Monday, 29 September 2008

Happy Birthday Beth and Ellie

So, double trouble done ...I have to say after a somewhat difficult start I love these jackets.

I first started, on 2nd September, in Sirdar Denim Aran Sport … but, despite a great swatch, half way up the first back I discovered the yarn was too soft and pattern blurred and fuzzed ... all I could see was the changing colour of the mix.
So, I restarted in Rowan All Seasons Cotton, which (foolishly) I didn't swatch and, half way up the back (for a second time) I discovered it had knitted up on the large side, so I had to change down a needle size and restart for the third time.

Then, as I am knitting for twins (fraternal not identical) I decided to knit 2 at once, one in soft lilac, one in sea spray green/turquoise. Twins’ birthday 30 sept - OMG!

I finished 1 back, and neared finish on second - I had decided to alternate jackets and (of course) colours. My fingers felt they were dropping off and arm ached from cabling and seed/moss stitch! I grew hard skin on my knitting finger ... however I began to really enjoy this (how bizarre). I found that alternating colours really was encouraging.

I started counting off the completed sections ... have now completed 2 backs, 4 sleeves, 4 pockets, 4 pocket flaps, two left fronts and half way up first right front... SO only 1.5(ish) right fronts to go, then 2 collars, hours of weaving in ends and sewing up! I felt on target definitely for 30th Sept! Woo.

So there I was on Saturday 27th with the main parts complete … hoping to sew/weave, then collar and button soon after!

If you have ever wondered what SSS was ... it is Second Sock Syndrome .. basically you get the first one done then wonder if you have the will to live, let alone start again at the beginning to knit a twin of the first. I now know that actually primary SSS is the second sweater syndrome and basically until you have had to knit two identical sweaters you have been living a sheltered half life. Second sweater out ranks second sock by a trillion to one.

Anyway, if you ever felt your wonderful handcrafted item had way too many ends to weave in then think of me and send me your hugs. I had double anything you have contemplated ... then 22 buttons to match up as well! And because I have a touch of OCD and the buttons have writing on them, I had to angle each and every button in the same direction, so that the writing on the buttons all aligned. Shoot me now.

However, Wow … I’m really pleased! I think they look super. I am allowed to say this because they are a gift and do you know, there is really very little I was unhappy with ... The pattern said pick up the collar with the right side facing, so I did on the first (which is extremely silly because then you see the picked up stitches) so on the second I picked up from the wrong side, which gives a very neat and invisible join.

Sadly, though, after all that, my visit to the North West has been postponed ... as they say "these things do 'appen". As I say "Bugger".

Happy birthday Ellie and Beth ... love you to bits!!!

Friday, 26 September 2008

More post .... and a bit of Amy Winehouse

So ... you know your addiction may have become uncontrollable when your post delivery person squeezes your parcels and asks whether this time it is cashmere, silk or alpaca
.... you know your addiction may have become uncontrollable when you are invited to book launches as you are your local book store's favourite person know your addiction may have got a weeny bit out of hand when you are forcing golf clubs into your DHs hand and pushing him out of the door, so that you can reorganise the last remaining inches of space in order to squeeze in your stash
.... and you seriously understand the meaning of addiction when you stand in your secret place stroking Silk Rhapsody from Artyarns, which has a silk core wrapped with a silk and mohair outer layer, at a cost per gram greater than that allegedly paid for film star quality white powder ....
...and when you write to seriously famous designers to beg for copies of their patterns, because they don't come to the old backwater that is the UK

Is there a rehab for stash junkies ... and if there is do I want to go there and renounce my addiction ....
I think the answer has to be "rehab? No no no!!!"

Thursday, 25 September 2008

So relaxed have melted over top of pants!

So here I am now, all tidied up on the stash front ... have secreted new purchases ... swooned because stash total now exceeds 100 (and some of those are lumped together to make it look smaller). Here I am now .... with boobie mouse ... alive, well, and (honestly) with many less worries than for the past few weeks or morel

Here I am now ... amazed at the number of friends, many of whom I've never met, who have been supportive and loving.

Doesn't it just make you want to hug someone when you realise, despite all the doom and gloom on the front pages of the newspapers, that actually most people (especially knitters!) are kind, caring supportive and loving. Makes me want to hug someone or something! Or at least knit them all a scarf/ hat/ mittens/ gloves' or sweater!

Meanwhile ... I don't know how to get emotional virtually without overusing the !

So, I shall give in to my dark side and say a huge thank you to everyone who was so caring ... watch out here comes the lack of control .. .. ... Here I am now ....... THANK YOU !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! """""""""""""""""""""

Norah Gaughan Vol 1 (Berrocco) - Manon

I had real trouble sourcing this pattern book in the UK, Berroco won't ship here, it wasn't listed on Amazon or the Book depository or ...

Rudely I wrote to NG herself, pleading for help and got a rapid response pointing me to a supplier here in the UK. How totally amazing! Thank you NG. Book ordered ... just going to harrass the post delivery person until he coughs it up!

Wednesday, 24 September 2008

It's Benign!!!

Which is sort of opposite to the Frankenstein quote when his monster gets struck by lightning - "It's alive".

Well my little marble is a fibronoma. "Well hello and welcome to the mammogram little fibronoma, and tell us, where have you been hiding these past few years?" Apparently these things are sort of clumps of tissue that have bonded (similar to groups of knitters at an LYS or a knitter's internet group forum). They are not malign (ditto) and occasionally put on a little growth spurt like a non cancerous skin mole, often with age ... (Age??? are they saying I am getting old???)

So my little fibronoma and I are going to cohabit ... and just as I weigh and measure myself (when I want to be depressed or convince myself I should do something other than just knit, read, drink wine and cook) so my lovely little friend, nestling within my left boobie, will also be measured regularly.

Meanwhile, both hands to the needles ... I have nearly finished the twins' jackets ... am on the neck decreases of the second jacket. Will then just have sewing, blocking, ending and collars to do.

As I am an organised sort of person, last night I cast on in a lovely cashmere, merino, silk yarn, the Garndrops Eskimo jacket, figuring that all the stocking stitch on the back would be soothing and requiring minimal concentration whilst I waited for the surgeon to see me. Today, as a completely freaked out, oh my god I'm going to see a surgeon about this thing in my left boobie, sort of person I left my knitting behind. ARRRRRRRRRGH

I'll say that again
ARRRRRRRRRGH - a 30 minute wait with nothing to do but trawl the decades old magazines (looking for knitting patterns - you can tell how old they were one of the patterns was for support hose - OK made that last bit up, a complete fib, sorry).

Still, I am here and happy and planning for an early night's sleep, as my sleep last night was minimal, whilst my nightmare dreaming was maximal! Still off to do at least one more row ....

Happy knitting

Thursday, 18 September 2008

Interesting times!

The past four weeks have been somewhat difficult. Wednesdays are my "mad mother day" - ie I meet my more than forgetful, extremely eccentric mother.

The first Weds my mother came into town on the bus, wearing shoes that were too small and too tight; we almost had a fight because she wouldn’t pay for new shoes and finally bought some more second hand ones from the charity shop (which, surprise surprise, also didn't fit).  

The second Weds she fell over and cut her eye and hand and bruised her hip, so there was then a first aid session in the car park.  

Last Weds she had her purse stolen after I left her ... but she will insist on carrying large amounts of cash and then leaving her handbag unzipped.  So I ended up driving back into town and sorting everything, a mere four hours of cancelling cards and chatting with the police, then driving her home (about a 1.5 hour round trip).  Still she was ok, not harmed and very grateful. 

This week, however,  she insisted we check everything I did with her last week ... eg confirm in the bank that we’d cancelled the cards, ordered statements, etc. I am so embarrassed now at going in and out of the bank at least twice every weds!  The staff know my name, and I'm not even their customer.

Meanwhile ... I had mammogram on 5th - don’t you just love having your gentle bits crushed. 

Got called back for further investigation on Tuesday this week (16th) where I had 4 more x-rays, then ultra-sound, then some biopsies into the lump they found in my left boobie.  A biopsy is similar to getting your ears pierced ... they shoot you with a gun, but keep the bit of flesh - yuch, AND you can watch it on the ultrasound screen, beats football!  You do, however, have a local anasthetic, so it’s not painful until later, when you can take paracetamol (which I confess to having washed down with a glass of red wine!). This lump is about 0.8 cm (about 1/3 inch in old money) so bigger than a pea and smaller than a malteser. 

I now have an appointment with the surgeon on Weds 24th.  If it’s benign then the old surgeon will have a smile on his face and tell me they will just measure it at the next mammo; if it’s not then I guess I get told the options.

Meanwhile I actually feel ok ... bizarrely.  I was more worried before the recall appointment, now I have seen what I am facing and, frankly, who is scared of a malteser!  (Maltesers are yummy little chocolate round things, allegedly less fattening than denser chocolates and in size are a little larger than M&Ms) .

Which makes me think I now need chocolate and a glass of wine! However I restrict myself to both until the evening, unlike knitting, which I sneak in whenever I can.

Meanwhile, on the knitting front, I  committed myself to knitting two jackets in size 7/8 yrs in the Debbie Bliss pattern Caitlin as birthday presents for the twins.  Because I love my DIL, I wanted a yarn that was easy care, so  I started in Sirdar Denim Aran Sport, which had perfect gauge … but half way up the back I realised the yarn was way too soft and the random colour was overwhelming the pattern, so the whole nubbly texture appeared lost.

So I restarted in Rowan All Seasons cotton, without a swatch (oops) which I realised (when I was 3/4 of the way up the first back, for a second time) knitted up far too large, so frogged again and changed down a needle size.

However, third time lucky and now am knitting 2 at once, one in soft lilac (Pur) one in sea spray (green/turquoise), Twins’ birthday 30 sept - OMG!

After finishing the second back I thought my fingers were dropping off and arms seriously ached from the cabling and seed/moss stitch!

However I am really enjoying this now (how bizarre). Alternating colours and jackets really is encouraging.  I've now completed 2 backs, 4 sleeves, 4 pockets, 4 pocket flaps, two left fronts and half way up first right front. SO only 1.5(ish) right fronts to go, then 2 collars, hours of weaving in ends and sewing up! On target definitely for 30th Sept! Woo.

Chat later :)

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