Sunday, 24 August 2014

Bank Holiday Happy Dancing

Despite the weather, which has been its usual Bank Holiday weekend self (sunshine and then throwing it down), I'm a happy bunny!!!  

This is my first happy dance.  My secret sampler scarf (known as "Learning Curve") is finished.  It needs to be blocked and my intention is to add a fringe at either end, but the actual knitting is done.  Apologies for the poor photo, and as you can see, it is definitely not perfect but I am hoping that blocking it will make it a more even width along its length.  The last section, the six by six cables, was a lot easier than I had previously thought; I enjoyed doing them and already have plans for more cabled items.  When my scarf is finish finished, I'll put up another picture, but I'm dancing at the thought of being able to wear my own hand-knitted scarf this winter.

My second happy dance is that I have now declared target at Slimming World.  Having spent the last six months or so slightly over or slightly under the 11 stone 7lb mark, and my thyroid medication having returned me to "normal", I have finally grasped the nettle and come to a decision.  There is no way on this earth that I am going to be able at this point in my life to lose that last 7lb and then maintain the loss.  So my target and current weight is 11 stone 7lb - now I just have to keep within 3lb either side  of that.  However, I feel comfortable in myself and it seems that my mind and my body have got themselves in sync for the first time in ages, so that's great.  Mind you, if it gets much chillier of a morning, my work skirts are going back in the wardrobe and my trousers coming back out!

On the WIP front, I managed three blocks on Carnation this week, so finished row 14 and started row 15 on this page.  That leaves 39 blocks left to do - which works out at just over 2 blocks per week.  I think that this is do-able, don't you?

On the knitting WIP front, you may remember that I ripped Breeze out the other week after my knitting guru looked at it.  Well, I let it sit for a bit, but I couldn't let it sit too long as it has to be finished for Christmas.  So today I had a little practice with make ones and yarn overs, and then started all over again.  What you see here is a little further on than the previous start had got to, and I am a lot happier with it.  I'm fairly sure that I was getting my yarn overs wrong last time.  So definite progress but still not a piece to work on when you're tired.

Tomorrow being Bank Holiday Monday, my plan is to go round to Mum's and finish finish Corgi so that it is ready to be handed over at the next Patchwork Group meeting.  I also hope to get in some time on Carnation and on Breeze.

So all the best to you and yours, and may the frog steer well clear of your stitching or knitting.

Sunday, 17 August 2014

Back to basics

Well, now that the stitching on Corgi is finished, I can now get back to trying to make progress on at least one of my other goals.  I was looking at my list for the year and assessing my chances of getting anywhere close to completing it.

I think that I can reasonably say that I completed goal no. 1 (Wedding).  All the stitching was completed and it was washed, pressed and all ready to frame when the wedding got called off.

Goal no. 2 (April) was completed on Thursday night when I handed it over to V at Patchwork Group.  Leonore asked to see the calendar as a whole, so here you are.  I had to take two shots to get them all in.  They run January to June across the top and July to December along the bottom.  July and December weren't quite finished, but you should be able to get the idea. 

Goal no. 3 (Corgi) is there or thereabouts.  Mum and I were looking at fabric to bind it with today.  Once we find the right one, I'll finish it off in the same sort of way as April.  It has to be ready for the second Thursday in September.

Goal no. 4 (Guardian Angels) - that is not going to get done by Christmas.  I'm thinking about next November now - for Mum's 70th.

 Goal no. 5 was to complete at least one page on Carnation.  I stopped working on this in the middle of May in order to concentrate on Corgi.  Now that Corgi is done, Carnation can come out from under its cover.  Despite having a 3 day First Aid at Work course this week, I've managed to complete another two blocks on this piece.  That leaves 42 blocks to finish the current page.  If I just concentrate on Carnation, I might get that done.

Goal no. 6 was to complete the current page of Train.  There are 44 blocks outstanding on that piece.  I can't manage to do this and Carnation, and Carnation is the older WIP.  Train will just have to get what little time I can spare from Carnation and my knitting WIPs.

Goal no. 7 was Christmas ornaments for my nieces.  It's still only August - these can wait.

On the knitting front, I took my scarf to Patchwork Group on Thursday so that I could get someone to measure it against me properly.  It's a bit difficult to measure against your own wingspan as you can't tell if you are stretching the piece or not when it's behind your back.  Anyway, the general conclusion was that it needed one more set of 40 rows and there was a comment that it had no cables.  So what you see here is the first 12 rows of six by six cables. 

I also took Breeze to Patchwork Group so that I could run it past my knitting guru.  As a result, I ripped it all out - again!  I will get the damn thing right - I will!

In other news, I lost another 0.5lb this week, taking me back down to 11 stone 7lb.  I have been thinking about my weight loss.  The original plan was to get down to 11 stone exactly.  At the current time I have lost just over a stone and I have been hovering around 11 stone 7lb (give or take a lb or so) for about 6 months now.  According to the hospital, I am now back in the "normal" range for my thyroid so there will be no more weight loss assistance from that.  I am thinking that it is time to bite the bullet, accept that even if I could get down to 11 stone I wouldn't be able to maintain it, and declare myself at target.  It would save me £5 a week and take some of the pressure off.

Anyway, all the best to you and yours, and may the frog stay away from your stitching.

Sunday, 10 August 2014

2014 WIPocalypse - August Full Moon

Just for once, blog post night is coinciding with the full moon so I actually get to post my WIPocalypse update on the night itself.  I'm not sure whether My Lady Moon is actually going to show her face at all because the weather this past couple of days has been somewhat dodgy with ex-hurricane Bertha dumping on us at irregular intervals.

However, enough of that - you're here for the pictures and the updates.

First, a finish!  Corgi is finished, washed and pressed, and only needs to be made up into a 12 inch square, like April.  Now Leonore asked why the month names on these pieces.  Well, two of the members of the Patchwork Group have 0 birthdays this year.  V, who April is for, is 70 this month and I, who Corgi is for, will be 80 next month.  Now both ladies have been quilters for a very long time and have quilts coming out of their ears.  So instead of making them a group quilt each, they are each receiving a calendar of 12 inch squares and a hanger to display them on.  Each of the other members of the group was allocated a month per birthday girl, and I got April for V and November for I.  V will be given her present at the monthly meeting this Thursday and I will receive hers at September's meeting.

Mum will be 70 next year and has asked for a similar calendar but on a Gothic/Danse Macabre/Steampunk theme.  I have already chosen the chart for this piece, but have over a year in hand to complete it.

Moving on, my secret sampler scarf has grown by 40 rows of Andalusian stitch.  I'm thinking that one more section of 40 rows might be all I need to do, but I would like someone else to measure it against my wingspan so will take it to Patchwork Group for checking.  There are some minor drawbacks to living alone and this is one of them.

This month we were asked to talk about our oldest WIP and our newest WIP.  Having finished Corgi, I started something else.  This is Breeze, which all being well will be a Christmas present for my oldest friend.  I've already learned not to try and knit even the simplest lace when I'm tired!

As for my oldest WIP, that is Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose as charted by Scarlet Quince.  I started this piece on 25 May 2011.  I am currently working on page 5 of 12.  Sadly Carnation has been on hold since the middle of May this year while I concentrated on getting Corgi done by its deadline.  I'm looking forward to getting back to work on this.

In other news, I put on 0.5lb this week (so back to 11 stone 7.5lb) but that was down to Dad's birthday tea, so I'm not overly concerned.  This week I am on a First Aid course for three days so am not sure what sort of progress I will make, especially as the course is on the other side of town and I'm getting there on public transport, so a much longer journey than usual.

Anyway, all the best to you and yours, and may the frog stay away from your stitching!

Sunday, 3 August 2014

Dance then, wherever you may be!

I'm a happy bunny!

Page 4 of Corgi was finished on Thursday night, and now all I have to do is stitch the month, my initials and the year, wash and press it, and make it up into a 12 inch square in time for the second Thursday in September.  Hopefully the stitching, washing and pressing will get done in time for next week's WIPocalypse post.

Here is a picture of April made up into a 12 inch square so that you know what I mean.  April is now finished apart from the sleeve that needs to be stitched across the back so that it can be hung up.  It won't look any different from the front when that is done, so this is your last chance to see April.  I used my sewing machine for the first time to put this together - fortunately it goes quite slowly so I didn't panic or run my fingers over or anything like that.

On the knitting front, I have finished my 40 rows of parallelograms and am pondering what stitch pattern to choose next.  Ideally it will eventually be as long as my outstretched arms with a fringe on each end.  We shall see.

In other news, I lost 1.5lb this week so am back down to 11 stone 7lb.  I'm starting to think that 11 stone nothing is a target just that bit too far.  I've made it down to 11 stone 4.5lb a couple of times, but have been unable to maintain it.  I'm reasonably comfortable at this weight and it is just over a stone lighter than how I started out.  Food for thought!

But I also had my telephone appointment with the hospital this week.  My thyroid levels are back into the normal range and they have halved my medicine to 5mg per day.  I have to keep taking the tablets and having the blood tests all the same.  I have another telephone appointment in September and then back to the hospital in October.  I don't feel any different in myself but obviously the medication is doing something right.

So good news all round.  All the best to you and yours, and may the frog stay away from your stitching!