Hospital activity packs

To accompany my my little red sewing machine on the inside here with me, I made up some “activity packs” in advance that my mom or James could just bring to me when I got the sewing itch. Into each gallon ziploc bag went all the cut fabric pieces for that project, plus the thread and bobbin, any notions, and the scanned line drawing & instructions. That way I should hopefully just be able to get down to business when the feeling strikes me without having to do all the boring prep stuff!

First up is already in my activity drawer (I’ve only got four drawers and a tiny wardobe in the room, so one is designated for fun!), a hat from the May 09 Burda, with all the pattern pieces cut out in the red & white floral cotton poplin, with all the appropriate pieces fused to some super heavyweight canvas interfacing.

I’ve also got this top and trousers from the May 09 KnipMode ready to go…

Embroidery and bunting

I seem to be pretty lucky so far to have escaped the constant chemo nausea I was told to expect. I’m on two different chemo drugs now until Sunday when I switch to a third on its own, and so far one of them has had zero affect on the way I feel, and the other seems to be giving me wildly different comedy afflictions each day (first fever & headache, then the next day a weird bumpy rash like mosquito bites all over my body plus breathing problems, then tonight it just seems to be a 2 hour long sneezing fest. weird.). In any case, it’s so far much easier than I was expecting (knock on wood), so it’s given me some time to do some crafting in amoungst my tv and film watching.

Yesterday (Day -7) (in bone marrow transplant land, the day you get your stem cells is Day Zero, so right now I’m counting down to that, 8 July. After I receive them, I’ll go into the positive numbers!)

Yesterday I did a bit of ham-fisted embroidery, finishing up a bit for a baby present, which I’ll reveal when it’s totally finished, as well as finally finishing that Sublime Stitching apron kit I’ve been working on here and there over the last few months (remember this from the al fresco sewing day?).

Sewing in hospital

You may have noticed the new banner at the top of the site (or not, if you’re an RSS reader!) :


From 30 June for 4-6 weeks, I’ll be confined to a special germ-free room for a bone marrow transplant. For at least 6 months after that, I’ll be unable to go into any public or crowded places (shops, restaurants, cinemas, public transport, my office, etc) until my immune system rebuilds itself with the new stem cells.

What’s happening

Roughly speaking, it’s 7 days of intense chemo, then the next day I’ll receive the bone marrow stem cells from the donor via an IV drip, then the next few weeks are a waiting game filled with constant transfusions and battles against infections until the stem cells migrate to my bones and start producing new blood cells. After they reach a certain level, I’m allowed to go home, though I’m told to expect to be readmitted at least a few times after that.

Summer sheep pyjama addition

When I first thought I’d be going into hospital, I was anticipating wearing winter pyjamas, but with all the delays and waiting on a bed, it’s now rolling into summer time. Luckily, I sewed my pyjama sets in medium weight knits rather than thick fleeces, but I had a tiny bit of Sharon’s sheep fabric leftover so I thought I’d create more wearing options for myself.

If you recall, I made a snap-front long sleeve shirt and drawstring trousers before:

And now I’ve got a camisole to wear either under the long sleeve top or on its own with the trousers!

Thank You Part Two

Following on from the post “Thank you!” from a few months ago, I’ve now got three weeks to go before I go into hospital for my bone marrow transplant so I wanted to get my address up for any of you who’d like to send some boredom-relief packages.

Please read the earlier post for an idea of what I’m talking about here (it’s okay, I’ll wait. . . . . All done? Great!). In addition to all that, I will have my little red sewing machine and my Mac laptop (with low-bandwidth internet) in my little room with me, if that helps with ideas.

Ground rules

  1. Please wrap all boredom-buster(s) individually inside the postal envelope, enclosing your name and email address inside! (as I will gather them all together in one place to open one each day so they’ll get separated from their envelopes and I want to know who to thank!) Newspaper/magazine/recycled flyers are more than fine for wrapping!
  2. It is extremely important that you do not send anything if you or anyone in your home has even the slightest cough or sniffle. Please wash your hands for good measure anyway before wrapping, too (I will have zero immune system and what would cause a slight cold for you will result in a serious illness for me on top of everything else!)
  3. I am not allowed any flowers or fruit you cannot peel (though, admittedly that’s probably more pertinent for in-person guests…) because of the chance of fungal infections.
  4. If you’d like to send a card, please hold off – I’ll post up my hospital address as soon as I’m in so they’ll come straight to me (I don’t want the nurses to have to deal with any early arrivers, and I don’t want my co-workers to have to lug in a ton of post for me, either!)
  5. Please forgive me if I sound like a bossy, ungrateful cow. 🙁

Address for parcels only:


Yesterday I had an all-day hospital visit, but instead of being the super dull day I was dreading, it actually turned into the most relaxed and chilled day I’ve had in months! Some women go to the spa, I go to Nuclear Medicine for a bit of radioactivity, ha.

Part of the day was that I had two hours free before having to report back in, so instead of wandering around Camberwell, I went into the big park next to the hospital. We’re having absolutely gorgeous weather in London right now, and everyone was out with their babies and dogs, having impromptu picnics and tennis matches, so I found myself an empty picnic table and brought out my embroidery. Here’s my view of my project, and of my view of the bandstand:

Thank You!

I’ve been so touched by all the kind thoughts and words that everyone has sent to me since I spoke about my illness here. A few of you decided to send cards and gifts, too, which just blows me away! I never expected such an outpouring of camaraderie and kindness, and for that, I thank each and every one of you.

These adorable wooden koala and kangaroo buttons are from Sandra in Australia, through whose quest for instructions on the KnipMode twist top, I discovered the pattern myself!

She got them from this local shop, and I really must find the perfect place to use these as an accent!

Then I got a mysterious package in the post with a card from Cidell!

November workwear log

At the beginning of the month, I thought it’d be an interesting experiment to document exactly what I wear to work over the course of a month in order to observe how much of my wardrobe I actually wear, and how much of that I’ve made. I made a really informal attempt at this in the form of my Most Worn Awards last winter, but I felt it was high time to do something slightly more scientific and allowing FehrTrade creations to go head-to-head with ready to wear.

I didn’t include weekends into this because my clothing choices are usually the same grotty work clothes for doing boat DIY, and also because I change a few times during the day which would complicate things. I made a real attempt not to let my experiment influence my clothing choices in the morning, and I think I’ve been as impartial as I could’ve been.

Monday 3 Novbrown twill trousers and Uni Qlo white cashmere sweater
Tuesday 4 Novgreen corduroys, brown sleeveless turtleneck, and mom’s vintage mustard cardigan
Wednesday 5 Novchocolate brown bamboo wrap dress
Thursday 6 NovThames jeans and beige cashmere sweater
Friday 7 Novstretch jeans and blue KnipMode twist top