Friday, October 23, 2015

Stitchers are the bestest kind of friends

It's so true ... stitchers (and knitters) are truly the very best kind of friends to have.

I've been sitting on this post for 2 weeks because I haven't wanted to share the loveliness and warm fuzzies. I wanted to keep them all to myself! But after a little bit of hogging the love, I just have to share the awesomeness.

Back story:

Over the past 3 years as my grad school friends finished up and graduated, I would stitch them something to mark the momentous occasion of finishing a PhD. A few people got designs that were specific to them (my friend Jordana, who loves all things white, got a big hardanger piece), but the majority got a personalized version of Metamorphosis by Ink Circles.

I carefully chose fabric and thread that would appeal to each recipient. And the design itself, well, it symbolized the journey and the change that occurs when you work on an all-consuming project for years. I stitched this 4 times! While I was sick of stitching the same pattern, there was love in every stitch. I was very proud of my friends.

Today's story:

I finally finished my PhD in August and good wishes were sent by all. A few weeks later and I was back in the thick of things at work and when friends suggested a stitch night ... I was ecstatic. It would be just what I needed. I arrived at stitchy night and saw all sorts of cars in the driveway. I'm usually the first one to arrive, but I guess I was late that day.

I walked into my friend's house, into the dining room and everyone yelled "SURPRISE!" Aww shucks ... my very first surprise party ever! Hugs and congratulations all around, and then they presented me with a card and gift. I opened the card and it was one of those musical ones, but this one just had cheers and applause! I had to laugh; it was perfect.

Then the gift -- the moment I saw it I had an idea of what it was, but I couldn't believe they'd done it. Metamorphosis in a gorgeous purple gradient (one of my most favourite colours). Each element was stitched by a different person and they'd had it beautifully framed for me. I cried. I was so touched and overwhelmed that my friends, knowing what that design meant to me, went to so much trouble (and secrecy) to make me something so beautiful and special. I felt so loved.

It is, without a doubt, one of my most treasured possessions, and it will one day grace the wall of my office when I become a university professor. For now, it'll hang on my wall at home and remind me how much I am loved.

I feel like today is the perfect time to share this because today I walk across the stage and receive my degree. I will be, finally and officially, a doctor. I can't thank my friends enough for being my cheering squad and support system. Love you all.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

I Couldn't Help Myself

New yarn, it makes me do crazy things!! Like start a new shawl project ... a big one.

I just couldn't stop petting and fondling my new yarn from Red Sock Blue Sock Yarns in the Gotham colourway, so I caked it up ...

Picked a pattern that makes my crafty heart flutter: Aurinko. And started:

To say I'm enjoying knitting it is an understatement. I think about it at work constantly and it's all I want to do once I get home:

Sadly I can't devote as much time as I'd like to it, but it's still getting a lot of love right now!

It's soft and squishy, and so lovely!

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Oh my ... a Fleece Festival

I attended my very first knitting related festival and oh boy was I in trouble! I got an early start and arrived at the Woodstock Fleece Festival just after it opened. There was already quite a crowd gathered and it got busier as the morning progressed.

I did well ... I managed to do an entire tour of the barn before I bought anything. I went back to the very first vendor I visited and scooped up some lovely, bright sock yarn by Stitch Please Yarns. This is their Amethyst Label in Supreme Sovereign.

Then I headed to the main building and did a tour of the outer ring of vendors (I was looking for a specific vendor). Huzzah! Found what I was looking for: Zigzag Stitches, who makes the nicest project bags ever! I bought several ... they are beautifully made, wonderfully lined with lots of thoughtful details.

After that, the yarn buying began in earnest:

Some super delicious sock yarn in Gotham by Red Sock Blue Sock Yarns. Love the little bits of deep purple.

A lovely skein from Folklore Yarns.

Finally added a skein of Malabrigo to my stash! This one is the Azules colour way.

I already have a skein of this gorgeous Manos del Uruguay Algeria yarn in my stash, but I added 2 more skeins so I can make something massive! (I don't know what yet, but I like having the option!)

I also picked up a lovely shawl pin from Cynthia Blanton Studio.

What a fun time! I think festivals are a dangerous place for me and my pocketbook, but the stash is loving the additions! Now that I have more project bags, I think I need to start more projects!

I also got to see some sheep and a baby alpaca at the festival! Awesomeness!

When I got home, there was a huge yarn hug with all my new pretties!

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

A Yarn A Long

Thanks to my friend Caroline over at Off The Grid Needlearts inspiring me with her fabulous knitting and photos, I've decided to join in the Yarn A Long hosted by Ginny at Small Things.

While I was in school full-time for the past 7 years, I rarely did any fun reading because I had so much school-related (often dry and boring) reading to do. I'm one of those readers who tends to devour books in single marathon sessions and that is not conducive to getting essays written.

Now that I'm done school, I (kind of) have the time to slow down and read. I know I'm a little behind the times in my choice of books at the moment (Game of Thrones), but seeing them wrapped in plastic on my shelf waiting for me to be done school was a pretty good motivator. Over the summer I had a lot of free time while waiting for my PhD defense, so I read a lot (though I managed to avoid too many marathon sessions ... I'm getting too old for that!) and got through the first 4 books in less than 2 months.

I started working again at the end of August, and my reading time has dwindled considerably, but I'm still plugging along with Dance with Dragons!

I've just recently picked up this project again. It's the Vortex shawl knit in Knitpicks Stroll Tonal in Summer Blooms. This was my first in-the-round project and I'm not even halfway done, but loving every stitch. It's a wonderfully relaxing knit.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Unicorn Poop

Last May, while visiting friends in Indiana, my friend's 6-yr old son saw me knitting and asked me to knit him a scarf. It started off being a red scarf, but when we got to the the knitting store and he saw all the yarn and all the colours, he just couldn't decide. He wanted all the colours.

About 2 weeks ago I finally started on the scarf that I'd promised he'd have for Christmas:

 Addition of ball 2 (I'm only using one colour repeat from each ball):

There were four gigantic balls of yarn purchased for this project. The cacophany of colours emerging on the scarf made me comment that this is what unicorn poop would look like -- rainbows.

Still have purple and pink to finish from ball 2. Then just 2 more balls to go.

It's actually a great knit (despite being acrylic). The pattern is No-Purl Ribbed Scarf by Purl Soho. It's super simple, easy to memorize, very ribby and stretchy, and it's almost impossible to screw up! Whenever I mess up, I know within two stitches, so correcting my slip ups is a breeze! I love things that make it easy for me to not screw up. I like this pattern enough that I might knit it again someday.