A Bit Overwhelmed

Slightly fraught at the moment.

The tooth which has been hurting, a lot, since December, was extracted today. I currently have no feeling in one half of my face, but that means there’s no pain at the moment. So that’s good then.

I went to the funeral last week for my ex-husband’s mother. Sad but nice at the same time. She was 99.

There is a possibility that one of my favourite people may be moving a very long way away. As far away as one can get, in fact.

One of the most difficult relationships in my life has just got much worse, partly because the other party screamed (yes, screamed) at me the other day. I didn’t scream back though. But am not happy.

My blood pressure is a bit odd at the moment. Unsurprisingly, I guess.

But I’m sure it will all turn out ok in the end. I have no brain space for anything else at all.

And the garden is lovely. The weather is lovely. Hubby is lovely. And my French friends are coming over and we will see them this weekend.

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Knitting. Gardening. Organising.

The weather is lovely at the moment, which is almost unheard of for a British Bank Holiday. The cat is loving it and is in and out of the garden, checking she has food, then scampering back outside again. And she’s ten years old now, so scampering is really good.

Gardening has been a joy. Everything’s growing and green and pretty.

The knitting has been a bit up and down. Knitted a hat for a Christmas present which was supposed to be worked in the round. The cables were so curly, even after being straightened in hot water, I just couldn’t deal with it, so knitted it flat. It looked ok until I sewed it up, and it was a disaster. So after considering the alternatives (dumping it or giving it to the charity shop – nobody would have bought it anyway) I unpicked it and knitted up a different pattern, in the round, and it’s great. Thank goodness.

Also started a pattern called Zick Zack which several people at the knitting group have  done in various colourways, and that was a disaster too. It’s a 12 stitch repeat, with one increase and one decrease in each one. Got the hang of it fairly quickly, but after six rows (every damn time!) I was one stitch out in one of the repeats. I wasn’t sure if I was not increasing when I should or decreasing when I shouldn’t, or whether I’d simply dropped a stitch, but I just couldn’t see which. So. I decided not to do it in 4ply cotton (can’t wear wool), or in two different colours, but have bought some double knitting variegated cotton (Sirdar Cotton Prints DK, in Sea Glass). I am going to cast on tonight and we shall see.

However. I have successfully knitted a bumblebee from Let’s Knit magazine, and although it was a big faff, I’m very pleased with it. Also, five months after purchasing the yarn, finished a V neck top for hubby. Rowan worsted yarn, pale grey, pattern called Textured V Neck Vest. The neckline was a bit fiddly, but it’s a success I’d say.

I’m having a bit of a meltdown about blasted circular needle cables. They drive me crazy. I have mostly interchangeables, some fixed, but I’ve been keeping them curled up and trying to straighten them out when I use them. It’s not working.

So I have a new plan. I’ve ordered a wrap/roll for keeping the needle tips in, which will take up less space than the 2 x 3 litre Really Useful Boxes, and for the actual cables, have ordered some cotton reels.  This is what it should look like when I’m done. Thank you Jennifer T.

And buoyed by my successful research, this morning had a BIG sort out of my knitting bag/s. I keep a bag with my current project in it, and various specific bits and bobs. I also keep a bigger bag nearby with various generally useful bits and bobs, and the next pattern I’m planning to knit.

The clue, you may have spotted, is in the “various” and “bits and bobs”. I managed to sort out what is useful/useless and sort it into what I need to dump, what I occasionally use and what I always need, and have emptied one complete little box. The other little boxes are also much lighter, and better organised, so I only need to carry one of them with me at all times.

In the longer box is a yellow row counter. It’s the best one I’ve ever had. The centre is metal, and sprung, and is at least 50 years old. You can’t buy them now, they’re for sale as “retro” on ebay, but it has never, ever broken. The ones you buy now are all plastic, and break very easily. I think it’s called “built in obsolescence”. Very aggravating.

The denim bag was made for me by my French friend from an old pair of jeans. I lined it and took the Velcro out so there’s nothing to colour or snag on the yarn. It always, always prompts compliments. So thank you again, Réjane!

Some people (my family) think I’m a bit of a neat freak, but I find that order makes my life so much easier. I get very frustrated very quickly if I can’t find something I need, not least because there is a real risk I’ll lose the stitch/my place in the pattern or just forget what the hell I’m doing.

So there we are. Ups and downs as usual. But mostly ups.

Harrumph!

On the plus side, after the Royal Mail debacle with a parcel, I eventually phoned up Marks and Spencers and explained, and they simply replaced the order, no charge. Phew. So it was sent to me, and wrapped, and sent on to the little boy who had his second birthday on Saturday 30th March, in Dublin. All fine.

However.

My spectacles broke, and cost me £60 for a new frame, into which the optician inserted my current lenses.

My hairdryer died (not terribly pleased, it was quite expensive and hasn’t lasted that long) so I had to order a new one, which arrived today.

A tooth broke. Now then. This is the very tooth that has been causing me considerable pain since mid-December. I managed to get an appointment with the dentist, and he just stuck a bit on top of the broken bit. No anaesthetic, and hopefully no more pain. I’m really hoping that is the end of that particular story. Any more problems with that tooth might involve a crown. But still. There is at least a Plan B.

So all those things were a nuisance, but fixable, and fixed.

I have just been in the garden, watering plants I have just pruned (hydrangeas, sage and fuchsia) and shrubs I planted yesterday. That sounds lovely, doesn’t it! Well, it was eventually ok, but the spray gun nozzle thingamajig on the hose had been left out all winter, and had split because of the frost. We do know that happens, so why we didn’t put the nozzle away I really don’t know. I swore a bit (a lot), under my breath. Luckily we have another one so I used that and it was fine for the back garden.

The front garden, where the new shrubs are (photinias), is another story. The hose is on a reel, so won’t go up the side passage because there is too much stuff which lives up there (recycling wheelie bin, boxes for glass, box for tip, blah blah blah). So I went to get the other hose out of the shed. It’s very heavy, and long, and was in a terrible muddle, despite my best efforts to keep it unmuddled. Gah! what a pain it was to sort it all out. Then I had to actually do the watering, then wind it up again, which was an equal pain, because you need to put a twist in every loop so it lies flat. Much silent swearing in my head.  Next, I went back into the shed to sort out the lawnmower flex which was in a muddle too because I’d got so cross with the hose. But that was light, and easy to wind, and twist, and loop.

I’ve just ordered one of those expandable crinkly hoses (https://www.amazon.co.uk/KINGTOP-Hose-Expandable-Hosepipe-Function/dp/B01J78W5OY) and two more nozzle thingies. So I won’t need to do all that again, hopefully, as rain is forecast for the next three days.

And I’m not even going to mention the complete and utter omnishambles that is our current government. What a total f*ck up. I could do a better job than that. In fact – no, no, no. Not going to start another rant. Hubby’s doing tea, I’m drinking a nice glass of water, and am hoping to finish a knitting project tonight.

Aaaand – breathe!

Frustrating few days

First of all, Happy International Women’s Day!

The Procion dye arrived, and I dyed three tops, and it worked really, really well. No mess, no blotchiness, no dye everywhere. One top has a small hole in it so it’s going to the charity shop. I put another one on today and within five minutes managed to get a black smudge on it, so it’s in the wash. Hey ho.

Had an email from Royal Mail to say a parcel would arrive on Wednesday. No parcel. Still. Went round the very frustrating loop on the internet, clicking on links they’d sent me, and the parcel was clearly at the local office. Even downloaded their stupid app, which wouldn’t let me log in to it, although I could log in with exactly the same details on tinterweb.

Eventually, today, I phoned up. What an absolute nightmare. I spent 25 minutes holding on for a proper, real, live person, who (thank goodness) was really helpful, and explained that there had been a strike at that particular office, but they were all back at work now, and not to worry. The parcel will be officially counted as “missing” next Friday, so then I have to get in touch with the senders, who have to claim, then eventually they refund me. However, this particular parcel is for part of a birthday present, so there is a time constraint for me. I’m just really hoping it arrives, because there’s a whole world of bother otherwise.

Spent yesterday morning comprehensively failing to crochet an Amigurumi toy.  It was too small, too fiddly, the yarn was splitty, and although I can crochet in a basic sort of a way (blankets, granny squares), I’m hopeless at shaping. The stitch count goes to buggery as soon as I’ve finished increasing. Every time. Why? anyhow, have decided that bigger Amigurumi toys work better for me. I’ve done a couple of Olafs, and they’ve been fine. Meanwhile, will stick to the blanket I’m doing, and knitting the top for hubby.

On the upside, two tops from John Lewis arrived. I’d ordered a brown one and a yellow one, in two different sizes. The brown one, surprisingly, doesn’t look very nice at all. I think it’s because it has a round neck, which isn’t a great look at almost 64. The yellow, however, looks great! and it’s a bit of a departure for me colour-wise. Years ago I had a top in a very similar yellow and loved it. Mm. So the size that doesn’t fit, and the two brown ones, are going back. Yeah.

Also, have discovered that I’ve lost some weight. I only got on the scales because my clothes were feeling a bit big. And I’ve lost 10 lbs in the last 3 – 4 months. Now, I have given up biscuits (work of the devil, have to have at least 3 at a time) altogether, stopped eating crap in between meals (not literal crap, obviously, just sweets and chocolate) and reduced my sugar intake by at least two thirds (I was eating way, way more than 30g a day). So it could just be that. The osteopath said I need to mention it to the doctor though, and I am having some bloods done next week for a routine checkup (on the NHS of course). We shall see. I feel ok, if more tired than usual. And today I’m treating myself to a whole ciabatta roll, warm, with cheese and Marmite for lunch.

Watched Leaving Neverland yesterday. Oh. My. Days. Not sure what to say about that. MJ was clearly a very disturbed, lonely individual. With a child’s emotional development (or lack of) inside a man’s body. And how many lives have been wrecked. And how are we supposed to feel about his incredible talent now? he could sing, and dance, and how. But all that surgery. The chemical straightening of the hair. The skin lightening stuff. Mm.

 

Ups and Downs.

: pulled up loads and loads of “onion weed”. It’s an absolute swine. You get rid of almost all the leaves, which are sort of strap like, and stink of onions, and there’s one or two left. So you dig down as far as you can, and there, hiding, is a whole bunch of tiny little bulbs, just waiting to come up. I started off with a long-handled fork, but had to get down on my hands and knees because the damn things were all muddled up with the hardy geraniums. Then I found a load more all intertwined with the photinia. I had to thread my head in through the branches and just dig with the hand fork. I am keeping my eyes peeled for more of the damn things.

: dropped our lovely red kettle. Only the spout smashed, but still. I’m very clumsy some days. So I phoned hubby, who was at the local Tesco’s, and he bought a new one while he was there. Mmph. It works. It boils water. It’s quite cute. But it’s not red. It’s black.

: whilst crocheting another small blanket (another practice piece), I had been struggling to work out exactly which loops to put the hook through on one of the two pattern rows. I’d done about two thirds of the blanket, and for some reason I decided to tilt the work slightly towards me to see what was what – and bingo! there are the loops I should have been using! so I undid almost the whole thing, and am quite excited, in a nerdy sort of way, to do it again properly. (footnote: the first one has become a “superhero cape” for a certain three year-old, who swishes around in it like a boss).

: went to have a blood test at the local hospital today. It’s a ten minute drive, but there was a very long queue TO GET INTO THE CAR PARK. So I turned around and went to the doctor’s surgery to book the blood test there. No problems with car parking, or car parking fees, and no waiting for an hour and being herded like cattle. And then went home and am drinking tea.

▲: am waiting, agog, for the Procion dye to arrive so that I can dye three white t-shirts cream. It’s a bit of a faff, more faffy than Dylon, but Dylon don’t do the colour I want. It’s quite exciting. I was a bit worried about pre-dye machine washing but remembered I have some “Vanish” in the cupboard which will do very nicely indeed. I’ve also ordered some special dye fixer called soda ash or something. I used to dye old clothes and towels a lot, but last time I used Dylon liquid dye it came up all blotchy, so haven’t done any for years. We shall see.

 

This and that.

Well. The sinus infection has eased somewhat, but not gone away. Face still swollen, still painful but not as bad (well, not all the time anyway). Back to the doctor’s on Monday.

Meanwhile, here is what I’ve been doing craft-wise. The new vest for hubby (grey) which is much easier to knit, and another crochet blanket with more free yarn (pink). I frogged the old vest for hubby back to zero and started again. Needed to do two gauge swatches, and am knitting on size 5mm needles. I’m enjoying knitting it, and the crochet blanket is fun to do as well. Different pattern from the other one. It’s for practice, and I’m feeling better about it each time I start a new thing.

Today is YD’s birthday. 35. I can’t believe it. She wasn’t actually born until 19.10, but still. She’s coming round tomorrow so I’ll do her birthday present then. It’s a secret.

I’m not going to talk about politics, either here, or in the US. It’s a big old mess. An omnishambles, in fact. Too depressing.

 

Thrumming and crochet

Thrummed fingerless mittens for ED, posted today. Crochet blanket in Stylecraft Swirl (Purple Mist) which was free! the edging is in West Yorkshire Spinners Aire Valley DK.

And the last picture is of a pattern I started for hubby. It’s Whelk, by Rowan. I had endless problems trying to make the pattern and the chart readable. This is as far as I got, and I just couldn’t cope with it any more. I even messed up the gauge swatch to start with!

So I have another pattern, imaginatively called Textured V-neck Vest, which is also for worsted yarn. The stitch pattern is similar but looks more my bag. I’m going to do a gauge swatch before I start to make sure I can actually do it.