Sunday 30 May 2010

The Dead Sweater

So I've been living with my Mam & Dad since Tuesday.

Dad came home on Wed (see my last post). Alas, he went back in to hospital on Friday. He was in too much pain.

He's currently still in. He was still in quite a bit of pain when I saw him yesterday. To be honest, it's taking its toll on him. He's really weak and as a result of the weight loss I'm beginning to doubt if he has the strength to keep fighting & dealing with the pain.

Anyway, I was packing a bag for him for the hosp when I found the Hand in Hand Sweater I knit for him back in August 2007 (!)
The poor sweater. It had met with a horrible end:

Felted & shrunk beyond recognition. Mam must have machine washed it. :(
I made this with Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran, & I remember the yarn costing me about 70-75 Euro, a fortune I thought.
I was so proud of this sweater, I think it was the second garment I ever knit and my first cable project. My Dad loved it too, he wore it all the time.
So I'm going to have to make him another sleeveless vest to replace it.
This time I need to use superwash yarn, but it also needs to be nice & soft with good drape.
I don't think I'll knit the same pattern again, I think I might do this one:
Skye Tweed Vest or Peter Easy (although I think it's too plain).
I also like these ones but don't have the books, Wall Street Cables or Notting Hill Vest.
Spot the connection? They're all by the same designer. Man, does nobody else design vest patterns?
Maybe I'll get all EZ over it and do one myself. I did that for him before, with the Dads Vest, although that one didn't turn out too well. The v neck is too high and he rarely wears it.
I got a great idea for what to do with the old sweater from teaandcakes, make a cushion cover with it! Genius! I can put it on Dads chair too. He'd love that.
So there you have it. A dead sweater & a Dad still in hospital. I don't know when he's coming home, but I do know I'll be in trouble in work if I don't go in tomorrow. I've a project upgrade going live on Tuesday that lots of people are waiting on & if it's delayed they won't be best pleased. But, to be honest, family is more important right now. I'll figure something out I'm sure, right? Right?
Good knitting!

Wednesday 26 May 2010

Happy Dance

Dad's home! I took him home this afternoon.


Now the road to recovery can commence.


Tuesday 25 May 2010

Socks done, socks begun (almost)

Two posts in two days? What gives?
Well, I actually have some knitting to show!

Dad is still in hospital, and probably will be for a couple more days, so I'm having to move in with Mam as my brother has to go back to work. This means I'm off today to get the house sorted & pack a few bits before I go. If I'm totally honest, it's also to have a bit of peace & quiet before I go so I can be that bit more patient with Mam & do my best for her.

So I'm up since 7am & I got cracking on Dads socks.

Pattern: Sailors Ribbing Socks (Ravlink) by Charlene Schurch from More Sensational Knitted Socks
Yarn: Sirdar Town & Country Yarn (discontinued) about a ball and a quarter
Needles: 2.5mm KnitPicks Harmony dpns.
I cast on for these on April 26 and finished today, May 25th. They took a lot longer than I had planned but under the circumstances I think they went ok.
These socks are full of love. All the while I was knitting these I was in waiting rooms or visiting Dad on the ward, and hoping & praying for a safe recovery.
Although he's not home just yet, I think these will make a lovely welcome home present for him and will hopefully cheer him up a bit.

So, with those socks finished, I had to cast on for a new project.

I asked on Twitter about what I should do, knit some baby clothes for my expectant friend, or a pair of socks for me?

TeaAndCakes said I deserved a new pair of socks for me, so I agreed, I deserved a treat :)
This is a project worthy of Wollmeise I said to myself. So I busted out my bag of Wollmeise (3 skeins worth, go me) and decided on this one:

Pfefferminz Prinz 80/20 twin in Medium shade.
Isn't it just delicious?

I thought it looked kind of aquatic, so I decided on this pattern: Pomatomus
I stuck it on the swift:

And wound it into a ball.

And now I'm not so sure about the pattern. I think the colours look like a peacock now it's been wound. This photo really and truly doesn't do the colours any justice, they are so vibrant and jewel toned. This yarn is truly amazing.
Also, I'm a bit freaked out by Pomatomus. I know I can knit socks, I know I can knit difficult sock patterns, but this one seems to be my nemesis. I've tried it twice before and both times were disasters. I had huge ladders between the repeats & the yarnovers at the beginning of the needles did my head in.
The stubborn part of me thinks "Bring it, I'll show you who's boss" but the worn out, slightly sad part of me thinks "I just want to KNIT, not battle with a pattern". Maybe there's a different pattern out there that would be perfect with this yarn. Maybe a pattern that would show it off like it deserves, yet wouldn't be too difficult for my distracted mind to cope with.
I dunno.
Until then, I'm going to give Pomatomus a shot when in my Mams, but in case of disaster, I'm also packing my Summit Shawl as backup :)
I shall be blogging & tweeting while I'm there, I got broadband installed there a week or so ago. Check for me here, or join me on twitter; my username is SineadR.
Good knitting!

Monday 24 May 2010


Apologies for the length of absence, I've been so busy I haven't had time to think!

So poor Dad is still in hospital. It's getting close to 3 weeks now. The operation went well. They removed a large section of his bowel, but are happy they got everything.
However he has got a terrible infection.
He first got a UTI which went into his blood. He was also so anaemic that he had to get another 2 pints of blood in a transfusion.
Now his whole mouth is full of the most dreadful ulcers & his throat is so sore he can't swallow without terrible pain. As a result, he's not eating & is losing weight. Now my Dad is a very slim man anyway, so he can ill afford any weight loss.

The long & the short of it is that since Wednesday last week they've been telling him every day that he's going home "tomorrow" and when tomorrow comes, it's "tomorrow" again. I have to say I think it's cruel. He has his hopes up every day that he's going home only to have them dashed.

He's also very weak from the lack of moving around. He has been given a walking stick, but he can't go very far yet. Hopefully once he gets home he will strengthen up again.
In the meantime, my brother is still staying with my Mam. She doesn't want me there at all, is convinced I'm going to kill her & am a bully. I'm kind of over the hurt of hearing that now, I know it's her illness & that they always lash out at the person nearest to them.
What I'm afraid of is that Dad's gone so long from the house, that there may be difficulty when he comes home. For both of them. I wonder if he'll have the strength to care for her the way he used to. I suppose only time will tell.

So at this stage I'm exhausted tired from trying to go to work, visit Dad and Mam separately every day and pretend to have some kind of normality at home for my hubby & daughter. She's been brilliant, really good for me & full of "you mind yourself Mammy" hugs. She's the best.

As you can imagine, knitting progress has been very slow round here. This is the second of Dads Sailor Ribbing Socks. I'm about halfway down the foot.

Apologies for the really poor quality photo, I took this on my mobile phone at my desk this morning. (Spot the grumpy coffee mug? Suits me perfectly in the mornings!) But you get the idea. It's the same as the last one I suppose!
I also managed to get one more repeat of the Summit Shawl done too.

They say every cloud has a silver lining, and I suppose I have to agree.
Hubby & I had a very momentous day last Thursday. We paid off our mortgage. Our home is now all ours, no-one can ever take it away. I'm really proud of us. Through a LOT of sacrifice & hard work, we've managed to pay off a 25 year mortgage in 9 years. It couldn't have come at a better time too, with the way the economy is!
So I'm still 36 (only barely, less than a month to go) and mortgage free. How about that!

We decided to treat ourselves to a "No Mortgage Present". I think we deserve one!
Hubby settled on this:

A kitchen aid mixer. He has wanted one of these for the longest time. This is the colour he got, the 90th anniversary edition colour. It comes with a metal bowl, though, not this glass one.
I have to say it is gorgeous, but it was very expensive!

While we got this for Alice:

She LOVES Hello Kitty. And I think she's kinda cute too ;)

So that leaves me. And I've no clue what to get. Obviously it's going to be yarn related in some way, but what? I was thinking maybe a sock yarn of the month type of club? Or maybe next years Year of Lace if it runs.
Anyone any suggestions for a good yarn club (preferably sock I think) or a better yarny gift?

Sunday 9 May 2010

Huzzah & Hurrah

So Dad is out of Intensive Care & onto a ward since this morning. The doctors think he will be home on Wed or Thurs if I can be there for him for a week to do everything for him. Woohoo!

He's such a fighter, I can't believe it. Apparently the operation went better than expected & the doctors are really pleased with him.
I'm so proud of him, he's an amazing man for 87. It's been really hard minding my Mam, but if he comes home ok, it will be really worth it.
So, happy news over, his brilliant news has spurred me on. I finished his first sock this morning:

It looks ok, I think. Although I was a bit nervous when it fit my sock blocker. I thought it was going to be too small! I tried it on & it fits my foot. We take the same shoe size & his foot is slimmer than mine so I know it'll be ok.
I have to step on the gas so I can get the second one done in time for his discharge. Do you think I can do it? The pressure is on.
Good knitting!

Thursday 6 May 2010

First hurdle over

Dad is out of his operation and in Intensive Care. I couldn't get much out of the nurse other than everything went according to plan.
He was really groggy & very scared. He wouldn't let go of my hand, the poor man.
I'm so glad the operation is over, hopefully he'll be better tomorrow when the anaesthetic has worn off more. They hope to move him to a regular surgical ward tomorrow morning.

Thank you everyone for your good wishes & prayers today, they really meant a lot to me & him.
I just sat in the car in the carpark & cried & cried when I left him. A combination of relief and seeing him with all those tubes & machines connected.

So, the first hurdle is over. The next step is recovery.

Wednesday 5 May 2010

Distraction Techniques

Some people are great at distracting themselves, making themselves think about something other than what is bothering them; making themselves calmer, more focused.
Not me.
I'm a worrier, pure & simple. I always imagine the worst possible outcome to any situation, & get myself tied up in knots about it. Sleep is always the first thing to go. I lie awake imagining all the possibilities, and all I end up with are bags under my eyes and a new set of worries.
Dad went in to hospital today & is having his operation tomorrow.
My brother was meant to bring him in today & stay with Mam while he's in, so I can take time off when he comes out to mind them.
I was literally outside my office door this morning (an hours drive from home) when I got a text message from dickface asking me to bring Dad in coz he "slept it out" & was still in Limerick (approx 2 hr drive away). What else could I do, but turn the car around & drive back home again. Poor Dad was all apologies, telling me to leave him at the hospital door & go in to work. As if it was his fault!
I'm so mad with my brother. Guess what time he finally arrived up at? 4pm. Yep. 4pm. That's some lie in! And an apology? You must be joking. I should have known that a leopard never changes his spots, once a selfish prick always a selfish prick.

Anyway, it's not about him, it's about Mam & Dad. Please God he'll get through the operation tomorrow. If you're of the praying sort, a few prayers tomorrow would be greatly appreciated.

I may be absent from the blog for the next while, depending on how things go, but I'll try my best to post. It actually helps me to think about something more cheerful. Knitting always cheers me up. :)

Speaking of knitting, let's get to it, shall we?

I finally managed to get some work done on my Myrtle Leaf Shawl. A shawl that has been so long on the needles now that it's almost antique! This was actually a Ravelympics project! *shame*

I did 30 repeats of the body instead of 40 as I didn't think Iwas going to have enough yarn for the border too. This is how much I currently have left:

It's not a whole heap, but I think I might just manage the border.
The body looks like this (unblocked):

I know it will grow much more when blocked, so I'm happy enough with the length.
Here's a close up of the border:

It doesn't look like much, does it? Lace is a demon to photograph when in progress. The only thing I'm worried about is how will I know when to start the corner segment of the shawl, because it's 10 repeats less. The pattern says to work 57 repeats of the border chart before working the first corner. So, should I work 47 as my body is 10 repeats less? The thing is, the border chart is an 8 row repeat & the body chart is a 13 row repeat, so the rows don't match up. I'm worried I'm going to make a mess of this border which would be really upsetting after all the work I've put into this shawl so far.

Dad's Sailor socks are flying along:

The beauty of sitting in hospitals for hours waiting on doctors. I should definitely have these finished by the time Dad is discharged hopefully in 1-2 weeks.
So that's all my news for now. Just say a prayer or cross your fingers, or think good thoughts for me tomorrow (Thurs May 6) that Dad will get through the surgery ok.
Good knitting!

Sunday 2 May 2010

Time Management

So much for progress. As you can see, the socks are not exactly flying along...

I'm actually a bit unsure of the pattern, I don't know if it's showing up too well in the yarn. I shall plough on though. Dad saw them yesterday and declared himself very pleased with the colour & pattern, so that's a win-win.
I've done one more repeat on my Summit Shawl, but it's not worth posting a picture. it just looks the same as last time!
I've been thinking about what I currently have on the go:
  • Myrtle Leaf Shawl
  • Summit Shawl
  • Seamless Colourwork Yoke Sweater
  • Sailors Ribbing Socks
  • OMG I just remembered the Christmas ornament kit from last year (*shame*)
And things I want to make:
  • Baby Bibs
  • Socks for Alice
  • BSJ (again)
  • Other baby type stuff
  • Afghan for me
  • Socks for me
I've been feeling really guilty about my Myrtle Leaf shawl. I haven't touched that sucker in quite a while now & I'd love to finish it.
How do you guys divide your time over multiple projects? Do you knit a bit on each one? Or do you have a "project du jour" where you work on one project today, another project tomorrow etc.
I'm finding it hard to spread my time over them all. I think I'm better as a one-project woman. I feel like I get more things done that way. I think that once I catch up on what I currently have on the needles that I may try going back to one wip at a time.
Yeah, I don't hold out much hope for myself either, but a gal's gotta try!
Oh! I almost forgot add, congratulations to Little.Yellow.Different.Better for her pattern, the Persephone Shell in the Summer IK! Well done!