Attempt 1 at using a knitting Loom

I got a load of Knitting Looms as a Christmas present this year but only managed to use them for the first time this last week. I had to recover from Christmas for example but also, I knew that if I started another project before I finished the squares to my blanket I would never finish it and that would be a massive waste of over a years work!

But two weeks ago, I finished the squares, all 160 of them. My aunt had told me once I had finished she would help me start sewing them all together so I had to wait for half term to start that, which meant I had some craft time that wasn’t dedicated to my blanket to fill.

So, I thought, woo, Loom time.

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Now, although I couldn’t spend craft time looming, I had been spending some time browsing loom patterns and tutorials online to see what i would want to make first. I decided on this tutorial by Tuteate on YouTube. There are loads of other good tutorials on their channel but this is the kind of hat that I would wear so I figured this was as good a place to start as any. I had my loom and my yarn and was ready to go.

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The pattern I choose had two different stitches, a knit and purl. When you complete the rows, you fold it over on its self and using a yarn needle you sew up the edge. I found it very easy to do, it can be quite tiring to start with until I got use to the movements and found a position I was comfortable in but overall I found it used a lot less energy than traditional two needle knitting does.Taken with Lumia Selfie

I’m rather happy with the finished result, even though I made a couple mistakes at the start (I suggest keeping a stitch marker handy until you can recognise where you decreased last time, I’m rubbish at remembering). I’ve already ordered some new yarn to make a hat for my friend.

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What do you think? I’m excited to try more things with the other looms as well. I got a pack of 4 different sized circle looms and a long loom so i’m thinking I might try a scarf on the long loom after i’ve made the second hat. Have you tried using the looms? Do you have a favourite thing to make on them? Or any questions about using them you want me to answer?

 

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Guest Interview 1: Little School of Wool

I’m going to be doing some interviews with other chronically ill crafters on this blog every now and then, if you would like to get involved just drop me a line, the more the merrier.

Louise from Little School Of Wool, has generously volunteered to be my first interviewee, she makes some really adorable little crochet pieces and she’s taken part in lots of  charity projects both in knitting and crochet, you should definitely check her blog and fb out.

On to the interview:

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Who are you?

I’m Louise and I run a blog and FB page about knitting and crocheting whilst being ill. You can find me on Facebook and here at my blog. Eventually I would like to share my knitting skills and crochet with other housebound people, but am not well enough yet to pursue this. So at the moment my online areas are mainly for sharing patterns and insights as well as lovely woolly inspiration.

What’s you craft?

I started off with knitting but now do crochet and needle felting too.

What illness/es do you have?

I have three serious chronic illnesses- M.E, POTS (Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome) and severe Endometriosis. All three illnesses are long term and have no cure. Because of my illnesses I am almost entirely housebound, usually only venturing out for short periods once a week. There can be weeks where I don’t make it out at all. I spend long times in bed; I need to be horizontal much of the time as the POTS causes a rapid heartbeat when I sit up for too long. I cannot walk any distance without a wheelchair.

My energy levels are extremely limited.

I find it very hard to concentrate for long because of cognitive dysfunction (‘brain fog’) and it takes me a long time to learn new things. I enjoy knitting and crochet because I can do it whilst propped up in bed and as long as I take plenty of breaks it is something I can do on most days.

What are your favourite pieces of craft equipment?

I have simple needs- a range of crochet hooks and knitting needles of every size, an enviable yarn stash and the trusty internet. I love Ravelry for patterns and inspiration. I am a member of many Facebook groups and follow similar blogs and websites on Facebook. I love the inspiration I get through this and also have an extensive crochet board on pinterest!

I prefer plastic needles because they are warmer to hold and have a bit of flex and I find the noise that metal knitting needles make to be too much for my sound sensitivities.cupcake

I love knitting and crochet books and have a hefty stash of those too, and subscribe to Simply Crochet magazine and Inside Crochet.

I love safety eyes and adding faces to things as it gives me pleasure to see an instant wee personality appearing on my makes! I add faces to all sorts of things!

 

Why did you start crafting?

I have always been creative- but as I was a primary school teacher I used all of my creative energy on the pupils, classroom and school. I loved my job, so when I became too unwell to work I had the double whammy of untapped creative energy as well as the stress and emotional upset of losing a job that I loved. I was in a lot of pain at the time and my mum taught me to knit in order to give me something to focus on.

I sometimes say crafting saved my life. It certainly saved my sanity…. It means so much to me. It was an escape, something to take my mind off things but also something more than that. It was a reminder to me that I could still do something, that I still had skills even though there was very little else I could do at the time. It helped give me a sense of self worth. I made things as presents for others and that gave me a sense of contributing. Crafting gave me something to talk about, it gave people something they could start a conversation about.

I planned to make a small business or charity out of it but quickly realised I was still too poorly for that. But some day I hope to visit bedbound people and help them to learn to knit. I want them to get the same benefit from it as I did.

What adaptations or changes have you had to make to craft because of your illness(es)?

Luckily I don’t need to use special tools, as I can cope with knitting needles and crochet hooks. I find the biggest adaptation is with the time spent on crafting. When my cognitive energy is low, I can only knit for a short time before my symptoms flare and I end up having to rest in the dark. Physically, it helps to prop myself up on pillows, especially my left arm which gets very sore. When things get too much my mum is always there to do a little bit for me or help me to fix a mistake. For a recent blanket I made, I think she did as many crochet squares as I did!

I am finding that my left finger and hand are becoming increasingly sore and possibly arthritic, when they are playing up I do some needle felting instead. I also swap between knitting and crochet depending on which parts of me are the sorest. It helps to accept that things are going to take much longer than you’d like them to because of the pacing and rest required at every stage.


Favourite project: 

It’s pretty hard to choose a favourite project, I love crafting all of the little animals I make… but I’d probably choose the artwork I made for myself. It was the first thing I ever made for myself- everything else had been made for someone else, either by request or as a gift. I learned to crochet and then crocheted the flowers with fine thread. It took a long time but I am so proud of it now, and it hangs on my living room wall.

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How expensive is your craft?

My mum gave me a knitting bag (with owls on it!) and a full set of knitting needles. She also gave me some of her yarn so that I didn’t need to spend any money to get started. Knitting needles are inexpensive and you can even buy them in the charity shops (you might have to ask as they are sometimes kept behind the till for safety reasons). You often see yarn in charity shops or can buy it cheaply from discount stores. You can of course spend lots of money on beautiful hand spun and embellished yarns too, really the choice is up to you for how much you want to spend.

The point is, that you can get the supplies you need to get you started for next to nothing. You can watch youtube videos and get patterns online for free as well, although if you are like me then you may get addicted to buying pattern books early on!

Advice for someone with a chronic illness starting off in your craft?

Start off with something small, a square or something. Don’t go in with a scarf – they take a long time to knit! YouTube can be easier to follow than written instructions as you can watch the hands moving and copy it. Written instructions can be very confusing for people with cognitive difficulties!

But the most important thing of all is to be patient. I couldn’t do it straight away, and being chronically ill can sometimes mean you are not as quick as you used to be. For me it took much longer than I expected to get to know the different stitches, so stick with it and give it time. You won’t regret it!

Quick Crafts 2

It feels like its been a while since my last quick crafts post, but if you want more ideas and inspiration more frequently you should check out my Pinterest, I pin lots of crafts that can be done easily and also just some inspiring colourful lovelies too. But i’ll continue to do some round ups here as Pinterest isn’t the only place I grab ideas from.

1. Crocheted buttons:

Initially, I saw these cute little things over on Running Amok with an Ax. She’s made some lovely ones that you can see in the link. But I think the image that she got inspired by was over on CraftandFun. Their website is in Portuguese, but has some nice ideas and examples, including the image I’m using here. Basically, you get some yarn and some buttons that have a large enough hole in to fit a small crochet hook and have a play.

 

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2. Paper circle Garland:

There are a lot of different garland ideas out there, from stringing felt balls, to making paper butterflies. but I think this a great middle ground, they look striking, they’re 3D but they are also very simple to make. You can choose whatever colour scheme you like and how big to make them. I got this image from Lou & Co, they have a great photo tutorial up on their page that brings you through the process step by step. (They also have instructions there but again it’s in another language this time French.)

 

 

mobile-001-a3. Woven Paper Hot Air Balloon:

These amazing things are over at PaperMatrix. If you click on the link they have the printable design for you to cut out on paper of your choice, they also have a video tutorial but I recommend having it printed and cut in front of you while you watch it. This is probably the most complicated ‘Quick Craft’ I have linked but they have lots of other woven paper crafts on their blog as well, from hearts, to pinecones and loads of different cool shapes that are easier. These were just my favourite ones.

 

Book Haul

I celebrated the end of my reading rut last week by buying four shiny new books for my to-read shelf. It was extremely difficult just to pick four, I’m sure you know the feeling.

But, I did it, and in the end I went for two fantasy and two sci fi books. They arrived yesterday after much anticipation and I thought I would share.

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1. The Final Empire (Mistborn Book One) – by Brandon Sanderson /Fantasy

 

2. Red Rising – by Pierce Brown /Sci Fi

 

3. Proxima – by Stephen Baxter /Sci Fi

 

4. Half A King – by Joe Abercrombie /Fantasy

 

Have you read any of them, what did you think? I’m always looking for good Sci-fi and fantasy books so feel free to recommend me some.

 

You can follow me on Goodreads if you want to keep an eye on what I’m reading or over on Twitter.

 

 

My Valentines day cards

Now I want to preface this by saying I’m not a card maker. And if you want to see some amazing card making you’d be better visiting my friends 100steps blog here, where she posts her creations. But I like to send friends cards, its always nice to get something in the post even if its very basic!

So, without further ado, here are my offerings for this oh so special day.

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My efforts for valentines day this year were very woolly.

I have this basic card blank that I use for everyone’s cards (and will for a while because I bulk bought!) its a 3×3 inch thick Kraft coloured card. I bought them from hobbycraft here. I think they are great as they are thick enough not to buckle under the weight of anything you want to add and they’re just the right size for me too. Not too big that you have loads of space to fill but large enough for simple designs and writing.

I have plenty of scrap yarn going around and I love my puns so this was a perfect choice for me.

Here they are in their envelopes with my wax seal on them. I might not have added my name in the card but you’ll know they’re from me with my lovely owl in flight seal.

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The middle one is being hand delivered by cupid so I was able to use my special silver crackable wax on it whereas the others had to have postage friendly wax so it will hopefully still be on there when they travel across the world.

My week: an update

I’ve had a bit of a busy week. I haven’t been able to post anything here for ovwheelchairer a week and a half but it definitely feels longer than that. I’ve got lots of posts planned, I just haven’t been well enough to get on my laptop. But I’m here now, so I’ll start by giving you a run down of my week.

The main thing that’s kept me away is that I had to have an emergency dentists appointment as one of my back teeth chipped. I hadn’t left the house since October. In fact I haven’t been fully dressed and downstairs since October either so this was a massive undertaking for me. The whole trip has knocked me over for a while.

Mum drove me to town then we used my wheelchair to get to the dentists surgery.  This is my wheelchair, I call it ‘Benni’ after the Benetton F1 car. Its the same colour see?

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Other things of note that have happened this week is I’ve finished all 160 squares for my Tunisian crochet blanket! Its sitting in the other room all laid out and ready to be sewn up. Of course this will have to wait for a while but I will update about that in a couple of weeks. I just cant believe I made it to the end.  It’s a massive achievement for me.

And finally, my reading rut of the last 4 or 5 months seems to have miraculously disappeared. I read 2 books in 4 days. (The Legend of Eli Monpress book 3 by Rachel Aaron and The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon). And it would have been more if I hadn’t had to go to the dentists. I’m finally really excited about reading again. In fact, i’m off online to buy some more books to fill up my to-read shelf which is looking mighty empty now my crochet squares aren’t there to fill up the room.

Reader Questionnaire

I saw this post over on Bluchickenninja’s blog who got it from someone else and so on. It seems to be doing the rounds and I thought I would give it a go. If your reading this I would love to see your responses to this as well.

 

1. What is your favourite book?
This depends on whether i’m allowed to say a series or have to pick a singular book. But as this is my blog I will do both. For a series the Harry Potter books will always be up there but I would have to say either the Queens Thief series by Megan Whalen Turner or ASOIAF by George RR Martin. For a singular book it has to be Peter Pan by JM Barrie.

 

2. What are your goals? For the year? For your life?
To be content and creative. I had a very difficult first few years when I got ill where I was comparing myself and my life to everyone else. There lies madness. I’ve managed to get to the stage where I am happy being me. As long as I am able to have some kind of creative outlet (which at the moment is crafting and this here blog) I think I will be okay. But, if I had one big dream it would be to write a book. Speaking of…..

 

3. Are you a writer? If so, tell me about your work.
I would like to say yes, in a more theoretical way rather than technically. I don’t actually write as i’m not well enough to do and it takes so much out of my already low energy levels. But, I do have ideas, all the time, and I am always creating stories in my head. (I have a very in depth fanfiction of the Harry Potter world written in my head which I visit whenever i’m not well enough to do anything other than think). I have my first book planned and a few chapters written before it got too much and I crashed but I do hope I will manage it one day.

 

4. If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go?
I’d love to visit Croatia. Dubrovnik looks amazing and i’ve always wanted to see the Plitvice lakes, maybe stay on one (or some) of the islands, go on some short sailing trips. It all sounds wonderful. I’d also like to see Costa Rica and Japan during the cherry blossoms.

 

5. What was the last movie you saw in the theatre and was it worthwhile?
Its been a while since i’ve been well enough to get to the cinema, but a couple years ago we made a trip of going to see the first Hobbit film at the IMAX in London. Its always worth seeing a film at the IMAX and popcorn is yummy but it was a bit long!

 

6. I’m curious, are there any books that you’ve tried to read and simply couldn’t finish? This is a no judgement zone.
Lot’s! I really do have to feel like reading a book or it will never get finished. I’m of the belief that, seeing as there are so many books that we will never get to read, it really isn’t worth persevering with a book you don’t like. If i kind of like it or if it was a gift/recommendation I will try my best but sometimes i just can’t get into a book. I save some of them to see if I ever feel like going back but don’t normally, as I said, there are so many brilliant books out there.

 

7. Are you currently working on a new book/project right now? If it’s secret, you don’t have to tell me about it. If so, however, I hope it’s going well. 
My projects at the moment are this blog (and social media in general), and attempting to finish my blanket.

 

8. If you could live in any of your favourite books, which one would you choose? 
I’d definitely pick Hogwarts over anywhere else in any world. (Party in the Slytherin Common room)

 

9. Are there any book-to-movie adaptations that you think are just incredible? That you absolutely hated? 
I honestly don’t think there are any that I watched and thought wow that was really good. I’m normally left pretty disappointed by adaptations. I think there are some admirable efforts but if its a book you really like, its going to be very rare that they get it as good as your imagination can. That saying, I thought The Book Thief was done pretty well, maybe because I hadn’t read it in a while or because it was set in this world so less to imagine. As for the other side, I remember being really excited that they had turned Stormbreaker into a movie when I was a kid. I was not so when I had watched it. Recently, I was pretty disappointed in Enders Game, but then I LOVED the book and they had cut out too much of the stuff I liked for me to ever like the movie much. I think as a stand alone movie it was good, as most adaptations are I guess.

 

10. What do you look for in a book that you want to read? What’s the first thing to capture your attention?
The title is the first thing i judge a book by, then the cover. If the title doesn’t jump out at me and make me think “Hmmm, Interesting, I wonder what that’s about”. Then I won’t click on it/look it up/pick it up. Then I look at the cover, and if it passes these two, I read the blurb. I’m sure i’ve missed loads of books by doing this but there are so many!

 

11. If you’re an author, what do you do when you first get an idea for a book?
Think about it. Haha. As I said earlier, I’m not well enough to write (I guess i’m not an author then) so I just think about them in my head.

 

12. How do you feel about different genres? Romance? YA? Sci-Fi? Poetry? Do you have any favorites? Any least-favourites?
Generally speaking I like speculative fiction most, so scifi and fantasy. A lot of that seems to fall into YA nowadays, but there also seems to be a lot of romance in the YA books which I try to steer clear of. I don’t like Romance novels, and I’d rather not read books that are set in the real world. (I’m trying to escape not be reminded). That said these aren’t hard and fast rules and I do read out of my comfort zone every now and then. I do tend to read a lot of books aimed at children as brain fog often makes it hard to read more complicated books but I still want to read. I save the better books for when I really want something good.

 

13. If you could meet any writer in the world, dead or alive, who would it be?
I don’t really know, I don’t really pay attention to the authors name on a book, just the story. I guess I would say JK Rowling, but it would be such an awkward meeting as i’m really bad in social situations! I would rather they spent their time writing another book for me.

 

14. Do you prefer Fiction or Non-Fiction?
Fiction, I really struggle with nonfiction, i’m rubbish at reading biographies even of the people I love. I prefer my non fiction in short bursts of online research or magazine articles like Focus.

 

15. Are there any characters that everyone loves that you can’t stand? Or vice versa?
Ooof, I’m ready to be slaughtered, but, I never really liked Harry Potter much! I absolutely loved the books (They are and will always be a part of me) but the character….. There were so many other awesome characters in there and he was never one of my favourites. I can’t really think of any other characters.

 

16. What do you like to do besides reading/writing?
I love anything creative. I spend my energy crafting when I can, I love listening to music (and creating stories in my head to it), I love watching sports, and chatting to my amazing friends online.

 

17. If you could be remembered for one thing, what would it be?
I would love to have a book published one day. If even a handful of people still picked up my book to read after I had died that would be amazing. But, just as a good friend to people, I hope my friends remember me.

 

18. What is your favourite guilty pleasure book?
I can’t think of anything that would fall under this other than the masses and masses of fanfiction that I have read.

 

19. Do you have a reading goal set for this year?
No, I’ve done one for the last couple years but not this year. You can read about why in this blog post.

 

20. Tell me anything about yourself that I haven’t asked. Random fact. Weird human trick. Whatever.
Oh gosh, umm, I’m trying to learn Spanish (Trying is the operative word here).