Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Wakey Wakey

Last night I went to bed as usual, and as usual tossed and turned trying to get to sleep. Last night was worse than usual so at 4am I gave up and came downstairs for a drink and to watch some TV to see if that sent me to sleep. By 7.30am I had made some breakfast and when I went upstairs to shower and get ready for the day I suddenly felt really tired. I decided to lay on the bed for a short rest and woke up at 1.30pm. My body clock is so out of sync. Why can I not fall asleep during the night and yet sleep for almost 6 hours when I should be awake? Now I am wide awake and probably will be tonight when I try to lie down for a sleep. I have tried everything. Milky drinks, duvet on, duvet off, electric fan on or off, nightdress on or off and nothing has worked. I just toss about all night and can't seem to fall into that deep sleep that we all need.

Ironically enough a letter came today about the sleep study I did a month or so ago. The results were inconclusive as I was tossing and turning about and not falling into a deep sleep so they are going to repeat the study after my knee operation. The good news is that the CPAP machine is keeping my blood oxygenated.

I am still dithering crochet wise. I started the Blue Heaven Sweater from the Crochet Closet book by Lisa Gentry. I am jiggling about with wool as usual as I would like to make it a little longer but as the wool is from my stash a long time ago I cannot match it. I have therefore made one of the sleeves first to see how much length I can put into the body with the wool that I have left over. Being on the rounded side (fat) I do prefer things a little longer to cover the big butt.

I also started Springy Jacket by K Hay from the May/June issue of Crochet today but it seems to be coming out on the small side which is unusual for me as normally I have to downsize my hook to get the tension right. I am sure that it will fit one foster baby even if it turns out a bit small for the baby it is intended for. I only have 100 grams of the James C Brett baby wool so I can't afford to unrip it and start a larger size.

Talking about Crochet Today the latest version arrived in the post today. As usual with any crochet magazine there are just a couple of things in it that catch my eye. I like the cover wrap and the blue sleeveless cardi if I could add a few more rows on the arms to cover the old bingo wings. I like my shoulders to be a little more covered in a deeper cap sleeve. Whilst the bag is cute I am not really into crochet bags as they droop unless they are well lined and as I am no seamstress and my machine is broken that means that the bag is out. The rest of the book may appeal to someone but sadly not to me. I quite like the rug but it is crocheted in a sort of pom pom yarn which I find impossible to hook with.

Today I ordered the latest edition of Inside Crochet so let's hope that there is more in there to appeal to me. When I am back from hospital I must catalogue the things that I like and which book or magazine they are in as when I am in one of my indecisive moods I can look on the list and see what I like and not have to start ploughing through all the books and mags to get inspired.

The day is three quarters over and I have not done anything except write this blog and have breakfast. What a wasted day. Still I may be up half the night instead of sleeping so will catch up on the crochet then.

Thanks once again to everyone for your good wishes. It makes me feel very loved.

Tuesday, 29 June 2010

I Am So Indecisive

Usually when I finish off one project I know exactly what I am going to start next. Last night and today I have been dithering about. Shall I do this pattern in that or the other pattern in this other yarn. I am having an indecisive day. I am sure that I will resolve that later today. I could , of course, finish off the knitting for the boys that I started ages ago but I still somehow cannot drum up any enthusiasm for finishing these jackets no matter how guilty I feel.

I finished off a little jacket yesterday. It's another of Rindy's basic patterns once again adapted by me by altering the skirt stitch pattern. I have used a simple stitch that I call a V stitch. I am sure that you will recognise it in the close up. I might even start another baby jacket if I can't decide on anything else.

Thanks to everyone for their good wishes and the love that you have all sent to me. It is much appreciated. It's nice to know that so many people are so supportive of me. I haven't as yet packed my hospital bag so it doesn't seem real to me yet but I am getting a bit nervous now. I think that all this frenzy of crocheting lately has been my nerves getting the better of me as I waited to find out if it was on or off. Maybe that is why I am indecisive today as my nerves are calming down a bit now that I have my letter. I will, of course, be packing some crochet to work on whilst I am in. I can't settle to reading but I can blank my mind with some mundane crochet that doesn't require much concentration.

In my blog title today I have included a link to Artyarn blog. I am hoping to be well enough after my op to go on the scumbling tutorial that she is hoping to organise. If you scroll down a day from this article then you will see lots of photos of sheep, bunnies and alpacas that Rachael took at Woolfest.She bought a smaller version of the peg loom in one of the photos as like me she likes to perfect new crafts and this peg loom is like simple weaving. I do like to go to places like Woolfest just to have a look around as I am interested in watching different crafts and seeing new things. I wasn't fit enough this year but I hope to re-visit it next year. Most people who went this year were remarkably restrained with their buying. I think that it is a sign of the economic times. People just don't have the cash to splash. It is so nice to feel the yarns and see them for yourself so that if you order online later at least you know what to expect. Ordering online is great for those of us who like me can't get out as much but nothing beats a good squish and fondle of something that you want to buy - not to mention that PC changes the colours somewhat and so when stuff arrives it isn't always quite what you expected.

It is rainy and a bit colder today. Still muggy though and still warm enough to wear a T shirt although I have ditched the shorts for a skirt today.

I think I really should try to make a decision on what to start next otherwise I will be cross with myself tonight when I am watching TV with nothing to crochet. I have just subscribed to Crochet today as the subscription that my sister in law gave me as a Christmas present has now run out. What to do when you can't decide what to crochet next from my vast selection of patterns - order more of course. i told you I was a bit crazy! First I should tackle dish washing. Did I mention that I hate dish washing? Almost as much as I hate ironing !!

Monday, 28 June 2010

Pink Dalmation Crochet Baby Jacket

As I mentioned yesterday some random yarns crochet in splodges rather than in the lines that you get when it is knitted. This is why I call this jacket the pink dalmatian jacket as it has random spots or splodges all over it. I have not heard of this wool before. I had a 100 grams plus a small ball in some wool that I got donated to me ages ago. This is Chevy Cabana DK and is a sort of ripple effect yarn in acrylic. I am lucky in that people who know that I crochet baby things give me odd balls that they have left over from other things. If the donated colours are too dark then I save them for the homeless hat and scarves which I will be making nearer to the winter time. I can also incorporate some darker colours in the multi coloured shawls that I make for older ladies,

The jacket pattern is the larger sized Rindy Carpenter pattern and I changed this one by crocheting an alternating 5 treble shell with a dc in between. I just adapted a beanie in matching pattern stitch to use up the wool that I had left over from the jacket.I am making another jacket in lilac but changing the stitch at the bottom again, I do love these basic cardigans as they can be changed so much to make them individual.

I got my letter for my hospital call up. It is just over a week away. I don't want to put the date on here and announce to the world that my house will be empty on a certain date so when I disappear from blogging for a few days then you will know that day has arrived. My neighbours have been put on alert and as they have a couple of dogs who bark at the slightest cough then I feel quite secure. Plus my family have keys and will be bobbing in and out to move any mail and newspapers from the porch etc. All I have to pray is that there are no emergencies who are in the bed that I am expecting to occupy. That has happened to be a couple of times in the past. I get there and there is no bed for me so I get sent home again, or I get a phone call on the night before telling me that it is cancelled. With the NHS nothing is set in stone even when you get a date. I don't have a lap top or a a phone that has Internet so I won't be able to blog write until I come back home again. Last time I was in hospital I tried to use the Internet that was incorporated into the bedside TV and the whole thing went off and I could not even watch TV so I won't bother trying this time.

Today is one of those hot muggy days. No sunshine but still very hot. I am sure that we are in for a thunderstorm soon. The air feels so heavy that it needs a downfall of rain to clear the atmosphere. I am not sure what I am going to start next once I have finished the lilac jacket. I should try to work more on the boys knitted jackets that are still only half finished but I just can't knit when my fingers are hot and sticky. I can usually crochet though.

Time to dive into a long cold drink. Non alcoholic drink I should say as I rarely drink these days. I do have a passion for diluting my squash with carbonated water though rather than normal tap water. I try not to drink cola or other fizzy drinks because of the sickly sweet taste not to mention the extra calories even in the diet variety.

Sunday, 27 June 2010

Knitting and Nattering

Yesterday was quite a busy day for me. It was a nice day so I did some washing and then my niece came to turn my roots into the same colour as the rest of my hair. We had a bit of a natter (chat) whilst she was doing it.I wanted to be ready for when/if I go into hospital as I didn't think I would be in the mood for hair root dyeing for a week or two afterwards.

In the afternoon I was getting ready to go to the Islington Mill Knit Out. I had decided to go as it was such a lovely day, plus I had left my cardigan in Rachael's car when I went to Towneley Hall, and it might be my last opportunity to go for a few weeks if the op goes ahead.

Due to unforeseen circumstances the Knit Out had to be cancelled. The cafe where we meet up was closed as the people who run it had gone to Glastonbury and not left the keys. The courtyard where we could have met up was like a builders yard due to renovation work and the wind was blowing the dust about Instead Rachael and Marie came up for an impromptu knit out at my house. It was lovely to have some company and have a bit of a natter. There is nothing like a spot of company for raising spirits. Rachael and Marie had been up to Woolfest in Cockermouth on Friday and so I was waiting to hear what they had bought and what Rachael thought of it as I don't think that she had been there before. Both ladies were remarkably restrained and just came home with a couple of things. When I went the year before it was all so overwhelming that I didn't actually buy anything except a Ewe ice cream. The wools are all very beautiful and some of the fine shawls were gorgeous but my pocket doesn't run to all of the gorgeous expensive alpaca and merino wools. I have a good excuse for not breaking the bank as I am allergic to wool. I have been told several times that alpaca and merino aren't supposed to be as itchy as sheep wool but my skin doesn't believe it. I must be a cheap girl at heart as the only thing that doesn't make me itch is acrylic.

Today I was supposed to be going to my other Knit Club in Bolton but as they made the4 trip up to Woolfest yesterday I doubt if a lot of them would be turning up for the Knit Out today. My knees are behaving themselves at the moment so I don't want to upset them by trailing them on a metro tram and a bus journey up to Bolton. I discovered by accident a few days ago that if I stay barefooted all of the time (well in the house) my knees and back ache far less. Maybe I can balance myself better as I walk i don't know but although I have to scrub my feet every night it is worth it just to have less pain. Obviously if I am in the garden or shopping I have to put some flat shoes or sandals on but that is when the back and knee ache starts up in force. Maybe it is just a matter of finding the right shoes that keep my feet in the correct position. The pain is also less if I wear laced up hiking or Doc Marten boots but of course I can't wear those in the summer or around the house.

I am sorry that I missed out on the trips to Woolfest but after last year I decided that it wasn't worth putting myself through all the pain just to see everything. It is a wonderful experience if you ever get a chance to go. Maybe next year I will feel up to it once again.

I am trying out another of Rindy's easy crochet designs but this time in a larger size. As I have mentioned before she makes all of these jackets for charity and shares the patterns as free downloads on Ravelry. She has been asked to try to up size the pattern to fit larger children so is working on making them up to 2 yrs old. I am trying out one of the next size up patterns for her and I think that it has turned out quite well. They are very plain and very easy but that is the beauty of them. When you are making things for charity then quantity is better than intricate designs. I have jazzed this cardigan up with a few crocheted flowers. I think that Rindy has posted the larger sized patterns on Ravelry. If not I am sure they will be there very shortly. This cardigan is destined for a friend's foster baby girl.

Today is quite hot and a bit sunny. At the moment I am too hot to even get dressed. I am looking like a female Demis Roussos floating about the house in my brightly coloured Kaftan. I suppose that I should make some effort to don a pair of shorts and a vest soon. I plan to crochet in the garden today provided that the threatened rain doesn't arrive. I have already started another or Rindy's patterns this time in a pink random. The only problem with crocheting random is that the colours sometimes bunch together and this cardigan is looking like a pink dalmatian. Photos of that will follow tomorrow.

I hope that you are all enjoying your weekend.

Friday, 25 June 2010

Short and Sweet (but longer)

I am not sure what to call this now it is finished. Short and Sweet (but longer) or Long and Sweet? Whatever name it goes by it is basically the Short and Sweet shrug by Angela Best from the Happy Hooker Stitch and Bitch book but with longer sleeves and body. Oh and I should also mention that I made it in a finer wool so I have a lot more pattern rows to this shrug than on the pattern

As usual with a US pattern I am never sure what they mean by medium worsted 4 weight. The first time that I made it I used a UK aran weight and whilst it did come out nearer to the size on the pattern my niece found it to be far too heavy for a summer shrug. Since then I have used a UK double knit, crocheted larger sizes than I needed and just added more rows to the pattern.

I had to hold the shrug together with my scarf pin as it hasn't been blocked yet and kept curling under whilst I was trying to take it's photo. The pattern will spread when it is blocked so it will widen out and the bands will stop curling.

I had some good news today in the post. I got a letter saying that I have passed my pre operation tests. I am just waiting now for the confirmation letter saying that my operation will go ahead as planned in July. Just because I passed one bit doesn't automatically mean that I will get the operation. It is still up to the surgeon to make the final decision. I have been cancelled on the day of operations twice in the past. I once got to the operating room doors when they decided to cancel me. I never get worried about operations as I don't believe thay are going ahead until I wake up in the recovery room. When I was having my tonsils taken out I woke up still with them. When they started the operation they discovered that I had an ulcerated throat way down where they hadn't seen it so the surgeon cancelled the operation because of the risk of infection.

I think that I will start another baby jacket tonight. My niece is coming tomorrow to do my roots for me. I have left the roots showing on my hair longer than I would usually do because I wanted them to be done not only for my operation but that they would look OK for a few weeks afterwards when I am going to struggle to shower etc. I know that I have to wear surgical socks on both legs for a few weeks but I am not sure how long the dressings underneath will have to stay dry. Luckily my shower head detaches so at least I can wash one half of my body! Perhaps I can tape a large bin bag liner to the other leg?

It's a duller day today with signs of rain. I still have the patio door and the windows open though as it is quite a warm muggy day. No sign of Poppy today as yet but there is still time when they come home from work later. I must have missed her this morning. She has left me some scrabble marks on the patio door window to let me know that she was around.

Last night I was awakened by a yowling cat fight. I live on a street of cats who stay out all night. Sometimes they sound just like babies crying. I always have to get up and check that they are OK. I am nervous ever since my late cat was in a face off with a fox many years ago. Luckily when I opened the door the fox shot off and the cat came indoors. I am not sure what would have happened if I hadn't woken up.We live so close to woodland that we often get foxes prowling about during the night and I have seen them in my back garden regularly. They trigger my security light.

Time to decide what to make for dinner but I think I will choose my next project over a cup of coffee first. I am not that hungry yet.

Thursday, 24 June 2010

Next - The Sleeves

As usual I am crocheting the wrong way about. I normally do the sleeves before I finish off the body as a) I don't have as much weight to twist and turn about if the sleeves are crocheted onto the body and b) I find that once the sleeves are in they pull the body up making a difference to the overall length. Besides all of that I am just a perverse creature who always does things in the wrong order - and not just in crochet! I have a bad habit of flicking through magazines from the back to the front as well. I don't know where that comes from but my Mother used to say that I did the same thing with comic and picture books when I was small.Perhaps in a previous life (if there is such a thing) I came from a culture who read from right to left!

Thanks Bev for letting me know about the CAL (crochetalong) on Ravelry for the Short and Sweet. I have never joined in one of these CAL's as I want to get things finished as soon as I have started and I wouldn't like people to think I was bragging if I finished off first - or if I have to keep a slower pace with other people I would get easily bored. I am not sure what the rules are.

Tina I am sure that your favourite shrug must be shrinking in the wash. My clothes are doing the same thing these days. Maybe it is something in the washing detergents. I think they are sponsored by slimming products to make our clothes shrink so that we will go out and buy diet products ;-)

Ana Luisa I am glad that you have finished off your baby items and I look forward to seeing them shortly. I get so much inspiration from everyone who leaves comments on my blog, their blogs and other people who I chat to on Ravelry so I know just what you mean when you say that you get inspired. I think that it is great when crafters can swap ideas. Different minds have a different slant on things and adapt patterns differently to me so I really enjoy my morning browse through new patterns and my friends activities on Ravelry.

Bev has made a lovely shawl/shrug using a vintage pattern and updating it for her daughter. Bev knows that I love vintage patterns and sent me a couple of gorgeous vintage baby books in the post. Fashions may change but with a slight adjustment many vintage patterns can be brought right up to date. If you want a peek at her crochet just click on my blog title and it will take you there. Bev has days when her &$£!* back pain gets a bit too much for her but despite that she manages to keep smiling - well mostly - and crocheting her way through it all.

I have just collected my prescriptions, paid off my credit card and the newspaper bill so I am now ready in case I go in hospital. Still no news as yet but I didn't even get any junk mail today.

Time to start the sleeves of the Short and Sweet now. I can maybe get an hour of crochet in, with my ice packs on, to cool my knees, after my walk to the shops, before it's dinner time. Mmmm I smell coffee.

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Progress on Short and Sweet

I have made some progress on the short and sweet. I rarely follow patterns to the exact and I have altered this pattern too. I have added underarm chain to give an extra pattern on either side under the arm as Sylvia, like myself, is blessed with an ample chest and it just gives that bit of extra ease for movement. I have included photos of every stage of the making of this so that I can explain on Ravelry how I do things. So many people have got themselves into a knot with this pattern that I thought that a bit of visual might help. As I mentioned yesterday I have to do a bit of pattern jiggling as my wool is thinner than the one recommended for the pattern so I already have more rows down to the armhole that the pattern does.It is quite a chunky raised pattern so it comes out quite bulky even with this fine double knit.

I have, in the past, made this shrug for a child by using finer wool and a finer hook as the first size is quite a small bust size. As you have probably gathered I do like to experiment with patterns and one day I would like to work out how to make this in fine wool for myself or make is as it is but with long sleeves. A couple of ladies on Ravelry have made the design longer with long sleeves. Sylvia wants her shrug to be more of a cardigan length so I have quite a way to crochet before I get to the end of the body section. My own shrug is waist length but I think Sylvia wants hers a bit longer than that.

Today has been quite warm although not much sunshine. Poppy came for her usual cuddle and to leave me a parcel on the lawn. She annoyed the Tesco delivery man this morning as she would insist on winding in and out of his feet as he tried to deliver the boxes of food and then insisted on giving every box the once over with her nose to make sure that there were no delicious doggy treats hidden in there. I always seem to spend twice as much money when I order online than I do in the store. I think that is because I add more of the heavy stuff like washing powder, fabric softener, fruit drinks and bottled water so that I don't have to buy and carry any for a couple of weeks. When I walk up to Tesco with my shopping wheeler I have to limit myself to buying what I can wheel home. I will have to walk up to the village tomorrow as I need to collect my prescription that I also ordered online. I could get that delivered also if I signed up for it but I would have to wait in all day as they don't specify a time for delivery as Tesco do.

I had a better night's sleep last night. I do when I can sleep without the duvet pressing on my knees. It was warm enough to be without the duvet for most of the night although I did wake up underneath it this morning. I got up fairly early as my Tesco delivery slot was between 9 - 11 and as I suspected he came just after 9am. Not many people want this early slot as they are either at work or doing the school run. I was glad to see him so early as I didn't have a scrap of bread in the bread bin or the freezer for my breakfast.

Time for a coffee and a search through the channels to find something other than football to watch on the TV. The alternatives are usually very old re-runs of series but if I am lucky I will find one that I missed the first/second/third time around.

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Short and Sweet

I think that I should have changed the title of this blog to longer and sweet. Short and Sweet is the title of the shrug by Angela Best that features in the Stitch and Bitch Happy Hooker book. The first time that I made this shrug I used an aran wool but I found it to be rather thick so I now use a double knitting instead. It does need a bit of adjustment in that I have to work extra rows and make a larger size than is required to compensate for using thinner yarn.

Some people struggle with this shrug as they don't quite understand that it starts at the shoulder and works downwards but to work the fronts you return to the cast on chain and work the opposite way along it thus eliminating the shoulder seam. I have taken photos that show the start of the front as I have stopped crocheting the back until it is time to link the back with the fronts to make the body. Sylvia tried on the one that I was wearing on Sunday and decided that she would like hers a bit longer. There will be no problem with that but I may go on a larger hook as I get to the waist to give the shrug a bit more room as it goes to the hip area. The pattern looks far more complicated than it actually is. It does take a bit of concentration at first to get the pattern set in my head but after that it is all plain sailing.

The weather is quite nice again today and I am doing a bit of hoovering. I have found out that if I walk about bare footed then my knees seem more stable than if I wear my slippers or shoes. It's OK being bare footed in the hot weather so I do hope that I get my op before the colder weather comes. I have had no word as yet so hopefully no news is good news. I do hope that they don't tell me bad news with a letter that won't arrive for a couple of weeks. I still haven't had my confirmation letter about my operation date which is slightly worrying.

Monday, 21 June 2010

Out For Sunday Dinner

Yesterday I was invited up to my friend Sylvia's house for dinner. Dinner always tastes so much nicer when I don't have to cook it. Thanks Sylvia for making the effort to cook for me even though your legs are so painful.

I took up the the babies cardigans and blankets as well as the grey aran jacket that I made for Sylvia. I had thought to myself. That's a couple of bags less in my dining room. Wrong! As the baby will grow she gave me some more bags of wool to make slightly larger sizes for him as he grow.

I do wish that I could show you photos of the new baby. He is a lovely wee thing with quite a lot of dark hair. As he is in the foster system it is important to keep his whereabouts unknown as someone from his family may see his photos on here and it is vital for his well being that he stays anonymous until his fate is decided. As babies come into foster care for all kinds of different reasons some go back home and some go for adoption but the courts decide on each individual situation. You will have to trust me when I say that he is a real cutie. I didn't hold him as I don't believe in messing tiny babies about. He is only just to term and so sleeps most of the time. I will hold him when he gets bigger and more awake. He has his little routine that he is used to as he was in hospital for a couple of weeks. At first he was tube fed but has now found out what his mouth is for and is guzzling his milk like a trouper. It won't be long before he catches up with other newborn babies. He is getting weighed today so might reach 6lbs today as he has filled out in the week that Sylvia has had him.I wish that my son had been half as good as this baby. He never slept not even as a newborn. Grrr.

I managed to finish off the white knitted baby cardigan whilst I was up at Sylvia's. It is from a very old pattern that actually came from one of those Mum and Baby magazines. I like it because you knit the bands in as you go along so there are no stitches to pick up afterwards. The pattern goes up to a 24" chest so I will be using it more times now that I have found the pattern again. As it was printed out on a sheet of paper I mislaid it for a while.

I didn't start anything else last night so today I might have a change and start something that isn't a baby jacket but then again I did promise Rindy that I would test out one of her patterns in a larger size. Decisions decisions. At least I have got some more wool in blue shades in the bags that Sylvia gave me yesterday so the poor baby won't have to wear pink! I may try out the larger crochet jacket in pink though as Sylvia's friend has a foster baby girl who is a few months old and needs larger sizes.

I had promised myself that I would do some housework today but the sun is shining and the garden is calling to me to come sit outside as there won't be many nice days so make the most of today. I can do housework when it rains.

Saturday, 19 June 2010

Two Premature Crochet Baby Jackets

I have managed to finish off the other two premature baby jackets ready for my visit to the foster Mum Sylvia and baby tomorrow. I am also knitting a baby jacket in white but as that is a bit larger it is not wanted as urgently as the very small ones are. The three jackets that I have made are very tiny and will only fit him for a couple of weeks but everything else is far too big for him at the moment. I don't want to make too many preemie sized ones as he will grow quite quickly and then will need a newborn size very soon.

The white jacket is one that I adapted from a plain crochet jacket. I altered the pattern stitch and made it smaller by using 4ply wool and a 3mm hook. The stitch is an alternating round the front loop UK treble and ordinary treble on the right side and UK double crochet on the wrong side.

The blue jacket is from pattern 99 by Kay Jones. Once again I made it smaller to fit a preemie by using 4ply instead of the Double Knit specified on the pattern and I used a 3mm hook. The stitch is once again UK treble worked around the stitch to make a rib effect.

I am looking forward to going out tomorrow although rain is forecast. Today has been sunny but windy. Poppy came in for her usual look around and to leave a deposit on my lawn. I took her back home after a while and then she came straight back in the patio door and slept on the sofa snoring away, much louder than a little terrier should, for about 2 hours. Eventually I could hear her owner Julie shouting her. They had thought that she was under the bed sleeping, with the other dog, and had been out shopping. They were alarmed when they got in to find they only had one dog in the house. Poppy was OK with me. My house is fairly quiet and I think that she likes to sleep in peace as she is an elderly dog. I leave the patio door open and she comes in and goes out as she pleases. She has worked out how to sneak under the joint privet hedge and into my garden. My garden is enclosed on 3 sides by fencing so she can't get any further.

I have had a quiet day as my knees are not having a good day. Tonight is a 'try to find something interesting to watch on TV that isn't football' night and do a bit more of the knitted baby coat. For now though it's time for a bit of fish for dinner.

Friday, 18 June 2010

Pre Op Test Day

Yesterday was the day I had to visit the hospital for my second set of pre op tests for my knee operation. I am now waiting to find out what they found wrong this time and even if there is nothing wrong then the weight issue is raising it's ugly head once more. According to the nurse the surgeons have said no operations ( unless urgent) for anyone whose BMI is over 40 and mine is 43. My tests show that apart from my weight my lungs and heart are perfectly healthy but apparently that doesn't matter. To get any help with my weight I would have to have a BMI of 50 or more, It seems that if your BMI is in the 40's then you are in no man's land. Not considered fat enough for help and too fat for an operation.

The nurse said she would let me know one way or the other but I have not had a phone call so far. I still might get a phone call this afternoon or maybe Monday. I cannot even think about the operation until I get told that it is definitely going ahead. It seems to me that if you have money and can pay you get things done. If they had given me a knee replacement instead of the arthroscopy then my BMI would have been OK. The good news is that I haven't put any weight on in the last 9 months even though I thought that I had. Unfortunately I do weigh more than when I had my last operation 18 months ago. I got very upset when the nurse said that my weight could stop me from having this operation on the date that I have been given. I told her that I am getting really pissed off and already on medication for depression. I must have shown how upset I was as she kept telling me to calm down and stop worrying and that everything would be OK. I said how can you say that when you have just told me that the surgeons won't operate on anyone considered to be overweight?

I travelled to hospital on the slowest bus 484 in Manchester. The good thing to come out of an hour long journey both ways was that I managed to crochet a back and two fronts of a very tiny blue cardigan on the bus. I have finished one tiny blue crocheted double breasted cardigan but now have 3 things on the hook and needle. The blue jacket I started yesterday just requires stitching together and the bands crocheting. The white crochet jacket only has a back crocheted so far and the knitted cardigan only has about 4" knitted. I think that I have some work to do this weekend.

I am hopefully going to visit the foster baby and take his jackets with me. I intended to go today but am waiting in for the phone call that probably won't come. I have decided to go now on Sunday which means I will have to set off earlier than I intended as it is the local Carnival and they will close off the main road for hours so that the procession can walk down the main road. I need to leave my house before the road closes around 12.30pm.

My little furry friend Poppy came to visit me this morning and fell asleep on the carpet for an hour or so. I think that she likes sleeping on carpet as her owners have laminate flooring. They came to find her after a while. I said she only comes to leave me a parcel on the lawn and for a sleep! I must remember to pick them all up before the gardener comes on Monday.

Time for a coffee and carry on with my baby jackets. Today is miserable and rainy. Quite a change from the lovely sunshine we had yesterday. I never know what to wear these days. I usually wear layers and then I can add one or take one off depending on the weather.

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Catching Up

I have had a busy couple of days hence no blogging done.

I gave up with the Tunisian crochet (temporarily) as I could not get my tension right. If I got my width tension right by going on a much smaller hook then I had too many rows for the tension square and the fabric felt too tight. I think perhaps a bit of practise on something without a pattern or shaping will be the next thing on the agenda then it won't matter if my work is coming out too wide.

I finished off the white, blue and red crochet jacket using a simple pattern by Rindy Carpenter (free on Ravelry) but once again adapted it by using a different pattern stitch and colours. I only had one 50 gram ball of white and as anyone knows white is the worst colour to match so although I had several part balls of white none of them matched so I used the different colours to eke out the 50 grams.

I started knitting a larger size knitted baby cardigan with the James C Brett Bliss DK that I had been using for the Tunisian. The colour changes are rather large so I have finished up with a strangely marked cardigan. It will keep the baby warm in the winter.

The reason I say in the winter is that the foster baby has finally arrived at my friend's house. He is a dinky little thing weighing just over 5lbs as it turns out that he was born premature. I am now rushing through some premature sized cardigans as he will be swimming in some of the jackets that I have made so far. That is the only problem with knitting or crocheting for foster babies they can range from 5-9 lbs when they arrive so it's knowing what size to make. I am not looking after Buster this weekend so I hope to visit the baby and take along his cardigans as he needs them to wear now.

Yesterday I went up to Towneley Hall Burnley again with Rachael. Rachael had to finish photographing the tea cosies and the doilies to keep a record of her project. The sun was shining and it was a lovely day. Fortunately the fire alarm didn't sound today as it did at the weekend when she went up to photograph them so she was able to complete the task. I have put the link to her Artyarn blog (click my blog title) as the photos that she took of everyone's tea cosies came out much better than my blurry ones did. The only two of mine that came out OK were the ones of my tea cosies with a close up of the pink one that I haven't shown you before.

We came back home through Rawtenstall. A place that neither of us had been to before and Rachael bought me a sandwich in a cafe there which although was really nice had raw onions on it. Rachael had a baked potato and beans with salad which also had the same raw onions in it so we were a bit stinky on the way home. I took a photo of Rachael taking her photos.Artist at work. Towneley Hall is really interesting and I really must go back one day when I can walk the grounds and the Hall properly. I have really enjoyed my small part in the project as it has been fun and I got to meet so many nice people in Burnley that I otherwise would have never met and to see Towneley Hall which I am ashamed to admit I knew nothing about until Rachael's project. I am not sure how long the tea cosies will be on display but the rare and antique tea pots will probably be on display for a while longer. The Hall change the exhibits regularly to keep the Hall interesting.

Nice sunny day today so I might do some crochet sitting in the garden. I need to push on with my small baby jackets so the small baby has something to keep him warm by the weekend.

Sunday, 13 June 2010

Learning Tunisian Crochet

I have spent a couple of hours today watching the DVD that came with one of the Learn Tunisian books. The DVD was very informative but I did get slightly irritated by the way they pronounced the word as Tooneezian all through the DVD. I think that I have mastered the basic stitch now but my tension is still way too slack and for this pattern I am using a 4.50 hook when the pattern calls for a 6mm hook! My piece has a couple of mistakes in it but hopefully they are not too noticeable when the cardigan is finished. I am using one of Kay Jones Tunisian baby cardigan patterns.

I don't think that Tunisian crochet will ever take the place of ordinary crochet as far as I am concerned. I find it to be slower than crochet and slower than knitting. I know that I am a beginner, and therefore slow, but it's the actual technique of holding the hook and the yarn that I am having difficulty with and I can see that if I did a lot of Tunisian then my poor wrists would ache like mad. I am glad to learn a new skill though as I like to widen my crafting skills. I think that Tunisian will be something that I slot in between the crochet and the knitting.

I have finished another little baby jacket, using the basic pattern by Rindy, but adding a few improvisations of my own. I worked as the pattern until I divided for the armholes. I then changed to an alternating UK treble and double crochet for the bottom of the coat. I only had one 50 gram ball of the cream so once that ran out I introduced a couple of colours to make the little jacket long enough. I was going to use two shades of blue but I decided that these two shades of green toned better with the cream. Ana Luisa, you asked for an easy pattern well these patterns by Rindy, which are free on Ravelry, are top down and easy peasy. Rindy (Gabbyknitter) has made many different versions of her basic jackets using many different colours and stripe patterns. As she is making them all for charity I say well done to her.

Today it is raining again and has gone a bit cold. I have a good reason not to do anything else except concentrate on learning the Tunisian stitches. I have started crocheting another jacket with the Rindy pattern which should be finished by tomorrow. I am using some of my 50 gram balls up to make small baby jackets.

Time for a coffee and then back to the hook attached to the bendy wiggly wire.

Saturday, 12 June 2010

Another Crocheted Baby Surprise Jacket

I decided to make the second baby Surprise jacket in normal UK double crochet stitch as although going into one loop looks attractive, like ribbing, I found it awkward to do all the time and kept going wrong if I wasn't concentrating. The wool I have used for this one is James C Brett Marble double knitting shade MT20 and as it was a slightly thicker double knit than the James C Brett Bliss baby DK of the first jacket the second one has come out slightly larger and taken approx 150 grams this time.Babies grow all of the time so it is good to have slightly bigger sizes. The pattern is one by Jenny King that I bought through Ravelry and I found it very easy to follow.It's not one of those complicated patterns that blinds you with science. Just states everything you need to know with just a couple of pages.

I had a visit from my two nieces today. I see my locally living niece quite often but only see the London based niece every 2 or 3 months so it was nice to see her.

The exhibition of the tea pots and tea cosies is on display at Towneley Hall, Burnley. Rachael was up yesterday to take photos but unfortunately the fire alarm sounded ( false alarm) and so everyone had to evacuate the building before she finished taking the photos. I have been invited to go back up with her on Monday to finish taking the photos so I will take my camera and hopefully have photos for the Tuesday blog. I probably won't write anything on Monday as hopefully I am going on to the Knit Club afterwards and probably won't be in the blogging mood when I get back from that.

Today is quite sunny and warm when the sun comes out. I haven't been sitting in the garden crocheting but I do have washing drying on the line and Poppy, the little terrier, visiting me through the open patio doors from time to time. The only sounds that I can hear are the whirring of lawn mowers as people who work during the week are taking advantage of this bit of sun to do some work in their gardens.

I have started another really easy baby jacket pattern by Rindy. They are very basic crochet but great for using up those odd 50 grams of baby DK wool, that you get left over, if you trim them with a bit of contrast colour.I am making a cream one and have 50 grams of white lined up for another one 50 grams of DK makes very little else except for hats and mitts and hopefully they won't be needed in the summer months.

Friday, 11 June 2010

Inside Crochet Issue 7

My copy of Inside Crochet number 7 arrived from Pavi yarns this morning. I only ordered it from Pavi yarns a couple of days ago so that was really fast service. I also ordered a plain black shawl pin as I have seen them advertised on line and this was the closest version of what I was looking for and about half the price of the others that I had seen. They have these pins in a variety of colours but I can't afford one for every shawl so just stayed with black to match everything.

Once I have finished off the second version of the crochet Baby Surprise jacket I am going to settle down with my learn Tunisian DVD and a hook and have another try at learning the technique. Tunisian crochet and broomstick crochet seem to be making a comeback and I need to learn both skills for Doris Chan's new book and also for the broomstick crochet cardigan by Sarah Sutherland on the front cover of Inside Crochet.

I took a close up shot of the broomstick lace cardigan to show how pretty the stitch when it comes out right. I have a wooden broomstick but it might be too large for learning crochet. My needles dates back from when broomstick knitting was all the fashion back in the 60's and 70's.

The purple Trefoil scarf by Robyn Chachula has ribbon threaded all around the edges making it making it look very feminine with the lacy pattern as well as the ribbons.

The belted tweed jacket by Melissa Horozewski is a warm looking jacket with it's wooden beads threaded on the edges of the belt. I would make it with long sleeves id the jacket was for me.The pattern calls for Rowan felted tweed which would put me off as I would be doing the twitching dance if I wore anything like that.

The flower cardigan by Sian Brown is a fun idea for summers. I like the style but am not impressed by the huge flower motifs that have been used. I have a book with hundreds of crochet and knitted flowers which are far nicer then those flowers.

I can admire the broomstick crochet stitch on the cap and cape by Helen Jordan. I would call it more of a capelet than a cape myself.

The blue organic stole by Annette Petavy. It uses two different crochet stitches to make a wide pretty stole. I think that I fell in live with it for the colour as much as anything as I do love the rich jewel type colours.

The Plum blossom shawl by Dora Ohrenstein has a pretty openwork pattern almost like a pineapple in design. Once again I think that the colour attracts me as well as the pattern stitch.

The little girls Pretty Pastel tunic by Nicki Trench is a pretty stitch but is very openwork and would have to be worn with trousers as shown or over another dress as an overlay.

The book also has a bag, slouch beret and small shrug along with photographic how to do broomstick crochet instructions. My one complaint about this magazine is that it has far too much padding in the way of articles. Pages and pages about fibre farms, book reviews, artist interviews and articles about different expensive wools. Some people might like reading all of these articles but to me I see them as written adverts and I would far rather see more patterns and less of these page filling articles. 14 patterns for £4.99 is rather expensive compared with the Interweave Crochet and Crochet today magazines.

The hospital has just rung me about attending another pre op assessment. This is when they found a water infection last time so lets hope that my course of antibiotics and all the of the cranberry juice and cranberry extract tablets that I have been taking every day since have kept away any more infection from my waterworks.

I had quite a good sleep (for me) last night so I can;t understand why I am so tired. I have fallen asleep at the desk twice whilst typing this blog and the phone call from the hospital woke me up last time. I discovered that I had filled the page with hundreds of full stops as I must have fallen asleep with my fingers on the keyboard! Time for a reviving cup of coffee I think.