Saturday, 29 August 2015

Mara and more

After hours spent on the cast off with several hundred stitches, I finally finished the Mara shawl which is free on Ravelry.  The 2x2 rib is not as long as suggested in the pattern but I was concerned about enough wool to cast off.

The double rib uses twice the number of stitches in the single rib and is done by knitting front and back in every stitch except the two at each edge.  Then, the increases continue with four in every second row.  When I decided I would be cutting things fine, I had over five hundred stitches on the needle and each row was beginning to be quite a drag.  The picture shows the edge unblocked.  It took ages to cast off as it was done loosely.  Purl two together and place the resulting stitch back on the left needle.  Purl two together and so on.  The cast off is loose and stretchy but was tedious.

Here is a larger picture.  The shawl is still unblocked here.  Cleckheaton Country which I had from another shawl which I had ripped out.  It is a soft gum leaf green.  It feels very cosy and I often appreciate the warmth around my shoulders of such a shawl.  Winter has been very cold, and while today is spring like, having this finished  gives me a feeling of satisfaction.

That satisfaction's increased by a spot of mending I also did this morning.  Several years ago I bought a commercial pure wool cardigan.  It was on special and I could not have bought the yarn for the price I paid.  It has been very good inside and has been worn a lot.  It is a good weight and handy to grab and put on. To my horror I was out for a birthday, (mine), pizza when I discovered a big hole in the elbow of right sleeve.  After finishing the shawl I found some sock yarn in a colour which would be Ok with the cardigan.  I made two patches, big enough to cover the worn area and have sewn them on.  It does not look wonderful and will mean the cardigan is purely house wear, but it has extended its life and usefulness.  The tulips are from a birthday bouquet for my birthday and that is indeed the colour they were.

Son has his daughters here this weekend although they are out at the park now. It is a beautiful mild, sunny spring day here today after a week of horrible weather and floods in many areas. Miss M had another good report from her fortnightly oncology clinic so we are happy with that.  Getting any breakfast into her is hard.  This morning we had a treat of some very good bacon.  She had four substantial rashers and an egg.  It took forty five minutes for her to eat that, so much must have been cold.  When she was finished she asked if she could have an Up and Go which son keeps for emergency breakfasts if he has little time.  They claim to be the equivalent of two weetbix.  She drank that, so had a substantial start to the day.

When they arrived last night, Big Sister washed her hands and made nachos for us all.  She was very efficient and had her meal worked out well for everything to be ready together.  I haven't had nachos for some years, and totally enjoyed her cooking.

I thought the wind had ripped the McD's flag in two.  It is actually knotted by the wind around the branch of the large Moreton Bay fig.  It has been there like this for a week.  As the branch is over the main road, I think a cherry picker would be needed to free it, rather a ladder against the branch.  Wind was a gale, very unpleasant.

Saturday, 15 August 2015

the new normal?

The last few weeks here have not been good.  Miss M continues to make progress and that is good.  At the oncology clinic a couple of days ago the doctor pointed out to my son that many children have had three hospitalisations in the same time as she has had one.  Admittedly that was a very long stay,  but they are pleased with her progress.  She still has oral chemo to take every day and she is susceptible to the winter coughs and cold and she tires easily.  But she is generally OK.

Family matters have been terrible.  There is a lot I cannot possibly talk about on here, but terrible hardly begins to scratch the surface of what I really think.  There have been lies, tantrums, more lies, downright maliciousness and malevolence.  I cannot believe that a matter which pretty well everyone would view with repugnance has been raised, seemingly lightly,  and tremendous distress and family upset has been caused.  All lies.  How anyone could seem to treat the topic lightly I do not know.

I have been knitting and finished a few things, although not all have been photographed as it slipped past my mind which was not in a good place.I found myself using the knitting to take my mind off other things.  Knit fifteen, pattern, knit fifteen, pattern, and so on. It was very repetitive which was definitely needed by my brain which was darting everywhere at once, or so it seemed.

I made a Cairn hat by Ysolda Teague for a family member who moved to upper Blue Mountains just before the biggest dump of snow there in years.  It looks complicated but isn't, one colour being dealt with a at a time.  I have made a couple of these before, but not for a few years. The person who received this is still working, although contemplating retirement soon.  She leaves home before 6:00 am to walk to the station for the train to Granville where she changes.  She returns home after 7:00 pm.  Not a schedule I would want to keep for long, especially in winter which has been very cold.

This one was for her husband, but I did not like the flare at the base.  I used good wool, had tension and needles right.  I ripped it all out.  It is hard to tell but the top part is made of Quince yarn, Owl, I think.  Dark khaki. The cream is the 8 ply Shetland which Bendigo sold a few months ago.  It is pleasant to knit with and is undyed.

In one way it was annoying to rip it out.  In another way, the very knitting of it was a help to me, so I am just putting it down to experience.  It all helped me in dealing with nastiness and more.

I made a hat from the ebook Head to Toe which I bought last year.  This was for a friend of my son, lovely person.  I can't find a photo of that although I am sure I took one.  She had a birthday so I made a cowl for her from double thickness of Bendigo sock year in variegated blues. This had an easy repetitive pattern which took little thought, freeing my mind to think about other things.  It is cosy, made from two strands of yarn but is soft against the skin.

She loved it and had no idea the knitting she had been admiring was actually for her. It was  somewhat of a surprise to open the package.

 She works in long day care child care and is outside a lot of time in what has been a very cold weather.  I also made her some fingerless gloves in her colours, blues, green and a dash of purple.  I made the wrist part longer so there were no gaps between gloves and sleeves.  This is a poor photo but the feather and fan pattern can be seen, again something which did not need  great deal  of concentration for me.

My son has had a lot of support from a group of guys who seem to have his back covered for him.  This is needed as we often cannot see what is coming next.  We can see the direction it comes from, but not necessarily see the blow till it arrives.  I made a Milkweed Shawl For the wife of one of these fellows.  They have fed him once a week for months, and supported him in many ways.  I have made the pattern several times before and I enjoy it.  Enough pattern to stop boredom, not enough complex knitting so my brain made mistakes.  Apparently she loved it.  Does not do craft herself and so had a great surprise.  I felt I was in some way returning the support they had shown my son.This is being blocked and I have not yet reached the bottom centre of the shawl, so it looks out of shape.  It is finished now.

Finally,, Mara, by Madeline Tosh for myself.  Lots of repetitive knitting of garter stitch which is very soothing.  I am almost down to the ribbing on the edge.  I am not really anticipating this with pleasure as the stitch count doubles for the 2x2 ribbing.  I'll get there.

I said the new normal in my title.  Knitting seems to be back to normal.  I am not sure about other things.  We have been shaken severely over the last few weeks.  I do not want this to be the new normal but recognise it well could be.  Anything to disrupt son's life, anything to be just plain nasty seems  to be what is around now,