Thursday 30 July 2009

I should be declared an official disaster zone

I think there's a hex on me. One that doesn't affect me directly, but that affects those around me.

My aunt came down on Monday for a couple of days to give me a hand with Mam, and promptly had a nose bleed that was ridiculously heavy and wouldn't stop. I ended up having to drive her 40 mins to the nearest hospital where they've kept her in and she's still there. God love her, some holiday!

I've had to drive up and back to her since, and deal with Mams freaker when she heard the word hospital. All I want to do is go home, climb under the duvet and never emerge again. I've had enough stress!

Poor Alice is being really good, she's bored and I'm trying to find time to spend with her, but it's hard when you're dashing around everywhere. The weather has sucked too.

On a positive note, all the sitting around in waiting rooms etc has meant I got Hedera finished on time!

Pattern: Hedera from Knitty

Yarn: Mountain Colors Bearfoot in Wildflower

Needles: 2.5mm dpns that are going in the bin immediately as they've left me with a scar on my left index finger they were so sharp.

I'm so thrilled. I didn't think I'd get these finished to be honest. The heel is a bit tight and the heel flap is way too long in my opinion. These may well become gift knitting or go to my Dad.

I've also completed a baby bib from One Skein, pics next post.
Dmaxi left a great comment on my last post. Apparently I am now a member of knitting scouts and I have qualified for this:

The “MacGyver” Badge (Level Two) - The recipient must demonstrate clever use of a knitting tool in a non-knitting-related scenario. For instance, recipient has used a strand of Regia Bamboo to slice cheese, or repaired a small appliance with a metal knitting needle.

I think this is hilarious. I'm sitting in the hotel lobby laughing as I type. I'm sure the receptionist thinks I've a screw loose!

Have a good one!

Monday 27 July 2009

It pays to be a knitter aka restoring my faith in people

It pays to be a knitter. It really does.
This is a short post as I'm on the wi-fi in the hotel reception and it sucks.
The holiday is going ok, the weather is rotten, but Mam seems to be enjoying herself. Alice and hubby are in the pool as we speak so I've grabbed a quick pint and am throwing out this post as I thought it was a great story.

Remember my new car I bought about 3 weeks ago? Well, I have encountered 3 good samaritans on the trip so far.

1. On the motorway on the way down, a car passed me out, then slowed down and began waving furiously at me. I didn't know what was going on! They gestured to pull over so I did, while being very wary of their intentions. It turns out that there's a panel under the engine to protect it and cushion sound. It was hanging off! The very nice guy got on his hands and knees on the hard shoulder of the motorway and showed me the problem.
Needless to say I panicked and Mam didn't help - "What's wrong?" constantly.
I managed to get to a petrol station and was asking for help in the shop. No chance, they just stared at me and the assistant actually asked "So are you buying anything?"

2. I couldn't believe it when a young guy (and hot too) said he'd help.
This is where the knitter connection came in. He said he could temporarily tie up the panel and had I any string. I said no, I'd no string but I do have wool! I opened my Aladdins cave of a knitting bag - y'know how you always bring more than you'll ever knit? And he just laughed! Well, we selected some cotton, and he tied it on for me! It was quite nice watching him on his back under my car tying on my cotton yarn. Very nice indeed. Oh yes.

3. I went to a garage today to get it properly fixed, the mechanic fixed it and wouldn't take any money. Such a nice guy.

So, knitting has practical purposes other than producing fantastic garments, and people are really great to their fellow (wo)man.

If the rest of the week is as good as the start, I think I will return home truly refreshed.

Tuesday 21 July 2009

Such a sad day.

I'm really sad today. I hate Alzheimers. It's robbed me of my mother. I can see why it's called the long goodbye. She looks the same, sounds the same, but she's gone. And I'm heartbroken. I want my Mam back.
I was in the hospital with her all day today seeing the geriatrician. All day yesterday and this morning I had a barrage of the same three angry questions because she was scared I suppose.
Where are we going?
Why are we going, sure I'm fine?
What are they going to do to me?
Rinse and repeat these questions for the last 24 hours. My poor Dad has taken the brunt, merely because he was there most of yesterday.
I brought her along this morning and it was a struggle. I had to get her out of bed, wash and dress her, give her breakfast and put her in the car. All along answering the three questions above over and over.
She was cute enough to lie through her teeth to the doctor about how she felt, but the cognitive tests don't lie. She scored 12/30 and apparently that's severe Alzheimers. :(
She didn't know what day, month, year, season it was or what country she lived in, how many children she had etc. I couldn't bear to hear most of it. The doctor was lovely, she was very sympathetic, but at the end of it all there's nothing they can do.
As Dad said to me today: "How come they can spend billions sending men to the moon, but they can't find a cure for this horrible disease?"
Which leaves me so torn about what to do myself.
I know my Dad can't cope, I've known for a while, but I think I've kind of stuck my head in the sand, hoping it will go away. It hasn't. So now I need to step up to the mark. How? Working a shorter week and being there more? I simply can't afford to. Get a private home help in, as our shitty Government won't pay for one? Again, I can't afford to and my "brother" refuses to help. So what do I do? I know family is more important than money or career, but it's a case of paying for Alice's school fees and such. I dunno. I'll have to try and come up with some sort of compromise, coz it can't carry on as it is.

Sorry for the outburst, but it helps to talk to you, blog friends, as I don't want to burden hubby too much with it all.

On to knitty news:

On a plus side of today, I got about 10 repeats of the leg chart done on Hedera sock no 2 while we were waiting. Bonus!

Border Chart 1 is complete on the Liberty Bell Afghan:

Save the drumrolls and wild applause. I know it's not that impressive, but that there represents quite a few knitting hours!

If I ever needed cheering up here it is:

Alice in her Good Stripe Dress twirling this morning. Hubby took it. Apparently she is now a Level 2 Jedi fairy that can summon sunny fireballs to the sky to make the weather nice. Her bonus power is that she can change traffic lights from red to green so we can get home faster in the evening.
You've got to love her.

Sunday 19 July 2009

Happy weekend

Happy Sunday everyone, I hope you are all having a nice weekend and not thinking of the dreaded W word tomorrow. I know I'm not!
I'm about to get snug in my chair and get knitting while I watch my EZ dvds for the zillionth time as hubby is upstairs killing stuff on the pc. I can't think of anything nicer ;)

I'm getting myself geared up for Tuesday. Mam has a hospital appt with the geriatrician for the whole day while they run a battery of tests and find out exactly what kind of Alzheimers she has. I've been kind of lying to her about it, saying it's just a checkup to see if the new tablets are agreeing with her. I don't think thats a bad thing really, as she wouldn't go otherwise!

I still haven't decided on a project to bring with me on holidays next Saturday along with my Hedera socks. It's so hard to choose! Maybe a nice cotton top for Alice? I dunno.
Speaking of Hedera socks, I'm way behind. I'm only 3 repeats into the leg of the second sock, and I need to get these done by the end of July for the KAL. But, they're doing fine otherwise.

In afghan news, I've finished chart 1!

What do y'all think? It's not perfect by any means which bugs me as I really wanted it to be, but I'm proud of it nonetheless. It's much more difficult than it looks, believe me!
The ends? OMG they're taking over the planet, breeding like rabbits :(
I've discovered a way to weave them in as I go thanks to Kaffe Fassett and the Vogue Ultimate Knitting book I bought half price, so that was worth it! Hopefully it'll go easier for me now.

I bought some backing fabric for it today, isn't it nice?

I thought both the red and the stars went well with the project, plus it'll make it much nicer to snuggle up in front of the tv with, won't it? And, I didn't want my SIL and BIL to see all the woven in ends! I'm smart, y'know, hiding the shoddy finishing, heh.
All I need now is to figure out how to sew it on once (if) I finish it!

Happy knitting and happy week!

Wednesday 15 July 2009

Sad knitty news

It's a sad bit of knitty news I have to impart.
I found out yesterday that our local Borders is closing down. Apparently they're pulling out of Ireland and the UK altogether. So sad.
It was the only place to get a lot of US knitty publications and by far had the best selection of knitting books.
It also means we have to look for a new home for our knitting group as the Starbucks in the store is closing too :(
A clothes shop is opening in its place. Great. Like we need another clothes store in the shopping centre :/
They have a HUGE closing down sale on at the moment. 50% off everything, including school books. That's what I get for being efficient. I only bought Alice's books there 2 weeks ago.
So, I went along to the knitting group last night to see what we could sort out about sourcing a new venue and the place was jammed to the gills. They had to close the doors to stop people entering the store 2 hours before closing time. The queue wait was about an hour to pay for the books, it was mental.
On between sorting out the new venue (hopefully the local library, but we're going to keep supporting the store as long as it's open) and sympathising with the fantastic staff there who will shortly be unemployed I (hubby who queued whilst I knit ha) managed to snap up some bargains:
1. Vogue Knitting Stitchionary 4: Crochet I hope this may encourage me to try crochet again.
2. The Ultimate Sourcebook of Knitting and Crochet Stitches A gal can't have enough stitch dictionaries!
3. Vogue Knitting The Ultimate Knitting Book Yay!
4. Vogue Knitting The Ultimate Sock Book Socks. 'Nuff said. I've stalked this one for a while.
5. Fitted Knits Not 100% sure why I bought this, as I think the sizes are below me, but I've heard it has good shaping techniques. This one was the "eyes-glazed-over-it's-half-price-impulse-purchase"

I know, I'm mad, there's a recession etc, but y'know, it's knitting and it was half price. Conversation over.

In actual knitting news, I'm in a bit of a muddle with my Liberty Bell Afghan:
Tangles! Lots of them! I'm trying to think of a way to prevent this happening. I think I may have an idea. I'm going to try and put each pattern repeats worth of yarn into an individual ziploc bag. That should do the trick. Fingers crossed, I'm going to get de-tangling as soon as I finish this.

Hedera sock No 1 is done!:
I'm still not completely in love with the marriage of yarn & pattern, but I'm going to persevere. I finished this one today when the rest of the office was on tea break. Isn't the heel flap HUGE? If I were to ever knit these again(unlikely) I would most certainly reduce the length of the heel flap by at least 1/3.
So that's it for today. Keep an eye out your window tonight at approx 11.03pm GMT as the space shuttle will hopefully take off and it should be visible (fleetingly) in the night sky. Having seen a launch before in Florida I can say it is a fantastic sight. Although if I see this one tonight, I won't be sitting on Daytona beach with sand between my toes like last time. :( On the bright side, only 3 months and 1 week to go!!

Sunday 12 July 2009

Startitis (sort of)

I bring news of great joy, bloggers!
Look what I found under a pile of shoes and handbags by my bed:

My little lost sock and needles! The poor thing looks a bit worse for the wear, but I'm sure with some gentle ripping and caressing it will return to its former glory. I can't believe I found it! (I also can't believe I had such a pile of crap by my bed that a sock could become lost for two weeks)

My Hedera sock progresses:

I'm almost at the toe of the first sock. Still not feeling the love for the yarn & pattern together, but I'll persevere because I'm not ripping out now!

Maybe that's where the little spurt of startitis has come in. I'm not hugely feeling the sock love so instead of finishing Hedera or pouncing on the prodigal sock I've decided to move a million miles away from socks and cast on this baby:
(Apologies if the pattern on Ravelry isn't fully correct, I added it yesterday morning whilst under the influence of lack of coffee.)
I must be mad starting a huge intarsia project like this. I really must. But, see, the thing is that my sister and brother in law are really good to us and let us use their holiday home in Florida every year. If it weren't for them I'd never have seen the States, or bought yummy yarn so I figure I owe them a nice present. I usually buy them a gift for the house each year as a thank you, but wouldn't this be so much nicer draped over the back of their couch?
I think so.
Only problem is I want this to be perfect.

I think it's looking good so far, but I'm hopeless at weaving in ends. They always seem to come loose and pop out after a little while. So, what can I do with this?
I'm knitting it with acrylic so it'll be washer friendly, so I can't felt ends together. What way do you guys weave in ends? Hundreds of ends, so many it will probably take me as long to weave them in as it did to knit the darn thing.
I was also thinking of maybe sewing on some backing fabric once done so that the "ugly" side wouldn't be visible. What do you think?
This doesn't need to be done until October when we go over, so I've plenty of time to finish it off, right? Right??
I also need a project to bring on holidays with me in two weeks time.
I've booked the Golf Villas here for a week at the end of the month to give Mam & Dad a holiday. I can't afford it, but what can you do? They need a break too.
Anyway, I don't fancy bringing down that mammoth afghan so I need something else (along with a sock of course) to knit there. What do you like to bring for holiday knitting?
Good news on the oily dress debacle, almost all of the oil came out so I think it will be fine next wash. It's barely detectable to the non knitter eye now. Phew! Thanks for all the advice on stain removal!
As an aside, one of my work colleagues saw a picture of Alice in the dress and has asked me to knit one for her daughter! errrr, that thing took FOREVER to knit, I don't think so! She asked me if there would be anything else then, so I said I'd have a look. I really don't fancy knitting that again, so any suggestions? I was thinking maybe a skirt instead? Maybe this?
I can't say I'm all that keen on the idea, but can't see how I can get out of it. I'm also not that confident in my knitting skillz for someone to actually pay me for the yarn and for their child to wear it?
Ah we'll see. If I say nothing it may all go away!

Sunday 5 July 2009

Highs & Lows

It's been quite the couple of days, full of highs & lows.
Let's start with the good stuff, shall we?
High 1.
Mam was in great form yesterday. Full of chat and she actually cracked a couple of jokes! She also allowed me to give her a shower. I couldn't believe it. It was lovely to see her in a good mood.
High 2.
My lace scarf from Victorian Lace Today is finished blocking!

Ta da...
Pattern: Scarf with the striped border from Weldon's, Volume 5, 1890
Needles: 4.5mm Knit Picks Options
Yarn: Knit Picks Shimmer in Stained Glass, about 300-350 yards.
I'm really proud of this, my first proper lace item! I think it turned out great too.
High 3:
As I mentioned last post, I was 11 years married yesterday, the 4th. We went out for a lovely Indian dinner last night and look what hubby got me:
Addi Clicks! I'd forgotten all about these. I'm so excited to start a project with them!
They even come with a cute packing slip that's signed by the person who packed the box and a heart shaped pin so you can "Let the world know you are a fan of addi, worldwide friendships will await you"! hahaha
The inside:
Now onto the lows.
Low 1.
My Rick socks. They just wouldn't cooperate at all with the Bearfoot yarn. I tried 3 times but no go so I've decided to go with Hedera from Knitty Spring 06.
I got this much done watching the amazing Wimbledon final today. It's going well, but tbh, this yarn is not really good for showing up any stitch pattern. It's better suited to a vanilla sock I think. It's also seriously hairy yarn, there's mohair everywhere.
Low 2:
Alice went out cycling today wearing her Good Stripe Dress and managed to get oil all over it. I've washed it as hard as I dare but it hasn't all come out. I'm so mad. She was really apologetic, but I had warned her not to. There were a few words had. Not too many, as she really was sorry but all that hard work! Hopefully I can get the rest out the next wash.
Low 3:
The missing sock, needles & stitch marker are still missing. At this stage I think it's best to declare them officially gone. A moments silence please.
Low 4:
It's Sunday. I'm back in crappy work tomorrow while hubby & Alice have the day off. I hate my job.
That's my lot, a bit of a mixed bag!

Wednesday 1 July 2009

Lost sock!

It's been a bit of a mad week chez moi. Just running round chasing my tail.

I'm nearly finished my lace scarf, I'm on the last chart for the border so I should be done by the weekend.

I'm about to cast on for my July Sock Innovation KAL sock, Rick.
I'm using this gorgeous stuff, Mountain Colours Bearfoot in Wildflower.
Hoping all goes well!
In sad knitty news, I've lost a sock. :( I had just started a pair of socks for Alice using the Wendy Happy yarn in Aquarius I'd bought for her and I don't know where I've put it! The last time I remember seeing it was in my Mam & Dads last Saturday, so heaven forbid, my Mam may have thrown them in the bin. This has become her habit recently, I've rescued plates and cups from the bin already so I'll have to check the bin the next time I'm round.
That's all my news for now, I hope to have the chance to post a proper post at the weekend.
I'll be 11 years married on Saturday, 11! I can't believe the time has gone by so fast. Maybe that's the sign of a good marriage?