Category Archives: books

Healing in progress

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First attempt at left-handed crochet!

First attempt at left-handed knitting!

A nice stack of reading

This is a quickie post as I have to type with one hand, which is a little easier on the iPad, partly because the letters are closer together and partly because of auto-correct.
Last night, a friend picked me up for our new book group at a coffee shop, so that worked out well. And today I walked to the store where I work to say Hi to everyone and get some exercise and fresh air too.

My attempts at knitting and crocheting were quite successful, if slow, but also painful. It’s too soon, and I think I shall wait until after my orthopaedic appointment next Tuesday before trying again.

WIP: March sweater Day 2

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Well hello there, I’m back with more news of the March sweater.

Yesterday was a heavy crochet day – I spent a LOT of time on the couch and almost finished the back. I did go for a walk in the evening with Tai Chi Man to get some fresh air and some blood flowing through the veins, though.

The back was kinda boring, being all black, and it was nice to start on the coloured stripes for the right front today (after my 8am yoga class).

My first Ravelry project page update, earlier today, showed that I had done five blue stripes and was just starting on the green part of the yarn cake. In order to keep the coloured sc rows fairly visible, I’m crocheting the black rows in the front loop only. This leaves a little extra colour visible on the right side.

I’m also “cheating” with the colour. The blue did five rows and I made sure that the green would arrive on the sixth. So when I’d done five green rows I cut some out so that the acid yellow would appear on the next one. I want to make sure that all five colours in the cake appear across the front of the sweater (which is actually going to be a sleeveless vest with a wrap front).

Tricky to photograph black, especially when there are other colours involved in part of the shot. Of course I’m only using an old iPad Mini, so I guess I can’t expect too much. (And those ends! Lots of weaving in to do later.)

So that’s it for today. I’ve put down my hook for the night, even though it’s only 9.20pm. I’d rather go and get into my PJs and read in bed for a while because I’ve realised that staying up late is not serving me well. Thankfully I’ve finished all seasons of Mr Selfridge now, and am reluctant to start another series. It’s just too easy to binge watch episode after episode.

So apart from crochet, this week’s entertainment is finishing A Dog’s Purpose (yes, the book that the film was based on, though I haven’t seen the film) and starting on the third book in the Poldark series, Warleggan.

I gave a work shift away to a co-worker whose schedule was messed up so the coming week has me doing two shifts instead of three, which means…you guessed it…more crochet time! I estimate the March sweater will take no more than a week in all and then I can decide what to knit for April! Oh yes, and the Ravelry Ravellenic Games start on February 9th, and I am entering the toy event, so I need to do a bit of preparation for that before next Friday.

It’s all go, you know. 🙂

Almost finished!

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We are at the 22nd of January already, and my January sweater deadline is fast approaching, but I’m going to make it!

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Since my last update, I have finished the yoke (inserting two more short rows near the back of the neck), knitted a ribbed turtleneck (adding stitches for the foldover part to accommodate the bulk and not be too tight), grafted the underarm stitches and started on the cuff hem lining.

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The colour of the lining was dictated by the fullest ball of Stylecraft Special Aran that I had, plus I wanted it to be bright to give the grey sweater a lift. Using two strands of Pomegranate and a US10.5 needle, I picked up stitches on the inner edge of the cuff. Obviously I had to increase, because the gauge is very different from the main part of the sweater, so I made an educated guess and did a Make One after each two stitches picked up. And it worked!

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I still haven’t fastened anything off or woven any ends in. I’ll do that after the second cuff and the bottom hem are done, but before washing and drying.

My Hygge friends are coming over tonight so I will get more knitting time in then. So far today I’ve done some housework and started a new batch of kombucha. I had a brainwave, and realised how much easier my Mondays are if I don’t have to work. I can get the house tidied up, and dinner made and eaten, well before my friends come at 7.30pm. Not so easy if you have to work until 6 or 6.15. So I have changed my scheduling preferences at work to say I am unavailable on Mondays.

I picked up my latest hold at the library this week – Jeremy Poldark, book 3 in the Poldark series – and it’s not a huge tome so I immediately reserved book 4, Warleggan, so I can get that one soon. I also found these…

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I don’t know whether I’ll make any of the projects, but the Arne and Carlos book is just a feast of eye candy! Beautiful colours of yarn and flowers and blankets and toys and the best doll’s house ever. Worth borrowing from the library for sure.

It’s a beautiful day out there, cold and windy of course, but the sun is streaming in. Hmmm, I should probably fit a neighbourhood walk into my afternoon. And while I’m out, I’ll annoy the boys and open some windows perhaps! It helps to keep the humidity down indoors. We had quite a problem with condensation last winter, with the new less-draughty windows.

Better get on then. Hope you have a great day!

 

WIP: January sweater

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I cast on this sweater on January 7th. I think I have knitted on it every day except one. Sometimes when I’ve been at work all day, I am a Netflix zombie in the evening. But most days I’ve added to it, and it has grown satisfyingly quickly.

Above is the finished torso, with stitches on waste yarn awaiting the sleeves. It only took two evenings for the first sleeve. The other one was finished tonight while I enjoyed the company of my friends at our Hygge gathering at my house. It was perfectly timed as I was on the straight stretch at the top of the sleeve while they were here and didn’t have to concentrate on any more shaping.

Once they had left, I united body and sleeves, leaving four stitches on waste yarn on each piece at the underarms, and knitted four rounds without any decreasing. And that’s where I’m stopping for the night.

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The hem of the sweater is very curly but I intend to knit hems in a different colour and weight of yarn, à la Elizabeth Zimmermann, once the rest of the sweater is done.

I have to confess that my gauge swatch was inaccurate, one reason being that I knitted it flat and now I am knitting in the round (I should have known better), and the circumference is coming out considerably smaller. However I think it will be fine. In the case of the sleeves, I was able to slip the first one on my arm to get an idea of the length and circumference I needed.

I’m really feeling the tiredness now. Just did four days of work in a row, which I was not crazy about. Thankfully I have the next couple of days off so I will be able to get to the gym and also do grocery shopping. I’ve nearly finished Book 2 in the Poldark series, “Demelza,” and need to pop over to the library website to reserve Book 3.

What are you doing to make the winter comfy and cosy?

Life update!

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Firstly, Demelza progress. These “flat flowers” feel like they’re taking ages. I’ve done seven rounds on each so far and there are still four rounds to go to square them up. There are two types of flat flower in this blanket, and I decided to concentrate my pinks and purples in this set and my blues and greens in the other set. Unless I change it up somewhere along the line.

What am I reading right now? I just finished House Rules by Jodi Picoult, a novel based around an 18 year old young man with Asperger’s whose passion is forensics. I am also reading Remember Zen by a local author (book is not to hand right now) which summarises much of the Buddhism/Taoism learning I have been doing over the last six years in a manageable paperback book. Next I will pick up The Different Drum by M Scott Peck, a book that a friend gave me for my birthday.

Netflix-watching is currently Broadchurch Season 2. I watched Season 1 yonks ago but only just realised that Season 2 is out. It’s a bit gloomy – I shall have to balance it out with some lighter entertainment. Close-ups of David Tennant’s myriad pained expressions are getting a bit much and I’ve only watched the first two episodes!

Aches and pains haven’t got any better but I have three different modalities planned for this week. A person at my chiro’s office offers something called SCENAR which involves electrical pulses that stimulate the body’s natural painkilling effects. That’s tomorrow, then Thursday morning I’ll be seeing a massage therapist, but I have a feeling from reading the info on his website that this won’t be a gentle massage with scented oils (he doesn’t use oil) but more in depth and possibly painful as he digs in and finds the knots etc.

I have a friend who also does healing for free in her home and I will see her another day, and that’ll make three healing sessions in one week. Hopefully at least one of them will make a difference so I can get back to normal….or better than normal.

I was at work today (fabric store) and was put on cutting table 2 which is in the upholstery section. You can guarantee that means lots of lifting of long rolls of fabric, in addition to which I had huge boxes of curtain rods to unpack and price. Despite the lifting and the standing/walking on a concrete floor for 6 – 8 hours, I actually feel best at work, probably because it takes my mind off my back and hip. I was at a class tonight and had to sit in a folding chair for nearly two hours and that really didn’t feel good.

Well, that’s enough from me tonight – I need sleep. Hopefully I’ll have more Demelza progress to show you soon.

 

 

FO: Base

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Base the Bear is done. I realise that the designer probably named the pattern Base because it’s just the first in a planned line of similar creatures based on the same shape, but maybe I should come up with a cuter name. (There is a dog pattern too.)

Maybe Fred. Or Blue. Or Mabel.

Anyway, I made the arms today and sewed them on and decided to leave the face as is. The bear is about 7″ tall and crocheted with three colours of Stylecraft Special DK (turquoise, cloud blue and lipstick) and a 3.25mm hook.

And now I have no reason not to continue with the ripple blanket which, for some reason, I keep avoiding.

But maybe not tonight. Maybe instead I’ll pick up one of the books I’m reading – one is called Six Impossible Things before Breakfast by Lewis Wolpert (all about humans and belief) and the other is The New Good Life by John Robbins. I also have the option of Mary Stuart by Stefan Zweig, which is my own book, not a library book, and was a gift from a friend.

Have a good night/day!

 

In my happy place

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I have a day off work today, though I did pop in to the store after picking the majority of the apricots off our tree. They are very nearly ripe and seem to like dropping on the ground before I get to them. I now have six bowls full downstairs and I’m not yet sure what I’m going to do with them all! I delivered a box full to work so that got rid of those!!!

This morning, I had to return books and magazines to the library, so of course I collected my held item and found three more. I think someone (maybe my mum) recommended the Isabel Allende novel. As you can see, I also indulged in a little treat from the health food store.

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I stopped in at the dreaded Wal-mart (aka Stuffmart, Wally World) for a pair of shoes, as my runners are getting worn out and aren’t suitable for work any longer. When I was cleaning up the house yesterday, I actually pulled out my shoes from the general melee downstairs by the back door and set up another rack for them. There were still a few pairs of winter footwear down there, so those were thrown into the under-the-stairs cupboard. The rest of the family’s shoes were placed on the racks where they belong and…hey presto…tidier utility room. That was easy!

I was tempted by not one, but two pairs of shoes. It takes me very little time to shop for shoes. The grey ones with the turquoise laces were practically the first ones I saw, and the white ones will, I think, work with my maxi skirts (have to have toes covered at work).

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I took the time, as I was on my own and therefore not in a hurry, to wander around the rest of the store, and the craft section held some temptations too…

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The buttons are mine, all mine, and the cotton Handicrafter is partly for a dishcloth for a surprise swap that I’m participating in through a Ravelry group. When my swap parcel items are all amassed, I will show you a photo.

And so to the happy place – playing with colour. My button stash definitely looked like it needed more…

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Lots of gaps there, eh. Definitely room for improvement. Hence these…

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I sat outside on my deck, blissfully alone but surrounded by the noises of my neighbourhood, temperature very reasonable for the time of year, and sorted buttons.

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Much better!

In the crochet side of things, I have one WIP, the ripple blanket, and you’ll have to take my word for it that it’s growing. However today I had a request for a phone cosy, plus I’d like to make a little heart or some type of amigurumi for  a co-worker, and a laptop bag for me, and a toy to match my blanket, and…and…suddenly I have a long To Do list.

It’s the good kind of To Do list, though. 🙂

 

WIP: The cowl that became a hat

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Well, almost.

I was crocheting away on this piece of Tunisian full stitch, thinking it was going to be a cowl, and then I remembered that the last rectangular piece that I made with this yarn also became a cowl. Hmmmm, what to do?

Ah yes, slipstitch the ends together, and add a half double crochet crown, and it’s a hat.

I’ll also need to add a row or two around the brim. I really hope this looks okay when it’s done: the hdc (with a smaller hook) looks so different from the Tunisian texture. But I haven’t learned how to do Tunisian in the round yet so had to improvise.

We are having a heatwave here – the temperatures this week are in the 30s, varying somewhat between the hotter town area where it’s all paved, the lakeshore, and our neighbourhood which is a little way out of town and higher up. It’s not surprising to see 37 (as I did today according to my car’s outside thermometer) with it dropping as I cross the bridge over the lake and another couple of degrees change as I get close to home (32).

I would have taken the boys to the lake for a swim but they are so unadventurous.

Instead here I am, sitting at the dining room table at my laptop with the ceiling fan running (no AC).

I read a huge library book in two days this week. It’s called Broken Harbour by Tana French. It’s a detective/homicide sort of thing set in Ireland. I also had a huge headache that took a long while to wear off (a couple of days) which I think may have been due to the excessive reading. You may scoff, but I have problems with both eyes, and whilst the left one focuses to read, the right one does not. So my theory is that it was eyestrain. Must remember to spread my reading time out more.

W0rk is getting interesting. Inventory time looms which means we are spending all our time in between customers making sure all the fabrics are in their right groups, laid down horizontally instead of the usual way of displaying them upright and draped, highlighting barcodes ready for counting and weighing. The bolts of fabric get weighed on commercial scales, and we also have to count all notions like spools of thread, packets of needles, etc etc. One day is set aside for fabrics (though the store is still open for most of that time) and another day for notions (a Sunday, and the aim is to get as much as possible done before opening time at noon). It’s a bit crazy, especially when we have customers messing up the organisation or wanting to wander into the section being weighed. I think that closing for the day would make more sense, but it’s not my decision.

So, enough waffling, it’s time to get dinner prepped. I hope you’re having some decent summer weather where you are (if you’re in the northern hemisphere).

 

 

 

 

Summery Sunday Summary

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This morning wasn’t the best – I burned my arm with boiling water when making soymilk in the Vitamix (went from nothing to max speed with the flick of a switch; note to self – check high speed button is off before switching machine on). And after I hung out the laundry on the clothes line I was walking back up the yard looking at my arm when my head hit a low branch of the apricot tree! I felt a bit sorry for myself for a while.

However, after cleaning off the bits of soybean from the kitchen cupboards (!) and assembling a large potato salad, we all headed south to a friend’s place for a sociable afternoon of hiking, eating and trying out some anti-gravity yoga. The weather was hot and sunny today and we saw red-tailed hawks, deer, mountain goats, and beautiful valley and lake views.

The potluck was delicious, the yoga was fun, and on the drive there and back I played with some Tunisian crochet with some James C Brett Marble Chunky and the double-ended crochet hook that I ‘inherited’ recently. The stitches I experimented with were simple stitch, knit stitch, full stitch, purl stitch and rib (a few rows of each in the swatch below). I need to check You Tube to make sure I was doing the purl correctly, as I was working from memory.

Tunisian crochet is very unstretchy but I do like the look of the knit stitch  and the fact that it’s thick and would make for a very warm item.

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See that chocolate bar? Zazubean Sassy – mmmmm!

 

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And the book I’m reading right now? This…

 

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Definitely written for adults, this one!

 

Fifth FO of 2016

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It’s another Double Layered Braided Cowl, for the same person but with very different yarn. This is Misti Alpaca Best of Nature, using a 5.5mm hook.  This second one took longer than the first, partly because the hdc in the back (third) loops was frustratingly fiddly. I think if I were to make this again, my return pass would just be crocheting into the usual back loop. I think as long as one is consistent, it would still look good.

This yarn is thinner than the With Love, so I went up a hook size and added five chains to each strip. Seems to have worked out.

Still no more progress on the blanket lately. I have a lot of reading to do for my Chinese Thought course, plus I need to watch the lecture videos. At least I managed to get some real life Mandarin practice over the weekend. Happy Chinese New Year!
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