Friday, 31 July 2009

Party Princess

In case you are wondering it is not me who is the Party Princess. It is the name of the baby cardigan from Candy Babies book by Candi Jensen that I have just finished crocheting. I didn't do the blanket stitch edging as I am not much use at sewing and I didn't think that I would be able to make it evenly spaced like the one in the pattern. I chose instead to just add a row of UK double crochet around the edges and put ribbon in place of the crochet cord. I did this mainly because as usual I had only a couple of yards left after I finished the jacket. I made it from 4 balls of Rowan Cotton Rope which although it was the correct thickness for the pattern I find it to be a bit thick for a baby. The yarn is beautifully soft to crochet with and I would like to use it again for an adult sized garment.

I went back for my second trip to the osteopath and he was pleased that I could give him a good report back on how his treatment has helped me. My knee is still tender but at least I have the correct walking movement so am really hopeful that I will get a good result with a few more treatments. I am continuing to ice the knee 3 times a day and take my Devil's Claw tablets. My neighbour says I look much better and am back to my old cheerful self which I take as a good sign.

Another of my expected neighbourhood babies seems to have made his or her appearance. I had seen the cards on the window bottom but could not gain any clues from those. I caught a glimpse of the baby yesterday but it was all dressed in white so I will have to wait until I see them properly to enquire. There are still 2 babies yet to arrive. This year and late last year has been baby time on our street. At the moment we have 6 boys and 1 girl and 2 girls on the next street.

I have finished off another project but as it is a surprise for someone who might read this blog I can't post any photos until after it has been given to her.

I am going to start yet another baby jacket tonight for the soon to be baby girl that this jacket is for. She was due at the end of this month so she should be here very soon.

Wednesday, 29 July 2009

Baby Surprise Jacket - but Crocheted

This jacket is a crochet version of the Baby Surprise Jacket. The construction is different as those of you who have made the knitted version will immediately notice. The first thing that is crocheted is the bottom edge of the jacket and the fonrt bands This version finishes up with the seams at the shoulder. The sleeves look slightly strange as they are divided in half with stripes going in different direction. The stripes go across the shoulders on the back and up and down on the front. The pattern shows the jacket made with two colours but I used several colours as I am stash busting.

I have posted several photos showing the jacket in different phases of construction as it is difficult to visualise what it will look like when finished whilst you are crocheting it.

I am not really happy with this version and doubt if I will make it again. I got lost a few times with the written instructions and found the charts very crowded and unclear but I am not a lover of crocheting from a chart at the best of times. The pattern can be bought the net possibly by Googling Charles Voth - All in one cardi. If you are using Ravelry then the designer goes by the name of Stitchstud. There is free single colour jacket of similar construction by another designer available as a free pattern and if you click on my blog title then it should take you to it. I have not made the free pattern yet so cannot tell you what it is like.

I have once again not done much crocheting today as my niece came to take me for a ride in the rain to Lidl. We got really wet but I got even wetter as some kind person had bent her car door in order to open it and steal her stereo the other night and now although the door is bent back and will lock it does rain in all over the seat through a small gap at the top of the door. Luckily I only got wet pants on the way home. It was a shock to the system as I plonked down in the seat straight into a puddle of water!

My knee continues to improve and I have actually had 2 nights when I have only been woken up once so that is a great improvement to my sleeping pattern. I am continuing with the ice packs 3 times a day and my knee, although sore, is moving in the correct pattern for walking. Before I visited the physio/osteopath I could only limp and my knee seemed to bend wrong if you understand what I mean. Now it feels like it is bending in the right place. I rang today and cancelled my physio appointment at the hospital. I don't see any point in making a journey down there to get another piece of paper with instructions printed on it. I am sure if I had continued with the hospital physio I would still be limping and hobbling about. It felt so nice today to be able to walk around Lidl with just discomfort instead of pain.

Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Iced Knee Anyone?

I went to the physio/osteopath yesterday. I limped in and almost walked out which I will take as a sign of improvement. He read my hospital letters and then examined my knee and deduced that there is a lot of inflammation in and around the joint which has to be got rid of before I will feel any significant improvement. He did a lot of gentle massage with a bit of subtle pressing as if he was trying to manipulate something in my knee back into place although I didn't feel anything move. He then did ultrasound waves on it for 5 minutes. I have had this treatment before many years ago on my hip. It doesn't feel like anything is happening but it breaks down things inside I presume inflammation etc. He then did a bit more massage followed by 5 minutes attached to a machine that sends mild electrical impulses through the muscles.

My knee felt much easier after the session was over. He advised me to get some hot/cold packs and put them in the freezer. I have to use them for 15 minutes 3 times a day. I am wearing leisure pants today so I have had to sit in my panties (which is not a pretty sight) whilst wearing them. I think that I will wear a skirt tomorrow as I doubt the neighbours want my legs inflicted on them if they glimpse them through the bay window as they walk past! The physio asked me if I had taken glucosomene. I said I had but not noticed much improvement so he said to buy some Devils Claw. I asked for this with some trepidation at the pharmacy and although they don't sell it they can get me some for today. The lady behind the counter said her friend swears by it as it is a herbal type remedy specifically for swollen knees. I am at the stage where I will try anything once so I will call and get my tablets today and give them a whirl. If conventional medicine doesn't work then I am all for trying the age old remedies.

I have another appointment for Friday. I have decided to give this treatment a fair crack of the whip even though to be honest I cannot really afford to have many sessions. I am just at the stage where I am so glad that someone is taking my pain serious and doing something to try to help me. The physio said that he cannot understand why the NHS no longer do physio properly and just hand people bits of paper with a list of exercises on. He agreed with me that the list of exercises should come once the treatment stopped in order to keep the knee flexible over a long term period.

The crochet has hit a bit of a stop as I was out most of yesterday. I did get to the Salford Arms Knit Club last night courtesy of my niece who kindly gave me a lift there. It felt so nice to be back there as I haven't been for quite a while. Not as many there as usual but we had a good time and it was one of those laughing type nights where we all had a really good time. There is nothing like a good laugh for making me feel better. Apparently the pub has a laughing club that meets in another room every Monday but we didn't hear much laughter from them last night. I think the Knit Club out laughed them! Rachel met them a couple of weeks ago and said they looked a very sombre lot for a laughing club.

The crochet photos today are of a turquoise cardigan that I have crocheted for Sylvia's foster baby from some of the wool that I got from my Freecycle donation bag. It is another of my very old Sirdar patterns. I have put a photos of it just in case it is still in production under another number.

The child's bolero has finally dried which to me proves that it is either all cotton or has a high percentage of cotton as it has taken almost a week to dry on it's blocking boards. I will put some photos of it tomorrow.

Monday, 27 July 2009

I am off to see an Osteopath about my knee today

I went to my monthly Knit Club meeting with the Knitting Noras yesterday. Last night I was once again nursing my sore knee and when I got up this morning and it shunted on me as I stepped out of bed I thought that the time has come to get another opinion, I had heard good reports about our local osteopath and so decided to get a second opinion about my knee and treatment from him. I have got to the stage where I will try anything and everything as I am rapidly losing faith in the NHS.

I finished off the crochet baby cardigan. I have not heard of this cotton mix before but It is lovely and soft to work with. I did have to stripe the sleeves and just managed to finish off the cardigan with a very small ball left over as you can see. I have finished off another baby cardigan in turquoise green that I will post photos of tomorrow. I am trying to use up some of the part balls in my stash to make these baby cardigans. I have some new white and pink wool to start for the expected baby girl as she is due at the end of this month so I am expecting a call any day now telling me of her arrival and her name. That will be my next project to start at my other Knit Club meeting tonight. My niece has kindly offered me a lift to the Kings Arms in Salford. it will be nice to visit there as I haven't been for quite a while.

There was only a few at the knitting club yesterday. Just 5 ladies on one man. I think it was mostly to do with it being holiday time and a few ladies are away and the ones that aren't got put off by the rain. I feel like it has been raining for weeks although it hasn't. It just feels like every time I have somewhere to go - shopping, knit clubs, or hospital appointments it is pouring down. I want to sign a petition to bring back summer. Do you think that it will work?

I had a laugh yesterday - well a few as we always do at Knit Club. There is a market that I pass by on my way to the Costa Cafe and as I hobbled by the stalls in the pouring rain this butcher shouted at me - Would you like to sample my sausage? He was holding a plate out to me but he did have a very naughty look in his eye as if he knew exactly what he had said could have a double meaning! The second laugh I had was at the Cafe when I washed my hands after visiting the ladies room. The hand dryer has a very fierce draught and as I have the wrinkled hands of an old lady my skin had a G force effect under the down draught and was rippling about on my hand. A weird look and it made me laugh out loud. Ah well they do say simple things amuse simple minds!

Friday, 24 July 2009

I'm Singing in the Rain

I am making another jacket from the Candy Babies book. I don't know why I say that as I have made this jacket 5 times now and not once have I made it to the pattern. The pattern calls for chenille which I don't think is a practical yarn for a baby and is bound all around with fabric cut on the cross to make a bias binding. Since sewing and I don't see eye to eye that was ruled out right from the start. As I don't use chenille I alter the pattern stitch to an alternating UK double crochet and treble which gives a nice texture to the jacket.

This time I am making it for a baby boy so the ribbon trim is definitely our. I am once again using oddments from my stash and yet again I am running out of cotton and so it might have to have stripes on the sleeves. Sorry Sylvia I know that you don't really like stripes but I am sure that the baby won't mind. I have picked out the balls and assumed that they were 100 gram balls but when I realised that the ball was diminishing rapidly I checked and found there were only 85 grams per ball. Such an unusual amount for a ball of cotton.

The bolero is still soaking wet on it's blocking boards adding to my thoughts that it is cotton as cotton takes forever to dry naturally. Not that we have had much sun in the last couple of days. I went food shopping today and thankfully took my multi coloured golfing umbrella. Boy did I need it. The rain came down in torrents but my brolly kept me nice and dry.

I hope to get the little jacket finished today as I want to take it up to the Knitting Noras Knit Out this Sunday as I know Sylvia will be there. We usually only meet up once a month. I think that the jackets I have made for baby are quite large for him now but I have underestimated his size before and I don't want them to be too small for him by the time he gets them.

Thursday, 23 July 2009

Child Size Short n' Sweet Finished

The child size version of the Short n' Sweet shrug is finished and is blocking on the board. I decided to give it a good soak in fabric softener in an attempt to give it a bit of drape. I am still in the dark as to what the yarn is made of.

I can't find any information about Fantasia other than on Ravelry when they insist that it is wool. I did the burn test and the bleach test and it is definitely not wool. My guess is either cotton or one of those synthetics that mimic cotton. After soaking in bleach it had the consistency of hard string and in the burn test it flared up but there was no smell of burning hair as there would have been with wool and I was left with a hard black brittle fused thread that crumbled when I tried to break it.

The shrug or bolero took 5 x 50 grams of Fantasia but I found it to be very thick for a double knit. I think that the bolero would have looked better in a finer yarn. I put two buttons on to fasten it as I think a small child needs to have things fastened as they rush about. I ran out of yarn so there is a row missing at the bottom of the bolero but I don't think that it is really noticeable.

Today has been mixed weather. Mostly it has been pouring down with rain. At times coming down in torrents and then the sun would shine for a few minutes. I am still waiting for summer to start. Where is it this year?

Wednesday, 22 July 2009

Short n' Sweet child sized

As the soon to be born baby girl has an older sister I decided to make a little something for her so that when I give presents for the new baby there will be something for her also. I am making the Short n' Sweet shrug by Angela Best from the Stitch n' Bitch Happy Hooker book. The smallest size in the pattern is 27" so in order to make it a little smaller I am using a smaller hook. The yarn I am using is called Fantasia but is a little rough to the touch. I am hoping that it will soften with washing. I will leave it to soak in some softener before I parcel it up to send. I don't know much about the yarn except that it is from Romania.

I got it from a wool swap at the Knitting Noras and when I tried to look it up on the net there is nothing coming up on the search except one blog that seems to think that it is wool. It feels very cottony to me but there are many synthetics on the market that feel like cotton so it is difficult to tell and the label gives no clues at all, not even a needle size. Ravelry also insists that it is wool but I have never felt wool so harsh and cottony as this before. It is making up quite stiff so I am really hoping that it will soften before I give it to the little girl. There are no washing instructions on it either so I hope that it will wash OK in the machine as I have a feeling that it will end up in the machine when the mother washes it.

This is the second pattern that I have tried with this yarn. The first cardigan I started was using far too much wool and so I had to unravel it. If I cannot find out any information about the yarn then I certainly won't be able to get another ball if I run short.

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Rain Rain Go Away

Sitting here watching the rain pour down the patio door (I must clear the blocked gutter above it one day) it is hard to believe that it is July and summer. I don't know about the Grinch stealing Christmas I think he has stolen summer as well!

I went to hydrotherapy yesterday and the instructor and I decided that I am getting no benefit from it at all so I am not continuing with it. I decided mainly because her tuition is very lack lustre to say the least. She is obviously disinterested in her job. She takes no notice of the feedback that I gave her from previous sessions. She has this I know better than you attitude, the exercises are making you better. The other lady in the pool with me said she was not coming any more either as she (the instructor) is hopeless. One the way out I met a lady I shared the pool with last week and she asked me how I had been. I said I am worse after the sessions. She said it had taken her a week to get over the session last week and was going to tell her that she was not carrying on with the sessions. I used to regularly go to water aerobics and got far more out of those sessions than I have from these hydrotherapy sessions. I will have to try to make it back up to the Leisure Centre and resume those lessons.I used to come out of the pool feeling really invigorated.

When I was getting dressed I had one of my knee shunting moments. I must have looked dreadful as the receptionist came rushing over and told me to sit down. She asked what happened and I told her my knee seems to detach for a split second and the pain is similar to when you strike your funny bone in your elbow and it just knocks me sick for a moment. She immediately said I think that you need to see the specialist again and tell him the symptoms. I told her that I have told him but he seems to think that I am imagining it! I see him again in August so let's see if he believes me then.

The baby dress is made from a vintage Lister 2059 pattern. It takes 100 grams of Double Knit in the main colour. I have made this dress many times over the years. It can be worn over a long sleeved T shirt and tights in the winter time or as a sundress in the summer(what summer?) months. I customise it by adding little rosebuds and a picot contrast trim. It is intended for a baby girl due later this month.

Today I did a mountain of ironing. I hate ironing and so leave it and leave it until I have a pile to iron. Along with cleaning out the oven it is one of my pet hates. Now I think I have earned time to sit down, rest, relax with my crochet and watch the TV for the rest of the day.

Sunday, 19 July 2009

Crochet Rib Baby Jacket

I made this for the foster baby of a friend, The pattern is King Cole 3052 one of the patterns that I bought from Purplelinda last week. The wool is oddments from my stash and as I did not have enough wool to make the hood I added a collar instead. There are no buttonholes and the instructions are to push the buttons through the stitches of the pattern. I think the front edging looks a bit raggy so would amend that if I made another one. The ribbed effect is made by crocheting around the posts in front on one row and behind the posts on the next row thus making a thicker rib type stitch. The pattern does not mention changing colours on the sleeves and yet the picture shows stripes. I changed colours every two rows to make my jacket look like the pattern. I think my oddments were thicker than the recommended DK weight but it will make a warm winter jacket as it has come out a bit bigger than the baby is at the moment.

Today I have been cleaning up after Buster went home again and so haven't done much crochet today. Last night I fell asleep on the sofa so none done then either.

Saturday, 18 July 2009

Crochet Today

As promised yesterday here are some some photos from the new July/August 2009 Crochet Today. The front cover and the green skirt are unmistakeably Doris Chan designs and whilst I think they are very attractive they are a little openwork for me. I can see them appealing to my younger friends though. I think the purple stole is beautiful and can see that being made as a gift at Christmas. The granny square waistcoat is pretty but I have worn so many of them in the past that maybe it's time for someone younger to wear that also. There are also patterns in the magazine for a beach bag, a basic blanket, a motif tray cloth, a single colour fancy granny square afghan, some cushions with fishes on them and some sea shell shaped cushions. As usual there are only a couple of things in the magazine that I will actually make but that seems to be par for the course with me lately. The magazine costs £3.25p and some of the single patterns that I bought recently cost me over £2 each so I suppose on that basis it is still good value for money.

The wool is what I bought yesterday from Abakhan in Manchester. the pink double knitting has a slight silvery thread running through it which is really pretty.

I had almost finished the baby crochet jacket last night and was ready for stitching it together when I realised that I had made one front the wrong size. I guess I must have been sleepy when I made it. I have now almost re crocheted it and so it will hopefully be ready for the stitching together and collar today.

Today is another rainy day in Manchester. I do wish summer would arrive for more than one day as we are now on the countdown to Autumn and the winter woollies will be coming out again (did they get put away this year?)

Friday, 17 July 2009

A Rainy Trip to Manchester

I had a quick trip into Manchester today and met up with Sylvia and Kath. It really is such a nuisance with all this metro work and line closures as it makes travelling to certain parts of Manchester from my house quite difficult especially in the rain. They are also doing major sewer repairs along Deansgate so a lot of buses are diverted to parts of Manchester they don't usually travel along. Well done Manchester for attempting two major road disruptions at the same time. Now the metro are blaming this disruption for being 2 months behind schedule to finish off the tram lines. As usual there were no signs of any workmen anywhere today in Manchester. I think we have invisible contractors because I have never seen any even though I am assured in the newspapers that they are hard at work every waking moment and even at the weekends. My friends and I have a game now to spot and count the workmen. My friend is in the lead as she did actually count 9 people one day.

I took my 4 wheeler trolley with me as I find I can walk so much better with that than with a stick. I tend to look like a homeless bag lady but pride went out of the window a long time ago.

I came back with less than I went with but that suited me fine as I did a spot of shopping on the way home.

I managed to finish off the cabled baby cardigan and gave both of the cardigans to Sylvia. I also gave Kath the blue mohair motif sweater. The pattern for the cabled cardigan is Stylecraft 8040 and the wool was Jarol baby DK. It is a current pattern but I did amend it by putting a purl stitch either side of the cable to make it pop out more.

We went to Abakhan as although I have a huge stash I didn't have any 4ply in white or pink to make something for the baby due in a couple of weeks that I know is a girl. The last photo shows the crochet books that I was browsing through to decide which patterns I am going to crochet for all these soon to be born babies.

I picked up a copy of Crochet Today from W.H Smith so will post some photos of that and the wool tomorrow. I didn't stay in Manchester long as I had left Buster at home alone and I knew that he would need a garden break after a few hours.

Wednesday, 15 July 2009

Floral Fantasy Pullover finished

The Floral Fantasy Pullover from Lion Brand is finished. I can't model it as it is for Kath and she is considerably smaller than me I don't think that she would appreciate it if I stretched it out for her. I haven't blocked it out so it looks a bit jagged and uneven where the squares are stitched up. I will leave that for Kath to do if she needs it to be any bigger. The arms look very long to me but her mum assures me that Kath has long arms and that sweaters are usually too short for her. I don't think that this sweater's sleeves are too short. I didn't keep count of how many balls of mohair I used and when I asked Kath she wasn't sure how many she gave me. I think that it has probably taken 8 x 50 gram balls, I had to change the hook to 7mm to get the tension right so I think Kath's wool was thinner than the one specified on the pattern. If you want a copy of the pattern then click on the blog title to take you to the free pattern.

I knitted a few hours on the baby cardigan yesterday and have completed about three quarters of the back but the lure of my new shiny crochet hooks (especially a red one)and patterns tempted me away from it last night.I can resist chocolate and alcohol but not the lure of the hook. When I think of how much I used to knit it amazes me how long it seems to take me to knit anything these days plus with my wrist problems my knitting tension is very uneven which gives my stocking stitch a strange ridged look which I am not really happy with.

I started the crochet hooded baby jacket from my new patterns with some left over wool so I doubt if I will have enough to make it with a hood. I think that the wool I am using is thicker than the pattern but it will give me an idea of how the pattern works up before I buy some new baby wool to make it. I am sure it will be worn by Sylvia's foster baby if it fits him. If she likes it I can always make another in better colours and softer baby wool. I managed to make most of the back in just a couple of hours. I think I love the instant gratification of crochet although if I am honest I do like the look of knitting for babies. It's smoother and softer for them to wear.

Buster is coming again this afternoon for a couple of days whilst my son and his wife pack up the caravan and bring it home again. I just wish that my knee enabled me to walk him as I used to. He is very patient with me whilst I hobble around but it can't be much fun for him.

My knee isn't too bad today but then I did nothing yesterday. I don't know what the answer is. I understand what the physio is saying and that I should exercise it but I have been going down this exercise route now since March and the exercise does not seem to be improving the knee at all. As Knitnurd said in her comment her mother has been told not to walk on something that is bone on bone whereas I have been told that exercise will help with my arthritic bone on bone. There are so many different opinions and whilst I don't want to sit all day and do nothing I am finding it really hard lately to force myself to exercise every day and then lie awake in pain all night. There must be a happy medium.