Friday, 22 May 2015

Thank you ....xx

Ive realised and had it on my mind that it has been over a year since I blogged - so much has happened, some trivial but memorable some large and you just want to forget.

Quite a few of my followers have said they miss me blogging - that is so nice and very encouraging - if only one had said it, it would have been encouraging but a few was priceless - so deepest thanks for this.

So I start my blogging again with lot of Thank You's, not about crafting but a door opening experience .....

For many months Ive been lucky enough to have been included in Mindfulness, Relaxation and Sleep Webinars run by Changing Minds (part of NHS) - maybe blog about that more another day - this was all leading up to my Graded Exposure which I am undertaking at the moment, a chance to try and get rid of this awful agoraphobia that keeps little old me indoors away from family, friends, socialising and just generally living normally (oh and dont forget shops!)

I had my first graded exposure session last week, which went reasonably well, a great man came round and started the process - its heavy going, tiring and intense but am determined to try and kick it this time.

Anyway prior to this arrangement, it has always been my thought that I needed to get to my  new town library (havent ventured to the library for probably 5 years and we now have a new one)

so ..........
A huge thank you .........

Lisa Lynch (breast cancer patient and author of The C Word who sadly died) got me out of the door, M C Beaton (Agatha Raisin author) got me in the car and down the road, the promise of a potential crochet or knitting book got me further than the entrance to the library.

and last but not least my ever patient, long suffering, everso loving husband, who puts up with my quirky ways, the tears and the strops for taking me - Im not sure if anyone else would understand what its like to be in a place, not your home - we smiled, we laughed, we talked - an hour and a half of different.

So much has changed since I last went out a new council office, housing the new library (which is great by the way), more development taking place - I had sensory overload lots of cars, drilling, noise etc all really strange when you are used to the peace and quiet of our house and street.  The trip didnt go without anxiety, panic attacks and worrying thoughts BUT i survived (and so did hubby :) !!!) 

Im loving the books and has re-ignited my passion for reading, Im pleased I got to the library and loved the fact that I spent time with hubby xxxx

So my exposure therapy continues, my "man" who counsels me was pleased if not a little worried that the trip was a little extreme to try but I think pleased - its small, gentle steps that (according to him) will hopefully rid me of my "little gremlin" for good.

Daily I have to go out - ON MY OWN EEEEEKKKKK - to the corner of my road and keep doing it - then  progressing to a little further and so on - lord alone knows what the neighbours think to the mad lady who goes to the post box twice a day hee hee or when they see me at a lamp post or tree with my therapist who they know is not my husband ..... im sure their mind boggles but do you know what I dont care !!!

If you see a person opening the door and pearing out, walking just down their path, maybe only a little way from their home I hope you will smile and think good for them, maybe its the first time out in days, months or even years 

Thanks again for your kind comments and the fact you missed me 
Hopefully Im back now, I think a knitting update will be next 

Sunday, 2 March 2014

The end of another week and almost the start of another.  Where do the weeks go.  Next week I will be celebrating my only child becoming a teenager and it definitely does not seem like 5 minutes since I was waiting (and waiting, men always late!) his arrival.
Anyway back to knitting business ... this weeks challenge was to complete items in chunky.  I completed four hats - one adult and three child.  All completed from my favourite most used patterns.

In true "Stashbusting" form the two lighter hats were knitted up using two strands of Double Knit.  This gives a lovely tweedy effect.  So not only did I achieve "chunky" but I also am able to use up some odds I had left over.
Now for these week I think its going to be
I'm going back to grass roots, where it all began. 
so many charities are asking for squares at the moment
I'm a member of Loving Hands and one of the groups over there is looking for 6" squares.
Preemies UK have a weekly challenge and this week it is 6" squares
Also on Facebook, Cazz's chemo comforters - a lady undergoing treatment herself wants to collect squares between now and September to be made into blankets to be given to patients undergoing cancer treatment.
Freedom from Fistula again a wonderful organisation, which when you read about this devastating condition, its truly heartbreaking - they require 6" squares for baby blankets and 8" squares for adults
There are many more organisations looking for squares but these are just a few Ive picked out.
I started knitting about 6 years ago now and have never looked back.  A friend visiting for the weekend was making pet blankets, just garter squares which she then sewed together into blankets for Wood Green Animal Shelter.  Well she cast me on, and off I went.  She left that weekend stating when I get back next month I will cast you off and start another.  That first square was soon finished and not being one blessed with patience, I sat in front of the computer watching YouTube learning to cast off and cast on, well I wasn't going to wait another month...... the rest is knitting history. 
Can I just mention though helped so much by the lovely wonderful ladies on the Knit Your Share Forum, based on The Money Saving Expert Website.  Again, ironically started many years ago about knitting squares (I believe).  Such lovely caring bunch of "virtual" friends.

Sitting here I just felt that squares to me are the glue that cements knitters together, a common ground we all seem to share.

If you are thinking of squares don't forget lovely Linda over at Linda's Crafty Corner is running a Knit a Block a Week Challenge and I think we are all discovering new stitches, new skills.  Squares can look so different just by using different colours, different stitches.

Linda at Lindas Crafty Corner has also set up a mini challenge, as part of the stashbusting for stashaholics, to use up some yarn that you may keep overlooking, cant think what to do with or just don't like the look of.  So being one for a challenge tied that in with some rather lonely White Chunky yarn that has been moved every time I go to my "chunky" stash hidey-hole.  I was really chuffed to be asked if I would make another baby blanket, like the one I previously put on the blog.  This time for a very special cause.  This is on the needles as we speak.

Looks like I'm going to be kept busy and out of mischief for another week!

Friday, 21 February 2014

END OF ANOTHER WEEK ..... my weekly challenge and "Knit a Block a Week"
Another week has flown by but at least we have seen a little sun for the first time in a long time, even if it was mixed with more rain and wind.
I set myself a challenge this week of "Using up some started balls" and thought I would share with you what was achieved, not a lot I might hasten to add.
Moving from left to right is:- a pair of adult  waffle stitch fingerless gloves , a 6" square, baby hat, bootees and mittens and two cannula mitts (mitts that are placed over a special care baby's hand who sadly have the need for a cannula).
Its not much but has finished off two balls of ball and nearly finished off a third.
This weeks block was:-
No 5 - Mini Stripes
Using two colours, a block with a "one needle" rating (easy). A basic square of knit and purl (stocking stitch) alternating between two colours. 
This is the first time I have used two yarns by carrying them up the side of the work and I do have to say it wasn't as bad as I thought, having always shyed away from doing this type of striping.  Another new encounter for me!

Next weeks challenge
I'm setting myself the challenge of using chunky or aran yarn next week. Again I'm thinking warm child's hats, maybe my favourite neck warmer pattern or an adult hat, which will be part of my yearly donation to our local homeless shelter.
Off to set myself up with patterns and yarn, always looking for new patterns too so see what I can find
See you all soon

Friday, 14 February 2014

Phew, the past month has been a whirlwind to say the least.  We have had hubby on a business trip overseas and then being admitted into hospital for emergency treatment and an operation, thankfully now with the help of a bag load of tablets he is well on the way to making a good recovery.
I spent many an hour worrying and upset but could not find it in me to pick up the needles, just went to and fro around the house living on PG Tips ! (other brands of tea bags are available) and of course looking after our son who showed so much maturity at this time,my heart swelled with pride.
This event has left me in KNITTING DISTRESS - I just cant find the momentum to get on, my brain has knitters block .......
SO ................................................
this is what I see in front of me


I still have many started balls so am on the second of a set of wrist warmers and have the yarn below that picture to work with (amongst others!)
I wracked my brain for a good two weeks thinking what shall I do I had projects to complete, the lap blanket made up of the Knit a Block a week Squares has had to be put to one side as Ive run out of one of the colours, I was heard to be saying "oh yes I have enough ..." famous last words.  I had a "great" idea to make a shoulder wrap from 6" mitred squares, am two blocks in but still it has not floated my boat!
Now have decided (whilst laying in the bath a place I find many of my bright ideas come to me), that I'm going to try and set myself some "Mini Weekly Challenges" to re-ignite my love for knitting, so this next week I'm knitting from started balls, it will be a real jumble of items I'm sure - from squares to baby hats, Innocent Hats maybe to wrist warmers.
Oh nearly forgot one item I did get finished which I have to brag about as I was really pleased with it was a blanket made for my wonderful knitty friends first Grandchild, a beautiful granddaughter.

knitted in cream aran, even though I had moments making it where my butterfly mind drifted, I was in the end really pleased with it and was thinking that "maybe" I would do another one at some stage
this is the pattern, Ju Ju wants to play baby blanket
I was behind with my blocks, both knitting and blogging so I'm hoping Ive now caught up



These are not my best efforts and I'm not overly pleased with them, not because they were awful to knit, far from it I really enjoyed square no 22 and although it has a "three needle rating" which is challenging I thought it was relatively easy and would enjoy making more of those.  No, my problem was actually the yarn I had used on square 22 and 69 and also I think my heart was not in it when I knitted them.
Anyway this is the longest blog post I think Ive done so I wont bore you any more.  Just thought I would catch up and explain why Ive been missing and hope that this will spur me on to settling back into my passion of knitting.
Hope everyone is well and not caught up in all of this horrendous weather and flooding
J xxxxx

Friday, 10 January 2014

Its week 2 of the Knit a block a Week Challenge.
My block for this week was number 8 - Little Blocks.
This block will definitely be a firm favourite with me.
It was an easy block to knit and knitted up quickly.
Importantly too it keeps it's shape and had a lovely texture.
One downside to it was it did come up a little over the 6" but maybe you need to allow for different yarn - even though Double Knit different brands can come up thicker or thinner and then there is your own personal tension to allow for.
As I mentioned before I'm knitting my blocks into strips to be made into a blanket to be sent to SIBOL (hopefully!).
I've been able to complete my first strip by adding two garter squares in between my first block no 17 and this weeks no 8. (Garter squares are not included in the Knitted block book so Ive kind of cheated a little here!)
Last week after square no 17 I felt despondent and thought "oh no what have I let myself in for""  I'm not a confident knitter and this is coming out of my woolly comfort zone but this week after being able to knit the other 4 squares I'm feeling more uplifted - I'm sure my feelings for this will dip again over the coming weeks.
I'm looking forward to starting strip 2 over the weekend
Happy "Blocking" xx

Sunday, 5 January 2014

My first block is finished.

Block Number 17 - REVERSED HEART
I have knitted similar blocks before in this style, where using a mixture of knit and purl you achieve an image that "pops" out.
This block was quick to do and also keeps its shape well, have often found that some squares curl etc.
My only criticism is that I find reading charts quite lengthy so did write the pattern out to follow rather than follow the chart as I knitted.
I'm keeping my blocks on the needle as I'm knitting a blanket in strips to save on sewing up.  Picking blocks with the same stitch count should in theory make this work.
You will see this block again over the coming weeks as I have used it more than once.
Cant wait to start week 2 block 2
which one will I choose next ?
If you would like to join in pop over to Linda's Crafty Corner

Saturday, 4 January 2014

Plans have been whirling around my head for the "Knit a block a Week Challenge" Linda's blog
The book 200 Knitted blocks by Jan Eaton was delivered a little earlier than Christmas by Santa "Amazon" Claus hee hee. 
Last night it even came in the bath with me while I pondered the designs I would like to knit.
Having decided to produce my first blanket for SIBOL (unfortunately Sue can no longer accept squares but can receive made up blankets), using my first squares I produce I set to work on the pattern, I think Im just about there! That's as long as it turns out ok - I have visions of it turning out like a dogs dinner ............  I think SIBOL is a wonderful organisation, donating blankets to care homes for the elderly.  Im sure they get so much pleasure from the blankets that are delivered to them. 
Choosing the squares I went for squares with the same stitch count and what I think the thickness of the square will come out like - Im thinking that maybe some of the designs will give you a thicker/denser texture, I might be completely wrong in this thinking, time will tell.........
For SIBOL's blankets they like them to be 36" square - 25 squares plus a border.
Tonight I've chosen the yarn, stashbusting into the bargain.
I was thinking of adding a green in too but am undecided on that one, more thinking in the bath required for a decision on that one!
My design choices are repeated in my blanket so will count these towards my "Square per day" challenge that is running over on Loving Hands forum.
This blankets means Im stashbusting, block a week and square per day - all of these challenges covered.
As this is my first real attempt at a blanket it is stretching my knitting confidence so hope it turns out alright.
Im all ready so tonight I start!