Friday, 19 July 2013


I finished the handspun merino yarn for my partner's mother. I forgot to measure it so I don't actually know how many yards/metres it is. It's about a sport weight. Though I'm not overly pleased with the plying, it is my first time plying handspun so in that respect I am really pleased with it.

Friday, 5 July 2013

F.O. Friday

I have three FO's this week. The Monkey Socks:

The Vincent Van Gogh Sunflowers socks:

And finally a Mini Sock from a pattern by Stacey Trock from Fresh Stitches:

The sock phase continues, I still have one pair on the needles. But I have started a top! I know! Shocking!

Thursday, 27 June 2013

New balls please!

I am rubbish at sport. No, really I am. I know I now have Fibromyalgia and can barely stand let alone run, but I have always been really bad at sports. The highlight of my sporting career was coming second in the long jump at our secondary school's sports day. "Second" you say, that's pretty damned good. What are you talking about? I came second because there were only two of us competing!
My partner gives me a pained look every time he has to throw something to me because he knows I will not catch it 9 times out of 10. He likes sports, especially football, and the idea that I may pass on my non-sporty genes to prospective offspring is something he dreads.
It's probably because of this non-sportiness that I have never been that much interested in any kind of sport much, except for tennis. I don't know why I like watching tennis. I can't hold a racket to save my life. But Wimbledon is just about the only sporting event I watch on TV. So I am happily engrossed in all the action at the moment.
So as a knitter I wondered if there was a Knit-a-long for Wimbledon, like the Tour de Fleece or Ravelenic Games. It appears not. There are Wimbledon knitting groups on Ravelry, but for people who live there. I could start a KAL of my own, something where you have to change ends regularly or use new balls. Hmm... not sure about this, and I do have six projects on the go as it is. I think I will just sit down with my knitting and watch the tennis for a bit...

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Just because...

I just wanted to share the beautiful red rose in my garden with you today.

Hope your summer is full of roses too. x

Monday, 24 June 2013

The Joy of Socks

I on a bit of a sock binge at the moment. I have finished the Monkey socks which are a fantastic pattern to make. Have yet to block them and take pictures. I have blocked the Snicket socks:

I really like the cuff on these where you knit through the back of the stitch to make a raised column. The lattice pattern can be a bit fiddly to do but looks really good so is worth it. I used King Cole Zig Zag which felt a bit rough but then really softened up after washing and blocking.
And yes I have cast on more socks. Two pairs in fact. I was only intending to start one, but then I watched The Knit Girllls podcast and they happened to say that the Opal Vincent Van Gogh sock yarn is being discontinued. I have been meaning to make a pair of sock out of this yarn for ages, so of course I quickly went and brought some in the Sunflowers colourway. I am just doing a plain vanilla sock toe-up and with an afterthought heel.
While waiting for the Opal yarn to arrive I cast on for a pair of  Business Casual socks by Tanis Lavallee. I am using Woolcraft Superwash Sock Yarn in a mottled brown and black colourway.
I also had to buy a new 2.25mm circular needle as the plastic tubing broke just where it connects to the bamboo needle on my old ones. I prefer using bamboo needles as I get quite a bit of pain in my hands and metal needles seem to make it worse. So I looked for something a bit stronger than bamboo but not metal and came up with Knit Pro Karbonz. So I ordered one and so far seem to be getting on ok with it. They are bit more expensive than other similar products but are well made and I am happy with them. The join between the cable and the needle does catch a bit, but the cable is very flexible with no memory and the metal points make it easy to see dark coloured stitches. This is why I didn't go for the wooden Symfonie needles. I brought a set of Symfonie dpns and found it really hard to see the stitches against the coloured wood. And it's difficult to find the small sizes in plain wooden circulars. I may have to get some metal needles for doing lace though as the points need to be sharper and I haven't seen any pointy needles that aren't metal. I shall stick to socks for now.

Saturday, 15 June 2013

Not so lazy!

I finally finished spinning the merino for my partner's mother's birthday on my drop spindle. It's take a while! I split it in two and and now starting to ply the two together. Again on my drop spindle! I was hoping to have the spinning wheel ready by now, but it still needs some work on the wheel shaft. The bobbins came though!!! They are brilliant, and I really must thank Joan and Clive Jones from Woodland Turnery for the excellent job they did. They even managed to repair the broken one I sent as a template for free! Can't wait to use them.

To help with the plying I made my own Lazy Kate. It's just three old knitting needles pushed through the basket I use to store my fibre in.

I also got around to making a drawstring bag this week. I have had the material for ages, and have been meaning to make it for ages! Even though I hand stitched it, it made up pretty quick.

Knitting-wise I have finished the knitting part of the new kitchen clock, but then found that the clock mechanism I got for it does not have a long enough shaft to go through it! So have had to buy a new one, and will have to wait till next week to finish the project.
As I had finished the Snicket socks I decided to start on another pair of socks. I wanted to try out doing an afterthought heel. So I watched the afterthought heel tutorial by The Knit Girlls on YouTube and then cast on for a pair of Monkey Socks by Cookie A. I have done one sock and am half way through the other. The afterthought heel is brilliant. Very easy and fits my heel well. Much nicer than picking up stitches for a gusset. The Monkey sock pattern is very quick to knit up too, and looks much more complicated than it is. Will have to decide what to knit next sooner than I thought I would!

Friday, 7 June 2013


I made a Snowdog!!!

I am seriously impressed with myself! He is totally adorable!!! It's taken me a while to make him because of all the sewing together of parts, but it was totally worth it. He is from a pattern by Louise Watling I came across in a Woman's Weekly magazine I was given.
I have finished the Snicket socks,but they need blocking before I can take pictures. Also finished another Age of Steam and Brass shawl for a friend's birthday prezzie, again it needs blocking. Then because I have been good and finished three things I cast on to make a knitted clock from a pattern in 'Simply Knitting' by Kyoko Nakayoshi. Our kitchen clock died ages ago and I have been meaning to replace it but couldn't find one I liked. Then I saw this and immediately wanted to make it. My other half already has a record clock to go with his record collection, so now I will have one to go with my stash!

Sunday, 2 June 2013

If you go down to the woods today...

I actually got out of the house!!! Though I must confess that this was a week ago, and I have been really bad and in bed for the past several days. Still it was worth it to get out in the spring sunshine. My partner and I popped over to the next village to help one of the elderly people he cares for with his new Sky box remote control, and then went up to the local chapel for a bit of a walk. We followed a short foot path and found a lovely wood with bluebells.



I really enjoyed myself. A walk, for me, normally consists of my partner pushing me down the road and back in my wheelchair! So even a five or ten minute walk like this means a lot to me. Now that the weather is improving I hope to be able to go out a bit more.

Knitting-wise I have finished my Mum's Bunty Mitts:

I'm also making steady progress on my mitred square cushion cover for the iMake KAL:

I am still working on my Snicket socks, and have started a new Mulberry Wrap by Colinette using their Tao Silk and mohair Parisienne in the Toasted Macaroon colourway. So soft! I made one last year in their Madras and Oyster Blush colourways. I got he yarn as a birthday present to myself when we went to the Colinette shop  near Welshpool a couple of years ago. It was really good with some absolutely gorgeous yarns. The also do little tours around the dying area which we managed to get to do while there as well, and was really interesting.  I'm not sure if the family have plans to go to Wales again this year. Am keeping my fingers crossed. x

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

An octopus's garden

My oldest friend's son will be four on June 1st, which is a good excuse for toy making. Yes I know I hate the making up part, so I found a crochet pattern with minimal making up. Last time they came over to visit he had a crochet octopus toy that my friend had brought him, and I boastingly proclaimed that I could have made him one of those! So then I had to live up to my boast. Which I think I have.

Isn't he adorable! My partner loves him too, I think I'm going to have to make him one too! I used up some cotton DK that I had in my stash for this pattern, which is called Octopode Pandemonium by Pepperkitty.

WIP wise I am working on a pair of Bunty Mitts by Ella Austin for my mum's birthday, and have started another  Mulberry Wrap by Colinette for me. Also I am making a mitred square cushion cover as a part of the KAL with Martine from iMake. I have had to put my Snicket Socks on hold as I needed the needles for mum's mittens. I could have used DPNS but am having a love affair with the magic loop method at the moment.

Fibro and ME wise I am on an even keel at the moment, which is to say I am awake during day and not bed-bound. My concentration even improved enough this past week to read a couple of books! Yay! I love books, I cannot stress enough how much I love books. My first job after Uni was as a library assistant, and if I get well again that is what I would love to go back to. I have read ever since I can remember, and am a very fast reader too. But since becoming ill I have found reading difficult in terms of concentration and making sense of the words. I have found that if I do read a book I tend to go back to ones I have already read and are familiar to me. I only take on a new read if I am feeling really well, and as that is not often I have not read many new books. The two books I read this past week are from the Ruth Rendall Inspector Wexford series which I have most of.

I have been winding some mustard coloured laceweight up into cakes this week. My partner got it for me when he went to the local Sunday car boot sale. Bargain! As there was a lot of it and I was getting tired he very kindly offered to wind it for me. So I sat back with a cup of tea and relaxed. Until it came time to take his first cake off the ball winder. It wouldn't come off. He had tensioned it so tight that it was stuck on the ball winder! We had to un-wind the whole (LARGE) cake and start again! Needless to say I watched him like a hawk after that!

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Spinning wheel happiness!

I have been away for a few days with my partner and his family to Kings Lynn on the East coast. We had a great time, and the weather was really good. It is why I haven't blogged for a bit though as I have been recovering from the holiday. You tend to over-do things to keep up with the holiday spirit, but you do pay for it later sadly.

But that is not what I want to write about today. I have a spinning wheel!!!

I am so excited about starting to spin using a wheel, but am having to be patient because it needs new bobbins. I have found a man in a shed in Wales who makes them and am sending one off as a template so that is no problem. And would you believe that this wonderful machine, in almost perfect working order (apart from the broken bobbins, and the metal crank which is slipping and needs welding at our local garage), cost me just £30!!!!!!!! Are you jealous? Apparently there are bargain's to be had in antique shops still. I have replaced all the cords and given it a good clean. My partner is going to take it to the garage to get it spot welded tomorrow if he has time. Though he does want me to go with him so the mechanics don't laugh at him! Then it's just waiting for the new bobbins. It's really hard having a new toy and not being able to play with it!

Saturday, 20 April 2013

My first lace shawl!

Have finished my first ever lace pattern shawl! Yay! It's the Ashton Shawlette by Dee O'Keefe and is a chart pattern written for those new to working form a chart. It takes you step by step through the chart, and helps you understand how to read the chart. I found it very helpful as I had not really worked from a chart only pattern before. The pattern itself is not difficult and very pretty, I really enjoyed making this. I did make a couple of mistakes and had to frog back, but that was because I was tired and not concentrating properly. I hadn't made a shawl that needed pinning out to block it  so needed to invest in blocking mats. I really needed blocking wires as well, but one thing at a time. I found some reasonable children's interlocking play mats on E-bay which work brilliantly.

I used a ball of cotton yarn that I had plied to 4ply from a large lace weight cone and dyed with Dylon in Antique Grey. It's lovely and soft, and the stitch definition is great.

I seem to be on a bit of a shawl kick at the moment, and socks too. I have also gotten around to blocking the Trilobite Socks. I really loved making these. I learnt four new techniques in one project so am really chuffed with myself. I learnt the Turkish cast on, using the magic loop method, toe-up socks and Jenny's Surprisingly Stretchy Bind Off  (which was surprisingly stretchy!) I used King Cole Zig Zag self-stripping, which doesn't really show the pattern to the best advantage, but I love the colours so am very happy with it. Will be doing this pattern again anyway so will go with a plain yarn next time.

Hope you like these FO's. Head on over to Tami's Amis to check out more FO's. x

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Lack of blogging

Have found it hard to keep the blogging spirit alive over the past week. I have not been well and mostly in bed asleep. When I have been awake my brain has not been functioning well enough to do anything much coherently, much less writing. I have had to content myself with reading (and then re-reading) other people's blogs.

The knitting has been progressing, but only on simple projects that I don't have to think too much about. I had already finished the three pairs of socks (they need blocking though) and was working on a shawl for my mum. Doing a lace edging on a shawl when your brain is not functioning properly is NOT to be attempted. Unless you want to rip it back several times! Thankfully have finished it now (that needs blocking too!). I decided not to push my luck any further, and cast on another simple sock. Stocking stitch I can do. Don't mention the heel, I am not there yet!

Have missed several days of the WEGO health blogging challenge. I kind of knew that was going to happen because of the way my illness works, but it has bummed me out a little all the same. Am going to try and catch up by doing yesterday's and today's in one go.

Day 8: Animals -  "If your health condition (or the health condition of a loved one!) was an animal, what would it be? Is it a real animal or make believe?"
I am not sure a vampire counts as an animal(?) But it is the only thing I can think of that causes you pain and sucks out your energy and health. I call myself "Sleepy  Kitty" because that it what it has turned me into. I like warmth, can sleep at the drop of a hat, and can be awake in the middle of the night. I also like yarn!

Day 9: Caregiving - "Patients, what advice or tips do you have for caregivers out there – professional or otherwise!"
I think for carers of people with Fibromyalgia  or ME/CFS the advice I would give is to have patience. In great quantities. Because our brains don't function properly anymore, doing anything mentally, such as answering a simple question, can be really difficult. And from what I can see people who get these conditions are ones who are intelligent and organised, so when they lose these abilities others can find it hard to accept this sudden change. My partner is wonderful. He really does understand and take care of me. He actually works as a carer for elderly people. But he does sometimes lose patience with me, which can be hurtful as he knows how hard just being coherent can be for me. I don't have a go at him for it because I know it's just frustration, the same frustration I have. And he is a lot more understanding than other people can be.
Also I would ask carers to be kind to the people they look after. It's so easy to forget that it's not just a job, especially when you have only a limited amount of time to deal with each patient. You may only have 20 minutes to get everything on your list done for that person, but you may also be the only person that they see that day. My partner sees a lot of this in his line of work and believes that even just a little bit of thoughtfulness and kindness can mean so much.

So hopefully I can keep up with the blogging. We will see.

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

The Health Activist Writer’s Month Challenge: Day 2

Yesterday was the first day of the WEGO Health Activist Writer's Month Challenge, which of course I missed due to ill health! Oh well, better late than never. Today's prompt asks you to introduce yourself and your illness/condition. I have already talked a bit about becoming ill in my first post ( here ), but not really described what it is like to live with Fibromyalgia.
Pretty much everybody has felt physical pain at some time in their life. But usually it goes away. It's meant as a warning that something is wrong and needs to be mended, and when that wrong is mended the warning is no longer needed. But what if that warning system breaks? What if it doesn't realise that the injury or illness has been mended? What if it doesn't stop the warning pain? That's Fibromyalgia.
Or at least one of the theories of Fibro, because there are a few, but the one that makes the most sense to me. The fact is medical science does not know the cause of Fibro. Nor do they know how to cure it. A lot of doctors still believe that it is psychological. Quite how they come to that conclusion when presented with someone who is clearly in agony, along with all the other symptoms, baffles me. Fibro and ME/CFS are often linked to depression and so given a psychological cause. To this I say are you shitting me?!!! I am in pain all day every day, and you wonder why I am depressed???!!!!!
Now I have been lucky and have had doctors who have understood the condition, as much as it can be, and have tried to help me deal with it. Not everybody who has Fibro has been so lucky. Thankfully it does seem to be getting better now in terms of greater awareness and research. Doctors seem much more clued up about Fibro than they did even 5 years ago when I was diagnosed. I think this is because of the spreading of information by people who have Fibro and other chronic illnesses on the Internet. We are becoming Activists, actively researching and sharing our experience of chronic illness. Which is exactly what this challenge is about.
Today's prompt also suggests sharing other blog posts that you think will help the newly diagnosed. As I have only just started blogging I am going to link to a couple of other blogs that I think are helpful.

  1. Chronically Crafty  has a very good post on getting a diagnosis for Fibro. She has other great posts on Fibro too so check it out.
  2. It's not all Me, Me, Me's post on ME/CFS gives a lot of info on the condition and links to some good websites.
  3. Another new Fibro blogger The Retired Bridgeburner has some very good posts about her experience of having Fibro.
  4. And finally The Spoon Theory by Christine Miserandino. A great way of explaining to other people how chronic illness affects us.
If you are new to Fibro and/or ME/CFS I hope this post and the others I have linked to help you.

Friday, 29 March 2013

FO Friday

I have two finished projects today. My toe-socks by Abigail Grasso.  I am not really fond of making separate toes, it's the same with gloves and fingers, but am glad I made the effort. Very pleased with them.

Secondly I have a shawlette, the Age of Brass and Steam Kerchief by Orange Flower. It's a simple DK  stockinette stitch with bands of yarnovers. It knits up really quickly, so am going to make a lot for gifts this year.

Going to go and look at other peoples FO's over on Tami's Amis now. x

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

WIP Wednesday

I have three pairs of socks on the go at the moment. First the Basic Toe Sock Pattern by Abigail Grasso. I have finished the first sock and and working on the toes of the second. I am using King Cole Zig Zag.  That's Lenoir standing guard next to them, waiting for the chance to play with the yarn.

The next is the Simple Sock Pattern by Sue Morgan. This came with the ball of Katia Ole Socks which mum brought with the intention of knitting socks for my step-dad. She managed to get to the heel of the first sock (with my help) then gave up. So I thought I'd better finish them if my step-dad ever wants to wear them!

And finally the Trilobite Socks by Wendy D. Johnson. I have wanted to try toe-up socks for ages and couldn't wait to finish the first two pairs of socks to give it a go. I was a bit worried about the Turkish cast-on , but found it really easy and a brilliant seamless cast on. I probably should have used a plain yarn for this pattern, but am really liking the striping so am not that bothered. Will definitely be doing these socks again anyway.


Tuesday, 26 March 2013

On the Needles

I have been doing quite well with knitting so far this year, and completed quite a few projects. All are on my Ravelry page if you want a peek. I am not a monogamous knitter and have quite a few projects on the go at any one time. What can I say, I love casting on! My main project at the moment is a shawl for my mother's birthday in June. It's called the Berger Shawlette by Lisa Fliss, a free pattern on Ravelry.

I have a lot of yarn in my stash and wanted to try to use a lot of it up this year, so am using Wilkinsons Fancy Lustre yarn in green which is making a lovely silky shawl. I am not good with charts, and have not really done lace before so thought I would start off with something easy. Have made a few mistakes, but managed to fudge them so far, now am just hoping I have enough yarn left to finish it. Only a few rows left to go so should be ok. Hope to finish it off in the next few days.

Monday, 25 March 2013

The Prog Blanket

So to start off talking about my knitting I thought I would write about my first knitting project, The Prog Blanket. My partner's mother gave me some needles and yarn and set me off on plain garter stitch. I made my first garter stitch square and decreed that I would make a blanket. I cannot tell you the name of the yarn I used, it was both nameless and acrylic and I thought it was wonderfully soft. I have come a long way in yarn snobbery since then! So I made a few garter stitch squares, then a few stockinette squares, then ribbed. Did I take into account that ribbing pulls the knitting in making it smaller width-wise? Of course not.
I continued making squares, experimenting with stitch patterns from magazines and books my partner's mother lent me, till I thought I had enough to make a decent sized blanket. (Till I got bored of making squares!) So then came the time to sew them together.....and I find I hate sewing knitting! Apparently not an uncommon hatred amongst knitters. So I put off doing it, and put off doing it, and tried to farm it out to my mother to sew up. She put off doing it too.
I think about a year went by and my partner kept asking about the blanket. He had taken a shine to the thought of a patchwork blanket. I had a blanket on the couch, the cats had a blanket on the couch. He wanted one. It would be his "Prog Blanket".
I think an explanation is due here. My partner collects records, lots of them. He has three book cases full in the living room and several boxes in cupboards and the spare room. (I can't complain because of the size of my yarn stash!) He likes several music genres, but his favourite is progressive rock, or Prog Rock as it is known. Hence the Prog Blanket. So I took the bull by the horns and sewed the squares together.
It actually looked good for about all of five minutes or so. My partner thought it was great, heaped praises on me, and then made the mistake of showing it to the cats. They thought it was great too. They still do, at the moment it is lining a cardboard box that one of our cats, Lenoir, has decided is hers.

Yes, I know, we spoil our cats.

Sunday, 24 March 2013

First Blog post!

After months of reading other people's blogs I have finally decided to start my own. A place where I can express myself and share my views and experiences. Being pretty much housebound is very isolating and has made me feel distanced from the "real world". Being online has helped take away that feeling to a certain extent. It's given me a way to feel connected to the "real world" again which I haven't felt in a long time. Five years to be exact. That's how long I have been ill. Actually that's not true, I have been ill much longer than that but did not know it. How can you be ill and not know it you ask? Very easily I reply, if said illness sneaks up on you slowly and gradually takes things away from you without you really noticing that you have lost anything or changed the way you live your life. I had carefully crafted my life around my illness without even realising. Of course I knew I was exhausted most of the time and could sleep at the drop of a hat, and that this had come on after I contracted glandular fever in my teens, but I never considered myself as ill. Actually I did my best to cover up my tiredness in case people thought I was lazy, I thought I was lazy. So I tried to work even harder to make up for my "laziness". Going to college, university, then working. I didn't even think about it at the time but the jobs I had were both part-time, enabling me to cope with my sleep patterns. To my family my sleeping a lot was a long standing family joke, but nothing to be concerned about. In my family you get on with things, you cope.
And I was coping.
Then suddenly I became much worse. I had a viral infection  which along with a year of doing too much turned into Fibromyalgia. I have been in constant pain for 5 years, but I know how much worse it could be from that first night. It was agony. Pure agony. My poor partner was terrified. When he phoned NHS Direct the woman advised him to give me a paracetamol!!! I would still feel that pain without the pain medication I am on. As it is the pain is bearable, mostly. But it has taken my carefully constructed life and turned it into one where I am not in control. I cannot do what I want when I want. I have to rely on others for most things. At this moment I have been in bed for nearly two weeks, unable to get up without help, unable to clean myself or get myself something to eat. The basic things we take for granted, until we can't do them. I have lost my independence. I haven't gone anywhere on my own for 5 years! I am very grateful and lucky that I have family and friends to help me do things, so many people have not. I could have it much worse. But I could also have it a lot better, and sometimes its hard to accept that is not going to happen. Not any time soon, perhaps not ever. I try not to think about that. That I could be in pain for the rest of my life.
And so I cope.
Because that's what I have to do to keep going. And I try to make my life as enjoyable as possible. Try to do what I can, and not regret too much what I can't. So this is my life and hopefully I can share some of it with you; good, bad and ugly. I promise not to moan too much, and to talk about knitting, crochet and yarn a lot!
I learnt to crochet as a teenager when I was first ill. My grandmother taught me and I have loved doing it ever since. But I couldn't get on with knitting. Never managed to pick it up, though I had several goes at it. I tried again after I became ill with Fibro and suddenly took to it like a duck to water. It has now overtaken crochet as my main hobby, and has even led me to trying out spinning my own yarn on a drop spindle. Though this is a new venture and I am still learning. I think I can see a spinning wheel in my future!