Wednesday, 29 April 2009

I think I am my street's dog warden

I spent yesterday afternoon trying to track down my neighbour from across the road. His beautiful Alaskan husky type dog had got himself tangled up in the woodpile and 2 bikes and because he was pinned down by his harness and lead proceeded to howl the neighbourhood down. I could see his predicament but as they have 5 ft fences and padlocked gates I could do nothing to free him. I finally tracked someone with his mobile number and left a message for him on his ansaphone. Eventually he came home and untangled his dog. I had to rescue the dog not long ago when he broke the fence panel down and was running up and down the street.

Today my next door neighbour presented me with Zippy the Staffordshire bull terrier from up the street who had got loose and didn't have a phone number on his collar for us to contact his owner who was at work. After a few whiny moments he settled down to a body massage and a tummy tickle. he had a sleep and then we played ball for the rest of the afternoon. Owner and Zippy were eventually re-united when she came home from work but Zippy decided he wanted to stay with me! He had to be bribed away with one of Buster's balls. I am thinking of starting a doggie day care service when I am fully fit again.

Needless to say not much crochet was done today and I also found out that Buster isn't the only dog who sheds like mad and will have to hoover my black crochet to rid it of Zippy's hairs now. I did manage to finish the border at the bottom of the cardigan. I now have a sleeve and a half to do plus the bands.

Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Crochet Today

As promised yesterday here are some of the projects that are featured in the May/June Crochet Today magazine. My personal opinion is that this magazine is far better value as it is £3.25 and has 24 patterns in it and quite a few of them are patterns that I know I will use. Perhaps I am prejudiced against Inside Crochet as it had so many circles projects which are my pet hate.

There is also a magnificent diamond patterned snake which for some reason I didn't photograph. I am not sure if it is a toy or an oversized draught stopper but it is 75" long and the head is 27" around. it is quite weighing over the small child it is photographed with. There would be an awful lot of crochet involved in that project and a ton of stuffing required to assemble,

I can see myself making the short sleeved jacket for my niece, perhaps the stole as a gift although it is in fine wool. The lacy jacket I liked at first glance but is is asymmetrical with each front and sleeve different. I love the circular cushion as it reminds me of a set of cushions made for me by my aunt when I got married. Sadly thrown away by my ex as he hated the hippy type bright colours. He was into the minimalistic black and white op art decor of the 60/70's. I even like the granny square cushion but I would need a stiff drink before I contemplated the afghans. I get bored far too easily to embark on anything that size.

I have started the Calendar crochet prop but I prefer not to show that until after it has been used in the shoot. I have run out of wool so will have to wait for the next wool delivery to do more on that. I am still ploughing on with my 4ply black cardigan. I think it is a big mistake to do 2 black projects one after the other.

I didn't get to the Kings Arms knitting club last night as I didn't have a lift and I just could not face going on the tram and bus with my knee. I hope one day to post that my knee is better but until then I will say no more except Please can I have a night's painfree sleep?

Monday, 27 April 2009

New Crochet Magazines

Yesterday I went to our monthly Knit Out of the Knitting Noras. We were a little depleted in numbers due to holidays and fatigue following visits to Wonderwool. Deb kindly gave me a lift there which I was really grateful for as my knee was still trying to recover from the Art Gallery steps.

I got a copy of the new Inside Crochet which Deb had picked up for me in Bolton and Crochet Today which Kath had managed to pick up a copy for me in Manchester. I do enjoy getting new crochet magazines although they are so much harder to find in newsagents than knitting magazines are. I love them and books even though I don't always make things from them. I have posted a few photos from Inside Crochet today. I will add Crochet Today tomorrow. I have to say that Inside crochet is less likely to be used by me as although a lot of the designs are nice I am just so not into crocheting circles as I really struggle linking them together. Inside crochet seem to have cornered the market with circles in this issue.

The Meadow scarf I might make for my niece as there are only 14 circular motifs and they only get joined on one side. The Cecily Moebius is worse at 42 circles joined on all sides. Personally I am not into Moebius at all. I prefer a straightforward scarf. Ellie is a child's bolero that would only ever get used as a party jacket or a bridesmaid outfit but I shudder at 115 circular crochet motifs joined on all sides and so it is definitely not on my project list.

As for the socks - well decorative is probably the right word to use. I doubt if they would be comfy in my shoes when out walking. Sacha Kagan's granny fringed top may appeal to some but even the hippy within won't let me make and wear that myself. Not even over a T shirt. Although I have enjoyed reading the magazine I do think it is a bit over priced at £4.99 as it is riddled with adverts and promotional features and only has 13 patterns.

I took Lisa's jacket to the Knit out and left it with Bev to give to Lisa when she comes back from her camping trip. Bev is a similar size to Lisa so kindly modelled the Granny takes a trip jacket as when I put things on Flickr I always get requests for photos of me wearing things which is a bit difficult when I am twice the size as the person that I have made the garment for!

Sunday, 26 April 2009

Bride and Groom - Kath and Chris

Introducing the Bride and Groom - Kath my niece and her husband Chris who married in the Manchester Art Gallery on Saturday.

It was a lovely day with the sun shining. The bride was, of course, stunning in a tailored short dress made in a style reminiscent of Audrey Hepburn or Jackie Onassis. She is very slender so suits the tailored line of the dress, The groom was suitably nervous and paced about in the Lowry room before the bride arrived.

It did feel at first slightly odd to be wandering around an art gallery on the way to a wedding. I must go back someday soon for a better look around. The wedding had some hilarity when two funny poems were read out. One by my elder niece and one by the sister of the bridegroom who won the prize with her family for travelling the furthest to attend the wedding. They live in Australia.

As my niece and her husband signed the register some wag in the congregation remarked that they might have put a more cheerful picture on the wall instead of some guy pushing a handcart in the rain. Perhaps he missed the point that this is the Lowry Room and the artist isn't really noted for cheerful colourful scenes.

I had my photo taken with the family almost underneath a huge picture of naked ladies frolicking about. I thought it was rather apt in view of the Naked Knitting Calendar.

The tables were set for our meal in the modern glass extension and a nice touch was the floral arrangements were in silver tubs and guests were invited to take them home and plant them in their gardens if they so wished. I got a pot of white daisies which I will plant later in the week. Each plate setting also got a packet of poppy seeds with the request to sow them as a reminder of the wedding which I thought was a novel idea.

We had a lovely meal and then as my brother described it - the dreaded disco. Everyone had been asked to chose 3 songs they would guarantee that they got up and danced so the music was what everyone had chosen rather than the DJ's choice. The bride and groom's friends were dancing right up until the end of the night including the bride who kicked off her shoes towards the end!

I wish the Bride and Groom a long life together and that they have a good honeymoon in Morocco.

Friday, 24 April 2009

How to jazz up a walking stick for a wedding

My walking stick is rather battered but as I will need to carry it tomorrow at the wedding I decided to jazz it up with a few crochet flowers. I know that the flowers aren't very Spring like in their colour but as my dress is cream with these shades in it plus a bit of black and my cardigan is black I didn't want to introduce any more colours into my ensemble. I found the flower pattern on You Tube. It is one of Teresa's crochet tutorials and is called Crochet Pansies. My pansies only have 4 petals though instead of the 5 on the video as my wool is a lot thicker than the crochet cotton that she uses. Even now my pansies don't lie flat. I stitched them to a black band of crochet and stitched that band directly onto my stick stretching it taut as I sewed. I will have to hope that it doesn't start slowly sliding down the stick as I walk!

The Bolton Knitting Noras have been featured in a few knitting magazines with regard to our future Naked Knitting Calendar We are in Let's Knit, Knitting and Simply Knitting as well as being featured in Rowan's May newsletter. If you click on the blog title it will take you to the Naked Knitting Calendar blog with the full story.

My 4ply cardigan will not be finished in time for the wedding as I suspected. Last night I only managed a couple of rows before falling asleep. I have been having too many broken nights of late. I will try to finish it off although I need to start my project for the Calendar as it will be required soon for a photo shoot. I still have most of one front, 2 sleeves, front bands and all of the fancy edgings to make so it will be a few days before it is finished.

Thursday, 23 April 2009

Doris likes my cardigan

I am so chuffed. Doris Chan has left me a comment on my black cardigan on Ravelry. She must like my adaptation of her patterns. I alter patterns at whim to suit myself but I would never really call myself a designer as I pinch bits of ideas from other people and work on them and do things my way. I am more of a pattern adaptor. I look at things and make a copy(ish) of them. I frequently get asked did you write it down or can you tell me how you did it and I can't. I wing things as I go along and never make exactly the same thing twice. No-one would understand my pattern writing anyway. On the odd times I have written down my adaptations even I can't understand what I mean when I come to read them back later so what chance has anyone else!

The wool that you see today arrived by post for me to crochet a project for use in the Naked Knitting Calendar. The wool is 90% Alpaca and feels absolutely gorgeous. I am really going to enjoy working with this. If you want to know more about Debbie Tomkies who dyed and donated this wool to us then click on my blog title. She runs some dyeing workshops that quite a few of the Knitting Noras have attended and had great fun at them. Debbie is supporting us on her home page and will be at Wonderwool for those of you fortunate enough to be going this weekend. If you see Debbie then please tell her Hi from me and that I LOVE her wool and do go along to her stall and scrunch her wool as it's yummy. I hope that my crochet will do the wool justice.

I shall refrain from making a knee comment today except to say that I have resorted to Comfrey Oil. My mother used to swear by Comfrey and my grandad used to grow it on his allotment. Any sprains etc we used to have to stick the relevant bit in a bucket with comfrey leaves boiled up with water. It used to look and smell disgusting but I do remember it did the trick most times. I think when I start to cultivate my garden pots again I shall start growing some medicinal herbs along with the vegetables. I can't remember what a lot of them were that grew in grandad's allotment but he seemed to have something growing for most ailments. I know Ambermoggie will know I must ask her when she gets back from Wonderwool.

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

The second black crochet cardigan

I am still working on the 4ply black crochet cardigan in case I have time to finish it off before Saturday. As you can see from the pattern it will be the prettier of the two cardigans but I stopped work on it as it is on a 2.50 hook and 4ply Wash n wear so will take me longer to finish. I have managed to finish the back and make one front so far but there is a long way to go yet.

The finished black cardigan fits well. On reflection I think I should have tapered the sleeves but it is finished off now so I will make do with the bell sleeves.

Today was sunny for a couple of hours so I did manage to get out into the garden for a crochet. Unfortunately it went dull in the afternoon so I came in again.

My knee was very painful yesterday evening after my walk to the village for some shopping. I cannot keep staying home, I know that I have to exercise it but the pain afterwards is making me feel really down. I do hope that it starts to improve very soon.

I have to walk to the village tomorrow and will rest all Friday and just hope that my knee isn't too painful for the wedding. Days like this I wish I had never had my knee done. In many ways it is more painful than my spinal surgery was. At least I got respite from the pain when I was sitting down with that pain. This pain is continuous whether I am sitting or lying down.

Tuesday, 21 April 2009

My crochet jacket is finished but the sun has gone in

I settled down to another lovely day in the back garden but after a couple of hours the sun has disappeared and clouds are here instead.
I guess that I will just have to go food shopping instead. I have been putting it off for a week but as I really don't like shopping but as I have run out of bread and milk I guess I had better reach my 4 wheeler out from the garage, put some real clothes on and sally forth.

I have finished off the jacket. It is difficult to describe it. For anyone with a Doris Chan Everyday Crochet book - it started off as a Haru, has the sleeves of Jewel without the tapering and the curved bottom edge similar to the Mei Mei. I will continue with the 4ply cardigan as that will be prettier than this jacket and I may finish it off in time for the wedding on Saturday.

My knee woke me a couple of times last night so I didn't get a good night's sleep. I have rearranged my CPAP check appointment for Friday as I don't think I can walk from the Metro station to the hospital and back again. I don't want to ruin my trip to the wedding by making my knee too sore to walk on it.

Monday, 20 April 2009

Oh how I love the sun

I love the sun. I was meant for warmer climes. My tired old bones and my arthritis warm up lovely with a bit of sunshine. Housework - forget it for tomorrow it may rain.

I was out most of the day today crocheting and reading in the garden. My chest is as red as a baboon's bum despite my sunscreen but I am of the optimistic nature that what turns red will eventually turn brown. I want a bit of colour for the wedding on Saturday. I had tried some of the tinted suncream at the weekend and turned a streaky shade of yellow so I am hoping that the sun will rectify my stripiness. Another day of sun tomorrow please!
The only problem is that my colour will all be at the front as I can't lie on my knee on the sun lounger to get the back of me and my legs tanned. It's far too painful to put that kind of pressure on my knee. I will have to stay with my back to the wall at all times at the wedding. Perhaps I will have to stand with my back to the sun tomorrow.

I have almost finished the Haru/Cinnabar/Mei Mei cardigan I only have a couple more rows plain to do on the body before I do the
4 rows of bolero shaping and then will only have the border to do.

I didn't get to the Kings Arms Knitting Club tonight as Charlie isn't well and there is no way that I can walk far enough to go by bus and tram. The trams are stopping at Victoria for the next 5 months for track renovations in the city centre and I would have to walk from there to Shudehill to catch the bus. They are laying on shuttle buses but they run from Corporation Street and that is more than half way to Shudehill from Victoria so no point waiting 20 mins for a bus for half a stop. At times like these I really miss not having my car anymore but I am sure that once I am fully mobile again then I will be OK.

The flowering cherry tree is at it's best today and so far the winds haven't destroyed it and blown it's petals down the street. I hope that I will have another couple of days to enjoy it. It is a beautiful tree but it's blossom lasts such a short time. One year we went on holiday and missed it's flowering altogether. We went away when it was budding and came back to just leaves and no flowers. They had all blown away!

Sunday, 19 April 2009

Lovely Sunny Day

I awoke today to a beautiful sunny day. All thoughts of doing any chores went on hold and I decided that the day was so gorgeous I would spend it with my crochet out in the garden.

I sat there in the sunshine hearing nothing but birdsong and the occasional wuff from my next door neighbour Julie's dogs. Then from a couple of houses away I heard a newborn baby mewing and I thought back to when we first moved here 41 yrs ago as newlyweds. Then it was us who had the mewing baby and we were the young ones of the street. My older neighbours have either passed away, moved to bungalows or sheltered accommodation and now I am one of the oldies on the street. The houses have gradually changed hands and young couples have moved in. We have had 4 new babies born in the last 12 months and I have noticed that both of the new neighbours who moved in this year are expecting. Once again the street will be filled with young children.

When we moved here the couple who were selling the house told us that they were reluctant to sell the house as they loved the location, the sunshine and privacy of the back garden but needed to move to a bungalow. At the time we thought it was just a selling point but came to realise how right they were. After my marriage broke up I fought hard to keep the house even though it was a financial struggle as I love the location also. I am on a street of houses but as you can see from the views from my back and front I am surrounded with greenery and have a woodland just at the end of my street. Everyone who calls remarks on the view from my back rooms. People who have stayed with me have remarked how quiet it is and yet I am only 5 minutes away from a motorway.

Today as I did my crochet in the garden several birds visited me, a few cats and Julie's dogs who made their way through the hedge to visit me. The only raucous noise was a cheeky magpie who strutted his stuff up and down the garden.

I have now done quite a bit of the body of the black Haru and some of one sleeve which I am making full length. I am considering making the bottom of the jacket with bolero type shaping as in the Mei Mei illustrated on the Everyday Crochet book's front cover

Thanks Knitnurd for the tips about the cardboard box for my knee. I slept most of last night but I did waken up almost skewered on one of the legs of the bathroom tidy as I can only fit one leg inside the "cage" Talk about up close and personal it's a good job that the leg has a plastic knob on the end! I think I had better try to search out a box at the grocery store soon.

Saturday, 18 April 2009

Necessity is the mother of all inventions

Necessity is the mother of all inventions was one of my Father's favourite expressions. What has that got to do with my blog you may ask. In the wee small hours this morning I woke up in extreme pain as per usual when even the duvet was causing more pain to my knee with it's heaviness. I have tried over the last couple of weeks to make a nest for my knee using pillows and nothing seemed to work. Last night I got up for a bathroom trip and to try to walk the pain off when my eyes spotted the under washbasin tidy. Brain wave. It's circular and could make a cage for the bedding to keep the weight off my knee. I threw all the contents off it and limped in the bedroom with it. Eureka. Instant leg cage. It must have worked as I slept the rest of the night and work up in a lot less pain than usual.

My niece came today to do my roots ready for her sister's wedding next Saturday and had such a laugh when I showed her the new use for the bathroom tidy. She said it doesn't matter how silly it looks as long as it works. She then made me feel better by saying that her work colleague had the same op and felt worse for a few weeks but is now glad that she had the op done as all is fine.

The jacket is progressing slowly and I have high hopes of it being finished to wear for the wedding.

The first photo is one of the promotional photos taken for the Knitting Noras Naked Knitting Calendar. Lisa, Vicky and Bev are shown wearing nothing but shawls and I presume big smiles as by all accounts they had a whale of a time taking the photos last week. I am proud that 2 of the shawls used in the photo came from my hands. The adaptation of Blue Curacao by Doris Chan worn by Lisa on the left and the Sweet Pea shawl from Stitch and Bitch worn by Bev on the right. I hope that you are all following our blogs and if anyone wants to pre order a calendar then please visit the TKN web page (no money required at this stage) and show us some support. The Naked Knitting blog is updated regularly to show which stage of the calendar we are up to presently. Follow the links from my favourite blogs on the right hand side of the page.

Another of the Knitting Noras has ventured into blogland. Eadaoin has her own blog and I will post the link on my favourite blogs links. Eadaoin has a dry sense of humour and always makes me smile with her quirky comments. She always has a quick come back comment whereas I think of my comments much later when I am alone and in bed. It's amazing the funny things I say then, I even make myself laugh. I must have a delayed response.

Today is sunny but rather chilly. I can hear my neighbour Julie's lawn mower whirring away making me feel rather guilty that my grass is similar to the verse in Oklahoma where they sing the grass is as high as an elephant's eye! Maybe I can totter the mower down the steps after lunch.

Friday, 17 April 2009

Apparently I am a Chanatic

Ravelry have a Doris Chan forum and yesterday Skeinfest started a topic on who was a Chanatic (Doris Chan Fanatic) and how many projects had anyone made plus how many had made a design more than once. Skeinfest has made 13 and when I counted up I was amazed to find that this latest project will be my 21st! A lot are repeats of the same pattern. Some are adaptations of her designs but I still attribute them to her as they started off using her patterns before they morphed into one of mine. Zuleika (Life in the Zu) said ages ago that I was a Doris Chan groupie and now I think that she might be right. In my defence I will stay that most of them were for family and friends and didn't finish up in my wardrobe.

Last night I started the Haru from Everyday Crochet but it will evolve a little as I will put long sleeves on it and some kind of a front fastening.It will be a bit of Haru but with the sleeves of Cinnabar. I may put the front shaping of Mei Mei on it but I haven't as yet made my mind up about that. I am using Robin Double Knitting that I bought from Abakhan yesterday.

I have taken a photo of the tree in my garden. It is one of the flowering cherry family but I have forgotten it's exact name. It flowers every year and the minute the flowers come out it is always a signal for the high winds to start and blow all the flowers away within a couple of weeks. Such a shame. So pretty for such a short time. The street will look like a churchyard scattered with confetti after a wedding in a few days time. I love the red colours of the bush underneath the tree. Again as I am not a gardener I have no idea what it is called.

I have strapped my knee up with a crepe bandage today and am staying home to rest it. I keep hoping that one day it will be back to normal. The sooner the better as far as I am concerned. I get stir crazy when I have to stay in for too long.

Thursday, 16 April 2009

Buster may have gone home but his hair lingers on!

I didn't get to Bury market yesterday as my IBS decided to make it's presence felt and I could not stray too far away from the smallest room. I decided therefore to resurrect a hibernated 4ply black crochet cardigan that I had started a couple of years ago and left half way up the back. I have finished the back but I am not altogether happy with it to wear with my dress for my niece's wedding. I looked at my crochet this morning to find it is liberally sprinkled with Buster's hair. I have sponge cleaned the sofa,washed all the throws and cushions, hoovered and dusted the front room within an inch of it's life and still I have dog hair! Arghhh.

Today I met up with fellow Knitting Nora Jen in Manchester for a chat and a wander about. Not much of a wander for me with my knee. It didn't help that the trams have stopped running through Manchester and terminated at Victoria Station. We caught a cab up to Abakhan and had a look around there. We wandered down to the Arndale and had a bite to eat and then went to M&S to see if I could find anything to wear on my feet. After trying a couple of pairs on that I couldn't fit on my swollen feet I decided to call it a day. I will either have to wear a pair of old sandals that fit me or do a Sandy Shaw and go barefoot to my niece's wedding! Jen was very patient with me as we had to keep finding benches whilst I had a sit down.I am sure that she would probably have looked in more shops but for me holding her back. Drat this knee.

On the way home I met a neighbour whose sister in law has had the same op as me and he was surprised to see me up and hobbling about. Apparently she got told to use her knee in the house but stay off it whilst out and about for 6 weeks and got issued with crutches. Hers is strapped up whereas I got told to go home and carry on as normal and not to strap it at all. I don't feel such a wimp now hobbling about in pain. Maybe I shouldn't have been using it as much as I have been and rested it more.

I am going to browse in the crochet books now and see if I can find a better pattern to use with my black double knit. Poor 4ply cardigan hibernated once again!

Tuesday, 14 April 2009

More photos of Granny Takes a trip

I tried the "Granny Takes a Trip" jacket on today and immediately started singing "I wore my coat of many colours" from Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dream Coat. Lisa intends to wear the jacket when she visits the festivals this summer. I hope for her sake that it is not a hot summer as she will swelter in this jacket.

If you look closely you will see that there are two of each square in the jacket. I think I did well to make 38 squares without repeating a sequence. I am showing both sleeves as each godet is a different colour making the sleeves different to each other. The edging has loops with shells made in each loop. three of these will form the button holes for the front. That is the one thing I have left to make. 3 crochet buttons.

I haven't done any crochet last night or today so far. Last night it was after 7pm when my son and his wife picked Buster up. I didn't have any dog food left for his dinner so I didn't make my dinner until he had gone home as I could not stand his little face looking at me for his dinner. By the time I had made dinner and eaten it I just fell asleep on the sofa.

Today I am cleaning the lounge, stairs and my bedroom. I have had to wash the throws and all of the cushions. I don't know how I coped when I had Buster full time. He sheds so much hair. I will do the dining room and kitchen tomorrow.

I hope to do some crochet when I have finished for the day if I am not too tired.