Monday, 30 March 2009

Vegetable socks

Remember those orange, blue and green swirly socks I was making a couple of weeks ago from the Knitpicks Confetti yarn that a friend sent me from America? (cos Knitpicks doesn't post to the UK yah-boo-sucks). I was using the Artichoke sock pattern by Megan Humphrey (sorry for yet another Ravelry link).
Well, they're just one of the projects that made it to FO status whilst I was on sick leave. I'm really pleased with how they came out and they really where super quick to knit. It's the yarn that really makes them for me though :D

This was the first time I had used this yarn (due to the aforementioned problem) and whilst it looks thicker than a normal 4ply sock yarn it knitted up to the same tension. I wasn't sure how the heel and toes would work as I knew that they would be completely different stripe wise but to me they are just so pretty. Here's a close up of the stitch detail:

And here's a close up of the fabulous little heel:

I loves these socks. They are the perfect fit for me, nice and snug and warm and in wonderful bright colours. I love knowing that I have slightly insane socks on under my boring work clothes :)

Final TSG Swap gift

So now I've started this post I can't remember if I have posted about this before and if I did, just how much I told everyone (d'oh). The solution? Well, I'm just going to assume that I've told you nothing and go from there because even if I have posted about this before it is so wonderful as to deserve repeating.
And what is it that I am talking about? It's my final TSG secret swap package that's what! March is our final month in the swap which is a bit sad but it also meant that I got to (finally) find out who was sending to me (yay!).
Want to see what I got? Here it is in all it's glory then:

From left to right; x1 skein sock yarn from Flutterby Creations, custom dyed for me in the colourway 'Gytha', x1 skein sock yarn from Flutterby Creations, custom dyed for me in the colourway 'Eldritched Voice' (both of these are modeled after characters from Terry Pratchetts Discworld series and are Nanny Ogg and Granny Weatherwax respectively), x1 skein 2ply lace weight, custom dyed for me by Gemini Knits in some of my favourite colours and finally, x1 skein 2ply lace weight, also custom dyed for me by Gemini Knits in a slightly different combination of favourite colours (she also included 2 little stitch markers with beads to match the skeins that she had dyed for me).
I am so impressed with these. My swap buddy surpassed herself just when I didn't think that she could possibly do any better. I really can't find the words to express how I feel about this other than blathering nonsense such as "wool?! for me?!, dyed just for me?!" and this is me two weeks on from having received all this woolly goodness. Everything that my buddy sent me has been right on the mark and I lovelovelove it all. I have spent some time whilst I have been ill, plotting what I am going to do with each of the skeins. So far I have only worked out what I am going to do with one of them (this one in the little photo here).

It is going to be used to make a Kiri Shawl (see bar on top left hand side of screen for a link to the pdf). I have been meaning to make one of these for ages and I hope that this will be just the right yarn for it. I'm not sure how the variegated yarn will knit up but the colours are soft enough that I think they will blend in nicely together and give this a light, airy spring feel.
As for the other skein of lace weight yarn with the black in it I am torn between making 3 different shawls with it. So far I have picked out Cobweb by Emma Crew, Wild Flower by Dee Bamford and Wa na na na na na na na Bat Shawl! by Emilee Mooney. I just can't make my mind up and I think that this is partly because I can't visualise how the yarn will knit up. I need to get it wound up into a cake and then maybe do a little swatching before I make the final decision though at the moment I'm leaning towards Cobweb. Having said that, yesterday I was thinking something completely different :D so any pattern suggestions would be gratefully received.
As for the sock yarn- well, I'm sure if you are a regular reader of my blog then you will have realised by now that I am big into the Discworld series so it should come as no surprise that I want to make something extra special with these skeins. Both will make a pair of socks for me- I'm being selfish with this yarn as its just so nice. As both skeins have been dyed to reflect the characters I would like the patterns to as well- which is going to mean much searching on the internet and/or designing of sock patterns. 'Gytha' should be something a little racy to reflect Nanny. There's lots of red in there and this might look good as lace. I can see Nanny wearing something very practical on the top but loving the fact that she has something a bit naughty on underneath. So far I have thought about these patterns: Sodera socks, Vine lace socks and Thigh-High Stockings and Lacy Cables Knee socks.
Granny on the other hand would not have any truck with something like that and instead would have practical hard wearing socks. The colour alone would her way of being flamboyant but I figure that if I can add something in that has a practical reason for being there she wouldn't object. So I'm toying with the idea of putting cables in seeing as how cables can be useful to make a sock thicker and stronger. The fact that they can also be decorative will of course, be purely coincidental. No ideas at all for patterns for these socks as of yet.

P. S. Apologies for the Ravelry heavy selection of links. I sometimes forget that not everyone is a total Ravelry addict like myself.

Friday, 27 March 2009

Pratghan square- Sorcery

Sorcery 1
Originally uploaded by tekgirl
I actually finished this before I was taken ill so it made it to the top of my list of things to write about. This is my February Pratghan square for the ongoing Terry Pratchett afghan project. Here's the blurb:
So 'Sorcery' proved to be another book that doesn't have one defining scene for me. The only bit that really sticks in my mind is the patrician as a lizard which I couldn't quite work into a whole square. After re-reading the book and a little internal debate I settled on making this my Librarian square. I want to make sure that all of the major characters have at least one square that is mostly dedicated to them. So far I've only be able to cover Great A'Tuin with my Light Fantastic square so it felt good to check another one off of the list. The background is supposed to represent the Librarian- I realise that its a bit too orange, orangutans are much darker than this but the yarn was a gift from a friend and somehow it just seemed to fit despite the inaccuracy. I then put in bookshelves with a few necessary tomes. The patrician got his jar and both Rincewinds and the Arch Chancellors hats make an appearance on the top shelf. My final touches where to add in a comb and scissors to represent Conina, the lamp and nice squishy banana. After that was all done I gently brushed the background panel to give it a soft halo of fur. The Librarian will undoubtedly be making other appearances :)

It's been a long time

Or it at least seems a long time since I stopped by here. Just to update you all I am now back at work and feeling mostly okay. Is still have a pain in my stomach- its a sort of low grade constant nag and feels a bit like when you get a stitch in your side except it's in the wrong place. I'm still getting the associated fatigue and I can't really lift anything heavier than a cup of coffee but other than that I feel pretty good. It's nice to be doing something with myself rather than rotting away on the sofa watching daytime TV. Not that the break wasn't great but it wasn't the most restful I could have hoped for. The DH took sick mid-week and joined me on the sofa for a bit of mutual moan and groan time over how ill we both felt. Shortly after I then picked up his cold so managed to be doubly ill. It was a horrid viral cold thing that made us feel sick and feverish. I had some crazy hallucinogenic dreams on Saturday night and tonsils that King Kong would have been proud of. This has now (almost) passed for both of us so we can get on with enjoying that feeling of being well. I've felt so ill recently that even though I'm not 100% I'm still happy to be feeling this much better. Being able to do things, even if they are boring things like washing dishes is strangely liberating after a period of enforced rest.
In knitting news I have TONS of things to tell you about. My week off work turned out to be quite productive and I have picture galore. In fact, I have so many things that I want to tell you about that I'm not sure where to start. Hmmm, I shall have to cast my mind back over three weeks of knitting news and get it organised. Maybe write myself a little list :)
Finally, for this post, I just want to say thank you to everyone who left me a message or comment over the last couple of weeks. I love to know that people have stopped by and I really appreciate comments on my projects but I've had some lovely messages full of well wishes for me which are even more special. So thank you everyone. It's been so nice to know that you've spent a minute or two thinking of me. It has given me a lovely warm glow inside :D

Friday, 13 March 2009

If I'm not knitting, I'm reading

And that's it. That's all I'm doing because the doctor has now signed me off of work for a week which means I can try and relax. As part of this I am not planning anything beyond what I have already told you- knitting and reading. I don't know which projects I will work on, nor which books I shall read but right now I just don't care. It's all good.
To keep y'all updated on what I have been doing over the few days I have, as promised, a list of books that I am going to rant about a little but first I'd like to post a picture of my new sock project. My new mad-insane-crazily-coloured sock project that I LOVE. I was sent the yarn as a gift from a friend of mine in America. It is some Knitpicks Essential multi which is a real treat as Knitpicks do not post to the UK. So this is the first time that I've had the chance to fondle this yarn. Just look at these colours! I've ended up nicknaming them my vegetable socks as the the colours put me in mind of a vegetable patch- well, a pumpkin patch to specific. The colours are a bit more muted in real life than the picture would have you believe but they are still pretty impressive nonetheless. I love bright socks- in my mind every sock should be bright and patterned and as fun as possible. I don't think I have a sensible sock in my whole entire clothing collection.
I have finished sock number 1. They look even better on. Once the lace pattern is pulled out it looks really good but I'm afraid that you will all have to wait for a bit before I can show you what they look like as the camera I would normally use is at work. This will however give me the chance to finish sock number 2 off in the meantime so you can have the full effect of the pair.

Other than a bit of gentle sock knitting I have been reading, reading, getting stomped on by cats and reading.
I have read my way through 'The Graveyard Book' by Neil Gaiman, 'Anno Dracula' by Kim Newman, 'Wyrd Sisters' by Terry Pratchett (that's the book for this months Pratghan square) and 'Runemarks' by Joanne Harris. I am currently in the middle of 'The City of Dreaming Books' by Walter Moers and this morning I went out and bought myself 'Lost in a Good Book' by Jasper Fforde.
All of the ones that I have read (re-read in the case of Terry Pratchett) have been great books. The copy of the Graveyard Book that I was lent has illustrations by my favourite, Chris Riddell who illustrates 'The Edge Chronicles' series (wuh-wuh). This made it even better in my opinion but then I am totally biased on the subject :)
The Walter Moers book is proving to be the very best so far however. I love his works. Most of them are written in german so I only have access to the four that have been translated. The first book I ever read was 'The 13 1/2 live of Captain Bluebear' which is my hug book. Whenever I'm feeling gloomy and in the need of a good read that I know is guaranteed to cheer me up then this is the book that I go to. 'The City of Dreaming Books' is actually the third one in this series hence I am already half in love with it despite the fact that I haven't finished reading it yet. I have been trying to make it last for as long as possible so have been limiting myself to about 50 pages at a time. It's quite a hefty book so this has been working well so far.
I would recommend any of them to fellow fantasy and sci-fi lovers. Although some of them scoot well over into the humour section in the fiction department so you don't have to be a geek to love them. Jasper Ffordes books are particularly good with lots of clever language and puns to keep you giggling.

So if anyone wants me then you will probably find me with my nose stuck in a book. Or under my lamp a-knitting away. I'm going to have a dive into my projects basket later to see what I have that can be finished off. There's nothing like a freshly completed FO to get good and healing juices flowing :)

Wednesday, 11 March 2009

An update of sorts

I really hate having to write posts that start 'I'm sorry I've been away but...' as it just feels like I'm writing a list of excuses. In this instance however I have a reason and not an excuse for my absence so I shall try and hold back the tide of guilt in favour of something more constructive.
My reason for having been away and neglecting my blog is that I have been in hospital. I wasn't expecting to be in hospital otherwise I'd have let y'all know- it was very much a surprise visit. Surprise for me that is, though given the socks that I was wearing (my second best hideously bright pair) I think the staff at the hospital may have been a little surprised by my arrival as well :)
I was taken in to hospital from work with severe abdominal pain, fed some morphine, poked and prodded for 3 days after which they let me go on the agreement that I didn't ask what was wrong with me as they didn't know. That's right folks- three days in hospital, x-rays, a CT scan and an endoscopy and they still don't know what's wrong with me. A week after the event and they still still don't know what's wrong with me. All my tests came back as normal so at least they have ruled out all the immediately worrying things like cancer, stomach ulcers and twisted bowels which is a little reassuring I guess. Problem is that my stomach still hurts, especially after I eat so I'm kinda loosing my appetite which does not help when my other main problem is fatigue. I think the words the doctor used yesterday were 'chronic pain fatigue' which seems a bit much to me as I'm not in a lot of pain- just constant pain, but boy am I tired. Stairs turn me into a wheezing wreck. I'm awake for 4 hours and then I'm ready for bed again. I can't concentrate for more than 20 mins at once. In fact, all I really want to do is curl up under a blanket with a hot water bottle and doze all day.
Ah, poor me. I'm totally going for the sympathy vote here of course. On the whole though I guess I don't actually feel too bad. I can function and although I'm only managing half days at work I'm sure I'll get back into it again soon enough. There are people so much more worse off than me that really I have no right to complain at all and part of me really detests that kind of weakness in myself. I should be up and doing! But then maybe that's part of my problem. Can't rest, can't stop, can't recuperate properly. Need to be getting on with things! And at the same time I'm scared- scared because no one can tell me what is going on with my body. I think maybe the worry is the worst part of this- the not knowing.
But I have a proactive doctor who was very reassuring yesterday and has started me out on some basic IBS treatments to see if that helps at all. He's not working from a diagnosis of IBS but he thinks that some of the drugs for things like intestinal spasms (peppermint oil) and acid reflux might be worth trying just in case as they won't do any harm if they don't work, but at the same time if they do help a bit then that can only be a good thing.
So now it's a kind of watch this space type thing.
In the meantime I am trying to keep myself occupied. I haven't been able to do much knitting. I've either been too tired or had a cannula in my arm which stops the bending of the elbow that is required for knitting. I have managed to start a new sock over the last couple of days now that I am feeling better and that is keeping me cheery. The rest of my time I have filled by reading books which has actually been a wonderful feeling. I had been neglecting my love of reading for some time and had been getting angsty about finding time to read recently so it was one positive thing from being in hospital that I suddenly had lots of time to read. I have ploughed my way through a bunch of books that I have every intention of reviewing here as I read a couple of great books that I want to share. So over the next few days I will be able to share these with you and show you one or two other things that I had finished off before I was taken ill. I'm going to be taking a couple of days off of work so I can just rest and try and feel well again which should give me lots of time to drink tea, knit socks, potter in my garden and catch up with things which should help me to stop being full of self pity and misery and instead, concentrate on all the fun things that make life worth living.