Friday, September 28, 2007
Which led me to thinking about warm clothes in general, and the absence of hand-knitted jumpers in my wardrobe - how can this be?! So the prevarication project known as Notorious has been swept aside until the sun shines again. This woman needs a woolly jumper!
While I was studying for my Finals at University (and was single and cold) I knitted a gorgeous jumper. It was pine green wool, mostly in a sort of double moss stitch,with a panel of twisted rib down the front and raglan sleeves. The jumper itself and the pattern are long-lost (3 Suisses Junior, I recall) so I am thinking I will try to recreate this old favourite as a design exercise, using my new Denise circular needles.
Off to order some chunky wool - watch this space!
P.S. Remember I broke the points off my new Daisy dpns? Well, I emailed Gill at the Woolly Workshop and she sent me another set, free of charge, and they arrived the following day! How is that for fantastic customer service?!
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
I didn’t mention that I did some emotional spending during the week. I was having a bad day, and I surfed over to the YarnYard to discover two lovely sock yarns that called out to me. It was an impulse buy, but it was a GOOD buy, because the combined skeins are knitting up into a Chevron Scarf – the project which has been scratching away at the back of my brain with no suitable yarn in the stash.
Tuesday… Tuesday was the double hospital appointment extravaganza.
Thursday, September 20, 2007
The yarn is Miss Babs sportweight superwash merino in a specially-dyed color called "Waterfall". Deep rich blues and purple - mmm! The sunlit picture is the best one of the colour - that elusive blue and purple mix confuses my camera! And it is a deliciously springy 3-ply! I am not immediately sure about the accompanying pattern - it is hard to see but it looks to have lace and cables - and I would probably prefer more solidity for a warm sock in this weight of yarn. I am thinking of knitting Marina Piccola in this yarn - I think it would be a good match. And there are other goodies too - chocolate mint lip balm (smells exactly like After Eights!), a crystal stitchmarker (pretty!) and a Woolgirl Sock Club Journal and pen - woo hoo! I am a sucker for stationery! And there are competitions to enter too! Gold stars for quality, presentation, value and general loveliness!
Monday, September 17, 2007
Finshed the June Bride mittens, as per instructions. They are lovely!
I emailed Annie Modesitt about the discrepancy between the photo and the charted pattern ... and she emailed back! And the upshot is that the mitts in the photo are not the ones in the pattern: there was a bit of a mix-up and the publisher decided to go to print with the wrong photo. How frustrating that must have been! Crikey - the perils of international knitting design stardom! Seems like a really odd decision to me.
But anyway... I like the pattern as it appears in the book and that is what I knitted. The geraniums photo is the best picture of the colour. The close-up caused the flash to go off and drowned the black. But you can see the lacey back better.
Very quick to knit - I started a second pair yesterday in cream cashmere sock yarn - mmmm!
The first pair was intended for my daughter, but she came across me knitting them and was so disinterested in the yarn that I am thinking these might go to the teenaged cousin for Christmas after all.
Friday, September 14, 2007
Try explaining that one to the AA.
Luckily, I managed to free the trapped strands on my own. Eventually.
No, of course I wasn’t moving at the time. I blame the Girl Guides myself. If only I didn’t have to spend so long in a car park waiting for them to finish learning how to eat chocolate this would never have happened.
Anyway, wool extracted and wound, I cast on for the June Bride fingerless mitts from “Romantic Hand Knits”. This was a bit of a risk. The yarn (Dyeabolical Yarns Alter Ego superwash merino sock from Etsy, colourway Scratch Art) was calling out for me to do something a bit emo / goth / sk8er girl for my daughter. But the pattern called for two strands pulled from a five-strand cashmere yarn – err right! So I cast on using the 3.75mm needles suggested, just for fun,“got gauge”, shrugged and kept on knitting.
And it is such FUN! I was thrown by the instruction to garter stitch 4 rows before joining the knitting into a round… then I realised this achieved a ruffle cuff with a little notch in it – pretty! I struggled a bit at first with the language of this pattern. Ever done a “vertical double decrease”? You probably have and didn’t realise it. Luckily there is a glossary at the back of the book. I annotated the lace chart and all was well.
It looks NOTHING like the picture in the book. But the photo in the book looks nothing like the chart, however hard I peer at it. Is this actually the same pair of mitts?! Today I emailed Annie Modesitt, the designer, because the chart clearly shows yo's and yet the photo shows a plain-backed mitt! It is really exciting to be knitting a mystery mitten!
But I really like what I see so far. There is a ruffled cuff, ribbing at the wrist to pull it in, then a lace back. The yarn I am using is coming up with a spiralling stripe, which was not at all what I expected. I thought it would have small splotches of colour here and there through fairly solid black. But this is much more exciting! There is a strong diagonal swathe of colour with an arrowhead of lace holes shooting through it - I like it a lot! I will take a photo at the weekend, when I finish them.
I am knitting the smallest size, so I will be interested to see what happens when I knit my next pair, the next size up, for me. Because I certainly will!
The needles are my Daisy dpns. They have added to the fun. They are made of “ABS coloured resin”. You might call them plastic. But they are kind of soft and warm to the touch. I don’t spike my finger on the point when I push against it. They have flexibility but don’t feel like they are about snap. They are PURPLE! If this is what Denise interchangeables are like, my circular decision is made!
Thursday, September 13, 2007
"Knitting Little Luxuries" by Louisa Harding.
And there's a slide show of its contents HERE.
I want the bag on the cover, and the little shawlets and the slipover with the diagonal cable and the long fingerless gloves....
Lots of gift ideas!!!
Wednesday, September 12, 2007
It is alarming how quickly we have become accustomed to the cycles that this disease and its treatment bring to our lives. And I was astonished to realise that we have been living with MM for only two months. It feels like a lifetime.
Every morning begins with the laying out of the pills. Every second Friday this includes 10 dexamethasone (steroids) pills and 10 cyclophosamide (chemotherapy) pills: all to be taken at one sitting. So I fill a pint glass of cool clear tap water and make a pattern of pills on the tablecloth: a smiley face perhaps, or a flight of steps up the giant gingham checks. First Love sits down at the kitchen table and wraps a quilt round his shoulders and begins the ceremony. I chase the dog away when he drops a pill: his hands are very shakey these days. Sometimes the cat tries to jump into his lap and has to be sent out.
I try to encourage him to have breakfast before he starts, because the pills "fill him up" and he can't face food. We both know he needs the energy. He had lost another 2lb when he weighed himself at the doctor's surgery this week. His legs are desperately thin now - the muscles stand out as narrow "fingers" down his thighbones. His trousers have no hope of staying up and he is on the tightest notch of the belt I bought him for Christmas - it was only just big enough then.
Then he waits. He tries to fill his day by reading the newspapers and listening to the World Service, but as the hours go by, his mind starts to race and he loses concentration. Some days he sleeps for hours, crouched over the table, because it is the most comfortable position he can find. Last Friday was exceptional: he managed to drive to the nearest shop to collect a newspaper, before the drugs kicked in. But he was so tired when he got back that he fell asleep on the toilet. By about 4pm, his face is like an ivory mask. By about 6pm, he cannot face the smell or sight of food. Last Friday he felt better than usual and asked me to go into town to get him a Chinese meal. Unfortunately, he woke with a start at 10pm and was violently sick.
Saturdays are his "seedy" days. He can be shivery, even on a warm day. He cannot eat. He often complains that his stomach hurts. He can't bear to lie down, so takes possession of the table for hours on end. He will sit up all night, crouched over a pillow on the table. This can carry on into Sunday. Occasionally into Monday. The best days of the week are Wednesdays and Thursdays: he manages two small meals and craves particular foods like rice pudding or ice cream or cashew nuts.
The children have become used to creeping around him at the weekend. I can feel their relief when I agree to take them somewhere out of the house: the trampoline, the shops. He isn't bad-tempered with them, but so terribly weary and "down" that it saps at everyone's energy. He sometimes has the TV on as a distraction, but his hearing is failing so it is unbearably loud for the rest of us. I am pleased to say he has finally admitted to this and has an appointment for a hearing test on Friday.
The combination of medicines causes severe constipation. Despite 6 laxative pills a day his bowels can refuse to move for a week at a time, then explode. It is exhausting for him and terribly hard on his pride. This week we have made it our mission to get to Friday without constipation setting in. I made an "all-bran" fruit loaf for him last night.
And yet... there seems to be some improvement. He started talking about us going on a short break at the end of October. We daren't go far, but I have tentatively booked a log cabin near Beauly for a 3 night stay. That would include the Friday night, driving home on Saturday. That scares me. I imagine him being sick all the way home. Me driving and worrying about him all the way.
Beauly? The venue of our first holiday together. I couldn't find the place we stayed at all those years ago - it is probably long gone. But I found somewhere that looks beautiful. Secluded, yet within driving distance of a hospital.
We have stopped talking about a wedding. It seems impossible to plan for something 6 or more weeks ahead - and that is the timescale the law requires. He was surprised. He thought we could just get up one morning and drive to a Registrar and say "Marry us, please". The myth of Gretna Green has a lot to answer for.
But we are getting organised. He has been granted Attendance Allowance, so we can pay for a gardener to sort out the Steadings gardens - I haven't had the time to complete the job I started and the thistles have taken over. The vegetable garden is a disaster area: the potatoes got blight, the courgettes withered and the beetroot grew leaves and no root. The only apparent success is the row of Jerusalem artichokes, planted from the leftovers from one week's organic veg box delivery. He has given the local gamekeeper "shooting rights" over the land, to keep down the rabbit population. We have found a builder who seems prepared to repair the house in time for the winter. And our application for Central Heating is in progress.
Back to the hospital on 25 September. Hopefully we will find out whether any of this suffering is doing any good. And I got my Breast Clinic referral through today - for the 25 September! We can accompany each other from clinic to clinic. Ah, togetherness!
Tuesday, September 11, 2007
And the sportweight sock wool is.... gobsmackingly beautiful! It is like a thicker version of the old Piece of Beauty sock yarn: beautifully springy and soft and the dyeing... ah… sigh…. the dyeing is SO lovely! It is so obviously hand-painted, as in "painted by hand" using a beautiful blend of colours - this is "Nightshade" and it goes through a range of purples with dashes of pure clear blue - wow! Just look at it! It does have a bit of a whiff of vinegar about it, but all is forgiven because it is so totally gorgeous. Can you tell I like it?
I also ordered a skein of handspun. Lovely colours again, but a very uneven spin - it is real "thick and thin" yarn, which I wasn't expecting. It is nothing like the emerald handspun I got from my sockapaloooza pal, and I don't think the two will work together as a Chevron Scarf - boo hoo! So I am not sure what I will do with this... it is very soft, so maybe a simple hat?
I ought to mention that this took a VERY long time to get here. Krista admitted that she had “fallen a bit behind” on international orders, but it is hard to be patient when you see something you must have, order it and wait… and wait… and email… and wait. Luckily I had other projects to distract me. But I thought I should warn you, in case you need some too! Woolgirl stocks her yarn, so I will probably buy from there next time.
It is just as well that I have a dial up connection at home. On Friday I missed the Sheepaints shop opening by an hour and missed all the good stuff. I completely forgot about the Yarn Yard Friday Frolic in my sulk. Then I managed to fill my shopping cart at Poshyarn on Sunday – but by the time my checkout page loaded at 6.05pm, most of the goodies I had selected had been sold! And I failed to get anything at all through the payment process. I also lost a bidding war for a set of Denise interchangeables at Ebay. Sniffle.
Then I came to work yesterday to find one of the yarns I wanted was still available at Poshyarn, and there were two “must haves” over at the Yarn Yard. And I have not ordered any of them … yet! Can you imagine how much money I saved?!
A confession: I have an overwhelming desire to buy some orange and turquoise sock wool – yes, the two colours in the same skein. Wollmeise has a likely suspect – but her shop is closed for online refurbishments. Gemini Knits (Etsy, UK-based) has a version, but is moving house this week. Lovesticks has a self-striping yarn, but it is not available right now. There is another stripey one over at Vesper – but that stuff is like gold dust. And all of this just helps to reinforce the sheer time-wasting ridiculousness of this web-scouring obsession with turquoise and orange! Lets hope it blows over – I do NOT need turquoise and orange socks, people!
Monday, September 10, 2007
Thursday, September 06, 2007
Tuesday, September 04, 2007
FL's car failed to start so I had to drive him to the doctor.
My car has a slow puncture.
FL has explosive diahorrea (can't spell it) after a week of constipation and has lost another 5lb in weight.
I have found out why FL's children are so very much absent from his life, even now. It's not for blogging. But it is very hard for everyone concerned.
Our solicitor failed to record receipt of £10,000 on our property file a year ago so thinks we are in debt to them. STOP PRESS: This was all a misunderstanding! Delete this one - hooray! A problem solved!
I am now on the waiting list for the Breast Clinic (4 to 6 weeks) after deciding to take my lump to visit the GP. There is so much stress around here, another set of hospital appointments can do no harm.
I am not seeking sympathy, and I do hope I am not driving my readers away. I just needed to get it down in writing, to have my own record of why my life feels like such a mess right now.
Monday, September 03, 2007
Is it just me, or do you start to think / panic about seasonal gifts around about now? How many rash promises have I made about hand-knitted socks?
I need a plan. Not just half-formed thoughts.
Finish ten crocheted felted beaded flower brooches for craft stall
Marina Piccola socks for friend (Yarn Yard trente-et-un)
Finish first Clessidra sock (and start the second?) – these are for me, so low priority
More crochet felted flowers – as many as possible
Scratch Art superwash merino socks for my son (hmmm wouldn’t it be more sensible to use a wool / nylon mix in similar colours like Wicked from the Yarn Yard?) Pattern? Something textured but simple.
Chevron mitts for teenaged girl (from stash?)
Socks for my daughter – what yarn? She likes Fyberspates in Seascape from the stash. But if I was buying from the Yarn Yard anyway I could get her Purple Goth… What pattern?
Four pairs of step-grandchildren’s socks…. What size are they? How old are they now? Would any of them appreciate handknitted socks anyway? Who am I trying to impress?! Scrub this plan altogether. Make one pair of socks for First Love’s daughter and leave it at that. Fleece Artist Cosmic Dawn – Pomatomus.
Realise I still need to make Christmas socks for First Love… Austermann Step, Boyfriend Socks.
It is Christmas already! I haven’t even thought about my mother! Gulp.
And when will I find time to knit Notorious?!
Thanks for all the circular advice. I am still thinking. Part of me is going for the cheap and cheerful with maximum flexibility (Denise) and the other part of me thinks I should seek to enjoy knitting big things as much as small... so I should get the best quality, slinky wooden needles. But there is a lot of support for Addis. Thing is, I respect the opinion of all the knitters who have commented, and everyone has had a slightly different opinion. This will be my first foray into circular knitting and Notorious requires 3 different sizes of needle. That in itself makes me lean towards Denise: if I survive this first project, maybe I will buy lovely wooden "singles". Thinking...