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    Monday
    Nov172014

    Daisy

    Thanks to everyone who has sent messages and promised to donate to Daisy's fund.

    Sadly, Daisy died in the early hours of this morning. Her Mum & Dad were there holding her hands. 

    She was exactly 7 years old.

     

    This is not my disaster. I never met Daisy. But she was almost the same age as my oldest niece, I knew her Mum & Uncle back when we were teenagers & so I feel a connection to her. Nobody should lose their baby like this.

    Please, please donate - every penny makes a difference. The money is going direct to the team at Bristol Children's hospital who are so close to giving children a weapon against this shittty, shitty cancer. One day, a child will survive this, and their families won't have to go through this devastation. 

    Thank you xxx

    Sunday
    Nov162014

    DIPG fundraising update

    Warning - there are all sorts of triggers in this post, but please read to the end if you can x

    Do you remember my post about the Ice bucket challenge & why I was donating to a different charity? Micro donations (as well as big donations) can make enormous differences to small charities. 

    A friend from teenage days, Anna, had a horrific thing happen earlier this year. On the 3rd May, her daughter Daisy was diagnosed with DIPG, an incurable brain tumour. 

    This was the statement that Anna & her family gave out earlier this year.

    'She went from being a normal healthy little girl playing with her friends, jumping on trampolines, having fun and going to school to being in hospital over the course of two days! It all happened so fast and without any warning.  Her parents were told to think in terms of weeks and months not years before they would lose Daisy. As you can imagine this is the worst possible news that any parent could ever receive. Daisy started radiotherapy straight away to try and buy them a little extra time,  during this time her parents scoured the world for a treatment that could help . They discovered a brain surgeon in Bristol who had been studying DIPG for the last ten years and he felt confident in using his pioneering techniques to treat a child so in July Daisy underwent a procedure to fit a port in her skull to deliver chemo direct to the tumour (she was the first child in the world to ever have this operation). 

    Brain cancer research gets less than 1% of the national research funding even though it is the biggest cancer killer of children. Please donate, the sooner they find the perfect drug to kill this kind of tumour the more chance Daisy and children like her have a chance of surviving this otherwise terminal condition.’

    The research team at Bristol were able to employ an extra 2 members of staff as a direct result of the first fundraising push. The port that was fitted to Daisy's skull was 3D printed to fit her exactly. This pioneering work was done by Renishaws, an engineering firm that are a big employer locally, and have close links to my sons' school.

    The research team are so close to getting everything in place to really fight this horrible cancer. They managed to deliver chemo directly to the tumour, bypassing the blood-brain barrier that makes treating brain cancer so difficult. More details can be found here.

    Sadly, chemo drugs aren't tested on children and so the research team has to rely on best guesses to get the drug cocktail right. It hasn't worked for Daisy.

    Daisy is terribly ill. She is going to die. They don't know how long it will be, but I guess it won't be long. 

    It's Daisy's 7th birthday today.

    She is unconscious most of the time, can't really move or talk but isn't in pain. She's with her Mum, Dad & little sister & is surrounded by love.

    Around 40 children are diagnosed with DIPG each year. They are mostly between the ages of 5 and 8 years old. The survival time is normally less than a year.

    40 isn't a big number. But that is one child diagnosed for every single week of the school year. Or 1 every nine days. Not a lot statistically. But if one of those 40 is yours?

    I went through a grieving process when Matt was diagnosed with autism. I grieved for the normal life he wouldn't have, for the assumpions you make about your children that wouldn't happen. For the loss of dreams. But he is alive. I can't imagine the strength is take to keep going when you are told your precious child is going to die, and there's nothing you can do.

    I know this is an expensive time of year. I know a lot of you will have donated to Children in need. But please, please consider a little extra donation to Daisy's fund. Either today, on the last birthday she will have, or the next time you buy yourself a little treat. A bottle of wine, a bar of chocolate, a ball of yarn - whatever your personal reward is. Would you consider matching the cost of the treat to yourself & donating that money to Daisy's fund? 

    One day a child will survive DIPG. It just won't be Daisy.

     

     

     

     

    Wednesday
    Nov122014

    Busy busy!

    I'm still here! I haven't forgotten you. I've just had a slightly manic few weeks. I had a couple of short deadline knitting designs to do which took most of my time. I still have the second part of the Hook, Stitch & give review to so - but I haven't managed to take a photo of the hat I made yet.

    I'm doing the Woolly Wormhead Mystery hat-a-long, which is coming along nicely - but I can't show you photos until the whole pattern is released. I have a sinking feeling that this project is not for me. I love it - but it's telling me it's for a gift. Now this is not especially like me as I only give hand made presents to people that I deem especially gift-worthy, so I'm not sure why I'm feeling that this (lovely) hat isn't mine. It's even in my favourite colour (yes, purple, since you ask!). It's a mystery in more than one sense of the word!

    I still haven't quite finished the Marie Curie mitts - but they are utterly delightful & totally hitting all my geeky buttons. I wasn't going to use beads - until I saw the design. Each hand is a little different and feature the atomic models of the two atoms that Marie Curie and her husband discovered, Radium and Polonium. The beads are the electrons. The big silver bead is the nucleus, so it had to be a different bead - obviously. I have about a quarter of the second mitten & both thumbs to do & I'll show you when they're finished. LOVE THEM!

    I ran my first bag making workshop on 1st November & despite some early problems - like a forgotten sewing machine plus a forgotten power cable (not mine, but it did justify me owning two sewing machines!) the students were brilliant & made fantastic bags. Look!

     


    I really enjoyed the bag making workshop & look forward to running it again :)

     

    Friday
    Oct312014

    Provisional Cast on tutorial

    Quick blog post to let you know that I've recorded a couple of videos on how to do provisional cast ons. Especially useful if you are taking part in the Woolly Wormhead Mystery Hat-a-long which starts tomorrow. Hope these are helpful x

    Tuesday
    Oct212014

    Book review: 'Hook, stitch & give' by Kat Goldin - part 1

    Have you seen Kat's new book? It's a book full or original projects designed to be ideal as gifts. Or, if you are me, to keep all for yourself!

    Back in the spring, Kat managed to end up moving house at shortish notice with her family while in the middle of writing this book with a tight deadline. She appealed to some fellow crocheters that she has met/worked with before to see if we could help her with some of the samples for the book. I made the utterly gorgeous knitterly cowl & the everyone (needs) socks. The patterns were both clear & easy to follow - although there were some issues with the sock sizing chart - which has now been changed! The yarns were lovely - especially the Malabrigo Twist, which I hadn't used before. The cowl nearly didn't get sent - it matched my winter coat so perfectly!

    Kat was also the photographer for the book so I got to see some of the images of the cowl early. And then I didn't mind so much as the (male) model was so pretty! Tough day at the office there, Kat!

    So when the book came out in September, Kat kindly sent me a copy. This was as a gift - she didn't ask me to do a review. And if I hadn't liked it - I wouldn't have done! Luckily I do like it and have already made the cover hat. As a gift - for me!

    The book is divided into sections, starting with the technical stuff with stitch illustrations - and tips on reading crochet patterns. I know from teaching workshops that lots of crocheters struggle with understanding patterns so it's nice to have a good clear explanation.

    ©Kat Goldin

    Chapter 1 is 'For the home'. Now I'm not really bothered about knit or crochet homewares. I like blankets, but don't really do cushions, or shelf decorations or the other things you tend to find in crochet books. Bizarrely the pot holders in this really appeal to me! Although I would be tempted to substitute cross stitch hazard symbols for the pretty folksy images here. You know, things like 'toxic' or 'biohazard'. But that's just me! I also thought the puff stitch chair pads were really pretty .

    Chapter 2 is 'For her'. The gorgeous blue shawl is a real showstopper & would (again) be an ideal gift for me. I've already made the slouch & bobble hat - I'll talk about that next time. It's very quick and gives endless opportunities for playing with colour. I would even consider making it as an actual present for somebody else *gasps*. There's also a couple of pretty capelets & a waterfall cardigan, which are pretty and wearable. I'm a sucker for a capelet!

    Chapter 3 'For him' is my favourite chapter. But I'm going to talk about the rest of the book in part 2 to stop this being an excessively long post. For now - enjoy the lovely hat & cowl. The model is incidental. Obviously.

    Back soon for part 2 xxx