Monday, 29 June 2009

Woolfest - Part Two

I think that I have recovered mentally from Woolfest now but my knee still harbours a grudge.

Here are some more photos that I took at Woolfest before I put my camera away when I got too hot to be bothered. The photo of me is one that Eadaoin took whilst I was cooling down in the refreshment tent. I have shamelessly pinched it from her Flickr site! My name necklet is so that I could remember just who I was by the end of the day. I did also had a luggage label attached to my bag like Paddington Bear.

If you click on my blog title it will take you to Ambermoggies blog where she has two posts with far better photos of the stalls plus descriptions of which stall was which. Amber and Mr Mog took them before it got too crowded and before most of the stash had been bought so they are a far better representation of the stalls as they first were before they got raided by the customers.

Yesterday I was totally knackered and did not go to our monthly Knit Out at the Knitting Noras. I doubt if many of us went as we were all pretty tired out after Woolfest.

I did sit in the garden in between torrential rain and have crocheted 10 squares on a mohair sweater that I am making for Kath. I will post photos and a link to the pattern tomorrow.

The weather is gorgeous again today so I am going to drop everything and go into the garden with my crochet but first I have to collect my prescription from the doctors.

Sunday, 28 June 2009

Woolfest - Part One

Just photos of the animals today. Whilst I enjoyed my first visit to Woolfest I have to say that I felt so sorry for the poor animals. It was far too hot and a lot of the sheep were panting. The alpaca's faired better as they had been shorn as you can see from the photos. I didn't write down any names of the brands of the sheep but if you click on my blog title it should take you to Eadaoin's photos and she was far more efficient than I was and gave most of the sheep labels.

I didn't take many photos of the stalls and the ones that I did take I will post tomorrow with more details of the show. Ambermoggie may have some photos of the stalls on her blog today or tomorrow and as Ambermoggie and Mr Mog had the advantage of taking the photos before the show opened and before anything was sold I am sure that their photos will be great and a lot more viewable than mine. Keep an eye out for her blog posts.

For now I am recovering from am extremely hot and tiring day and sorry to say it about the sheep and alpacas but you did smell dreadful!

Friday, 26 June 2009

Getting ready for Woolfest

Only one more sleep until Woolfest. I know it is already open today but I won't be there until tomorrow. I am going along with my fellow Knitting Noras and as this is my first visit I am quite excited and I hope that the day stays fine for us.

Today I have pinned my name initials on my hessian Tesco bag which will hold my butties, drinks, camera and of course a bit of crochet to work on if I get any spare minutes in the day, I feel like a kid going on a school trip. I have made my check list, ironed my top, polished my shoes so that everything is ready for the morning. I am not the brightest star when I first wake up so want everything to be there ready to pick up without having to scrabble around packing at the last minute.

I had to go to Tesco for some bread so I managed to pick up some sandwiches with tomorrow's date on them that weren't on that disgusting malted bread. Why do Tesco insist that we want malted bread? It doesn't matter what fillings are in the sandwiches as the strong taste of the bread swamps out any flavour the sandwich might have. Does anyone actually like malted bread or have we all been brainwashed into thinking it is good for us so therefore me must eat it? What is wrong with a bit of Wholemeal or Oatmeal bread? I have got a container of prepared fresh fruit so I must remember to pack a spoon otherwise I will have baby high chair manners and a dribbly chin when I eat it. I have a small pack of wet wipes just in case.

I have managed to finish off the last front band on the baby cardigan for Sylvia. I have one more cardigan to go but I am not starting it on the coach as I use long knitting needles and am at risk of poking my seat companion's eye out if we go over a bump. Safer to stick with a crochet hook methinks. Memo to self - do a sample piece tonight to check tension before packing wool, pattern and hook.

I hope to take plenty of photos so expect a plethora of sheep and alpaca in various poses tomorrow.

Thursday, 25 June 2009

Not much knitting done today - phonecalls got in the way

Too many phone calls today. I don't mean the nice phone calls from friends which I am always glad to receive I mean the try to sort out what went wrong phone calls.

The postman brought me my bank statements this morning. They had also sent me one for an almost dormant savings account as they do from time to time and to my horror I discovered direct debits coming out of it to some insurance company. I rang the bank and they gave me the phone number for the company taking out the money. I rang them to be informed that my name was Mark blah de blah I was 23 yrs old and it was my car insurance and I must live at 55 blah de blah. I assured them that I was a female of advancing years who didn't own a car any more, who didn't know Mark, and was at the opposite end of the country from 55 blah de blah. Ah but he has given us this bank account number with Lloyds bank. I said well there is one mistake right away as I don't bank with Lloyds bank. You have the right account number but the wrong bank. They refused to stop the direct debit and refund my money and told me to get in touch with my bank.

I did so and I must say that the bank were immediately helpful especially since I was able to give them so much information about Mark. They stopped the direct debit and applied for my money to be refunded immediately which leaves poor Mark driving around now without his insurance. It's scary isn't it that they can take money from an account that has the same number but a different bank and a different name.You would think that alarm bells would have rung long before I had paid Mark's insurance for 2 months. I am just glad that the bank chose to send my statement today and not wait for a few months as they usually do with this account.

My brother called this afternoon and brought me a bottle of wine that was from my niece's wedding. Apparently they had some bottles left undrunk that they had ordered for the wedding meal so my niece wanted them distributing amongst the family.That was really nice of her to think of me.

I have made a name band for Woolfest in case anyone is in doubt that it is me. I have also made some initials that may get sewn onto my knitting bag for good measure. As I am not by nature a shy shrinking violet I don't mind wandering around looking like a right plonker. I am an individual, very chatty, larger than life blonde so why not celebrate the fact and announce my presence to the world ( well Woolfest's small world)?

Thanks to everyone for the lovely comments about the Drops circles jacket. It is a very easy project to crochet so anyone dithering, as I did for ages, whether to make one I would say if you like it then go ahead and make it. It is very easy pattern to make (is free online) and to size no matter what wool thickness you use as you just keep trying it on to make sure that the armholes are in the right place and the circle is large enough at the end.Mine is a bit on the smaller side for me if I am honest but I know of old that James C Brett's Marble yarn gives a lot in wear especially in such a lacy pattern so no doubt it will be a lot looser by the end of a day's wear.

The baby cardigan is stitched together now so I just have the front and neck bands to knit. Hopefully a photo tomorrow.

Tomorrow I have to do some shopping and collect a mystery package from the post office that apparently they tried to deliver this morning with postage to pay on it. The postman must have knocked on the door with a wet sponge, as my dad used to say, as I was in and never heard a thing despite not having the TV or Radio on.

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

Crocheted Circles Jacket is Finished

I have finished the Drops Circles jacket. It's a free pattern if you visit the Drops Garnstudio site. Overall I think I am pleased with it but I have had to make a few amendments to make it more my style. I haven't made the circle as big as the pattern states but as I mentioned before I am not overly fond of huge jackets that swamp me. This version took exactly 3 balls of James C Brett's Marble Chunky but I did narrow the sleeves as they were rather huge so it probably would have taken more wool had I not done this.

After trying it on I had to run a couple of drawstring threads through the back of the neck to gather it up as I found it impossible to keep it up on my shoulders. The collar just would not sit right at all. I have quite narrow shoulders compared with the rest of me so I am used to having to narrow shoulders on garments that I make for myself. Also after trying the jacket on I decided that I needed to add a third button as I didn't like the way it gaped at the waistline. Probably something to do with the fact that I didn't make my circle large enough and the fact that I don't really have a waistline!

It is a gorgeous day so I am out in the garden doing a bit of crochet. I have just had lunch of some lovely garlic and herb cheese with tomatoes and cucumber. I had a little laugh to myself as I though no wonder you are still looking for Mr Right when you snack on things like this! Not exactly Miss Sweet Breath am I?

Monday, 22 June 2009

Circle jacket progresses

As per usual I am crocheting the sleeves before I finish off the body of the circle jacket. I don't like crocheting sleeves at the end as it is more weight to heave around whilst I am making them plus I am not sure if I have enough wool and so might need to nip up to Bury market on Wednesday for another ball to finish it off. I will have a better idea once the sleeves are finished. I think that I might have to run a strengthening thread across the shoulders as when I try it on it feels like it is falling off all the time. When it is all completed I will have a better idea of how the collar sits. I read on Ravelry that a few people have had difficulties with keeping the jacket on their shoulders with the weight of the collar.It might need reinforcing with a piece of narrow ribbon as we used to use to stop shoulder seams drooping years ago. No-one does that anymore. It was quite a normal thing to do when I was a girl to strengthen the shoulder seams and cardigan button bands with petersham ribbon to stop them stretching out of shape.

I popped up to the local shops today for some food shopping. I didn't go out at the weekend so essentials like milk and bread had run out. I always glance, usually in vain, in the local charity shops in case someone has donated wool. Today I was in luck I got 12 x 40 grams Lindsey brushed chunky for the princely sum of 50p a ball. Yes I know that I am going to Woolfest at the weekend but they won't have any bargains to equal that there.

I not only did the sleeve of the baby cardigan that I had set myself a task to do last night but I also almost finished the second sleeve so only have the bands to knit and the sewing up to do. Then of course there is the second cardigan to knit. I will use another pattern for that one as I was not over fond of this pattern. It was one of those where it writes lines of pattern and then you have to decipher the bits in brackets whether or not you actually do that bit or another bit depending on what size you am doing. I have done that before but not when there are 3 separate bits of instructions before the actual pattern repeat starts. Patterns never used to be this complicated. I should have photocopied it and crossed out all the bits not relevant to the size I was knitting before I started.

I have put a new link to Jam and Jerusalems blog as she has been having some trouble with the old blog and as it seems to have vanished overnight without a trace she has made a new one now. I have ammended the link on the right hand side of my page. She has got a free pattern for a cute crochet chick and an adorable knitted sheep on her blog.

Sunday, 21 June 2009

The Lure of the Crochet Hook

I heeded the siren call of the crochet hook. After falling asleep 3 nights in a row mid row over the baby knitting I decided that to save my sanity I would have to also have some crochet as well as the knitting. I have been promising myself that I would make a circles jacket ever since I saw the magnificent version made by Svetlana. The pattern is a free one by Drops 99-3 and is called circle jacket. There are many versions of this jacket on Ravelry some good, some bad and some just plain ugly but Svetlana's version (2nd photo) really caught my eye as I am not a lover of anything too big and droopy. As I am a big girl I don't think it does me any favours wearing something huge. I then saw another finished version on Queen Belicious's blog Crochet Therapy and looked at her photos on Ravelry (she is Angrysnail on there) and that made me decide to start one.

Incidentally if you are a member of Ravelry check out Svetlana's projects. That lady is one heck of a great knitter and crocheter. Everything she makes is superb. I wish that I had her skills.

I am making my circles jacket in totally the wrong wool. Well I do like a challenge. I think that I should be using something equivalent to a thick double knit but as I am using a 6mm hook and wanted a firm rather than floppy design I am using my favourite James C Brett's Marble Chunky. It's always rather a gamble when using patterns from the US or the continent as their interpretation of wool thicknesses is entirely different to the UK versions so it's always hit and miss unless you manage to scour the net for the exact yarn which I mostly can't be bothered to do. So far my version seems to be turning out to size which is pretty amazing considering. The big loops that are either side of the circle will eventually be the sleeves. It looks a little strange at the moment but hopefully it will be alright on the night as they say.

I have completed the back and two fronts on the baby cardigan so am going to make a sleeve before I allow myself any crochet today. It is rather like bribing a child to take it's cough medicine with the promise of a sweet at the end. I used to sit and knit for hours a few years ago but now I just get very bored and want to crochet. Not much hope for all of my languishing sock wool then is there? Maybe the knitting bug will strike again if I get fed up of crocheting.

My knee isn't too bad today but that is mainly due to the fact I have not stepped out of my front door since Tuesday. Although it is the short term answer to my knee pain I don't want to spend the rest of my life not going anywhere. I hope that my referral to hydrotherapy comes through quite quickly.

Thursday, 18 June 2009

Using two pointy sticks

Slow progress from now on folks. I am wielding two pointy sticks for the first time in ages. Knitting is no longer my first love. It hasn't been for quite a while now. I do it from time to time just to prove that I haven't forgotten how to.

I am making a couple of baby cardigans for a friend of Sylvia. Well not quite baby size more 20-22" size. I am making the pattern on the bottom left with the frilled edge for one of them but will probably change pattern for the second one even though they are for two little girls.

A quiet day today so far. I am resting my knee. There are a million things that I should be doing like housework but I can find a million reasons not to do stuff like that. It doesn't take much to distract me from housework these days ;)

I will attempt to stick with the knitting tonight but I have the distinct feeling that the crochet hook will distract me later. Wool, hook and pattern are calling to me like a siren call.

Wednesday, 17 June 2009

Wrist wrecker wrap is finally finished

The wrap intended for the mermaid's tail is finally finished. It is not a project that I am proud of. I have never worked with hand dyed wool before except for a pair of socks so had no idea that the colour would vary so much from ball to ball creating a striped effect. So disappointing. Coupled with the fact that I was doing a pattern that involved putting 9 UK triple trebles into a fan pattern shape which is not the thing to do when you have arthritis in both thumbs and wrists. To compensate for the vast colour changed I have crocheted some faux seaweed strands that can hopefully be draped over the stripes to break them up. I think that the tail edge needs some jagged chain or curlicue effects but I will leave that to Lisa to sort that bit out. I will cheerfully wave the wrap goodbye.

The pattern stitch is a lovely one for anyone not suffering with wrist problems and can be found on a throw pattern from called Twilight Shells Throw. Quite how anyone crochets a large throw all in one fills me with admiration. They must live in a very cold climate and crochet it in the winter and not be a person who gets easily bored by the repetition of the stitch. This wrap got quite heavy towards the end and it is only 36 x 64"

I am so looking forward to starting something new. I have to make two baby cardigans in knitting first before I can start any more crochet. I am a bit tired though as I got very little sleep again last night and gave in and got up around 5.30am. The pain is better when I am up and about. It gets worse when I lie in one position. I nodded off this afternoon for a half hour so that will keep me going for a while.

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

Poppy has a haircut

When Poppy came for a visit today she had been shorn. Her hair was getting long and with this warm weather she was probably a bit hot so Julie took her and Buddy for a trim today. I tried to take her photo but she is such a live wire. She never stops trotting about long enough for me to take her photo. I had to seize the moment when she stopped for a scratch hence the very bad photo. Buster was a total ham he would pose whenever the camera came out so I have lots of lovely photos of him.I am glad that I have them now that I rarely see him. I do miss him but I am still not fit enough to even contemplate having him back again on a permanent basis. He is happy enough with my son and daughter in law and their dog. He is still in the family so it's not like I had to give him away.

Still nothing to report on the knitting scene. I didn't do much crochet or knitting when I got back from the Kings Arms Knit Club last night and today I had to go for physio to the hospital so nothing done today so far.I think that I have done so much over the last few weeks that I am in a bit of a lull. I have so much to do but I just can't seem to motivate myself. I do this for a few days and then I resume again at the same pace as usual. A lot of it is to do with tiredness. If I could just get a night or two of uninterrupted sleep then I would be back to full strength. My physio has referred me for hydrotherapy as my exercises are not producing the expected results. She asked me what I hoped to gain from physio and I said I just want to walk again - that's all I want. To be able to walk relatively pain free again would be a success. All anyone says to me though is that my arthritis is so bad in my knees that I shouldn't expect too much. Bone wearing on bone is painful they admit that bit and say there is not a lot that can be done but then say it's not bad enough yet for a new knee. How bad does it have to get? I bet if it was their knee they would get a new one asap.

The physio has just rung me now and asked me what days/times I can go to hydrotherapy so it sounds promising. I hope that I don't have too long a wait before I get my appointment. I am going to try a bit of crochet or knitting before dinner. I had a very late lunch I won't be ready to eat again for quite a while.

Monday, 15 June 2009

A Glimpse of me on TV again

Tonight the Kings Arms Salford knitters were featured on BBC 1 North West Tonight. They had filmed the knitters a couple of months ago but they only aired it tonight. They interviewed Rachael, Jane with her plarn (plastic bags cut into strips to make yarn for knitting bags) Marie and Roger with his crocheting. I did catch a very brief glimpse of myself and Charlie as the camera panned around the room. The Knitted chandelier also featured in the programme. The photos on here are old photos taken at the Kings some time ago.

Today I met up with Sylvia and Kath in Manchester. We went into Abakhan but I was very restrained and only came away with a crochet pattern. Sylvia and Kath bought a selection of wool. We had a lovely meal in Simple on Tib Street. It always makes a lovely change for me to get out and about but my knee lets me down and really pains me. I am so fed up of not being able to walk properly and wanting to sit down all of the time. I have an appointment with the physio tomorrow. I have been doing the exercises that she gave me but if anything my knee is worse than it was before I started doing them. I might be strengthening the leg muscles but they are doing nothing for the pain. Today it was as painful as it has ever been. I had hoped that by now the pain would be diminishing.

I still haven't done much crochet or knitting. Yesterday Julie helped me out by mowing my lawn and I did a pile of ironing. I was shattered later on and fell asleep watching the TV. I am getting so little sleep during the night that it is affecting me in the evenings. I just can't seem to keep awake. I managed to do a few rows of a baby cardigan at Knit Club tonight but nothing that I could photograph. I doubt if I will get much done tomorrow as I will be at the hospital for some of the day.

Saturday, 13 June 2009

World Wide Knit In Public Day

Photos today are of the All Shawl by Doris Chan that I made for the Knitting Noras raffle. Alice won the shawl and had a choice of the ones that I had made and chose this one. I had intended to take a photo of her wearing it but I think I got waylaid by one of Deb's chocolate muffins. I intend to do a lot of things these days that I never quite get around to doing. I am sure I have said this before but I love making this shawl it is so easy to do. I really must make one for myself. I have a bag of shades of purple and lilac oddments that I plan on using one day.

Today is World Wide Knit in Public day and I will hopefully be off to try and find the Whitworth Art Gallery to join a few friends in a Knit Out this afternoon. I am ashamed to say that even though I have lived in the Greater Manchester area all of my married and post married life I have never been into the Art Gallery. My intentions when I retired where to find the time to visit all the museums and art galleries that I never found time to visit when I was working but then my spinal problems got in the way. Sigh. I hopefully will have many more years to fulfil my ambitions in the future once this darn knee co-operates.

I went up to Bury Market yesterday and of course came back with some yarn for my stash. Nothing very exciting hence no pictures. I don't think that you want to see a photo of several balls of black do you? Yes I know I am going to Woolfest soon but I really am not a wool orientated kind of girl, due to allergies, irritations and itches, so I knew that I will not be buying much from Woolfest unless they have a stall that sells non wool. I have nothing against wool and can admire it and can actually knit and crochet with it, unless the dye irritates my fingers, but I don't see any point in buying something that I know I will not be able to wear. I do buy wool when it is for a present for my family.

I get a bit annoyed with some of the forums on Ravelry who berate anyone who doesn't use wool saying don't use nasty acrylic and say extremely derogatory things about peoples work when it is not in wool etc. Why can't they just admire the quality of the workmanship and not be so snobby as to presume garments are awful if they are not made in super duper wool. I thought that the site was to encourage camaraderie amongst knitters and crocheters. People have reasons why they don't use wool whether medical or economical so nasty comments are not very friendly. I don't tell people off for using wool. If they like it and can wear and afford it then buy it and use it. I don't mind. When I last checked it is a free country and people have freedom of choice. I read somewhere that one person said surely it is better to save up and make one decent garment a year rather than dozens of things that are tat! Obviously NOT a true crafter. I make things for the joy of doing them and would have to be a millionaire to afford to keep up with my fingers if I only used expensive yarns. As for limiting myself to making one garment a year - well that doesn't bear thinking about. Yes I know all the arguments about acrylic not being biodegradable but as I keep and wear most of my garments for years none of them have yet finished up in landfill. When I have finished with them I unravel and make into other things. Waste not want not is my motto.

The sun has gone in. It was so lovely when I first got up. I do hope that it doesn't rain as I don't fancy catching a metro and then 2 buses to the art gallery in the rain. Stay sunny please!

Thursday, 11 June 2009

Well done Knitting Noras

Didn't we do well ladies. We raised £164.25p (could finish up a bit more)at the raffle/swish event at Deb's. I think we deserve a big pat on the back and so thanks to everyone who took part. I think Deb had to lie down in a darkened room after we had all gone home but I am sure she will admit it was all worth it.

Bev went on to raise some more money with her home made cake sales plus the ones left from Deb's evening but that total will all be revealed at a later date after she has held her raffle/sale event at the end of the month.

The draught excluder snakes were made for me by Jen. Aren't they grand. They will keep away the nasty draughts that I get under my front door and the lounge door. The black and gold bag was one of my purchases and was made by Deb. The cotton I acquired from the wool swish and the bracelet was a raffle prize.

The lovely crochet hook case was made for me by Deb using some of the fabric that I had donated. She hand stitched it and I am thrilled as I really love that piece of material but had no idea what I would have used it for as my sewing skills are very limited. Thanks Deb I will make good use of it when I am going to Knit Outs.

The mermaid tail crochet has more than passed the half way stage.I am now on my 4th ball. I have managed to calculate how many more rows are needed so am now on the count down stage. As you can see every ball is vastly different in colour from the last but I am sure it will be OK on the day as fish vary in colour from one end to another. Once it is ruffled up and draped I am sure that the colour changes won't show as badly. I would have had to run all five balls at once and do rows off either one to rectify this and just knew that it would finish up in a hopeless tangle if I tried to keep up with which ball to use next so I decided to just leave it as it was. It is taking me forever as it is mostly triple UK trebles and I can't work on it for long periods as the wrist action makes my arthritic wrists ache so I was in no mood to unravel what I had already crocheted and start again juggling 5 balls.