Tuesday, 30 September 2008

Crocheting the squares together

I have started crocheting the squares together for the Breast Cancer shawl. I am finding it hard to get them in the right order as my table is circular and not big enough to spread them all out in the right colour sequence. I only hope that I don't put any of the squares in the wrong order and have to unpick them all again! I will put a few rows of pattern around the edge and then put a fringe on if I can find some more matching white double knit in my stash. White and black are the worst colours to match up. Not a lot of people realize how many shades of white and black that there are.

Vicky's shawl is now spread out on the spare bedroom bed and I will try to crochet the squares together later if there is nothing on the TV that I want to watch tonight. I don't have a TV upstairs so I can't watch and crochet whilst in the bedroom.

I am making a crochet hat and scarf in the pink. I have done the hat and about half of the scarf. I was thinking of finishing my projects with this set but then I found a pattern on Ravelry for a seamless knitted Willy Warmer and thought that it might be a good idea to include something to make the guys smile and the women buy more tickets to get a silly prize to give to their men. Anything really just to get more people to buy more raffle tickets. As the lady whose site I found the pattern on says - it's crucial to get the size right as men are very touchy about this subject and their egos get bruised very easily. Perhaps if I dredge up my memories (well it has been a long time!) and guess the size and just hope that the men I have dated in the past weren't lacking in that department. I can hardly ask anyone to stand still and be measured can I? I think I will just err on the larger side of what the Internet says is the average size.

Today it has rained hard all day and the plastic has blown off the logs so I am afraid that Caroline's attempts to keep the logs dry hasn't worked as by the time I realized the bags had blown off the logs were already wet through.

I am watching yet another re run of Midsommer Murders and trying to finish off the shawl tonight. I hope that i can get the prizes down to the Kings Arms before the 24th for the raffle as I am not going to the Knit Out on public transport, after dark, especially in the rain. I will perhaps try to meet up with Rachael during the day and give her what I have made.

Monday, 29 September 2008

All squared up

As you can see from the photos I have more granny squares in my WIP than ever before. The first set are destined to be a shawl to raffle for the Breast Cancer evening at the Kings Arms. The second 2 photos are the squares for Vicky's shawl which I put into colour sequence on my blocking boards before I injured my knee. They have languished there for almost a week and then the blocking boards decided that they no longer wanted to stand upright against the wall and parted company so they are now in 2 halves. I think I will have to try to rejoin them on my bed as I still cannot get down to the floor comfortably to crochet them together. I have to lay them out somewhere to keep the colours in the right order.

My knee kept me awake most of the night. It was even hurting whilst I was lying in bed. I must have done something to it despite Salford Royal assuring me from the X rays that there was no damage within and all would be well in a couple of days. The swelling has gone down a little but it is still very painful to walk on and even when I am resting seated or lying down. They told me not to strap it and whilst I am obeying most of the time I must admit that I had to use some tubigrip when I went shopping to Tesco the other day as I couldn't put weight on it that day without support.

I rushed to the door this morning to open my eagerly awaited magazine only to find that I have accidentally ordered the Interweaves Knit Fall 08 instead of the crochet version. I saw it advertised as newly in on Pavi Yarns and never even noticed that it said Knit and not Crochet. Apart from the cover jacket which my niece might like the book is one of the worst ones from Interweave that I have seen. I flicked through it and couldn't find one thing that I would knit for myself. Even the socks were toe up which I hate! I am back to the drawing board again looking for a UK stockist of the Crochet mag. I e mailed K&M at someones suggestion but never received a reply to my query. I could subscribe direct from Interweave from the US but according to fellow Ravellers they are so slow at processing subscriptions. One lady has just received her copy after subscribing in June! Let me know if you see any copies advertised for sale anywhere online. I have e mailed Pavi Yarns to see when they expect their copies of the Fall 08 crochet but as yet no reply.

I must go an investigate the bathroom to see if the huge bird eating spider has vanished. It wasn't one of those really but it looked pretty huge to me when I made my first bleary eyed visit to the bathroom this morning. I cannot stand spiders. I have a real hatred of them. I can look at them whilst out in the garden and admire their pretty webs but I hate it when one of the huge fat ones decides to camp in my house. I had a friend years ago who had tanks of tarantulas in her dining room and I loathed visiting her. It was hard to have coffee and biscuits with them crawling all over the place near me! Another friend kept snakes and lizards but I don't mind those and even handled the python and the iguana.

Today it is torrential rain here and so the holly tree branches are getting very wet. I hope that the logs stay dry under the plastic bags that Caroline put over them yesterday.

Sunday, 28 September 2008

Belize Wrap

I can now post photos of the Belize Wrap that I made for my friend Vicky's birthday. She has now seen it so I can let you view it. The pattern is a free pattern from NaturallyCaron.com and I made this one from double knitting. 200 grams main and 100 each of the contrast colours. The pattern does involve a lot of colour swapping but was quite easy to do once I got the hang of the swirls. If you click on the title of this post (Belize Wrap) it will take you to the pattern.

It was the monthly Knit Out of the Knitting Noras today and we had a good knit out in the sunshine. We were a little depleted today as a couple of Noras were at a craft fair, others had family commitments and I think some are away on holiday.

I did some work on the crochet squares I am making for my Breast cancer shawl. I still haven't finished the shawl off for Vicky and here I am starting another one! I don't think I will make it to the Kings Arms Knit Out tomorrow so I will have plenty time to finish it before I see them again.

My man's sock knitting has come to a halt as I am a bit unsure of the pattern I chose. It has calf shaping which I am not happy with as I am shortening the socks anyway and I don't think I will have enough wool (or cotton mix in this case) to finish the pair if I continue with this pattern so I think I will have to bite the bullet and unravel. I will have another look for a different pattern. I have not knitted a pair of man sized socks before so am not sure what size they should be. I have a couple of sock books but they all have patterned socks and I really only want a plain pair.

The holly tree branches are still languishing on the lawn as my son had to work this weekend and so could not come with his trailer to transport the branches to the tip. Caroline ( who gave me a lift to the Knit Out) bravely ventured into the branches wearing only flip flops to cover up the logs. The weather forecast is for rain tomorrow and these logs are destined for a friend of my son who has a log burning stove.

Saturday, 27 September 2008

Pumpkins for the knitted garden

Some time ago I mentioned that the Knitty Noras had made a knitted garden. This has been on display in various venues since it has been finished and more items have been added to it since. Lisa asked if we would make some pumpkins to make the garden seasonal. My little pumpkins are crocheted but I don't suppose it matters. They look a little sad at the moment as I only had enough filling for one small pumpkin. I will take them with me to the Knit Out on Sunday and hope that someone will finish stuffing them as it will be a little late by the next Knit Out. I would have gone up to Bury for a bag of filling but my knee is still swollen and painful. It has now started clicking when I walk which is alarming me somewhat. I have had to disregard the hospital's advice not to strap it up as I cannot put any weight on it without support.

The tree is still languishing in the garden. My son has cut the larger branches and trunk into logs for his friend who has a log burning stove. He has not had time to come back to move it for me and is working this weekend although he has promised to try and come tomorrow to take it to the tip. The problem is that my local tip just around the corner has a barrier and my son has one of these 4 x 4 vehicles and it won't fit under the barrier.

I still haven't decided what to make with the pale pink wool but have started some crochet granny squares using various shades of pinks, maroons and white which will turn into either a shawl or a pram blanket depending on how many I can make before the colours run out. I have until October 24th to make other things for the Breast Cancer raffle so may feel up to visiting Bury market to see what pink bargains they have on offer at the wool stall.

I must finish off Vicky J's shawl but as my knee is so crock I haven't been able to crochet around the shawl. I have pinned the squares into the right colour sequence on my blocking boards but I usually sit on the floor to crochet them together in strips and then put them back on the board in the right order so I can then crochet the strips together. Maybe I could do it if I place the boards on top of the bed.

I am washing bedding at the moment but finding it a little difficult to peg it out on the washing line due to the tree branches taking over my garden. The sunshine streaming through into the garden and house is worth all the mess on the lawn. This room is no longer dull and gloomy. I used to have to switch on the light many times during the daytime to see what I was typing! I have to limp up to the village to get a bit of shopping next. I need to have my flutter on the Lottery. I rarely win but I still believe that one day I will win the big one. I have to have some dreams and illusions in my life. I know the odds are stacked against me but as my Dad used to say "You have to be in it to win it"

Thursday, 25 September 2008

In the Pink fund raising day

The Kings Arms knitters are taking part in the "In the Pink" annual fund raising day and are having an event on Friday 24th October to raise funds for Breast Cancer Care. In view of the recent news about one of my other knit club members and her recently diagnosed breast cancer I decided to contribute to the crafty items for the raffle. I already had made the deep pink baby boleros and the white, pink and lilac cardigan some time ago for my great grand daughters but they never got them and now they would be too small so I decided to donate them. I have just made the peach baby matinee and hat and will make the bootees tonight. I just hope that baby things are suitable for a raffle I suppose though that every one knows someone with a new baby. I still have some pink fluffy double knit but unfortunately not enough to make anything for an adult unless it is a hat. I can't see a lady wanting to wear a baby pink brushed fluffy hat. It's hard for me to think of anything adult in baby pink. Perhaps I could mix it with another colour to make something more adult minded.

I went to the hospital yesterday for my post op appointment but only got to see the head nurse. She never even looked at my scar. Just asked me some questions and was unable to answer most of my questions about my continuing pain and not being able to bend to my toes etc. All she kept saying was that it was early days as yet and it would be another month or so until I healed inside. I have another appointment this time to see the surgeon but that is not until 26th Nov. They firstly offered me the 25th but as that is my birthday I asked for another date.

I finished up visiting the accident and emergency dept on my way out. The night before I had dropped my crochet hook under the coffee table and as I am unable to squat that low I went down on my hands and knees to reach it. When I got up I must have twisted my knee. I just rubbed it and went to bed. In the morning it had swollen up considerably and was painful to walk on so I decided to get it checked out as I was at the hospital anyway. I had it X rayed and they said there didn't seem to be any ligament damage but I am still hobbling about on it today and it is still badly swollen. Apparently they don't believe in strapping a swollen knee up anymore. I am supposed to keep mobile, put ice on to get rid of all the swelling and elevate. It's hard to think about walking any distance when it's so painful.

Tuesday, 23 September 2008

Woodman spare that tree!

Oops - too late. At last the massive holly tree has been chopped down. My son still had to argue with the landlord from next door about chopping it down. He still only allowed my son to chop it to the height of 6 feet and it looks a bit ridiculous now but of course it will bush up again next year.

I cannot believe how much light has now flooded into this room and the kitchen. I had been trying every trick in the book to try to lighten this dark room and it was the tree blocking the light all the time. My lawn is flooded with sunshine today but I can't sit out for obvious reasons. The tree is so huge it will have to be chopped into pieces to even get it on the trailer to take it to the "green" recycling tip. The tree looks a lot larger spread all over the lawn. I really hadn't realised just how big it really was whilst it was in the sky.

My son had to enlist help with it and both he and his friend got prickled to death with a bad case of tree rash from the prickly holly leaves. There was a lot of ouching and grouching going on from the depths of the tree! I bet my ears will be burning tonight when he gets in the shower and sees the extent of the scratches. The next project is my Sumac tree at the bottom of the garden. I love the colour of the leaves in the autumn but it has got too top heavy and is rather taking over the garden. I want to get it trimmed down before it falls down and I lose it altogether. I am sure that my neighbours will be relieved when the height comes down in the same way that I was with the holly. They must be losing sunlight from their garden because of my tree although they haven't complained.

Buster is apparently in disgrace. He had a huge wee all over the place whilst they were at work so I think he has outstayed his welcome at my son's house. I said to bring him back home again but Ian said not just yet. I am just worried he has another water infection as he is prone to getting and when he has one he needs to wee a lot.

I went to the Kings Arms last night and although Sylvia and Kath were really kind to me, met me at the tram stop and took me back to the tram stop after the Knit Out I was still very nervy walking back home from my local tram stop. There was no one around and it was really eerie even though it wasn't late. I didn't see a soul whilst walking from the tram stop to home which made me very nervous. I think I will only go to the Knit Out if I can get a lift or a taxi home in future.

I am half way through the last 10 squares of the granny square shawl and will hopefully finish those off tonight. I started a pair of men's socks last night at the Knit Out for someones Christmas present. I will take the sock with me when I go to the hospital for my post op appointment tomorrow in case I have a long wait.

Monday, 22 September 2008

Photos from the party

These are photos taken at Julie's (next door) party a couple of weeks ago. I am the rotund one wearing the multi coloured crochet top by Doris Chan which I thought I would never wear and have worn loads of times. The first pic is me with Julie and one of her friends. Julie wore her wig for the party but soon took it off. After a couple of drinks off came the hair! Her hair has now thankfully grown back into a rather cheeky short crop which really suits her. It has grown back greying (now remedied with a colour) and quite curly.
The second photo shows me with Christine (centre blonde) another dog walker buddy and Julie's mum (in the orange hat) who everyone calls Madge as they say she looks just like the lady from the TV series Benidorm. I didn't watch it so I can't tell you if she does. The last photo is of Julie with her dog Buddy. He visits me through the hedge on occasions and sometimes leaves me deposits on the lawn. I don't mind though as he is a lovely dog. He went for his first walk after his snip op yesterday.

Tonight I have arranged to meet up with Sylvia and Kath from the Kings Arms knitters in Manchester. They have promised to shepherd me to the Knit Out from the station so that I won't get lost. I have only ever been there in a car before so am not sure of my way there on foot. I am still wary of being on my own in town at night. When I was younger I used to think nothing of walking anywhere despite having been beaten up and sexually assaulted ( defined by the police as attempted rape) when I was 17 on my way home from a New Year's Eve dance. I was with a friend at the time when we were set on by a gang of drunks. All because I refused to give them a kiss for New Year. That was the first of my many broken noses and I had micro surgery to repair my lip split wide open when he thumped me in the mouth with his fist whilst wearing a large sovereign ring.

Brilliant surgery, done very painfully in Casualty under local anaesthetic at 3am New Years Day as the doctor didn't want to wait for a theatre and anaesthetist. He said I would scar badly if not repaired asap. There is hardly a mark now whereas before I looked like I had a hare lip stretching from my lips to my nose.
He re-set my front teeth which had been knocked out and stitched me together with loads of micro stitches. These days I suppose it would have all been done under a general and in better surroundings by a plastic surgeon but I was just grateful that he just pushed me into a side room and got on with it. On his own without a nurse as Casualty was really busy. Probably totally against hospital protocol which is why I never name him.

I saw him again months later whilst walking in the hospital corridor and he just came up to me and held my face and inspected it. He said I told you that I would not let that bastard spoil your pretty face I did a good job didn't I? He then walked off before I could say thank you properly.

Today it looks like rain again which is a shame as I have washing on the line and I wanted to try to dry the car out. I am hoping to finish off my crocheted present today and maybe start some socks at the knit club tonight. I don't want to have to carry all the wool for Vicky's crocheted shawl squares (my next project to finish) with me as I am travelling on the tram.

Sunday, 21 September 2008

One inch of water inside my car!

My son was supposed to come today and cut down the holly tree so I thought I had better take all of my stuff out of the car as he was also going to take photos of it for e bay. It is a bit of an old banger but he said he could sell it in the repairs or spares category. I opened the car door and was horrified to find an inch or so of dirty brown sludgy water in the driver's foot well. The water was also in the back seat foot well. The car hadn't leaked when I was driving it so I don't know what has happened. I spooned most of the water out but as you can see from the photos it will be a while before the carpet dries out. I suppose with all the torrential rain we have had lately I shouldn't be surprised.

My son didn't arrive today due to the fact he went out on a night out last night and in the words from Rowan and Martin's Laugh In (for those of you old enough to remember that programme) like Uncle Al he had too much bad medicine last night! My son will never drink and drive not even the day after if he has had too many the night before which is very responsible of him. I just hope that this good weather holds and that he will come and cut down the tree later this week.

I tried a bit of gardening today on my front garden. It is very small so I thought I would be OK but I think I overdid things and the old back is aching. I saw Julie, my next door neighbour, with Buddy when she came back from his walk so I couldn't resist taking his photo. He is almost recovered from his snip op but still a bit on the quiet side until he saw the cat from across the road and almost went under a car trying to chase him. Neo the husky type wolf dog from across the road was outside his house as well. For some reason that dog really hates me. I risked a pat but he tried to bite me. I used to think it was because Buster and he hated each other so much but maybe it is just me that he hates.

I saw the photos that a friend of Julie had taken at her birthday party and the ones of me were quite good. I am not usually photogenic so I was quite surprised. I should have asked for copies of the photos or borrowed them so that I could scan them. Maybe the person who took them could e mail them to me I will pass my e mail address to Julie.

I didn't do much crochet last night and as what I am making is for a present I can't show it on here until it has been given. Just in case the intended recipient sees it on my blog first. I think that there will be a lot of secrecy on my blog from now until Christmas.

I had a startling e mail last night from a Knitty friend. She has just been diagnosed with inflammatory breast cancer and is about to start on a course of chemo, probably an operation to possibly remove the breast. I feel that everyone I know recently has been touched by cancer in some way. It really is the disease of the year for my circle of friends. We all know someone with cancer but I seem to know so many who are battling cancer or have had it in the past and I don't think I am alone in this.It touches so many lives. I feel so grateful that all of my brushes with cancer in the past have all turned out to be pre cancerous and have never developed. I thank God that I have been so lucky.

Saturday, 20 September 2008

First Christmas Present finished

I managed to finish off my first Christmas present. I had literally two yards left of the wool once I had stitched both garments up. Talk about a close call! As you can see they are not a twin set. The patterns came from the same magazine and are in the same wool but not necessarily meant to be worn together. As you can see I omitted the huge collar from the cardigan and changed it's shape from a wide boat shaped neck into a normal cardigan neckline.

I have just got back from a shopping trip to Tesco. My niece gave me a lift and pushed my trolley so I bought in a lot of the heavier stuff like washing powder, comfort etc. Although I hadn't run out of a lot of things I took advantage of an offer to shop and bought in advance. I can manage the day to day things like the bread and milk myself but heavy items defeat me. I know I can shop online but I really like to choose my own stuff if possible.

My son is supposed to be coming tomorrow to chop down that holly tree. The guy who owns the property next door came out last week and half heartedly trimmed a bit of the privets but it was like a drop in the ocean when you consider that the grass is about 2 feet high. Their garden is twice the size of mine. I know that at the moment I can't really maintain mine but it still looks ten times better than theirs. My ex husband was the gardener and was always envious of their garden size as he always wanted to grow veggies long before it was fashionable to grow your own. I am going to have another try at growing veg in my pots and grow houses next year. I didn't bother to try this year as I knew that I would not be fit enough to look after them properly.

I have got a letter saying that the water board saying one of it's sub contractors will be coming in a couple of weeks to assess my house for a water meter so hopefully that should make a difference to my huge monthly water bill. I will have to remember not to leave any taps running in future and pray I don't get any bursts! The letter warns me to check credentials as there has been quite a few bogus water board men prowling in the area conning people out of money etc. In this house they would be sadly disappointed as I am like the queen. I don't carry money! I might be able to find about a fiver if I hunt in all of my purses and pots. I don't think they would find my jewelry of any value either. I doubt there is a market for second hand Argos and George ear rings!

I have got the bedding fluttering on the washing line so I am away now to do a bit more housework. I am doing a room at a time. Today I will do my bedroom. Slowly does it. I am looking forward to crocheting some more squares tonight to finish off Vicky J's shawl. Yeah for crochet! My niece told me today that her sister would like a chunky knit cabled cardigan in grey for Christmas so I need to have a search about for a suitable pattern and wool for that. I am also going to make some more crochet slippers to test out the pattern for Zu. My niece took the red pair that turned out too big for me and thought they were great.

Thursday, 18 September 2008

I hope that I have enough wool to finish

Eek. I only have one more ball left and still got the front to finish. I know that it is a V neck and so will take less wool than the back but I still have neckbands and armbands to finish. I know that they are only a couple of rows wide but I have a feeling that it will be a squeak with the wool to finish it without having to unravel a few rows from the back. I still haven't stitched the cardigan up as I didn't want to use wool to stitch up when I might need it to finish the top.

I was naughty today. Unfortunately not THAT kind of naughty. I gave the front room a good clean. I took my time doing it and although I am banned from using the hoover I did give the carpet a sweep with my mother's trusty old Ewbank. I just pushed it gently across the carpet. I will no doubt pay the price tomorrow but the shelves on the bookcases and my mother's treasured crystal and silver decanter and glasses were looking very worse for wear. I gave them a polish and a wash and they look much better now.

Julie, from next door, gave my front hedge a trim whilst she was doing hers. She should have gone into hospital next week at her appointment today they said it has been delayed as they have swapped her from one department to another. She has cancer for God's sake. She has had enough setbacks without any more delays. She said she was cutting the hedge to get rid of the aggression that she feels towards the hospital, Her dog is going to the vets tomorrow for the snip. He keeps running off and chasing the ladies and getting lost. He is also trying to mount the males so she decided that the time has come to dampen his ardour. Yesterday she lost him for over an hour. Poor Buddy. He will be a bit sore for a few days but if he is like Buster he will be leaping about in a little while.

I will try to finish off the top tomorrow and then I can treat myself to a bit of crochet! I am going to finish off the granny squares for Vicky's shawl so that it will be ready for her to fringe. I won't see her for a week or two so have plenty time to crochet the squares together.

I might try to do a bit more cleaning tomorrow. If I do a bit every day then eventually the house might start to look a bit tidier and cleaner. I can't do it up to my normal standards but at least it will look OK to a passing glance.

Last night I got a weird disembodied phone message. I almost put the phone down thinking it was one of those "You have been chosen" phone calls from abroad but it was the hospital asking me if I was keeping my next hospital appointment. Please press one if you are the patient blah de blah.

Wednesday, 17 September 2008

My play mats have arrived

No I am not aged 3-8 and going to start doing hand stands on my new play mats. They are going to be used, of course, as blocking boards. I bought 2 packs as they were such a bargain price and I will need more than 4 squares to block a shawl. I had to try them out but discovered two problems.

One - I couldn't find my glass top pins they must be somewhere in my work box stored at the top of the pantry. I needed far more pins than the yellow daisy pins that I bought recently. I had to search about in drawers but could only find ordinary pins which aren't ideal.

Two - I couldn't bend down to use the boards on the floor and so I had to try to pin out with the boards leaning up against the wall which isn't exactly ideal as they wobble. I hope that I don't have to do much blocking until my back has recovered a bit more as today my back has not liked the blocking experience at all. I hope that my efforts make this cardigan super special as it's a present for Christmas.

Last night I fell out with my knitting and only did a few rows. I am going to have to give in and start some crochet soon. It's just not me to sit and just watch TV without something in my fingers. The only problem is that most of the crochet that I have planned is for gifts so there will be few photos on here or Flickr as my family and friends would see things and so spoil the surprise. Stand by for photos of other things. The squirrels were not obliging today nor was next door's cat. They all came for a visit but vanished as soon as the camera came out.The cat is getting very brave since Buster has been at my son's house.

I am going to start making my Christmas present list (yes I know - big groan but it's not that far away if I have to make things) as I am determined not to finish up in a huge knit and crochet frenzy in the last couple of weeks before Christmas as I did last year. I probably will though as I seem to gain more people for presents every year and being on a budget I have to try to do as many home crafted presents as I can. I like to think that by making something it shows that I have thought more about what I am giving rather than just going into Superdrug and buying loads of toiletry sets or searching online for something suitable. I may be up to the hurly burly of Christmas shopping in town for the first time for about 4 yrs but just in case I had better start early.

Tuesday, 16 September 2008

Camera shy squirrels

I think my squirrels have been reading my blog. They paid their usual visit this morning, announcing their presence by coming right up to the patio windows but the minute I aimed my camera at them they disappeared across the garden and over the fence. Once they realised that I had put down the camera they both came back to chatter at me. I went to get the camera again and whoosh they had gone again. A pity because they were looking really cute this morning.

Instead I have 2 photos of my slow progress on the sleeveless top. There is something about ribbing, It takes longer to knit than plain. I have managed to sit on my sofa today for the first time since my operation. It is still rather low but I can knit a lot better than on a chair with arms. I discovered though that leather is very cold to sit on and had to find a throw. I will definitely have to make some crochet throws for the winter. I can't stand having a chilly bottom and back!

Speaking of winter I had a letter from the council tax saying that after my visit from their officer (she came unannounced just after my op) they found out that I had been paying too much council tax and they have reduced it. They can't, of course for some small printed gobbledygook reason, refund me any of the overpaid money from the last 2 years and advised me that in future I should inform them of any changes in my circumstances. I have always done things to the letter and every year they have had copies of bank statements and pensions so how can I have been not telling them of changes in circumstances. Just when I was thinking I would have a wee bit more money per month in the same post came my gas bill and despite the fact that I am £76 in credit over the summer months they have hiked up my monthly payments by £20 a month to cover the increased use over the winter months and the price rise of the gas. No wonder people are leaving the country for warmer climes.

I haven't been out for a walk today. I can't seem to be bothered unless the weather is nice (ha ha) or I need something from the shops. I seem to be incapable of walking up to the village without popping into some shop or another and I then spend money on something that I really didn't need. For the sake of economy I only venture anywhere near M&S or Iceland if I have run out of something. I won't walk in the Clough without Buster it's too lonely in there to be alone. My son says I can't have him back until I am fit enough to walk him properly and I must admit that I am not ready to walk him every day just yet. I miss him, of course, but I can't face the daily trudge of his walks just yet. Maybe in another few weeks.

Monday, 15 September 2008

Cardigan almost finished

I have finished the knitting of my sister in law's Christmas cardigan. No photos yet as I am awaiting some blocking boards/play mats that I have ordered online from the Early Learning Centre. They had some pink flowered play mats on Sale for £10 for 4 (plus postage of £5) which was the cheapest online that I have seen anywhere. The comments suggest that in play the daisies wear off so who knows - my sweaters and shawls might have daisies transferred onto them whilst blocking. Interesting? I have ordered 2 packs of them anyway so I will have enough to block a large shawl. It's probably the reason they have been reduced by £5 a pack.

The Jaeger Roma yarn must have a really good yardage as I have so many balls left after finishing the cardigan that I have decided to make a tank top for my sister in law as well. I started it whilst watching Charley Boorman on TV last night (Cor! - Yeah for Charley Boorman especially on his bike - who can forget the Long Way Down with Ewan McGregor) She can either wear them together as a twin set even though the pattern is different. She can wear it as a summer top (ha ha what summer) or put a blouse underneath and wear it as a tank top. Both the cardigan and the top are in Knit Today Issue 23.

I am itching to start some crochet and I know that I will cave in and start some eventually. I have resisted so far, apart from a pair of crochet slippers, but am getting withdrawal symptoms.

I am going to try to get to the Kings Arms tonight on the Metro. I will have to be armed with my A_Z otherwise I will get lost on my way from the station to the pub and don't want to walk any more than I have to. I have been looking at ArtYarns blog and Rachael's Blog (links on RHS of my blog) to see the photos of the Kings Arms chandelier and the stitching up of all of the OXFAM squares which look very impressive. There are also photos of the street furniture and tree crochet and knit which was on display at the Islington festival in Salford. Just click on the photos or click on the links in the blog to view them.

Saturday, 13 September 2008

Bury Market Bargains

I went up to Bury Market for the first time since my operation. I was excited to be able to walk around it but it still pains me a lot to do it. I am impatient as I thought that by now all the pain would have disappeared but I guess it will take a lot longer than I thought to be fully fit. I took my little wheeler up to Bury with me as I didn't want to carry anything but I think that the handle is at the wrong height and that didn't help my back any. I had decided not to take the big wheeler as the tram and the market would be crowded but I think, on reflection, I should have done that as the handle is higher and easier to manage.

The wool stall on Bury market has expanded since my last visit and they have bought the stall next door so it is twice as big as before. I bought some of the colours in the first photos from them. It is destined for a birthday present so I can't say too much about it at the moment. I couldn't resist buying the Diploma Aran in the dark red. What a bargain at 1000 grams for £6.99. It was a pity that they only had it in one colour. I wasn't tempted by any of the other bargains that they had as they were similar to the packs I have unused in stash from my last visit. See - I can have willpower sometimes! I had gone for some Aran to try some more pairs of the Mary Jane slippers designed by Zuleika but they didn't have much choice. Most of their Aran is in 400/500 gram balls and I wanted a variety of colours. I just bought a ball of red and lilac. I will have to keep searching for more colours.

I walked around the corner to see if the LYS on the Rock is still open and it is. Someone asked when they are closing down and got told that they don't exactly know. The other shops next to them are all closed. I bought some of the colours in the first photo from there. I had already bought one colour combination from the market but saw another colour combination in the shop so I bought again. Story of my life! I will make the birthday project in both of the colourways and decide which one to give my friend and which one to keep in my Christmas present stash. Scary isn't it thinking about Christmas already but we crafters have to start early.

My sister in law's knitted Christmas cardigan is now on it's second sleeve. I think I have enough wool left to make her a sleeveless tank top. She can either wear them together as a twin set or wear the tank top separately over a blouse. That will be one present less to worry about for Christmas.

I managed to dry the bedding today out on the washing line. A bit of sunshine at last! I will go and re-make the bed before settling down to rest my weary aching back before making some dinner with one of the chops that I bought from Bury market. I am getting so sick of ready meals that I decided to get some "real" meat for a change. I still bought some colcannon and some carrot and swede mash from M&S to go with the chops. I might be up to grilling a chop but not to peeling potatoes and veggies just yet.

I am raring to go with starting some crochet but I am going to be firm with myself and try to finish off the knitting first. If I put that down unfinished then it might take me ages to drum up enough enthusiasm to finish it. Crochet is my first love although I must admit that I have enjoyed knitting this cardigan. It just seems to take hours and hours compared to crochet.

The last photo is some incense sticks I bought from the market. I love my fragrances and am always buying incense and scented candles. Unfortunately these do not seem to have a strong scent unless my nose is blocked. I am not too keen on some of the more popular supermarket scented candles but there isn't a lot of choice locally of anything else. I used to buy Ashleigh and Burwood Incense cones from Tesco but they don't sell them anymore, Incense burning always takes my memory back to the 60's and the wonderful craft shops in St Ives. The Joss sticks in those days had such a pungent smell that is missing from the ones I can buy today. One shop in particular burned Patchouli all the time and anything bought from there kept the smell for ages.

Friday, 12 September 2008

International Crochet Day

Today is International Crochet Day. I am supposed to be either
Crocheting in public (too cold out today)
Teaching someone to crochet ( I do that all the time just not today!)
Sharing patterns and tips with other crocheters ( I am working on that for later)
Happy Crocheting today Girls I hope you all have your hooks poised

Thursday, 11 September 2008

I just had to do some crochet

I have been knitting for days and was getting withdrawal symptoms for my crochet. My friend Zuleika has been working on a pattern for Mary Jane type slippers so I tested out the pattern for her to see if I understood the way she had written it out. Breathe easy Zu. I did understand. I was supposed to go and buy some aran to make a pair but I am such an impatient person that when I decide to do something I want it NOW!. I found a ball of red aran of dubious origin and made myself a pair. I did think at the time that although the label said aran it looked rather thick. These slippers have turned out great but too big for my tiny feet (size 3-4) so I will have to make the effort to get some aran wool of the right thickness for another pair and donate this pair to my niece. If you like this pattern then contact Zuleika through the link to Life in the Zu (scroll down and see my favourite links) as you all know I am rubbish at attaching links to this blog. I must learn to link one day it would make my life so much easier! Her photos of slippers are detailed and not fuzzy as mine are. I suffer from shaky hand whilst taking snaps. I move the camera as I press the shutter so things come out very blurred sometimes.

The knitting is progressing although I am a little concerned how narrow the sleeve is looking. It's a good job that my sister in law is size 8 with slim arms. I have not been impressed with the way that the pattern has been written out (it had a mistake on the 6th row!) and the sleeve on the pattern photo has distinct points at the beginning (as did the body) but the instructions tell me to go straight into the main pattern so I had to improvise and use the start of the body for the sleeve edge to get the sleeve to match the body. I never used to have this problem with patterns when I had a shop. You just bought a pattern and knitted it. None of this searching Ravelry and the net for Errata pages as with every knit and crochet book I have bought recently. What is wrong with everyone lately. If they could get patterns right a few years ago how come they can't now? You would think with all the modern equipment that they use in printing these days that checking and amending BEFORE printing would be a doddle. Almost every pattern I have used lately has had mistakes especially the ones from the US. I am sorry but if I am paying £12+ for a book I expect it to be right first time. I wouldn't want to read a best seller book and find huge chunks of the plot missing or sentences that didn't make any sense.

I managed to dry some washing yesterday even though I had to take it in from the rain twice. Some summer we have had in the UK this year. It think it was summer those few days when I was in hospital and so I missed it this year.

My back is not liking all this rain and is telling me so. I was doing really well until this last week when I feel like I have taken a step backwards. Maybe I have been doing too much but it is hard to sit and look at dust bunnies without getting the urge to dust. I am not the most houseproud person in the world but after 6 weeks my house is looking very untidy and a bit grubby. I never thought that I did an awful lot of housework but obviously I must have!

The sun is bravely trying to shine so I will have my shower, get dressed and try to tidy up a bit before Loose Women on the TV at lunch time.