Friday, July 29, 2011

Two long days

The man of the house finally got into hospital to have his maintenance job done (a stent in his heart). Although it is one of the so called 'minor cardiac procedures' it is still messing about with that very vital organ and of course it's dangerous. Yours truly was a nervous wreck while pretending not to be and the man himself, to outward appearances, was quite matter-of-fact about the whole business. I've asked him if he was pretending too and he says he wasn't. He expected everything to be alright and was looking forward to being able to get back to his old self as he hasn't been at all well lately. The eternal optomist. His faith was justified and he is home again now and being fussed over by a very relieved me.
One good thing about sitting around in hospital for a couple of days is the amount of knitting that one can get through. I took my rainbow blanket along as it doesn't take an awful lot of concentration, and I was pleased with the progress I made. I am really enjoying this blanket because I love the vibrant colours. I think the royal-blue and purple are too close together and next time I would chose a paler purple but otherwise I am happy with it. I plan to turn this into a bed size blanket as I think it would look lovely on the bed of either a boy or a girl.
I've got to be off now. Shopping to do. I hope you are having a lovely day.
Bye until next time.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

A Change of Heart

A friend gave me three balls of acrylic yarn in three different colours so I decided to use them to work some fair isle. Smarty didn't bother with a pattern but invented her own, knitted in the round on a circular needle. All went well until I got to the underarm and needed to work back and forth for the yoke. !!! the design wouldn't work that way and I found myself at the end of a solid row of colour and needing to work back with two colours. This meant that the colour I needed to use was back at the beginning of the row. Now I could have continued in the round and cut the armhole out on completion, but I'm not brave enough for that. So out came the graph paper and pencil while I sat and worked out the shaping for a circular yoke. By this time the urge for fair isle was fast fading but I ploughed on. A third of the way up one sleeve I knew that I was heartily sick of the idea, but continued on the sleeve, muttering all the while that I might yet end up pulling the whole thing out.
At this point an interjection from the man of the house stopped me mid row, "For goodness sake pull it out - you know you are going to, why waste any more time on it." There spoke the voice of almost fifty years experience of watching me finish with gritted teeth, something I'm disliking insensely, or worse, almost finishing it before pulling it out because it just isn't right.
So, the colours are now being added to a crochet baby blanket. Perhaps it's not as pretty as the fair isle would have been, but much more soothing to do. I know I dislike sewing up but I'll put up with that for the pleasure of working happily. The man of the house is enjoying the serenity coming from my side of the lounge room too.
I hope you're happy with what you are working on at present.
Bye for now until next time.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

The Invisible Mend.

Well, after considerable rummaging I have turned up the directions for the Swiss darning mend mentioned in my last post. I hope you can make some sense of it. I have used it twice before, once for a bachelor friend, to fix a hole in his Sunday best sweater, and the other for another friend whose puppy had chewed a hole in her husband's brand new sweater. Oh dear. In the interests of the popularity of both the puppy and my friend I had to make that mend as un-noticeable as possible. The problem, in both cases, was that I didn't have matching wool but found as near a match as possible and both of my friends were happy with the result.
The mend is started by using a crochet hook to pick up any stitches that have run, then using a thin strand of yarn connect the stitches at the top and bottom of the hole with long stitches so that you can use them as a foundation for your mend. Next take your mending yarn (the same thickness as the knitted stitches) and work back and forth across the hole in duplicate stitch, working a few stitches into the knitting at each side to ensure that the damage won't spread. Finally turn the work to the wrong side and darn all loose ends away. Your mend may not look as good as new, but it should look better than a darn.
Another good way to cover a hole is to crochet little flowers to scatter all over the sweater, covering the hole with one of the flowers. - Presto! A new sweater. Though I'm not sure how a male would take to that idea for his sweater.
Must go now. I hope all is well at your place. Bye for now until next time.

Monday, July 18, 2011


My favourite cardigan. I made it about 30 years ago and it can still hold it's head up for those smart casual occasions (good old pure wool). I wash it really carefully and don't wear it for gardening etc. which has probably helped it to retain it's looks, but a moth has found it and left a tiny hole. Now I am really moth-phobic and fill my cupboards with all those smelly things that are supposed to keep them away. Cedar balls, lavendar, camphor, you name it my shelves are full of it but obviously this moth liked the atmosphere. I stopped using naptholene years ago when I learned that it is as bad for me as it is for the moths but it really did work.
Anyway, the disaster gave me the opportunity to try out a mending technique I learned from a needlecraft magazine a few years back. Rather than darn the hole, I used the Swiss darning method that copies the knitted stitch. Since it was only a tiny hole it wasn't difficult and I'm really pleased with the result. You can see the mend but it doesn't scream at you as a darn might.
It looks as though it might be time to dig out the pattern book and knit a replacement. I suppose thirty years is pretty good going for a cardigan.
If I can find the instructions for the mend I'll show them to you in case you would like to try it out.
Bye for now until next time.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Just dropping in

My friend Joe, the woodworker, gently reminded me, a couple of days ago, that I have been neglecting my blog. Of course, he's right, there has been a deafening silence from my corner of the world. Yes, I am still knitting like mad, sometimes doing a bit of crochet and woodwork, but you know how life happens while you're making other plans - well life has taken over and I'm running to catch up. I know there are lots of you out there who have discovered that having a partner who is not well takes up most of your waking thoughts, and now I have joined you. The man of the house is to have an overnight stay in hospital soon, although we don't know when, and we are sort of marking time waiting for that to happen. He has medication to help but we must take things quietly for a while.
That said, life is not gloomy, we are still enjoying a lot of laughs and non-strenuous exercise in our lovely winter sunshine.
A question from a little girl in the supermarket yesterday, to her mother, kept me smiling for ages. "Mum, is it posssible to chew up a chain & spit out nails?" Mum continued unpacking her trolly and made some non-committal answer, while I had a quiet giggle. I'd forgotten that kids ask such wonderful questions.
Anyway, before I go I'll just show you Joe's latest woodwork effort. It's a collection of oddly shaped little blocks that fit together to make one cube. Joe tells me that it can be put together 240 different ways although he has only discovered one. Joe hasn't been well lately either. I'm thinking of you Joe and sending my best wishes.
To the rest of you out there, I hope you're feeling on top of the world
Bye for now until next time.