Monday, 27 September 2010

Guard Dog

The top photo is of my neighbour's son Zak who was one last Thursday. I wish that I had taken a photo of him last week. Neo the dog will not let Zak go over the step and last week he stood over the top of Zak and crossed his paws in front of Zak to stop him leaning down onto the step. His Mum doesn't leave him like that she was at the bottom of the steps bringing her shopping from the car. Apparently right from the first moment they brought Zak home Neo has been his guard dog. He takes care of the baby in the house also.

The second photo is of a few more Loopy Roses including one that hasn't been stitched together. The rose at the bottom right is closer to how the roses are supposed to look. I think I am getting better at stitching them up now.

The long jacket by Drew Emborsky has now been shaped for the waist and I am ready to divide for the armholes. Work will stop on that now until I come back home from the hospital.

I have had 2 phone calls today from the hospital and both calls reassured me that the operation should be going ahead tomorrow. They have a new system for checking in now. I have to check in with just my slippers, dressing gown and a book to read and my family have to bring my bag with my nighties and toiletries in later as I start off in pre op, then go to post op and then go to the ward when I am fit enough. As they can't keep track of my belongings I have to leave them all at home. My niece says that she will put my bag in her car and then come back in the evening with my things. I usually crochet to pass the time but I don't want to lose my wool and hook so I will just put a little something in my main bag. A ball of wool and a hook just in case I feel up to any crochet after the operation.

I should be in hospital for up to 5 days. If I respond well I could be home in a couple of days. Apparently they don't have a set hospital stay as it varies from person to person.

Today I have been changing the bedlinen, washing, hoovering and washing the kitchen floor. I even did the ironing and that is a standing joke in my family. I don't think that I have ironed (apart from the odd skirt) since Christmas. I have re-discovered T shirts, shorts and skirts that I had forgotten that I had. As they are mostly summer clothes and we haven't had much of a summer is probably why I haven't really missed any of the clothes.

Tonight I have to pack my bag. I have left it until the last minute as I was convinced that I would get cancelled once again. They still can cancel it so don't be surprised if you hear from me tomorrow. I don't have a lap top or a phone with Internet so I can't blog again until I come back home.

Bye Bye for now.

Saturday, 25 September 2010

Oh Baby! Crochet part two

Today I went up to Accrington with Rachael (Artyarn) as she is still teaching people how to crochet. As the stall that we sit on is right opposite Habiknit I was in there again buying a couple of balls of wool. I swear that I cannot pass a wool shop without buying something! I will show you a photo of what I bought and a couple more roses that I crocheted towards the Accrington project tomorrow but for today I will just show you some more of the photos from the Oh Baby! Crochet book. There are still a few projects that I haven't photographed so it is a book full of ideas.

The Pig Security blanket by Helen Heaverin is a sweet little toy with a little blankie fastened to the body. I know that some babies gain great comfort from snuggling next to one of these.

The Little Lamb set by Dorothy Worrell has a lot of embroidered detail on the pram blanket and the pillow. I do love the little sheep toy although I am not a toy crocheter in general.

The Baby Blocks afghan and pillow set by Glenda Winkelman is very sweet but is also similar to a pattern that I have in another book. Very delicately coloured granny squares do make a pretty afghan.

There are a couple more afghan patterns in the book that I haven't photographed but the blue Tiny Balloons and the pink Rosebuds afghan sets by Mary Ann Sipes
are very pretty especially with their matching hats and bootees.

The green Shell and Popcorn papoose set by Frances Hughes and the blue Shell stitch papoose by Sue Childress are very pretty but not something that I would make for a baby unless I was specially requested.

The Toy Cat and Toy Dog by Michele Wilcox are very sweet but I am not a lover of making toys as I always seem to get the stuffing wrong or the embroidery. I would rather crochet a garment any day.

There is also a Baby's First Book by Glenda Winkleman which I haven't photographed. It has crocheted pages but all the words and the pictures in the book are cross stitched on. I am hopeless at anything like that so it's not a pattern for me.

The pink Baby Cloche by Nancy Nehring is a small beanie that looks very much like knitted ribbing. I would imagine that it would look OK for a boy in a different colour.

There are three headbands in the book by Frances Hughes. I chose the white one as I thought that it would make a great christening headband. Sorry that the photo isn't very clear but I think that you can still see most of it. The other two headbands feature crochet flowers or crocheted bows.

The Slippers by Sue Childress remind me of Christmas. There is also a pair of Mary Jane Slippers by Frances Hughes and lacy sock trims for store bought socks by Norma Gale.

The Sweetie Pie baby doll is by Kathleen Stuart. Once again I can admire it but I won't be making it no matter how sweet it is. Mine would look like something from the Omen.

The Nursery Choo Choo by Donna Collinsworth is shown as ornamental with baby toiletries in it but I presume that a baby could play with it. Not something that I would make as I really do not like all of the fiddly bits that go with crocheting toys.

I am tired today after the last two days going here and there. I have thoroughly enjoyed my outings though. They help to stimulate my mind. When I came home I then went up to Tesco on Pearl to get a bit of shopping so I have had another busy day.

Friday, 24 September 2010

Coldspring Mill

Today my friend Sue came to take me to the Coldspring Mill in Cullingworth Yorkshire. I had a lovely day out in the countryside going down narrow country lanes and seeing horses,sheep and even a Grouse on a wall (or was it a Pheasant?) Lovely old stone cottages and old fashioned pubs cropped up every now and again and we went through Haworth which is beautiful Bronte country. I am sad that I didn't take my camera with me. I had no idea that the scenery would be so great. If you click on the blog title I hope that it will show you the entrance to the tea rooms at Coldspring mill which had the most tempting array of homemade cake (we resisted) and gorgeous coffee (which we didn't resist). The menu promised lovely home made sandwiches and lunches. The two guys at the next table who were tucking into their bacon and egg sandwiches certainly seemed to be enjoying them.

The mill is tucked away and is not the traditional cotton mill type. It is a three storey stone building on different split levels inside. It is a strange mixture of camping and walking gear on one floor, wool in the basement and the cafe sort of in between. The rather fetching yellow plastic poncho I am wearing was from the walking section and cost me the princely sum of £2.95. I could have chosen a dark green one but hey you know me. If I am going to look like a fool I might as well look like a fat yellow duck. It will be a perfect emergency waterproof for if I get caught in the rain when riding on Pearl. I have my proper wet gear jacket and trousers but this poncho folds up to fit in a pocket so can be left on the scooter all of the time. I doubt that it will be very durable but at that price what do I expect. It is large enough to cover my knees when I am seated and has poppers down each side.

The wool part of the mill was an Aladdin's cave. Loads of bargains if you like Louisa Harding, Debbie Bliss and Mirasol etc. They are probably discontinued lines or discontinued colours but they were half price. Sadly, lovely though they were, even half price is a wee bit above my pocket. Plus I can't wear a lot of them as they are wool/merino etc and my skin itches just looking at it. There was some skeins of pure silk that made my heart beat faster but to make anything large would have cost me a fortune. It must be nice though to be able to afford such yarns as these.

I settled for the more mundane James C Brett wool. I love their wools especially the Marble chunky which Sue had to drag me away from. I have never seen most of the colours in one place before as usually shops stock limited colours of the wool and the online photos don't do the colours justice. They must have had about 20 colours in the Aran. I was spoiled for choice but I settled for a cream with flecks of many different jewel colours which I thought would make a good all round jacket for next Spring/Summer. I fell in love with the blue Marble DK as I have never seen that colour in the ball before.The brown is also the Marble DK and I am using that to make something for a friend,

The small balls are some oddments of primary colours that I picked up to make some more of the Loopy Roses by Sarah London. I am going up to Accrington with Rachael (Artyarn) tomorrow so am hoping to make a few more roses or free form crochet tonight so that I can stitch them together tomorrow..I haven't got time to worry about my upcoming operation as my niece is calling around on Sunday to dye my hair roots and I still have loads of housework to finish plus packing my bag.

My long Drew Emborsky jacket has now reached the waistline and also where it says to divide for the armholes. I am going to read the pattern though to see how long these armholes are as I have a low waist and would like a bit more length from the waist to the divide. I have plenty of wool left so I will be OK if I have to add a bit of length to the body. I would like it to finish below the hip line if possible.It is slow going but I am pleased with the firmness of the pattern stitch. It will be a nice warm jacket for the winter.

Next door's cat has come in and is happily sleeping on the spare bed. The last time he came in a thunderstorm ensued 10 minutes after he came in. I think he knows that rain is on the way tonight. I don't mind if it rains now as I am warm and cosy and will soon settle down with my coffee and my crochet in a few minutes.

I know I promised the second half of the baby book photos but I had other things to write about today. I won't forget and maybe tomorrow I will post the rest of the book on my blog.

I had a laugh today when the postman left a parcel with me destined for the baby across the road who was one yesterday. The postman often leaves their parcels with me when they are out as it saves them having to go up to the sorting office to retrieve it. I put the parcel down on the stairs as I was on my way out and the parcel started barking! It must be a soft toy that when you bounce it down it barks. It made me laugh as well as jump. I bet that Zak will love it.

Thursday, 23 September 2010

Oh Baby! Crochet

These are some of the projects from the Oh Baby! Crochet book that I bought from Amazon the other day. I will have some more photos for the blog tomorrow as there are lots of things in the book. I find it to be very girlish even though some of the things are marked as for a boy.

The Frilly Dress by Diane Simpson is my favourite of the book. I do wish that people who I know had baby girls and the ones who I know who do have girls liked to dress them up in frilly dresses and not jeans and a T shirt.

The Hooded Baby Gown by Joyce Nordstrom is what I used to call a sleeping bag. I found them to be very useful as when my son was a baby we didn't have central heating and it got very cold at night. I had a couple of sleeping bags but in quilted nylon which was all the rage at the time. It was a very cold winter when Ian was born and he constantly kicked off his blankets so sleeping in a bag was the best alternative.

The Little Man Christening Set by Sue Childrens is not something that I would have put my son in. The jacket and hat maybe when he was a newborn but certainly not the lacy shorts and overlarge bootees.

The Bonnet by Sue Childrens has a little pair of Mary Jane shoes and that would make a nice set for a baby girl's christening.

The Boy's Striped hat and Sweater by Dianne Stein is a nice pattern for a girl but I certainly wouldn't make it for a boy. That pattern is too feminine and I would definitely never use a pinky lilac on a boy.

The Girls Striped Hat and sweater is also by Dianne Stein. I do like that hat and the stripey pattern on the jacket but I would alter the collar as it looks a bit large and off the shoulder for a baby.

The Baby Delight set by Darla Sims has granny squares to form the yoke and one for the back of the bonnet. Quite a pretty jacket but I would replace the ties on the jacket with buttons.

The Baby Biker Bibs by Paula Gron are a novelty item but I would have to alter the ties as they seem to be placed too close together to fit around a baby's neck.

The Overall Bib by Lucille LaFlamme is not an all in one but simply a front that has straps around the back of the legs to keep it in place. Pretty but I don't think that it would have much of a practical purpose as the crochet would not absorb much in the way of dribbles and food spills.

The Duck Hooded Towel and Bath Mitt by Helen Heaverin is very cute but I would think that it had more use as a wrap to keep baby warm in after a bath rather than a towel to absorb water.

The Bear Diaper Cover and Cap by Michelle Wilcox may be useful for the Mum's who use the cloth diapers but it doesn't appear to have any back rise shaping to accommodate the thickness of a diaper at the back. I suppose that they could be worn over a disposable with a T shirt to look cute. Not one for me though.

The Baby Hat by Nancy Nehring is similar to a pattern that I already have. I would not make this as I find it too difficult to crochet with loopy, lumpy, textured wool and unless the hat had got a border of this then it would look very plain. A bit strange though having nothing to fasten the hat with. Most babies would have that off their head and on the floor in two seconds flat!

There are a lot of accesories and baby afghans still to show. I haven't taken photos of some of the items as like the crocheted baby book they heavily feature cross stitch for the details and I am no good at things like that. To me it is more like an embroidery project than a crochet one. They do give detailed diagrams though if embroidery is your thing.

The bottom photo is just some freeform crochet that I have made to go with the roses for Artyarn's project in Accrington. The idea is freeform and just let your imagination wander. One of mine looks like a green loopy fir cone and the other something that is a cross between the Clangers and a disco ball! The yellow loopy one reminds me of a dandelion but with sea weed tendrils.

I got a phone call today from my friend Sue. We are off wool browsing to a mill tomorrow. My bank card will be taking another bashing. I have a good excuse for stash enhancing as I might not be out and about for a while after the op. That's my excuse and I am sticking to it. Internet shopping is not quite the same as seeing wool in the ball and skein and being able to feel it's texture.

Talking about the hospital my heart nearly stopped today when I got a call from the surgeon's secretary. She is usually the bearer of bad news so when she started the conversation with - "We have just got the results on your pre op tests" my mind was preparing for bad news. However she said I haven't got time to send a letter to you telling you where to report and what time to check in so can you phone me on Monday to confirm all of the details. I am not getting too excited yet as things can change over a weekend and an emergency can take my allocated bed. I hope that you are all keeping thoe fingers crossed as am I.

My long crochet jacket for myself is still progressing slowly and is about 16" long now and I am almost at the waist decreases. I had a break making the roses and the freeform so it's time now to try and get a bit more done.

I still have a lot of housework to do before Tuesday. I know that things like floor mopping will take a back seat after my op so I at least want things to be as clean as I can make them before I go in. Today I cleaned the bathroom and put the washed shower curtain and bath mats back. I cleaned the front room but that still leaves this room and the kitchen which is a day of a job. I will leave the bedding and bedroom until Monday when I might just pack my case ready for the hospital. I never got as far as packing it the last two times so maybe it will bring me luck if I do pack it up.

My niece has just text me to say that she can do my hair roots on Saturday but I am already going out so she will come on Sunday. It will be more awkward to do them after the op when I can't bend my knee for a little while because of all the dressings.

As I have the second half of the book photos to show you tomorrow I might make you wait to see any wool purchases that I buy tomorrow. Is that mean of me? Hee Hee

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Loopy Roses and Other Things

As you know I have going with Rachael (Artyarn) on a couple of days to Accrington to sit with her whilst she teaches crochet. The pupils have been making all kinds of abstract twiddles, curlicues etc and I had been making a few leaves to add in between some of the flower like crocheting that has been made. Today I was fed up with my own crochet so I decided to have a change. As you can see from the first photos I made a loopy stitch ball in yellow and added green sea weed like tentacles. I then made a curlicue in green and random. A little flower in multi.

I wanted something different so I was net browsing and came across Sarah London's patterns and fell in love with a lot of her designs. They are very simple but she uses such vibrant colours that I had to order the loopy rose pattern. The first one I made was a bit of a disaster (see the first photo) but by the second and third rose I have got the hang of the way they are stitched together (I think) The ones that Sarah made are in bright primary colours and I think that is what is missing from my attempts. I need to sort out 9 strong colours for them to work properly. I am sure that my attempts will fit in with the whole design somewhere and I will give them to Rachael when I see her on Saturday.

I have added a link to Sarah London's blog in my title page. The loopy rose pattern gives pictorial lessons on how to make the roses which makes them simple to follow. I just wish that she had shown in more detail the start of curling the loops up to make the flower and how she stitched it together. Mine are more cobbled together as sewing up is not my forte. On her blog is a lovely pattern for a colourful beach bag and a gorgeous round cushion cover. The colours that she chooses for her projects are so bright and cheerful.I could follow a lot of her designs without a pattern. It's the colours that she uses that make them so attractive to me. Her house looks so bright and cheerful with all of it's crochet covers and cushions.

Avert your eyes Bev as another of my pre ordered crochet books from Amazon has arrived early. It is a mix of clothes, blankets, toys and accessories. Although the book says some of the patterns are for boys I feel the patterns are more suited to girls. I will post some photos of the pages tomorrow. That should give Bev time to hide her purse and close her eyes! I only have one book left on pre order and that is also another baby crochet book. Once again it isn't due yet but then neither were the last two books so I presume that will arrive soon.

I rang up today to find out whether my copy of Interweave Crochet has been lost in the post as it is well overdue. I have a subscription and they are always late sending out my copies. When I rang they hadn't posted them out yet even though they are advertised on their website. Time for a change of subscription when this one ends I think. The whole point of a subscription for me is that I get them early and don't have to go searching the newsagents for a copy.

Thankfully the parcel that I posted to Sylvia yesterday arrived safely this morning. I am always on pins when I post anything these days. I know the parcel doesn't have a high monetary value but it's all the hours of labour spent making the little jackets that can't be replaced. Sylvia thinks that the cardigans will fit the babies which is a huge relief. It is hard to crochet for babies that keep growing fast since I last saw them.

Tonight I may continue making some abstract twiddles. I am giving my crochet a break for today as my wrists were aching last night after working on it for an hour or more. It grows so slowly. I will be a few more days before I reach the armhole division,

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Reading Material

Amazon didn't send me any more books today but I did get my non crochet reading for when/if I go into hospital. I ordered a couple of books by Stephen Fry as he makes me laugh and I have heard that both of these books are a good read. I must remember to pack my reading glasses!

The long cardigan by Drew Emborsky is progressing quite slowly. It is all the front crochet around the loop twisted cable style crochet and the round the back loop crochet on the wrong side that is slowing me down. It is making quite a close fabric as it is crocheted on a 4mm hook. I have put the marker pin at the half way point from the bottom edge to the armholes so that at least now I can see that I am more than half way to when I can divide for the armholes. I hope that it will move faster then when the rows are shorter. At the moment it seems to be taking me ages to go across a row plus the colour is difficult to see in the electric light. My photo makes it appear much lighter than it actually is. I would call it more of a maroon shade. I might have to start something else in a lighter colour for evening crocheting.

The rather blurry photo is of two charms that Rachael bought me from a shop in Accrington. One is a little sweater on the needles and the other is a ball of wool with needles crossing through it. I am going to try to make them into little lapel pins.

Today I nipped up to the Post Office on Pearl. It is so good to be able to nip here and there so easily. I decided to post the parcel off to Sylvia with the baby cardigans in. The Post Office was it's usual full self with the slowest moving queue in the North. There were 4 members of staff working but the queue was held up with people asking stupid questions, sometimes twice over, and the staff making it worse by asking everyone if they had life insurance and ISA's etc. Surely the time to flog their other things is not when the queue is snaking around the building. I felt like saying to the woman behind the counter - Stop chatting and trying to persuade people to take out things they don't want and just serve the customers. Oh dear I think that I am turning into a grumpy old woman. Why does trying to post a parcel turn into an hour long event?

Thanks to everyone for their kind wishes. I do hope that you can all knit and crochet with your fingers crossed! I am just crossing my legs so that I can still crochet.

Not a bad day today. I managed to get the washing dry outside - even the bathmats and towels so all in all a good day.

Monday, 20 September 2010

Crocheting in Accrington

Here I go again. I had typed out the whole blog and then pressed the wrong key on the keyboard and sent it all to oblivion. As Blogger auto saves I thought that all I had to do was retrieve it but it wasn't there. All that saved was the title! Anyway enough of my problems off I go again.

I have had a busy couple of days going to Accrington with Rachael and having a good old chit chat with everyone. As I didn't take any photographs if you click on my blog title it should take you to the page on Rachael's (Artyarn) blog where you can see lots of photos and descriptions including a photo of yours truly languishing in an armchair crocheting. On Saturday we went along to Haworth Art Gallery.

Yesterday I should have gone to Sylvia's to deliver the cardigans for the foster babies. The weather was atrocious but I would still have gone except that Sylvia and both babies are still full of colds so we didn't think that it was wise for me to go. I am thinking of posting them off today when I go out as I don't know if I can get there next weekend and if I do go into hospital who knows how long it will be before I get up to Sylvia's again. The babies need the cardigans as the weather has turned colder and they will be growing out of them if I don't get them there soon.

I managed to get another cardigan from the 400 gram balls of aran. I chose a pattern that was mostly plain as cables eat up the wool. I started Sirdar 3738 but when I started knitting I realized that the cable also had a lacy pattern running through it which I thought was rather girlish. I therefore changed it to just a plain 6 sts cable. I like the twisted ribs and collar as it brings just a touch to a plain cardigan.

I am still crocheting slowly on my longer jacket but as it is done all in one it seems to take ages to do a row. The pattern is looking very nice though it is just slower with all of the crocheting around the loops that is the pattern.

I bought two more plus sized patterns. I found them online for sale as second hand (or pre owned as they are now called) which were cheaper than if I had managed to find them to buy new. I prefer the Leisure Art booklet with the green cardigan on the front as it has more patterns in it that I will use as you can see from most of the photos. The other book is an American School of Needlework one and the designs are not as good in my opinion. There are a couple of pullovers that might be OK but they are photographed badly in my opinion.

I am stocking up on so many pattern books I think that I will have to start a catalogue of which patterns I like in which books as I spend half the day pattern browsing every time I want to find a pattern that I remember I have seen somewhere.

I have been told by Amazon that another baby crochet pre ordered book is on it's way. It was due at the end of October but apparently it has arrived early. My credit card has taken quite a bashing this last month. I might be going wool browsing this week again. Do I care? Nope I will pay it off eventually so I am not worried and most of the credit card bill was for my scooter and recliner which have made my life so much easier. I will pay a sizable chunk off it when I go to the village this afternoon.

I haven't heard anything from the hospital so I am hoping that no news is good news and that I passed my pre op tests. All I have to pray now is that there is a still a bed when it is my operation day. I got cancelled the day before my op last time. Please keep everything crossed for me during this coming week.

Friday, 17 September 2010

A Great Day

I have had a great day out today. I had a ride up to Accrington in Rachael's (Artyarn) new car and spent the day crocheting leaves in Accrington Market Hall whilst Rachael was teaching people how to crochet.

There was no music today and it was a bit breezy every time the automatic doors opened but as I was tucked away near a pillar in my armchair I missed most of it although poor Rachael got quite cold. If you want to look a what we are doing then keep your eyes on the Artyarn blog (link is in my favourite blog list) as Rachael can explain much better than I can what it is all about. Tomorrow we are going up to the Art Gallery in Accrington where once again I will sit in style whilst Rachael does all the hard work. Ha Ha.

I was really looking forward to the homemade lasagne from the market cafe but as the lady explained they change the homemade menu every day so that it doesn't get monotonous. Today I had homemade meat pie with mash, cauliflower and carrots. I haven't tasted pie that good since my late mother made me one. I just do not have the right touch for pastry. Cakes I can manage but pastry - no.

I also went back to the old fashioned sweet shop and this time I got Liquorice tablets, Butterscotch tablets and some Rum and Raisin fudge. No wonder that I can't slim!

I called in Habiknits and picked up a bargain of the un labelled cream flat ribbon cotton. I am not sure what it is but it looks very much like something from Sirdar. It is a bargain at 89p a ball. I bought a couple of balls of three different colours last year from he Habiknits in Bury but when I went back they didn't have any more. I was overjoyed to find 10 balls in Accrington.

The pink Sirdar Silky Look DK is another bargain from Purplelinda. It is a bit paler than anything I have made for myself but I hope that it will look OK when crocheted. I am a great fan of Silky Look and it must still be a good seller as it is still in stock some 15 yrs after I used to stock it in my wool shop. Purplelinda are selling it for half price at £1.40p a ball but there are only the discontinued colours which are this pink a very pale green and a pale turquoise.

The baby patterns jumped into my basket as did the Silky Look. I was actually only ordering another ball of King Cole Riot. It's amazing what happens when you browse!.

My friend Sue surprised me with a visit whilst I was in the market. She had read on my blog where I would be and decided to surprise me. It was lovely to see her again. We live a bit of a distance apart and Sue works shift hours so I don't get to see her often. Another friend that I made through knit club. She brought her finished pale blue version of the Doris Chan pattern September Morn jacket for me to see. I also have the pattern but as per usual, haven't got around to it yet.

Three years ago I didn't know any knitters or crocheters and I now I can list quite a few people that I know who do one or the other. It's so nice to chat craft. I value my Internet friends for chit chat as well. Who would have thought I feel that I know so many people from all corners of the world. But for the Internet we would never have a chance to exchange ideas. I know that it has given me a new lease of life. I no longer feel like the lone crocheter of Manchester!

Tonight I hope to finish of the baby jacket that I am making in aran wool. I have made this one mainly plain with just a cable up the front. i think that I will just about make it with the left over aran I had from the 400 gram that I made the other aran from. I hope to get it finished so that I can give it to the baby when I visit Sylvia on Sunday.