Bows, bells, baubles and beads

The random thoughts and musings of Delle

21 Jun

The Olympics is about sport… Don’t you believe it!

So, until this last week, I, like many people, thought the Olympics was about competing in sports at an International level. I thought the spirit of the Olympics was about people getting behind the competitors and supporting them. Two things I’ve come across this week show how wrong that idea is.

The first, which totally breaks my heart, is the news that the Wool Sack have had their access to the athletes removed from them. For those who don’t know about this, a large group of British fibre crafters have been making cushions for the athletes, made from British wool (even the stuffing is fleece from British sheep), as a memento of their visit to the UK. This was all done with communication with the London 2012 Olympic Committee, who waited for these women to organise these cushions, and then proceeded to muck them around. Every change made it more and more difficult for them to distribute the cushions until finally they have no access whatsoever to the athletes and no way to distribute their 5000 handmade cushions.

The other issue is that Ravelry have been sent a letter by the USOC, asking them to cease the use of the term Ravelympics. For those not aware, the Ravelympics is an opportunity for knitters (and spinners, crocheters and probably weavers and other fibre crafters) to challenge themselves in their crafting for the duration of the Olympic games, whilst watching and supporting the athletes.

If this had been the extent of the USOCs correspondence, I probably wouldn’t be posting this, but in their letter, the USOC accused us of denigrating the Olympics and the athletes who have trained for much of their lives to get to this pinnacle of sporting competition. I am truly insulted by this accusation.

We are not athletes, but we do have skills which we work to improve and, during the Olympics, we challenge ourselves to complete something that will stretch our skills. In 2010, whilst watching the Winter Olympics, I challenged myself to knit a shawl and a jumper for Rohan. I actually didn’t quite complete them, it took a few extra days, though not many. I’m really proud of them. It would take me much longer to knit these under usual circumstances, and it was great to challenge and push myself whilst watching the athletes try to excel.

I’ve been really excited about this year, as I was looking forward to doing this live. I still intend to take my knitting and spinning with me to ExCel when I go to watch the Taekwondo, but now there will be a bitter taste that I’m “denigrating” the athletes with it. It won’t stop me, because I know I’m not, but it does take the shine off somewhat.

Oh, and what do both of these have in common? They are all about the sponsorship of the Games, hence the title of this post. What the Games are really about is the sponsorship deals. I, for one, feel rather less well inclined towards the official sponsors, due to the behaviour of various Olympic committees.

11 Apr

I’m not sure if anyone noticed

But my website got hacked. I don’t know why or how, but it’s back now.

Whilst I have no particular issues with Johnny Depp, I prefer my pics of Ro and Bea.

04 Mar

EAT Study

On Wednesday, mum, Charles, Rohan, Bea and I went to London. Mum, Charles and Rohan went to the Natural History Museum, Bea and I to St Thomas’ hospital, to enrol Bea on the EAT Study. They are looking at allergies. The theory they are testing is that early, regular exposure to key allergens will reduce the instance of food allergies.

Bea is in the early introduction group, so as of tomorrow, we will be starting to follow the food introduction star chart. She gets a week or so of baby rice, until she’s happy eating 2-3 teaspoons, then, after a week or so, we start introducing yoghurt, then egg, peanut, sesame, fish and wheat (possibly not in that order, but I don’t have the star chart on me). She’s been tested, and she isn’t currently allergic to any of these foods. I’m hoping it stays that way.

It was very interesting. Apparently, food allergies only occur in people who already have eczema. This isn’t something I’ve ever heard before, but I will be paying close attention to her skin. They checked her skin as well, and currently there is no sign at all. It would be lovely if Bea got to avoid eczema/asthma/hayfever.

27 Feb

Three months



This is our Bea today, at 13 weeks old. She’s loving sitting up, although she can’t quite do it by herself without support. That isn’t stopping the sweet little thing from trying to move onto the next stage. She keeps trying to bum shuffle. The moment she can sit by herself, she’s going to be off. There will be no hanging around for this little monkey.

05 Dec

Bea’s first week

So, Bea got herself born, and we came home from the hospital Sunday evening (it took them forever to sort out the discharge, which came with a bunch of follow up appointments). On Monday, Martin’s parents brought Ro back. He rushed through the front door and put his hand on my tummy to check she wasn’t in there still, then started searching for her.

We also had a visit from the midwife, who was concerned by Bea being jaundiced so close to birth, and decided she would need checking again the next day. On Tuesday she was much more jaundiced, so we were told to take her to A&E to be admitted. We were in the hospital for about 24 hours. The children’s ward have little put up beds for parents, but after taking a look at me, they went and got me a hospital bed. They also gave me painkillers, which they aren’t supposed to do, because I hadn’t been admitted.

Thankfully, the lights did their thing, and Bea is much better, I’m not even sure she’s got any yellow left now.

Unfortunately, whilst I was worrying about Bea, I wasn’t looking after me. I managed to pull out a couple of my episiotomy stitches, which then got infected. I’m on antibiotics, and under instruction to take it easy. Which is great. Tomorrow Martin is back at work, I have to get Ro to and from preschool and go for a blood test, because they think I’m anaemic as well.

At least on Tuesday I get to see my sister.

03 Dec

Beatrice Elizabeth Anne

On Sunday 28 November, at 2:13am, Beatrice Elizabeth Anne was born, weighing 9lbs, 11oz. On Tuesday she was readmitted to hospital with jaundice, but thankfully she’s much better now (though still a little yellow) and we came home on Wednesday evening.

That was the nice bit. What follows are the full details of Bea’s labour and delivery. This contains much TMI and some of you really, really won’t want to read it.

After many days of false starts, I had contractions start at about 5am, Saturday morning. They weren’t too bad to begin with, but by about 7am they were becoming difficult to handle (they were 5-8 minutes apart, but some were lasting nearly 2 minutes). Just after 9am, Allison, the backup doula, arrived. She saw one contraction and suggested that, given the weather (Bea decided to wait for the snow to make her appearance), we should head in.

The journey wasn’t much fun. Because I couldn’t position myself to deal with the pain, I ended up getting stressed and panicky. This is a theme, by the way. Me getting stressed or panicked meant things going badly.

When we got up to the delivery suite I was in very definite need of pain relief, but they wouldn’t let me in the pool, or have the gas and air until I’d been monitored, and I couldn’t be monitored until they found me a midwife. They had to steal one from the postnatal ward. This midwife was only with us for a short time. I’m afraid I don’t remember his name, but I was very rude to him, in my desire for pain relief. He got my monitoring done, then the new shift came on and this is where we lucked out and met Jackie. Some midwives are not big on water and intermittent monitoring for VBAC. The consultants had reluctantly agreed to our plan in principle, but having a midwife who was OK with me trying was important, and Jackie was really positive about it. Once I got gas and into the water, I was so much happier. I was dealing well with everything that was happening. My contractions were still about 5 minutes apart, but they weren’t falling into a regular pattern. Jackie described my labour as establishing. Allison and Martin were working on getting me to eat and drink and keeping me positive through the contractions.

At some point, Candie came in, and Allison left. At about 4pm, I believe, I decided that I needed an epidural. Jackie checked, and I’d made it to 5cm, which I was really pleased about. Moving room for the epidural was another tough bit. The epidural worked to begin with, but we started to get some pain on the right hand side. They gave me a top up, and got me to lay on my right hand side. Which made me throw up.

Once I was back to having an even epidural, I was allowed to lay on my left side, which worked best for me, and for my contractions (still not regular, still not closer together than 5 minutes).

At somewhere around 11pm (oh, and now we’re on midwife 3, Anita, who you are about to see is an amazing woman – time and what was happening went rather hazy with the epidural), the doctors were getting rather concerned at the length of the labour, and the lack of progress. My contractions were getting more irregular and spacing out. There was talk of sections. Anita suggested we check how far dilated I was and, to everyone’s surprise (it was midnight by this point), I was fully dilated.

Then we get to pushing. At this point we’re waiting up to nine minutes between contractions, and often, the contractions were only weak. Anita started lobbying the doctor for syntocynon.¬† The doctor said they’d prefer a forceps delivery. So Anita made her stand and watch me push through a contraction. The doctor agreed, but her supervisor didn’t, so Anita made her stand and watch a contraction too. By this point, it felt like quite the audience, with me as the performing seal. But Anita got her way (I feel she probably does quite often), and I got syntocynon. Which didn’t boost my contractions, but did make me vomit rather a lot. It turns out that vomiting is also quite effective for pushing out a baby. So, in the end I basically vomited out my daughter.

I shall post all about the disasters since the birth another time.

25 Nov

In case you’re wondering

There have been no posts about the baby, because the baby isn’t here. I am nearly 42 weeks pregnant.

Today we had a scan (to check for deterioration of the placenta – there wasn’t any sign). She does however have hair.

I currently have a bit of a quandary. The doctors want to get her out now. They can’t do a full induction, due to my scar, so they want to break my waters. The downside of this is that it might not work or it might work too slowly. It puts me on a clock and if the time runs out, I end up with a section. I don’t want a section. It will mean a stay in hospital, during which time I won’t be able to see Ro (he has chickenpox, as if we didn’t have enough on our plates), a scar to heal (which Ro will jump on), and no driving for 6 weeks.

On the other hand, my body is really ready for labour. I’ve been having contractions on and off for over a week. I just don’t seem able to sustain them into a full labour. The longer I go without giving birth, the more tired I am. I ache all over and I’m struggling to do anything. I’m falling apart.

So, I’m tired and exhausted, I have an impossible decision to make, where either choice could be the wrong one for me. I have facts and figures coming at me from all angles. It’s stressing me out and stress is a great way to delay labour. If she’d just come of her own accord now, it would be so much easier.

10 Nov

Gradient shawl

This post, like it’s subject, has gradients. The first bit is spinning. If you aren’t interested in spinning, skip to after the second picture. Then we have knitting. If you aren’t interested in knitting, skip to the photo at the end. Unless you aren’t interested in pregnancy either. In which case, skip the post entirely.

I started with this fibre

Which was dyed in a gradient by Midnight purls. It’s Polwarth combed top, so lovely and soft. On getting this, I became determined to spin and knit a gradient shawl. The timing of me setting out to start this coincided with my learning how to spin long draw. So I decided to try a long draw spin on this, which is a great option for yarn for a shawl. Unfortunately, I didn’t think about the combed top when I started. Combed top isn’t the ideal prep for long draw, especially when you’re just starting out with long draw. So I went with spinning from the fold, which is still a long draw technique, just rather slower than my original plan.

Because it was my first attempt, it wasn’t the most even yarn I’ve ever spun, but I was still rather pleased with the result.

Now the knitters have joined us. Hello knitters! I picked the Seaside Shawlette pattern to knit this into. For the gradient, I really needed a triangle pattern, and I wanted a reasonably small repeat, so that I could add repeats as necessary, to make sure I used the full gradient. In the actual knitting, I added one repeat to the main body of the shawl. I had a bit of the grey yarn left over, but not too much, and definitely not enough to have added another repeat.


And for those who just want to see the bump, this is a picture I got my mum to take of my bump from the side whilst she was taking shawl pictures for me.


30 Oct

Where was I?

Oh yes. Being pregnant.

I still am, by the way. I haven’t forgotten to come back and tell you about the baby. I’m completely huge. I look like I’ve taken a basketball, overinflated it, and shoved it up my T-shirt.

In other news, Ro turned 4 and I turned 35. Ro had his first birthday party with friends his own age. It took them a while to warm up (they were shy and nervous), but by the end they were running round screaming¬† and having a blast. Unfortunately, his best friend didn’t make it (according to him and the staff at the pre-school, he and Kieran are nearly inseparable). I’m really glad that he’s starting to make proper friends. Getting him doing a decent number of hours at this pre-school (he does 15 hours a week) has been the best thing for him. He comes out bubbling with excitement, telling me what he (and Kieran or Alannah) have been up to. He tells me what he thought of his packed lunch too. Packed lunch analysis is very important to him.

My plan is to come back later this week, to show you my latest spinning/knitting project, which will probably also include a picture of the bump. Otherwise, I’ll be back to tell you I’ve had a baby (the plans for which seem to have morphed from planned section to WBAC – we’ll see how it actually goes).

18 Aug

Fractal spinning

When fractal spinning, it is usual to make a 2 ply yarn. Instead, I tried to be clever, and make a 3 ply. As such it wasn’t an entirely successful fractal, I don’t think, but it was fun and interesting.

I started by taking my fibre and laying it out

Then split it into 3

The first third was left alone, the second was split in two and the third was split in four. This is where I think I went wrong. I think it would have been better to have split the second into three and the third into nine. Of course, I don’t think there was enough fibre to split a third into nine, but in theory, that’s what I should have done.

I then spun the fibre into individual plies. This is a photo of the third which wasn’t split further.

For those who are a bit lost, I shall try some further explanation. Because each ply is spun to about the same thickness, one ply goes through the colour repeats once, one ply goes through the colour repeats twice and the final ply goes through the colour repeats four times. The result, when plied, looks like this.

When knitted up, it looks like this

Or this

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