Sunday, 25 October 2015


Well hello there good readers!

It's been far too long since I last wrote to you all. I wouldn't like to say that I'd given up on blogging, it's just that when I had something to say, I didn't have the time to tell you about it, and when I did have the time I didn't have the motivation.

However, I was chatting with Elly from the FO&Dye Podcast yesterday and she mentioned my blog. I immediately felt guilty for ignoring it for so long. 

So here I am. This edition is entitled 'Accountability' for more than one reason. Firstly my WIP list is getting silly and I need to get it under control. Second is slightly more important. As I write I'm lying in bed. It's 13:30 on a Sunday afternoon. I'm still in my jammies but I have been up and about, showered, fed assorted people and retired back to my bed. I'm not usually a person who would vegetate in bed for any length of time and I have a valid reason. Let me fill you in - 

Last Monday I got up and ready for work. As I pottered around getting my jobs done and chivvying the child up my back went. I couldn't believe it! The pain was like a girdle of fire around my midriff, it radiated down the backs of my legs and around the front of my thighs.
"Oh Dear" said Ellen (not really, the expletives were many and varied and utterly unpublishable!)
I hobbled to the car and drove to work. I thought I'd be ok, that I'd be able to walk it off - Nope, not a chance. By 9:10 I knew I was in trouble. I rang around and organised a locum to come up from Manchester to cover for me. By 11:45 I was flat on my back and I'd taken some codeine for the pain. Well, that was my week ruined! I continued with the codeine which doesn't agree with me and as the week progressed I could move more easily and I was back at work on Friday.

Now, I can't work and take pain killers so by the end of Friday I was in pure agony again. I went home, took more opiates and went to bed (with a glass of wine for anaesthetic purposes - don't judge!) I woke up on Saturday morning and felt OK. I got out of bed without needing to cry so I classed that as a win. I went to go my grocery shop and was very, very careful all the way around the supermarket. I got to the checkout, loaded the trolley onto the belt and was packing at the other end..... then BANG!!! My back went again while I was putting a shopping bag back into the trolley! I was completely incapacitated, I couldn't lift my arms enough to put groceries into the bags and certainly I couldn't put the bags into the trolley. The lovely ladies at Sainsbury's helped me greatly they packed my bags and my trolley and helped me out to my car loaded the boot. I have no idea how I got home. The pain was 100% worse than it was on Monday. Yesterday was horrendous. I took the codeine and it didn't touch the pain. This morning I gave in and took some Tramadol I'd been prescribed when my neck went a year or so ago. I didn't take many then because they REALLY don't agree with me. This morning, however, I knew I had to bite the bullet and take them. Now, the pain is tolerable and I can move. I'm having to change positions regularly else I set solid but I'm functioning.

So while I'm on the bed I thought I'd be productive and write to you. I'd like to think I can get back into the habit of writing to you with some degree of regularity. 

Back to accountability. I'm now over 40! I'm overweight! I'm over it!

I have been a yo-yo dieter for donkey's years now. I lost a significant amount of weight 7 years ago and then had surgery. I've managed to put all that weight (and a bit more for good measure) back on. I decided earlier in the year to shift the lard, but despite writing on the blog that I was going to get myself sorted, my head really wasn't in the right place. I woke up on the 1st of September and decided that I was doing it.

No messing

And I set about putting my life in order. I changed my eating habits and decided to get fit. I'm not following any particular diet or eating plan. At the end of the day the way to lose weight is to eat less and move more. So that's what I'm doing. I don't eat fatty food anyway, nor to I eat lots of sweet food. What I do do though is graze. I'm a bugger for snacking. I'll snack all day then eat a meal and not bat an eye lid. I also drink alcohol. I'm not an especially heavy drinker, but I am a regular one. 
I've cut out snacks and booze.
I'm not eating processed food at all.
I'm moving more too. To be honest just moving at all would be classed as an increase in my activity levels!!

I invested in an activity tracker. Specifically I got a Polar Loop. I picked this one because you can swim with it. My preferred exercise has always been swimming. I'm good at it and I enjoy it. I've made a conscious effort to move more on a day to day basis. Starting with the smallest of baby steps - parking at the far end of the car park. Parking out of town and walking into the town centre when I'm shopping. Little things which all add up to an increase in my general activity levels. I've also dug out
 my exercise DVD's. I have a couple of Devina Mccall's DVD's. I like her, she has a similar sense of humour to me and by the end of the workout she's a hot, sweaty mess who's gasping for air as much as I am. That makes me feel better about myself! I set my alarm for silly o'clock in the morning and I get up and workout every day. I never thought I'd say it, but it really sets me up for the day! 

The net effect of these changes is that I've lost 16 pounds in 8 weeks. I'm reasonably OK with that. I'd love it to be more, but I'm realistic that 2lb a weeks is acceptable and repeatable.  I'm worried though - I've effectively been laid up for a week now, with little to no activity at all. And I've cheated with what I've eaten too. I'll be honest - I'm a bugger for comfort eating. And I've been feeling really rather sorry for myself. Earlier in the week I was ok, I ate properly, but this weekend I've eaten badly. I ate pizza (it was sssooooo good!!) and I drank beer (also ssssoooo good!) I may have eaten chocolate...... and a doughnut..... and I made greek food last night and I didn't skimp on the olive oil!!!!! 
I'm dreading stepping on those scales tomorrow.

Still wondering where all this accountability comes in? I don't blame you really - I have been waffling! 

Here it is - I am going to get back on track tomorrow. 
I am going to blog and tell you all how I'm getting on with my weight loss
I would love it if you guys could keep me honest - chivvy me up when I need it.

I'm going to try to sort my crafting out too.

I had wanted to reduce my WIP list significantly.

Here is most of it. Starting top left - 
1) Jean's hat. This is the third attempt at this hat. I think it's nearly a year ago I promised her this hat. I started knitting Ilkley Moor by Ann Kingstone. It's a gorgeous hat from the Born & Bred collection. It calls for Titus from Baa Ram Ewe - a rather fabulous fingering weight alpaca/wool blend. The Ilkley Moor hat is heavily patterned with traveling twisted stitches and despite the fact that it's designed to be knitted in Titus, I wasn't happy. I chose the Eccup colour which is a dark teal. As I worked the hat, you just couldn't see the stitches. Titus has a gorgeous halo from the alpaca content and that, coupled with the dark saturated colour, meant those travelling stitches faded into the background. I wasn't feeling it.
So I ripped it out and decided on another hat. This time I went for Bedale by Rachel Coopey. A really rather lovely colourwork beanie. However..... it seems that stranded colourwork and I don't get on. I use both my hands to work the colours so I pick with my left hand and throw with my right. This means  I can get quite a wiggle on and make good progress. Snag is though, my tension is hugely different between each hand so the fabric just doesn't sit right. I don't know, maybe it would block out, but I doubt it. It didn't help that I kept making mistakes, so I spent almost as much time tinking back as I did knitting. In the end I decided that I was knitting far too much venom into this hat. It wouldn't do to give my MIL a hat that I'd knitted so much frustration into. Bad ju-ju I'm sure.
So I ripped it out and decided again!..... Third time's a charm yes? This time I'm knitting Sumner by Woolly Wormhead. It's a beautifully simple hat with an interesting construction. It comes from her Classic Woolly Toppers collection which is a great book. She starts the book with all the techniques you'll need to make the hats which follow. Sumner has a folded brim and rather lovely tucks worked into the body of the hat. I'm still on the brim, but I'm enjoying the knit so far.

2) Twilight - Yup, my second Leftie is still in it's bag. I can't remember when I last picked it up and worked on it! It's been on the needles since December last year and that's really too long! Once I'm done with Jean's hat, that's what's next on my hit list. It's not like I don't like working on it... it's just that new projects just keep cropping up that I want to work on more.

3) May Morning - This has been on the needles since May. It does feel the love on occasions, but it's 100% silk and sometimes my hands are too rough to work the yarn..... That's my excuse and I'm sticking to it!

4) Elly's Shiny - All you can see of this project is a cake of purple yarn and my wonderful Octopus bag it lives in. Elly is renewing her vows next year and I'm making a shawl for her to wear on the big day. I've still got plenty of time to knit this and I only work on it when my mind is fresh and clear. I don't want there to be any mistakes. I want it to be perfect. Elly doesn't want to see it until it's finished, so I won't be talking much about it until it's done and in her hands. Suffice to say it's laceweight, beaded and purple. Gorgeous!!! I'm enjoying working on it lots!

5) Thankful for Handspun - This is my Thankful shawl I cast on while I was waiting for the boys to stop faffing about so we could go on holiday back in May. I do the odd row here and there. It's laceweight so I made the body of the shawl much bigger than my pattern prescribed. I plan to work many more repeats of the lacework too. I'm just going to keep on going with it until I run out of yarn, or I get bored with it... whichever happens first.

6) Sun Rays shawl - This is now a project of epic proportions. I think I'm nearly halfway. I'm on the second to last chart and I'm up to about 1000 stitches around. If I remember correctly, I think the stitch count gets up to nearly 2500 towards the end. For this reason, work has effectively stopped. One round takes ages and it's not exactly portable any more. I do love this shawl, and I do want to finish it, but I lack motivation!

7) Mitred Square Sock yarn Blanket - This is an ongoing project I'm happy to spend years working on. I've been taking it to knit night recently and adding a few squares each week. I love how it's turning out and I'm content to keep chipping away at it until I decide it's big enough.

8+9) Socks - Two socks to be specific. Both of which I have no mojo to work on at all. The brown pair are a simple sock with a travelling purl stitch. I thought it would be a good plan to have a little bit of texture. Sadly I keep forgetting that purl stitch and so my lovely spirals I had envisioned, are a bit wobbly in places! The purple socks I cast on in a fit of pique a little while back. After a vile day at work I decided to cheer myself up by casting on some new socks with new needles from Dave and Elly on the FO&Dye podcast. It worked, I thoroughly enjoyed working on them. Here's the crunch though. I want to frog both of them. Because I want to try something else.......
I've been watching the Sockmatician Podcast. Nathan is a really talented man. He sings, acts and teaches and is utterly obsessed with Double Knitting. He has designed some truly stunning pieces. I'm up to episode 5 now and I'm desperate to cast on. I want to make his phone cover called iSanquhar. So I think I'll frog the socks and make the yarn into this double knitting project instead.

Don't be fooled into thinking that's all for my WIP's ladies and gentlemen!! Oh no!!!! I forgot to bring my granny square crochet blanket to photo and I haven't included the 3 spinning projects I have on the go.

The granny square blanket is another project I'm more than happy to keep chipping away at. I pick up my hook and crack out a couple of squares when the mood takes me. It might very well be years before I finish it, but I'm OK with that.

On the spinning front I have fluff on both of my turkish spindles. I have Nunoco samples on one, and some pale lilac fluff I can't remember anything about on another. My wheel has Nunoco top on at the moment I think it might be Cobweb, but don't hold me to that. I plan to make a 2ply out of it. It's been on the wheel since Tour de Fleece back in July and I need to get it finished so that I can finish the project I put on hold when TdF started. I started spinning a gorgeous braid of Merino/Tencel from FeltStudioUK. I bought it years ago from Woolfest and was too scared to spin the gorgeous colours. I decided to bite the bullet back in June and it's spinning up really thin. I knew I wanted to make something special with this yarn, so I didn't want to lose lots of yardage by chain plying it back on itself. I didn't want to get barberpoling so I didn't want to 2 ply it. In the end I found some rather gorgeous fibre at Woolfest this year from John Arbon. It's a gorgeous blend of Alpaca, Merino and Silk in shades of light grey. I'm hoping that the grey's will make the colours of the Merino/Tencel blend pop.

So - accountability with my WIP's

I want to clear off a WIP before I start a new project. Ideally I should clear off a couple before I start a new project, but some of those WIP's are big, complex knits......... and I may be wanting to join a few KALS in the near future!!! Mel has launched a new magazine called 6 bits Storybooks. There is a delightful mix of photography, knitting and words. She is having a KAL soon and there's a couple of projects I want to cast on.  Then there's Woolly Wormhead's mystery KAL. I have some worsted weight yarn I need to use up and this pattern will be perfect I think.

This has been an epic, wordy blog post and I'm sorry about that! I hope to have something slightly more visually stimulating for you next time! 

But it was good to catch up with you all!!

I promise to write again soon. I think I'll aim for at least monthly, hopefully fortnightly.

Thank you for sticking with me right to the bottom of the page!

Ellen x