Protect The Chair! Making Waterproof Wheelchair Covers for Swimming (for under £20!)

Swimming is the best excercise when you have pain everywhere, but swimming in a wheelchair can be a pain in the arse (clearly not in the chair, but using the chaur before & after).

So I made myself some covers.

The towel was an important factor here, and I used a Turkish Beach Towel as it’s smooth cotton on one side so it’s not scratchy once it’s dried, but has terry on the other side to make it absorbant.

My 1st job was to cut the edges from the mattress protector. This had two advantages – firstly, it makes it easier to work with, and secondly it has built in elastic which I could use later instead of buying extra!

I measured my seat cushion by placing the lining & towel under my cushion & cutting a square around it, making sure that I’d left enough to go around the sides plus an extra 2 inches so the finished cover would wrap underneath like a fitted sheet.

I also cut tassels off plus 2″ of towel to make ties for the backrest cover. This was another excellent reason for the Turkish Beach towel – the finshed thing with it’s ties looks like I’m ready to go on holiday instead of hospital!

Once I’d cut same shape of mattress cover that I had for the towel, I lined them both up with the towel faced down & cover faced up* and trimmed any edges that were wonky (remember I was measuring around an oddly shaped Jay cushion with crap hands weilding scissors!).

*this is important as you’ll want them to match up when you sew them together.

Next, I placed my seat cushion back on, making sure that it was in the middle of the fabric & cut out squares from each corner. These went to 1cm away from the cushion.

Now I was ready to place the towel & cover with right sides facing in and sew together – it’s important to remember that you only sew the outside edges and don’t sew the corners! Otherwise you can’t turn it right ride out.

Next, I sewed the elastic that I salvaged from the mattress protector onto the straght edges that I’d just sewn (not the corners).

Once the elastic was in, I turned the fabric right way to create what can only be described as a giant showercap! With the right side of the towel together, I sewed corners together.

I’m sure there’s a neater way to do this as you can totally see the seams on the inside, but it’s a functional cover…

Making the back was a similar process. If you have a square back, then it’s identical albeit with no elastic.

If like me, you have a moulded/ fitted back, you’ll need to cut the shape of your back from the towel & mattress protector (this can be the rough shape plus 2 – 3 inches seam allowance). With a moulded back, it’s useful to add elastic at the too & bottom to help the cover “wrap” over.

Once I’d cut out the cover pieces (before sewing them together), I cut the tassled edges into 4 equal lengths then folded over the cut edges of the ties & sew along the edges to keep them from fraying. I attached the ties to back piece by sewing the top two to the inside of the corners and the bottom two in the middle. I then tucked them in as I sewed the seams.

(For a square back, sew the ties to each corner).

And this is the finished cover:

And from side (any reason to take a photo of my wheels!)

And from back – I’ve tied the straps in diagonals because it keeps the back cover more secure.

I promptly tested how well the cover worked with a day at the local pool & bubbles. Not a drop of water on my cusions even after some git sprayed with the shower (joys of tinypants helping me get showered).

Since then, I’ve used the cover weekly for swimming and we’ll be taking it on holiday. It’s doing exactly what I needed it to do and is as simple as chucking in the washing machine, or just hanging up like a towel to dry (just don’t tumble dry as it has plastic backing!!!).

What’s the one product that you resorted to making for your chair?

* This post contains affiliate links. I don’t recommend products unless I genuinely think they’re worth buying. By clicking / purchasing you are heloing me to maintain this site and my professional site over at www.TeachAllAboutIT.school

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The Acquisition of Wooly Treasure

Clothing is easy to come by these days. You can buy a multitude of different styles at the click of a button from all over the globe. But how much do we really love our clothes now? Are they just throw away items that can be replaced by the next fashionable round of cheap material sewn together by people we’d rather not think about?

I have a handful of items that I love dearly and couldn’t bear to part with. I have many more that are nearly sensible coverings for my body.

My no.1 item are my enormous flared jeans. They’re not actually jeans, they are a denim look cotton with cotton lined pockets and waist, a high waist and three massive colourful buttons up the front. Unsurprisingly, I made them. They are made to my exact shape and are one of the most comfortable things I own. I wanted to find some photos of them, so checked back on my Facebook albums. It turns out I made them two years ago!

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And I can add to the list my newly created lopapeysa jumper. Another homemade favourite. I’ve already spent hours fussing over this jumper, but having worn it for the past two days in the newly chilly weather, I’m in love. And love is…. toasty.

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So, it turns out, the stuff we love the most is the stuff we poured our heart and soul into creating. BeanPole is following a similar train of thought with her special bits. The ones that mummy made for her (TinyPants is a knitted by Nana girl).

Another lopapeysa, but this time with a special Linux Penguin theme from last year which still has some wear in it.

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And the all important unicorn hat which was the talk of the playground (not all good, but they soon shut up when asked what their mummy spent hours knitting just for them).

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So it turns out that the love you feel for your clothes is directly proportional to the love that went into creating them. It’s quality, not quantity. Unless it’s shoes.

Halloween knitfest!

There are few things that make me more excitable about knitting than joining the body and sleeves of a lopapeysa. This means I’m now eight rounds away from tangling myself up in a multitude of colours and knitting that yoke. It’s all about the yoke.

I’m determined to complete the jumper before I go back to school after half term, but I’m anxious not to rush it. I want to enjoy the colourwork (weird huh?).

But here’s my baby as it stands….

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The next project is Christmas gift socks, then another lopapeysa for LSH for Christmas. It’s a ‘special’ design courtesy of http://www.knittingpatterns.is (yes, it’s an authentic Icelandic site). Nothing says I love you quite like a guitar playing Christmas dinosaur.

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On a less festive note, this afternoon/ evenings Halloween antics were made much more spooky by my very creepy kids.

Beanpole dressed as Slenderman (teenage friends and the Internet make for terrifying children)

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And TinyPants trying out the Harley Quinn look.

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Knitting is therapy. With these kids, I need it!

Never Give Up! Never Surrender!

I’m not competitive (much), but I do like a challenge. And today I got challenged to join in with a project where you write a novel in a month. That’s 50’000 words. Crap. I’ve got myself into this now and I’ve got a sodding idea, so I’m going to have to follow it through. If anyone is insane enough to join me, the website fir this is http://nanowrimo.org

Write what you know say wise people, so a lot of this is from my own and blatantly stolen from my dearest friends experiences of having children (and consequently no money). Everyone seems to write about the first baby, so I’m going for the second. In diary form.

I’m calling it ‘Austerity Baby!’ (Look! Topical and everything!) and here’s the first draft of the first chapter.

Note: there will be illustrations. I think. Maybe.

Week 1 – Normality

I’m in the kitchen after work preparing a delight of cheese sandwiches cut into random shapes and mushed up banana. The Toddler announces her presence by running her plastic spoon up and down the baby gate like a prisoner trying to get their jailer to fill their coffee mug. The familiar monotonous word “muuuuuuuuuuummmm” is repeated over and over. And over. And over.

Deep breath, smile, turn around. “Come on then! Let’s get you dinner!”.

As I gaze at the terrifying toddler TV show in which Iggle Piggle gets mucky patches over Upsy Daisy, I start to chuckle. Then laugh. Then uncontrollably giggle. And it’s in this state that James discovers me when he crosses the threshold of our mildly decrepit flat. One hysterically giggling girlfriend with a slightly concerned looking 12 month old daughter in a high chair who is swishing a hexagon of cheese and bread into her hair. Poor man.

James and I met through a mutual friend and instantly hit it off. We shared a love of music and whiskey and beer… and wine. We were good at getting each other home safe, if only because we counterbalanced each other’s wobble. Within a matter of months we had moved into a shared flat above a takeaway (very useful) and started recklessly abusing our 20(ish) year old bodies with alcohol, junk food and an astonishing amount of sex. It was clear we were using up our ‘couple quota’ and probably borrowing from someone else’s. We were essentially credit shagging. It was clearly unfair to the general population (more specifically our flat mates) and so someone upstairs found a simple solution that would put at least one of us off for a while.

The Toddler was born just one year after our first night of indecency and frankly it was rather a shock to the system. We were rebellious no longer. Or rather we were still rebellious in our heads, but the actions were more based around sleepless nights and working out which end to stick the nappy on.* As it turn out, the business end is the least of your worries, but enough of babies, we have a Toddler to enjoy!

At 5 months, breast was begrudgingly swapped for bottles and I returned to work, leaving a contented little roll of fat with complete strangers for three days per week. But, this did mean that the rolls of fat could continue to grow rather than starve which frankly was a real prospect when rent and bills must be paid.

So here we were a year later, as working parents, living in a slightly decrepit, but now decorated in ‘tonal’ colours, flat above a takeaway. Cloth nappies now dried on a clothes horse in the hall, and our bedside was now littered with muslin squares and Calpol instead of beer cans and hastily discarded knickers. Any knickers now to be found out of the underwear drawer were large, and comfortable – so large in fact they could possibly house a small family if given the correct scaffolding. These came with promises of a ‘slimmer tummy’ or ‘magic tummy’. These knicker LIE ladies! Post Caesarian, short of pure steel reinforced encasment, there are no pants which will provide you with a pre-pregnancy tummy. However, hope remains, as do the massive knickers.

And in these massive knickers (and other work clothes), I remain racked with the giggles over the utter filth emitting from the kids TV show.

“Er… Are you ok?”, asks James. After much gasping for air I reply that I am and insist that he closes his eyes and JUST LISTEN to the current conversation between characters.

Silence.

He starts to snigger. “You are filth!” He exclaims in mock embarrassment. “I can’t possibly marry you now!”. It was at this point that we realised it was high time for us to have some down time, and plans were made for the Toddler to be sat upon by my parents and us to hold a party.

An actual party. With grown ups! And alcohol! Yes indeed, now I am no longer a walking vending machine with tits the size of my head, I can contemplate drinking again. Admittedly, only when the situation arose where I did not need to be responsible for another human for at least 24 hours, but this opportunity had arisen, and I was not going to waste it with ‘moderation’!

And this is how this story came to be. Everything that follows can be traced back to Iggle Piggle and his mucky patches. It’s clearly his fault. Not mine. (Are you buying this yet, or should I keep going?).

* Dear reader! Just saying the end which is producing solids is no good! Both ends of a baby do this! And when breastfed, both ends produce remarkably similar projectile solids!

I don’t think we’re in Kansas anymore Toto….

So, we’re predicted a storm tonight. The Uk’s weather is fairly bland and mild all year round so when something unusual happens, we do like a good panic. (I will of course eat my words should I be blogging in a few days in post apocalyptic Britain).

Despite my gut feeling that panic is not required, we do live right on the South Coast (like less than 10 minutes drive from the sea. Accounting for traffic), so probably ought to take heed of the official warnings like out stuff away, expect power outages, buy some candles & torches, charge your phones etc. I’m not intending to try any last minute kite surfing despite the offering of 80mph winds here, but you just know someone is going to get themselves a Darwin Award later.

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I’m guessing the point at which they give the storm a name it’s worth paying some attention. But the St Jude Storm? Really? The patron saint of depression and lost causes! Why is there even a patron saint of depression??! The UK is already known for it’s miserable weather, so why make it official??

So what have I done to prepare for impending doom? Well…

  • There’s a storm lantern upstairs in case the kids wake up.
  • The garden stuff and bikes are all inside the sheds
  • There’s a torch in each bedroom.
  • We’ve eaten a nice warm dinner.
  • Kids were in bed on time so they get some sleep.
  • Kids have been reassured and given instructions to come into us if scared (I may regret that)
  • Candles are in easy access as are long matches to light them.
  • Electrics will be unplugged just in case of a surge
  • Panic has been dismissed.
  • Knitting has continued.
  • I may even give Breaking Bad another go this evening….

Ooh has knitting ever continued! Last night I reached the much desired 40cm of looooooong boring block colour for my jumper and got to start the sleeve. Ok, this is more block colour, but it requires DPNs which keep me on my toes and it’s growing nicely. I may even finish sleeve one whilst we watch the ‘subtropical storm’ (it’s not a hurricane as it didn’t start in the Atlantic. It’s not a cyclone as it didn’t start in the Pacific. Frankly I feel a bit cheated by the name. They could at least give it a proper name like …. Swirlydeathwind, or Stormnado. We could even go quite British with it and call it The Stoic Storm of Denial. That has a ring, no?)

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So in true stoic fashion….Further preparations for Armageddon this evening are a nice hot bath & washing my hair 🙂

Here’s a llama, there’s a llama and Another little llama…

Usually the what comes on the mail is boooooring! Junk mail, offers of one time offers for credit cards (for the seventh time), bank statements and bills. BLEUGH.

Today however, was the perfect antidote for my rapidly developing sinus infection (I ought to apologise to the world in general for my crappy boring lessons filled with powerpoints and tests due to the mounting pressure in my face – that and the need to assess everything they’ve learnt over the past 8 weeks!). I’m mildly prone to sinusitis, and am desperately awaiting that sudden release of pressure (usually accompanied by the grim sudden gush of yellow liquid released from my face. YUK!). Actually, I don’t care how disgusting it is, I could have ectoplasm leaking from my eyeballs and I’d be happy if it got rid of the sinus PAIN. So, yes, I haven’t been quite the grade one teacher today.

Anyway, I digress. Today’s post contained this!

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A whole three working days after ordering online, arrives my lovely chocolate yarn and the birch DPNs that I wanted to do the jumper sleeves (I just can’t get a circular needle short enough for cuffs!). And so begins my renewed interested in getting the block colour done so I can knit with the new wool!!!

I also should apologise to everyone who I am insisting instantly touches the yarn. It’s an alpaca yarn thing. Ivy never one across natural fibre that’s so soft & warm!

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footnote: I ought to explain the post title really (and yes I KNOW a llama and an alpaca aren’t quite the same thing.