Friday, 31 October 2008

More stash for the Christmas Wool Pile

Brr - it's cold and winter is not even here yet. Yesterday Vicky came for me and we sallied forth to see DKY at Bolton market. I picked up the colours for the men's socks I have planned for Christmas. We met up with Sylvia and Kath and had a coffee in Cafe Nero. I finished the last premature baby blanket and gave it to Vicky for the Bliss appeal. I am going to concentrate now on my Christmas knitting. Charities will have to wait now for a while.

I wasn't going to start any of my Christmas projects until I had finished the purple crochet cardigan but I thought I would make the black shawl as when Buster comes he sheds hair over everything I am knitting or crocheting and I didn't want a Buster hairy black shawl. I am missing him not being here but at least my work isn't hairy. I am making it in Woolcraft Crepe DK which my niece bought from Bury market and it is really nice to crochet with. Quite firm for an acrylic.

Last night I joined Facebook as I seem to miss out on any news and photos that the Kings Arms Knitters post. I just hope that it is not another thing I get dragged into like Ravelry otherwise I will never get anything done!

I need to do a bit of housework today but the windows will have to wait for another time. There is no way I am going outside with wet hands in this weather. There is only me looking out of them anyway and I have learned to ignore the marks.

Vicky has just e mailed me better photos of the Blue Curacao shawl I made a couple of months ago so I will post some tomorrow. She took it on her holidays so you can enjoy a bit of sunshine albeit in photos!

Wednesday, 29 October 2008

Busy fingers from now until Christmas

My niece is off work this week for half term so she has been busy shopping for wool for the family for Christmas. The grey is destined for her sister's long aran cardigan. The red is for Cinnabar for herself, The black for Auntie Claire's shawl and the blue and orange for some Moroccan style slippers. I will certainly be kept busy from now until Christmas.

My niece also got some T shirts for baby Charlie as I have been invited to his christening on Sunday and wanted a bit of a present to take with me. I asked her to get them for me as I didn't know which size to buy for him.

I am hoping to finish off the half finished premature cot blanket to go with the other two in the photo. I will give them to Vicky tomorrow as she is collecting blankets for Bliss Charity which is the charity nominated by National Knitting Week. I have already given her two to post off for Bliss. The Noras also raised about £40 from Vicky's Knit In at her house last week. Well done everyone.

The Breast Cancer charity night at the Kings has raised approx £400 but I haven't got the exact amount as yet. Well done everyone there as well.

I had a lovely surprise phone call last night from my eldest great grand daughter. She was telling me that she had used her 3rd birthday money from me (along with some other birthday money) and she had bought Baby Annabel and she cries. Her little sister wanted to chat and her speech is really clear for one so young. She is only 18 months old. I will try to see that Father Christmas brings some clothes for baby Annabel.

Tomorrow I am going back up to see Janet from DKY at Bolton Market to collect some sock wool. Something else to finish off before Christmas. Has anyone got any matchsticks for my eyes? I am going with Vicky and hopefully meeting up with Sylvia and possibly Kath for a coffee.

I had better rediscover my knitting and crochet mojo PDQ )pretty damn quick) as I have so much to do before Christmas. Off for a strong coffee to give me a bit of caffeine.

Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Fungi on the lawn

Not much to report yet again today except that I am freezing. The heating is on so I don't know why I feel so cold. The cars in the street all had ice on them this morning. I was up extra early as I woke with cramp in my right calf. I never used to have much sympathy for my ex when he got it and was hopping around the bedroom. I used to find it rather funny. The laugh is on me now as I keep waking up with it and it's really painful.

My fungi have reappeared on the lawn. I hesitate to call them mushrooms as I have no idea what they are. Someone once told me that they weren't poisonous but if Buster was here I would move them just in case. One looks like something has taken a nibble out of it. Perhaps my squirrel? I must put some nuts out today for the squirrel as it is so cold.

My crocheting hasn't progressed. I do this from time to time. Slow down and don't do anything for a couple of days and then resume the pace again a few days later. I don't push myself anymore as I know my crochet mojo will return again soon. It might even be today - who knows. I just hope that I don't get another of these lay off spells when I am in the midst of my Christmas projects.

Time for a cup of hot coffee I think - now where are my thick socks as my tootsies are cold!

Monday, 27 October 2008

Knit Out on a Sunday

Not much to blog about today. I have been trying to do some housework as the house is getting rather tatty - well I should say tattier than usual. I foolishly pegged the bedding out on the line but of course if rained all over it and so indoors it had to come. I put the tumble dryer on as I cannot abide wet bedding drooping about.

My niece came this afternoon and did my hair to banish my Bet Lynch dark roots once again. She browsed through a few patterns and has come to a pencilled in decision as to which pattern she would like for Christmas. She is on holiday this week so plans to visit a couple of markets and shops in the hunt for wool.

My little cat friend Oscar, from next door, came to visit me again today. He is still very timid about coming in as I think he expects Buster to appear from somewhere and chase him off as he has done in the past. He ate the remnants of the turkey leg, had a drink and left when the rain stopped.

On Sunday I went up to the monthly Knit Out of the Noras. We had quite a good turn out. I had hoped to finish off the peach prem baby blanket whilst I was there but I finished up giving a guy crochet lessons instead. The blanket is now finished and I will give it to Vicky when I see her next. I will try to make another before Thursday. I have not done much in the way of crochet (or knitting) these last few days so not much to report.

Saturday, 25 October 2008

Breast Cancer Raffle Night

I have just got back from the Kings Arms where Rachael had organised an evening of entertainment and raffle in aid of Breast Cancer. I don't know how much was raised as it hadn't all been counted up when I left. I will post it on here when I find out.

We had a good evening with the mixing of the two knitting clubs. A few of the Knitting Noras plus the Kings Arms knitters. The best bit of the evening was the raffle where the compere made it all great fun.

The young woman who got my granny square shawl was thrilled with it and the guy who won the willy warmer thought that I should make them to sell and not just give them away as they were such a fun item. His girlfriend won the pink curly whirly scarf. His mate looked a bit funny in my pink lacy crocheted scarf. Sylvia won the pink sweet pea shawl. The lady who won the pink baby matinee and hat is hoping that her brother's partner's expected baby to be will turn out to be a girl. She said it it's a boy it will have to wear it anyway, even if it's only in bed, as it's so pretty!

Before the raffle was a duo of girls dressed in red satin elasticated shorts - reminded me of babies romper suits - who shouted/screamed, way off key, through several numbers very loudly. Apparently they have a huge following but most of us thought that they were truly awful. So bad that we were having hysterics at their singing. If that is what passes for music these days I am glad that I am old! I think most of the people seated near me would have had a whip round and paid to get them off. I would have stuck a fiver in the hat to get them to shut up. A couple of the Noras wisely went outside for a ciggy. I almost took up smoking just to go and join them! My ears were ringing and they started hurting - I was deaf for a few minutes when they stopped screaming. In their final song they massacred one of the Beatles songs. I bet John and George were spinning in their graves. I wish I had recorded them for Simon Cowell - I bet his face would have been a picture of pain when he heard them.

I came back home by taxi as I couldn't face public transport and the trams would have stopped running anyway by then. I am glad that I don't have to pay for a taxi very often - it cost me £8.80p to get home. I think I am getting tight as well as old!

Thursday, 23 October 2008

Trip to Bolton market

I decided to have a trip to Bolton market today. One of my fellow Ravelry members had decided to bring her wool stall to Bolton. As she normally stands Chorley market which is a little too far for me to travel I took the opportunity to visit her at Bolton.

She had lots of bargains on her stall. A lot of them were out of bounds to me as I am one of those peculiar people who finds it really hard to wear anything pure wool or with a high wool content - unless it is on my feet. I come out in a red rash and itch. I came away with a bargain of Patons Zhivago for 60p ball in my favourite colour despite my promising that I wouldn't buy anything else for my stash. I had gone up for some sock wool but I didn't think that my brother would appreciate the bright rainbow colours of Noro for a pair. He is in his 70's and quite conservative. Janet has some St Ives sock wool in dark colours and will bring me some for next week.

I met up with Sylvia and Kath whilst at the stall and heard from Janet that a couple of the Noras knitting group had also paid the stall a visit. If you want to see Designer knitting yarns DKY and can't get to either market stall then click on my blog title and it will take you to her website. Janet also does mail order so you could still see her stock and find a bargain or two online.

I got very wet whilst in Bolton as the rain was quite heavy. I managed to crochet 2 small squares and start a third on my trips on the bus and the tram. It was a 2hr round trip plus waits for bus and tram. At least I kept one small child amused on one of the journeys. I got some fresh fish from the market and a turkey leg which is roasting in my oven as I type. I have just rescued my washing from the line as that is also rather wet.

On the way home from the metro I finally got my prescription for my painkillers and guess what - the GP has given me a double amount. Made me smile. One minute they must think I am in danger of overdosing myself so won't prescribe because I had 10 tablets left from my last prescription and the next minute they give me a double amount.

Wednesday, 22 October 2008

Granny square shawl finished

Vicky's granny square shawl is finished. Well finished is perhaps the wrong word to use as you can see from the last photo. There is still the spaghetti mess of tail ends to stitch in. I am hoping that Vicky will volunteer to stitch them in herself as the one thing I am bad at is sewing ends in. On my shawl I find new tails poking out every time I put it on. I think I stitch them in well run them in and out and up and down and yet still they wriggle out and poke out of the squares. I guess I missed the lesson on stitching up somewhere in my youth. I think that is why I now like Doris Chan designs - so little to stitch up when finished.

I didn't go out today as I had to wait in for a telephone consultation one of my GP's. Yesterday when I checked the contents of my prescription bag the painkillers were missing. I checked with the pharmacy who said there were none on the prescription. I rang the surgery to be told that I had ordered them too soon so the doctor refused to issue them. I tried to explain that yes I wasn't due them on the Friday when I ordered them but due to their 48 hour policy for repeats it meant that I could not collect them until Tuesday after 2pm (they don't count Sat and Sun as days as they are closed) which to me means 4 days after I ordered them so by then I would not be receiving them too soon. They tried to tell me they consider the date to be when they are ordered and signed and not the date that they are collected. I said well in that case why could I not get them until Tuesday if it was signed? Surely you should consider the date to be the issue date and not the date ordered. Anyway they would not issue me with another prescription today until I had spoken to the GP who said "I don't see what the problem is - why did they not issue you with a prescription. What you are saying seems valid to me. Come back and I will sign one for you now" Grrrr

I bet the GP who refused to issue me a prescription has never had spinal surgery. I am now on a lot less strength painkillers and am reducing the daily amount I take. I said to the GP if I was going to overdose myself surely I would have done it when I was in chronic pain, depressed and on very strong drugs and not now when my life is going well and I am confident of eventual surgery success.

I am hoping to get up to Bolton market tomorrow to find the wool stall that is usually on Chorley market. I need to get some man colours for socks for Christmas. I must resolve not to be tempted by anything other than what I need as I already have so much in stash and the next couple of things I have to make are knitted garments for my niece once the wool arrives. I doubt if I will have any time to make anything for myself between now and Christmas.

Tuesday, 21 October 2008

Barcelona Jacket - my way

I started the Barcelona Jacket from (click on title of the blog to see the free pattern) and when I finished the body it would have fitted a very short elephant. I had dropped a hook size and my tension was spot on but the garment would have measured about 49" bust when it got the bands on plus it was barely long enough to skim the bust as you can see from the first photo. The sleeve instructions defy me (and a few people on Ravelry who also had a problem with it's size) so I will be making mine cuff up and not side to side.

I thought that the stitch was very pretty so I have restarted it without the pattern (2nd photo) and am doing it on the wing. It will resemble the photo of the pattern once it is finished but my version will be longer and more fitted, less floppy and with different sleeves. Why am I humming "I did it my way"?

I finished the Mei Mei from Doris Chan's Everyday Crochet hook. It still needs all the ends sewn in. That was the drawback to using unravelled wool. I had to tie knots in the centres of rows as I was racing to finish before the wool ran out. I have managed it with very little to spare. Hopefully it will flatten down more once it is washed or blocked out. I put 2 buttons on a tab so that they bolero can be worn buttoned as in the pattern or without them altogether.

I am hoping to get to crochet the shawl together later today. I have to pick up a prescription this afternoon and so I hope that the rain will stay off long enough for me to walk up the village in the rain. Today is alternating between sunshine and showers.

I have almost read my book "No Man's Land" and it made me very sad. I could identify with Paula when she had to live her life as a lie for most of her marriage. For entirely different reasons I stayed in mine. Mine was not living in the wrong sex.

I tried to be a Stepford Wife pretending to be happy cooking and cleaning playing the role of what I thought a good wife should be like whilst my insides were screaming to get out of the situation. I feel so lucky now to be able to do what I want, buy what I want without asking permission and having to justify everything that I needed. The constant domination and disapproval of everything I did has gone. My son does not understand the personal sacrifices I made for years to keep him financially secure.I suppose only a person who has been in my situation can understand. Now I am free to be as untidy and creative as I wish without fear. No-one but me to please. If I leave my wool and patterns lying about then it's OK. If I left my knitting unattended when I was married it would be tidied away and sometimes even thrown out if he was in that kind of mood. I have lost count of the number of patterns he binned because I committed the crime of leaving them around and on view. Anything he considered to be of no consequence to him he would get rid of. Even now if he visits he tries to dis me by telling me how cluttered the house is etc. I live in organised chaos and I love it. My house is reasonably clean but cluttered, busy and in my mind very lived in. Not for me the neat, place for everything show house. I love my clutter - it's part of me.

Monday, 20 October 2008

Well done the Bolton Knitting Noras

I just had an e mail from Vicky saying that the Knit In that she organised yesterday for the Knitting Noras National Knitting Week Knit In has raised £46 so far for the Bliss premature baby charity. She is hoping that it will reach £50 before she sends the money off. I still owe for my contribution towards the cakes and coffee as I forgot my purse yesterday so that will help to get it nearer to the amount. The knitting group is also making some premature baby blankets to send along with the money that we raised. Well done the Noras. Get those needles clicking and let's try to make some more blankets before the end of the month. I hope to make another couple but mine will be crocheted.

My books arrived today. I won't be making many from the shawl book as a lot of them are in circle motifs linked together. That is the one thing that I really don't like crocheting. Crocheted squares I will do but circles no. I suppose everyone has something they really don't like making. Mine is crocheted circles that I have to link together as I am crocheting and knitted squares. I don't know about making the loopy shawl but the black lacy and the aran style stoles are a possibility.

The other book is one that I have meant to read for a long time having met Paula Grieg many years ago. I tried to buy it at the time she wrote it and couldn't find it anywhere and forgot all about it until just recently. I discovered it for sale on Borders site when I ordered the shawl book.

I am transforming the loadsaballs that came from unravelling the DROPS circles bolero and am attempting to make the Mei Mei bolero for Vicky from Doris Chan's Everyday Crochet book. I say attempting as I am conscious of my rapidly depleting balls and I still have the front shaping to finish and the borders still to make.

Sunday, 19 October 2008

Great afternoon of knitting at Vicky's house

I spent a great afternoon knitting (or in my case crocheting) with friends at Vicky's house. Vicky had kindly offered us the use of her house for a Bliss baby blanket knitting session and a raffle in aid of the Bliss charity. I finished off Sarah's hat to match the shawl I finished earlier and I gave her the shawl and all of the hats and I think she liked them. She has had one lot of chemo and it gave her a rash.

I was fortunate enough to get offered a lift up to Vicky's but in the last minute packing of my things in the bag I forgot my purse. How embarrassing. I will have to make my donations to Bliss when I see Vicky the next time. Luckily I got a lift home as my bus pass was in the left at home purse.

The hat is made from the leftover wool from Sarah's shawl. I decided to make her a matching hat. I finished it off at Vicky's and so left the placement and stitching of the flowers to Sarah. She can either stitch them both on one side of the hat or one over each ear and look like something out of Star wars. Click on the blog title to get the free crochet pattern for the hat but the flowers are my own addition to add a bit of trim. If that link does not work then try

I took up a couple of prem baby blankets for the appeal but I will try to make some more before the deadline of the end of the month.

Gretchen brought her spinning wheel and had us all spellbound watching the wheel turn. She was spinning some roving that she had dyed at the workshop held at Touchstones by Debbie Tomkies in Rochdale yesterday. Kath brought her drop spindle and is doing very well considering she has only had it for a short time. Debbie Tomkies also came to knit with us.

I came home to be greeted by two of my neighbours children who wanted to donate the ladybird to the raffle for Breast Cancer at the Kings on Friday. I have sent a photo to Rachael to see if she wants it. They won it at a raffle and I think they consider themselves to be too old for a stuffed ladybird. Unfortunately they were swinging it down he street by it's antennae - boys will be boys - and so the ladybird now needs a stitch or two to stop his antennae waggling.

I fed my squirrel today but he would not pose for a photo. Look really hard in the plant pot and you will see his tail as he dives in the little white pot to get some nuts that I put out for him.

Thank goodness my dinner is already made. I made a thick soup/stew with the chicken carcass and vegetables yesterday and there is plenty left over for my dinner tonight. My bedding is washed but still wet in the washing machine so I think I wil go mad and use my dryer as I really hate wet bedding draped about the house. Clothes I can put up with - but not bedding.

Saturday, 18 October 2008

Woodland Shawl finished

I managed to work out the edging for the Woodland shawl from the Interweave Crochet Fall 08 magazine. I am not sure that is exactly true to the pattern but it looks OK to me on the shawl. As usual I did it my way!

I couldn't resist draping the shawl on my Staghorn Sumac tree which is particularly lovely at this time of year. The shawl colours remind me so much of this tree. When one of our wool shops (plus my mum's home) had to be demolished to make way for an Asda I took a cutting from the tree that was in the back yard garden and had been so much a part of my growing up years.

My mother had got the original cutting for that tree from huge trees that we all loved when we lived, when I was a young child, for a few months in North Wales with my aunt. My aunt owned a house called Glasfryn in Llanfair Talhaiarn and Staghorn Sumacs lined the top of the driveway. My brother has just revisited the house as he was attending a wedding nearby but it is looking shabby these days with no trees so I am glad that my mother, and later me, preserved an offshoot of one of them. Quite how they came to be in North Wales I am not sure as according the the Internet they are native trees of Canada. Perhaps there is a story to be told somewhere about their import to Wales.

As a child I loved living in Llanfair Talhaearn, a small village in the country but our thoughts of settling there permanently didn't work out as jobs were hard to get for my father and he finished up working in Abergele TB Sanatorium in the laundry, which he hated, and so we decided to return home to Royton and life in a very small town once again. As a child I didn't see the limitations of two buses per day to Abergele and the miles of travel for my brother to get to grammar school. I just remember running wild through the hay, oat and barley fields and riding on the huge farm cart horses with my dog (well my aunt's Retriever dog) Tinker by my side. Walking for miles to find the salmon weir and watching the fishermen catching the leaping fish. I had my first bite from a supposedly tame pet ferret during this time. I spent a few months in a totally welsh speaking junior school and managed to come away with only two words of Welsh! The village didn't have electricity at the time and I can remember being popular with the young children as we had a TV and electric light powered by an old temperamental generator in the shed. The cooking was done on an old Aga in the kitchen and in the winter no-one strayed far from there as the rest of the house was really cold.

Both of my knitting groups are going to Knitty Gritty Goes Large today at Touchstones in Rochdale and the Knitting Noras knitted garden will be on display along with some scarves that Rachael from the Kings Arms knitters has made for the statues. It is a day for finding out about knit, crochet, felting and dyeing. I was thinking about going but when I got up this morning I needed to be close to the smallest room in the house. I don't feel ill so perhaps it's something that I ate yesterday that has given me this upset tummy. Either way I think it's wisest to stay home until the feeling passes.

I will just settle down in my Barbie outfit (bright pink fleecy top with grey trousers trimmed with pink) and do some crocheting. The sun is shining even though it is cold and Mr/Mrs Squirrel has just come to the window to remind me that I haven't put the nuts out yet!

Friday, 17 October 2008

Woodland shawl edging

I have managed to recover a bit of my crochet mojo after losing it for a couple of days. I am attempting to make the Woodland shawl as shown in the front cover of Interweave Crochet Fall 08. The main part of the shawl has worked out fine although its shaping looked a little weird until I realized that the flowers of the edging sit between the pointed increases at the sides. I started the edging and unripped it so many times last night I gave myself a headache. I am determined to master the flower edging as it looks so pretty. I searched on blogs and Ravelry and I seem to be the only one who is struggling. Black Dog has made a really lovely version of it and says how lovely this edging is! Perhaps it will all become clearer today in daylight. I do struggle somewhat with the terminology and style of pattern writing of the US designers at the best of times. My previous misunderstanding of Doris Chan's patterns are legendary and well documented in my blog.

The hat is another hat in James C Brett's Marble Chunky and is once again destined for Sarah. A girl can never have too many hats when faced with the prospect of losing her hair through chemo. The pattern is a free one that I found on the net

As you know from my blog ( and Ambermoggies blog) it is Breast Cancer awareness month and we are all doing our bit to help promote it and raise funds. My blog friend Zuleika has put tempting 10% offers off her finished items on her blog plus she will be making donations to Breast Cancer from sales. If you click on the title of this blog page then it will take you to her blog.

I need to do some food shopping today so perhaps the walk will blow the cobwebs away and prepare me for another try at the shawl's flower edging.

Wednesday, 15 October 2008

Warm winter crochet hat

I made this hat from James C Brett's Marble chunky. I am not sure how many grams it took as the wool comes in 200 gram balls. I don't think I have half a ball left. I have linked the pattern to the blog title so click on it if you want to see which pattern I used.

I have done very little crochet (or knit) over the last 2 days. Yesterday afternoon I had a visit from a friend who I haven't seen for ages. He moved with his family from Manchester to Liverpool but had to be in Manchester on business yesterday so popped in to see me for a few hours. I can't believe his baby is now 6yrs old and going to school. It seems like a couple of years since she was born.

My son came in the evening and spent a few hours looking through his old school photos and scanning the ones that I hadn't managed to scan on Monday.

He has always hated the fact that people say he looks exactly like me. I appease him by saying I look like my father therefore he looks like his grandad. I suppose we do look similar even now despite the fact that he lost his hair quite young. So if you take away my hair and the beard (his) then perhaps we still do look alike.

My neighbour Julie had another operation yesterday at Christies to remove the chemo resistant lump that had welded itself to her pancreas, liver and kidney but I won't know the outcome for a couple of weeks as she is going to her mother's house to recuperate.

I heard today that my neighbour a few doors down died in hospital on Sunday. He was only the same age as me but got dementia along with other medical problems a couple of years ago. It's sad that he has never had the chance to enjoy his retirement. He loved my dog Buster and he was one of the only people (animal) whose name he could remember. Buster continued to look out for him every day when he got taken into hospital. He would walk up to his front window and look in to see if Peter was there.

Buster will not be coming home to live me with again. My son said last night that they want to keep him. I can't really say anything as he was their dog for 5 yrs and they gave him to me reluctantly when he had a few behavioural issues with the grand babies. Now he has calmed down and their young dog loves him to bits so they think it's a shame to part them now they are so used to being together all day. I am looking after him for a couple of days in November as they can't put him into kennels as he gets distressed. I am going to miss not having Buster back but I don't think I will get another dog even though they are good company. I will see how I feel about getting another animal. I have always had cats so maybe I will get a kitten or a rescue cat one day.

Today I nipped up to Bury and got the greenish autumn shaded wool from the wool shop and got the plain green to go with it and the shaded green along with the paler shaded wool from the market stall. With the wool that I bought wrongly for Sarah last week I am well ahead with my stash for shawls.