Silver Linings

I’m gradually getting over my little rant the other day and looking at things from the lighter side. Ok, so I can’t physically do much at the moment so it’s given me a lot of time with my crafts, and I’ve been busy!
My lovely husband had been kind enough to keep me stocked with magazines, and in my ‘Simply Knitting’ mag there was a pattern for some really nice owl mittens. What I liked most about the mittens was the subtlety of the owl design, so I thought I’d give it a try. The pattern was for an adult size but I wanted to make a pair in a childs size, not knowing how to adapt the actual pattern I thought I’d try it with thinner yarn (DK rather than the aran suggested in the pattern) and slightly smaller needles. So I made just one mitten first with the aran suggested in the pattern just to see how easy it was to make. It was really easy, I did misread some of the pattern instructions so the first mitten went a bit wrong, but once I knew what I had done wrong it was all quite straight forward.
They knitted up great, exactly the size I was after aswell.

Another project I completed was a lacy purse. My niece has just been crowned Felixstowe carnival queen and on the day of her crowning the weather was pretty horrible, so I thought it might be nice to knit her a shawl to go with her dress seeing as I had so much time on my hands.
Well a monumental mess-up on my part resulted in me having just 50g of Peter Pan Moondust yarn (beautiful yarn, but not nearly enough for a shawl) and having to wait a few days for more yarn. So whilst I waited I thought I’d put the 50g of moondust yarn to good use and make a purse for my niece too.
There’s a pattern on ravelry for a lacy purse, it looked nice and relatively simple to make so I gave it a go. It was a really good pattern and it used a few techniques I’d never tried before. There was ‘cable cast on’ which gave quite a nice start to the work, ‘magic loop’ which enabled you to use long circular needles to knit short pieces of work, and ‘3 needle cast off’ which joined two pieces of work without a seam. So my dip into the world of new techniques turned out good, I knitted it about half the length that the pattern suggested as I only wanted a clutch purse, also seeing as the pattern was for a bigger purse the strap instructions were for a shoulder strap, so I just crocheted a little wrist strap instead. As I said it turned out well but maybe still a bit big, so might try it again but halving the width of the pattern aswell as the length.

However, the highlight so far came today as I realised that being housebound meant that when the postman comes a-knocking with a parcel for moi I get it straight away, no having to wait 24 hours then queing an eternity at the post office. So basically I was there to greet the postman when these arrived!!

My ‘Art of Quilting’ magazines and best of all . . . my new balls of yarn! The yarn will now enable me to make another monkey outfit (this time with the proper chunky yarn) also a Cow outfit by the same designer and a pair of childrens dungarees. The needles are what I needed for a Berry Hat and a newborn matinee jacket. So excited to get all these and now can’t wait to finish the shawl i’m currently working on so I can get started with all the cute baby outfits.


Housebound and Down

I’m in medical purgatory! I have an ovarian cyst 30cmx20cm, at least that’s what I’m being led to believe. Have you ever got the feeling that you’re not being told the full story?

You see, I’ve had a large ovarian cyst before, the size of a football in fact. 17 years ago my dad took me to the doctor because I looked 6 months pregnant, after being poked and prodded by the doctor she promptly told my dad that she couldn’t tell if I was pregnant or not because I was too tense so she called the hospital to book me in for a ultrasound scan and we headed over there. This resulted in a rather uncomfortable car ride as a 15 year old me tried to convince my stony-faced dad that the only way I could possibly be pregnant was by Immaculate Conception! Well once I had the scan they found the cyst booked me into hospital and within a few days I’d had the operation and was unfortunately minus an ovary.

So you can see why now, five weeks after my initial doctors appointment, I’m a little sceptical as to what’s going on with my innards, because  for some reason  my trial is not nearly close to over. A few weeks ago I had to go sick from work because I’m in too much pain and can’t stand up for much longer than 30 minutes before feeling like my belly is going to drop off. Things are considerably worse now, I can’t even make a cup of tea without needing a very long sit down afterwards, and I’m officially housebound after a recent trip to the shop at the end of my road (barely even 5 minutes away) left me in agony for the rest of the day. Yet I’m still waiting for a call from the hospital to book me in for a CT scan appointment (that only run on Tuesdays and Fridays) and even after that elusive appointment has been attended I still have to wait for my scan results to be discussed amongst ‘the board’ (whatever that means) then be called back to the consultant to discuss my scan results, and fingers crossed that will then lead to me being booked into hospital to have this immense weight removed from me. I’d like to think that would be it, but unfortunately I’ve had the same hope whilst waiting for my ultrasound scan, and my first appointment with the gynaecology consultant and those hopes have been dashed.

My lovely husband is trying his best to convince me that maybe they want to know exactly what it is they’re dealing with before they do anything, but after 5 weeks, 2 scans, a gynaecological examination (yes it IS what you’re thinking it is), and about a dozen blood tests (including the scary CA-125, CA-19-9, and CEA tests) I’d like to think that a medical professional should have some idea by now.

I do appreciate that in this day and age doctors like to be thorough and not leave themselves open to malpractice suits, but surely my quality of life at the moment has got to come into the equation somewhere.


Tartan cross-over top/mini-dress

So seeing as I’m effectively housebound until my hospital appointment I’ve had a lot of  ‘craft time’ so was able to make a few things for my sisters birthday. I posted about the knitted Skeleton Jumper yesterday and this is the tartan top I made for her.

About a month ago I made a maxi dress following a pattern that i’d purchased from another blog after making the dress I did start to think about all the different kind of adaptations that could be made, and one of the ideas i had was a sort of mini-dress/Top that could be worn with trousers.

The Mini-dress was really easy to do, as I’d already used the pattern once for the maxi dress and it was effectively the same just a shorter skirt. It only took a couple of days to make, the more time consuming parts being the shirring and the pinning of the seams.

Because of the shortness of the skirt I only needed a yard of fabric. So I ordered some tartan fabric (my sister’s a punk and she’s very much into her tartan styles) from ebay (only £3.99 a yard) and for the contrasting waistband and bias tape I bought a pair of black trousers (99p from a charity shop)

There were a few differences with this project, the shirring was still a nightmare and this time on the contrasting waistband it didn’t bunch as much as it did with my original work. Luckily enough the pattern came with a good tip for this and after soaking the waistband and leaving it to dry the shirring bunched up quite nicely. Another thing was that when doing the skirt hem and sleeve edges because they were so small I pressed them first in the hope they might stay down and make machine stitching easier. Unfortunately this still went a bit wrong, so am wondering whether hand-stitching might be a bit more precise.

Anyway, the top/mini-dress turned out quite well

Knitted Skeleton Jumper

Despite the little health hiccups i’m having lately I’m still managing to keep myself busy and I’ve finished the skeleton jumper for my sister.

I used a basic oversized pattern for the jumper, (as my sister is like me in the respect that she likes her jumpers a bit roomy) and created my own chart for the skeleton pattern on the front.

Here’s the pattern I used (and adapted a bit) Skeleton Jumper

and here’s the chart (I’ve only made one for the small size jumper at the moment, will adapt it for the larger sizes later)

or heres a downloadable version in word skeleton patt.chart (small)

In total the jumper took about 73 hours to knit up and finish. It did knit up rather well. I used stylecraft special aran which has a really nice soft feel to it. I had a few hitches whilst knitting up the chart. Intarsia is not really my strong point and I leave the yarn at the back either too tight or too lose, so because there are a lot of yarn changes in this one (especially around the rib area)  what I ended up doing was leaving the yarn really loose at the back, then when I’d finished I cut in the middle of the lose bit of yarn and sewed it into the back of the piece.

Another hitch I had was that even though the jumper knitted up well and exactly to the measurements on the pattern, it is quite small so it’s only afterwards I realised that when the pattern says 40″ chest it isn’t an oversized 40″ chest but an exact fit for a 40″ chest. So I’d have to work out the oversizing myself.

Unfortunately because of the sizing it didn’t fit my sister (she’s quite busty) so no live model pictures just yet. However she is going to give it to one of her step-daughters, who it should fit so it will still go to good use.

No More Progress!

Apologies for the lack of updates lately, and sincere apologies for the major lack of progress reports. Unfortunately my progress reports have come to an end, at least where my weight loss is concerned.

You see after a rather frustrating 6+ months of watching what I eat, exercising regularly and losing a grand total of 9lbs I made a curious discovery. I was indeed losing body mass and whilst I was losing body fat from my arms and legs my belly didn’t seem to be shifting anything. It was only after I noticed that not only was I not losing any fat from my abdominal area but that it was in fact getting bigger that I started to worry, fearing some dire gastric issue I made an appointment with the doctor.

Now I’m not the biggest fan of doctors, in fact the way I’ve been treated and spoken to over the last couple of years whilst trying to get my fertility issues sorted out, has left me downright dubious of any assistance from the doctors. So I was mightily impressed when the doctor not only listened to me, booked me in for about half a dozen blood tests and a scan, but also asked me what my thoughts were. What impressed me even more was that one of the tests the doctor was sending me for was an ultrasound scan, now when you consider that this is something that I asked a doctor to send me for two years ago to see if my one remaining ovary was cyst free and functioning. Then was quite rudely told they wouldn’t even consider sending me for tests like that until my husband and I had been trying to conceive for at least a year, you can see why I was impressed.

This was short-lived as five days after having my blood tests done I phoned up for my results and was informed that all the results so far had come back normal, except my CA 125 levels were elevated. The only thing I knew about the CA 125 test was that it was the one for Ovarian Cancer, cue me falling to pieces. After being sent home from work, due to me being an emotional wreck, I started to get a bit of perspective on the test results and after chatting to a few people about the results and what they mean, realised that I didn’t really have anything to worry about and the results essentially mean that I have an inflammation of the pelvic area! Now when you consider that my belly is so swollen I look about 5 months pregnant, having a blood test tell me that I have an inflammation is actually quite hilarious! So due to all this we’re leaning more towards the idea that I have another ovarian cyst, which is quite an unpleasant prospect as I had one removed when I was 15 and they took one of my ovaries with it.

Also in the few days after going to the doctors I began to realise I had a lot of ailments over the last few months and they were all related.  I’ve been getting a severe pain in my upper thighs and under my belly, I had been putting it down to my gym workouts (which I have now had to give up) then realised it was the extra weight of my stomach putting a strain on the underneath. I’ve been getting quite short of breath, which I put down to just being unhealthy (which was another reason for the gym visits) but is actually from the growth in my abdominal area squashing my lungs. I’ve also been getting some sharp and unpleasant pains in my shoulder and heel for quite some months, which I put down to straining a muscle or something and it just not getting much of a chance to heal itself. This could in fact be down to the ‘growth’ pushing on or irritating certain nerves. Add in the loss of appetite, nausea, and backache and I’m a bundle of laughs really.

It’s now been nearly three weeks since my initial doctors appointment, I’m still waiting for some more results from blood tests I had done after finding out my CA 125 levels were raised, I have a scan appointment for Friday 8th June, and physically things have gone rapidly downhill for me. I wake up every morning nauseous and with a backache, I can’t stand up for much longer than 30 minutes before getting severe pains in my underbelly, and if I sit down for too long I get a severe pain in my shoulder. So on that basis I’ve unfortunately had to take some time off from work until I can get this all sorted, and now spend my days pottering about the house counting the days down till I have my scan and we figure out for definite whats going on with my little growth.

So that’s why there’s no more weight loss progress reports, and I’ll just be doing my knitting and sewing projects in their own posts.

Fingers crossed for friday!