Sunday, 29 July 2012

Second Year of Projects Week 5

Lots of progress to report this week! First off I finished my Annikki's hat
And I'm pleased to say it fits, both with my hair down and up, so it'll be really useful for winter when I'm on placement (or even now, since it started hailing this afternoon...)
This hat had a lot of new techniques for me, including the provisional cast on, grafting in Kitchener stitch with cables, and using magic loop to knit it. I was dreading the grafting, as I hate Kitchener stitch anyway, until I came across this incredible way of doing it, which makes it so easy and painless, and I was able to graft it in about  5 minutes flat: How to do Kitchener Stitch with out Kitchener(ing). And I think it came out really well.
The only way you can tell that it's grafted there is the colour change in the semi-solid yarn, and the fact that I didn't think about how grafting would add in an extra row, so the last row of the repeat is there twice. It's not noticeable unless you look for it though, so I decided I didn't care.

Since I had a couple of days 'til the Ravellenic Games, I decided to cast on my Ghostie socks
I knitted the ribbing on 2.75mm needles, but when I got to the ghostie part, I realised my gauge was off. I tried 2.5 (due to not realising which way I needed to go), and 3.0 needles with no success, and eventually got gauge on 3.25mm. The ghosties are coming out perfectly now, but the socks are WAY too big, so I'm not sure what to do with them. They've gone into time out of the Ravellenic Games, but any advice about what to do with them would be great!

I cast on for my Ravellenic Games project on Saturday, as I was in the Children's Emergency Department on Friday over the opening ceremony.
It's the Top Down Raglan Sweater Generator and I cast on an extra 40 stitches and omitted the first 5 increase rows to give it a lower neckline. I've only had to frog once, right at the start, since I realised that 2x2 rib doesn't work with 118 stitches, and I needed 120. It's going well, and fingers crossed I'll get it finished!

Thursday, 26 July 2012

Ravellenic Games Swatching

I've been trying to get myself sorted to start the Ravellenic Games on Friday, so I decided to try and swatch for the item I'm planning to make. My (very ambitious) aim is to knit a plain Top Down Raglan for my Mum using the Top Down Raglan Pattern Generator. She wants a 3/4 sleeved pullover with a lower neckline than the pattern, so I think I will probably start the pattern after the first 5 increase rows, and hopefully that will just lower the neckline slightly
The yarn is Fornside Farm Mohair/Blue Faced Leicester, and was bought on holiday, and although I know I have 500g, I had no idea what the yardage of that was, so the swatch was doubly important. I'm getting 21 stitches and 29 rows in 4 inches, which I plugged into the generator to get my pattern, so now I just need to figure out what I'm doing so I'm all ready to cast on. I was  pretty lucky that just as I finished the swatch, I got to a knot, so I was able to weigh my swatch then unravel it, so I now know I have 22.65 yards in 10g, so I have about 1132 yards altogether, which doesn't seem quite enough for a sweater, but I'm really hoping it is, as getting more will probably be difficult!
I've ordered the size of needle tips I need (you know you're skint when you are debating if you can afford a set of £3.50 needle tips,but I decided I could), and I'm all ready to cast on! There's just one problem, I'm on call on Friday night, so when knitters all over the world are starting the games, I will be in the Children's Emergency Department. But it can't be helped, and I'll be casting on Saturday lunchtime after my on call is over. I'm very excited!

I'll leave you with an accidentally artistic shot of my yarn, taken when I went to see why the cat was crying (no idea, he was happily giving himself a wash by the time I got there...)

Sunday, 22 July 2012

Second Year of Projects Week 4

I've finished my Basketweave Socks, so I'm definitely on track for my 12 pairs this year.
I'm really pleased with how they turned out, they're really soft and they fit perfectly!
Since those are finished, I've decided to cast on a non-sock project for a bit of a break
This is the start of my Annikin palmikkopipo hat, knit in Fleece Artist River which is a blend of alpaca, merino and silk. It's pretty soft and very warm. Plus it's an amazingly bright red. The only thing is, it seems summer has hit the  UK in the last couple of days,and this yarn is a bit warm to be knitting with!

My parents and grandparents came to visit this weekend, and it was really nice to see them, plus it forced me to deep clean my house from top to bottom on Friday and Saturday, so I'm sitting in a lovely clean and tidy house (for one). We also  decided that we couldn't deal with the garden any more, since the landlord is supposed to mow it and doesn't, so we finally gave in and bought a lawnmower. I have to say, I felt much more like an adult buying that than I did buying my car. We also got a bit side tracked by the plants on offer and came home with a few things to brighten up the house and garden
Some wilting lavender and fuscia, that we hope will brighten up with a bit of TLC.
This is called a Bromelia, and I've never seen anything like it! So I had to get one to live on our windowsill. I also got some very cheap windowsill pots of grow your own herbs to have a try at.

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

WIP Wednesday - Swaledale

My WIP this week is what I mentioned I was planning on doing on Sunday, spinning!
I did not realise just how much of a time suck spinning on a wheel is. It's so relaxing, and I had no idea how much time had passed until Connor asked me if I wanted tea at any point soon! I was spinning this:
100g of Swaledale fibre from Wingham Wool Work. It's quite a rough, coarse fibre, with lots of short guard hairs, which have ended up everywhere. I don't think I did too badly for an even single for my first time spinning using a wheel
I've also plied about 85g of it into a worsted/aran weight yarn, but that's still drying so no pictures. Since my singles were split so unevenly, I have about 15g left, and as it's the first thing I spun, it's a bit underspun. I'm going to run it through the wheel then ply from each end to make a bit more of the same yarn. I've got about  90 yards so far, and I promised my Dad that as he bought me the wheel, I would make him a hat from the first yarn I spun. He even chose the fibre, but I don't think 90yards is enough for a man's hat,so I want to get as much yardage out of it as possible.

I'm also linking up with yarn along, as I've recently finished 2 books.The first is In The Midst of Life by Jennifer Worth. This is the author who wrote Call  the Midwife and other  books about her life as a midwife in London's East End in the 1950s. Although all her other books are lighthearted anecdotes, this one is much deeper and darker. It deals with the subjects of death and dying, and in particular the medicalisation of death and our loss of acceptance of death as a culture. It details the invention of palliative care and the introduction of CPR into medical practise, and is based on her own personal experiences as well as interviews with others who have been bereaved in various circumstances. I found it very thought provoking and it challenged me to consider where I stand on the subject of death, both as a person and as a doctor in training. It deals with people's right to choose how they die and making sure that these wishes are communicated to friends and family. Although it is, by nature, a very sad book, it's also wonderful. There are some real tales of joy in it,and it is engagingly written without being preachy or overly medical. I can highly recommend it, although it may be upsetting to people who are expecting more of her lighthearted work, or who have been recently bereaved.

The second is A Chance to Live: Isaac's Story. This was given to me by a paediatric consultant, who recommended that we all read it, and deals with the life of Isaac, a little boy diagnosed with Hurler's Syndrome. It is written by his grandfather and follows him through diagnosis and undergoing a bone marrow transplant, with parts written by his entire family. It is an uplifting story with a happy ending (I can say that as it tells you that in the first page of the book), but is also a frank look at how dealing with what could be a terminal illness effects parents, families and carers. It's quite simplistically written, and a very quick read, but it puts a personal face on a rare and impersonal disease, as well as giving a good insight into life with a disease that is hard to treat, and has a treatment that causes huge disruption to a family's life. Although I think there is only a subset of people who would benefit from this book, I think it is a great book to encourage medical students, who may not have to personal experience of severe diseases in childhood, to read, to give them a better understanding of a parent's perspective.

I could do with some more Goodreads friends, I love seeing what people have read and recommended, so if you want to add me, I'm here.

I'm linking up with WIP Wednesday and Yarn Along.

Sunday, 15 July 2012

Second Year of Projects Week 3

Well I've been chugging along on my socks in the evening after placement,whilst I attempt to settle into a routine for the time I'm commuting up to an hour and fifteen minutes each way, which will be until around December. And I have to say, they're going pretty well

The first sock is finished, and it fits perfectly! These are going to be such luscious socks to wear, the yarn is so soft and warm. I altered the toe, because I didn't like to look of the one in the pattern, to a normal kitchenered toe. I somehow managed to forget that the reason I made my last socks toe up was that I am awful at kitchener stitch. I always end up with a set of purl bumps, and I couldn't for the life of me figure out why. A bit of Ravelry searching later, and I figured out that I was putting the yarn over the needles, instead of under, for each stitch. It took four tries, but I now have a very nicely kitchenered toe!

I still love this pattern. I think it works even better that I expected with the yarn, which is really gratifying. And I'm well on track to get them finished by the end of the month, which is my aim, so I can complete 12 pairs this year. I've been so organised this weekend, and actually crossed everything off my to-do list, which I don't think has ever happened before,so I'm planning to spend the rest of this afternoon playing with my spinning wheel, so watch this space for handspun!

Saturday, 14 July 2012

I'm back (again)

Well, the best laid plans of mice and men... I had all sorts of blog posts planned for this week, but last Monday, the charger cable went for my laptop, so I have only been able to access the internet on my phone,not the best for either reading blogs or writing posts on here.

But I did get some amazing news, my first was confirmed! So I get to graduate with a top degree at Christmas (we have 2 graduations, as we get 2 degrees, although my course continues for another 2 years).

I've also started my paediatric placement, which has been fun so far, though we haven't really had much contact with the children as it's been an induction week. I did manage to make a 16 month old cry without touching him, he was smiling away and very happy with us being there, until I got out my stethoscope, and then he really wasn't happy. I felt so bad for him and his Dad, and left very quickly so as not to upset him further! We also had a class on "baby juggling," which amused me. We learnt how to hold and pass babies, and how to dress them and change a nappy (we had a race to dress a baby doll). It surprises me that people in my year have never held a baby before, let alone done anything else. Thanks to my time spent in a Malawian orphanage for babies, I managed to win that particular race, which was apparently very impressive, although I don't think it's anything out of the ordinary to change a nappy and dress a baby.

It's also clear that some of my colleagues are scared of children, or at least have no idea how to interact with them, so we've been scheduled a day next week for playing with the children, which I'm really looking forward to!

The thing I'm really not looking forward to are the evening and weekend shifts in Children's Accident and Emergency, I think they'll be very tiring and emotionally draining. I either have to work Friday/Saturday or Saturday/Sunday until 9pm 3 weekends out of  9, but that's added to an hours commute either way.

Now onto yarny things. Those of you following my year of projects will know that I'm planning to knit more preemie clothes this year for the babies in the NICU (doubly so because I actually get to spend time in the NICU this placement seeing the amazing work of the doctors there), and a got a wonderful gift from a lady on Ravelry this week.
4 balls of baby yarn, perfect for little cardigans, hats and bonnets. And the colours are perfect, as although we do get donated yarn, we rarely get anything interesting or anything boy coloured (yes, I know it's stereotyping, but most parents don't like to dress their boys in pink, plus it makes it easier for the staff to identify the babies).

All I need to do now is practise examining and developmentally assessing children. I might see if I can borrow my Goddaughter and her brother for an afternoon...

Sunday, 8 July 2012

Second Year of Projects Week 2

Well, in all my gallivanting around the country, I managed to get some good work done on my first pair of socks for the year
The pattern is Basketweave socks, and it's a great pattern, really simple repeat to follow, and a really effective pattern. I'm also loving the yarn, Sun Valley Fibres MCN Fingering. It feels really soft, yet hard wearing, and I'm loving the way it knits into spiral stripes which go really well with the pattern. This yarn was a gift from Renee, over at Confessions of a Yarn Addict, so I have to thank her for it, it's gorgeous!

The colours are actually more vibrant than this, this picture shows them better, as well as the stripes.

We've just got back from holiday, and the present of a sheepskin rug for his favourite sleeping spot seemed to placate Tomcat after we cruelly abandoned him for 2 weeks
He was so funny. I picked him up and put him on the rug, and he leapt off onto the window sill. He had to prod it several times with his paw before he decided it wasn't going to eat him and he sat on it, then quickly went to sleep. Hopefully it'll keep him off my knitting now, since he loves to sleep on things that are blocking...

Saturday, 7 July 2012

More holidays, I'm spoilt!

Best news I've heard all week, I got my exam results back! A 75% in the medical knowledge exam including 86% in clinical skills, a 87% in Theraputics (basic prescribing) and a 89% in my community follow up project (following a patient for 18 months and writing about their journey through health care). I've I've added up correctly, this means I have a 1st (the top degree classification) for my first degree, with 2 more years to go until I qualify as a doctor. I'm so happy!

I've had another lovely week, before I start Pediatrics on Monday. My mum whisked me off for a mini break to London, where we did a bit of shopping and went to a couple of shows: Sweeney Todd and Matilda,which were both excellent, but very different!

I had to go to a couple of knitting shops when in London, of course! I got a very cute pair of knitting earrings, and, from I Knit, some KnitPro interchangable needles and a gorgeous colour of sock yarn.
I do not need any more yarn for a long time!

Then I drove my mum and Connor to Whitby (famous for Dracula and Whitby Goth weekend) for 2 nights. Even in July, it was very gothic, this was the view from the bridge (this was daytime by the way)
I did not enjoy driving over the North York Moors in that this morning!

We also took a trip to see my parents new puppy. She's called Amber (I named her) and she's a four week old working Cocker Spaniel. Their other cocker spaniels are 12 and 7, so the plan is to retire the older one and train the new one to work. She is so cute!
I'm driving back to Uni tomorrow, and them my term starts at 8:30 on Monday. It's been a whirlwind 2 weeks, but a much needed break, so I'm very happy. I owe a lot of blog visits, since I've had pretty much no internets for 2 weeks, so my plan for next week is to read lots of blogs, since hopefully there won't be too much to do workwise next week

Sunday, 1 July 2012


Sorry that I've not been around these past couple of weeks, they've been very busy! Warning, this is long and picture heavy post!

I think the best news is that my exams are over! I'm not entirely sure how they went, the written paper was very difficult, but then I always knew it would be, as it covered all aspects of medicine. The clinical skills practical exam went ok, I think the patient liked me, which is always a plus, and the examinations went well, but I did manage to forget that Chest X-Rays exist,even though the examiner was hinting strongly about a very simple investigation, I only managed to come up with the complicated ones. Then about 10 minutes later I blurted "chest X-rays" at him, and he laughed quite a lot, which I hope is a good sign...

I thought the best way to celebrate was sitting outside  in the sun with a glass of champagne with real gold in it (a gift from my Mum)!

I went pretty much straight from my exam to Cumbria for a weeks holiday and Woolfest, which was incredible! So many pretty things, and some very amazing animals

I especially liked the alpaca with the toupee! I was spoilt for choice with the shopping, and since I got some money for my birthday, I decided to spend it.
I got some dyed merino and some shetland for spinning, plus a pack of alpaca from Quinn (in the picture above, he's the light one) and some angora bunny (who I also met), which is like angel hair and I have no idea what to do with. Then I couldn't resist the sock yarn, so I got a Zauerball, some hand dyed Laal Bear yarn, and some undyed yarn and a pot of dye to make Hopsox, the patten for which was sold for to raise money for Medcins Sans Frontiers. Even Tomcat got a gift, a mini sheepskin rug so he stops sleeping on my knitting!

The holiday was very relaxing, even both roads  into the village got flooded one day, so we had real problems getting back to the cottage! I don't have a picture of that, but to give you an idea, this is one of the fields
We  saw some sheep stranded on what had become an island in the middle of their field, and some cows up to their bellies in water, and unsurprisingly it rained a lot!

But we still did a few things. We went to a bird of prey sanctuary andwatched the birds flying.
I got to have a go flying the last guy (a Harris Hawk), which was great fun!

Apart from that,we saw some castles (ruined and not)
Walked a lot, and saw some beautiful waterfalls
High Force, normally water only runs down one side...
Caldron Snout.

Apart from that we relaxed, I crafted and we went to the pub that was attached to our cottage. We even managed to win the pub quiz one night!

I could show you the crafting, since I got lots done, but this post is far too long already, so I will save that for Friday. I'm off to London tomorrow with my Mum for 2 days, so I expect I'll have pictures of that to show you when I get back!

Second Year of Projects Week 1

I'm back! I'll be updating what I've been up to soon, but I just wanted to get my Year of Projects post in!
I can't believe this year is over! I decided to do a quick run through of how I did last year. I managed 6/12 knitting projects and 3/5 sewing projects, so not great, hopefully I can do better this year!

Betty the blob - completed 4th November 2011
Central Park Hoodie - completed 13th May 2012
The boy's scarf - completed 19th April 2012
Cabled Jacket with Hood for the God-daughter's christening present - completed 14th August 2011
Pug Dog Washcloth for H's birthday - completed 3rd October 2011
Make-up Socks by Kirsten Kapur - completed 6th June 2012
Build-a-bear dress - completed 23rd January 2012
Sock monkey for V's birthday - completed 8th December 2011
Blackwork test stitch - completed 10th July 2011
On to this years list:

Tubby by Anna Hrachovec
Arielle by Kim Hargreaves
Hönkä Scarf
As many Preemie Baby things as possible for donation

Speleology Socks
Confetti Socks
Watermelon Socks
Staked Socks
Socks for Connor
Mini Make-Up Socks for Mum

Map of Yorkshire
Gran's embroidery

So really the aim is to make a pair of socks a month as well as a couple of bigger projects. Fingers crossed I can get through them this time! All of these are yarn already in my stash, so hopefully I won't make any more purchases this year!