Sunday, November 15, 2015

Still here...

I feel like I'm so completely behind, and I don't know where to start to catch up. For now, a chronological, bulleted list as a place holder:

  • The first intensive teacher's ed class led to a second, meaning employment for two months (May and June)
  • A bit of inventory work in July within the department
  • A single semester of lab instructing in a different course began on Sept 1st, and is likely to continue next semester. New course = new material and lots of prep = busier than ever
  • A last minute trip home in September, because after battling Alzheimer's Disease for almost a decade, my beloved grandmother gained her angel wings and my heart remains in pieces.

I now just need to survive the semester. Nearly there....

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Not sure why I decided to upload this today, but it's one of the things I very happily hooked over Christmas - little ornaments with bows and snowflakes for my cousin. The gold bow is size 10 crochet cotton with a metallic thread, and the snowflake itself is my usual, coated in glitter.  They're held together by a loop of invisible thread, and the photo doesn't do them justice.

Maybe I'm just a little nostalgic for Christmas, seeing as we're staring down the barrel of a hot summer ;)

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Not dead! Still here!

Holy shiitake mushrooms, that's a long radio silence... and I miss everything that was put aside during it - knitting, writing, cooking, baking, just BEING.

It was worth it in a lot of ways, though.  I came on board at the university again, to sub in for someone on medical leave, and had a fantastic semester. I'm still hoping something permanent will come up for me in the future, and I'm optimistic, but have to stay the course. In the meantime I'm helping out with an intensive teacher-education program here, teaching biology to the ed students.

The one shining light in all this is that Hubby was hired on to the tenure-track position :) Which means that for at least a few years, we're here. Here. In a place we can put down roots, hopefully for a long time.

We still have to think about buying a house (which I'm totally not ready for), and he needs to put his head down and get things aligned for tenure applications down the road, but it's good news.

I've barely enough time to sleep, though, let alone knit and craft, but I'm organizing myself to get some things up and running to work on during my breaks at work. If I end up off for the rest of the summer, I hope to get back at it seriously, but if I'm working (which I hope to be), I'll figure it out.

It's amazing how things can change when your perspective starts looking up :)

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Falling into place...

Well, good things come to those who wait... It's looking like I'll be able to teach again this semester, although we're still waiting on official approval from the powers that be.

We're also waiting to see if Hubby will be chosen for the permanent position in his department... After yet another year of slight calm but full uncertainty, we should know something soon.

I never thought I'd consider myself happy to stay somewhere over 4000km away from home... but in these past few months we've been content. Life's not too exciting, but there's a big city two hours away from our little city. N. is thriving in school, and wants to stay. He asked me the other day, "Mom? Can I go to the same school next year? PLEASE?" and my heart broke because I couldn't answer the way he wanted me to. I said, quite honestly, "I really hope so, my bud. I really do..." I know no matter what happens we can't stay in this tiny apartment forever, but I'd dearly love an in-town move rather than a cross-country one.

Do things ever really settle, I wonder? Even if this works out (or even if it doesn't), in the next year we're probably looking at another move, possibly to a house, at the very least I'll be hopping from one limited term position to the next (which, at this point, I'm extremely grateful to have)... and is it really that bad? I guess after all this time searching for positives ;) I've come to the conclusion that the universe is keeping me on my toes, and hopefully keeping me sharp.

At some point, too, I'll have to pick up needles or hook again. I did a bunch of crochet snowflakes before Christmas for gifts, and was commissioned to do some fingerless mitts (which were awesome if I do say so, and only took a few hours)... I miss that part of my sanity...

Monday, January 5, 2015

A new year begins...

... and not much significant to report...

We had a relatively quiet Christmas in that we decided not to make the trip back across the country to my parents and sibs. We haven't accumulated enough airmiles at this point, and we were looking at somewhere around $900/person, or $700/person followed by a 4 hour drive... In the past it's been a difficult decision to stay put, but this year it just seemed right.

We've spent Christmas just the three of us before, and while it is quiet, it's nice not to think about travelling on someone else's schedule when it means being on the move for anywhere from 8-14 hours. The nice thing about living here is that we have family a mere two hours away, instead of 14. So what did we decide to do in the end? Saw as many people as possible and moved as little as we could :)

Santa found us here in our tiny house, and we had a wonderful Christmas morning Skype with my fam back east. We were happy because we had Christmas in our own space, and they were happy because a) they got to see their #1 grandson open presents and 2) with the two hour time difference, they didn't have to wake up at zero dark thirty with the excited child, but had time to get some coffee ahead of time :)

Once we went through all the bounty (and a very large number of Terry's Chocolate Oranges), we packed up our little car (did I mention we bought a car?) and drove exactly two hours and 11 minutes to my aunt's house. My cousins are there, one of whom was just posted back with her husband after military service a few provinces away, and hosted Christmas Day dinner at her home. So, after some quiet, and then some quality skype time with my parents, we got to have the full-house full of laughter and kids and fun :) We spent four days there, just long enough to get comfy, have some fun, do some shopping, and then came back home and had most of the week to get ready to go back to school.

I'm not officially working yet, but there's some talk about being able to pick up a little time; I'm hoping to hear by the end of the week. N. is back at school today, and is *that* excited that he barely slept last night. I de-holiday-ed the house last week, so that much at least is done, and I'm trying to get a handle on everything else so we start the new year off right. Cleaning, organizing, purging, dealing with small, manageable areas. I have yet to tackle my yarn and craft supplies in any real, meaningful way, but that's going to take at least another solid week. If I get back to work, it'll have to wait til spring break, methinks.

I'm not one for resolutions lately, but I'm hoping to keep busy, focused, and calm, and that this semester is as busy and productive as last :)

Monday, December 1, 2014

Months away from blogging, and when do I blog?

In the middle of the final lab exam for my students :P  I've been standing at the podium watching them like a hawk since 9:30AM, filing in and out. I'm woefully undercaffeinated, considering I was up late last night correcting their final lab assignments...

and I always marvel that, no matter how many years pass (it's been fourteen years since I wrote my last final exam), it feels exactly the same... even from this side of the room :)

I hope they do well... they were a really fun bunch to teach, and it was a great way to get back into instructing. Now here's hoping that I get something next semester too!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

A stream of consciousness post... apologies in advance...

How do you process change? Deal with it head on, come to terms, get closure, move on? Some days I wish I was that kind of person, but some days I realize that because of how life's gone for me, it's likely impossible.

As grad students, post-docs, faculty-position-searcher-outer's, we've moved a bit; not as bad as some, but more than the average bear. The past 10 years have seen us in five different apartments/houses, six if you count the year back at home. But there's the rub - that home has been home base since I was born. My parents have not moved house in 36 years. And my grandmother's house, a mere 2 minutes away, has been our second home base; it's been there since my grandfather built it himself back in 1963.

When my grandmother's Alzheimer's disease progressed from mild to moderate, we were fortunate to get her a place in long term care. She's been there nearly 5 years, and her physical health remains good for nearly 94 years old; her dementia has progressed, though. She's no longer independently mobile, having gone from a walker to a wheelchair, to most recently a geriatric chair this past summer. She still speaks, but word-finding is hit or miss. Her cognitive decline means that, instead of the hours of torture and anxiety when she couldn't find the people she expected in her life (many of whom have been gone for decades), she now spends a lot of time being quiet, content to remain in her seat.

But even with all these changes, I could rationalize that things were still OK, because my brother and sister-in-law had moved in to rent her house, maintain it, give it life again. After getting over the initial heart-pangs walking in with their belongings in it instead of my grandmother's, it became home base again. This past year, when N. and I were missing Hubby, we'd have fun 'super-sleepover-weekends at Uncle J and Aunt J's house, baking cookies, playing videogames, roasting marshmallows in the fire-pit. My grandmother's house became a safe place for N., just as it had been for me as a child.

But the house is old. It's tiny. Two small bedrooms, no real functional basement space, and a lot of repairs need to be done. J&J rightfully need their own space, to build their own life and hopefully start a family. My grandmother's house was never going to be long term. And at the end of the summer, after several years of looking, they found their new house, bought it, and moved in.

Now my grandmother's house sits empty, more empty than it's been for more than 50 years. And the amount of money needed to winterize, maintain, insure, and keep it is too much for my parents to take on. They've got power of attorney, and my grandmother's will was updated before her dementia set in - the house is to be sold and the money put in trust. 

Last night, someone made an offer. And my father accepted it.

I don't know how long the process will take. We know the gentleman who's buying. He knew my grandmother for decades, and respects her. But I also know that the likelihood is that the house will be torn down and a new building put up in its place.

My logical brain knows it's the best plan, the only plan. The house needs tens of thousands in renovations to make it livable for a family with kids of our generation. It's going to quickly become a money pit no matter what we do.

I'm ready, but I'm not. If I get to go home next summer, I don't know what I'll find. 

Some people are attached to places, cities, but not buildings. People move all the time. Heck, N. has lived in four places in his six-year-old life, and I think he's pretty darn well-adjusted. The people we love aren't the houses they live in. But this is so damn hard.

Part of me just wants to block it out, since we're 4400km away, and I can pretend it's not happening. But every time I try to do that, I just cry.

Life is such an odd thing.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Sweet lawd I'm tired :)

Teaching five labs a week, and correcting lab reports, and all the other normal mom-house-wife-life stuff makes for one tired Ellie... without much time to knit or sew... but so. much. fun.

I love teaching intro science classes so damn much :)

Luckily we have a break for Thanksgiving week... I'm hoping to take some of it to organize, and some of it to start/finish/work on some sort of knitting or sewing. I have no idea what it'll be, or whether my chaotic house will preempt crafty time, but I'm hopeful...

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Back to school, on the other side of the desk :)

Well, I have an hour before my next group comes in... a week and a half down, the rest of the semester to go :)

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Has it really been over a month?

Wow... so much for all my good intentions about posting... :(

I don't know how I can possibly say it's been insane, but it has. Between unpacking, purging extra things, visiting my family, keeping N. busy... it's been nuts. But, we've survived the summer, and are heading into September with a great deal of optimism (and crossed fingers).

N. starts school this week, and luckily for us, it's a block away from Hubby's building. Hubby spent last winter semester watching kids play out his window during lunch hour, and now N. will be on that same playground. It's convenient, to say the least, and everyone we've spoken to says the school is a good one.

The other nice thing is that it's a block away from my building ;)

I've managed to secure a lab instructor position, albeit just for one semester right now, teaching undergrad biology labs. 125 students, in five lab sections. I'm SO EXCITED, it's a little crazy :) I taught core bio courses during grad school, as well as serving as senior course admin and instructor when the usual senior instructor was on sabbatical. I love teaching labs, and I can't wait to get back at it.

So, it's been busy, it's going to be busy, but so far, so good!

Thursday, July 24, 2014


I am now halfway across the country, surrounded by boxes. No, wait; that's not true. My kitchen is 90% unpacked, so I'm not completely surrounded.

What an interesting experience, putting your things on a truck and hoping for the best. If I'm being honest, I can't say that everything made it - the manifest turned up two missing numbers (the items were all coded as they were put on the truck), but six extra boxes with no labels showed up, so either everything is here and four boxes didn't end up getting labelled before being loaded on the truck, or something has gone the way of the dodo.

Either way, I can sleep on my bed, shower in my clean and bright bathroom, cook in my kitchen, and watch TV when I have a little bit of time.

I'm finding myself needing to purge a lot of stuff, and it's not something I'm used to. In the past I had an unreasonable attachment to objects, and it turns out that I have more objects than can fit in our little two bedroom, main-floor-of-a-bungalow. I've already thrown out things that were broken or at the end of their useful lifespan, old ratty blankets that had no hope of rescue, dish towels that I loved but were turning into rags, plasticware from Ikea that looked to be about a million years old... and I've two large bins of things that are destined for either Kijiji or Salvation Army. I'm still not done, though; the crafting supplies are going to require a week of sorting and organizing on their own.

But this too shall pass... we're all happy and healthy (with the exception of some pretty nasty pterodactyl-sized-mosquito bites that are pretty angry), and we're TOGETHER.

The rest will fall into place.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Three hours!

It took four men just three hours to load my entire (material) life into a moving van. Never before have I seen such a game of real-life tetris ;) I can't believe this is finally happening.

I thought I was going to have a huge problem with sending everything away.... but as the van rode down the street, I was surprisingly peaceful.  As I was going through all the boxes again, relabeling and resealing and putting destination rooms on them, I had an epiphany (which I hope won't come back to bite me in the ass) - if any of those boxes went missing (which I hope they won't *knock wood*), I wouldn't be crushed... if any of the breakables got broken, I would be a little sad, but not devastated.  After living apart from Hubby, and doing this thing called life, I realized that things are just things. They make up the solid, inanimate part of life that surrounds me, but if I lost any single one of them I would survive. If I lost them all, it would suck, but I could recover.

Unless it was the yarn.........


Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Moving van comes tomorrow

I have way too much stuff. A solid conclusion.

It's all heading out on the moving van, and we'll follow it in about a week, and still make it there before the truck does.

SO ready for this to get going!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Daddy's here!

Flight delays and thunderstorms and turbulence... none of it matters in the end :)

Saturday, June 14, 2014


165 days since I saw Hubby.

3 more days til he comes home.

Then the rest of the packing, the end of the school year, the moving van, and off we go.

Longest three days of my life, I'm thinking.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Saw this somewhere this morning

And because I hate packing, and I feel like a flashback type post, here is my master knitting list so far... If only I could remember what it's like to actually knit... ;)

Master knitting list (completed in BOLD):
Garter stitch
Knitting with metal wire
Stockinette stitch
Socks: top-down
Socks: toe-up
Knitting with camel yarn
Mittens: Cuff-up
Mittens: Tip-down
Knitting with silk
Moebius band knitting
Participating in a KAL
Sweater (baby)
Drop stitch patterns
Knitting with recycled/secondhand yarn
Slip stitch patterns
Knitting with banana fiber yarn
Domino knitting (modular knitting)
Twisted stitch patterns
Knitting with bamboo yarn
Two end knitting
Charity knitting
Knitting with soy yarn
Toy/doll clothing
Knitting with circular needles
Knitting with your own handspun yarn
Graffiti knitting (knitting items on, or to be left on the street)
Continental Knitting
Designing knitted garments
Cable stitch patterns
Lace patterns
Publishing a knitting book
American/English knitting
Knitting to make money
Button holes
Knitting with alpaca
Fair Isle knitting
Norwegian knitting
Dying with plant colors
Knitting items for a wedding
Household items (dishcloths, washcloths, tea cozies)
Knitting socks (or other small tubular items) on two circulars
Olympic knitting
Knitting with someone else's handspun yarn
Knitting with DPNs
Holiday related knitting
Teaching a male how to knit
Knitting for a living
Knitting with cotton
Knitting smocking
Dying yarn
Knitting art
Knitting with wool
Textured knitting
Kitchener BO
Knitting with beads
Long Tail CO
Knitting and purling backwards
Machine knitting
Knitting with self-patterning/self-striping/variegating yarn
Stuffed toys
Baby items
Knitting with cashmere
Knitting with synthetic yarn
Writing a pattern
Knitting with linen
Knitting for preemies
Tubular CO
Freeform knitting
Short rows
Cuffs/fingerless mitts/arm warmers
Knitting a pattern from an online knitting magazine
Knitting on a loom
Thrummed knitting
Knitting a gift
Knitting for pets
Knitting with dog/cat hair
Hair accessories
Knitting in public

And now, because numbers freak me out

My posts sit at 666, including drafts, and that greets me when I bring up the screen... so here's post 667.

Ode to Cardboard Boxes

Boxes in my house,
Some are empty, some half full,
Mean I'm leaving soon.


Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Nearly one year later...

A year ago we made the difficult decision to move N. and me back up to the Great White North. For health reasons, for safety reasons, for financial reasons, for sanity reasons, I wanted to be in a place where health care is secure, schools are safe, and family support was close by.

I spent four months apart from Hubby, including the majority of N.'s first month at school.  The end of the year meant he was home, applying for positions and working on papers, and then this contract for a sabbatical replacement came. I embraced wholeheartedly my role as stay at home mother while he went out west on a very short term contract, keeping N. happy and reassured that Daddy will be coming home. Nightly Skype, cards and letters, and sending his very special stuffed animals to keep Daddy company helped, but some days are more than tough.

N. would often ask when Daddy was coming, wanting a countdown... in an effort to distract, we came up with countless things to do together - we even worked together on his first sewing project, choosing fabric of his own to make a big stuffed pig that he called the "Daddy-Pig".  When he missed Daddy he could hug Daddy-Pig, and many bedtime snuggles ended with a sad-faced boy squeezing that toy for all it was worth.  Things got even harder for me as time went on, when N. stopped pestering every day for an answer to "When's Daddy coming home?", and seemed to accept our lot for the time being. Hubby also missed a host of family birthdays, including mine and N.'s, but we've done our best to keep our heads up and spirits high.

And, a reprieve of sorts has come through.

The person Hubby replaced this semester decided fairly last-minute that he wouldn't be returning.  Which means for the time being, Hubby has a 14-month extension; proper job posting requires procedure and time, neither of which they had to nail things down for the 2014/15 year.  It means more courses to teach, more committees to sit on, and more responsibilities.  And hopefully a chance to prove beyond a doubt that he's a huge asset to the department and that he should stay permanently.

What does this mean for us?

Operation Bug-Out 2014.

So many good things. So many bad things. So. Many. Feels. GAH.

My goal in coming here was to keep N. in *one* school for the year, which we did. He's happy and thriving, but the play-date ethos around here is different. Aside from the occasional birthday party or school function, there's not much to do evenings and weekends; the boys in the neighborhood are older, and clique-ish, and N. doesn't seem to have any interest in breaking through. But, N.'s happy and well adjusted, loves visiting my brother and SIL, loves when his cousins come for the weekend, and doesn't seem to be wanting for anything, except Daddy.

This new contract means a full school year in a GREAT city, with Daddy to have breakfast waffles with, and to read bedtime stories with and help with homework. My aunt is two hours away, which is amazing - she moved out west 40 years ago, and we see her so seldom.  My cousins are both in the area, and one has two little ones, a boy very close to N.'s age and a little girl two years younger. It's a chance to spend some time with them and get to know them better (my aunt is a kindred crafting spirit, but that's for another post).

I'm ready, I think; in terms of the move, it's just details at this point. Most of our things from last year are in storage, and 80% of the prep is just re-sealing boxes that we fished through for our base needs. A little bit of new clothing, books, and toys need to be organized, along with some fabric and yarn that found its way to me (of course), but the rest is there. We're not crossing the border, health coverage transfers seamlessly between provinces, and the move comes at the end of the school year rather than the middle. Easy-peasy.

It also means leaving behind the people we love for the next adventure.  I don't think I'll ever be ready for that.  The amazing blessing of having N. live with and truly get to know his family here for an extended time means it'll be orders of magnitude more difficult to leave. But, I'd much rather have the kind of family and friends that it hurts to leave behind. The year has been hard for me, leaving behind so many people in the US, and now I leave another chunk behind here.

I said to some friends that I had gained a great deal of sympathy for Voldemort in the past few years, with my soul split into pieces and scattered across miles. I also know that it's nearly impossible to gather every piece into one place and stick them back together again.... I'm looking forward to at least getting the nucleus back in the same space, and I'll figure the rest out...

Monday, April 14, 2014

Gah. Winter.

Anyone who's paying attention knows that this winter has an attitude.  Up here in Eastern Canada, it's obnoxious.

Snowstorm followed by ice pellets and freezing rain, followed by another blizzard. We'd been getting better, after a total of fifteen snow days... and this morning I took N. to the bus stop in freezing rain and spiky daggery ice pellet-y nastiness.

Don't get me wrong, I do love winter. I can't imagine living in a place without seasons. This year has been an extreme example of winter, though, and it's getting me down.

I think part of it comes from being car-free and so far away from hubby while going through it. Past winters like this meant curling up together after N. is in bed, with tea and knitting, working on papers. Long walks in the snow in pedestrian-friendly cities are replaced with days housebound here on the top of the hill, unable to explain to N. why the weather is too awful to go outside.

Our March break trip helped break up the monotony, but had its own issues... and life goes on long after the vacation ends.

But, no matter what George R. R. Martin might think, winter can't last forever, and April can't help but be cheerful. Easter is coming, along with my niece's first birthday. Then a week later, N. & I share a birthday weekend, and my SIL's is a few days after that. I also have reason to think things are looking up, because there's talk of Hubs being extended... the uncertainty still gives me anxiety, but it looks like things are going in the right direction.

Now if I can trade my snow shovel long term for needles (of any sort), I'll be fine.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Still alive...

It seems like I can't keep a posting run going for very long, best intentions notwithstanding....

All is moving along in the nutter household.  I finished a second knitted bunny for my younger niece's birthday next month, and will have an extra dress for each of them.  Productivity comes in fits and starts, though; we've been battling sickness for a while and it's been an energy suck.  Bad colds, flu like symptoms, and one bout of rotavirus for the kiddo resulting in a day off school have all made me just want to sleep for days.

As we head into March Break, I'm trying to decide whether to take kiddo on a small road trip.  Our finances won't allow us to fly to see Hubby, but a morning's worth of a bus ride will bring us to my bestie from high school... and at about 15% of the cost, it's completely affordable right now.  I'm still on the fence, but being without a car limits our options, and my friend has museum passes burning holes in her pockets, so it's very tempting.  Not sure how I feel about a bus ride for hours without an iPad or a place to plug in the miniDVD player, but still... very tempting...

Monday, February 3, 2014

A home needs a cat ;-)

Vims. Aka Minou. Aka Minounou. Aka Nunu. Aka Nuuners. Aka Noodle. ;-) Sweetest cat ever <3

Bunny goodness and paying for patterns...

To go along with the high level of productivity this weekend, I finished everything on this project save the back seam on the dress by 4pm on Sunday. She's my first completed project with fair isle, and I'm in love.  I finished her right after dinner, seamed and pressed and ready to go; more photos soon!

These patterns from Little Cotton Rabbits (the bunny girl, who comes with her own dress, and the extra dresses in the supplemental) cost $7 and $8.80, respectively (approx CDN exchange when I purchased them) and were worth every penny.  I have limited resources at the moment, but my output was less than $16, I've knit entirely from stash and will be able to do so for a long time.  This week I'm hoping to make another one so my nieces will each have their own bunny, and it's a pattern I can see myself making again and again.  Cascade 220 works perfectly for the bunny body, and I just pulled some Socks that Rock for her clothes and shoes.  With so many sock yarn leftovers (in my case, hanging around because of Zimmermann's Baby Surprise Jackets), the options for bunny clothes are endless...

Now, I consider myself to be a fairly competent knitter, and I rarely have trouble following pattern instructions, but sometimes construction is so fiddly on things like this that I just give up.  This time, I found myself back in that space where you just want to knit one more row, complete one more part, just sew up the back before dinner, etc. This project had mojo to spare, and I think it was the quality of the pattern writing.  There are progress photos for every step that's even remotely unusual, and the written directions are detailed enough that you can get past the "trust the pattern and just go forward" to "I can see what's happening before it happens!"  It was so enjoyable that I didn't notice my hands protesting at the tight gauge, or that I had dozens of ends to weave in ;)

I had an epiphany a few years ago when I became good friends with Stacey at FreshStitches.  Until that point, I don't think I'd purchased a pattern pdf for anything, knit or crochet.  I had a couple of books, but in my mind, they were worth purchasing because of the solid, substantial *thing* you get to hold in your hand, the extensive photography, and how pretty they looked on my bookshelf.  I thought, why would I pay for a pattern downloaded off the internet? Isn't the internet free? (I know, I know, nothing's free ;) )  There's no additional effort on the designers' parts if I click download one more time.  And oh, how wrong I was...

I was able to watch her process (I was fortunate enough to spend some time as a pattern tester for her, which I am so thankful for in my financial situation), and I learned what goes into producing a well-written, clearly laid out, and esthetically pleasing pattern.  The hours that go into designs are real, and designers' time is worth fair compensation.  Stacey's patterns allowed a novice crocheter like me to make gifts for friends and family that look polished and professional, and didn't take hours and hours.  I could apply my time efficiently because she'd put in the time and energy to produce a great pattern.  The same thing happened with Abby Glassenberg's sewing patterns - several of which I've tried in the last year... my limited budget goes to pattern purchasing, and I sew from stash and end up with lovely things like owls for my younger niece, or the most perfect soft fleece bunnies that are just begging to be given to newborns.  And this week I've found same thing applies to these wonderful knitted bunnies.  If I'm being honest, knitting is my first love, and it's so rewarding to be able to use my knitting skills to make something so precious.

I believe it's so important to support designers who give us products and patterns we love...  I also know that when you find a pattern, free or otherwise, you often get what you pay for (the only exception to this is when some of my beloved designers release free patterns as part of yarn collections or promotions - a good designer won't sacrifice quality when releasing a freebie).  So support your favourite designers if you can.  It's an investment in the quality of your own creations, and in future patterns for things you'll love.

And since this already sounds so much like a paid advertisement, which it isn't... here gathered in a list are my favourite designers and the patterns that I love :)

FreshStitches has my favourite dinosaur for little boys, and owl for little girls (although you could make either for either ;)) and her new book Modern Baby Crochet is brilliant - the funky argyle afghan is to die for...

Abby Glassenberg at While She Naps has two patterns (1 and 2) for a total of eight soft fleece loveys, and the adorable owl and baby

Little Cotton Rabbits has the bunny girl, her extra dress wardrobe, and my next purchase may be the fox boy (assuming my little boy doesn't grow up too fast and would still appreciate one of these!)