Category Archives: health

Thursday’s threads, therapy and thankfulness

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Hello, lovely people. How are you today? I had a very pleasant day. My appointment with my hand therapist went well. I was only with her for 15 minutes so she could check how my wrist is coming along. She measured my flexibility (with her angle measurer thingy) and my grip strength and it’s all improving. She said to keep doing what I’m doing, and to be honest I haven’t been too diligent on the hand stretches but I’ve been knitting and crocheting like mad, and even sewing too. It all helps, I think.

So I’m thankful that my wrist is getting better, with only the occasional ache and twinge, and I’m determined that by the time my holiday comes around in August that I will be 100%.

After my appointment, I had tea with Tai Chi Man. Today I had Assam TGFOP. I know the OP stands for orange pekoe, in other words good old black tea, but the rest I have forgotten. I have it with a little plain soymilk, no sweetener. Tai Chi Man had his usual Extreme Green. And after a sit and a knit and a chat with him, he went back to work and I took a tea to my friend at her office and we sat outside on a sunny bench for half an hour.

This is my knitting project…

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It’s the yarn I bought at my LYS last year and took to Maui in December. I started crocheting a ripple scarf but didn’t like all the cut ends and couldn’t see myself finishing it. So after a long rest in its bag for five months I took it out, unravelled it, and found a new project for it. This is the Pool Party Cowl and I found it, of course, through Ravelry. It starts out with a kind of broken seed stitch in colour A, in my case the variegated, and then starts on the woven pattern, where you knit two rows with A and then weave two rows with B, the green solid. (Edited to add that this yarn is Cascade Sunseeker, a cotton acrylic blend with a touch of metallic.)

I can’t tell you how happy I am with this cowl. I definitely did the right thing unravelling the scarf.

So, now to the threads mentioned in the title. I had an idea fermenting in the back of my mind after watching the Smells Like Yarn podcast. Ross keeps showing off a WIP in the Rocko bag made by his friend, DarnYarnMN. It is a zippered pouch with a clear vinyl window at the front. I wanted to try making one (or three) and I have lots of pieces of cotton fabric in my stash. I bought some iron-on interfacing, zippers and clear vinyl from work the other day and dove in.

Whilst I did watch a basic bag tutorial on You Tube, it didn’t include the clear window, so I basically made it up. I’m mostly happy with this bag, except for the fact that the raw ends of the zipper aren’t enclosed within the lining, and neither are my seam allowances, because I couldn’t figure out how to do that with the window in the front of the bag. Anyway, this was just my first effort, and there will be more versions in the future, I’m sure. (The size of this is about 10″ square.)

floral window bag

The second bag I made is a drawstring bag, and the instructions come from a book I own, Weekend Sewing. I’ve made this bag before in a smaller size. The cut size of the back piece was 15 x 12″, so that’ll give you an idea of the finished size. The front is made from two panels of fabric and one of vinyl. I’m learning some new things, what with having to use a special machine needle to sew vinyl, and how to feed it through so that the stitches stay even. I did cut the ribbon too short because I forgot that each piece has to go all around the top of the bag, not just across one side.

green window bag

I’m not sure whether there is a way to avoid the vinyl crunching up and getting little dings in it when turning the bag right side out, or if there’s a way to smooth it out once you’ve done that. I bought the medium weight one. Maybe others use the thinnest kind.

We’ve had some hot days already and it feels like summer has arrived. The thermometer has exceeded 30 degrees a couple of times. I have to say I prefer mid-twenties for comfort. We don’t have (and don’t want) air conditioning at home, though I do have it in my car and I’m very thankful for it. This evening, we have all the windows open and there’s quite a wind blowing through, the wind chimes are clanging, and it feels very comfortable.

Enough waffling, I think. Have a supercalifragilisticexpialidocious day!

S is for Saturday, sunhats, single crochet and stash

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G’day! How’s it going? If you’re in Canada, I hope you’re having a wonderful long weekend. Mine is somewhat interrupted, as I will be working tomorrow. But not Monday.

My wrist has been pushed to the limit today. I seem to be in frenzied crocheting mode. Maybe I’m trying to make up for lost time. I have started the project pictured above, which I am hoping will turn out to be a wearable brimmed sunhat made with Hemp for Knitting’s Allhemp 6. It’s a DK weight yarn and I’m trying a 3.75mm hook with it. No pattern. After all, I’ve made a billion hats. (Tai Chi Man says I should be in the Guinness Book of World Records for making so many hats. He just doesn’t understand hyperbole, obviously.)

Anyway, that was yesterday, but I could only do a small bit of the crown before my wrist complained. That hemp yarn is STIFF! So I moved over to dishcloth cotton. I already made these earlier in the week…

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…two of which I sent off to my father-in-law with the two hats. One, I kept.

So last night I started a pink dishcloth, as I had three balls of Bernat Handicrafter in the stash from I-don’t-know-where, and today I took the bag of yarn and the 6mm hook with me while on errands and crocheted while Tai Chi Man drove. I also crocheted while walking around Lee Valley (Canadian store, not an actual valley) and at our fave tea shop. And now I have these…

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I am finding these very satisfying. Basic single crochet with an sc border. Twenty stitches wide and as many rows as it takes to make a square. If I didn’t think my wrist would seize up completely, I’d be starting another scrappy one right now to use up the leftovers.

Surprisingly, after dinner I felt quite energetic and decided that as long as I didn’t sit on the couch and get settled in I would be quite amenable to going to the gym. So we went. Definitely better to spend an hour (treadmill, weights machines) at the gym than veg on the couch the whole night. Our busy Saturday is drawing to an end and I feel like I achieved a lot. (I am seriously wondering whether I could manage to crochet while on the treadmill.)

Today’s tea shop experience was Lavender Lady Grey as a latte with almond milk and agave. What’s your fave tea?

 

 

F is for Friday, Finishes, Food and Fitness

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Happy Friday, everyone! Thursday and Friday were kinda my weekend, as I’m working Saturday and Sunday. The forecast is for 28 degrees on Sunday.

I finished the hat that I started last night. It went quickly as I had plenty of opportunities to work on it today and I love it.

In the end, the hat incorporated the bright orange and purple parts of the Mandala cake, which is perfect, and used so little yarn that I have about half of the 150 gram cake left after finishing two beanies. It’s not quite as deep as the knitted hat, but I made it the same circumference – eighteen inches.

After a couple of months of more sedentary behaviour (following my accident) and just a few too many cheats and treats, I have been feeling somewhat blobby (proven by the spare tires that were exposed to the sun today). So I am being more careful with my food intake, both quality and quantity. Aiming to keep the Whole Food Plant Based No Oil ethics in mind, I am eating better, and also back to pushing it more at the gym. Yesterday and today I spent about an hour and a quarter at World Gym. I took my iPad which meant I could entertain my brain while I was on the treadmill for 40 minutes, and then followed that up with loose weights and machines. I wore my wrist brace of course but I am trying to do some upper body work, using a lighter dumbbell in the right hand. It’s amazing how a couple of months of injury time really set me back.

Smoothies are back on the menu now that the warmer weather is here. Last night we had one of my favourite meals, tortilla wraps with black beans, tomatoes, avocado, lettuce, cucumber, and my home-made smoky chipotle tofu-cashew mayo. I even had the same thing for breakfast, thanks to leftovers.

Today I baked wholewheat hamburger buns and black bean burgers, and we had them with ketchup, mustard, smoky mayo, avocado, tomato and lettuce.

It was a fabulous Friday. I hope yours was too.

 

 

FO: Bill’s hat

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The info on the pattern and yarn for this hat is in my previous post. As I was loving the muted shades that had come out of the yarn cake for the majority of the hat, I stopped before the brighter orange, wound off a bit from the outside of the cake, and used the brownish purple for the very tip top instead. That way, all the colours have the same tone.

The hat used less than 50 grams, which means I have at least 100 grams left in the cake (and the small balls that were wound off to get the colours to behave themselves) and I could actually make two more hats. Three hats from one cake, and they’d all look completely different!

Sally the Styrofoam Head is a little smaller than a real head so she doesn’t accurately represent the size comparative to a real person, but she is useful for blocking on.

The weather has been very Spring-like the last week. And it seems to be paying attention to my work days. Tuesday and Wednesday I was working, Thursday and Friday I wasn’t, and the sun shone and it made for lovely hiking and a bit o’ sunbathing. Even some dinner outside on the deck Friday evening, followed by some knittin’.

I worked all weekend and the wrist was quite painful after the busy sale days. The sky was cloudy with a few spits of rain but I didn’t mind because I was indoors.

Then Monday and Tuesday were again fine – a mix of sun and cloud, another walk with a friend…

Some pretty views of the lake and mountains from the high vantage point. The Arrowleaf Balsamroot is out in force – it’s such a bright and welcome addition to the hillsides at this time of year. (Click on the pics if you want to see them bigger.)

I was a good girl today and went to the gym this morning. Thirty minutes on the treadmill, made easier by the fact that I remembered my iPad and earbuds. Then some weights, including a few careful exercises with a 3lb and 5lb dumbbell with the right hand. Tonight Tai Chi Man and I are going to a yoga class.

I have to run – need to get into my yoga gear and get out of the house shortly. Happy crafting, everyone.

 

 

The brim is done!

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It took six days but I managed three inches of knitting stockinette in the round for the hat for my father-in-law, and tonight did the folding/provisional cast on removal/three needle trick to get the folded brim all done. I have now graduated to the larger needle tip (US#5) for the body of the hat.

I’m pleased that when I folded it I didn’t lose all the blue to the back. The dark green is nice, but I’ll enjoy the brighter colours even more. I love the feel of this Lion Brand Mandala yarn – it’s very wool-like.

Yesterday I had my last X-ray and doctor checkup for the time being (six weeks post-surgery) and today I met with a hand therapist at the hospital and was given exercises to do. She measured the angle that I could move my hand to in different directions so that we can check for progress next time. I’m also supposed to apply a bit of pressure to the scar tissue with my thumb and move the skin around to prevent adhesions underneath the incision area – not keen on that!

My boss is going to be scheduling me for shifts the week after next. I will have to take things slowly. I will be able to do cash, as that is mostly operating a touch screen, but I’m hesitant to try cutting and lifting fabric too soon. A nice co-worker has lent me a pair of left-handed scissors which I’m going to practice with, as that would solve the cutting problem at least. As for lifting, I can barely hold a small mug of tea or a book so bolts of fabric are out of the question.

Hope you have a great day! TTYS

WIP: Bill’s vanilla hat

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I was feeling so accomplished after the Paper Bag Princess project was done, despite the delays and discomfort from my wrist injury. At the beginning of this year, I had a goal in mind (uncharacteristically) to make 12 sweaters in 12 months. I whizzed through the first two, and was almost done with the third, all in the space of a month and a half, when the snowboarding crash happened.

It’s been two months since then, and for a while I couldn’t do any crochet or knitting. Then I managed some gentle crochet, left handed, and made a bulky cowl and finished off the doll project. Encouraged by that, I decided it was time to try knitting.

Of course, my sweater goal has been pretty much abandoned, at least for the time being. But I wanted to make something for my father-in-law, who, like my mother, is often very generous. He is getting on in years and I have heard he is feeling the cold more these days. Even though he hasn’t been a hat-wearer in the many years I’ve known him, I feel that he will appreciate one made out of a colourful yarn. If nothing else, he loves his colour.

So out from the stash came the Lion Brand Mandala in the colourway Chimera, which is what I would describe as a muted rainbow. Blue through dark and light green, mustard yellow, orange, magenta and brown. I have only made one other project with the Mandala – my Spill shawl – but I love this DK weight yarn and the colours it comes in.

The pattern I chose is the Vanilla Hat. It’s a really basic stockinette hat with a folded hem and a simple crown with four decrease lines leading to the centre. I’m not sure how many of the colours of the cake will fit into the hat, but I’m hoping for the brightest ones at least.

Progress is slow. When I first cast on, my gauge was a little loose so I ended up ripping out the first few rounds and restarting with a smaller needle size – US#4 (3.5mm). During my first session of working on this hat, I was feeling quite comfortable, thinking how my wrist seemed happy to be knitting. Unfortunately the next day I changed my mind. I think the fine motor movements of the Continental knitting, which does have a reasonable economy of motion, aggravated some out-of-practice muscles and tendons. So I am having to be careful to do a small amount at a time.

My hospital appointment for the six week post-surgery checkup is this Tuesday. I hope to hear that my recovery so far is typical for the type of injury. If I am to get back to normal, or as close as possible, I know that I have to exercise the hand and wrist and that some pain is to be expected.

I hope that you had a wonderful weekend and that your crafting is going well. What are you making?

WIP: The Paper Bag Princess

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The Princess doll has come along well in the last few days. Her paper bag dress is done, but her crown is not. I did try it with some yellow yarn but it came out too big and I’d like to find some metallic gold embroidery thread. 

Considering how much girls like to dress dolls, I decided to make the dress and cardigan from the same pattern but had to take a break when my wrist hurt too much. I’ll show you those next time. 

The grapevine wreath on my kitchen wall was looking very outdated as it still held the crocheted fall leaves, pumpkins and sunflower from autumn. Today it was taken apart and, considering my crochet output is so little at the moment, I cheated by using my Shaun the Sheep and a bunch of cotton minis from the stash to fill the wreath. It will have to do until I can up my game!


My wrist was quite sore yesterday and again today, and I think it’s partially due to exercises I did after watching a couple of physiotherapist videos on You Tube and partly the crochet. It worries me a little, but not having anything to compare with means I don’t know if my healing expectations are reasonable.  The skin is sensitive around my wrist – cuffs chafe unpleasantly now that I’m leaving off the brace more during the day – and the joint is still quite inflexible. 

Next appointment is April 10th, and hopefully all will look good. 

FO: Left-handed therapy cowl

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Hello again. I am excited to announce the conclusion of the cowl, crocheted with a 10mm hook and Loops & Threads Facets. I think Michaels have discontinued this yarn now as some of the balls I have were marked down.

At the point I decided to finish it, it was a bit long to seam the ends together for a cowl, but too short for a scarf, so I overlapped the ends and added three buttons along the top edge. The buttons were in my stash, found at work ages ago in the discontinued basket. With C2C there are naturally lots of buttonhole options, so I could probably get inventive and button it a number of different ways.

The last week has seen a couple of major events in my extended family. My mum celebrated her 85th birthday and of course seeing the photos of the party with the whole family there gave me a twinge of sadness that I was so far away. Even my cousins from England had flown over to the island for the weekend.

The other event is the death of my aunt, my mum’s older sister. She was just one week shy of her 93rd birthday. She hadn’t been very well for a long time and had been living in care homes for years, but it’s still a jolt when it happens.

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This incredibly hairy doll is the Princess Poppy doll which I am making into the Paper Bag Princess. I had made great progress on this in February, and was up to the point where I had crocheted the hair cap and starting attaching the strands of hair. Well, that was scuppered when I broke my wrist. However having finished the aforementioned therapy cowl I felt ready to tackle this project again. I’m using a teeny 3.25mm hook, and my left hand, but there’s still a lot of support work done by the right hand and after adding quite a lot of hair to the doll this afternoon my wrist was quite painful. In case you’re wondering, the strand of cream yarn coming out of her face is a guide I put in for her centre parting.

I think she still needs a bit more volume on top of her head and then she’ll get a haircut so it’s all the same length. She’s not supposed to look too “put together” really, as in the book the Paper Bag Princess has just survived having all the clothes scorched off her by a large dragon!

This typing is killing my wrist too. The wrist brace is off and I can type properly with both hands again, but OMG it hurts. I think I shall have to return to my library book (Strangers by Dean Koontz, nearly 700 page paperback, of which I have read three-quarters in two days).

We are definitely on the cusp between two seasons here. It snowed lightly today. However we have also had a huge amount of rain this week (a really great rainstorm that came along with a wind that lashed it against the back of the house) and already in some places there is talk of flooding. Spring melt plus rain equals swollen creeks. Apparently the snowpack is even deeper than last year and is likely to cause even more problems as the level of the lake rises over the spring. I guess there could be a lot of people pumping out their houses along the lakeshore again this year.

Cool fabric

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Cool fabric

Hello friends! How are you? I hope you’re enjoying signs of spring in your part of the world (or fall if you’re in the Southern Hemisphere).

I haven’t been outside yet but it’s a pretty mellow-looking day. Cloudy, no wind. The snow is almost gone from the garden. Our temperature the last week or two has been in the single digits, I think, warmer in the sunshine, still cold in the shade.

I have my wrist brace off to type this because I want to get my flexibility back. My right wrist is still a little puffy on top but the underneath is cleaner looking now. There is still a lot of yellow bruising up the arm.

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I mixed some coconut oil with some lavender, geranium and frankincense essential oils and I’m applying it three times a day to keep the skin soft and minimise scarring. I love being able to take the brace off when I want to bathe, but leave it on when doing daily tasks or sleeping so I don’t hurt it accidentally.

Some major milestones (or as  I like to call them, “smilestones”) for this week: wearing jeans as I can now do up the button and belt, crocheting (albeit slowly and left-handed), a gentle workout at the gym (treadmill, core, legs, and some one-armed biceps/triceps), and today I had a bath all by myself (no Tai Chi Man there to wash my hair or scrub my back and I even managed to hack through the undergrowth on my legs)!

So all in all, good progress!

I have to show you this fabric I saw at Fabricland when I went in there with my friend the other day. We were there for her to buy stuff to make a bag, so I wandered around with her and chatted to my co-workers. Well, this new quilting cotton jumped out at me and I just had to grab a metre of it to add to the stash!

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Isn’t it awesome? Kind of a vintage “caravans at the seaside” vibe.

Have a great day and talk to you again soon.

WIP: Left-handed therapy cowl

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Once my bandages were off, I was itching to try a little crochet. I had another play with the bulky green yarn and a giant hook and felt confident enough to pull out this Loops & Threads Facets yarn (Amethyst colourway) and a 10mm hook and start a cowl. I chose the C2C because it only involves a small amount of chaining. 

Working left-handed means I have to reverse everything which can mess with your head a bit, but it seems to be working out. I can only make a small amount of progress each day because I don’t want it to hurt. 

The above photo is the first day’s progress. Below is the third day. After this cowl is done, I’m hoping to go back to the doll. 


I had a lovely package in the mail yesterday.  One of the other moderators in the Crafternoon Treats Ravelry Group knew about my injury and asked for my address so she could send me something. She lives in Norway and by the time it arrived I had forgotten all about it. 


She sent two crocheted washcloths, a clay and rose water face mask kit, a rose-scented heart soap and some chocolate. How sweet is that? It made my day!

Spring seems to have arrived in our valley. The snow is mostly gone and Tai Chi Man says he spotted some daffodil shoots in the garden today. It’s mild and sunny this weekend. Ooh, I nearly forgot! I hit a milestone today (autocorrect changed that to “smile stone”) as I was actually able to put on a pair of jeans for the first time in over a month. But this typing is making my arm hurt like crazy so I am signing off for now. Happy Spring!