Thursday, March 6, 2014
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
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!)
Sunday, February 2, 2014
Saturday, February 1, 2014
Wednesday, January 29, 2014
This is the second pattern I've made of hers (the first has been used for at least four bunny loveys), and they are fantastic. I've been sewing for nearly thirty years, mostly self taught, and Abby's tips are great. Using a shorter stitch length to navigate curves? So logical, but I never thought of it :-) Her patterns are so well laid out that they're a joy to sew.
And just so I can sound like a total infomercial...
If I haven't said it before, Abby's patterns will give you great mileage. Makes me want to pressure friends and family to have babies so I can make gifts for everyone.
Can't wait til next month to visit my nieces!
Sunday, January 26, 2014
Tuesday, January 7, 2014
Monday, January 6, 2014
I've also finally decided to try out Netflix, and set myself a list of a handful of TV series to watch that I've missed out on the past few years... turns out I was watching the wrong stuff ;) I had every intention of sampling 5 or 6 pilot episodes over the next while, but I'm ashamed to say that I stopped at the first one... and I'm three episodes into Downton Abbey with no signs of stopping. I'm not going to throw my list completely out the window, but for now I'm obsessed with Maggie Smith...
N. is back in school this morning, and I'm feeling a bit lost... I still haven't narrowed down my projects yet, and I'm afraid if I don't I'll just end up knitting dishcloths to send to Hubby in care packages... but knitting is knitting, I suppose.
Saturday, January 4, 2014
Friday, January 3, 2014
|Icicles outside yesterday, before the blizzard hit|
|N. and I waiting in the car on Monday for Hubby to finish the final bits of banking before taking off New Years Day|
|Mom and Dad's cat Nunu (N. thinks she's our cat), very upset that Hubby was leaving.|
Thursday, January 2, 2014
Wednesday, January 1, 2014
Hubby has landed, 4000km away. His luggage, all three large suitcases, made it with him; I choose to see this as a good sign ;) He also had a warm welcome (in -50C windchill!) from my mom's baby sister, who scooped him up at the airport, fed him lasagna, and put him back on the shuttle because his new university is in the second largest city that's 2.5 hrs away from the closest airport.
N. is having a bit of a rough time... he's excited and proud that Daddy's going to be a teacher, but he can't understand why the university isn't paying for our plane tickets to go too. Combine that with waking up at 4am to say goodbye and not sleeping and you get a very unhappy boy.
Luckily he's sound asleep and we get to Skype with Daddy in the morning...
As for me, I'm trying to keep it together, collect my thoughts, and start thinking about what to work on next. I need a project, stat.
Wednesday, December 25, 2013
So many posts started and stopped... life is humming along in some sort of twisted parody of what I expect it to be.
Long story very short - Christmas (yay!), temporary teaching contract for Hubby (yay!), said contract is four provinces west of here (boo!) and we've decided to have kiddo finish out grade Primary here for continuity's sake (yay!/boo!/huh?).
I'm putting Hubby on a plane in a week. He had a great interview in September, for a sabbatical replacement position. He got the position, and by all accounts he got it by a landslide, which is fantastic. He's such a great teacher, so it was a boost for him. It's not permanent, but we're crossing our fingers that it leads to something... at the very least, it will really help with his professional teaching experience.
The downside is that it means more time apart. I don't want to move kiddo more than once in a year unless absolutely necessary, and unless it's for something more permanent. He's flourishing in school here, and we all agree that pulling him out mid year, then having to pull him out of somewhere else, wouldn't be good. He understands that Daddy is going to be a teacher, and he's chosen some wonderful things to send with Daddy and to keep here. He even picked out a tie for Hubby to wear his first day (and it's not too bad!). The months over the summer that we were apart were difficult, but N. handled it like a champ. He knows that we talk to Daddy every day we're apart, and that we'll be together as soon as we can. It's hard, but we can do it.
I have no illusions about the relative level of difficulty that we face... I'm surrounded by help here, and it's so much easier than it could be. My mom watches N. so I can go to the gym and keep my sanity as intact as possible; my brother and SIL invite us over for movie nights - their house has rooms and beds for everyone, and it's an adventure for N to have super! sleepover! weekend! I have a great kid who adapts to whatever I throw at him. The whole thing makes me appreciate in some very small measure what families go through when one parent works across the country, or one is deployed, and I don't even go through a fraction of what they do.
So, I keep my mom-hat on, do the best I can to keep N. safe, happy, and healthy, and try to maintain myself on an even keel while supporting Hubby in his goal to be the best college teacher he can be.
Whew. Glad to get all that out. ;)
On the creative front, it's been busy in some respects but quiet in others... I only knit one pair of mittens, made a couple dozen crochet ornaments, handmade all our Christmas cards, and had to switch gears. I've spent the last six weeks baking. Baking baking baking. Cookies, cake, squares, more cookies... and I'm totally done with sugar. I told my mom I wanted meat and salt for the next two weeks. No carbs, no butter. Just protein and sodium. I'm not sure what I'll take on in the new year, but I'm allowing myself time to decide. Spending the next week packing up Hubby is going to take up enough brain power, methinks.
I hope to devote a little bit of brain power to creating, whether it be sewing, writing, knitting, crochet, papercraft, or something I just haven't thought of yet. I've a pretty good stash of supplies here - in the course of storing all our things from the postdoc years in and amongst stuff here, I've found things that I'd forgotten - mainly paper and paints - so there's no shortage of *free* things to do... I just need to find my mojo again.
I hope everyone's having a great winter-holiday-of-choice, and that whatever weather you have is seasonally appropriate for your mood... and that the new year ahead is full of promise in the most unexpected ways...
Back soon... promise.
Wednesday, October 9, 2013
Popping back up to say I managed to get a bit of sewing done this morning :-)
I do need to figure out how to manage links and things using the mobile app, but if you're desperate to know more about this pattern, Google Abby Glassenberg Lovey to find it...
... and prepare to use lots of pins :-) Fleece is pretty easy to handle, but does benefit from pinning every 1/4" or more!
Monday, October 7, 2013
Saturday, October 5, 2013
I'm still trying to get used to this new phone, but it's coming...
I finally have Hubby in the same place as the rest of us, and we're sorting through the junk that followed us from the old apartment. N. is enjoying school immensely (as you can see from that happy face), and I'm hoping to dump my memory card soon and write a proper post.
But now, I'm getting ready to go to the movies with hubby for the first time in months :-) More soon!
Tuesday, October 1, 2013
Thursday, September 26, 2013
I'm eating pierogy. Because, pierogy.
While Hubby packs, I'm sitting in the livingroom of my parents' house finally sorting through the remainder of my grandmother's things. There are cuts of vintage fabric, dress gloves, scarves, costume jewelry, and all the tablecloths, bureau scarves, hankies, etc. that she embroidered over the years (that hadn't been gifted to family and friends). Even though my camera is horrible, and the light is dull, I'm documenting it as best as I can. Her handiwork is impeccable, and it takes my breath away. I put her gloves on, and looked down; my hands became her hands, and I felt like a 4 year old watching her smooth the fabric before heading out to church. I need to dump the camera soon and get some of it up :)
And... drinking coffee... catching up on episodes of RHONJ (guilty pleasure!) that I missed over the past little while... enjoying the sound of the rain.
Monday, September 23, 2013
Full disclosure, this post is likely to be rambly and a bit melancholy and silly and self-pitying, so if you want to pass on it, I'll put it behind the break and totally understand :) I promise more crafty posts soon, along with tales of Kindergarten/Grade Primary adventures...
Thursday, September 5, 2013
Thursday, August 8, 2013
To tide everyone over until I can sit and synthesize, my life in bullet form:
- N. swallowed a marble, resulting in a trip to the ER, a hefty out-of-pocket fee, and some reimbursement labyrinth navigation.
- Little Bro, shortly after, got into a car accident... totalled the car but walked away without a scratch, so we're thanking our lucky stars.
- Hubby had an interview, it went well, but it wasn't the right fit, according to the hiring committee.
- we continue to send out applications, and are trying not to get discouraged, but damn, is it frustrating to work toward something for most of your adult life and come up empty. Damn these hiring freezes.
- I have gotten to spend a total of 9 days with my SIL and her two girls, Miss O (who is 10 months younger than N.) and Princess Pterodactyl Pants, who is 3.5 months old, and absolutely perfect, especially when she's tired and squawks at me like a tiny pteranodon.
- Spent the day with my bestie from high school and her 4-year-old son... we've averaged one visit per year in the last decade, and since being here I've seen her twice (she lives 4.5hrs from my parents).
- Did some sewing, not much knitting, crocheted 95% of a scarf.
- N. got stung by a wasp or a hornet (not sure which, but there was no stinger)... he's fine, but I've aged 5 years.
- I joined a gym. Heh.
Sunday, June 30, 2013
I have no idea what I'm doing, but someone told me that I have to claim through bloglovin, so here goes
Not sure I did it right, but here goes.