Santa Delegates to Friends, because friends know what we want.

Christmas just flew by, with a whole two weeks of no crafting at all!  I now have categorical proof that crafting doesn’t affect my hands if nothing else, but I’ll get onto that.

As always I was spoilt rotten by my lovely friends and family, with bottles of soak, namaste project bags, a namaste buddy box and a Knook beginner kit being amongst the things from family.  My Sister in Lieu managed to out do herself this year by presenting me with this:

secret chest

Whats in the box?

It’s a 1950’s cardboard desktop filing cabinet. After a moments confusion – and delight as I do have a love of all things from that period, I opened a draw to discover a cornucopia of vintage threads..

vintage threads

all the colours of the rainbow

I’ve had great fun having a good old rummage through these drawers  – including finding two fabulous boxes of (what I suspect is faux) French sewing silks, protected by their own little flap inside the before, revealing 9 little reels, each *guaranteed* to hold 90 meters!

The Cat’s Whiskers!

details of threads

details of what’s in the box

of course my friends were not to be outdone, in the post from M, I got the cutest little crochet hook (of the lovely lantern moon).  Despite an overwhelming desire to put it in my handbag along with some stellina to claim I’m crocheting replacement fairy wings for those injured while spreading fairy dust, I have so far resisted.  But only because I  don’t own any stellina –  I wonder if sparkly embroidery thread would do as a stand in?

Fairy repair kit?

The ever lovely V sent the most beautiful ‘Happy New Year’ card which is still sitting on top of my piano.  A gorgeous laser cut skyline makes me think of travelling (something I am *definitely* going to do more of this year)

new year card

I even got a new project case which didn’t set out to be yarn related – it contained handwash and hand cream and nail files. Who am I kidding? that’s the perfect present for a crafter!  The tin is of a vintage ‘lunchbox’ type style and is just so kitsch it’s perfect!

Not the box I’m going to keep resting WiPs in!

S and J, darling friends that they are, managed to sneek in under the radar and posted me a beautiful Bonnie Bishop Shawl pin.  I’ve been coveting these for a long time, and this is (an extensively tested) great weight for winter shawls as it’s solid construction and reassuring weight combine to hold those DK weight or heavier shawls in place without being overpowering or dragging.  That they are just plain gorgeous,

Bonnie Bishop Stick pin in “Fall Stripe”

However, I think A managed to outstrip everyone this year (my own darling MrFortnite included) with her gift, not only were my feet toasty warm with the John Arbon Alpaca socks (I see more in my future I tell you, and MrFortnite loved his too!) but she presented me with this…

any ideas what it is yet?

It’s tiny – just under 12″ inches high and the base is a little over 4″ wide.  Know what it is yet?  I’ll give you a clue…

See, it IS bigger on the inside

A tells me it’s a vintage Swiss Swift.  Not something to be said after several pints let me tell you.  It opens HUGE – only fractionally smaller than my sunflower swift, it’s light, it’s portable and it’s adorable.  There have been several visitors to the house who have been bemused by my cries of “and how CUTE is this?!” (only to then have to explain what ‘this’ is!)


hands on

More on the hand saga.

I woke up Tuesday 4th December unable to move my hands.  Back to the GP, where I had to explain that I had been discharged by the hospital because the GP hasn’t had the letter yet.

GP was also gratifyingly annoyed and has been trying to get hold of the Consultant to find out why I’ve been discharged while I’m still symptomatic.  GP is trying to get me seen by the Consultant (as opposed to the registrars), I’m trying to get referred to a completely different hospital.  GP has also sent me for further blood tests after she discovered that I hadn’t been tested for a couple of ‘obvious’ things.

Though Tuesday was bad, I want to reassure everyone that the rest of week has been uncomfortable but at least useable.  And the GP does appear to be listening to me.

Life gets in the Way

OK, I’ve been good and written two LONG blog posts.  In fact the one I’m going to post now I wrote 2 weeks ago and haven’t posted it because I wanted to include photos.  But I’m giving up, I haven’t had chance and I’m at the point I want to get the post up so that I can do the follow up info – which I also have written up.  So apologies for a long post without photos – I will get to them, I promise….

I can’t believe I haven’t updated since the 4th November!  I keep promising myself that I’ll get the camera out and photograph the bits I want to share with you, and then life gets in the way.  I have so much to update with you, this post is going to seem a bit random – so apologies in advance!

First up a ‘hands’ update – the consultant has announced (as of the 15th of this month) that it’s probably ‘mild tenosynovitis’, I’m not in *that* much pain (says who?!) and rheumatology only deal with arthritis (utter nonsense) so there is nothing more they can do for me. I asked for referral to physiotherapy, but ‘there is no clinical proof it works’.  I asked for referral to a nutritionist – ‘no clinical proof’.  I even asked about steroid injections – guess what?, yeap. ‘no clinical proof’.  The recommendation is for me to have total rest, don’t use my wrists/hands at all but they weren’t prepared to sign me off work.  The consultant also recommended I take naproxen (along with a stomach lining medication as naproxen is nasty stuff for your liver) for at least 12 months.  It works on a “cellular level” don’t you know – though it won’t help with the pain at all.  He couldn’t write me a prescription, just a note for my doctor to write one.  The upshot is = Go back to my GP, so I’m back to square one.  I was shaking with suppressed anger by the time I left the consultant meeting.

However the chiropractor does seem to be having an effect and my wrists have been slowly improving over the last couple of weeks, so fingers crossed for me.  I’ve had a couple of ‘good’ (almost normal) days which have made me realise just how much this has been affecting me, but the ‘bad’ days are nowhere near as bad as they were – so hopefully we are finally in to the ‘healing’ phase.

We are firmly on the slippery slope to the annual round of liver testing known as Christmas.  A season which challenges my ability to process vast amounts of alcohol and rich foods, and makes me gain weight just as I want to look my slimmest in all my party frocks.  As a result I’m ‘out’ more than usual and therefore doing a bit less crafting than usual.  I wouldn’t change this for the world, it’s great to catch up with people I haven’t seen in months and I do love the whole sparkly event in all its kitsch-ness.  You’ll see more of *that* in my next post!

Coupled with the less crafting I was already doing because of my hands, me being out three or four evenings a week means my crafting time has been almost non-existent – not a good state when you are trying to finish a baby blanket!  I’m a lot further along than I was though, and with a tail wind I am on target to get it done by my own self-imposed deadline of the 20th December.  If I don’t it’s no big deal – the baby isn’t due till February.

I have moved along on a few projects though.  I finished my ‘stormy clouds cowl’ and am delighted with it!  I’d been terrified of this yarn.  Partially because it was gifted and I’m always a bit scared that I won’t do gifted yarn justice somehow, and partially because this particular yarn was hand-spun.  I enjoyed making this, 4 short little rows each evening and I’ve been wearing it for 2 weeks.  It’s just long enough to go over my head and holds its shape well enough to stand guard against chills and drafts over my collar.  It’s beautifully soft, and because I know the yarn was hand-spun by a dear friend I feel like I have a secret hug around my neck, which adds its own little warmth.  I had just enough of the grey yarn to add a crochet border on one edge (once the cream had run out) so I even feel like I have two looks for the price of one – depending on which way up I wear it!  I keep meaning to wash and give it a light blocking, but I haven’t got that far.

I’m now working on finishing a thrummed muff – which is about to celebrate its first birthday.  By ‘finishing’ of course I mean “I must get it out of storage and pick it up again”.  I promised it to my niece last Christmas after she saw me working on it, but then my hands interfered and I haven’t picked it up since March.  It’s an easy project, and done purely to learn the technique.  It’s made in best acrylic and very cheap (quite possibly acrylic) multi-coloured fibre.  This means it’s perfect for niece as I’m not that attached to it, if her mother throws it in the wash it’s not the end of the world, and it’s a fun little project – I still have my muff from when I was even younger!  However I’m not sure I am up-to doing a meter of icord to make the neck strap – any ideas?

I’ve been doing a little more of my continental cowl as well, and am almost at the ‘competent’ level.  I love collecting techniques and skills, and I have found that I now know three different methods of knitting that adjust my tension very slightly from my ‘default’ throwing or ‘British’ style of knitting.  Portuguese style (where you ‘wear’ the yarn around your neck) gives me a slightly tighter, but very even tension, and Continental style gives me a slightly looser, and not so even, tension.

“Why is this useful?” you might be asking yourself. Well, it’s all to do with gauge.  When I finally get around to making something where the fit actually matters I’ll do a gauge swatch.  If I am fractionally out on my stitch counts I can change techniques rather than needle size to see if that helps!  See.  Cool.

I’m also holding my Portuguese, Continental and Backwards knitting in reserve for the day that somebody tells me I’m “doing it wrong”.  Apparently this happens a lot to knitters – but it hasn’t happened to me yet.

With my current lack of desire to take on a bigger project, I’ve been absent-mindedly playing with some Tunisian crochet ideas for a possible workshop in 2013, and I’ve been plugging away at the swatches for a Crochet 102 class planned for early 2013.  Yeap, you heard it here first – I’m confident enough about my hands/wrists to have actually started planning the long promised intermediate level classes.  And you read that right too – classes plural!  The fun I am having with this is a separate long post in itself!

Written down it seems like I’ve been doing LOADS of crafting – but in what amounts to nearly a month I have four 6” swatches, finished a small cowl, about 1/8 of a different cowl, half a Tunisian dish cloth and just over half a baby blanket.  I’m aware that if I had started those projects this time last year, they would all be finished by now – along with working on a more major project such as finishing a sweater or getting at least one of the lace knitted shawls I have queued mostly done.  Frankly I’m just grateful I can do anything at all at the moment, and I’m enjoying the bits I can do.