All posts for the month February, 2015

to fix, or not to fix, that is the question….

Published February 26, 2015 by Jackie

So I blogged the other week about lost automatic links of my blog to Ravelry. Those have been fixed, though my posts run in a strange order, and they don’t go back any further than August. What I have lost, though, is the link between blog posts and projects on Ravelry on MY page. The links on projects tabs are still there, so if someone clicks on blog posts for a Ravelry pattern, or my project, they will be taken to the post.

But they aren’t appearing on my main page, and as Rav can only find posts going back to August, it seems it’s not going to be possible to fix. I’ll just have to hope that most people will have read those posts by now. Ah well, never mind.

Welcome, however you got here, thank you for reading my ramblings, hope you find them interesting.

Not a lot happening at the moment, I’ve been focussed primarily on my own health, a lingering cough, drug side effects, and the like. I’ve given up on the prescribed Statins, this time after 12 days. The Metformin lasted a month. Both made me feel really unwell, like I was coming down with flu, tho the Statins also seemed to induce some Type 2 symptoms that I’d not experienced at all in the four years since my diagnosis. I might give in and try them again, but perhaps later in the year when I’m not weighed down with winter lurgies.

One thing I’ve been doing is having regular Shiatsu/Seiki sessions for the last two years. Just half-an-hour once a month to keep me ‘topped up’. I sought them out as an alternative to the heavy medication that was becoming necessary for my frequent and quite severe headaches. They were appearing more and more, and lasting longer and longer, and my doctor had reached the point of prescribing co-codamol and valium together, to try to relax my back-muscles ~ a vicious circle of headache causing back tension causing more headaches. I could almost set my watch by these headaches, lasting either 48 hours or 72, only eased by regular intake of high-strength ibuprofen.

But I think I could count the number of severe headaches I’ve had since starting shiatsu on one hand. Quite a transformation, and really not much more expensive than the ibuprofen I was getting through.

Around the same time, I joined our wonderful choir, and a bit later, I took up chi gung, a really gentle exercise form that just gets your blood circulating! And in the last 6 months, an hour of meditation a week… (yeah yeah, pay good money to sit in a dark room with your eyes closed, don’t knock it.)

Now folk say singing is good for both your mental and physical health, it certainly is ~ that’s something I won’t be giving up quickly.

But I’m putting the shiatsu on hold for a few months while I undergo an intensive series of Reiki.
I had an amazing session a week ago, and think it’s a case of ‘can I afford NOT to do this?’

On Saturday I felt amazing, (until the cold activated my cough again, and I’ve not stopped coughing since, bah!) But yesterday I realised I’d been wearing flat shoes all day without any of the heel pain that normally accompanies flat shoes. And I just have this feeling about Reiki… that it will do me a power of good, and I’d be a fool to turn away.

I am a firm believer in the right thing finding you, that you don’t have to go looking, it will place itself in your path when you most need it. But maybe that’s my relaxed outlook on life? I’m most definitely not a go-getter, that’s for sure. But I don’t wait for life to come knocking either, I certainly learned my lesson there.

But I’ve always looked on alternative therapies with a certain amount of cynicism, and if I’m honest, they’ve all had a positive effect on me. And they’ve certainly not turned me into a wearer of tofu-sandals and pleather boots with plaited underarm hair. And while prescription drugs make me feel very unwell, I don’t deny myself painkillers and cough medicine.

But I do have to admit one awful thing…. half-way through my Reiki session, I realised my phone was still in it’s usual place, not in my handbag, but tucked in my bra! Oops! I was mightily relieved that it was the therapist’s phone that beeped on the night, and not mine!

I shall report back, so watch this space!



Published February 20, 2015 by Jackie

There’s one small problem with putting yourself on a cold-sheep regime for yarn-buying… there’s nothing delightful landing on the doormat to greet you when you get home from work.

I’m even trying to avoid buying patterns on Ravelry but it’s hard to keep to this… I stick them in my shopping cart, but I’ve given in on a couple of occasions already.

But there are ways around this self-inflicted ban, and so far this year I’ve bought some Chiaogoo needles from a Raveller (all monies going to charity, so of course, a justifiable purchase) and some yarn and bamboo needles for a communal work-knit project for a colleague’s expected baby (so very necessary! The yarn wasn’t bought online, but from a local store)

But there are always button purchases to delight on the doormat! Now I know that TextileGarden will be coming to the Edinburgh Yarn Festival next month, but last time, I couldn’t even get close to their stall. And I couldn’t find the perfect buttons in my button box for my Pretty lil’Chickadee, so I had a rummage through the TextileGarden website and found a few potential candidates, and one style in my stash that was close in shade but not quite right.

They arrived a couple of days ago, and last night I ran a length of yarn through them all, and slipped them through the Chickadee buttonholes.


They are all so cute, but I’ve decided to go with the bright turquoise button (bottom) as they are such a good match for the turquoise contrast colour.

What will I do with the others? Well I’ll just have to make some more baby cardigans! Mum-to-be has already told me they cook ’em big in her family, so I think I shall make the next size up and add those white bird buttons to a deeper blue Wee Chickadee.

hurrah! and socks….

Published February 18, 2015 by Jackie

I was frustrated for a few days there, when I discovered that my blog posts weren’t updating to Ravelry. I noticed a post or two on For the Love of Ravelry about this, and commented that I was having issues too. Couple of days on, and the lovely Christina, with the splendid job title of ‘Enhance-o-tron’, stepped in as super-editor and tweaked my link to fix it.

Seems there had been a wee change at WordPress, and while the link on my Ravelry page would take me directly to my blog, there was no automatic update back the way. I couldn’t see the one-letter difference in the URL, but I blame my eyesight!

Given that most of my readers come to my blog from Ravelry (and probably the majority of those are people I actually know), I’m very grateful that this is now fixed. So I can now get back to linking my posts to my projects, hurrah!

Today, though, it’s all about the socks! I am wearing new socks that are not hand-knitted, but WILL be appreciated by all the knitters I know. I go to a lovely meditation group that is led by the daughter (Sam) of a lady who was in the lunchtime chi-gung class I used to attend before the office move. Sandra (the mum) also goes along to the meditation group, and couple of weeks ago, she was wearing some fab socks.

Now I have long since decided that life is too short to not pass on compliments, or fish for info, if you see someone wearing something you like, even if I’m talking to a total stranger. Only last week I collared a lady who had walked past me, and while we waited at the crossing, I asked her where her fab polka-dot oilskin back-pack came from, and found out it was a Fossil bag that Santa (aka her husband) bought in John Lewis!

Back to the socks! Sandra’s socks were from the sale in Wilkie’s, which is not a shop I’ve been to since it moved to Morningside from the city centre. She had bought a couple of packs for herself, and offered to get some for me. When Sam brought them a couple of days later, she explained that they only had the pink/grey combo left, and rather than buy two identical packs, she just got one. But if I wanted a second, she’d trade some of her as-yet-unworn purple/grey mix and get me a second pack. Wasn’t that nice of her? I sent some money back with Sam, and the next pack was handed over on Monday. She’d even haggled because they were a different price! Anyway, at 3 pairs for £5.50 it was a no-brainer.

Just a moment while I take my shoes off and take a photo of my socks….

sock photo

see! Wasn’t it worth the long convoluted tale?

beep beep boop…..

Published February 11, 2015 by Jackie

… I love that little phrase that pops up when I press ‘new post’. Sometimes I come here with a clear idea of what I want to write, and other times, those three words buzz into my brain and I think ‘what shall I write about today?’.

My last (written) post was quite sombre, but it raised some interesting comments. I think that mid-winter is a reflective time of year for me, it probably is for a lot of people. But enough of sombre things and time to think of spring, and spring knitting!

What’s ahead? A couple of requests, enough to put me off the two garments I have on the needles just now. One is dk, and at the tedious point.. sleeves done, bottom of cardi done, it’s now about 4 inches, and a good 14-16 to go until I put it all on one needle and work the more interesting yoke. It’s in Spindrift dk, so not the softest of yarns, and I can’t quite manage a row on the bus… am ringing the bell with 10 stitches to go, and I seem to have forgotten it more often than not. Just need to knuckle down!

And another top-down, that the colourwork (interesting bit) is done and I need to take it off the needles to see if I need to knit more before I put stitches to one side, and then if/how to add bust shaping. And am I happy with the colourwork? probably not, if I’m honest with myself.

Then there’s an almost-finished cardigan for a 4-yr old, and a newborn size that needs the edging, and particularly the button-bands, re-worked, probably on a size down.

I’ve just finished and handed over a couple of Icelandic yoked sweaters for my friend’s grand-daughters. She brought me back some yarn from her trip to Iceland last year, and I finally frogged the plain garter cardigans that I’d started, in favour of some patterned yokes. Then a colleague spotted the one, and well, would I be able to re-create for her Frozen-mad 6 year-old daughter! I shall start soon ~ luckily the pattern I have works from ages 2 to 10.

I’ve just finished sewing together my bright Vivid. I need to get that into the post, and just not bother with the cushion, or follow on with it at a later date.

And now I need to co-ordinate a blanket for a new baby at work again. This time, the mum-to-be has contributed to several blankets herself, and does embroidery herself, so it’s not going to be a surprise but is going to be very welcomed. I have a snippet of tapestry wool from her, and have found something in the right green palette. Her ‘lime’ is my ‘pistachio’ so it was as well that I asked.

I need to put together something different that people of different abilities can manage, and also some total novices can add a few stitches to at the very least. So primarily garter, in squares or long strips that can be sewn together, and single colour. Oh and a heavier weight too… I swithered today over a better match to her colour in 4-ply pure wool, or paler, but still in the right tones, in Aran. I went for the latter, both were in the sale. I might pop back and get some of that 4-ply for a wee cushion too though. (but I probably have more than enough in my stash!). Unfortunately, my stash just didn’t have the right thing for this blanket, so a purchase was called for. I’d been looking at the Drops sale, but instead I’ve found something local, albeit from a department store.

Pattern? I’ve decided to use a modification to Pinneguri’s Eva baby blanket, but shall break it up into squares, so that the more experienced knitters can knit a square with a leaf in it, and the less experienced focus on simple garter stitch. I hope that will work.

Why? Because it’s all about the knitting, and keeping my hands and my mind occupied!

it’s been a long time coming….

Published February 4, 2015 by Jackie

I’m back…. did you miss me? Combination of things, mostly lack of decent internet access at work ~ I write these blogs in my lunch-hour, #dontyaknow! Course I do! But we moved office, and left the internet behind for a full 2 months, and well, blogging at home eats up precious knitting time, and then there’s the bottom line, which was that I didn’t have an awful lot to say except complain about the lack of internet at work…

Generally, life has been happening, predominantly winter bugs in the last week or so. I have been know to say that a cold or bug caught from a friend is a selfless thing to do, but whoever gave me this bug is deserving of a right rollicking!

I think that I must have picked it up at the Turners in January exhibition at the National Gallery, enclosed dark space, close confinement to lots of strangers. I’ve promised myself many times that I’d go along one January, when they are on display, I was having lunch with friends that day, who told me they were planning to head over later, perfect opportunity I thought, having been to see the fantastic Mr Turner a few weeks back at the Filmhouse, I’d decided that this year was the year, of all the 30 plus years I’ve lived in Edinburgh.

And do you know what? I think I’ve seen them before… and forgotten them… and was it worth a nasty cold? Well they were lovely, of course, but I won’t rush back if you’re asking. However, the WaterColour Society exhibition next door in the RSA was much better, in my opinion. And ah well, the nasty cold is on the way out now, so normal service should now be resumed…. maybe!

So what else has been happening? Well, really, not a lot! A few nights out with my wee pink pal, Moira, who over Christmas, sat by her mother’s bedside in hospital ~ she died just before Hogmanay, aged 90. Jessie, here’s tae her, wha’s like her, gye few and they’re aa’ deid. Tho not one of a kind, she was one of the last of the few of those amazing women who took all that life threw at her, not all of it kind by any means. But the memory that brought joy at the funeral was talk of her broad grin when her new great-grand-daughter was brought in to see her…

Moira is like me, not a huge fan of monuments. My feeling is that a person is still alive in someone’s heart as long as they are there to be thought about. I barely remember either of my grandmothers, tho one lived next door in my earliest years, and the other came to stay (no-one else would take her!).

But Christmas is a contemplative time for me too, as like Moira, my own mother died between Christmas and New Year ~ in her case, it would be 28th December 2006. I thought about that again today when the Met Office tweeted this photo of a Moon-Halo, a beautiful winter weather phenomenon.

moon halo

I remembered a stunning halo surrounding a huge silver full moon disc on the evening of my mum’s funeral, as the moon rose above the sea, the moon felt much bigger and closer that night than the one in this photo, and the halo almost looked like a tunnel of ice with the moon at the other end. My brothers and I stood on the balcony to watch for a few minutes, but it takes a cold clear night to create these halos, so not something to hang around in.

But the whole point is, life goes on, it doesn’t stand still while we mourn our loss, no matter how angry we feel about it at the time. Life can and does deliver cruel blows, for no rhyme or reason.

enough on memories for today….