My Craft Projects – A Progress Report – Knitting

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I did take all of these nice photos out in the back yard in the lovely afternoon light but something weird happened to them so you will have to make do with some less pretty ones taken inside!  This is my Textured Throw which only needs the short side edges to be finished and attached.  One is knitted and one is on the needles so it is very close to being finished.

Then comes the Dream Blanket.  I am up to panel 4 out of 5 and I have knitted 3 of the 5 letters.  I’m currently knitting up the blue panel with a delicious purple panel to finish off with.  The knitted letters will be stitched on with some sort of decorative stitch, the five panels will be sewn together.  There will be tassels using all five colours on each end and I have commissioned a very dear crocheting friend to crochet borders along the long sides.  It will be a happy happy day when I finally have this one done and of course it will be photographed at the shop with four of my knitting friends to help.

This week I have been toiling away on my “New Job” vest.  The “new job” has now become an old job but I am flying along with this one in the hope that it can soon be a vest for another new job!  I have the back and two fronts down as well as diamond shaped insert panels for the sides to give it the “hankie hem” look.  Those who I have “helped” with their knitting by ripping it out for them will no doubt be pleased to know that last night I had to frog one of the fronts right back to the armhole because I had created two “left fronts”.  All was restored by this morning and I only need to do the neck band on the front piece, then two long button and buttonhole bands and then I can sew the thing together.  I’ll be excited to finish this one too because when I was listening to Suzie the Stylist a couple of weeks ago I realised that this vest was going to have great potential.

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The Intervention

Just when I thought “interventions” were only done on rather scary reality TV shows I found myself the “victim” of a very large intervention on Sunday.  There I was, innocently drinking coffee with a good friend of mine  and relating the events of my week when she announced that we were going to deal with my clothes.  My pleas to finish the coffee and continue chatting were ignored and we were off into the bedroom to begin.

Clothes flew and were flung in all directions in the hours that followed.  Luckily she is a really good friend because comments included “No!”, “Frumpy!”, “Get rid of it”, “What were you thinking?” and “Did your mother choose this?”  I should hasten to say that I owned only one item of clothing chosen by my mother and it has now gone to a  better place.  The final tally was five small gar bags of clothes to go to charity, three small gar bags of stuff that I will fit into soon and best of all, a wardrobe which contains only items that I can wear right now.  It is the first time in my adult life that I can remember having such a wardrobe.  The aforementioned gar bags went into the back of my friend’s car so there were no chances for me to change my mind and the three bags of ambition clothes are going to be boxed up in plastic crates so that nothing nasty befalls them.  The wire coathangers were all dispatched to the garbage bin and the plastic coated wire hangers were deemed to be only good for hanging up my husband’s shirts.  I have most hangers the same the now and all facing in the same direction – revolutionary!

I still have the shoe section to go and a few drawers but they seem easy compared to the task of tackling that overstuffed wardrobe.  I am eagerly anticipating being able to pull out something to wear very easily from those places as well.

The flow on effect from this will be the ease with which I can put together outfits the night before to wear the next day.  I’m intending on having Plan A outfits for days that I am working and Plan B outfits for days that I am not.  The drawback is that I don’t have as many clothes but when I think about it I don’t really have less clothes because the ones that are not there could not be worn anyway.  So it is full of win all round really.

The saying “Knowledge is Power” could certainly be applied to my fateful Sunday afternoon too.  I was lucky enough to attend a High Tea on the previous Saturday where we met Suzy the Stylist.  Prior to that day I never would have thought that I had anything to gain from listening to a stylist given that I am overweight, the majority of my clothes are bargain buys and I usually buy things without trying them on because of time pressures.  Boy was I wrong!

I now know that I have curvy figure (somewhere under there!) and what to do about dressing for that figure.  I know exactly what to look for now in shops and which items of clothing I would like to buy when I next have the opportunity.  Because I was also able to look at things through a “knitter’s lens” as well I now know why some of my projects look good and why some of them should never have seen the light of day.  I am actually having one piece frogged, the wool washed and rewound so that I can knit something else with it!  Best of all when someone mentions a  knitting pattern on Ravelry I know immediately whether it will work for me or not.

So while it isn’t an extensive wardrobe, it is completely functional and even though I needed to sit down for quite a while and collect my thought post-intervention I am really glad that it happened.  And to my dear friend – Thank-you. I needed to be bossed around and I’m truly glad that you did so.

And now dear readers:

Have you ever been part of an intervention? Either intervening or being the “intervenee”?

How do you organise your clothes?

If you are losing weight, what are you planning to do with your clothes?


Websites I Am Always Talking About

I probably don’t frequent as many websites as most people, sticking to Facebook and Google Reader for the blogs that I enjoy.  However when I am talking to people about the things I love I often mention certain websites and am not always ina position to write them down.  The goal of writing this post is for people to refer to my blog for my favourite sites!

The Book Depository – There is a UK site as well as others in other countries.  It is a place to buy lots of different books at greatly reduced prices and there are no shipping costs.  They seem to send the books as soon as they have them available so when I made my first order a few months ago I actually received three separate parcels in the mail – good fun all in itself!  As an example of the possible savings, I bought two knitting books which sell for $45 each here and by using Book Depository I paid about $22 each.

Strawberry.net – I was put on to this site quite recently by a good friend when my skin was suffering from the cold and dryness and I was finding that my products froma rather cheap direct sales company were irritating my skin and not being very effective at all.  Back in the day, before children, mortgages and financial strife I used to use Clinique products and loved them.  I had given them up because they were simply too expensive and I was finding that I used them too sparingly to do any good.  Now I am back to using Clinique, having paid very low prices to get some items and my skin is really showing the benefits and feeling fantastic.  There is no shipping coast and extremely fast service.  Just as an aside, the same friend put me onto Blinc mascara. It is seriously the best mascara ever and lasts through absolutely everything because it actaully puts little “tubes” of mascara around each lash which stay there until rubbed gently with a wet washcloth.  When you rub them off you can actually see the little tubes on the washcloth and there is no residue smudged around the eyes.  Obviously they are very fine tubes and there is no ill-effect on the lashes. To quote Molly Meldrum, if you are a mascara wearer, “do yourself a favour” and try some of this stuff because it really is wodnerful!

CafePress – I am very happy to be the owner of two knitting t-shirts and one teaching t-shirt from this fantastic site.  There are shirts, sweaters and a range of other products with slogans and graphics for almost any occupation or hobby you could dream of.  It is worth a browse just for the entertainment value of what sayings they have on offer. My knitting shirts are “I knit so I don’t kill people” and “Keep calm and carry yarn”.  My teaching shirt is “I teach, what’s your superpower?”  There is some shipping cost but the service is faultless and they are a very good quality product.

Ravelry – Whenever I am talking to someone who is beginning to knit or crochet I invariably ask them if they have been on Ravelry.  It is a networking site for knitting, crochet and spinning and has thousands of members who share patterns, yarns and finished projects.  You can sign up for free and either browse through what’s on offer or start your own Ravelry “notebook” with pictures of your projects and links to the patterns and yarns used as well as where you obtained them.  because of all these notebooks you can search for a type of project or yarn and find almost countless results.  It is very useful for when you want ideas for a particular item like beanies or tea cosies or if you are deciding on whether to use a particular yarn or pattern.  Just make sure you have a spare 4-5 hours to spend browsing if you decide to have a look.

FlyLady – As I get back on my feet quite literally I am using and will continue to use FlyLady.  It is all about organising yourself and your house to take the best possible care of yourself and your loved ones.  I could write pages about how good her system is but it would be far better to just pay the FlyLady a visit and check her out for yourself.


Another Knitting Metaphor

A very dear friend of mine has recently taken up knitting.  I am absolutely thrilled about this as it almost feels like I have a knitting protegee.  I only wish we lived closer to each other so we could sit down together with some good coffee and yarn – and knit. LOL!

Her first project was, quite wisely, a cotton discloth which she knitted over teh course of about a day.  I told my boys about her starting knitting and how she’d finisheda project that took a day and Daniel was heard to remark, “Well she must be a much better knitter than you!”  At age almost 8 he lacks a lot of diplomacy and can put people in tehir place very abruptly.

When my friend’s first project was finished, she sent me a text saying that it had a bit of a factory second look about it.  That immediately reminded me of my dream balnket that I began knitting during a time when things weren’t going very well.  The first panel had many, many mistakes but as I progressed there were hardly any.  I’m not attempting to fix the mistakes because they are not enough to make the blanket unravel and just like certain events they will be around in the future where they will remind me of where I was a at that time.  It is something like how most people will remember exactly where they were when the recent royal wedding was taking place.

My dear friend, the new knitter, has also faced some challenges lately.  I’m hoping she will be able to look back at her dishcloth sometime in the future with its slight imperfections and to remember how she went on to re-shape her life after some hurdles.  I hope she also recalls how the simple repetitive movements gave her some momentary serenity and calm in teh middle of some turbulence.  There is no doubt in my mind that she will get through this “rough patch” and be even stronger and wiser for doing so.  And in the meantime, she can just keep knitting!


Trundling my Trolley

Hopefully this will be a more positive post than the whinge that I posted in the early hours of this morning!

Many people have asked how I am managing to get around with two injured ankles.  I had to master crutches before leaving hospital and both ankles are immobilized with splints.  Thankfully the right ankle which was “just” sprained is feeling much better and I can bear weight on it quite easily.  I cannot stay on it for too long however and I have to avoid any twisting or rolling movements because they really hurt and could cause me to utter some words that you really don’t want to hear.  The left ankle which has a “non-displaced fracture of the lower tibia” is a different proposition.  According to the specialist it was well on its way to being broken but the ligaments held it all together.  And according the the physio I had for hydro on Tuesday it is more unusual to fracture the tibia because that is the larger bone in the shin.  As I have said all along, it takes extraordinary talent to sustain two injuries at once!  It cannot handle much weight at all and basically doesn’t enjoy moving very far full stop.  It’s the one that hurts when i put it up or down and when I roll over in bed.

So crutches it is but I am quite blessed to have been loaned the little trolley in the photo.  It carries all the necessities of life including: water, tissues, pain meds, wipes, mobile phone and knitting project.  I just push it ahead of me when I move around the house and best of all I can transport food on it which saves me from eating at the kitchen bench.  It gives me some measure of  control over my environment and a tiny bit more independence.


The View from Here

The camera worked for long enough this afternoon to get a shot of my very unattractive ankles in socks and splints.  They look a bit powdery because I need to put on prickly heat powder before the socks so I don’t get driven mad with itching and it certainly makes me glad not to be in plaster.

Today hasn’t been a good day.  I’ve been down, teary and tired all day.  It was a combination of things.  I was still pathetically exhausted after my trip to hydrotherapy yesterday, today was bit of an anti-climax because I wasn’t going anywhere and I’m not going anywhere for the foreseeable future.  Hydrotherapy will only continue once it is approved by Work Cover as I already had had the five automatically allowed physio sessions while in hospital.  It is really my only prospect of getting out of the house because we will be reimbursed for the cab fare.  I’m not able to drive yet and I don’t know how long it will be before I get behind the wheel.  If I was to get taken somewhere like a shopping centre I would have to hire a wheelchair and then have someone to push it.  The potential “someones” are either a bit old to be pushing me in a wheel chair or they have small children to deal with.  We can’t afford to spend any money on cabs that will not be reimbursed as my work prospects are going to be limited once again and for who knows how long.

Dh is working full time 5 days a week and may be doing overtime on Saturday and of course the boys are at school.  They will be off on holidays at the end of next week but we will still be housebound because it is too far from here to get to any public transport and we cannot afford cabs.  The book club girls took me out last night for coffee and book discussion but I came away from that realizing that everyone is still really busy and the fact that I am out of action doesn’t change that.  So while plenty of people have asked, “What can I do to help?”, I’ve really only been able to ask for people to bring the boys home from school and even that was quite difficult to organise.  Life goes on as normal for everyone else which means they don’t have time to stop for visits or cups of tea.  Everyone balances multiple roles and has a busy schedule including me when I’m not on crutches.  So I can hardly ask someone to pick me up and cart me around in a wheelchair and no one really has spare time to spend here with me.  I think all of that hit home for me this afternoon and I felt really black.

The flood of phone calls and text messages that happened while I was in hospital has dried up to almost nothing.  I’m lucky if I get two texts in a day and no one has time for phone calls these days.  There isn’t really much to say either because I don’t know when things will improve with my ankles and there is nothing happening here at home.

I also realised that I wouldn’t be able to get to Weight Watchers tomorrow night as I had planned because the boys have hockey training.  I cannot ask them to miss it as they missed out already last week while I was in hospital and it is on every Thursday so with great sadness I changed my Weight Watchers subscription to “on-line only” even though I need it and the meetings especially now more than I ever have before.  My weight has made this whole injury thing even more complicated and I really can’t see things improving while I am so sedentary and while I am relying on everyone else to supply me with food.

Dh really is doing all he can.  In fact he has been quite legendary since I’ve been home.  He sets up the lounge room each night ready for me the next day with the TV left on stand-by, the remotes all put where I can reach them and most importantly, makes sure that the floors throughout the house are almost completely free of clutter.  We are both terrified of what could happen if a crutch slipped on something that shouldn’t be there and went out from under me.  He gets the bathroom ready for me to take a shower each night with the transfer bench half in and half out of the bath and everything where I can reach it.  Then he puts on my socks and splints for me afterwards in the lounge.  I get a coffee made for me in the morning before they leave and yesterday he left a ham and cheese sandwich in the fridge and the sandwich toaster out on the bench.  I was so glad to find that when I got home from hydro!

As for the boys, the novelty has well and truly worn off.  They are usually very put out when I ask them for anything or to do something for them because it takes them away from their all important computer games.  And of course, their projects and activities must always come first.  Eric was very impatient for me to get to the computer and help him fix a flyer he was making this evening and kept coming out to ask me when I’d be there despite the fact that I didn’t have my splints back on.  The flyer was about him offering his services as a cross country coach for the the other kids at school but that’s another story!

My parents came to help out today but even that is a mixed blessing.  While I truly love that our bathroom got cleaned and the sheets on my bed were changed I didn’t need to be told that I must not apply for any job until I am off crutches, that knitting is waste of money (again!) and that I really must do something about my weight.  (If I didn’t already know the last one it was brought home to me when I had to crawl up our back stairs on the night of my fall!).  I know they mean well and they are really the only ones that are in a position to offer us any help but some moral support and encouragement would be nice once in a while.

That is the end of my whining for now.  There are some good things happening.  Unlimited time to knit, stitch, read and watch TV. Time to read lots of stories to Daniel.  I get to sleep in because there is nothing to get up for and I would be in the way during morning rush hour anyway.  I have a couple of projects to tackle –  writing and researching some pieces for the school magazine and doing the “end of season” achievement cards and certificates for Little Athletics.  The latter is an enormous but tedious job but I certainly don’t have the excuse of not enough time to do it.

It’s awful to say this but I am dreading today (I’m writing this after midnight which shows how ell my sleeping pattern is going).  I’m going to miss a couple of my regular Thursday activities, my ankles will still hurt and I will still have the long day on my own.  But I guess I just have to take a deep breath and think “this too shall pass”.


The Getting of Wisdom – the painful way

Long time no blog!

I have a lot of material for a lot of blog entries but I’ll begin by telling the story of how I can to be here, ankle splints on both ankles, crutches leaning against the desk and two ankles deciding whether they need to be dosed with painkillers anytime soon.

It was an ordinary day at school last Friday until on my way to playground duty I fell down three steps and found myself in a lots of pain.  Somehow I managed to hobble through the prep playground and then to the school office.  Both ankles were hurting but the left one was very bad.  The beautiful office staff ran around getting me set up in sick bay with a pillow and ice while I waited for dh the come and get me.  Later that evening after an x-ray and ultrasound they concluded that the left ankle was badly sprained.  I was issued with painkillers and crutches and sent home.  That’s when the real trouble began.

I found that I couldn’t put enough weight on the right foot – even with crutches – to get my left ankle in plaster and the rest of me up the stairs.  I tried the “backwards on the backside” method but that didn’t work.  In fact I actually slid down a few more steps in the throes of trying that maneuver and the boys heard me utter some words I have told them never to say.  I ended up slowly and painfully climbing the stairs on my knees.  At the top I was stuck on our verandah.  I couldn’t flex my feet enough to stand and dh couldn’t get me up.  The pain was so bad that I was seeing stars so I had a drink and a rest, then hauled myself onto a stool and then finally into the house.  I took myself to bed for a very uncomfortable night trying to get comfortable despite the plaster.  I was up early the next morning because of the pain and once I had painfully got myself from the bedroom to the lounge my left ankle was screaming and my right ankle has swollen right up.  I persisted for a few hours but eventually realised that this simply wouldn’t work.  I rang my wonderful GP who said she was ordering an ambulance and contacting the hospital so I could go back.  It was considered far too dangerous for dh to attempt getting me down the stairs again.

This is the part in which we staged an emergency services floor show for the street and my humiliation continued.  2 Ambos arrived and asked me how much I weighed.  With that information they decided that they would not be able to get me out and that they would have to call ANOTHER ambulance that had a marvelous device called a “stair chair”. Well, Eric thought it was marvellous – I was just scared!  It took an hour for the second ambulance to come so the first team of Ambos and I watched Video Hits (as you do).  Then, for the amusement of the neighbours I was toted down the stairs on the famous “stair chair”.  I’ll have to google the thing to see what it looks like because I didn’t actually see it.

Then I had 6 nights in hospital where it was eventually determined that the ankle we thought was uninjured but sore was actually sprained and that the one we thought was sprained was actually fractured.  I graduated from plaster and elastic bandage to splints on each ankle and from forearm walking frame to crutches.  When I was able to do the hospital practice steps four times (to allow for the 12 steps at home) I was allowed to go home.

So now I’m at home, migrating from bed to desk to recliner and working out how to live life on crutches.  I’m getting used to planning everything in great detail before I move anywhere and best of all, I have HEAPS of knitting time.