Tuesday, 22 November 2022

Busy pottering

I'm currently working my way through a list of gift knits and other makes and thankfully they are all pretty straightforward as I don't seem to be able to concentrate on anything particularly complicated at the moment. I have several jumpers that I'd like to knit for myself and hopefully will cast one on over Christmas. 

I finished a pair of socks knitted in Regia's Pair Perfect yarn for a friend's husband. I'd originally bought the yarn to knit a pair of socks for Mr JK but it feels good that someone else's feet are going to be kept cosy and warm. Much better to use the yarn than have it sitting in my stash. The second photo shows the socks being modeled by the recipient - he was delighted with them!

I also knitted a couple of pairs of socks for Sarah who is Sherlock Knits on Instagram. Sarah is a doctor in a Marie Curie hospice and she tries to make sure that each patient has a pair of socks for Christmas Day. I had a stray ball of the special Marie Curie yarn that West Yorkshire Spinners released several years ago now so was able to use that up. 

I sewed a collar bandana for one of the rheumatology nurses as her dog, Snoopy, had been very unwell. He still looks a bit mournful in the photo but she was very happy with it so I've made him a couple more - one especially for Christmas! I think he will look very dapper on Christmas Day!

Two of my rheumatology team asked if I could knit them some mittens. I found this convertible mitten pattern on Ravelry. It's a paid for pattern by Andrea Mowry and is called 'Tinsel Mitts'. It's very easy to follow and the pattern comes with a number of options as well as several sizes. I can see myself knitting more of these and definitely a pair for myself! I used Stylecraft Life DK yarn for these - an easy care yarn with some wool content for added warmth. It comes in a great range of colours too.

I've been lucky enough to win a couple of giveaways on Instagram recently and am thrilled with my prizes. The first one included two skeins of The Yarn Badger Double Rainbow sparkly striped sock yarn and two balls of West Yorkshire Spinners Signature 4ply yarn. I wasn't expecting anything else in the parcel, but Hannah very kindly also gave me one of her framed Granny Squares and a box of Lindor chocolates. Thank you so much Hannah. 

The second prize I received was from a new-to-me dyer, Wild Purl Yarns. I won a set of miniskeins is gorgeous autumnal colours and a set of woodland-themed stitchmarkers. The colours are absolutely gorgeous and I can't wait to use them. Thank you so much Lauren.

Florence is being very clingy at the moment and wants to spend as much time as possible on my lap. She loves physical contact and will literally follow me from room to room until she gets some attention. (This photo was taken on one of the rare moments when she actually was in her furry donut!) She will actually put her paw out if I'm knitting to redirect my hand to her! Cheeky madam! Still, she does keep me warm when she's curled up on my lap. I'm being extremely frugal with the heating as I'm at home so much, I'd have the heating on pretty much all the time. So I've bought one of those oversized fleecy hoodies which is surprisingly cosy. Needless to say, Flo loves it and snuggles into it very happily.

I've got my next cycle of infusions coming up soon. This is how the last lot looked - no knitting possible unfortunately. I only have funding for my IVIg infusions until January and the doctors are arguing about my treatment. Initially I had funding for 6 months, and this was extended in July for a further 6 months on the proviso that I started on a newly approved biological immunosuppressant called abatacept. However, my doctors at King's College Hospital in London don't want me to take it as there is an increased risk of developing cancer; because I had cancer last year, they don't want to risk a recurrence. So I am waiting for the doctors to fight it out. It all comes down to money as IVIg is very expensive - each week of treatment costs thousands of pounds. The doctors have to apply to an area panel where a number of doctors from the region make the decision. I just hope that it all gets sorted out soon so that I know what's happening.


I shall love you and leave you now to get back to my gift knitting. I still have a few pairs of socks to finish as well as some more sewing gifts to make. Are you knitting any gifts this year? Let me know in the comments. Stay warm! xxx

Tuesday, 15 November 2022

Venturing out

In a bid to start widening my world, my friend Julia and I went on a lampwork beading workshop a few weeks ago. I found the class on the Craft Courses website. I have done several workshops booked through them in the past and they have all been excellent. We travelled by train to Sheffield and I must admit that I did feel very uncomfortable on the train as it was packed out. We had managed to book a weekend in Sheffield on the same day that Norwich City were playing away to Sheffield United so the train was full of football supporters armed with what felt like a whole brewery's worth of beer! I wore a face mask for the entire journey and used antibacterial hand gel liberally! We arrived in Sheffield in time for lunch and found a lovely cafe very close to where the workshop was held. Another first for me, eating in a busy cafe but the food was delicious. I had the 'French toast of the week' which had spiced plums and ginger creme fraiche and tasted every bit as good as it looked.

The workshop was brilliant. It was just the two of us so we were hands on the whole time. We learnt how to melt the glass rods and add the molten glass onto the mandrels (these are the 'sticks' that you make each bead on - they are coated with a substance at the end which allows the bead to be released once it's cool.) Then we were shown how to create different patterns by adding other colours of glass to the beads. I am really delighted with the beads that I made and would love to have another go. Our beads were posted to us a day later as they had to be annealed to prevent chipping and cracking. The first photo shows my beads and the photo below shows Julia's collection.

It was a really fantastic weekend but it took me a week to recover from it! Then I had a week of infusions and needed another week to get over those. But it was definitely worth it. And I didn't catch Covid either! xxx