Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Where do I begin?

Here I go again, playing catch-up.  There really aren't enough hours in the day to do everything I want to get done so this is going to be a long post.

I'd better divide it into sections so people searching for a specific bit will find it easily - I'm always fascinated by the searches that bring people here and my favourite one this week was 'smouldering Redhead on Tower Bridge'.  That took them to my write-up for the London marathon back in 2007 when my friend Ruth had taken a photo of me running across Tower Bridge.  Not sure I was smouldering though!

Knitting and Crochet

My neck and shoulders have now fully recovered from the London marathon knitting escapade and so the needles are clicking away again.

First we have a special project and I can't show much of it as it's a present for someone who reads my blog occasionally.

All I shall reveal for now is that it's a baby knit, using 4ply yarn and I'm making the pattern up based on an existing pattern for the garment.  I just had a look at a few baby garments and decided on the style I thought would be nice for summer, found a stitch that looked interesting but was simple and then added cables into the mix.  I did a swatch to work out my stitch count and based the measurements on other patterns I have for the age group.

Next we have some crochet bits and bobs.  First I need to crochet some more baby bootees for a lady in your village who is about to become  a granny for the first time.  I showed her the crocodile stitch bootees and she loved them so I'm going to surprise her with a pair for the new arrival.  I have to get them done in the next few days as I want to give them to her next week when she's organised a coffee morning to help raise funds for Alzheimer's Research UK so they are really a 'thank you' present.

Then we have this bundle of yarn:

This is for the same lady but she asked me if I'd make something for her. Although she can knit she hasn't fully mastered crochet yet.  It's from this book of cute baby cocoons -

The one she likes is the brown bear one with the ears.  As the baby is a girl I thought it might be nice to do the edging in pink rather than blue so I bought the pink yarn to show her.  If she doesn't like that then there's the caramel coloured yarn instead which would make good bear inner ears and tummy.  

There isn't the same rush for this, as baby isn't due until September, but I think it looks like a quick project anyway.  We've now agreed on the caramel colour for the ears and tummy.

I won't be catching up on my Jane Crowfoot Crochet Club until the baby things are completed by which time I'll be in the mood for something more challenging.  Speaking of which.........I mentioned previously that I was planning a scumble project for the summer months and this is what inspired it - the cover of this Russian crochet magazine.

I absolutely love the vibrant colours and the flowery motifs interspersed with random shapes.  There are no pattern instructions to make the jacket, just a few patterns for the scumbles, in Russian but with diagrams so I could follow some of them.

This is my sitting-outside-on-a-summer's-evening-with-a-glass-of-wine crochet project and will give my creative streak full rein.  Very exciting.

I made a selection of dmc petra 3 (just look at those colours!) and I shall have a good rummage around in my crochet flower patterns to find some unusual shapes to start me off.  I am well aware that some of the items I've seen made of crochet scumbles can look messy, and that's putting it politely, but I think that using the same yarn throughout should help unify it and make an interesting fabric.  It's worth a go anyway.

I'm really fond of this yarn for crochet garments.. The last thing I made using this yarn was this skirt for a party.  I didn't have a pattern and just chose a pretty shell cluster stitch for the front and back and then had some fun by adding a sort of train at the back consisting of lots of flowers.  It was a bit see-through and so I made an underskirt in a contrasting colour which looked really effective.  I'll try and take a photo of it as I was very proud of it and got loads of compliments.

Running Update with Asthma notes

I've just completed day 32 of my 111 day running streak and my total mileage is now 213 .73.   Only 79 days to go!

To celebrate I treated my feet to some new running shoes in my favourite colour - purple.  I love them with my zebra print socks.

New shoes

Asthma?  Where do I begin?  It was all going so well and then wallop, it flared up with a vengeance.

The hay fever season went from nothing to full-on within a matter of days as suddenly the weather warmed up a bit and nature played catch-up.  So we were faced with tree pollen, pollen from early flowers, mid Spring flowers and late Spring flowers plus grass pollen all at the same time.  Oh my, it has been a challenging time!

The situation has been further enhanced by this delightful crop - oil seed rape.  The pollen from this ghastly stuff makes my head pound and my throat close up and the whole plant smells vile at every stage in its development; a sort of rotting cabbage smell.  The acid-yellow blocks of colour may look eye-catching en-mass but I hate the stuff.

I'm mentioning this alongside my running because it has had a big impact on it.  When the pollen count went really high my Peak Flow, that's a measure of how efficient my lungs are, dropped dramatically so  I had to up my dosage of medication.

I also started taking Cetirizine as an allergy reliever but all it did was give me massive leg cramps so I've stopped taking it - the other night I woke up with my whole right leg in spasm.  My calf was hard as rock and it felt as if someone was twisting red hot pokers inside my leg.  Mike spent ages trying to stretch out my muscle to ease the pain but it was agony for several minutes.  Later that day I could still feel  a very sore spot deep in my calf and although I managed my run it was rather uncomfortable and I was glad when it was over.

To make myself feel better I've been taking loads of photos out on my runs.

At the edge of a bluebell wood just starting to come into flower
But this wood's full of Ramsons - the smell was amazing!
Bracken coming to life - such a decorative shape and a possible idea for a scumble 
The enormous leaves of Burdock - the root is used to make the Dandelion and Burdock drink
Beautiful orchids
Part of a young hazel coppice
Another part of it in the process of being cut - it may look drastic but the trees soon send up new shoots and the whole wood comes to life as the sunlight reaches the ground again allowing the flowers to bloom
The croziers of ferns unfurling in the hedgerow
Grass pollen - such a pretty pink
Mrs Sheep taking a break in the midst of a field of buttercups and pretty grasses
The pink glow of pine needles on the forest floor
Deep pink sheaths on the newly emerging leaves of Hornbeam
Hoary plantain - it looks as if it's wearing a tutu of pollen!
Pink apple blossom

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