Monday, 23 June 2014

Done! The Snowflake Scarf

And the Snowflake Scarf is finished!

(I promise it is not glow-in-the-dark green...but Blogger insists on uploading my perfectly normal aqua-teal-tiffany blue scarf  with these greenish highlights).

The idea was to make up a scarf with different types of snowflakes, to resemble MG as the "snowflake disease", that is - each and every person would differ in the presentation of their symptoms.  I ended up using  three snowflakes patterns, after realising that I just do not have the patience to figure out how to make all these different motifs fit together in a cowl.  So I hooked three separate strands, one per pattern, where I joined the snowflakes as I went along, and then I threw my hands in the air as I could not decided what to do next.  

(Okay, Blogger is going crazy)

I took it along to our Crochet-in Public event where I hoped to get good advice
(which, of course, I did).

A very good idea was to pre-join all the motifs with stitch markers, and I literally strung it around this cushion to keep everything in its place, with no twisting of the strands.  I positioned the snowflakes so that each loose point of the middle row flakes could join with two joined "arms" of the snowflake below or above.  Then starting from a random point, I literally hooked a chain, linking up and down between the nearest points, trying to balance it as equally as possible. 

(This is the absolute nearest to freefrom that I will ever get)

And then it worked!

I'm thinking of giving this one away at a MG group, and do another one, this time in a brilliant bamboo by One of a Kind yarns, in the same lovely colour.  Might make four or three strands then, but for now, I'm happy :-)

(Isn't it bloody difficult to take a selfie when you need to 'model' something? Eeeek, akward.)

Patterns used:

Lucy Croft's Frosted Flurry - Simply Crochet vol 13
Tuula Maaria's 2-row snowflake
Red Heart's Snowflake Ornament (with a slight change in the 2nd row)

Do you have a medical issue and has crochet helped you in any way?

Friday, 20 June 2014

Crochet with a View

Now and then you'll see a photo that makes wish you took it.

As when Ons Hekel-member Wendy Erasmus-Koutlis posted this:
(have a look at her website)

How to offset bright colours against a glorious landscape

She lives in the eastern Free State, with some of the most spectacular scenery in the country.
She hooks beautiful blankets. 

How to show off a blanket

Even directed away from the mountains, the Free State farmscape is stunning. 

How to glam up an old barb-wire fence

Suburban Pretoria, with only the tiniest hint of the Magaliesberg outside my bedroom window just doesn't compare. 

All I could do was to hook a hastily-done beanie to an equally rusted fence during our hunting trip last weekend...with a smile and a wink to Wendy ;-) least it's picking up the green :-)

Love your outdoor photos, Wendy.  Keep on hooking, keep them coming!

Thursday, 19 June 2014

My Mzansi 14/6 - In transit

It was Youth Day and we had a long weekend.

Everybody was getting out, the highway was in shutdown.

Egoli* (City of Gold) glistening in the setting sun

Later that night, we took a double-up (short-cut). 

Farm roads in the full moon

En route to the hunting camp.

Nosy cattle, thinking we're bringing food

It was a long day on the back of the bakkie. 

Young huntsmen

Thursday, 5 June 2014

I'm a little snowflake

For the month of June, this will be my Facebook Cover Photo:

I am also a snowflake.  

Not one of us look the same, our symptoms vary, like snowflakes!

I was diagnosed with myasthenia gravis in 2009, after arriving on a visit to Ireland, and struggling to keep my eyes open the next day.  And then I got double vision...45ยบ.  Try driving while closing one eye at a time! For the next two months, I juggled and struggled and fought with doctors, until a neurologist confirmed what a GP wouldn't test for.  He immediately offered me a thymectomy, which basically boils down to cracking your sternum open and cutting your thymus gland out.  

That's me in orange.  See the lazy eyelids?  Looks like botox flopped.

I made all the right noises, took my script for meds, and made for my car.  I started Googling other neuros while driving (see, I had some background knowledge - my sis was diagnosed with ocular MG the year before, and she saw a world leader in the field, so I remembered hat he said).

My second opinion  agreed that a thymectomy was by far not the right thing for me, confirmed the script, and a couple of months later my eyelids had their life back and my left cheek did not freeze on me out of the blue.  
Five years later I am off meds, (but I always keep some with me, in a nifty little pill holder).  I know to pace myself when training, get enough K and Mn with all the other vitamins and paraphernalia, take immune boosters throughout the year and avoid and manage stress at any cost.  

What I am also doing this month, is to crochet a snowflake cowl, in the above blues.  I'm trying out a few snowflake patterns, and have yet to come up with a plan on joining these.

Here's my yarn:

I Love Yarn's Imagine

And here's my first snowflake:

...with some birthday cake at I Love Yarn 'headquarters'.

It's officially winter in South Africa and it's snowing on the southern mountains.

Myasthenia gravis - a chronic autoimmune neuromuscular disease characterized by varying degrees of weakness of the skeletal (voluntary) muscles of the body. The name myasthenia gravis, which is Latin and Greek in origin, literally means "grave muscle weakness."

It is caused by a defect in the transmission of nerve impulses to muscles. It occurs when normal communication between the nerve and muscle is interrupted at the neuromuscular junction—the place where nerve cells connect with the muscles they control. Normally when impulses travel down the nerve, the nerve endings release a neurotransmitter substance called acetylcholine. Acetylcholine travels from the neuromuscular junction and binds to acetylcholine receptors which are activated and generate a muscle contraction.
In myasthenia gravis, antibodies block, alter, or destroy the receptors for acetylcholine at the neuromuscular junction, which prevents the muscle contraction from occurring. These antibodies are produced by the body's own immune system. Myasthenia gravis is an autoimmune disease because the immune system—which normally protects the body from foreign organisms—mistakenly attacks itself.