Wednesday, 28 May 2014

on a roll

I'm on a roll.  Another chemo hat finished and washed and I'm planning on a ribbed hat for a boy for the next.  Perhaps even one with a pompom. On such a roll that I had better be careful not to fall over.  It's happened before.

This is a child's beret.  I'm sort of happy with it but was decidedly unhappy with the pattern and won't link.  It wasn't originally written in English and it has the feel of having been translated in Babel fish or similar.  It was very stilted.

Now I'm experienced in doing hats, in knitting in the round.  There were times I had  to peer closely at the picture to work out what the instructions were really saying.

It's a bit over the top too.  Picot edge where hem is done later.  No mention of knitting the hem which makes a much neater and stronger finish than sewing it.  A twisted rib, lace and the pattern called for more decorations to be handknit and then sewn on.  I think not.

Renae at Suzy hausfrau is expanding her range to include her own label of sustainably produced merino.  She introduced it at the Old Bus Depot Markets a few days ago.  I didn't get there, wasn't even aware they were on, although I've now remedied that in my calendar.  Roll on next year! She started with several colours in an Aran weight and will introduce more and hopefully other weights in her online store from the beginning of June.  She had just a few skeins left over after the markets and I managed to get three in a colour called powder puff.   I am not really a pink person but this is lovely.  A soft dusky pink with some white through it.  The wool itself is beautiful to use and it flows easily through my fingers.  There are also pictures of the  wool on her Facebook page with a link from the shop site.

So what to make with this?  I decided on the Acadian shawl/wrap from Ravelry.

It's a free download from Ravelry.  The stocking stitch section increases by a stitch on every knit row and the motif is an easy sixteen rows.  There are  seven motifs in the first section and I've now done four.  Nine motifs make up the middle section and there are another seven motifs decreasing back to the original seventeen stitches.

That's not a nupp in the middle.  Instead, it's three stitches which are wrapped  four times in a similar way to making a  short row.  It looks quite effective and is easy to do.

Now for some lunch in the sun and unseasonal warmth outside.  After that I will cast on another chemo hat, this time for a boy.  I have plenty of Bendigo five and eight ply in my stash in a variety of colours.  Enough to keep me going on these hats for a long time.

Monday, 26 May 2014

a yarnover too far

I had two granddaughters here for most of the weekend.  Social creatures as they are, they each had a birthday party to go to.  Fortunately at much the same time and in neighbouring suburbs so son had only one trip for them.

Last time there was MESS! everywhere.  They are messy at home, but it won't work here.  Not enough room and too easy to leave things here.  Then their mother is annoyed when only one sock of a pair makes it back.  I kept a a fairly tight rain on such things and we even managed to get a load of washing done and dry to go back home.

While they were out socialising, I spent quite a bit of time on one of the chemo hats.  Beret style, with lace.  For a long time I  could not work out why the pattern was astray, not lining up.  I finally realised there were two stitches too many in the row, two errant yarnovers, which threw everything out.  The beret is now about half finished.  It's 5 ply in some yellow Bendigo wool I have had for quite a while.  Still lots of stash to use up and chemo hats are quick projects.  Next one will be more for a boy.

Miss M was very happy to be well enough for a party.  She looks quite reasonable although she has dark circles around her eyes.  She's very independent, hates the thought of having a rest, insists on pumping up her airbed.  Independence is a good thing in attitude to overcoming leukaemia, but she needs to learn that sometimes a rest for 30 minutes is necessary.

Yesterday my son taught the two of them how to make scones.  Their mum does not have the patience to teach them cooking, just as their cousins' mum won't bother.  However, both their dads are good cooks and are teaching their children how to cook, both meals and snacks. Actually my three sons are all good cooks.  I started early with them.

These scones turned out well and made a delicious Sunday afternoon tea with a cup of Irish Breakfast for me.  I use a very basic recipe, flour, salt and milk.  This was along the same lines.  I would have made them a bit browner on top, but they were cooked through.  I don't usually like gluten free products.  These were a good exception.  Self raising  gluten free flour, a pinch of salt, about half a teaspoon of additional baking powder to what was in  the flour.  Thickened cream to mix and make them rich.  They had fun cutting them out with fluted scone cutters and we had a pleasant afternoon tea.

Friday, 23 May 2014

chemo hats again

My son took the two hats I finished earlier to the hospital even though Miss M was discharged from the round of chemo  on Wednesday afternoon.  He met the mother of another little girl patin who knew Miss M wasn't there and asked why he was there.  He showed her the hats and said he was just dropping them off into one of the several baskets each of the three oncology wards has sitting around.  She felt the hats and commented on the softness and quality of the yarn.  He told her, "Mum doesn't use cheap and nasty yarn in anything," and asked if she would like one.  She chose one of the two and then cried that someone might make things like that from expensive yarn just to donate.

Even before all this leukaemia business erupted into our lives, I have always had a policy of not giving presents which I would not like to receive  or anything cheap and shoddy.  She recognised the good stuff and I was pleased I had used it.

I'm now working on another two hats.  One I could do with my eyes closed, in a thickish alpaca.  The other is more of a lace beret in a finer wool and I will need to follow the pattern for it.  Just a way of gratitude for the care taken of Miss M these last few months.

This lot of chemo is the last in this cycle.  She actually gets two or three weeks before the next lot of tests and chemo.  I think that round can be given in the clinic each week without a full admission unless she picks up an infection.

We will have at least the girls here this weekend.  Not sure about the Teenager.  My son wants to take the wheelchair and take them to the city for the first night of VIVID the light festival on Sydney Harbour.  Lots of beautiful lights and ethereal shapes.  A lot will depend on Miss 12 who has been in  Canberra all week with her class.  She is not a night owl and is perfectly happy falling asleep wherever she is, so she may not have missed too much sleep.

I was minding them all one night at their aunt's place.  Miss 12 disappeared during a game of hide and seek.  I think she was Miss 8  sat the time.  She was found after some searching in her hiding spot under the big dining table, fast asleep on the floor.

Now, because it's Friday, a recipe from Gourmet Traveller, I think.  It was nice as the bacon I used is well smoked by a small supplier to my fruit and veg guy.  The original recipe called for m ashes pumpkin on top if puff pastry but I used sweet potato as that was what I had.  Spread the mash mix to within  about a centimetre of the edge of the pastry.  Cover with strips of bacon and using about a tablespoon of good maple syrup and a pastry brush, brush the syrup onto the bacon.  Cook in a hot oven.  It was different and good and an easy way for another vegetable serve.  It doesn't need lashings of syrup.

Sunday, 18 May 2014

waste not, want not

So the saying goes.  Or perhaps, "use what's to hand," only this time it applies to yarn, not the leftovers in the fridge.

Like many of us, I have lots of small balls of wool, often expensive stuff.  This time I had various bits and pieces of the Quince and Co Owl, a 10 ply.

I have made Miss M six different style and weights of chemo hats.  She also has a straw hat her mother bought.  She doesn't need more.  However, I am starting on hats for the three oncology wards at the Children's Hospital.  The hospital treats several thousand children a year. My son tell me they each have several baskets for donations.

Both of these are the Quince and Co and were quick knits.  The green has been washed, the other needs to be washed before sending it out.  It feels good to have done them for donation and feels good also that I have perhaps two metres of the blue and three of the red left and that's it.  I do have more free, as I bought more in case the cowl for DIL needed it when used double.  I'll look and see if I can find something to use as a contrast.  The red hat is nowhere near  as belled out as the picture would suggest.  I think it's the angle the phone was held at which gives that impression.

It's Sunday morning here and son has just left for the hospital.  It's Miss M's several days in for the intensive  chemo.  Last time she was in an extra couple of days for the chemo to leave her body.  He won't be back till late Tuesday evening, although he will be at work on Monday and Tuesday.  The night shifts are tiring as she has observations done every two hours and he is awake for them.

This is the last session in this round of chemo and it has been an intense, often unpleasant time.  I don't know  what's next.  We do have a schedule but as the names mean little to us, we wait till we are told more by staff.  What we do know is that the doctors are pleased with her progress.  We can't really go beyond that, although I see how tired she still is, how the chemo affects her concentration and similar.  Still, they say they are pleased, so I have to accept that.

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Boston cowl

One finished Boston cowl which still needs blocking to increase its length.  When I finished it last night, the light was too poor for a photo.

Blocking will give it several inches more in length.  DIL loves it and will look for a fabulous button for it.  I could probably find one she likes as we have similar tastes, but I'll let her choose it and have made do with a shawl pin for the photo.

It's made from my current obsession, Quince and Co Owl, colour bog.  The Owl is ten ply, worsted weight and it was done on 10 mm Addi clicks.  It took me quite a while to get used to such enormous needles and at first I could do only a couple of rows at a time as my fingers hurt.  The yarn is used double to get something  approximating  super bulky.

The pattern is very easy and comes in several sizes.  DIL bought it but I would have just winged it and made up my own.  It is really nothing more than a rectangle with a buttonhole in top corner and then a button sewn in middle of opposing side.  She does knit, but hasn't reached the stage of being able to see what was done to construct something.

While we are looking at my red cabinet, here's a picture of the present Miss 11 bought for me from her school's Mothers' Day stall.  It has springs for legs so wobbles.  She took the picture. The first was poor as there was little daylight so she turned flash on.  It really needs more ambient light as well as the flash.

Mothers' Day stalls have certainly changed.  When my sons  were in Infants and Primary, parents sent a gift to the value of $5 and then sent $5 for child to buy a  gift.  Somehow, I never seemed to get anything approaching the value of what I had sent.  I do remember opening a present one year as son looked on with excitement in his  eyes. It was the lid of a large aerosol can, filled with plaster of paris, plastic flowers around the edge and a cheap  candle plonked in  the middle.  Of course, I made the usual responses about it and thanked him profusely.  I then moved on to the present from his brother.  I could hardly believe it and didn't know whether to laugh or cry as I opened an identical present.  I kept them in the sideboard cupboard for very many years, a fact which they both remembered last Sunday.

Dil was here for a pleasant Mother's Day lunch on Sunday.  She loved the hat I did for her as shown in previous blog entry.  I guessed the size and it was just right.  We had a pleasant time and my sons did the baked chicken lunch with chicken and vegetables cooked slowly.  Another son made his famous gravy and we had a very relaxed time.

Having  Miss M, her brother and sister here over most of the weekend was noisy, messy and chaotic.  They went home to have lunch with their mother on Mothers' Day, so a relaxing meal was just what was needed.  Miss M had been in hospital six days instead of the usual four and was tired from being woken every night several times for observations.  Not only was she  tired,  but she was cranky with her brother and we had several very noisy tantrums from her.  Stamping, screaming, yelling and a total meltdown.  She used to throw them regularly but I hadn't seen one for several years.  The illness has brought a sense of entitlement with it.  Certainly not fostered by hospital or family, but part of the whole process I guess.

Here she is teasing her big sister by trying to tickle her feet under the blankets of the sofa bed.

She loves her onesie, although it looks to me to be uncomfortable to actually use.  It's made of some artificial material and I would not like  the feel of it.  It's not the usual fleece but is soft and feels totally artificial and clammy to me.

Miss 11 has rejoiced in having the use returned of both her arms.  The casts have been removed and she has resumed playing Saturday soccer.  I wonder about the wisdom of this, but trying to shield them from every danger is not a possibility.  She is a bit of a model as can be seen from the photo.  I asked her how she was going at school, as she is bright but has had a very disrupted year with Miss M's illness.  She told me, "real good."  I automatically corrected that to, "really well," and she looked at me puzzled.  I think that's par for the course in her area.

Friday, 9 May 2014

something actually finished

Finally, some finished and blocked objects to show.  However,  first a word from our sponsor of warning.

When weaving in ends of  wool, be careful not to let any scraps fall on the  floor.  They play havoc, big time, with the roller brush on the vacuum cleaner.  Just saying.

So what is done  and blocked?

First up are gloves for my grandson.  He lost the pair from last year and asked for more.  He has since found them, out of place after a move, but I have made this pair from leftover yarn and made them with a long cuff to do next year.  That is, if these don't get lost too.  They are from Quince and Co Owl.

They look peculiar with the extra long cuff, but he likes them and they fit quite well.  Hopefully they will still fit his hand next year and the extra length will be fine on his wrist.

I have possibly enough left over to make still another striped pair but think I will put it away till next year.  The Quince and Co Owl worsted is very cosy and knits up well.

More Quince and Co Owl in this hat.  This time it is a new release, Owl Tweet.  Worsted weight again, but with a tweedy nubbly finish.  Colour is sooty and again it is from the  Australian distributor Suzyhausfrau  It is very pleasant to knit.  This is for the birthday next month of one daughter in law.  I usually knit something but this time she asked  me to knit a cowl and a hat and provided the yarn.  Hat was quick, and I have started the cowl which is very basic but just the sort of thing she likes.  I think I started it after lunch one day and it was finished after lunch the next.  No, I did other things than knit as well.

My final finished object is the Mairi shawl.  Link in post below this one from Ravelry and it as a free download.  The border is knit first, then filled in at the corner with short rows in the pattern and then the second half of border is done.  Stitches are picked up along the border and  the shawl is then knit with four decreases every second row.  My sister is not a shawl person whereas I am.  However, I think it might be for her  birthday in a few months.  She often complains of being cold across the shoulders when watching TV at night.  This is light and warm and should be cosy.

Now I must  away and make sure the place is suitable for two young granddaughters.  Miss M is doing  well and the doctors are happy with her progress.  This has been the week for chemo.  She went in last Sunday and normally would be out on Wednesday afternoon or Thursday morning.  She is still there as she is not allowed home while there is any trace of the chemo in her body.  I am assuming she will be here with her sister for the weekend.  She will hopefully be able to attend school at least some of next week.