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Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Happy New Year . . .

. . . to all my readers including lurkers!

As it's national delurking week, lurkers please feel free to introduce yourselves. I'd love to hear from you if you'd like to say hello!

Well, I spent most of Xmas and New Year feeling grotty with a cold/flu type illness but I'm feeling much better now. So, it's a bit later than anticipated, but I just wanted to wish you all a happy new year! The symptoms started on Xmas Eve and I still managed to cook lunch the following day and entertain but, by the evening, I was flagging badly and the next few days I spent mostly in bed. It wasn't all doom and gloom though as my wonderful Chris bought me a spinning wheel for Xmas. It still needs another coat of Jacobean Oak wood dye and a coat of white french polish followed by beeswax but here it is.

Sadly, I've not had a chance to use it at all yet or even try it due to lack of time!

I also received a hug mug (again, from Chris).

Knitting related gifts included books . . .

. . . and I was much cheered by my fabulous Secret Santa, Rain, who spoilt me rotten with knitterly goodies and one which is (or should I say was!) extremely edible! Here are the goodies I received in their entirety . . .

. . . and here is the edible one (now long gone)

A cute little chocolate truffle Xmas pudd in a beaded crochet box made by Rain!

I also received a beautiful skein of Artisan Merino laceweight which is enough to make any of a choice of three lace scarves from a pattern which accompanied it.

A knitted mobile phone cover, a lovely Xmasy looking corsage which is partly crocheted and partly knitted in very fine yarn and some beads.

Here's a close up of the corsage.

And, last but not least, I got this fabulous felted crocheted box which is nice and roomy and is going to be so handy for storage.

Thanks again, Rain, you really are the best!

Well, once again, I'm ashamed to say I haven't got anything to show in the way of knitting but knitting and pattern writing have been taking place. Due to the unexpected almost instant take off of Knitz & Glitz and the work generated by that, I didn't get my design for one of the UK magazines done in time but that's okay because I've been given an extension. They already have the knitted item for photography and the pattern is written up for the size I knitted. I now just need to finish pattern writing for the other sizes.

And, talking of Knitz & Glitz, the new website is still being worked on but will be a big improvement on the present one and mean that I can expand and be able to offer lots of new and exciting products including those made by others such as some wonderful knitters' greeting cards and stationery which have been hand-carved by Carrie-Anne Dennison aka Acrylik. Check out her first designs below which will be on sale soon at Knitz & Glitz!

There's another new line coming soon that I'm also particularly excited about but you'll just have to wait to see what it is as I'm staying schtum for the moment.

Simply Knitting came up trumps again this month with Knitz & Glitz getting a mention not once but a whopping three times! As this post is now getting a bit long though and I want to mention a few other things, I'll save that for another post.

On Saturday, I attended an Embroidered Knitting workshop with Emma Seddon at the Knit Tin in Olney. I was the only one who hadn't embroidered before so was a bit of a dunce compared to the others but still found it fun and managed to learn quite a lot of useful things.

I learnt how to do Swiss darning and cross stitch on knitting. Here are some rows of horizontal and one row of vertical Swiss darning on a swatch I knitted as well as a little bit of cross stitch.

I was quite pleased with the way the Swiss darning turned out as, once I got the hang of it, it didn't look too different from the knitting!

We also did some smocking on rib which looked quite attractive and we explored different ways to use the stitches to their best advantage by incorporating various stitches such as running stitch, stem stitch, chain stitch, blanket stitch, buttonhole stitch, lazy daisy and applique into our work. A fantastic idea that Emma had come up with was to buy old jumpers from charity shops for cutting up into shapes which could then be embroidered on and around. Old woollen jumpers which can then be felted would be ideal but, if not, any raw edges can be neatened by using blanket stitch. Someone also mentioned using Bondaweb which I need to look into.

When it came to cutting up the old jumpers to make shapes, we had nothing to use as templates or to draw on the material with so we just had to cut freestyle. Here's mine.

I didn't get much done in the way of embroidering onto it as the needle I had was too blunt to go through the material but I did a bit of stem stitch down the middle of one of the leaves and started to do some running stitch for the veins which I don't think worked too well. The point is though that, now I have the basics, I can see that given time and the right tools and materials, the possibilities are endless!

Family-wise, we have a bit of a crisis at the moment, as my elderly MIL needs an operation which involves a six-week hospital stay. MY FIL has Alzheimers and will not be able to live on his own whilst she's in hospital as she is his primary carer. So, we've been trying to research the possibilities. As DH works long hours and I also work (from home), it would be difficult for either of us to care for him full time. We could manage to care for him in our own home for the six weeks if we could find help with day care but it seems that, whilst residential care is possible, day care is much harder to find and it needs to be local as I don't drive. If anyone has any ideas or useful information, it would be most welcome. Today I'm going to contact the Alzheimer's Society to see if they can help at all. My MIL is anxious that he doesn't end up in a residential care home for six weeks, FIL is not happy about the prospect and neither myself nor DH would like to see that happen unless there is absolutely no alternative.