Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Trying to move on

Oscar died soon after I'd posted my last update on here...over a couple of weeks he'd started to deteriorate slowly, eating less and less and sleeping more and more.

We wanted to keep him at home for as long as we could and were hoping that we wouldn't have to take him to the vets to have him put to sleep; so we kept in close contact with our vet in Killarney and had doubled his dose of steroids.

On his last day he was so peaceful - just lying on top of the box he had adopted in the conservatory and gazing off into space. His breathing was slow and even. It was a lovely day so I brought him outside and he managed to sharpen his claws on his favourite piece of driftwood in the garden, have a drink of rainwater out of the watering can and licked the concrete on the patio...this was something that he started doing in the last couple of weeks. I don't know why, but it made him happy! (luckily we don't use any weedkillers etc so didn't have to worry about him picking up something bad from it)

We are so relieved that we didn't have to take him up to the vets and that he was able to pass peacefully at home in familiar surroundings. He'd spent SO much time in the vets in the last few months, including overnight stays in intensive care, being on drips etc so it was a comfort to know that we didn't have to take him there again.

The house feels very empty without him; as a kitten he had really bonded with me and over time developed that same deep relationship with Peter too. He was a really special one and I know we won't ever forget him. I still remember Peter coming home with this little whisp of a kitten and how we struggled to get him to eat and to put weight on (it turned out that he had colitis so that's why he hadn't thrived at first).

https://selkiecrochet.blogspot.com/2012/01/another-cat-related-post.html this was my post about him at first. I had been devastated by losing Mr Evie - a stray cat who had died at the vets and Peter brought home this little foundling to help me through it.

He really was so precious to us both, I can't quite believe that he's gone and that we'll never see him again; I will remember him as he used to be, a chirpy bouncy tigger of a cat rather than the pale shadow of himself at the end.

 I don't want this to be a depressing post so here are the latest updates on my two sponsor children - Bariki in Kenya and Si in Vietnam.

I just LOVE the helicopter that Bariki drew for me! I hope so much that she can reach her dream of becoming a teacher and that she holds onto that dream.

I received a new photo of Si recently - she's grown up so much since the last photo they sent me; I can't remember how often they send out photos, maybe once a year or less?

With every update you get a drawing from the child themselves and then a written update from the field worker with the local community.

I need to send them both some more postcards!

The sponsorships are done through ActionAid Ireland if anyone reading this is interested (??) - mine are both paid for thanks to my sales on Etsy and through craft markets.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Our Darling Little One

 I haven't wanted to post about Oscar as I was hoping that his illness was just a minor one but no, our darling little one is terminally ill.

He'd gone off his food so we brought him to the vets in Killarney for tests and after blood tests, hospitalisation and a lot of consulting with the laboratory in England he had his spleen removed.

We were hoping that that was the end of his illness and that he'd soon bounce back to normal but it turns out that he has a rare type of lymphoma and there is no chance of a recovery.
 So he's back home with us and is on a daily dose of steroids, which are hopefully slowing down the spread of the cancer.

It's been an incredibly stressful time for all of us but we're so glad that he's home and hopefully will just 'go' in his sleep here rather than him having to go to the vets with us.

We had been keeping him indoors in case he'd pick up an infection - his immune system is rock bottom - but the weather has been lovely the last couple of days and he's asked to go outdoors so we've let him out to enjoy lying in the garden.

Saturday, March 24, 2018

hats, hats and more hats..

As a good portion of my 'stock' is now in Daly's craftshop in Valentia I've been trying to rebuild up some stock - in a couple of months Lucy's Sea Synergy Centre will be open in the village again and I need some stock for there - as well as my Etsy shop too.

A lot of the yarn that I'd bought in Poland is chunky so it's very quick to work with - so I'm making hats at the moment...lots of them!

It's been warm enough for me to take my crochet to the beach a couple of times lately - my most favourite place to crochet.

Loads of hats and I'm not finished yet... These are all made in Katia yarns - Inca and Azteca.

 I made these wristwarmers with Polish wool (OlĂ© brand) while we were on holiday -I wish so much that I'd bought more of it (I bought a navy/blue shade as well) but eventually I'm hoping to buy it online.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Wool Shopping in Krakow

 Sadly I am that obsessed with my yarns that one of the few things I research before we go anywhere on holiday is where I might be able to buy some new wool. 

After a bit of googling it looked like there was only a choice of two in Krakow - one was in the huge shopping complex in the city (and had a reputation for being very expensive -- I guess to rent a shop in such a big shopping centre is pretty expensive so they have to charge more?) -- I didn't bother going to the one in the shopping centre as the one that we went to was great!

It's ''Pasmanteria Klebuszek on Karmelicka Street and I loved it! It's pretty small as wool shops go and the man didn't have very much English - but his English was much much better than our two words of Polish ;)

For a small shop there was a load of different yarns, threads, cross stitch patterns, buttons etc crammed in - right up to the ceiling.

 I bought these big buttons! I will put them on hats :)
I didn't get a good photo of all the wool I bought together in one place - this is a fuzzy one that I took with my tablet - the only Polish wool that I bought was the sock yarn at the top right (three balls) and the cream on the far right hand side.

They had a GREAT selection of Katia yarns so I got a lot of them in different shades and some King Cole ones that were new to me.

I've started making hats with the Katia 'Azteca' already so will probably have photos of them for my next blog update - and I've already made two pairs of crocodile stitch wrist warmers with the browns and multicolour sock yarn.

Towards the end of the holiday I was hoping that we might manage another trip to this wool shop; but on our last day I had packed up our cases and there just wasn't any room left :(

Helter Skelter Headband

You might remember that I was one of the lucky five to have been chosen to have a go at the February Cygnet Yarnstars Challenge http://selkiecrochet.blogspot.ie/2018/01/helter-skelter.html

Sadly I didn't win - I wasn't expecting to anyway, even before I'd seen the other entrants work; but it was a fabulous opportunity to try a new wool and to put me outside of my comfort level for a bit.

 A couple of photos -- I LOVED the colours in the wool: I'm at my happiest when I'm using either self-striping or multicoloured yarns and I really liked the contrast between the blues and reds in this particular shade...they look like they shouldn't 'go' together but they do!

It's a 100% acrylic, chunky yarn and was really good quality - no squeaky or scratchy acrylic.

I decided to make a headband in double 'rib' - it was very quick to make up and used virtually all of the 100g ball of yarn.

I'll write up the pattern in case anyone else would like to try - any questions please leave me a comment below and I'll try to help!

Join with a slip stitch at the end of every round. 

  • Using a 5.5mm hook chain 80.
  • Join carefully with a slip stitch to form a loop (without twisting the chain)
  • Work 1 double crochet into each stitch
  • Ch. 3 then treble all round - you should have 80 trebles 
  • Ch. 3, work 2 front-post trebles then 2 ordinary trebles all round to create a 'double rib' effect
  • make 6 more rounds in the 'rib' pattern
  • finish with a round of double crochet again

make edging (see photo above) by working double crochet into the row below the last row at the top and bottom of the headband. You don't have to do this but it gives a neat edge. 
For the flower embellishment I chose a chrysanthemum as I love the crazy texture! 
  • Use a 4.5mm hook.
  • Chain 5 and join with a slip stitch, forming a ring.
  • Ch 1, work 10 double crochet (dc) into the ring (join with sl st) 
  • work the front loops of the ring *ch 6, sl st into next chain from the hook, dc into the next 3 ch and sl st into last chain - making a short petal. Sl st into the next front loop and repeat from * all around the stitches in the ring.
  • working in the back loops of the ring *ch 8, sl st into next chain from the hook, dc into the next 5 ch and sl st into last chain - making a longer petal. Sl st into the next back loop in the ring and repeat from * all around the remaining stitches.  Break off yarn.
  •  For the second layer of petals: chain 8 and join with a sl st, forming a ring
  • Ch 3, and work 19 trebles into the ring (join with a sl st)
  • Using the front loops only *ch 10, sl st into next ch from the hook, dc into next 7 ch and then sl st into last chain - making a longer petal. Repeat from * as you did for the petals in the other layer
  • working into the back loops as before *ch 12, sl st into next chain from the hook, dc into the next 9 ch and then sl st into the last ch - making an even longer petal!
  • break off leaving a long end for sewing in. 
To complete the headband: 
  •  Sew in the loose ends on the headband (at the start finish and from the edging)
  • Sew the two layers of petals together to give a nicely textured flower with twisty petals
  • Securely attach the flower to the headband, positioning it over the start/end of the edging so that it looks neat.


Oh boy, it's the middle of March and it's almost exactly a whole month since I last update this blog ...

Things have been kind of busy lately - first with minding Donal and Rosie's shop on Valentia for 18 days, and then towards the end of February we headed off on our own holiday - to Krakow in Poland!

Peter and I alternate between us as to who gets to choose the holiday destination - and this time it was my choice. I chose Krakow as it was somewhere we could fly to directly (leaving from Shannon airport) and it looked like it had a LOT of history. It turned out to be a great choice - the old buildings are so beautiful in their faded elegance and there is history around just about every street corner.

We had 11 days there and it was just about the right length of time - by the end we thought we'd seen everything that we'd wanted to and were ready to go home (though I've just found out today that there is a stained glass museum, which I never knew was there & would have loved to have visited)

 We arrived in the middle of the 'Beast from the East' - a snow storm with freezing temperatures -- even on our holiday in Iceland a few years ago we hadn't experienced this level of cold. Minus 10 to minus 13 in the daytime!!

But we just wrapped up warmly and got out and went sightseeing. We were lucky that we were going to stay for such a relatively long period of time and we knew that the weather was set to improve after 4 or 5 days - it was so cold that I didn't take many photos in the first few days as it was too much 'work' to take off my big mittens and wrist warmers, open my bag, open my camera case and take photos; you know it must be bad when I can't be bothered to take photos!

But it did look beautiful and I feel lucky that we did get to see the snow - in the second half of our holiday it had warmed up considerably (up to +10 degrees C) so all the snow had faded away.

The same park at the beginning and at the end of our holiday!! 

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Recent ...

 These are the wrist warmers that I've made for Mary Ruth -- I made them a *slightly* smaller size than normal and have added thumbs as per her request. Thumbs are so fiddly to make and even more so in a very fine yarn. This was lovely 'mini mochi' -- I can't even remember when or where I got it from now but it has been on the middle shelf of my wool cupboard for a while!

I've been making yet more wrist warmers - these will all be going into the craft shop on Valentia Island (at Daly's Icecream Parlour) -- I need to get my 'shop' box out and sort out some stock for them as Caroline said that they are hoping to be open for Patrick's weekend.