Category Archives: Charity Knitting & Sewing

Lots of Buddies

We’ve had a spate of Myeloma Buddy production going on over the past few months.  If I’m a bit stuck for something to take out with me or just need something small I knit a Buddy.  When I was thinking of posting the pics I realised that I’d never said where the orange Myeloma Buddy army went last year.

The 100 Buddies were ordered by Myeloma UK – orange or rather ORANGE being their corporate colour.  They are available direct from them and are listed in their site shop right here.  They’re also for sale at their Info Days.

While I’m at it there’s also a link to my Buddies in the FUNdraisers section of the IMF site (International Myeloma Foundation that is not the better known but less fantastic International Monetary Fund).

Mmm, wonder what one would look like in fabric?

Other creative spaces are here.

When I went for dialysis today I asked about the results of the 24 hour wee collection from Monday.  Apparently the level of toxins in it that my kidneys had filtered is not yet normal but is going up.  The blood test showed my calcium level is on the low side even though my Calci-chew dose was increased three weeks ago from 2g a day to 4g so the nurse said she’d get a doctor to review it when I went in on Saturday.  

Me Bum’s Sore

Okay not so much now but Wednesday and Thursday if I sat down without thinking about it and pressed up against a cushion in the wrong manner it made B jump. Not so much the sound of me actually hitting the cushion more the yelp I emitted. How come I had a sore rear end? Well…

Last Friday we went to the Blood Clinic and saw the Prof. My blood counts, neutrophils, white blood count and platelets were all well in the normal range with only my haemoglobin slighty low – which doesn’t seem to be unusual for me – plus the counts had been staying there on their own. I haven’t had a donation of a kindly stranger’s blood since 23 December. This and the fact that my ‘quality of life’ was so much better than eight to ten weeks ago gave the Prof the indication that all was going well however the only way to really see how effective the DT-PACE treatment has been is a bone marrow biopsy since my paraprotein reading is not a reliable marker on its own. He asked me how I felt about this as I was as fully involved in the decision making for my care, I said that I’d thought as much and indeed this was what I’d told people when they’d asked how we would know how things were going.

The mention of quality of life always makes me nervous. I’m not too sure why exactly maybe because one day I’ll have to say it isn’t good and will I admit to it at that time. After having been in a lot of pain with my collapsed vertebra I would say that my quality of life at that time was pretty low. For a while I couldn’t even get in a comfortable position to knit, well or sit, stand, lie down and laughing, coughing, sneezing resulted in me nearly, or occasionally actually, ending up on the floor.

When my back eased off, before it got worse, I’d said to a friend that I didn’t know how people coped with bad pain all the time. She said that they probably got used to it but I don’t think so. I truly thought that the pain I had before I was diagnosed was never going to go away and that was a horrible thought. So I think for me how I will potentially feel tomorrow is a measure of quality of life – that even if I feel particularly tired or throw up a lot one day it doesn’t mean that tomorrow or the day after will be the same. Let’s be honest no-one has a wonderful day every single day, even if its only due to a self induced hangover after an over indulgent weekend. Quality of life is the culmination of all days – and maybe letting the bad ones slide and making the most of the good ones.

Anyhoo, Tuesday, after dialysis, I went up to the Blood Day Unit for a bone marrow biopsy. The actually aspirate and trephine samples, done by the same lovely registrar as last time, were fine – okay it did hurt a bit but it’s not like it lasts for long and I only had to pause briefly mid sentence twice – and the subsequent lie down was uneventful. When the requisite ‘lie down’ time was up one of the nurses checked the dressing, which was wasn’t showing even a hint of blood, and I got up off the bed. I popped on my shoes and was stood chatting to the nurse when I thought ‘My bum cheek’s gone warm.’ I looked down and there was blood spotting onto my shoe and the floor. The nurse whizzed off for some gauze and I sat down on the bed, she popped the gauze over the dressing and I got to have another lie down. Fortunately I had dark brown linen trousers on and a long winter coat so the blood wasn’t easily evident – we discussed how stylish I would have looked having to venture home in a hospital gown with my stripy pink socks and flat tan shoes sticking out the bottom. The nurse also did an excellent job of removing the blood spots from my shoe.

The additional lie down meant that I was late for my ambulance ride home. B rang while I was lying there and said he would come and pick me up if it was there problem. When I rang the ambulance reception they said I could still have a lift home but, since I’d missed my allocated ride, it would depend on when a suitable crew got back and most of them arrived about five o’clock – it was currently ten to two. Needless to say B picked me up.

During the course of the bone marrow biopsy the junior doctor assisting asked me whether I did anything else other than knitting and crochet. The registrar answered ‘She’s not got time for anything else she’s a professional patient.’ On Thursday I had cause to think that if I got paid for my time at the hospital I’d probably have the best paying job I’d ever had. I was all ready to be collected at ten past six (in the morning) with B standing watch at the porch window and getting more and more antsy as time went on. At seven I phoned up to see where they where. The co-ordinator didn’t know but said she’d ring me back. B was having to call into work that morning so said he would take me and then go straight in. I rang back to tell them this and she said that was fine, they had sent a taxi but it would be quicker if B brought me, they’d let renal know I was on my way. I thought the mix up may have happened because I didn’t get a lift home on the Tuesday however, it turned out that the two guys on the ambulance ride home hadn’t been collected that morning either and it was only after they’d both phoned that they’d been collected by taxi. We then waited ages for our lift home. So after being ready with my coat on at 6.10 am I got back home at 3.20 pm. Mind you it’s giving me lots of time to be crafty. Here’s what I did yesterday…

I used some of the left over yarn from Bright Star and the pattern is a free one – Garter Yoke Baby Cardi.  I didn’t finish the cardigan yesterday as Auntie Ann and Uncle Ray visited as I got home and then I had to fit in a 3 to 4 hour nap and then tea – which I actually made myself with only a minimal amount of assistance, and that was just so B didn’t think he was leaving it all to me – and then more sleep.  That’s only the second hot meal I’ve made since I’ve been home, B has taken over as chief cook.

So, here’s the finished cardy…

Me Balls are too Big

I thought it was about time we had a craft related post.  I’ll start with what I did while on my five week Royal-cation.

I did 20 fancy crocheted squares – I had 63 to choose from in the booklet which was just as well as there were a number I undid, either because I had too many or too few chains left at the end of the base row or it didn’t turn out the right size.  I must apologise for the picture quality but I took some of them on my phone.

I had plenty of yarn left over from making the fancy squares so I made another 45 (I already had five made at home) for Share a Square.  Shelly was a little short of contributors, as every square in an afghan should come from someone different, so it was suggested that if you crocheted them you could put a friend/family member on the tag that accompanies them.  So I did this batch from my Auntie Ann  – needless to say I had to handwrite the tags.

This was one of the squares I’d already done.  This and the other 45 squares are in Red Heart aran/worsted and this one is called Bikini.  I have  to say I was very impressed with Red Heart’s service.  I ordered on a Saturday night, the order was processed on the Monday and I received it Friday – all the way from the US.

Now we’ll get onto the subject of big balls and me being a tad (read that as very) slow.  I selected some yarn for a blanket from my local yarn store over the phone and a friend picked it up.  B brought the book in I needed – Comfort Knitting and Crochet Afghans and off I went.  I have to admit that the last week in the hospital I didn’t do any knitting at all.  Yes, I felt somewhat crappy but if I’d had something to do that didn’t involve four colours in a row I might have been more inclined to do some but I had already managed a fair bit…

Plus the balls were all 400g and actually seemed to be getting bigger rather than smaller, as they loosened up, so it was really a mither to untangle the yarn part way through.  I started knitting again on Wednesday and saw the light – why didn’t I just wrap smaller balls to make it easier – Doh!

The pattern itself is really clever, well I think so, in that you start with a straight row of stitches…

and because of the decreases in the middle it forms a square when finished.

On Tuesday this week I decided I’d like to do some crochet and thought I’d start a blanket for the creche/hospital in South Africa that our GPs’ receptionist, and husband, are involved with using the bag of tiny balls that one of the other receptionists gave me.  I also had quite a few bits hanging about myself.

I crocheted them together as I went along otherwise I would have crocheted round each square in the same colour, say cream, to unite it more.  Now my sister in law, Gill, rang on Tuesday to ask if I had a crochet hook that she could borrow for some double knit yarn she’d bought.  She’s never crocheted before but is having trouble sleeping so she thought it might be an idea to learn so that she could crochet when she’s awake in the middle of the night.  She’s left handed but had found an instructional video for left handed people on the internet. I said no problem, I have lots of crochet hooks.  Turns out I only have one 4.5mm which was the size I was using for the blanket so after I’d lent it to Gill I needed something else to do in dialysis on Wednesday, so I did these…

They are in a chunky yarn, which I wouldn’t usually use, but was given two bags full by a friend from Armchair Yoga so I thought I’d use that as it would crochet up quickly.

And finally, I actually finished my second Stephen West Knitalong shawl, for a friend for Christmas, just before I went into hospital.  I hadn’t blocked it though I had left it to dry flat and I was so annoyed with myself on Christmas Eve.  Chris called round with my present (and we had a chat with me in the vestibule and her in the porch – as she had a cold) and I hadn’t had chance to block the shawl.  After she’d gone I went upstairs and when I looked at the shawl it would have been fine – I could have just wrapped it up.  Double doh!

I have to say I really like the colours particularly as I wasn’t too sure how they would look together.

And one little departure from crafting – when I went to dialysis yesterday both the doctor and dietitian called in to see me.  The dietitian was asking me how my mouth was and I said it was loads better, the only thing that really made it sting was the potassium tablets I’d been given to take when I left the hospital.  It turned out that my potassium was too high on Wednesday but this would be the reason and since I took the last ones on Wednesday it should settle back down.

My phosphate had also been low prompting a phone call from one of the doctors on Monday afternoon but since I didn’t feel nauseous and was eating it wasn’t too much cause for concern and it had gone up a little by Wednesday.

The other thing was the 24 hour wee collection I’d taken in on Monday – 1.8 litres!  Just a tad different from the 200 to 300ml I was producing at first.  When analysed it didn’t have that many toxins in it which would have showed that my kidneys were recovering and dialysis could be stopped at some point,  but it did have some.  The doctor said though that there is still a little hope that they will pick up and I need to do a monthly collection.  It was just as well that I hadn’t got my hopes up but then again you never know, stranger things have happened at sea.

Little cardys on the table, little cardys made of yarn and stuff

Firstly thank you for all the comments this week, actually just thank you for all the comments – my sister in law has told me I should reply more and although I am a bit rude in this respect I do read and cherish each and every one.   ‘Put that bucket down it wasn’t that soppy.’  I am feeling somewhat better today.  I had a kip (nap) after a tiny bit of shopping (whilst B hoovered – so I was well away) and I’ve generally only felt tired/fatigued really as opposed to unwell plus my temp seems to have maintained a respectable level.  

I may not have a new creative space (it’s currently still got the scrap quilts from last week all over it and knitting hasn’t hit a production high) so I thought I’d share these little jackets I made for the South Africa consignment via our GP’s receptionist (I really need to find a way to shorten that).

I wanted a quick cardigan pattern but something that could be un-problematically sized up – the five hour cardi pattern I used last year was more matinee style so, for me, didn’t size up well for older children.  I found Garter Yoke Baby Cardi, which I think is more jackety and would look just as good on a toddler as a baby.

I completed four.  One in Snuggly 4ply with novelty yarn trim…

One in double knitting…

This one has I-cord trim on the buttonhole border and I think is probably my favourite.  Here’s the back…

Another is in the remnants of the recent aran crocheting binge…

B liked this one best and picked it to be entered in the Rainford Show, which was fortunate as the one in Snuggly DK, with shell buttons, which he nearly went for…

 

 

 

 

 

had a little boo boo on the sleeve…

it may not be easy to tell from that pic (or it may be glaringly obvious) but I apparently gained an extra stitch leaving a hole!  It has since had a little TLC and it didn’t leave a scar.)  Oh, the shame!!!!!!!  (

But then again, look at this from the Early Autumn 2011 issue of Designer Knitting (previously Vogue Knitting)…

A missed cable on the sleeve and a wrong way cable at the bottom front. Now fair do’s if I’d done it for myself I probably (definitely) wouldn’t have undone (frogged?) the whole front to redo that cable but the one in the sleeve!  Plus if it was to appear in a magazine I would have… cut the sleeve out of the pic and put something over the one at the bottom!

Oh and I forgot to mention yesterday what B said to me on Monday (other than asking me if I wanted a jam butty sandwich – we were short on groceries – jam butty being the same thing as jam sandwich, in case you wondered, and I declined).  I was talking to B and I do have to repeat myself a LOT but Monday instead of ‘What Paula?’ he says ‘What Mum?’

‘WHAT MUM?’ WTF!?!?!?!?!?!?!

‘What darling?’ I said – or words to that effect.

‘Nuffin!’

‘Yeah, right!!!!!  Is that because I’ve been a whinging pain in the a*se the last few days?’

He just laughed.

Other Creative Spaces can be found here.

 

What did you do with your Tuesday?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

‘Well what did you do and where did you do it?’

‘Ohh, sounds nice.  Gosh, I’m impressed.  You did THAT – that’s disgusting I’d keep it to yourself in future. ‘

And what did I do with my Tuesday.  Well, as there was no Armchair Yoga at the local hospital I decided to take myself off to the Royal for a couple of x-rays and blood tests as I’d been a tad concerned about the numb patch that had appeared on my right forearm on Sunday afternoon.  I’d waited until Tuesday as it was a bank holiday.

I rang the day unit as soon as I knew someone would be there and then went in to get it checked out.  One of our lovely neighbour chaeuffered me there – she did offer to stay but as these things can take time at the best of times and it was the day after the bank holiday I suggested she go home rather than wait.

So obviously my biggest concern was that the numbness – okay it’s not numb per se running my fingers or nails over it produces a feeling like minor pins and needles so I can feel stuff (unlike the area at the side of the scar on my knee which is completely feeling less) but not what one should usually feel – so my biggest concern about the area of altered sensation was that it was being caused by some shift in the loosening found in my C6 vertebra in February this year.

So after mentioning this to the doctor (who I’d never clapped eyes on before and who I did initially see very soon after arriving) and also mentioning that on Saturday when I had a headache I’d got a pain in the crown of my head that wasn’t a usual headachey pain and which was still there slightly and indeed had been then when I’d had a headache a few weeks ago.  (I had intended on mentioning it at my next clinic appointment).  Now maybe this was too much and I appeared to be a whinger particularly as when she asked if that was it I said ‘Well I had been getting a pain in my leg but think that may have been my new walking boots’.

So after two x-rays, some blood tests and starting and knitting most of this…

The conclusion was that the blood tests were fine and showed no magnesium/calcium issues, x-rays showed nothing new and the head pain was unrelated to myeloma as it wouldn’t come and go.  If the ‘numbness’ hadn’t gone in a week I could go back and they would run an MRI which would pick up any smaller damage.

So I toddled off home on the train.  I would like to say I toddled off happy and satisfied but the more I thought about it on the way home the less happy I was.

My understanding of the whole ‘conclusion’  and after giving it thorough thought on the train ride home was this…

The x-rays were on my lumbar and thoracic spine regions and after looking at my previous x-rays ‘which were taken at Whiston but were on the file there…’ When I said the latest had been taken at the Royal in February – I was told the report wasn’t on my file.  This is the x-ray that showed the new damage at C6 – maybe this is why a cervical spine x-ray wasn’t taken because at the x-rays in April 09 there was no damage there.

When I asked which vertebra would cause ‘numbness’ I was told ‘one higher up.’  Hello – C6!  Did I not say C6?  I think I may have done several times –  but with hindsight if there was no damage on the x-rays they looked then why do one on that area – I must have been mistaken.

And the head pain – well apparently she had told the senior doctor everything I’d said and he (name of someone I didn’t know) had said it didn’t count as it ‘wouldn’t come and go’.  In my own personal experience with myeloma pain my back pain started in January 08 and disappeared (apart from if I attempted deadlifts or reverse crunches but happily withstood carrying boxes and boxes of files upstairs) until May 08.

After due consideration, a bit of a rant when I got home (the five minutes of nerve and vertebra talk resulting in B going all hot and having to sit down) and following a suggestion from a friend (who I keep telling that our GPs are wonderful whenever she complains after theirs) I rang the surgery this morning and booked an appointment for tomorrow with them so that I can fully understand what vertebra affects what nerves before I ring one of the consultants at the Royal and make a complete boob of myself.

Said friend also suggested that a lot of patients don’t want the level of detail I do and may have been quite happy to leave with the information supplied.

And now I’m off to a funeral of an old boss – along with two other friends one of whom had mentioned my ‘numbness’ to a friend of hers who is a retired physio and she then pointed out on the forearm the various areas affected by the cervical vertebra.  But hey, we’re having takeaway for tea after back at ours so it’s not all bad!

Buddy Free Crochet

Once I’d got some sleep and extracted Bud from my crochet blanket I took some new pics.  As I mentioned the majority of these squares started life this time last year with a view to travelling across the pond to Shelly in Texas to become part of the whole Share a Square experience however I did them in the wrong weight yarn – worsted in the US equals aran in the UK not double knit as I originally thought.

When our doctors’ receptionist mentioned that a container was going over to South Africa in the next few weeks this gave me the impetus to provide them with a trip across a different ocean.  However they were quite different and looked a bit disjointed when put together.  They did look more disjointed but I only thought to take a photo after I’d already used some up.

So I took a leaf out of how Shelly has dealt with squares in previous years and decided to add a border to all the squares in one colour.

I went with a navy blue edging as I thought a dark colour would work better than a light one and I think it worked (in my humble opinion).

I am quite fond of these squares which hint at a flower while just being basic granny squares with the ‘flower’ centre being in novelty yarn surrounded by a ground of green ‘leaves’.

Coming Soon!I’ve also done some little cardys which are knit all in one for the same shipment and the, no, THE cutest little crocheted ‘wellies’!

And yet more crocheting…

Last week after I’d used the yarn bought specifically for Share a Square I found some aran/worsted weight I’d been given by a neighbour.  The problem with it was that it didn’t tell me what it was made of – I asked but it was being coy.  I was pretty sure it was acrylic and indeed the cardigan I’d made myself from it didn’t bother me and I am wool phobic from a wearing point of view – I think this stems from a pair of tartan trousers my Mum made me when I was little they still itched after she’d lined them.  (I also had a matching cape!)

So I made a couple of squares anyway but since I wasn’t 100% sure (Share a Square squares need to be artificial to any allergies) I decided to make a blanket for the hospital/crèche in South Africa that one of the receptionists at our GPs has ties with and having bumped into her on Tuesday (not literally) she mentioned there was another container leaving in the next couple of weeks – so I timed that well.

I used the yarn I had left over from the Greenway blanket (presumably so called becasuse in the book it was done in shades of green but from here on in known as the Daisy Blanket because of the stitch) and I cannot tell you how gorgeous that cream yarn is even though it as 20% wool. It almost glows and it has to be fondled to fully appreciate its softness – as B was instructed on Sunday ‘Feel that.’ slight touch ‘No, fondle iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiit.’ (In my best Homer Simpson impersonation.)

The edging is also à la the Daisy Blanket.  I was going to leave it as three rows of double crochet (US single crochet) but then did a backwards row of double crochet and it just finishes it off nicely – well I think so.

I had my hair cut by a friend on Monday.  She used our clippers.  She regularly cuts her husband with their clippers – he has it very short and she consciously tired not to get mine the same.  Let’s read the reviews.

Friend who visited last night on being informed that I’d had it cut – ‘Yes I noticed it was shorter than last time.’  (That being two weeks ago.)  So noticed but hadn’t said anything – mmmmm.

Friend who cut it as she was leaving – ‘As I say to my husband, if you don’t like it it will grow back in a couple of weeks.’

My husband (who as we know says what he sees) – ‘It’s alright.’ Oh!  When asked a second time because I had the strange feeling he may have developed a dose of tact. ‘It’s a bit (sparse, say sparse) bald looking in places.’  Doh!

Me – ‘I look like a cancer patient.’

Other creative spaces are here.