Monday, 28 July 2008

lots of fabulous yarn news to report - I've finally learnt to crochet. It took me days on and off between migraines because I just couldn't get my head around it. But now I am getting there and have started making a Bender from Futurama for Luke. On first leg so far with lovely squeaky acrylic. I'm going to embroider the black stripes on later. Trying to add the black yarn into a round may just be the thing that sends me off the edge! I am really delighted to have finally started to get the hang of it as Luke has wanted a Bender for ages

I acquired a new spinning book called the Alden Amos Big Book of Handspinning which is very interesting - some complicated stuff in there which I've skipped so far while I'm on the stupid drugs.
I rang a lady today to enquire about buying a chocolate baby alpaca fleece which should keep me out of trouble for a bit. She was lovely and is going to get back to me so watch this space.

Luke and I went to see Wall - E today. He loved it - I thought it was a bit tedious truth be told.
He took us to the Roman Museum in Cirencester on Saturday and it was really interesting. He'd obviously been listening when he went with school as he was able to guide us around and tell us lots of interesting facts. Well worth a visit.

Had a couple of migraines this week (one of which indirectly involved a visit to A&E which I won't go into - you really don't want to know) but generally I think the Lyrica tablets are helping at 400mg a day (150mg am, 250mg pm) - I am having more days I feel better and are able to do things. I actually had 4 days without a migraine over the past weekend which is just fabulous. Much as I hate taking anti-convulsants I am crossing my fingers that these may be helping. Its been a really hard 4 weeks getting the dose right though, harder than any other drug I've tried so far. I don't even want to think what its going to be like coming off them.
No news from cardiologist or neurologist yet about seeing them.

Sorry no photos today - its been 31C here today so all the animals are laid out unconscious in various locations around the house. Not a pretty site!

Sunday, 20 July 2008

I've managed to spin another bobbin of yarn. I dyed this to ply with the purpley one I spun earlier in the week but its completely the wrong green so I've just used it for practice. The main thing I've learnt in the past day is to treadle slowly and not go like the clappers. It really helps to make sure you don't over twist and make barbed wire!

I'm going to spin this next - isn't it beautiful? Its merino/ silk hand dyed roving I got from Needleworks Pleasure on ebay. It will be good practice for the 100g of merino/silk undyed roving I also have in my stash. I've just noticed there is a dog hair right in the middle of my lovely roving. bloody animals!

Anyway, I sent Mike down to Argos yesterday to buy me the cheapest steamer he could so I could handpaint roving/ yarn and set the dyes by steam = hopefully less chance of felting. He came home with said steamer. Then yesterday afternoon we went to a festival cum jumble sale at a local park and found a huge tefal steamer for £2.50! So Argos steamer went back to Argos and I have a huge steamer to play with!

We all had a lovely day yesterday and I actually got out of the house! Still feeling ok today (hallelujah!) so going to Starbucks for coffee with the ginger one and then Luke is taking us to the Roman Museum. I have a sneaking suspicion that Mike would rather be watching the Grand Prix lol. Shame. Saying that Luke may be negotiable if the bribe is adequate.

Mr Sparkles is making the most of the sunny weather and has installed himself in the garden for the morning.

Saturday, 19 July 2008

I've wound my first completed handspun into a ball and started knitting a scarf / neckwarmer with it - I had to go up quite a few needle sizes as it made a very dense almost bullet proof fabric on 5mm needles. Mike joked I could make chain mail out of it. I did not laugh with him. The whole winding episode encouraged me to buy a niddy noddy off ebay which hopefully will enable me to gauge how much yarn I've actually made and make big skeins for easy dyeing/ washing etc. And i bought some lovely forest green merino roving to spin into thin singles and ply with the bobbin of purple/ green/ blue I spun earlier in the week.

Looking forward to Luke starting his summer holidays next week as he is good company and hopefully we will be able to do some fun things. He has been studying Romans at school lately and is very keen so we've got some visits lined up to Roman Villas etc (luckily the area round here is riddled with them as we are near Cirencester). The National Trust also has some Civil War days at one of their castles so we'll go to that too. Luke has said I can make him a jumper for the winter - he doesn't usually wear jumpers or even pyjamas as he is so warm blooded. He likes to help out with the treadleing of the wheel when the mood takes him ...

Been feeling particularly fed up on the migraine front this week - have had bad headache etc past 6 days. I feel like I have ceased to exist sometimes. My life had just stopped - can't go out by myself in case I get migraine, can't work, can't even take Luke to school lots of days lately due to sedative side effects of Lyrica. Feel I am on the scrapheap at 39. Luckily Mike is really supportive and loving, and Luke just seems to get on with things.
Wallow over.

Wednesday, 16 July 2008

Heres my first handspun yarn - I love how the colours have not mixed too much. It was a pig to spin though - quite felty in places:

and this is what I am going to spin next. I dyed it myself and its not felted at all and SO much easier to spin. I didn't touch it very much at all while I was dyeing which is what made the difference re felting I think.
Having trouble getting the tension right for this one though. Its very curly as it goes onto the bobbin but is spinning into lovely muted green/apricot colours:

its turned out very curly. I've soaked and whacked it and its now hanging off a coat hanger with a weight on it. fingers crossed!
I could kill my mother. She knows I have a spinning wheel. She announced to me that she'd had a lovely weekend at Fibre and Fleece exhibition in NZ .... and no, she didn't think to get me anything!!!!! grrrr, could kill her.

Tuesday, 15 July 2008

really struggling with my head today. ouch ouch ouch! spent all day in bed but have just got up to spend some time with Mike and Luke. Luke had a friend round after school to play yu gi oh and had a great time. I've just managed to do a bit of spinning. I love my little wheel - she is so smooth. The yarn I'm making is still not very even but coming out a beautiful colour.

Monday, 14 July 2008

I went along to the local Spinning Guild on Saturday which is held at Rove's Farm. The ladies (about 12 of them) could not have been more welcoming and friendly. I managed to break my brake band by over tightening it when I thought I was tightening the other knob. But I managed to fix it ok and got some spinning done. I find I am spinning really finely even on the largest whorl so need to practice spinning a bit thicker - the roving I dyed is a bit felted which doesn't help but looks lovely spun up. I can sit on the sofa and spin which is lovely. Mike is fascinated by the mechanics of the wheel and just sits and stares at it while I am spinning. Bloody engineers.
We had a lovely BBQ at Mike's parents yesterday pm but I got a killer migraine and have really been suffering overnight and today. Broke my 'no painkillers at the moment' rule because I couldn't stand the pain any longer. Mikes just gone to get Luke from school and then I'll go back to bed once I've seen him.
Little Molly has been on duty as 'migraine cat' today - she snuggles right up by my neck which is a comfort. It can be a very long lonely day stuck upstairs. Rosie tries to sneak up and be 'migraine cat' as well when she can. Often I have all 3 animals on the bed with me!

Heres a picture of Luke with Molly - she is his cat who I got for him when he was 5 months old,and they adore each other:

Friday, 11 July 2008

MY SPINNING WHEEL HAS ARRIVED! Mike drove up to deepest darkest Wales and collected my Majacraft Rose for me. She is beautiful and I'm just going to gaze at her tonight. The hound has done a full sniff over and checked her into the house and I've strategically placed Sparky's scratching post in front of it just in case he gets any ideas in the night. I dyed some more BFL today so I've got lots to practice on. Last night I ordered some undyed Merino/ Silk, some undyed bamboo from DT Crafts, where I got my yarn dyes from and have great service, and some undyed superwash BFL and some undyed tencel to try out from World of Wool

I've been very awake today (yay!) and managed to do some more of my never ending Ribbon lace scarf - its a lovely pattern but seems to be going on a bit now

..... and I think I've finally cracked crocheting. I am really cack handed and its been a bit of a struggle but I am getting there finally. Nothing to show for it yet.
But starting to feel alot better now I've reduced dose of Lyrica and haven't had a migraine for a few days (touch wood) so the Lyrica may even be helping.

Luke bought his school report home and it was really good, apart from the bit he had to fill in where he wrote 'I don't like school'. Little ratbag. We made chocolate chip cookies to celebrate end of school week

No prizes for guessing what I'm doing tomorrow.....

Thursday, 10 July 2008

just seem to be sleeping all the time at the moment - can't be bothered doing anything at all. My brain and fingers have disconnected again so can't even knit. Just need to get the right dose of this bloody pregabalin.
Going to go back to bed if I can find room in between the cats.
nup, no room with cats so up watching tv with Luke and trying to get some information about the Roman Museum. But as he 'doesn't answer questions' its proving difficult. 8 yr olds grrr.

I may be getting this little beauty tomorrow if all goes to plan:

photo from Majacraft website

Its a Majacraft Rose spinning wheel. You can read more about it here on the Majacraft website. Its made in New Zealand (like me!) of solid Rimu (unlike me!) and is an ex-display model from Hedgehog Equipment in Wales. Sarah has been very helpful and patient so far - I'm hoping Mike will find out how to use it when he collects it so he can explain it to me v-e-r-y slowly.
I'm sure Sparky can't wait to chase all the bits of yarn like the king pest he is, love him.

Tuesday, 8 July 2008

yay, my fingers are connected to my brain again so I've spent most of the day knitting. Loopy pills reduced down a lot and I'm going to build them up again slowly as needed. I was actually asleep in doctors waiting room when she came to find me so she guessed something was up! Shame I've got a cracking headache but you can't have everything I suppose.

I found this lovely pattern by nOnnahs called flutterby socks so had to go and find something to make them with and have this yarn on its way - its called Painted Desert by Kangaroo Dyer. can't wait for it to arrive. Will have to get a wiggle on with the socks I'm making before I start them though

Monday, 7 July 2008

I've just got out of bed. Its 2pm Monday and I've been in bed since Saturday night. Thats not good, is it? I just sleep and sleep. Saying that, I've got a migraine today but the pain is not too bad so do I trade off the side effect of never leaving my bed for less pain? I'll give it a few days cause I really can't face a killer migraine at the moment but think I'll need to go back to the GP and get the dose of my anti-convulsant lowered, if I have the brain function left by then to do it. Or I might just go to the vet and get it all over with.

Good news is that I received my lace weight yarn in the post today from 100purewool in Uruguay and its lovely. Shame I can't co-ordinate my head and hands enough at the moment to actually use it but heres a picture of the colourway I got:
Its lovely, isn't it? Not sure what I'm going to make yet but as I have 2850 yards it going to take me about 30 years to finish. I'm thinking of this Icarus Shawl by Miriam Felton. Its got to be fairly simple as I'm shit at doing lace.

Saturday, 5 July 2008

feeling better slowly ...

still staggering around but not as much! no migraines so far today which makes for a good day. Had a lovely afternoon with a friend of mine talking about knitting, spinning and her new online shop which specialises in bamboo clothing - I made her gorgeous baby a hat out of bamboo yarn and she liked it so much she investigated it further and her shop is the result. Plus she is desperate not to have to go back to work in the NHS lol!
Having trouble knitting tho cause still can't focus my eyes. Just as well I can touch type.

Friday, 4 July 2008

I'm completely stoned today. This happens everytime I increase the dose of my anticonvulsants. i can barely focus my eyes. I managed to stagger round the park with Rosie and then went back to bed. We saw a little muntjack deer on the path en route to the park. It was smaller than Rosie and took off at a rate of knots.

But at least the horrible headache I had last night has waned a bit.
I'm trying to keep away from my knitting as I'll just muck it up in my current state. I think I must be a really slow knitter though - I was talking to Mum and she says she knits a skein a day! bloody hell, her needles must be smoking.

I've got some roving steaming in the oven. I've dyed it to go with some I dyed the other day (see photo below). All I need now is a spinning wheel to play with. I managed to sell my digital piano on ebay so have some money to spend on me - I went to lessons for 2 terms but are really too whacked out either with migraine or drugs to treat migraine to actually be any good. But I feel a bit sad its going now its sold. But at least it won't be sat in the corner making me feel guilty for not practising on it.

Thursday, 3 July 2008

not a great day

really not feeling well today. went to GP - he was a locum who could barely speak english which was a complete waste of time. I managed to get him to agree that increasing my Lyrica drug would not kill me so have increased it to 450mg per day. Its supposed to help stop my migraines but I really want it to stop my back pain too, from where I have a herniated disc in my lumbar spine. The neurontin I took previously worked a treat for my back pain but did jack for my migraines.
So I'm going to feel very stoned for a few days from the increase. Luckily the people around me are used to that now so probably won't even notice.
But at least its Pie Day - our local butcher always makes his pies on a Thursday so i'll send Mike down to get me one later.

If you see this dog today, avoid her at all costs. She has a bit of a wind problem. God knows what she has been eating this time:

Wednesday, 2 July 2008

damm damm damm!

I'm just swearing because I can't seem to do a row of my ribbon lace scarf without dropping a stitch somewhere - Its been going really well until I blogged about it yesterday and now its cursed lol! I think I'm probably getting a migraine actually because I lose all contact between brain and fingers when I am. damm damm damm. I wanted to play with dyeing more roving today too!
I'm gonna have to go and lie down and spend some quality time with BBC World Service, my migraine radio station of choice. You'd be surprised about how much useless information I've gained over the past year listening to it. I'm well up on coups in remote countries and stuff like that.
I'll leave you with a picture of Mr Sparkles attempting to help me wind some yarn:

... and he does get away with everything with those big blue eyes. Considering we only got him 3 months ago (from a couple who weren't home enough for him) he has settled in really well. Too well according to Mike, who calls him Mr Entitled through gritted teeth!

Tuesday, 1 July 2008

back blogging!

I've decided to try and keep up with my blog - I've just started 6 months leave from work to try and get my chronic migraines sorted out and it will give me something to do apart from having migraines!
I went for a 'bubble' test where they injected air into my blood stream (yikes!) and its been discovered that I have a hole in my heart (bloody hell!!!). Apparently there is a suspected link between hole in heart and migraine with aura so I am on the waiting list to have it closed. This involves a general anaesthetic and cardiac catheter procedure so they can place a mesh patch over the hole which will eventually scar over. Mike saw the cardiac technician last week when he went to mend their ultrasound machine and apparently he was raving about 'how good my hole was' - not liking the sound of that!
So that explains why I am crap at running at least... or thats my excuse.

I've been learning to dye roving (wool strips) and are hoping to get a spinning wheel soon - my piano is on ebay right now in a bid to fund spinning wheel.
Here are a photo of my first roving dyeing session with acid dyes. I was thinking of a mallard duck when deciding the colours. I kinda like it! Its blue faced leicester and I dyed it in a big enamel bowl in the oven, covered in foil. Put far too much dye on it cause I couldn't get it to exhaust at all despite adding loads of white vinegar, as well as soaking in citric acid lol.

I'm currently knitting the ribbon lace scarf from and its turning out really well. I did start a more complicated lace pattern but after having to frog it FIVE times by row three I gave up on it. I bought some gorgeous fingering weight yarn from etsy store in Lima colourway, which is a bright green/ yellow colour and is gorgeous single ply yarn.