Birthday

It’s my birthday! Every year, on January 3rd, I celebrate turning one year older, and every year I’m grateful for the opportunity to be a little more wiser. (Well, wiser than I already think I am.) For me, having my birthday so early in the year makes me feel as if I get the rest of the 362 days to really settle into my new age and all the experiences, moments and memories it will bring.

When it comes to the agenda of my birthday celebrations, I tend to keep it very relaxed and this year was no different. It also doesn’t help that I’m fighting off the flu. On. My. Birthday. 🙁

Nevertheless, I started my day off with a hearty breakfast from my favourite diner, took a much-needed trip to my LYS (local yarn store), ate a delicious dinner made by my partner and rounded off the evening with a homemade Ghirardelli chocolate cake. (His mom makes me one every year and I hoard it like Gollum hordes the ring.) All in all, I had a great birthday and I’m enjoying every last second as it winds down to a close.

Starting off a new year, at a new age, I always find myself wondering what the rest of the upcoming 362 days are going to look. As a principle, I only set one resolution for myself, and it’s simply to “try one new thing”. This, for me, is such an attainable goal since I’m always looking to try new things anyway and it’s a goal I’ve managed to never fail at achieving. And on the plus side, when I end up trying more than one thing (which I usually do) I feel super accomplished throughout the year. (I believe that’s called a win-win situation.)

I mean in 2017, alone, I tackled:

1. Knitting my first ever sweater. (I can’t stop wearing it!)
2. Making socks out of sock weight yarn.
3. Dabbling in the art of knitting shawls with fingering weight yarn.
4. Visiting a new campground in the province of NB.
5. Being open to new friendships while tending to the ones I’ve already established.
6. Knitting gauge swatches for my projects.
7. Blocking my knitted items at I cast them off.
8. And last but not at all least, gaining the confidence to start and launch this blog.

 

Got to say, I’m quite proud of myself!

Thank you so much for being on this journey with me. I can’t wait to share the new projects and adventures 2018 will bring. Hope you’re ringing in the New Year on a high note!

Season’s Greetings, Merry Christmas, Joyeux Noël, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanzaa, Happy Yule! No matter what you celebrate, I hope you’re having an amazing time with your loved ones and cherishing the memories you’re making.

I’ve been spending my time in the lovely Florenceville with my partner’s family taking time to relax, unwind, laugh, eat, drink, knit (of course) and be merry.

I can’t wait to see what the new year will bring but for now, I’m just enjoying being surrounded by the people I love and sending well wishes to my friends and family who live around the world.

Yesterday was a good day. A friend of mine came to visit from out of town, and I got to spend time at my LYS while helping her pick out yarn for a sweater. (It’s not often that I get to play “yarn consultant” so I’m usually pretty excited when the opportunity arises.)

We hemmed and hawed over which colour to go with, picked out her purchases and then fell into a conversation with the cashier about the sometimes expensive cost of yarn.

Now, this is not something that crosses my mind often when I’m buying yarn. In fact, I rarely ever take into consideration the cost of the item because at the end of the day it’s about knitting with something that feels good in my hands. (Why knit with it if it doesn’t bring you joy?)

Purchasing yarn, for me, is a sensory experience. I stare at the colours with intent (revelling in how they blend or speckle together), lightly run my fingers through the strands (acquainting my fingertips with the feel of the fibre) and sometimes (because it’s all or nothing) I might even give it a sniff or two. (If it’s okay for wine aficionados, then, in my opinion, it’s definitely okay for yarn aficionados.)

Now you might be thinking to yourself “that’s a bit of a weird process” (unless you’re just like me and you understand 100%) and you know what I can accept that. But in the end, I enjoy my method because, in all honesty, we’re going to spend a lot of time together. I would even go so far as to say that the yarn and I embark on relationships of varying degrees. Sometimes, it’s a quick and easy fling, sometimes a long commitment or sometimes it’s just a yarn you wanted to try out but alas the relationship it wasn’t meant to be.

I know everyone has their process and you should do what works best for you. I, personally, just find it hard to use yarn I don’t enjoy touching. (Not for myself and not for someone else.)

A girl’s gotta have some standards after all.

Today is an exceptional day. It is the first Sunday, in a very long time, where I haven’t had to schedule in any social events or work obligations. It is a day filled with nothing but a glorious white space of time that I can fill with whatever activity I choose. So of course, I’ve been spending it sleeping, catching up on my stories and working my needles.

All of the holiday presents have been completed, blocked and are ready to be wrapped up. Once the last gift was off my needles, I will admit to breathing the loudest sigh of relief. (It was touch and go there for a second, and I wasn’t sure I’d finish them all on time.)

I’ve also made lots of progress on my pullover (I got the neckline and body finished, and I’m working on the sleeves) and I’m slowly working up the cables on the shawl. When I’m not knitting, I’m spending my time on Ravelry looking up potential projects so I can work through my stash and free up some storage space for new yarn babies. It’s been refreshing not having to rush through this search period like I usually do. I like being able to peruse the patterns at a slow pace and put together a knitting roster of projects I’d like to attempt after they’ve been cast off.

And the best part of my roster is that most of the projects are for me. I’ve spent the last couple of months knitting for others that I’ve decided I could be a little selfish and focus on making items for myself. So far, I’ve added patterns for a cardigan, fingerless gloves and socks. Heck, I might even spoil myself and throw in a new scarf for the Winter. (I think I’ve been a good enough this year to deserve it.)

Well, I’m going back to doing whatever I feel like doing, and looking forward to more days that look just like this one. Hope you’re enjoying your Sunday as well.

A friend

Sometimes I run into the perception that as an adult it’s a lot harder to make friends than when we were kids. On some level, I believe this to be true but to an extent. Mostly because as a kid I tried to befriend everyone and anyone, but as an adult, I’ve learned the importance of curating my friendships a bit more. This lesson took time and patience, and I’ll be the first to admit that I have a lot of acquaintances but a few friends. And it’s not that I don’t want any friends, I do, I’ve just learned not to open up to people I meet right away. (A lady has to have a little mystery about herself.)

Sometimes I luck out in these connections, and I meet someone who I click with right away. I love these moments because I don’t have to worry about being open. It’s clear to both parties that we’re both still feeling out the friendship but we already know it’s going to happen. Last week I finally got to spend more face-to-face time with someone I’d been getting to know over the phone, and we weren’t surprised that we hit it off. We had ramen together, got to know each other over a bottle of wine and spent an hour dancing on a sidewalk in Boston (with a bunch of random people) to some of our favourite songs. (Seriously, the DJ was throwing down tracks like “No Diggity”, “Can’t Touch This” and “Rapper’s Delight”). I love to dance, and I will dance anywhere, so having someone else who shared in that burst of spontaneity, with as much wild abandon, filled me with such joy. It still brings a smile to my face every time I think about it. (When E rapped all the words to “Big Papa” it just cemented in my mind that she and I were going to be great friends.)

I’ve been connecting with the most amazing people whenever I dare to leave my house, (I met a lot on this trip to Boston as well) and I love that I’m getting the chance to create these moments with another person, and vice versa.

On the topic of knitting, on Saturday I’m heading over to R’s house for a knitting night. (She’s another fantastic woman who I’m honoured to call a friend and we met on my trip to Montreal in July. July!) I’ve been looking forward to our knit night for a very long time. Mainly because we haven’t seen each other in a while, but also because it’ll give me time to catch up on some of my projects. I have a soft spot for knitting while surrounded by good company and even better conversation. (I think I’m going to take the pullover with me since the shawl is a project that requires 100% focus.)

By the way, I’m enjoying the pullover pattern. It’s my first ever pullover project, and I am over the moon at how it’s coming out. It’s perfect tv knitting, it’s worked in a DK yarn, and it’s a welcome break from the complexity and anxiety of tackling the cable on the shawl. I’d like to splurge a little and make another in a more decadent and warm yarn. However, I bought yarn at Newbury Yarns in Boston, (and the exchange rate sucked) so I’m trying to “limit” myself right now and keep my fingers busy with projects.

I did purchase a skein, yesterday, for a test knit I’m taking part in this year. That’s justifiable. Right?

Everybody Scream

It’s Halloween! Everybody scream! I’ve been planning this costume for quite some time (mostly because I had to knit the hat and make the hair ties) but I present to you, Louise Belcher. The sarcastic, lovable, mischievous younger sibling from the show Bob’s Burgers. I just had to go as Louise because we are so much alike and she is, hands down, my favourite character on the show. (I named my bike after her.)

Happy Halloween!

Okay now down to business! I mean where do I even begin? I have been quite the busy lady. Last weekend I took the beautiful trek down to Saint Andrews for my first ever Knit East, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. While I didn’t sign up for any classes, I still think that I had a great experience. (overall) I drank mimosas, had the most delicious fish ‘n’ chips, caught a glimpse of The Yarn Harlot and of course stimulated the fibre economy by dropping buying yarn at the marketplace.

Yummy and expensive.

I know I don’t need anymore, but I really couldn’t resist picking up something. I tried to be good but the colours just called to me, and you guys know I can’t resist. (Seriously, I’m bad at it.) Plus, they were from some of my favourite East Coast dyers, so I had to get them.

My camera isn’t even doing the colours justice 🙁

On the knitting side, I’ve managed to, brace yourself, finally cast off the socks. I have a full pair now, and they look like twins, so I’m happy. (and relieved) They got done just in time for the start of November when I thought I was going to be knitting them well into December. (Feeling pretty proud of myself.) After I give it a good blocking, I’ll post a photo on the next blog post so you can see it in its final glory.

So for now, you can catch me working on my campsite pullover and the Ishneich shawl.

This week is going to be a hectic one since I’m travelling but, knowing myself, I’ll probably fit in a yarn related event somehow to retain balance. Tomorrow, I’m hopping on a bus to Boston, so there’ll be lots of time to work away on the remaining projects. (Only short one Christmas present now and it’s a hat. So not even worried.)

While on the bus I’m hoping to practice working on my public knitting skills during this trip. I love knitting in public, but sometimes, I have a hard time stopping myself from thinking mean thoughts. It mostly happens when I’m trying to count my stitches and the people around me won’t stop talking. Sigh, I’ll get there eventually.

Talk soon!

 

Back

I’m back and on a Thursday!  Yes, I know I was only gone for one week, but I genuinely missed you guys. I started this blog as a way to share my yarn obsession but it’s become so much more than that to me and not posting last week was a tough decision.

However, going on a little adventure helped me decide what I wanted to write this week, so all is not lost. So not only did I spend a couple of days in Halifax last week, connecting with entrepreneurial centres from around the world, but I also got a chance to indulge in said yarn obsession. From the moment I knew I was taking a trip to Halifax I knew I’d be scheduling a visit to The Loop. (If you haven’t visited I would most definitely recommend popping in and checking it out.) I have very fond memories of The Loop.

In my early knitting years, I took my first ever visit to Halifax, NS and jumped at the opportunity to explore a yarn store in another province. (It’s where I bought my first yarn bowl before my kitty decided that she liked it better in pieces.) My visit to The Loop was everything I’d hoped it would be then and the feeling remained true on this last visit. (Though I should note that while they have moved locations since my first visit they are still on Barrington street.) Also as a bonus (because it was that good of a day) I ran smack dab into my next vacation. While at the Loop we encountered a group of women, who were indulging in the sport of yarn buying, and they were on a craft cruise. From the moment I heard those words, I knew this was going down on my bucket list. Seriously, all I could think about was how many projects one could accomplish while relaxing the luxury of a cruise ship. (Mind you I am also someone who has never taken a cruise before and as they ignorance is bliss.)

Now I’m back home and back on my knitting groove. I don’t know if it’s because I’ve gained the awareness that craft cruises are a thing or if I’m just hitting my knitflixing (Knitting and Netflixing) stride but I’ve been powering through my knitting.

  1. I’ve managed to complete my Reyna shawl. Finally! (I mean I frogged the thing so many times because my stitch count kept going off that I contemplated just abandoning the project) Luckily, I stuck with it, and I am floored by the results. It still needs a good blocking, but so far I like how it’s looking. The Painted Desert yarn paired up nicely with the pattern and I love the way the colours blend into each other. (I have another skein of this, and I think I might turn it into a pair of socks or a lacy scarf.)

2. While I’m still working on the second pair of my socks, (yes, the same pair) I’ve successfully turned the heel, and I’m heading onto the foot.

3. Last but not at all least, I started my Campside Pullover class on Monday and managed not to (pardon my French but) fuck up royally on what is the hardest part of knitting the whole thing. (I will admit I forgot to yo at one point but luckily Trish (knitting Jedi that she is) was there to help me out and I was back on track.)

4. Add the kitty blanket I knitted to the tally, and I’m beginning to feel like a bit more organised and definitely more productive. I can’t wait to see what gets casted off my needles next. (I have been casting on quite a bit so it’ll be a welcome change.)

My shawl class is coming up tonight and I somehow managed to get all the yarn winded (by hand) in time. Maybe someone out there is sending good knitting vibes my way. Keep on keeping on kind stranger(s). I can use all the help I can get.

Some days

Some days are hard days but today was a great day. (It helps that the weather warmed up.) Yesterday, I treated myself to a mental health day and used it to let myself wallow in self-pity. (I also killed half an apple pie while watching This is Us but trust me when I say it didn’t die in vain.) Now, I don’t do this often, but sometimes I just need a day where I can feel sorry for myself, cry, and be in my feelings. Then I pick myself up, dust off the pity crumbs and move forward by reminding myself of the things I yearn to achieve.

I’ll always remember walking in downtown Port of Spain, Trinidad as a teenager. I had the smart idea to wear the worst pair of high heels -in the rain- and ended up slipping on wet concrete falling comically onto the ground. (I was mortified.) Later that day I told my dad the story and how embarrassed I felt at the moment. He looked at me with empathy, but the only thing he asked was “Did you pick yourself up after you fell?” and I said, “Yes, of course.” Then he said “Good. That’s the only thing that matters.” This memory stuck with me for years, and it’s something I’ll never forget. Mostly because he was right, it doesn’t make sense to dwell on how many times you’ve fallen, what counts at the end of the day, is the number of times you get back up. I’ve used that message to push me through some of my hardest days.

So today, I pulled myself up like the pseudo-adult I am, and I made a plan to make things happen. Not just work-wise but I got the ball rolling on a charity project for the kitties in my community.

I love cats. Well, it’s more like I’m obsessed with them. (I frequently try to pet stray cats, and I’m guilty of stopping conversations mid-sentence to yell “kitty” at cats passing in the street. I mean, there’s a portrait of Cosmo, my kitty, hanging in “her room”. You get the idea.)

Like this lovely fellow who stumbled into my backyard.

The goal is to finish up my ongoing project list (throwing some on the back burner) and focus on creating blankets for one of the local cat shelters in my city. I chose this project because it’s all I can handle right now with my schedule and it’s mindless knitting I can do in front of the tv. It’ll also keep me warm at night knowing that the kitties are sleeping soundly in their blankets.

I made one for my kitty, and she loves to sleep in it. She’s had it since she was a young kitten and she still uses it to this day.

Yesterday was a day of pity, but today it is time to pick myself up and go to “werk”. Right now I’m driven more than ever to continue doing good for my community. In whatever way, I can.

I’ll be on travelling next week, so, unfortunately, there won’t be a blog post. (Now, now. Don’t cry; I’ll be back <3 )

P.S. If you’re a knitter in the city of Fredericton or its surrounding area and you’d like to contribute to the donation please don’t hesitate to send me an email or leave a comment below.

 

Cough syrup

I finished my sock! Okay, I only finished one, but I wanted to start the post on a positive note and right now it feels like a huge accomplishment. I also feel competent enough to complete its twin. So, all in all, great feelings all around. Not sure why this sock knitting experience was so vastly different from the last one, but I do believe that my skills as a knitter have improved. I mean there were no holes (this surprised me). I knit a whole sock, and there wasn’t a single hole. Feeling pretty proud of myself. Now, I just have the task of ensuring that I keep my tension neutral while knitting the second sock because I don’t want the fit to differ too greatly.

Completing the sock has been the one good thing that has gone right for me in the past couple of day. I’ve been battling a horrible cold, and it not only upended my entire weekend but my project schedule as well. Now to some, getting sick may not seem like a big deal (you get sick, you fill yourself up with copious amounts of chicken noodle soup, and you pull yourself together) and if I weren’t talking about myself, I would agree with you. But I am a horrible sick person. Seriously, I’m terrible at being sick. (Makes a man cold seem like a spa day.) I’ll paint a little picture. From the moment I start feeling unwell, it’s all downhill from there. And as the day goes on, it escalates until I’m barely human. Instead, I’m a cough-syrupy zombie who walks around the house in pyjamas, moaning like a ghost while consistently lamenting on exactly how sick I am. I will then proceed to make my partner test me for a fever, the moment I start feeling warm, (this usually happens about 4 or 5 times a day for the duration of my sickness) because one never knows when they are suddenly going to come down with hyperthermia and one must be vigilant. (The longer you read this blog, the more you’ll realise that I tend to veer towards the ridiculous. It’s one of my charms.) While the aches and pains are a lot to put up with, one of the worst symptoms, to me, of being sick is that I find it extremely it hard to be productive. Not sure what it is, but I have an unusual reaction to any form of cough syrup. It makes me loopy, unfocused, and it’s hard for me to find the strength to do anything but sleep throughout the day. Which of course meant that I couldn’t get any knitting done this weekend. I was beyond bummed.

So instead I spent the entire weekend staring longingly at my projects, hoping for a bit of strength so I could feel my needles in my hands again….and then promptly passing out into a Nyquil induced stupor. Luckily, but not so luckily, ever since I moved to Canada I’ve been susceptible to getting sick around this time of year. (When the weather drops so does my immune system. You should wait until Winter hits, I’m a real treat to be around.) I’m on the mend but still dealing with a horrible cough. Though I have started to breathe through my nose again, successfully, so that’s a great sign.

Can you understand now why I was so excited about the sock? It really IS all about the simple joys in life.

First World Knitting Problems

If you follow me on Instagram, you might have seen that I spent some time in breathtaking St. Andrews, New Brunswick. It was my first visit to Charlotte County, and I am seriously contemplating moving there. (Is it too early to think of retirement?)

The town is the epitome of a quaint, homely, beach town (my absolute favourite kind of town), with its beachfront properties, local cafes and saltwater air. It could easily pass for the location for a Gilmore girl episode. (All the communities I want to live in look and feel very similar to Stars’ Hollow.)

However, Saint Andrews didn’t pass one section of my “Can I live here?” test. Hold on to your hats everyone, but I found out pretty early on that “there is no yarn store.” (Of course, I asked. It’s the one place I always try to visit when I travel somewhere.) I’m still reeling from the devastation I felt upon learning that the local yarn store burnt down a couple of years ago. (You can buy Briggs and Little wool at the local grocery, but one cannot knit with Briggs and Little alone. At least I can’t.)

The view at low tide was magnificent so you can only imagine what it looked like when the tide rolled in.

(On a side note, one thing you should know about me is that I’m a dreamer at heart, which ties hand in hand with my love of knitting because I can work on a project and day-dream about everything under the sun for hours (and hours). So upon hearing this news, I immediately started thinking about a life where I’m the owner of the local yarn store in the town. I would bike to work every day (from my beachfront cabin, of course) and supply everyone, from locals to visitors, with multitudes of yarn (and notions) in varying weights, fibres and colours. (It’s nice to dream.))

They say the best way to get over that future yarn you were yearning to buy, is to get under some yarn you already have. (People say that right? No? Just me?) Although with my luck I buried myself in my sock project (because I am beyond determined to finish it before my sweater class starts next month) and jumped right in only to find that my yarn cake completely unravelled, and managed to tangle and fuse itself into a muddled unshapely ball of yarn. I got under some old yarn alright and spent the next two days patiently unravelling each tangle until I had about four different sized yarn balls. Annoyed but not defeated, I am now back on track to knitting my socks again and feeling a bit more accomplished since I’m past all the hard spots. (Just a bit. I’m praying for no more setbacks. Knock on skein.)

You probably can’t tell, but I’m smiling in this picture. I had no idea of the trouble that was looming.

Still, even though it doesn’t have a yarn store, I would still dream of one day moving to St. Andrews. I’m an island girl, and nothing uplifts me more than the fresh, crisp smell of saltwater in the air. This week I learned that the combination of saltwater air filling my lungs and a project in my hands has the power to catapult me into a bubble of contentment. I think I’ve found my ultimate happy place.

I had no words.