Saturday, 17 December 2016

Simple socks

I am still managing a bit of knitting, as it helps me to relax, but given my stress levels at the moment, I just cannot cope with anything too complicated. This sock yarn was a gift from a swap partner on Ravelry and I am using it to knit a pair of plain socks.

Thursday, 8 December 2016

Dark days

Life is very stressful and difficult for my family lately, hence the title of this post. About six weeks ago DH was feeling unwell and went to see our GP; he was also worried about the colour of his urine which was much darker than usual. He had a urine test, which came back negative, but then he started experiencing various other worrying symptoms and when his skin and the whites of his eyes became noticeably yellow, we were both very concerned. I spoke to one of the consultants at work, who in addition to being a gastroenterologist, also specialises in liver disease and he saw DH right away. He told us that it was obstructive jaundice and sent DH for blood tests, as well as some scans and then he had to have an ERCP, so that a stent could be inserted to drain the bile duct.

As soon as the consultant saw DH, he admitted him to the Gastroenterology Ward, where he spent a couple of days while undergoing further scans and when he was discharged, we were told that the scans showed a malignant mass on the head of the pancreas and as there were also concerns re the liver, DH had to have an MRI of his liver to see whether the malignancy had spread. We had to wait several days before the results were available and then had to see a senior consultant at General Surgery. It was a nerve wracking time for us, but we were hoping that if the malignancy was contained in the pancreas, surgery would have been an option, but sadly that was not to be. We were told this devastating news just over two weeks ago; at the beginning of this week DH had to have a repeat EUS so that further biopsies could be taken and yesterday the cancer nurse coordinator called to give me the histology results which have confirmed the diagnosis which is stage 4 pancreatic cancer which has metastasised to the liver.

DH has an appointment with an oncologist next week and our son and I will be going with him, not only to support him, but to try and get some answers to all of the questions we have. We were told that chemotherapy should only start a few weeks after the initial consultation with the oncologist, which means that DH can at least enjoy the festive season while he still feels relatively well.

Needless to say, we are stressed and scared, given that pancreatic cancer is so aggressive and we were told that DH could have only a few months to a year of life left, but he is hoping to beat the odds. We are both still working our normal hours, which does help to take our minds off all the stress, but having said that, it is very tiring and we are looking forward to having some leave over Christmas and New Year.

Monday, 28 November 2016

Sparkly socks

I finished these last week; I washed and blocked them over the weekend and then cast on another pair of socks right away.

Saturday, 12 November 2016

Keeping it simple

I have so much stress in my life at the moment that I am keeping it really simple when it comes to knitting. My current WIP is a pair of vanilla latte socks worked in some very pretty Opal sock yarn with silver sparkly bits in it.

Saturday, 29 October 2016

Special gifts

I participated in a yarn swap on Ravelry ;it was my first one and I thoroughly enjoyed putting together a parcel to send to my swap partner in Australia. She sent me this lovely parcel which arrived yesterday and really made my day! The skein of yarn on the left is one of her own hand dyed skeins, which is very special and the one on the right is a lovely soft skein of Australian hand spun yarn. It's called Bunny Mink and is 70% longhaired mink and 30% angora; as it's so deliciously soft, I think it will be ideal for a scarf or cowl. I am planning to use the pretty hand dyed yarn for a pair of socks, but have not yet decided which pattern to use.

I sent my swap partner two skeins of New Zealand made sock wool and a few mini skeins called Poppets, as well as two bars of Whittaker's chocolate and a pretty scarf. I was a bit worried as to whether my swap partner would be happy with the gifts I chose for her, given that we don't know one another personally, but she sent me a message and said that she was very pleased with her package.

Sunday, 23 October 2016

Baby knits

I have been doing some baby knitting and recently finished a sweater and two hats as modelled by this little cutie! These items were not knitted with anyone in particular in mind, but will go into my 'baby bottom drawer'.

Saturday, 15 October 2016

October update

I have been quite busy at work and at home, so have done not very much in the way of knitting. It's been a case of just doing a few rows in the evenings while listening to an audiobook, but having said that, I did manage to finish a baby hat over this weekend and have also completed a baby jumper, but still need to sew it up and knit up the neck.

I am still working on my sock yarn squares, albeit rather slowly, but it is a long term project, so I am not too worried about my lack of progress. Last night I did some work on the sweater I started about six weeks ago, but I am not very happy with the yarn, as it has a tendency to split, which I find very frustrating. I am using bamboo needles, so I wondered whether I should perhaps try other needles and see whether they make any difference; if I still have problems, I might consider frogging the project, which would be a pity, as I bought 13 skeins of yarn for the sweater.

Apart from knitting, I have been doing quite a lot of reading lately. I read The Girl On The Train and then went to see the movie last week with a couple of the ladies from my meet up group. The book club book for this month is The Lake House by Kate Morton, a book which I thoroughly enjoyed and finished reading last night. It has over 500 pages and I was a bit worried about not being able to finish it in time for the book club dinner which is on Tuesday 18 October, but I found the story so absorbing that I just couldn't put it down!


Friday, 30 September 2016

Sock yarn squares

I have been knitting some squares from leftover sock yarn; I have only done a few, but plan to do some more over the coming months and will probably use them to make a couple of cushion covers. The two skeins of Opal sock yarn pictured here are really pretty, as they have glittery bits of silvery thread in the yarn. I ordered them online from Knit World in Wellington; they arrived today and helped to brighten up an otherwise rainy and gloomy day.

Saturday, 3 September 2016

My new project

I recently bought this book from Knit World, as I like classic knits and am planning a few additions to my knitwear collection.

I have chosen this sweater which also appears on the front cover and am using Patons Bluebell 5ply, as I want a sweater which is not too thick and can be layered over long sleeved shirts.

I chose this burgundy shade for my sweater, as it will go with black, grey or navy skirts and trousers and also denim jeans.

Tuesday, 23 August 2016

My recent projects

I have been doing some knitting, albeit rather slowly, and recently finished a pair of socks for my husband. I had bought two 100 gram skeins of Nako Boho sock yarn and after I'd finished the socks, found that I had quite a bit of yarn left, so I made a cowl for myself.

Saturday, 13 August 2016

A time of sadness

My beloved dad passed away on 1 August after a long illness. He had Parkinson's disease and the last two years of his life were extremely difficult, not only for him, but for my mother, who was his primary caregiver. In June 2014, thanks to the generosity of Bevan, my eldest son, I was able to go back to South Africa to for a visit and got to spend some quality time with my dad. He was quite frail at that stage, but mentally had not deteriorated much, whereas in his final days, dementia took hold and his lucid moments were few and far between.

My dad was the kind of man who was well liked by all who knew him and in his own unassuming and quiet way, was an inspiration to many. I was not able to go to South Africa for the funeral, so I sent some flowers to my mother and my husband and I went to our local church to light candles and say some prayers for my dad and the rest of my family.

While I was at home on bereavement leave, I was sent several messages of condolence on Facebook. Some messages were from family members and friends in South Africa and others were from some of  my colleagues here in New Zealand and they all meant a great deal to me.

I was also given cards and flowers by my husband, my younger son and his partner, his partner's mother and some work colleagues and they went a long way towards helping me feel better.

It saddened me that I was not able to say my final 'goodbye' to my father in person, but I am happy that his passing was peaceful and that his pain and suffering are over at last. He has gone, but will never be forgotten and will live on in my heart forever.

Saturday, 16 July 2016

July Update

I rearranged the furniture in my craft room and moved my armchair away from the window, as the weather is really chilly now and it's much cosier this way, especially in the evenings.

The past couple of weeks have been really busy at work and as I have been very tired in the evenings, I have not spent as much time in my craft room as usual and have not done very much in the way of knitting, either. I have been going to bed early most nights, which has given me the opportunity to catch up with my reading.

After I'd finished my second Mr Greenjeans cardigan I knitted a couple of Irish Hiking Cowls and am now busy working on a pair of socks for my husband. At the moment I am not planning any large projects, so  once the socks are finished, I'll probably use up some of my stash by knitting smaller items.

This jar contains several balls of leftover sock yarn and I have been tempted to start knitting squares for a blanket, but am not sure whether I really want to embark on a long term project at this stage. I found a pattern for such a blanket on Ravelry; I've printed it out and filed it and every so often I look at it and say to myself " Should I or shouldn't I?"

Two weeks ago I went out to dinner with my work colleagues; we went to an Indian restaurant and had a very pleasant evening. I had mango chicken which was cooked in a mild but spicy sauce, as well as some garlic naan bread, which I enjoyed very much.

About four weeks ago I went to the cinema and saw Me Before You, the film based on the novel by Jojo Moyes . As I was keen to read the book before seeing the film, I requested it from my local library, only to find that there were literally hundreds of other people waiting to read it, so I went to a bookshop and bought myself a copy. It's a really sad story, but I found it so compelling that I just couldn't put it down and then went on to buy the sequel, After You, which I also enjoyed very much.

I have also been to the cinema to see Love and Friendship, which is based on Jane Austen's novella, Lady Susan. I thoroughly enjoyed the film, which was very amusing and would love to buy the DVD when it is available in stores or online.

Sunday, 19 June 2016

WWKIP Day 2016

The knitting group which I used to belong to and attended regularly while  I was doing temp work meets on Tuesday mornings, so when I started my permanent job in July 2014, I was no longer able to go to the meetings. Last year they had their WWKIP Day on a weekday and I missed out, but this year it was held on Saturday, so I decided to go along and catch up with them.

The meeting was held in a local library and many of the regular members of the group were there, busily knitting scarves and hats for the Auckland City Mission, a charity which looks after homeless people. Given that I hadn't been to any meetings for so long, I just took along my current WIP, an Irish Hiking Scarf neck warmer.

I spent an enjoyable couple of hours chatting and knitting and then went to have some lunch before heading for home.

Saturday, 18 June 2016

Grey Irish Hiking Cowl

I had some yarn left after completing my Mr Greenjeans cardigan, so I made another Irish Hiking Cowl. The Irish Hiking Scarf pattern is one of my all time favourite knitting patterns, so I have used it to make several scarves, as well as a couple of Irish Hiking neck warmers, which are really snug and cosy on cold winter's days.

Friday, 10 June 2016

FO: Mr Greenjeans 2

At last I have finished my cardigan! Last weekend I washed and blocked it and this morning I took this photo.

Saturday, 28 May 2016

May update

It is now almost the end of May and winter is here! The weather was mild in March and April, but during this month, it became decidedly chilly and we have been having a fair amount of rain, as well.
I have unpacked all my winter clothes and am now working hard to finish my Mr Greenjeans cardigan which I started in early April and had put aside for a couple of weeks while working on a few small projects. I have now finished one sleeve and have made a start on the second, so am hoping to have it all done within a another week or two.

I enjoy knitting washcloths and dishcloths when I'm in the mood for some easy knitting and recently made a lacy washcloth for myself, as well as some new dishcloths for the kitchen.

After I'd finished my teal Mr Greenjeans cardigan last winter I had some yarn left over and have used some of it to make this Irish Hiking Cowl.

Teal is one of my favourite colours and I think it looks especially good with black.

Sunday, 8 May 2016

Dishcloths and washcloths

I decided to take a break from my Mr Greenjeans cardi and as I felt like working on a couple of small and easy projects, I opted for dishcloths and washcloths. I have been working on the yellow dishcloth while watching TV and started the blue lacy washcloth one evening last week while relaxing in my craft room listening to an audiobook.

Tuesday, 26 April 2016

April update

I had a week's leave at the beginning of April and since then have been really busy at work, so this month has gone very quickly for me.

On the knitting front, I cast on my current project, a Mr Greenjeans cardigan, on 7 April and have been spending some enjoyable hours working on it either while listening to audiobooks or watching DVDs. Series five of Call The Midwife has not yet been screened on TV in New Zealand, but I was able to buy the DVD online and spent a weekend 'binge watching' all the episodes, with my knitting in my hands and a cup of tea beside me.

As Monday was Anzac Day, we had a long weekend and DH and I managed to catch up on some chores. He cleaned the oven and I got all my ironing up to date, which was very time consuming and resulted in a rather sore back, but it was a relief to get it all done.

I also spent the Saturday afternoon doing some sewing, as my son had bought a pair of jeans which needed hemming and a pair of shorts which had a torn pocket, so I put on my audiobook and got stuck in!

The weather has been quite mild, but there is a chill in the air now, so I have been unpacking and washing most of my winter clothes, with the exception of my thicker jumpers and cardigans.

Monday, 25 April 2016

WIP: Mr Greenjeans

I am making good progress with my second Mr Greenjeans cardigan which I cast on just over two weeks ago.

Thursday, 7 April 2016

Light blue cabled tea cosy

I have just recently finished this cabled tea cosy which I knitted while taking part in a one skein KAL on Ravelry. I still have a bit more of this light blue DK yarn in my stash, which I might use to knit a little baby or toddler's jumper.

Friday, 18 March 2016

WIP : Lacy Scarf

I started this lacy scarf about two weeks ago, but have not made much progress. The pattern for this scarf comes from the UK Simply Knitting magazine and is one I have used before.

FO: Hat and bootees

I knitted a cute little hat and a pair of bootees which I think go well with the rest of the Everything Emma doll's outfit.

March update

It's now over a month since I last posted here. I find that during the working week I am tired in the evenings and after dinner I tend to  make a beeline for my craft room to spend a relaxing hour or two knitting and listening to an audiobook, usually with a cup of tea beside me.

During the summer I spent quite a bit of time doing some patchwork and only worked on a couple of small projects, the latest being this hat and sweater for Tessie Bear.

I have three projects on my needles at the moment; the first is a lacy scarf which I cast on about two weeks ago, the second is a little baby cardigan and the third a baby hat. I am knitting the cardigan and hat for my Everything Emma doll, so am making the premature baby sizes, as they are  a perfect fit for a baby doll.

It is now autumn in the Southern Hemisphere and here in New Zealand daylight saving is due to end the weekend after Easter - a sure sign that winter is on it's way! My thoughts are now turning to winter clothing and I am planning to knit myself a new cardigan. I bought the yarn last year and have chosen a pattern, so will probably make a start on it in another week or two.

Sunday, 7 February 2016

Patchwork Hexagons

I finished this pink patchwork mat today and think it looks really pretty on the round table which is next to my armchair in my craft room.

FO: Blue Cabled Tea Cosy

The pattern for this tea cosy is one of my favourites, which is why this is my fourth project I have completed, using this pattern which is free on Ravelry.

Saturday, 30 January 2016

FO: Opal Verbundenheit Socks

Finished at last! I started these socks in November last year and only finished them a few days ago. I have a drawer full of hand knitted socks, so will probably not be knitting any more for a while. I do find that once I have completed a pair of socks, I always have some yarn left, so I wind it into a small ball and add it to my sock yarn jar which is on my sewing table and is just visible in this photograph.
I recently came across a pattern for mitred squares; it was originally designed for knitting up squares from scraps of leftover, although heavier yarns and larger needles could be used if one wanted larger squares.
The pattern is very popular on Ravelry and some knitters have created beautiful blankets and cushion covers from their sock yarn squares, which would have taken many squares and much knitting! I tend to be the sort of knitter who starts a project with the end product in mind, so at first I wasn't sure that I would have the patience to attempt such a long term project. I have now completed my first square and love the look of it, so am going to knit some more from the rest of my sock yarn scraps and at a later stage will decide what to do with my squares.

Monday, 25 January 2016

FO: Saartje's Bootees

I have used the pattern for these sweet little bootees before; they are very small, so are a perfect fit for a doll.