This is why we make blankets for dialysis patients

I’ve been telling you about the beautiful crochet blankets donated for Crochet For Kidneys Part 4 since June 2015. I’ve showed you photos of all the blankets, told you who made them and where the makers are from. I’ve thanked everyone for donating their skill, yarn and time to this project.

Yet pretty crocheted blankets is not what Crochet For Kidneys is about.

Crochet For Kidneys is about doing something for the people currently going through dialysis.  John donated his kidney to a friend because we heard and saw what 3 4-hour dialysis session a week does to a person.

In writing this post I realised I had to find a first-hand account describing what it is like going through dialysis. I found a few articles and a NHS video which gave the impression that you can have a very normal, active life. This may be true for a lot of people but it wasn’t the impression I got from the man to whom John gave his kidney back in 2012. Yes, he was able to go to work and lead a relatively normal life, but he certainly did not feel like a million bucks after a dialysis session. The limitations of what he could eat and drink affected his life, the timings of the dialysis session and the after effects limited how much time he could spend with friends and family (and indeed his wife), not to mention the psychological toll.

I then came across “A Rookies’ Take On Dialysis: Ten Things I Have Learned So Far” a blog post by Tim Bergman of Ontario, Canada.

Please read his post. It’s an eye opener and gives a true sense of what it is really like being on dialysis. Tim’s account of dialysis is much closer to what the recipient of John’s kidney experienced and will give you a sense of 1) why John decided to donate his kidney and 2) why I felt I wanted to do something for dialysis patients.

Wait until you get to point no. 4 in Tim’s post  – Crochet For Kidneys will make total sense.

Getting ready

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The big day for Crochet For Kidneys Part 4 is almost here! John and I are taking the blankets to the Royal London Hospital on Tuesday so this weekend was spent writing note cards, putting the right card to the right blanket and updating the Facebook Group with all the blanket photos.

Each blanket has a notecard with the following message:

“I hope that you will feel the love that I put into each crochet stitch of this blanket, so that it may bring you hope and comfort. Love [name of crocheter]”

On the opposite side I wrote:

“Care instructions: Wash at 30 degrees on gentle wash. Do not tumble dry.”

and

“Feel free to join the Facebook Group “Crochet For Kidneys” if you want to get in touch.”

Here is one of the notecard, attached to Sue de Vos’s blanket.

Look how many beautiful blankets we have! The sun was shining into our apartment while I was folding and tagging blankets. I took that as a good sign.

I’m so proud of what you guys have achieved here. None of you skimped on creativity, quality of the yarn or the finish and some of you even made two blankets. You posted them from as far as Portugal and the USA without any thought to the cost of postage. Thank you so much.

Isn’t this a lovely sight? Nevermind the telly or the view, look at all those lovingly made crochet blankets for 27 dialysis patients!

I’ll update you all on delivery of the blankets, after Tuesday.

One more blanket 

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I have one more blanket to show you for Crochet For Kidneys Part 4. A beautiful giant granny square blanket made by Jennifer. I love the muted shades she used, and what a clever idea to start off with two 4-round granny squares?

Jennifer hand delivered the blanket to my home – I’m so sorry I was at work when she came over.

Jennifer

Jennifer’s blanket came with this really cool card. Life is definitely much better when you’re laughing!

With Jennifer’s blanket, our total is now at a record 27 blankets for dialysis patients!

That reminds me: have you guys seen the graph I made to show how the blanket count has gone up over the four CFK’s? I posted it on the Crochet For Kidneys Facebook group a few weeks ago, but here it is again.

blanket v people graph

Blanket count up, participants down. Who would have thought?!

Now that all the blankets are in, I’ll be spending today and tomorrow hand writing the tags to go with each blanket.

We’ve also been thinking about the logistics of carrying 27 blankets to the hospital. Last year we had three huge bags for the 17 blankets of CFK3, so 27 is going to be even more challenging. Fortunately John had the great idea that we should vacuum pack the blankets which will reduce the size considerably. Clever man!

The next time I blog about Crochet For Kidneys it will be to tell you about delivering the blankets to the hospital on the 24th.🙂

The last four blankets for Crochet For Kidneys Part 4

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And so on this Halloween we reach the deadline for Crochet For Kidneys Part 4. It’s been a heart warming and humbling four months since my fourth appeal for crocheted blankets. My amazing blog readers and crochet friends delivered the goods – in spades! With the four blankets I received this week, we have reached a grand total of 26 blankets for the dialysis patients at the Royal London Hospital! That’s our highest blanket count since I started Crochet For Kidneys in November 2013!

This week Dorota’s blue and brown ripple blanket arrived all the way from Poland, Barbara’s second colourful traditional granny square blanket arrived from Portugal, Pauline Thomson’s granny square blanket in a comfy chunky yarn arrived from Scotland and Cecilia sent her very striking granny ripple.

ripple crochet blanket

Dorota Dobrowska

Granny Square blanket

Barbara Boothman

granny square blanket

Pauline Thomson

Granny ripple blanket

Cecilia Ockleford

Cecilia is an old-timer CFK member – you can see a photo of her in this blog post from the Crochet For Kidneys charity day back in November 2013.

Cecilia crocheted her first ever blanket for CFK3 last year, and this ripple is her second blanket. It takes Cecilia longer than the average to crochet a blanket because she suffers from muscle dystrophy.  Just like last year, I feel very privileged that she would spend so much time on a blanket only to donate it to CFK. Thank you so much Cecilia, your selflessness is a true inspiration.

Everyone put so much care and love into their blankets I’m positive it will bring years of comfort and hope to the dialysis patients.

Whenever I look at my two cupboards filled to the brim with handmade blankets I am reminded of just how special you all are.

Thank you and blessings to each of you.

Nine more blankets for Crochet For Kidneys Part 4

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This week has been a bumper week for CFK4 – seven blankets arrived in the post, I received one blanket in person and I finished the pink blanket! That’s nine blankets for dialysis patients in one week! Isn’t that fantastic?!

Our grand total is now 22!!! This week we exceeded all previous Crochet For Kidneys, and the best part is, I know there are more blankets coming! You guys totally rock!

The first blanket I’m going to show you comes from Mary Gordon. Mary lives in Thames Ditton (where John and I lived when we started Crochet For Kidneys) so she is one of the very first contributors to CFK. I met up with Mary at Carluccio’s in Waterloo station on Saturday to pick up the blanket (and to catch up on all the Thames Ditton news.) I just had to open up the blanket and admire it right there in Carluccio’s because I know the kind of quality crochet Mary produces. Have a look at this blog post from CFK2 to see The Mary Border and her purple and white blanket. This year her blanket was inspired by the Rainbow. She wrote on the tag attached to the blanket: “This blanket is inspired by the colours of the rainbow – the promise of sunshine to come.” I just love that!!!

Mary Gordon

Trish Harris of France made two blankets, despite suffering from Carparel Tunnel Syndrome. Thank you so much Trish for contributing – your blankets are beautiful and I really appreciate the effort you put it. I hope the CTS clears up soon so you will be hook-in-hand again.

Trish Harris

Trish Harris

Jude Garrett crocheted this super colourful blanket. She also attended the CFK2 event along with Mary. You can see Jude hard at work in this blogpost. Jude wrote that her 7-year old has now also started to crochet so next year we can expect a joint mother-and-daughter blanket! Wouldn’t that be just the sweetest thing!?

Jude Garrett

It looks like Sue de Vos was also inspired by the rainbow just like Mary, but Sue did rows of trebles for her rainbow blanket. So many colours!

Sue Ribbens de Vos

Sue’s second blanket is a gorgeous  traditional granny square blanket in more muted shades than her striped rainbow blanket. I love the border and the way she joined her granny squares.

Sue Ribbens de Vos

Next up I want to show you Tamika’s two fantastic blankets – a blue, green, beige ripple and a stunning turquoise, green, white and brown granny square blanket. I love the unusual colours!

Tamika Joyeux

Tamika Joyeux

And finally my second blanket for CFK4, the pink mitred squares.

Natasja King

Natasja King

Thank you again to everyone who crocheted a blanket and posted it to me. I know it takes a lot of time to crochet a blanket and postage is not cheap. You produced beautiful blankets which I will be proud to hand over to the Renal Unit of the Royal London Hospital. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Two more blankets for Crochet For Kidneys Part 4

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The blankets for the dialysis patients are coming in weekly now and our total blanket count is up to 13. Thank you everyone!!

This week I received Wendy “Eddy” Gould’s very non-square purple and white blanket. This is our second striped blanket in Crochet For Kidneys Part 4. Wendy also contributed a blanket for CFK3 last year. She really embraced this year’s brief of “any design”🙂

Wendy “Eddy” Gould

This extremely sunny blanket was made in Faro, Portugal. It’s the crochet work of Linda Baker, a friend of Barbara Booth whose blanket I showed you last week. Even if I hadn’t known Linda lives in Portugal I would have thought that this blanket has a distinct sunny Portuguese or Spanish feel to it. Don’t you agree? These two ladies are bringing the sunshine of Portugal to our blanket collection and they are making two blankets each. Fantastic!

Linda Baker

Not so much sunny as girly, my pink blanket is almost finished – I’m crocheting the edging at the moment and then have to work away the ends.

Thank you again to everyone who has crocheted blankets for the dialysis patients. Most of you are repeat contributors to Crochet For Kidneys which makes me appreciate your efforts even more. Blessings to you all!

  Two more blankets for Crochet For Kidneys Part 4

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I received two more beautiful traditional granny square blankets over the past two weeks.

Caroline Bennett says her fiancé had a kidney transplant 2 and a half years ago after being on dialysis. They think Crochet For Kidneys is a great idea and it inspired Caroline to make these beautiful two-tone granny squares.

Caroline Bennett

Barbara Boothman’s striking traditional granny square blanket with the black joining rounds, comes all the way from Faro, Portugal. She has another blanket to send me.

Barbara Boothman

Thank you very much for your contributions ladies. The blankets are beautiful!

Hop on over to the Crochet For Kidneys Facebook group where you will see more photos, posts and comments about these blankets.

Our blanket total is now up to 11. We’re in the double digits people!! Keep them coming!

Four more blankets for Crochet For Kidneys

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I received these four blankets from a mother and daughter team, Emma and Sandra Ashman.  Thank you so much ladies, the blankets are beautiful!

Sandra Ashman

Emma Ashman

Sandra Ashman

Emma Ashman

How many hours of work went into these four blankets?! There are so many different square motifs in these four blankets! Ladies, am I right in saying that you have been using the  200 Crochet Blocks book by Jan Eaton…?  ;)

Thanks to this mother and daughter team, the CFK4 blanket count is now up to nine. Thank you ladies, you are stars!

Your blankets for Crochet For Kidneys Part 4

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Dear readers and Crochet For Kidneys blanket makers, please forgive me for not having updated you on the progress of CFK4 since June, when I showed you my Shades Of Blue Granny Square Blanket.

Things have been a bit hectic the past two months. It’s all very, very good though. My weekends were spent preparing for interviews, watching Lynda.com videos to improve my skills, celebrating Big Events with new and old friends, doing a bit of travelling with iVan the campervan and in general just enjoying life.

During July I went for job interviews and in August I heard that I got the job as legal PA at a very big Media & Entertainment company just 20 minute walk from our new home. I am super, super, excited and feel very blessed to have landed that job. I just know it’s going to be the start of Something Great.

My last day at the old job was Friday and I start the new one next Monday so this week is my time to reflect, recoup and recharge – and with recharge I mean catch up on my blog and crochet.

So without further ado back to the blankets for Crochet For Kidneys.

I’ve received four beautiful blankets so far from Gerlene Kennedy, Jan Appleton, Marion Nelson and someone with a postcode of DE66. The lady didn’t add a note so I don’t know anything else about her.

Gerlene Kennedy

Someone living in Derby

Jan Appleton

Marion Nelson

I love these blankets for being so very different. The beautiful colours, the combination of those colours (shout-out to Gerlene and Jan for great use of colour!), the neat stitches and attention to detail that the ladies put into their work is really inspiring. A special mention should also go to Gerlene for using the softest silver grey yarn ever. I just couldn’t stop touching that yarn!

I was so inspired that I decided to move away from a regular granny square for my second CFK4 blanket. I’m making metered granny squares in shades of pink. I’ve never done mitred squares but I really like the effect those off-centre rows create. I’m using up all my DK acrylic pink yarns for the blanket.  This is going to be one very pink blanket!

I look forward to receiving more of your blankets and I promise to post them on the blog much sooner than I did for these four blankets.

Happy hooking friends.

Natasja

Rose ta-daaah!

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The Rose top is finished!

I love it! Despite a rocky start where I got a bit bored but then eventually turned the corner into sheer joy, this top is destined to become a firm favourite.

The King Cole Bamboo 4 ply was the perfect choice. It drapes beautifully, it’s soft, it’s cheap and I only needed 3 balls of yarn. I will definitely use this yarn again.

All credit should go to Marie Wallin for designing such a beautiful piece of wearable crochet. The neckline really sets it apart from other motif-based crochet tops.

I just couldn’t resist making the bottom rows of the body and the sleeves in a second colour. I’m really glad I did – I love the contrast and extra bit of detail. The greenish grey Glazier shade is so pretty!

The nitty gritty of my Rose Top:

  • Pattern: Rose from Filigree: Collection Three by Marie Wallin
  • Yarn: King Cole Bamboo 4 ply in Denim and Glazier
  • Amount of yarn used: 2.5 balls of Denim and 0.5 of Glazier
  • Size made: M for the body, L for the sleeves
  • Crochet hook: 2.5 mm
  • Modification: It isn’t really a modification, but I did mix two sizes for this top. The body is size Medium, but the armholes for size Medium were to tight for me. In size Medium the sleeves, and therefor the armholes as well, are 4 motifs. I increased this to 5 motifs as for size Large. This worked out beautifully because now I have a roomy sleeve, but a fitted body.

I can highly recommend Rose and also the King Cole Bamboo 4 ply.

Now that Rose is finished I’m on to my next crochet top. At the moment I’m still busy with the gauge swatch. Unlike other gauge swatches, the stitch count isn’t as important as the row count with this one, because you crochet the pieces from from side seam to side seam. The crochet rows therefore lie vertically in stead of horizontally. I’m hoping it’s going to be a very slimming top.

Wanna see what I’m making? Have a look at the Ravelry page here. I know you’re just going to love it!!!

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