Saturday, 20 April 2013

My first lace shawl!

Have finished my first ever lace pattern shawl! Yay! It's the Ashton Shawlette by Dee O'Keefe and is a chart pattern written for those new to working form a chart. It takes you step by step through the chart, and helps you understand how to read the chart. I found it very helpful as I had not really worked from a chart only pattern before. The pattern itself is not difficult and very pretty, I really enjoyed making this. I did make a couple of mistakes and had to frog back, but that was because I was tired and not concentrating properly. I hadn't made a shawl that needed pinning out to block it  so needed to invest in blocking mats. I really needed blocking wires as well, but one thing at a time. I found some reasonable children's interlocking play mats on E-bay which work brilliantly.

I used a ball of cotton yarn that I had plied to 4ply from a large lace weight cone and dyed with Dylon in Antique Grey. It's lovely and soft, and the stitch definition is great.

I seem to be on a bit of a shawl kick at the moment, and socks too. I have also gotten around to blocking the Trilobite Socks. I really loved making these. I learnt four new techniques in one project so am really chuffed with myself. I learnt the Turkish cast on, using the magic loop method, toe-up socks and Jenny's Surprisingly Stretchy Bind Off  (which was surprisingly stretchy!) I used King Cole Zig Zag self-stripping, which doesn't really show the pattern to the best advantage, but I love the colours so am very happy with it. Will be doing this pattern again anyway so will go with a plain yarn next time.

Hope you like these FO's. Head on over to Tami's Amis to check out more FO's. x

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Lack of blogging

Have found it hard to keep the blogging spirit alive over the past week. I have not been well and mostly in bed asleep. When I have been awake my brain has not been functioning well enough to do anything much coherently, much less writing. I have had to content myself with reading (and then re-reading) other people's blogs.

The knitting has been progressing, but only on simple projects that I don't have to think too much about. I had already finished the three pairs of socks (they need blocking though) and was working on a shawl for my mum. Doing a lace edging on a shawl when your brain is not functioning properly is NOT to be attempted. Unless you want to rip it back several times! Thankfully have finished it now (that needs blocking too!). I decided not to push my luck any further, and cast on another simple sock. Stocking stitch I can do. Don't mention the heel, I am not there yet!

Have missed several days of the WEGO health blogging challenge. I kind of knew that was going to happen because of the way my illness works, but it has bummed me out a little all the same. Am going to try and catch up by doing yesterday's and today's in one go.

Day 8: Animals -  "If your health condition (or the health condition of a loved one!) was an animal, what would it be? Is it a real animal or make believe?"
I am not sure a vampire counts as an animal(?) But it is the only thing I can think of that causes you pain and sucks out your energy and health. I call myself "Sleepy  Kitty" because that it what it has turned me into. I like warmth, can sleep at the drop of a hat, and can be awake in the middle of the night. I also like yarn!

Day 9: Caregiving - "Patients, what advice or tips do you have for caregivers out there – professional or otherwise!"
I think for carers of people with Fibromyalgia  or ME/CFS the advice I would give is to have patience. In great quantities. Because our brains don't function properly anymore, doing anything mentally, such as answering a simple question, can be really difficult. And from what I can see people who get these conditions are ones who are intelligent and organised, so when they lose these abilities others can find it hard to accept this sudden change. My partner is wonderful. He really does understand and take care of me. He actually works as a carer for elderly people. But he does sometimes lose patience with me, which can be hurtful as he knows how hard just being coherent can be for me. I don't have a go at him for it because I know it's just frustration, the same frustration I have. And he is a lot more understanding than other people can be.
Also I would ask carers to be kind to the people they look after. It's so easy to forget that it's not just a job, especially when you have only a limited amount of time to deal with each patient. You may only have 20 minutes to get everything on your list done for that person, but you may also be the only person that they see that day. My partner sees a lot of this in his line of work and believes that even just a little bit of thoughtfulness and kindness can mean so much.

So hopefully I can keep up with the blogging. We will see.

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

The Health Activist Writer’s Month Challenge: Day 2

Yesterday was the first day of the WEGO Health Activist Writer's Month Challenge, which of course I missed due to ill health! Oh well, better late than never. Today's prompt asks you to introduce yourself and your illness/condition. I have already talked a bit about becoming ill in my first post ( here ), but not really described what it is like to live with Fibromyalgia.
Pretty much everybody has felt physical pain at some time in their life. But usually it goes away. It's meant as a warning that something is wrong and needs to be mended, and when that wrong is mended the warning is no longer needed. But what if that warning system breaks? What if it doesn't realise that the injury or illness has been mended? What if it doesn't stop the warning pain? That's Fibromyalgia.
Or at least one of the theories of Fibro, because there are a few, but the one that makes the most sense to me. The fact is medical science does not know the cause of Fibro. Nor do they know how to cure it. A lot of doctors still believe that it is psychological. Quite how they come to that conclusion when presented with someone who is clearly in agony, along with all the other symptoms, baffles me. Fibro and ME/CFS are often linked to depression and so given a psychological cause. To this I say are you shitting me?!!! I am in pain all day every day, and you wonder why I am depressed???!!!!!
Now I have been lucky and have had doctors who have understood the condition, as much as it can be, and have tried to help me deal with it. Not everybody who has Fibro has been so lucky. Thankfully it does seem to be getting better now in terms of greater awareness and research. Doctors seem much more clued up about Fibro than they did even 5 years ago when I was diagnosed. I think this is because of the spreading of information by people who have Fibro and other chronic illnesses on the Internet. We are becoming Activists, actively researching and sharing our experience of chronic illness. Which is exactly what this challenge is about.
Today's prompt also suggests sharing other blog posts that you think will help the newly diagnosed. As I have only just started blogging I am going to link to a couple of other blogs that I think are helpful.

  1. Chronically Crafty  has a very good post on getting a diagnosis for Fibro. She has other great posts on Fibro too so check it out.
  2. It's not all Me, Me, Me's post on ME/CFS gives a lot of info on the condition and links to some good websites.
  3. Another new Fibro blogger The Retired Bridgeburner has some very good posts about her experience of having Fibro.
  4. And finally The Spoon Theory by Christine Miserandino. A great way of explaining to other people how chronic illness affects us.
If you are new to Fibro and/or ME/CFS I hope this post and the others I have linked to help you.