Saturday, October 27, 2007

Refusing To Give In

I'm determined to show some knitting this post and not have a post just about my latest problems. No doubt you're as sick of hearing about it as I am of being ill! So briefly here we go - I reacted to the scented? air purifier and ended up on steroids in the end anyway. Couple of days later I had breathing problems again and my nose was blocked. So back on antihistamines and nasal spray. Made it to work on Tuesday, coughed all morning, should have left work early. Didn't. Big mistake. By the time I left the glands in my neck were swollen and throbbing and I got home in a terrible state. Back to the docs on Weds and left with another additional inhaler, sick note for my asthma and the news that I now also had a viral infection. That would explain the swollen glands then! Downside to steroids is they lower your resistance to infection.....

But I'm determined not to get more miserable as it just hinders your recovery and am just resting in bed and doing nothing. Apart from a little knitting, playing on my Nintendo DS and of course going on the internet. Things kind of hit a peak on Weds, not a great surprise after everything, and I wasn't happy to wake up in the afternoon to find an email from work asking if I could come in to finish the payments. I realised my health was far more important than work and to keep struggling through when I wasn't right is just making me worse and worse. So I'm not worrying about work anymore.

As I'm still waiting to hear from the Bristol Homeopathic Hospital and realistically may not get an appointment till next year as the referral letter hasn't been done yet. Thanks to the new computer systems at the doctors. So I've booked in for allergy testing with a local homeopath for the time being. She knows I've been referred and frankly, I can't wait and do nothing. I've gotten some books on homeopathy to read up and learn a bit more about it. As my first aid kit consists of aromatherapy oils rather than creams or lotions it makes a whole bunch of sense to me.

My recent hospital visit for my anaemia was fine and the very well spoken jolly doctor I saw looked through my files and said humourously, is there any part of you normal? I thought about it and replied my heart. He's happy for my doctor to continue blood tests and monitoring of B12 levels so thats quite handy not having to go to hospital for that.

You know when things start to wrong, then everything kinda follows? Well.....we ordered a new Animal Dyson vacuum and it arrived and DH was happily putting it all together whilst I was resting. He tried it, it wasn't working properly. So we rang them and they're sending replacement bits. Poor DH, he was so excited ;)

And then I was knitting my blanket with my lovely new Harmony's when the wooden tip came off!! And don't mean the cable unwound either. So blanket is on hold and KnitPicks are sending a replacement to my US pal (sorry!) They were really quick getting back to me and apologised for the defective needle. Thats great customer service for you. So thats it for the blanket for the time being as they're OOS till the end of Oct......and it was doing so well. I only had 2 skeins left to go. It will be a lovely big blanket though not exciting to photo which is why I haven't for a while. I love my new Harmony's so much I did a bad thing and changed from my Denise circs to the lovely Harmony Options. Bad because they're not exactly the same size as Denise are US sizes and Harmony proper metric ones. But as its a blanket I'm not too worried. The difference was amazing. The stitches flew along instead of dragging and it was so much easier to knit.

I'd even got the hang of screwing them tightly enough so they don't loosen. I also wish I'd asked my lovely US pal to get me the larger additional sizes too. Seeing as some of the sizes are OOS already, I'm worried their arrival at Get Knitted might be delayed you see....... and I'm not going back to the Denise circs now!

I also had to throw away the stinky plastic case that the Harmony's came in as that gave me a headache straight away and instead ordered a lovely needle case from Pavi Yarns instead. Which I've just been told is sold out. Would have been nice to have been told earlier, as I ordered it a week ago. Oh well, never mind. I'm sure I'll find something else.

So back to the promised knitting. Here's a pic of the sleeve on my Crochet Trimmed Hoodie. I finally managed to start tackling the crochet edging a few weeks ago before I got ill and found it a real challenge. A total learning curve for me as I've no idea what I'm doing not having done many of the stitches before and its all a bit of trial and error. It does look lovely though, but takes forever and needs a lot of concentration, which is just beyond me right now.

Here's a close up of the edging so you can see it in full. I'm rather pleased with it myself. Good job the photo doesn't show the edges as they flare out....but hopefully that can be sorted when I sew it up. If not, flared sleeves look lovely anyway ;) I do wonder how long the front and back will take, seeing as how long just doing the sleeve took......

Last Saturday DH drove me to Get Knitted to get me out where I did a little yarn therapy which was just what I needed. Isn't the Malabrigo gorgeous? Just had to have it. And I changed some Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock Yarn for the Sea Wool in a similar shade as the LL has nylon and with all the recent troubles have decided its not worth the risk. I can usually get away with nylon in sock yarn but never in normal yarn without risking an asthma attack. So all sock wool with nylon will shortly be disappearing from my stash...... I much prefer sock yarn without it anyway so no loss there. DH also drove me to my favourite Fresh & Wild Store where I got a new pretty organic lipstick which I love. Shame the retail therapy boost didn't last longer but it was lovely while it did :)

If you haven't seen this video of the outrageous dancing cockatoo you MUST. The end bit just cracks me up. Honestly, I laughed so much and had to watch it again. After I'd seen it, it appeared on Cute Overload as well. Gotta be the best video ever.

And you gotta see this too. Wonder if Thunder would let me knit him one? I think not.......but boy that made me smile.

Lastly, a big thank you for the lovely messages. You have no idea how much they really help when you're feeling lousy ;) And take care too, all I seem to hear at the moment is bloggers being ill or suffering allergies or allergic reactions. It's all very odd.....

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Autumn Tales

Phew what a busy time its been! Not much knitting done yet again for a variety of reasons, more on that later. My life seems to be like my knitting, up and down and not much progress happening.

Firstly the computer crash is a whole lot better and I'm almost back to how I was. Not helped when I discovered all my iTunes songs had vanished. I got them all back but like everything, it took some time.......

My savings account issue has been sorted. My credit card not and makes me fume. An official complaint has been made and yet again, I'm told to wait for a reply. Oh I can't wait till I get to close the account.

Despite the postal strike this gorgeous Hyacinth Handspun Yarn from Etsy seller Pigeon Roof Studios finally arrived. The seller forgot about me so kindly sent some extra yarn, the colour is Dovecote. Believe me, this stuff is well worth waiting for. I saw the handspun made into socks somewhere in blogland and immediately HAD TO HAVE SOME. You will of course understand this. But the seller doesn't dye the handspun to order and I kept missing out on buying it due to time difference. Finally I snagged myself some and can't wait to knit them. They will make gorgeous bed socks indeed ;)

I very nearly never made it to the Knitting and Stitching Show at Ally Pally last Thurs as I was very poorly indeed and had been in bed for 3 days without the energy to even make myself a drink. Things were not looking good and I couldn't cancel either the train tickets or the show tickets. But I did make it and though very tiring had a great day and very glad I went. I'm afraid all I bought are 2 balls of Tait & Style and 2 magazines, the new Let's Knit and Yarn Forward and a KP needle gauge. I really like the look of Let's Knit and find its more trendy and contemporary compared to Simply Knitting and so far has no boring reader letters, horoscopes or other rubbish womens mag stuff. Let's hope it continues ;)

Yarn Forward was ok, better than the last issue which I didn't buy and has a much better layout. I wouldn't bother subscribing but will look at each issue when it comes out to see if I want it or not. With Ravelry and the amount of patterns available on the internet I think I'd rather have one of the UK mags full of lots of lovely adverts for even more yarn........

Thought I didn't buy much it was great to chat to other knitters and have my Fletcher coat oohed and aahed over. It was funny to see knitting that Noro to themselves as we were leaving. Obviously it was too hot to wear at the show but at Socktopus they spied it in my bag and I had to get it out. It really is fabulous and so great to have other knitters appreciate it too ;) It was also wonderful for all the travelling I did and kept me nice and snug. And what kept my fingers from burning and the cup of tea nice and hot on the way home? My latest FO of course, the Coffee Mitt from 101 One Skein Wonders in Malabrigo. A super quick knit and very handy if your partial to buying hot drinks.

My best friend Joanne though bought me several lovely yarn purchases for Christmas which was why I didn't really need to buy much myself. It's not about how much you buy anyway, its just nice to see whats new and whats about and did I mention the chatting! And the downside to taking stash photos for Ravelry is the realization of just how big you're stash is and that there's no need to buy stuff just because its matter how tempting the Marshmallow at the Colinette stand was! So for Christmas there's more Tait & Style that I've never come across before and who have amazing colours, some Natural Dye Studios Mirage who haven't exhibited at AP before and had a great stall. Lastly some Evolution from Socktopus which is all prettily wrapped so you can't see the lush colours. But believe me, it was oh so soft!

And also as I'd only just gotten some fabulous Harmony Options from my wonderful US pal that actually arrived the morning I went to the show. I expect that gave me the boost I needed to manage to get to the show. They're absolute gorgeous and I love them. Funny how it was only a while back that I mentioned about Options needles hitting the UK at Get Knitted and how not interested as I was as they were metal...... and then KnitPicks bring out the Harmony Options! Get Knitted will be getting them towards the end of the year but of course I couldn't wait that long. I have Snugs to be made and needed a nice harmony circular. Plus the blanket I'm doing is on Denise circs and I don't like using plastic needles for long either and I'd really like to finish it this century.........

Back to my illness. It started with itchy eyes on Saturday and then my asthma was bad Sat night. By Sunday I was listless so we didn't go out the door. I wasn't sure if it was an allergy or virus so we had a think about what could have caused an allergy and came up with 2 ideas. The needle felting I'd been doing that week - quite possible if the fibres started to irritate - though I'd been doing it for several days. The other possibility was a new dressing gown I'd started to wear on Friday. Never happened before but the only other new thing I'd done.

So I put both away but on Monday spent all day in bed in the most miserable mood. I ached so much and couldn't stand for more than a minute without needing to sit down. It was awful. Tuesday, more of the same though I felt a little brighter mentally, though not physically. More miserable on Weds though my asthma started to settle down thankfully. I'd already upped my meds and antihistamines in case it was an allergy but as they didn't appear to work thought it was a virus.

Then I washed the new dressing gown on Friday and put it on in the evening. Immediately I started to get a headache and my chest started to hurt........yup, it was the darned dressing gown! Some internet searching found 'chemical sensitivity' a well known problem and often related to food intolerances and allergies which of course I already have. I've had to avoid all chemicals in perfumes, cleaning products & toiletries for several years and only use organic or natural products already. At work they know not to wear perfume when I'm in but reacting to clothing too was a bit too much.......I got really down after as I couldn't believe how ill it made me. I avoid so much already and its like what else now? Just ridiculous.

So back to the docs I went after only managing a few hours at work this week before I got worse again as I was just reacting to absolutely everything. To say I was unhappy is a gross misunderstatement! But my doctor is absolutely superb and offered me more steroids if I wanted (I'd rather not if I can manage though) and has also referred me to the Bristol Homeopathic Hospital. Conventional medicine can't do anything to help so it's time for alternative treatments. I've absolutely had enough of feeling ill, especially as it takes so long to get back to normal. Allergy UK have also been great and gave me a lot of helpful advice and also suggested a personal air purifier which I can take to work with me. If it helps, it will be well worth it! The dressing gown was polyester, which apparently often contains formaldehyde which explains the reaction. So no easy care, polyester clothing for me. Which I don't actually wear apart from fleeces. So bye bye dressing gown. It'll be back to cotton thanks very much from now on!

So, apologies for the long post and the lack of knitting. Hopefully everything will settle down again soon and I can get some much needed therapeutic knitting done. At the moment I'm on a stop, start, frog mission and can't settle. Maybe I need to start a STR sock, all those hypnotising colours might just do the trick..........

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Mother Of All Computer Crashes

Our holiday in St Ives was lovely. Some fabulous hot & sunny weather, lots of shopping, dining out at different restaurants each wonder we didn't want to leave. Sometimes you don't realize how much you need something till you're doing it. This break was just that. So what we needed and so perfect. We even had some hot days where we could wander round in just a t-shirt!

Unfortunately the holiday feeling didn't last that long as my computer froze late on Sat last week and Sunday found after rebooting that everything was gone! Oh my, it was not what I needed. So I spent the whole of Sunday reinstalling and trying to get everything up to date. I lost a months worth of stuff and 2 of my calendar. I always back up monthly though for some reason missed the calendar. Of course I was due to back up while I was away........its been a hectic week though I think I'm finally up to date. Phew!

So of course blogland and Ravelry have had to be pretty much forgotten, as has knitting pretty much. I've done bits here and there, but nothing major. I'm working on a blanket which I took with me to St Ives so there's very little to show really. I started it last year and have just picked it up again. Hopefully I'll get to finish it this year. At least now its big enough to have on your lap whilst you knit ;)

Though I did manage to get all my yarn out on a lovely sunny day and photograph the bulk of it to list on Ravelry. It was quite enjoyable really. I hadn't thought I'd enjoy it, but it was a great chance to reorganise it all in to weights and label the boxes. And won't having all the colours to view be brilliant? Clever Ravelry ;) I have to wait for another sunny day to photograph the rest though.....

In all the holiday rush I forgot to mention that poor Thunder is on a mini diet and exercise plan. The evil vet thought he needed to loose a little weight so now he runs up and down the stairs to his hearts content. He doesn't eat much anyway but he's a darned lazy bunny and will sit for hours and hours just laying in between your feet. Very cosy and friendly yes, not particularly healthy though. He had another vet visit though and has lost a little so the vet is happy.

The Knitting & Stitching Show starts next week and I'll be there on Thursday. Can't wait. Funny how it seems ages away and now is just days away. Where does the time go?

Work has been pretty crap for a while now and I resigned a couple of weeks before our break. Though my boss was hoping I'd come back having changed my mind and asked me not to tell anyone. Though whenever I thought about work it just made me miserable, even when we were away. Now my boss has asked if I could stay till Christmas then come in on an ad-hoc basis as needed. I might be able to manage to last till then, its not that long away now is it? At least I feel better knowing I've got an actual finish date at last.

This was the only knitting related item I bought when away. A cute organic sheep kit bought in Penzance. Then a mad hunt to find the right size needles in bamboo. Which are too long and will go on Ebay no doubt. Then I decided the wool was too rough.........and promptly frogged it. I will make the sheep, though in something much softer. I'm happy to support local organic yarns and I can always felt it or use in a needle felting project.

Yes, I have a new hobby. Needle felting. This is just a sample of wool tops. Look how pretty the colours are. This is a nice inexpensive hobby that is great fun. The book I ordered is stuck in the post office strike so I'm just trying different things out. No actual plan, just see how it goes.

And here are a few practice bits and pieces that I played around with. Just grabbed some wool tops and started needle felting.......the tomato pin cushion is really handy. Now I know where my main sewing up needle is ;)

So I was really pleased when my sheep landscape picture came out so well seeing as I just made it up as I went along. Its the width of a credit card, just a little taller. It's my first proper design and I love it. In fact we'll have to get a frame for it.

I wished I hadn't mentioned credit cards, its reminded me that my stupid cc company has taken a fraudulent item off dispute and charged me interest for not paying it. What a joke. This is for a July transaction and they keep telling me it will get sorted and each month it gets worse. Looks like I'll just have to close the account. No way am I paying for a transaction I didn't make nor the interest.

And if that isn't enough, a savings account of mine that are useless have managed to lose £50. I don't want to go into it. It just makes me so mad. So when the money reappears that will be another account closed.

With that and the crash its no wonder there has been little knitting done is there really? And of course a nice calming project is just what I need. Maybe next week then ...... as the Drops headband I knitted this weekend looks awful and was promptly frogged. Oh dear. No wonder needle felting is so appealing right now. Easy to pick up and put down and no frogging involved;)