Sunday, 27 March 2011

How my brain works

I just finished watch 'Kara Tointon: Don't Call Me Stupid' which is still available on BBC iplayer for another day or two, or can be found on Youtube. I don't watch Eastenders, or Strictly Come Dancing, so I don't really know Kara Tointon, but I watched this on the recommendation of my sister and it really struck a cord.

I don't often think of the fact that I am dyslexic. I don't sit at work and wonder if other people find it easier. I don't look at my messy home and put it down to something wrong in my brain. I don't question why I tend to read in a darkened room. I've found ways of getting around things and I make my life work for me. When I read the definition of a disability as laid down by the government as an 'impairment has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on their ability to perform normal day-to-day activities', I wonder if my dyslexia counts, as I don't think it does have this much of an impact. After all, I can get dressed, feed myself, drive, hold down a job and a number of other activities. Does it have so much of an impact?

I guess I don't think about the way other people see the world, or the things they find easy which I don't. One of my main problems, that for some reason I never put down to dyslexia, is my organisation. A few years ago I asked for a diary for Christmas as I was tired of forgetting things I should be doing. I got a lovely cherry red Filofax which was brilliant. I made a real effort to remember to put important things in my diary. Then I forgot to look in my diary, so I forgot they were happening anyway. Now I have a Blackberry and I have to try real hard to remember to put stuff in it, but if I do, it flashes a reminder at me. This was my main motivation for getting a smart phone.

I have Meares-Irlen's as well - this is where light has an effect on my eyes and brain, something a lot of dyslexic's have. You know Ozzy Osbourne wears those red glasses? Meares-Irlens (or scoptic sensitivity syndrome). When I walk outside on a sunny day, my eyes hurt. When I look at words on a white page, they move around. The white stands out and the black is pushed back. I love to read and I read a lot. But I read in bed with the main light out and blue fairy lights on. It's not good for my eyes, but it means I can take it in.

I think the main reason I took to lace knitting is the lack of words. I like charts, they make sense to me. It's just a picture of what I'm supposed to be doing, so I just do that. And it means I can see what it should look like. I guess knitting with just words is like trying to do a puzzle without the picture on the box showing what it should be when it's finished.

It's hard to know how much my life is ruled by the fact that my brain works differently to other people's. It's not something people can see or that makes sense to them and because I can mostly spell and even write eloquently (or at least I hope - by the way, spell check had to correct elequontly as I spelled it phonetically - the second is how I want to spell it) so I think people forget. I know my boss does and then he gets frustrated because I haven't remembered something or my desk is a mass of papers. I'm going to ask him to watch this show and I hope he gets it.

And I know for sure that I can relate to the theme of the show; Don't Call Me Stupid. Because I have been. By myself and by others. I remember at school, trying to make a friend feel better about the score she got on a test by pointing out that I got a lower score and her response of 'But that's good. For you.' Real boost to my confidence that. That was a lot of years before I was diagnosed (I was 20 when I got myself tested) and she is one of a number of people I would like to go back to now and tell them why I wasn't 'reaching [my] full potential'.

It's hard. I don't want to use this as a crutch, an excuse, a reason to throw my head back place a hand on my forehead and whinge about how life never struck me a break. But I don't want to pretend it's not there and keep struggling with my various coping mechanisms and never admitting that things are harder and take more time for me than others.

Like much in life, it's about finding a balance. I don't know if I'm there yet, but I think I'm doing ok.

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Random Thoughts


Full of nummy food.

Went out for dinner.

Knitting is being pants.

Bed now.

Saturday, 12 March 2011


I've been really productive and got a lot done in the past few days - went to the gym and did some exercise at home, popped out to see a friend for tea, caught up with my reading, even took some quiet time of reflection today which was very nice. Of course this is probably because I haven't knit a stitch in days.

Actually, thats a lie. That friend I went to see? She's been wanting to learn to knit, so I took her some beginner needles and showed her how to cast on (knitted) and she managed three rows! So I did some rows quickly using different stitch patterns just to show her how it all looked and how to tell the differences. Then I ripped it all out and gave her the yarn.

So, my Aeolian Take Two is going fairly well. I'm about 20 rows from the end. It's going so well, in fact, that I ran out of yarn on Friday. I've ordered some more and it's shipped (along with more undyed yarn - this time I'm going to try using Dr Oetker Food Dye), but I don't think it'll be here until Wednesday.

I also cast on for a Percy Shawl in some green FoxItaly yarn I received as part of a colour swap. I was quite happily knitting away on it when I hit chart B. I wasn't hugely looking forward to it as I knew it was going to be hard, but I'm not enjoying it at the moment. The problem is that there are no rest rows - the lace is on the knit and the purl sides. Whilst it's not particularly complicated, the fact that I have to count on every row is getting me down. Then I made a mistake. And I don't know what I've done. But the thought of having to tink back that far and then knit it back up is just depressing right now. So instead, my shawl is sitting in the naughty corner.

I don't particularly want to cast on for another shawl before I finish one of these - especially the Percy Shawl, since I'm worried that if I don't pick it up again soon, I won't at all - so in the meantime I'm having to find other ways to fill my time.

Friday, 4 March 2011

Adventures in Dying

So, I mentioned a while ago that I had foraged into the world of hand dying. I've been wanting to try it out for a while and thought I should just jump into it. I ordered some undyed yarn and some kool aid (I figured I would start easy).

I had five sachets of 'Black Cherry' and wanted to try and get a semi solid red. So my cunning plan went like this: I would dunk the yarn in loads of water (as per the instructions) and then dunk a third of it into a saucepan on the stove, then after fifteen minutes dunk in another third and then the last third after another fifteen. I felt like some kind of dying genius.

What happened went like this: the three sachets of kool aid I decided to use sucked up into a bit of the first third within minutes and after that it just sat in hot water. Upon noticing this, I tipped first one and then after while the second of the spare sachets of yarn into the mix. All this did was leave the yarn a bit speckeldy and me feeling like a dying idiot:

So, after a few days of pouting and grumbling, I sucked it up and ordered some more dye. This time, after soaking it I threw it into a bigger saucepan (so I could make sure all the yarn was coated, not just half of it) with all the dye all at once. I figured that since the yarn was partly dyed already, it would still be semi solid. It kinda worked:

I was reasonably satisfied with this, especially for a first (and second *cough*) attempt. I had a vague plan in my head for the shawl it was going to become, but as I was winding it, it kept whispering Firebird (Rav link) to me (I think this may be the first time a yarn has told me what it wants to be).

And I'm pretty happy with the results:

p.s. If you check out the link to the Rav pattern, have a look at the pictures on the title page!