Wednesday, 27 April 2016

T for Tuesday - zzzzzzzzzz

As you can see I missed last week, and haven't posted anything since the last T day!

What a difference in the weather from last week, this morning it snowballed, really! Look - little balls of snow! They were soft when you stood on them. So no sitting in the garden crocheting this week, I've been inside bundled up with the heating on instead! We did have a little sunshine, but it was still very cold outside.

Last night I made a mug of peppermint tea and sat down in my recliner to do a little crochet before bed - then I fell asleep and woke up (to a cold mug of tea) after having a nightmare still in the chair at 2 a.m. Alfie dog also woke, and stood up all distressed trying to work out where he was, after having a nightmare at the same time. I hope it wasn't the same nightmare! What do dogs have nightmares about I wonder?

So here I am again, sitting in the recliner before bed with my crochet and favourite mug of peppermint tea (well I will be in a minute after I post this, and my tea is cooling down to drinkable temperature hopefully and not cold like last night), trying not to fall asleep before bed! If you want to find out more about this weekly event hop over to Elizabeth and Bleubeard's place.

Here are the views from my recliner, complete with bits on the carpet from grandson's recent activities that you can read about at the bottom of this post!

 I have got further on my Persian Tiles blanket, the remaining 15 tiles are coming along nicely. I really thought that by last Wednesday I would have completely finished them all ready for joining and end sewing, well that didn't happen!
 The reason I hoped to finish was the Scheepjes Dance in the Sea CAL started on Wednesday last week when they released the first pattern for the first squares to be made. Tomorrow the second pattern will be released. So I am trying to finish my 4th square tonight. I realised - after someone else also noticed it on their squares - that my border is the wrong side facing, so on the 3rd and 4th squares I did it without turning to get the border the right side. I might have to redo the first two borders now!
 Hopefully Alfie won't have nightmares tonight, here he is settled in and wearing his jumper.
Sooty's in the other bed, at least I hope he is and that he's not pinched my chair as he often does!

I joined the Facebook page for the Last Dance in the Sea CAL, I might have mentioned that last time, and after seeing someone posting a project book filled with prints and yarn samples I remembered I had some similar books and it was really a good idea so....
Here it is, I need to print off something to go in the spine bit, probably the top of the page with the CAL name.

I inserted the info sheet that came with the kit...

and a couple of pages printed from Marinke Slumps' blog from a post created by her sister, and this one shows the blanket I am making and the yarn samples. This is a good idea to identify the yarns if the last bit has lost the yarn band! I also added the hints and tips sheet with the reference square we created first, then the first pattern. Tomorrow I can add the second. This will keep my patterns nice and clean and neat and I will always know where they are.

The reason last week was missed was that my hubby was unwell at the weekend and I took him to A&E (emergency room) on Monday morning and they kept him in from Monday to Saturday in isolation treating him for an infection. I found it really strange that we had to put on a disposable yellow plastic apron when we went in to visit him, what does that do? It doesn't cover a lot of your clothes really, and what about handbags, coats if you take them off etc? On leaving the room you had to dispose of the apron and use the hand gel outside - except I am allergic to the hand gel, so they said wash your hands. The only place to wash my hands was in his room. My eldest son and his little family visited at the weekend which made hubby determined to be discharged, and he was finally on Saturday, after being declared "safe" and not likely to infect anyone on Friday ("you don't need to wear the aprons now" - we were sat there with them on), and being converted to oral antibiotics.  He is very weak and has lost weight, and was given the news that the cancer is still growing although it hasn't spread to anywhere else. We are waiting at this time to hear if he is suitable to go on any cancer research trials in Oxford, I so hope that he is. It has given us a little hope for the future, our little grandson feels the same love for my hubby as hubby feels for him, and he said his granddad is his best friend and his favourite. It could be very tough on him to lose his granddad when he is only just coming up to 4 years old in May. This was him posing with a "get well" card he made for his friend who has scarlet fever, Kenny has just recovered from Chickenpox himself. He was in trouble when he added more bits to this card because he used the child friendly scissors to cut a hole in the heel of his sock - while he was still wearing it! Then he kept insisting to his daddy that it was an accident - scissors were confiscated, even plastic ones! He looks so innocent doesn't he! This is a rare photo of him smiling nicely!

Tuesday, 12 April 2016

T for Tuesday

I took my lunch and peppermint tea out into the garden today, it was such a lovely day, warm while the sun was out anyway! I made a prawn curry, Slimming World recipe. I haven't joined in T for Tuesday at Elizabeth and Bleu's place for such a long time (and I have missed it so much) but eating outside like this reminded me, and I thought I would pop on over. Also I have never linked up from my new crochet blog, only my paper crafting one!
When I had finished my lunch it was still nice so I grabbed my WIP, which is the Persian Tiles crocheted blanket and another mug full of peppermint tea, and I want to get on with this blanket for reasons that will become clear later! I have been so ill with a nasty virus for over two weeks, I still have it a bit now but I am so much better. Before that I had really painful sciatica for a couple of months, I couldn't stand for long, or walk more than a dozen steps without really suffering and having to sit down, I was on Tramadol in the end and that wasn't helping totally. Suddenly it stopped and gave me a break - in time to go down with the virus!

Week 1 of the virus I spent most of the time sleeping in bed, only getting up to feed the dogs and get myself drinks, I hardly ate a thing. Apart from a really sore throat and ear I felt like my head was in a washing machine, it only stopped a bit when I lay down! Week 2 was a bit better but it went into my sinuses, I had a different kind of sore throat, cough, sneezing, then I got an infected eye. That's when I went to the Doctor, who said it would probably go in a couple of days - it didn't, it spread to the other eye but it was a lot better, still not totally gone though. I did get a script for antibiotic drops but he said don't get it unless it doesn't get better, because I told him I would have an allergic reaction to them which would cause extreme pain - catch 22 or what! 
I'm crocheting them factory style, I think that is what they call it, doing all of the centres (badly) then all of the next row, and so on. I was doing the copper row here, yellow is next. This is because the rows are all quite complex and this way I can remember what I am doing (hahahahaha), but because of what happened before I haven't sewn in any ends at all! I calculated how many ends I will sew in and there are 1020 in total for this blanket, something I hadn't really figured on when I decided to make it! See the finished one at the back?
I'm making progress, really have to concentrate. Luckily I can crochet with my sun glasses on, bog standard sort, reading the pattern when I needed the next row was a bit more difficult haha! I stayed out all afternoon, why you might ask? Well apart from it being lovely I was recently told my Vit D levels are low, and that is despite taking a supplement so I thought it might help. Didn't wear a hat, maybe I should have. Anyways I sat on the patio crocheting until my right arm got frozen, we get a mean draft up the side of the house! Thinking I should move onto the lawn in the sun, but I don't want to put the tote on the grass (we have two dogs, if you know what I mean). Then I thought if I move two chairs over there I can put the tote on one, but the grass really needs cutting..... so I got the petrol mower out. I don't normally do this, well hardly ever and if I do someone has got the mower out and started it.... I had trouble starting it, tried the clutch in different positions but I thought I was probably not pulling the string fast enough, couldn't seem to do it. It was hurting my hand so I went to get my leather gardening gloves, posh ones from the National Trust shop last year! That was better and I put everything into pulling fast and - finally it started! So off I went cutting the grass, after poop picking first! It was ok, when I stopped to empty the collector I couldn't pull the string at all, thought I had broken it, but in the end I worked out there was a wad of grass and reeds (I cut down the dead reeds on the pond last week and there were some all over the grass), and managed to get it going again and finish the job.

The circles - they are the centres of the octagons I am making, and there was a gap between the first ones and the rest due to stopping to make Easter toys, then the two weeks sick in bed with the virus! I know what I am doing, I know this part of the pattern I thought, and got stuck in making the number up to 15, then I looked at the pattern for the next row - I had used the wrong hook!!! There are two sizes of hooks used in this pattern, so my middles were different sizes. I made another, it was 5cm (2.5inches?), tried to work out which were big enough - in the end common sense prevailed and I measured them, some were 4.5cm, too small, some were nearly 5cm - I've used them, I think that as they are only a tiny bit and there is a lot more to go any tiny variation here between exactly 5cm and just a little under will work out fine when they are blocked. I hope so anyway! The worst thing was that before discovering my error I had sat and sewed in the ends really firmly! This is something I never used to do, I would only crochet over them, and sometimes sew them in if I couldn't crochet over them. But now there is so much information online I have learnt the right way to do it securely.
 This was an accidental photo on the phone but I left it in to show you the lovely sky today, not a great photo I know!

 While I was cutting the grass, and sweeping up reeds from the paths I realised that the top patio (aren't we posh, it happened because we had a much larger greenhouse that we changed for a child friendly one with safety glass and ended up with a space near the pond) was a lot warmer than the lower one, so I moved there to continue with my crochet after the grass cutting exercise (and I do mean exercise)!

I had planned to spend the afternoon doing more cleaning, but yesterday it was pouring with rain and today - no rain! Sunday we had hail stones and sleet! So tomorrow if it rains I might get to the cleaning again.

 Thought I better feed the fish, and tried to get a photo of the monster Ghost Koi, we had two but one vanished, the remaining one has outgrown everything else. See him below, the silver one...

....under the wooden beam...

 ....more of him, he is a bit camera shy....
 .....swimming away again....

 ....that's him - bottom left, well a bit of him/her!

When I moved to the top patio I had done all the copper and started the daffodil yellow.

 I feel I have made a lot of progress, after the yellow rows come the fans, they are not done in rows and they are what I need the smaller hook for! In fact I've now done all the yellow rows!
View from the top patio.

I did loads of housework yesterday, cleaned the lounge and hall like I haven't for a very long time, I kept looking at things and thinking how dirty they were so went for a Spring clean, and all because I was feeling kinda guilty for buying this...
It is a Lux kit for a Scheepjes CAL (crochet along) called Dance on the Beach, and there are three variations. Mine is called Dance in the Sea. It came in the Lux kit, which 50% Marino wool yarn, the tote, gorgeous scissors and some stitch markers, and a sachet of some stuff to wash it in I think. You could also buy a cheaper acrylic kit without the tote and scissors. For every kit there is a donation to MIND, because the person who started these designs was Marinke Slump, a lovely girl who used crochet to get her out of depression, but sadly lost her battle with it and took her own life. Her friends and colleagues completed this in her memory.

I thought it was quite appropriate because my hubby is suffering depression (well that is my excuse though he might be more depressed if I told him what I spent on this lol), due to his cancer. He really hasn't been well for a couple of weeks and I was quite worried about him, but today he felt up to going to work this afternoon for a couple of hours, and seemed a lot better, he had his cancer treatment yesterday. It is his second sort of Immunotherapy and we don't know if it is working yet. He will have a scan in a few weeks to find out. That is also why I didn't want him to cut the grass, the cancer spread to the lymph gland sitting above his stomach and so he is finding it difficult to eat much, and it hurts him to bend down. When he came home again he said he had been thinking of trying to cut the grass!

I've even taken Sooty for a short walk, two evenings running! Poor dog, we were taking them both to Barton Farm, as you can see in previous posts, but Sooty went down with a nasty bug - unless he ate something nasty! By the time he recovered I had sciatica, then the bug! He is so happy to be going out again, I just hope it doesn't trigger the sciatica or anything else! We have to sneak out or Alfie gets upset, and he is really too old to go walking now, he has gone all lop sided and his balance isn't great, I think he might have had a stroke. He is over 14 years old now though, and he seems happy enough.