Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Lots of time to knit

I was diagnosed with breast cancer on 17 September, after almost a month of tests and tentative diagnosis.

After initially thinking "I'm going to di-i-i-e-e!" I have tried to keep a positive outlook and as I am on paid sick leave for 6 months, at least I have lots of time to knit and work my way through my stash.

I may even get round to sewing up my projects which have been languishing in my bedroom for over a year.

I have been almost overwhelmed by the support of friends and colleagues and have decided to do as many enjoyable things as I can manage.

So far I have had one chemotherapy treatment - they are every 3 weeks for 6 months - and it was quite pleasurable in a weird way.

I have been told that my hair will fall out so have made a few woolly hats for myself and am getting a free wig tommorrow. So far my follicles are hanging on, which is disappointing in the extreme after Jan from the Bolton Knitting Noras presented me with an array of fantastic hats and a gorgeous crochet shawl on Sunday at our Bliss charity knit out.

I can't wait to wear them!

I have also completed a premature baby blanket and will try and get another one finished by Sunday when we are all meeting up for our monthly knit out at Costa Coffee.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Festie fever

Having just returned from a very wet Northern Green Gathering, I thought I would devote this monthly post (hmmm, must try harder...) to a description of the fun and frolics the Bolton Knitting Noras have enjoyed while on a tour of some festivals of ye olde England.

In March Lisa devised a cunning plan to get local women knitting a knitted garden. The knitted garden was duly put together for International Women's Day and has been displayed in Bolton since then.

In around May she further decided that the garden should be promoted to a "knitted landscape" and we should go on tour with it to festivals in the summer, teaching people to knit and crochet as we go.

Hoorah for Lisa!

Our first festival was the Larmer Tree Festival in July, set in the gorgeous Victorian landscaped gardens of that title in Wiltshire. We set up our gazebo in the Water Garden on Thursday and were busy throughout the weekend teaching the world, his wife and his kids to knit and crochet.

As we were only in action until 5pm, we had plenty of time to enjoy the wonderful world and roots music on offer and also the shops and fantastic food (to say nothing of the nice cool lager).

Our second festival was the Northern Green Gathering which was a very different kettle of fish. It was very much a festival as it should be / used to be - recycling was the name of the game and the organisers did it properly, with compost loos, designated places to put your rubbish and a nice chap called Compost John touring the site inviting contributions of food waste. The Larmer Tree Festival, like many festivals I guess, said they were green but it was really just lip service - there wasn't even anywhere to recycle the plastic cups they used in the bar.

That said, I really enjoyed the Larmer Tree Festival more, mainly because the weather was pretty good but also there was always some interesting artiste or band to go and see. The entertainment at the Northern Green Gathering didn't really get going until early evening and until then you just hung about "chilling" - not easy to do in heavy rain and gale force wind!

Our knitting workshops went swimmingly well on Thursday and Friday but on Saturday we closed to the public due to everything getting wet in the gazebo. And on Sunday the gazebo blew down so that was the end of that.

Ironically, the weather improved on Sunday afternoon so I enjoyed roaming the site which I hadn't felt inclined to do before and I also indulged in a spot of hawthorn brandy from the charming witches.

The Knitting Noras are on the road again on 22 August, going to Solfest in Cumbria - sans me though as I am going to see my family in London.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Wimbledon Men's Final bunting frenzy

While watching the Federer v Nadal Wimbledon final on Sunday, I managed to finish the festival bunting I started a few weeks ago.

I was knitting like a maniac for 5 hours, in between bellowing at the TV "Break his serve!" (Nadal couldn't hear me and I knew that) and pondering about how nice looking Gavin Rossdale from Bush is (and he was charmingly enthusiastic about the game too).

It was quite the most exciting afternoon I've had for a long time.

The bunting is for our Knitting Noras gazebo which we are erecting in the Water Garden at the Larmer Tree Festival from the 17 July. I am hoping it won't literally be a water garden as I don't have any wellies.

It was very easy to make: using 5.5mm needles (if you are a tight knitter like me) and double knitting, cast on 3 stitches and increase one sort of in the middle on the right side.

Carry on like this until your flag is big enough - I went up to 24 stitches and then cast off. I made each flag in stocking stitch with a border of 2 garter stitiches on each side (as my knitting always rolls up).

Make an icord of the appropriate length if you like (or use some ribbon) and presto! party / festival bunting!

It looks OK so far - I don't think there is enough bunting yet as Lisa reports that the gazebo is 10 feet wide but I made a 2 ft or so long icord and there are 10 flags on there.

I am previewing it at my swishing party on Saturday. It will be inside if wet.

We are getting up at 5am on Thursday to get there on time for the afternoon so I shall carry on making some in the back of Jacky's van so there may be enough by the time we get there!

Monday, June 16, 2008

World Wide Knit in Public day hits Bolton

On Saturday I took a big bag of yarn and needles down to Victoria Square in the centre of Bolton and joined 12 friends from Bolton Knitting Noras and 2 Oxfam volunteers for World Wide Knit in Public Day.

As I am sick of the fluffy cushion I am knitting and had frogged the lacy scarf, I thought I would start knitting some squares for the MOMM:1400 blanket project being run by Oxfam Manchester.

The aim is to make a blanket from 1,400 knitted squares, each square representing one of the 1,400 women across the world who die every day in childbirth or pregnancy because of a lack of healthcare or medicines.

I made 1 and half garter stitch squares and we got our picture in the local paper, The Bolton News. I look awful though so I am relieved the photo isn't on the website.
I particularly like this picture of Lisa because of the bemused looking chaps in the background.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Big hat, little hat

I finished Bob's Pirate hat about a month ago and presented it to him on the morning of Linsay's wedding on 31 May.

My first attempt, following the pattern but not using the right yarn was a lot smaller and fitted Roscoe (who is now 13 months old) perfectly.

Grandma Mary took some pictures of them in their dad and son hats but I haven't got them yet so when I get them I will attach them to this post.

Last night I also unpicked the whole of my friend Amanda's lacy stole (in the very nonvegan yarn Kidsilk Haze I'm afraid - it's a gift and she isn't a vegan in my defence your honour).

I started it in November last year, made several mistakes and then ran out of yarn in about March. I also decided it was more of a lacy scarf than a stole so not quite the thing.

As I was heartily sick of it, it has been languishing in my knitting bag ever since.

I did take some pictures of it though before I ripped it apart and feel quite sorry now as it looks quite good in the photos!

I need another ball of yarn I think and then I am going to knit Seascape, from this month's Knitty, which seems much more the sort of thing I wanted.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Yay! Accepted for Ravelry

So I'd better get blogging, quick like.

It looks fantastic and I feel really cool cos I know what everyone is on about now...

Thursday, April 17, 2008

6,000 yards of woollen reins

Being a bit stuck for a project to take to the last Bolton Knitting Noras' knit out at the end of March, I found some R2 pink braid in my stash and decided to make a scarf with it.

Using size 20 needles, plus some Colinette Giotto, I used a lace pattern to make a very long and very chunky scarf.

The yarn is actually lovely and soft and ideal for such a project as there is no nasty itchiness round the neck.

I thought this might be just the thing to wear at Summer festivals - not that I'll probably get to any.

All I need now are some pink Hunter wellies to match and a spare 50 quid to buy them with.