Thrumming and crochet

Thrummed fingerless mittens for ED, posted today. Crochet blanket in Stylecraft Swirl (Purple Mist) which was free! the edging is in West Yorkshire Spinners Aire Valley DK.

And the last picture is of a pattern I started for hubby. It’s Whelk, by Rowan. I had endless problems trying to make the pattern and the chart readable. This is as far as I got, and I just couldn’t cope with it any more. I even messed up the gauge swatch to start with!

So I have another pattern, imaginatively called Textured V-neck Vest, which is also for worsted yarn. The stitch pattern is similar but looks more my bag. I’m going to do a gauge swatch before I start to make sure I can actually do it.


January 2018

Another year. Almost through the first month, too. It’s cold but dry outside, although the wind last night was fearsome! kept me awake for hours!

Christmas – bit of a write off for me, was ill (again) with a similar thing to the November virus, but only for two weeks, this time, instead of four weeks, starting Christmas Eve. Missed two family parties. Bummer. Big old bummer. However, Hubby did a fabulous lunch on Christmas Day, and we’d been for breakfast at YD’s house, so managed that day, then spent the rest of the two weeks in bed most of the time. Voiceless and feeling dreadful.

Am better now, though, and almost up to knitting again. I did crochet an Olaf (from Frozen) for ESW, but my crochet skills are really not that good. However, it’s a toy. It’s meant to be lumpy. ESW won’t give a stuff how olaflumpy it is, or where the lumps are.

And it looks ok.

New knitting projects planned. Love it when there’s lots to do. Also almost through the pile of books I was given as gifts. The last one, which I’m reading now, is Simon Schama’s History of the Jews (second book) “Belonging”. Very interesting. Detailed, engaging, and, for me, with my Jewish heritage, fascinating. There was a time, hundreds of years ago, when Jewishness was regarded as having come through the father, not the mother. Mm.

Yesterday we went to a lovely independent bookshop in Coventry to donate some books (, then IKEA, got most of what we went for, only spent £25 (which is much less than we normally end up spending there!), then the council tip on the way home. Excellent morning, very productive. Result: very tidy house, a knackered me. But it’ll pass.

Just written to my lovely French friend, sent it off with some photos, then I had a lovely shower and washed my hair. Soon it’s going to be lunch time. My life is such a mad social whirl. Not. Thank goodness.

Not going to knitting group this morning, may go on Saturday. Hopefully. It’s great. Hot drinks, cake, biscuits, friendly people and all in an excellent yarn shop. Plenty of support for when things go wrong too.


I can’t believe I have yet another throat infection and no voice. Third in three months. And last week – or was it the week before? – I had what I think was probably a nasty migraine. 24 hours of blinding headache and bad nausea. Took another week to recover. So this year so far has been a bummer, healthwise.

Meanwhile, the Aged Mother has been in hospital, and is now home recovering. Youngest grandchild has been born, in Dublin, little boy, all doing well. Eight grandchildren! how lucky are we! ESW (youngest grandaughter) is just a joy, but currently has a virus. LCS (ED’s little boy) is fine and also a joy.

ES is with us this weekend, having a sleep at the moment and leaving when he wakes up.

The garden is looking lovely. Must deadhead the daffodils when I feel up to it, but it’s cheering to look out at it on a sunny day like today.

Knitted a little jacket and crocheted a blanket which will be in the post tomorrow for youngest grandchild (initials HR). Photos when the parcel has been received. Currently knitting Dobby socks, as requested, for a grandson’s upcoming 13th birthday. They are Dobby socks because one is green, with Golden Snitches knitted in, and the other will be red, with broomsticks knitted in. So that means knitting in the round (a tube), no seams, stranded (different colour yarns), turning a heel and grafting the toe. All good fun and makes it interesting to do. Again, photos when received.

Missed the Stitch Up at Stitch Solihull yesterday because I was just too damn poorly. I think that’s two I’ve missed. Grump.


Time to Blog

January this year was a write-off for me, what with the sinus and throat infections and no voice for three and a half weeks, not to mention feeling dreadful.

February was better, apart from Andy’s funeral, which was fraught and lovely in equal measure. A long day, in London, with so many people who loved him so much. And both my daughters, which was also delightful. And a short cuddle with fabulous grandson LCS.

March – not sure really. No voice. Again. But after three days am starting to feel a little better. Lots of fluids, regular paracetamol, and plenty of rest.

Today I felt so much better that I’ve actually set up the wildlife camera in the garden. I’ve no idea what will transpire, but am very interested to see what happens overnight. First time ever, so fingers crossed. I’ve been thinking and thinking about a wildlife camera. We watch a lot of wildlife programmes, and even though we won’t get to see elk, or wolves, or panthers, I’m wondering about muntjac deer, other cats, maybe hedgehogs? exciting.

Have been crocheting a little bit. Knitting turned into a nightmare, so I’ve rejigged all my projects and finished a shawl which was a long, long time in the making (but I love it now!) and am having a short knitting break. I’m actually waiting for some new baby yarn to arrive in The Shop so I can knit something for a baby due at the end of March. Here’s a couple of photos of the knitting and crochet, with a bonus one of grand-daughter ESW.

Osteopath tomorrow. Was going to cancel but need to go really. Had to cancel hairdo on Wednesday, as soon as I have a voice I will rearrange that. Also had to cancel friend’s visit on Tuesday, which was actually the worst day. Will rearrange that too when I can talk!



I can’t believe it’s April already!

Have been meaning to blog for weeks and weeks now. I’m not sure, to be honest, where the time goes. I’m retired! but my diary is fuller now than ever. Note to self: Keep at least two, preferably three, days a week clear.

Had a wonderful birthday a couple of weeks ago. A lovely, relaxed day, dinner with hubby that night, excellent. And last night we went for another meal out as it was our 16th wedding anniversary. We’ve been together for 25 years now, but it took us a while to tie the knot  … … …

ESW is now three months old and an absolute delight. Happy, chuckly, coos and gurgles. There are still some difficult nights but generally I think she’s turned a corner. Mum and Dad are looking less fraught and more relaxed too.

LCS is almost 17 months old, also a joy. Happy, happy little boy. Smiley, cuddly, fun to be around. Love them both so much.

Been knitting and crocheting up a storm. I learned how to do Amigurumi style crochet, and although I need some more practice, it’s going ok really.

Starting a new project tonight – in a beautiful linen yarn – and it’s a shawlette. Love shawlettes. Who knew?

Also went and supported the junior doctors in their strike action a couple of times – first time it was really cold and raining. Second time much more clement weather. Made a two-sided poster, which is fairly sturdy. So I’m quite pleased about that.


And what about the Panama papers? about damn time. Very interesting that only three members of the Tory cabinet were clear about their non-use of off-shore tax havens, the others would not reply. Ha.

Need to get in the garden more. I’ve done some spring-cleaning, but now I need to give the lilac bush a jolly good talking-to, in the form of a hard prune, and I also need to get some ericaceous compost, cut the haggard pieris back, and top dress it. Next week hopefully.

It’s been a long while.

Well. Six weeks. Naughty. But I’ve been caught up in all sorts of things.

YD has been having a dreadful time at work, and although it’s nearly over, a hurdle or two remains to be dealt with. Nearly there though.

Also struggling with the M.E. and two weeks ago had a throat infection which confined me to bed for a few days, and removed my voice. A week later the voice returned, although a bit quiet and croaky, but at least I’m able to communicate.

Been doing some knitting on and off.

2014-05-21 19.20.17 2014-06-04 21.40.38 2014-06-12 19.49.05 2014-06-13 13.44.48










And the big news is that ED is expecting her first baby in November. Huge excitement all round. Went to see her about three weeks ago, and she’s stopped feeling quite so dreadful, but still not great. She looks wonderful, though, and is radiant with impending motherhood. Love it.

A few random photos, and a couple of the garden.2014-05-20 12.49.36 mysterious moth 2014-05-20 12.49.47-1



Knitting magazines have been popping through the door day by day! I love that. I love sitting, with a cup of tea, browsing through each one several times. When I find something I’m interested in, either a pattern I’d like to knit, or a stitch pattern that’s interesting, or even just the “give-aways”, I turn the corner of the page down to remind me. Some have crosswords in, and I always do those.

I scan any patterns into my computer, so I only print them when I actually want to knit them. Saves on the (laser printer) ink. When I’m done with them, they are given away, either to friends, my next-door-neighbour, who is also a keen knitter, or, this time, to a Women’s Refuge (along with lots of other stuff – clothes, board games, jewellery, unused toiletries). These magazines are fully utilised by everybody who sees them!

Today I went to Stitch & Sip at The Shop, hoping to ask for some crochet advice. But there was nobody there who is an experienced crocheter. In fact, I was the only experienced knitter there, so I was helping various people. That feels really satisfying – one of the women has started bringing her daughter, who is 15-ish I guess, and has just started knitting. She needed a little help with casting on 116 stitches (I always use stitch markers every 20 stitches when casting on more than 100 stitches, it really makes a difference). Then someone needed help working out how much yarn to buy for a particular pattern. Thank goodness for the calculator on my smart(ish) phone.

And most exciting of all, I learned basic use of the till. Now one of the young women is back at university, staffing the shop can be problematic, so I’m going to help out occasionally. What a lovely thing to be able to do. I live so close (7 minutes’ walk away), and love it so much. When it first opened I was there every day – had to stop that because I was spending too much money. Now I go to Stitch and Sip alternate weeks on a Thursday, and alternate weeks on a Saturday. This week it was Saturday, next week it’s Thursday.

The colours of the yarn in the shop are just beautiful, and very well displayed. It’s like a sweet shop, only no calories. I could spend much more money, though.

Current project is a Pimpelliese shawlette in babylonglegs semi-precious Silver Chair 4ply, with a black bead at the point of each triangle. Can’t wait to finish and wear it. Next up will be Bergère de France Short Jacket (from magazine 159, pattern No 6), in turquoise. Also very excited about that. And then I’m going to do the tumbling blocks (Octopush), which has been rumbling (tumbling?) around in my mind for a while. It’ll be a knitted version.

Also, in between knitting the shawlette, I’m trying to do the African Flower from Heidi Bears, but am struggling a bit. Which is odd, because the instructions are very clear, even though I’ve translated them from US to British crochet terms. It could be that I just need to use nicer yarn. But when I’m trying something out for the first time I tend to use old stash yarn, or free crappy yarn that comes free with a magazine.

However, just now, whilst typing this blog, I have found another set of instructions – here – which I’m going to try. With two different colours of Bergère de France Idéal, one blue, one lilac (ish) which I have spare, and which I like. Will let you know how it goes.

If you don’t knit or crochet, the excitement I feel when trying new yarn, or new needles, or a new pattern, is hard to explain. If you do, though, you’ll understand. But even at my age (I’m 58) it’s a real lift.

I’ve also just discovered how to add accented characters. My life is one long splash of excitement. Or maybe I’m just easily pleased, or a bit nerdy.

I have to go now and feed the cat. Again. Despite her full ration of  food tonight so far, she is crashing about in what we think of as “commando cat” mode. Eyes huge, ears back, rushing about, miaowing every time she bumps into a human. So biscuits it is then.

Back to normality.

The kitchen has stayed exactly the same. There is more tiddling about to do, but I have been so busy!

On Hallowe’en hubby’s ES and his three children came to stay. ES took so much trouble – a bowl of custard and a bowl of porridge, both with “things” in – tinned peach slices, plastic spiders, worms, etc – for them to feel through holes in a cardboard box, in low lighting, one at a time. All four had faces painted to look scary – 2 x zombies, lizard, and scary doll. I don’t need bags painted under my eyes, I have my own.

It was absolutely lovely. The children are always a joy, and ES is fun, good company, and easy to be around.

Then on Friday it was hubby’s birthday, and what a delight to have family to celebrate with. On Saturday, YS and the other two grandchildren came, and the two children stayed overnight. We all went out for a meal which was great fun. Not much sleeping was done by children, but that’s what happens on sleepovers when you have two 12 year-olds and two 9 1/2 year-olds. The four year old slept though!

Healthwise – am having physiotherapy on my wonky hands, and it seems to be helping. ECG tomorrow to make sure my heart is ok. Cholesterol, after four months of drastically reduced cheese intake, had gone up from 6.1 to 6.8. Gaaaagh! so I’m continuing with the reduced cheese thing, have given up goat yoghurt with jam and have bought soya flavoured pretend yoghurts instead, and am having porridge for breakfast, made with oats and soya milk. It’s delicious. Will see how that affects the cholesterol. Bah.

My back, however, for the last week, has been horrible. Very painful. Painkillers, hot packs, cold packs, today osteopath (and she wants to see me next week as well, because there is swelling from waist to hips), and have taken two Tramadol today, which always help. A lot. And I can take two Paracetamol at 6 pm then two more Tramadol at bedtime, which should mean tomorrow is much better.

Knitting – ups and downs. Was knitting a lovely shawlette for a Christmas present, but the yarn wasn’t very good. It was expensive, but looked like it was pilling as I knitted it. Sent a photo to the suppliers, who refunded me straight away. I was very impressed with their service, but now don’t have time to knit the shawlette for said Christmas present. But I have another idea, so that’s ok. And will start that particular present earlier next year, with different yarn.

Crochet workshop yesterday – granny squares. I was able to do them, but now I’m able to do better ones. And triangles! Triangles, no less! very pleased.

Went to Stitch & Sip today.  I’ve knitted almost all of a little hooded top for a baby, but am having problems with the second sleeve. Twice I’ve got to the top, then had to rip it all the way down to the cast off for the decreasing. But I know what I’ve been doing wrong, and should get that done tonight. So when I came home from Stitch, I had less knitting than when I started! but it was fun anyway.

That’s about it for now, more when there is more to tell.

24th July 2013

First of all, the dratted weather. Hate it with a passion, or would if I had the energy. For the last two days it’s been cooler and much more manageable, after some terrific thunderstorms and plenty of much needed rain.

But before that it was dreadful. The humidity is the worst thing for me. I can’t imagine going out and sitting in the sun. The most I could do comfortably is shower, put on proper underwear, and summer pyjamas – a loose t-shirt top and loose long shorts. Then I couldn’t do anything all day except sit around inside with all the fans in the house going. We do have a ceiling fan which we have been using at night. The first night or two we couldn’t sleep properly because it hums, but soon got used to it.

So I’m really, really pleased that it’s cooler. I don’t care if it rains, the whole country is going brown. Our water butts were empty.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

I’ve now learned to knit socks. The first sock would fit either a baby hobbit, or a duck with very fat legs, but I turned the heel and grafted the toe. No seams, did it in the round with two circular needles. Very pleased. I’m going to practise with more sock patterns and different ways of turning the heel. Socks are a small, portable project, and apparently once you’ve worn hand-knitted socks you’re hooked. We shall see.Image

More crocheting too, along the same lines but trying different patterns.

However, my KnitPro size 3.00 mm interchangeable needles – one snapped while I was knitting. Very frustrating. It’s never happened to me before. I’ve been knitting for over 50 years, and for the last 20 years with bamboo or wooden needles. But KnitPro will replace that set, and I’ve ordered a fixed and an interchangeable HiyaHiya size 3.00 60 cm needle from The Shop.

It’s frustrating because I need size 3.00 mm to finish the front band of the Cardigan of Doom which I’ve been knitting. But I shall put that to one side and do a few small projects in the meantime. I also need size 3.00 mm needles for my sock knitting – but in the meantime while I’m just learning I’ll use bigger needles and not worry too much.

Socks need to be knitted on small needles so that they don’t wear out too quickly and are comfortable. Big needles means big holes between the stitches/rows.

My hands – I’m in real trouble with them. The Tramadol (one x 3 times a day) plus the Paracetamol just isn’t doing it. But I’m at the doctor tomorrow, so will see what she says, and have an appointment with the orthopaedic consultant on 5th August. Also have an appointment with a different guy on 22nd August, for my tremor. Sometimes it’s not too bad, but sometimes I can’t get my food to my mouth, which is why I mentioned it to the doctor.

The cat has had a small adventure too. An abcess just below her eye. She didn’t seem bothered by it at all, although she was a little surprised when she washed her face, and it hurt. So the vet gave her an antibiotic injection and an anti-inflammatory injection, and she’s fine. If a little less pretty than usual.

Hubby is very busy. Labour party, chairing the Patient Participation Group at the local surgery, going to choir and learning to sing. All at the same time. It’s very good. He suffers a little less than me in the heat because of his medication. And he feels the cold worse.

So life is exciting on a small scale, leisurely, and relatively calm.