crochet hook like grim death.

I do hope that I manage to get some sleep tonight. It is getting worse the longer this sleeplessness goes on and when I start thinking that I might stay awake then that doesn't help me to relax long enough to fall asleep! I lie awake worrying about why I can't sleep. Arghhh.

Wednesday, 13 August 2008

Restless, sleepless night

I had a dreadful night's sleep last night and in the end I got out of bed and came downstairs to watch some TV. My legs were so restless and I couldn't stand the duvet on them. I felt like I had an army of ants crawling up and down them and no matter what I did with them or what I wore they itched and twitched all night. I looked up on the Internet as to whether it could have anything to do with the fact that I have now stopped taking the morphine tablets and apparently it is a well known side effect of morphine addiction. Gosh I always though addiction came on over months of drug abuse and not a couple of weeks of prescription pain relief. Scary or what?

The good news is that the symptoms usually subside within 5-7 days of stopping taking the drug so hopefully my legs will stop jerking about and I will get some sleep tonight. The blasted rain had affected my Sky signal and I got very annoyed with the lack of sleep plus the fact that half the programmes were missing on Sky due to the inclement weather.

Vicky came today and changed my bedlinen for me. I was extremely sleepy and very bad company and the moment she went upstairs I promptly fell asleep in the recliner. It's a good job that she knows me well and I hope doesn't take offence as I was really struggling to stay awake for her and the minute that she left I was fast asleep for an hour on the sofa.

The car coat is no more as you can see from the rewound balls. I had carried on with it even though it was pretty obvious that it would have fitted a baby elephant and I was running out of wool. I seem to have this thing lately where I assume that I am far larger than I am and things I make for myself turn out on the large side. I woke up this morning and decided to bite the bullet and unravel it all. I will leave it until I decide what to use the wool for next.

Vicky brought some Collinette silky yarn in a greenish grey and I have started Cinnabar from Everyday crochet. I must admit that I have started the first row 3 times now due to my inability to count and concentrate today due to tiredness so I don't think it will progress much tonight.

The book is a gift from Charlie. I have started to read it and I will let you know if I see any visible change in my attitude to life once I have finished it.

Cinders - once I am feeling better perhaps we could meet up at the new Coffee shop in Tesco as by the time you went up hill and down dale to get to my house your battery on your scooter would probably have died before you got back home! I had another little walk today and am working my way to a walk up to the village one day soon.

Tuesday, 12 August 2008

Sleepy miserable wet day

Not much to report today as I have been sleeping on and off for most of the day. I just can't seem to keep my eyes open.

The weather has been abysmal. Torrential rain and thunderstorms which meant that almost every programme that I started to watch on Sky TV went off in the middle and so I missed the ending. At the moment it is thundering and lightening and the rain is beating down past the windows. Altogether a miserable kind of day. Half of my programmes on Sky are still unavailable so I will miss a lot of my regular programmes tonight.

I haven't done much of anything today. A few rows of crochet on my car coat but it seems that everytime I pick up my hook I fall asleep. The dustbin cleaner man woke me up this afternoon laughing at me for nodding off in the window seat. He said I looked most attractive with my mouth open, snoring and drooling but he was laughing and he is a bit of a tease so I suspect I wasn't quite that bad.

I hope that I sleep tonight with all the sleep I have had today.

Monday, 11 August 2008

Two bits of progress today

Today I passed a couple of milestones. I decided to stop the strong painkillers as I no longer felt the need to numb the pain. The pain is more of a constant ache now but bearable. I have stepped down to paracetamol. The second milestone was that I managed a little walk up the road. I was a bit wobbly not quite Bambi on Ice but you get the general idea. I had no more pain on walking that I have sitting down so I am taking that as a good sign. I did plan on walking a little further up the street but it started to rain - oh what a surprise. I am not sure what the neighbours thought of my attire (if they were looking) as I was wearing what I think Asda would describe as lounging attire. A Barbie pink fleece top with pale grey fleece joggers. I think they would be most likely to be used as winter pj's rather than walking up the street attire! I don't care anymore. I wasn't about the get changed just for a 5 minute walk

The huge ball of wool that I started crocheting the car coat from the Everyday crochet book has suddenly started to collapse and I am rapidly running out of wool. I had already foreseen that I would have to do the collar, belt and bands in a different wool as you can see from the cuff but I am unsure now whether I will have enough to make the coat body without using some contrast in it somewhere. I will finish off the other sleeve and take stock of what I have left and then I will make a decision on how to utilise the other colour in the design.

The Diploma aran is a lovely heather colour as you can see from the photo. Charlie gave me 2 packs so I will have plenty of yarn to make myself either an aran sweater or jacket. I am still not back to my knitting as I can't get a comfy position for that from my armchair.

I have made one of each of the proposed squares for Vicky's shawl but I have a feeling that the colourways may change once she sees them up close. The way that they have crocheted up together looks so different from the way they looked side by side in the balls when she planned the colour sequences.

Back to the crochet, the ever diminishing ball and the TV. I don't know if you do this but I seem to crochet or knit twice as fast if I think I am running out of wool. Do I think I can outrun the ball? That it will make a difference if I crochet/knit faster? I will let you know where I ran out and how I compromised tomorrow.

Sunday, 10 August 2008

Happy Sunday

I had another good night's sleep last night so I am happy today. If only the sun would shine and I could have a little walk then I would be happier still.

I have posted a photo of the finished sweater even though, as you can see, it hasn't been blocked as yet. It reminds me very much of the 60's if only because when I was learning to crochet garments in the very early 60's one of the first sweaters I made was a long line one made from 3 treble blocks and was in almost the exact colours of this one. The Granny or Russian square is also very retro 60's. I think I am happy with the finished result albeit a bit unusual.

Vicky J came today to introduce me to the intricacies of ordering my food online. It should arrive on Wednesday as I have enough food to last me until then. She brought with her the now balled colours for her granny square shawl. I am going to make one square of each of the 4 colourways tonight just to make sure that the squares look the same crocheted up as they do in the balls. You can never be absolutely sure of how they will look until you see them in the square.

I have started the long line cardigan from the Everyday crochet book from the huge ball of wool that Vicky gave me the other day. I have discovered that I have some other wool that will tone with it if I run out for the shawl collar, belt and cuffs. I don't want the jacket to be as long as the one in the book but I do want it long enough to cover my ample rear end. The more Doris Chan designs that I do the easier I am finding the yolk. Charlie called today and is finding the yolk of her Mei Mei a bit intimidating just as I did when I started my first one. Doris does unfortunately have a habit of sending you from page to page and size to size so if you are not absolutely concentrating then it is so hard to keep track of where you are and which page of which pattern you are crocheting next. I have told her that I will sit with her and show her which bit goes where if she hasn't fathomed it out. I have offered to finish it off for her but I think, like me, she doesn't like to be beaten by a pattern. I think once I show her then it will all fall into place for her.

Charlie brought me some wool and some noodles but I will post some photos of those tomorrow along with more progress on my car coat and the squares.