I finished the first sleeve of my gansey the other day. Now, when I try it on, it looks more like a jumper than a work-in-progress and I know that I’ll enjoy wearing it. But I’ve lost a little enthusiasm for knitting it in the hot weather and I’ve put off picking up the stitches for the second sleeve. Instead, I’ve been tinkering around with two Knitlab designs, Camino Bubbles and Mini Bubbles, to give me something more portable to work on when travelling. Or while sitting around in hospital waiting rooms – of which see more below.
The two designs are very similar, comprising circular dropped stitch areas interspersed with stocking stitch. Camino Bubbles can be worked with large or small “bubbles”, while they are smaller still in Mini Bubbles. The dropped stitch zones are rectangular when knitted but – thanks to the same laws of physics that makes soap bubbles spherical – they magically become circular when the fabric is stretched during blocking. I couldn’t decide which version to knit until I’d swatched both Camino small bubbles and Mini Bubbles using the leftover Tour de France bunting acrylic.
In the photo, Camino Bubbles is in “maillot jaune” and Mini Bubbles in “young rider white”. Having decided that Mini Bubbles was the way to go for the little scarf I was planning to knit, I then did a red swatch with two pattern repeats across the width instead of one.
In the end, I cast on enough stitches for three pattern repeats of Mini Bubbles, with two stitches removed from the border along each edge. I thought the edges looked a bit heavy for a fairly narrow scarf. I’ve also added a picot at the beginning of each row to pretty it up a little. I’m using the 50g or so remaining from a 45% mohair, 55% acrylic yarn I used for a Rodekool brioche scarf last year.
After two lengthwise repeats I weighed what I’d got left and concluded that I’ll have enough to produce a scarf about a metre long, which should be fine. It is for a friend’s birthday at the end of next week, which means I must get on with it. I’m praying that it will block successfully despite the high acrylic content.
The hospital trips I’ve had recently are as a result of an eye problem. For a few weeks I’ve been awoken randomly in the middle of the night by pain in one eye. After 15 minutes or so the pain would subside, I’d fall back asleep and then everything would be fine for several days until it happened again. While it was only happening at night, I pretty much ignored it. In the morning I was never 100% certain that it wasn’t just a bad dream. But then the pain suddenly hit a couple of times during waking hours, my eye became red and bloodshot and I couldn’t see anything for the tears welling up. On the second occasion, with severe pain having already lasted over an hour, I called the NHS 111 helpline at 10pm and, after declining the offer of an out-of-hours GP appointment in Bradford in the early hours of the following morning (not really practical when it’s half an hour’s drive away, I couldn’t see clearly to drive myself and both of us needed to work the next day), was told to contact my GP within 12 hours.
The next morning I rang the GP’s surgery as soon as it opened. A doctor rang me back an hour later, triaged me over the phone and then asked, “How soon can you get here?” I saw one of her colleagues who said she could see something on my cornea but didn’t know what it was and gave me an early afternoon appointment at a specialist eye clinic in Leeds. By 4pm I was back home, having been diagnosed (with recurrent corneal erosion syndrome), treated and issued with medication. NHS primary care has come in for a lot of criticism recently, with GP shortages leading to difficulties in getting consultations within a reasonable time, but I certainly can’t fault the way I was dealt with, nor the speed and efficiency of the whole process.
The treatment for my ailment involved abrading the cornea in the affected area by vigorously rubbing a cotton bud over it (thankfully after the use of some very effective local anaesthetic) to kick-start the healing process, and then fitting a contact lens to keep it all clean. This was my first experience of wearing a lens and it has stayed in permanently for two weeks. I should be rid of it soon, after a second trip to the eye clinic. I am told that in many cases nobody knows quite why such corneal erosions occur (some are linked to prior injury) and therefore it may happen again in the future, but at least I know now that it is relatively easily resolved.