Saturday, 24 June 2017

Crochet blanket

My lovely crocheted blanket is speeding along nicely!  I'm using Stylecraft special dk from Christine's wool shop and the colours match my decor nicely.  Bertie, my cat, has his eye on it - I really must make him a lap quilt as he's decided after 11 yrs to suddenly become a lap cat only he's not terribly good at it!  Think claws! Ha ha.

In other news my lovely youngest son came home from his 10month trip backpacking and working around New Zealand last week!  Talk about nervy and on the edge!  I've suffered tremendously with anxiety while he's been away!  HE'S had the time if his life - mum here has become angst ridden and dependant on TABLETS ha ha!  My Drs have both been understanding and allowed me to stay on the medication which has had the effect of heightening my mood - not good when you have bipolar!
Still it's done now and he's home!  He's eating very well and hasn't appeared to suffer with jet lag that we've noticed.
Next month at bipolar support group we are covering hypo mania which is what I get so it ought to be interesting!

Saturday, 3 June 2017

Happy half moon

Lots of reasons to be happy at this month, not least the gorgeous half happy moon pattern bySusan Ashcroft which I cast on recently and am much further in.  It's knitted in alternate felted tweed and kidsilkhaze both in shades of orange. I asked for opinions as I feared it may be a little too orange but all comments were positive so I'm knitting on!
Yet more reasons to be happy include two parties! One a 70th and the other a 60th so two celebrations to look forward too!
Best of all though!  My youngest son is returning home from NZ where he has spent last 10months backpacking and travelling!  I am so happy am beside myself and can't wait to give him a hug!
On the other side is the down side of anxiety.
I have been on Med for anxiety the whole time he's been away and my Drs both feel I need to come off them - yup!  You are right this is making me feel anxious!
On Wednesday our bipolar support group is covering this very topic so I'm hoping to get some tips to share on how to deal with this condition.
Finally at the opposite side of happy is a very upsetting conversation I had with one of my sons who rang to ask my opinion of a comment made to a young friend at uni newly diagnosed as bipolar that under no circumstances should she consider having children!  I'm very unhappy at this!
Now to be fair my own Dad had manic depression now known as bipolar disorder, but when I asked my Dr about chances of passing it on he was quite clear that it wasn't a definite yes or no but his opinion was no rather than yes.
I hope I've reassured the young lady and I hope she phones the numbers and gets some guidance and support.
Next time I will report on June's A year of techniques which is a cloch hat with a knitted on side and pin wheel cast on but I've not found any yarn yet for it and as I'm in a yarn diet I can't nip out to buy some!

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

One corner at a time

This is one corner - tidied (cough) I daren't show you any more but it is improving if a little slowly!

De stress

well after the mammoth task of sorting and uploading my stash onto ravelry recently I decided it was time to tackle my wips and yarn and magazines in our lounge.
I love my knitting and there is something comforting about having nice things close by but at the same time it's stressful!
Eventually I couldn't stand it any longer and I tackled the problem head on one bag at a time. Now if I'm honest I didn't get rid of much! More sort of rearranged it - you know what I mean?
I wish I could get stuck in and finish things but I'm afraid I'm more likely to cast ON than cast OFF.

I never change!  As well as being surrounded by wool I'm starting to drink again. This is a bad idea and yesterday I was caught out a treat!  Sat in our local pub posing for Instagram WHO should tap me on the arm and say "hello" but not one but TWO of my Drs!  As I introduced them to dh they both looked pointedly at the bottle of wine I was drinking .. I felt awful because in fact it was my second! Ouch!  Blast it eh? And I've got an appointment next month too - do you suppose he'll remember??

This month at the Bipolar support group we will be covering anxiety - I'll blog more then but I'm looking forward to this subject as it's something I suffer with and have suffered badly since our son went out to NZ for a year - I'm afraid to say he got a brilliant experience and loved every minute while I developed a phobia of lifts, became afraid of lots of silly things and ended up on tablets for it!
He comes home next month and I can't wait!

Sunday, 21 May 2017

Therapy!

There's a fantastic pattern for a shawl called Therapy and my friend helped me put these yarns together and don't they go well?
I'm in need of a spot of therapeutic knitting as one of my sons had an accident involving a glass and a deep serious cut to his forearm and I'm imagining all sorts!
What better than a spot of therapy!
You can see I'm starting to gather patterns and put wool together? I do this to excess but for now it's giving me distraction and comfort.

Happy half moon

The colours don't do it justice but I bought a shawl pattern, happy half moon, and found these perfect yarns!  As I have more than I need I thought I'd knit a pair of twinkle mitts which go perfectly with the shawl. We looked for beads first in orange and then gold and low and behold! What did I have but gold beads!
Now I have a slight problem in that I have a tendency to feel my brain is being read. It manifests itself in my feeling I "get" what I want. The beads being perfect example - they weren't even in my stash bag of beads but on my nest of tables where I sit! How spooky is that? Further! I don't recall buying them!
Oh! Before you worry! There is a med I take for it!  My P.doc is keeping me on these!
Now all I need to do is knit them all!?

Saturday, 20 May 2017

Baby knitting

 Above are the two Aran colours I plan to put with the cream for Maisie's Blethin Junior Cardigan which will be a first for me as it is knit all in one and steeked!  Below is the yarn I chose to knit a beautiful cardigan for baby Chloe.   I will post details as I go!


Stash and other yarns

this week I'm embarrassed to say I pulled out my extensive stash and flung it at my patient and long suffering friend and shrieked a bit at excitement while we planned how best to sort it all out.

First off we looked at my pile of WIPs which upsets me more than I show!  I had such hopes of knitting it all but instead of finishing it I cast on another and another. Even my friend was shocked especially as we'd already had a session of ripping out!   Like I say I'm embarrassed!

Next we sorted wool into bags e.g. Garments, sock, KSHaze etc. We soon ran out and my son's bed is piled high still!
Photographing it was a mammoth task!  Recording it too!  But it's nearly all done, some 247 lots or types of yarn! Phew!

But how does it make me FEEL?
I feel thrilled! I feel excited! I feel ashamed!  I feel upset!
How did I get so much?
Most of it came about through periods of hyper mood swings where I felt I had to have it, I got pleasure from bringing home bags of it, but some or I should say a lot of it was comfort buying - when my mood was low and/or I suffered with anxiety I would go out and shop for wool or even buy online.

I'm not alone in comfort buying and a friend is bravely cataloging some of hers to sell.
A friend has suggested I do this but I'm a/ not ready and b/ not able to contemplate this just yet.
After my Mother passed away I amassed a huge collection of material and patterns and it took me 12 yrs to bring myself to be brave and discard it. I did it with my husbands help and I think it's a job to do with a sympathetic and true friend as there is an emotional attachment to craft things.

Well in other news I've seen my GP and he's asked me to cut down on my meds and said I was NOT to buy any wool or patterns in the next month!

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Curved DPNS

You know me I can't resist a good gadget and when a FaceBook pal asked had I seen these I went on the hunt!  They are a set of three Neko curved DPNs and I bought mine from Tangled Yarn for around a fiver or so.
I've cast on for a pair of socks for my son in Regia highland tweed now discontinued but I have three or four balls left and they match the tension for my new needles.
I caston half to one and half to the other and used the third to knit with and though a bit fiddly to begin with it's surprisingly fun to use.
Our son came down from Sheffield for the week and we enjoyed his company and sorry to see him return yesterday.
In other knitting news I've set up project pages for Sarah's Christmas gifts and another couple of shawls and cowls I want to knit.
I'm not doing too well with my restraint having just ordered a squillion needles including a set all from Meadow Yarns sale items.
My Dr's won't be pleased with me, I'm supposed to be reining in!  My Psychiatrist urged me to drop a med - my happy pill hence why I wouldn't agree! And we compromised at half per day. Today I persuaded my GP to increase the dose and I've got to return in a month with a promise to stop if I start overdoing things.
The trouble with bipolar is that it's hard to say what's my mood disorder and what's my reaction to the loveliness of knitting!  I've always had enthusiasms just lately slightly more!
Oh! And did I say? Have seen the loveliest of tops from Erica Knight studio linen collection! And have the perfect yarn for it. As well as which I want to knit another Rowan Martha!  I've the yarn for that as well!
Next week we shall be back to normal and my friend will come round for a knit and chat while we continue to watch The Killing.
Next time I'll blog on progress on my a year of techniques project.

Saturday, 8 April 2017

Support group talk and knitting/yarns etc

 I bought these two balls of WYS dk to knit the High Pines Cowl that I bought ages ago on a whim, the colour is more mustard in real life and I think it will knit well.  I bought them from Ana at Stitch Solihull on the occasion of her shop's 4th birthday celebration.

Below is a progress shot of the lovely Soft Sunday shawl by Suvi Simola Designs, the pattern is easy and very straightforward to follow which makes it a pleasure to knit I've done 4 lace repeats of 8 now.

2

The photos above show progress on this months A Year of Techniques challenge of Intarsia by way of a shawl knit in the fluffy Cumulus by Fyberspates.  Progress is slow on account of the highly challenging pattern instructions - the actual intarsia is a doddle by comparison and while I'm enjoying it I have to confess to finding it a tricky project!
My cat, Bertie, quite enjoys me knitting with fluffy yarns and when he got his teeth into this one I thought I was in trouble - three separate balls of fluffy yarn, a complex pattern a dropped stitch and a cat that wants to sit on your lap does NOT make for a fun experience!  we got through though.

The next three yarns are what I bought from Ana's guests - Coastal Colours and The Knitting Goddess - at her shop's 4th year birthday celebration.  The turquoise and grey from TKG are for the lovely I Heart Stripes shawl by Louise Tilbrook and the other? thats just for being lovely!  I'm sure I'll find a pattern for it.

I went with my knitting friends and we had a good time looking at wool and planning projects and Brenda kindly offered to wind my skeins so I'm all ready to go!



In other knitty news this month, I can report that at last you can enter my sewing room and actually walk on the floor!  all the yarn that was just sitting in corners and in the middle and all around are now bagged and tidied away - thanks to my long suffering dh for the help in this!

I feel somewhat embarassed at having such a lot of yarn, fabrics and other craft stuff but it is my main interest and has come about over many years of collecting.

This month at the Bipolar Support Group we had an interesting presentation and Q&A session with a Pharmacist and we had a talk on the different types of medication including Lithium which quite a few of us are either on or have been on and this coupled with recent article detailing only some 30% of people successfully respond to it, I was able to get my questions answered.
It was so interesting that Alison is going to try and book her for a future session.
The group was fuller than usual this time and it was pretty difficult to get your voice heard.

Friday, 31 March 2017

Crochet

A long term goal of mine is to learn to crochet and with the help of my friend I have been crocheting a throw, it's basically a large never ending granny square in colours to match my wallpaper it looks lovely thrown over my sofa.
I am also doing a series of smaller squares joined together to make a second. I have no interest at the moment in crocheting garments but I would like to expand my interest so a couple of friends and I are going to Sarah Hazell, tutor, for a workshop in May!
We are crocheting mandalas which is spooky as they are mentioned in this months newsletter from the Bipolar services. In fact strangely they mention topics of interest e.g. Knitting and cross stitch and mindfulness too!  This month we are having a Pharmacist give a talk and there is an interesting article on why Lithium seems to work for 30% of patients and not for the remaining 70%. I'm one of the lucky ones that does respond but unfortunately a weight gain was inevitable and I've struggled with this the past few years. To that end dh and I are on a quest to eat healthily and already we have lost a few lbs.  
Next week I will report on the Bipolar support group.

A Year of Techniques- March

This year is going to be exciting because I've joined in with the lovely Jen Arnall-Culliford for her A Year of Techniques in which each month brings a new project to knit and learn a technique and we've had the first - helical stripes knitting a pair of lovely arm warmers, pattern by Jen herself. At the end of the year we will have covered 12projects and a book to keep, plus patterns.
I am glad that I joined in and Jen's ravelry  group is lovely and friendly and no one tut tutted at my minor mistakes in this first project.
I wound the ball that I got from buying the kit (optional) and set off knitting picking up the technique easily and I enjoyed this project very much - it was fun to do and I'd do it again.
Next week sees month two and all we know is the needle size and gauge- I shall have to be patient!





New knitterly lovely things

This month saw me buy some lovely things for knitting, as well as yarn and patterns I enjoy trying new needles and love a new project bag. In fact I have dozens of bags and all stuffed with wips which I am trying to do something about, but there's room for another gorgeous bag from the gorgeous Sarah Hazell !
The needles are the lovely Zings.
The book is The Mindfulness in Knitting by Rachael Matthews







Friday, 3 March 2017

Time Management

At this months bipolar support group meeting we learnt about time management and the extra stresses our condition has when suffering from a higher or lower than average mood.  It was very interesting and going round the table it was apparent that making lists was popular but that we needed to be kinder to ourselves and generally relax the pressure to do everything.
They do a "hot cross bun" to show the way a feeling can affect the biology and the whole thing was interesting.
I like a list!  A list makes me feel secure and confident!  I make lists for shopping and menu planning and I use ravelry to make my own version of a list to control my knitting. I often wish I could start again on ravelry, there are things I'd do differently like using the queue function and favourites to show what I really intend knitting vs what I'd like to knit!
With my friend's help I am slowly getting organised in my craft room and starting to manage my extensive stash a little better, for example we are writing pattern suggestions and putting it into a bag with the yarn.
Being organised helps my thinking- at the moment I am hypomanic which means I have racing thoughts (of the knitterly variety especially) and feel I can do far more than is reasonable and am liable to get get excited at the thought of casting on yet another project.
I thought I would do a review of what I currently have on the go and this includes my lovely crochet blanket, my striped shawl, colourwork cowl and the newest projects - toe up socks and the year of techniques arm warmers!
Next time I will blog about my knitting in particular the helical stripes technique which is simply delicious!
Next month at the bipolar group we are having a Pharmacist visit to talk about meds!

Monday, 20 February 2017

My socks are finished!



 I


I finally finished my socks!  They've taken me just short of two years to complete!  Never mind they are done now and are a perfect fit!  Next new project is the lovely Susie, a colourwork hat, by the lovely Sarah Hazell. I plan to use the hand dyed mini skeins as above.   Of course there will be more socks on the needles, just a question of deciding which!

Sunday, 19 February 2017

A selection of photos












I'm still here

I'm still here and still knitting!
I thought of creating a brand new blog for the next year but then thought it a shame to discard all my lovely references to patterns and photographs so in the end decided on a new title instead.  And a commitment to blog more frequently.
I've joined up with Jen and Jim's A Year of Techniques and splashed out on their spring kit.
The first pattern and technique comes out in March and I shall blog my progress.

As well as aiming to follow the Year of Techniques I am aiming to challenge myself to a/ finish more wips and b/ knit from stash this year. Further I want to learn more about crocheting and doing two projects to keep my hand in while I wait for a lovely course my friend, Jan, and I plan to go on.

With my mood disorder, Bipolar, it can be difficult at times to control certain behaviours such as pattern buying, yarn buying and I suffer dreadfully with caston-itis!  Ha ha!  But with the help of supportive friends and a friendly support group I am hoping to learn more solutions to this problem.