Saturday, February 28, 2015

 As you can see I like tulips! They have been my treat to myself the last few weeks after I've had my shockwave treatment.

They are just so bright and cheerful and make me feel happy :)

...this is our mantlepiece at the moment: yes, yet more tulips, you can't ever have too many flowers (or too much colour!) in the house this time of year.

Yesterday was the fourth of my physio sessions on my elbow. I'm really starting to see a big improvement (as long as I don't go crazy and do too much too soon) - it's feeling very positive. I'm still not exactly enjoying the treatment itself but it's over in about 10-15 minutes and you can put up with pretty much anything for that long if you have to. I know it's working so that makes the immediate discomfort a bit easier to handle.

Last week's session was the most painful yet, this week she used the more direct head again, and on a higher setting and it wasn't so bad at all (apart from the couple of really sensitive points) so this is progress too.

I'm taking a week out from it next week and then will be back the following Thursday if everything goes to plan; after that I should hopefully just need one more treatment, which should be in about a month's time after the 5th session...and then that should be the end hopefully...

It does feel strange to not be able to crochet as much as I want to - at the moment there are a couple of days a week (after my treatment) where I haven't been doing any crochet at all -- I really want this treatment to work so I'm being super careful with my arm and resting for the first 48 hours afterwards like they recommend.

I've gone back to making crocodile wrist warmers for my Etsy shop:  I've got lots of lovely Riot dk in my box now after my order from Springwools and of course I'm eager to get using it; this is one of my most favourite yarns. It's so hard to take a break when I work with such a great self-striping yarn, as I tell myself ''I'll stop after the next colour change'' and then of course I want to keep going to see how it comes out, and so it goes until I've done too much and actually NEED to stop.

Talking about my Etsy shop, I've finally reached 700 Etsy sales! I'm actually up to 701 sales on there now as someone bought a pair of wristwarmers yesterday! I like to treat myself to something for each big goal that I reach now so I need to think about what will be for 700 sales...I'm always in shock to have reached so many sales (and even more for the next big landmark, and the next and so on). I never could have imagined that this could be possible for me - that my hobby would be able to pay for itself.

In other news, have a look at this's the remains of a leatherback turtle! My friend John Patrick always keeps an eye out for things that might be of interest to me when he's beach combing (I do the same for him - he's a fisherman so things like lobsterpot/shrimp pot parts, long lengths of rope etc are for him whereas mine usually involve dead things like dolphins, or stuff like trap tags and other curiosities from the other side of the world) but when he phoned to say that he'd found a dead turtle I was amazed! 

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Hats hats hats!

Finally I think that I've got the lacy hat pattern how I want it to be! I've made another version in the cranberry wool, and also the same in green and pebble grey :) -- all to be listed in my Etsy shop later today hopefully.

I really like how they turned out and it's good to have another pattern/technique under my belt. These are the first hats that I've ever made by starting at the brim and working up to the crown, all the other ones so far are ones where I've started at the crown and then worked downwards.

My order from Springwools arrived while we were away in Dingle - I really only 'needed' to order the big 2kg cone of Studio Donegal (for this year's hats for the artists' retreat) but thought that I may as well do a bit of a stock up while I was there...

 I really love the colour Barbara's chosen for this year's hats - it's a wonderful soft pebbly grey wool with tweedy flecks of creamy yellow, browns etc
- and some old favourites somehow found their way into my 'basket' too --- I'm thinking the white bamboo cotton at the bottom will go for crocodile st wrist warmers for a custom order, the Riots will all be crocodile st ones too - and then the bamboo cotton at the top left might end up as shower this space...

...and this will probably go for scarves, hats and maybe wrist warmers - who knows!

Saturday, February 21, 2015

just a few photos from Dingle! We had a mini-break there this week - spending a couple of nights at the wonderful Castlewood House :)
Ugh, it's step forwards, step backwards again - yesterday was my third shockwave treatment and it hurt so much again. Sigh...the previous week's treatment felt like a big step forwards but then yesterday she used the more direct head, which points the sound waves where they are needed rather than kind of dispersing them generally into the area.

It's progress really - I know it is good that she was able to progress with using the different head on my elbow but I wasn't expecting it to hurt so much - it was like the first week all over again (but worse!)

I'm making the decision to be positive about it all though -- this WILL be worth it all in the long term, I know it will, this grumpiness and pain is just a blip in the big picture.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

I'm crocheting again! YAY! I'm so impressed with how I've responded to the shockwave treatments - I have been able to crochet without having to wear my elbow clasp, probably for the first time ever! It did start to get a bit achy after a while so for now I'm just having to wear the clasp while I'm crocheting -- hopefully in the future I won't have to wear it at all (or even just to not have to wear it all the time would be a big improvement)

It feels so good to be able to crochet again - I'm glad that I did take a break from it initially as I know I really did need to rest my arm. I've got my third session booked for Friday this week and am really hopeful that there will be another improvement this time too. For the first 48 hours after the treatment I try to do as little as I possibly can with my right arm, which can be a bit of a struggle but it's obviously working :)

To try and keep myself occupied while I've been on my 'break' I've been trawling through my back-issues of Simply Crochet magazine -- I've got every single one so far so it's plenty to keep myself busy and I've been making a long list of the patterns I think I might try out.

The first one that I've tried is this hat pattern from issue 5 - it's meant to be a slouchy lacy hat (with a pompom on the top!) but I think my tension must be very tight -- I had to go up two hook sizes. I really like how it turned out - so much that I'm already in the middle of making another one but have sized up on the hook again (6mm now)

This is my first ever lacy hat! I've sent it to my sister Barbara to wear - or if it doesn't fit her then she can give it to one of her two girls, or donate it to charity...I couldn't make my mind up about the sizing but the next one I make will be up for sale (hopefully!)

My next post on here will be all about my latest order from Springwools so watch this space...I've been asked to make hats again for Barbara the artist's art retreat in the Summer again so I 'had' to order another 2kg cone of Studio Donegal wool and a few other bits and pieces just might have 'fallen' into my virtual basket again....

Friday, February 13, 2015

I'm on a roll of good days again, despite not having touched any crochet at all for exactly a week, which still feels very strange.

I had my second shockwave treatment yesterday and there was definite progress - it didn't hurt half as much this time: it still isn't exactly pleasant and there were times when the pain was bad, but she was able to turn up the setting on the machine to 4.4 on the top of my arm, and 4 on the underside -- last week I could only tolerate a 3!

My arm is feeling almost normal today, a bit on the achy side and feeling kind of heavy but much better than last week; I'm taking it easy over the next day or so and then gradually using it more normally. I'm back in again on Friday next week for session #3 and by then I think I will be about 1/2 way through my treatment.

She's going to turn up the machine again next week and will be using one of the more 'direct' heads so it may be more painful - we'll see...
On the way home I bought these tulips for myself from M&S -- I love how well they 'go' with my rainbow bird mobile - I bought it from my lovely friend Carrie a while ago.

 And then I got this in the post -- all the way from Vietnam, it's an update on my sponsor child and also some paper flowers which she made for me :)

I love to get the updates on how she is doing :)

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

It's been bad day, better day, bad day...since I had my first treatment last week; the first day wasn't so great really but I did as little as possible with my right arm (try it, it's harder than you think) and then on Sunday it was starting to feel more normal again and I was feeling really quite hopeful about it all, even thinking about doing a tiny bit of crochet maybe on the Monday or Tuesday. Then that night I was half-awake in bed and pulled the duvet over me, using my right arm, but not thinking that Oscar was lying on top of the duvet and I felt my arm 'pull' and it's been so painful ever since.

I was so cross with myself, something so stupid and done without thought and now it seems to have set me backwards.

My next appointment is on Thursday this week and I'm a bit apprehensive about it as she will be using a stronger strength 'zap' and my arm is already so painful :( But tomorrow I am going to try and do as little with it as possible and try and rest it and hope that that will help (it won't make it worse at least)

Today I went to St. Finan's Bay to cheer myself up a bit

it's a lovely tiny beach - it was one of the ones I cleaned of rubbish last winter after the storms, but sadly it always has marine litter washing in and accumulating

Next week I'll hopefully be back there and will try and see if I can do my beach-cleaning using just one hand!

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Tiny signs of Spring in our garden just now :) I thought I'd go out and see what I could find to photograph - and noticed the first wildflowers in our garden (lesser celandine and a little daisy) and the escallonia hedge is already thinking about flowering too!

and I forgot to post my photo of the first crocus from 1st February!

Well I've my first 'shockwave' treatment under my belt now and will be going back every week for the next few weeks. It can take up to six treatments for it to work, and I'm inclined to believe that that will be the case for me, as I've had this for so so long without it ever going fully away...

Everything I'd read about it hadn't mentioned how much the actual treatment hurts - just that there was moderate pain, blah, blah blah but oh my god it REALLY hurt. It's only momentary but it's like someone putting a knife right into your bone! -- not 'moderate' in my book.  This first session she said she was using the machine on a lower setting as you have to kind of gradually treat the injury rather than just blazing in at full strength...

So I'm not exactly looking forward to the next session (on Friday) but if that's what it's going to take to finally get rid of my tennis elbow then I will put up with it. The pain is only so intense while she's using the machine and it's a relatively quick treatment which is something good! When I got home I put my arm into a make-shift sling and wore it all that evening and took things very easy the next day - it's a couple of days after the treatment now and I am feeling like I can type ok and start to use my arm again. The pain afterwards was more in my wrist and base of my thumb (referred pain) rather than my elbow - and my thumb muscle was twitching ALL day yesterday, so I'm hoping that's a good sign.

It sounds kind of pathetic really but one of the strangest things after it is that I'm to stop wearing my epi-clasp on my elbow -- I ALWAYS wear it and it's like putting on an item of clothing in the morning, so I feel weird without it.

I haven't done any crochet at all since Friday which also feels very weird as it's such a big part of my daily routine. Yesterday, my arm/wrist etc were just too achey to even think about it - I'm not sure about today, I might try just a little bit to see how it feels.

I posted on my Selkie facebook page about how I was having to take a break from crochet for a while and people have come up with some great suggestions for things I can do on those 'bad arm' days instead of crocheting. I love that! There I was, feeling all glum and sorry for myself, only seeing what I wasn't able to do: and other people were able to say ''how about your photography?...'' -- it's really changed how I am going to try and deal with this. I think sometimes you need a fresh pair of eyes to see things for you and point out how good things still are, instead of focusing on the negatives.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Today's a big day! I've had tennis elbow for at least the last 15 years; it tends to come and go and is something that I try to just live with most of the time - I wear a clasp on my elbow all the time which is a big help. A few years ago I saw something on an American medical programme on TV about something called 'shockwave therapy' and even wrote the name down - though of course at that stage it was only available in the US and not in Europe, but it sounded like something that might help so it stuck in my mind. Fast forward to now, and I found a physiotherapy/rehabilitation clinic in Killarney that actually offers this!

I'm booked in for my first session this afternoon and I'm so excited and apprehensive about it. Over the years I've tried pretty much everything possible for it; from a steroid injection to acupuncture, all the gels, tablets and sprays and my trusty epicondylitis clasp (I'm actually on my third one of them)- to date the only thing that seems to have worked in the long-term is the clasp but even that just keeps it at a low-level of pain rather than getting rid of it totally.

So, fingers crossed this will be the start of something new for me :)

In Etsy news, January was a pretty quiet month for me - it usually is, but looking back on my blog posts from last year I had 20something sales in that month last year! - I think partly that was down to the fact that I had a sale in my shop at the end of the month. This year in January I has six orders, making a total of seven items sold - so I guess that's back to my 'normal' for that month...hopefully things will start to pick up from now on. So far this month I've had four orders, with a total of seven items sold already! - but that could be it for the whole month, there's just no way of knowing...

I just sold a bulk-listing of 11 sets of my scrubbies yesterday - they will now be for sale in a shop in the UK - I'm posting them off later today.