If at first

I have a bit of a dirty knitting secret to confess. Are you ready? I’m not a fan of knitting socks. (Phew! I must admit it feels good to get that off my chest). Now, I’ll be the first to say that this is not a secret I’m proud of but I do have an actual legitimate reason for feeling this way. A long time ago (about two years) I had my first ever sock making experience and then proceeded to never look at another sock pattern ever again. The project started out nicely enough (it always does at the cuff) and then merged into absolute chaos. If you can think of a problem well, I most likely ran into it headfirst and with not much dignity. I tried so hard, but I couldn’t stop creating random holes in the heel and ended up frogging and starting over so much the yarn (and I) seemed so ragged and limp than when we first started. I spent the rest of the day crying (and swearing) amidst grumbles of never knitting ever again. So you can understand why I might be a bit hesitant to relive that moment. (Seriously, I’ve made a total of 2 pairs of socks in my entire knitting life….in bulky yarn. I’ve been using sock yarn for every project under the sun instead of for, you know, actual socks.)

 

Do I at least get points for finishing them?

Well, years have passed, and I’m not the same knitter I was then, so I’m feeling a bit more “prepared” to give socks another try. (I believe in the adult world this is called Growth.) I’ve also been feeling a very intense amount of FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) because everyone on Instagram has been knitting socks this summer and they seemed to be enjoying it. A lot. With this in mind, I have decided to put aside my PTSD (Post-Traumatic Sock Disorder?) and truly give socks the old college try. (I mean all those people on Instagram can’t be wrong about it. Can they?)
I already have one sock project on my needles (I’ve frogged it twice already, and I had to start working on another project so that I can alternate my frustration) but my personal goal is to knit a max of four pairs before Christmas arrives. In the meantime, I’ll be praying to the knitting gods above to bless me as I embark on this new mission. (Wish me luck?)

Also before I get fully into wood hermit mode (we’re two sleeps away from our Fundy camping trip, and my excitement will not be contained even for a second), I wanted to let you know that in celebration (Yes, I’m celebrating a camping trip along with an Instagram milestone) I’ll be hosting my first ever Wanderful Knits giveaway on the blog next week. So be sure to stay tuned 🙂

Getting our gear organized. Cosmo is “helping”.

Today I kicked off my day with one of my favourite morning activities; breakfast. About every two weeks or so my friend and I make sure to schedule this time together. These dates tend to become little informal therapy sessions and on more than one occasion has helped me to work through everything from personal to professional issues. (A little bacon and banter can be good for the soul.)

I mean life can get hard, and it can feel like an overstimulation of the senses with moments of worry, self-doubt, anxiety or situations when you may feel like you have no control. (I don’t know about you but this can leave me in such a daze that it’s hard to find the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel.) Today, as we conversed, I couldn’t help but think about how important it is to have space where one can make mistakes (not be judged too harshly for them) and have someone to remind them that in the end, it’ll be alright. (Particularly in those moments when things don’t work out, or we fuck up. (pardon my French)) I’d like to share a situation that happened, not too long ago, at my local yarn store that helped to remind me of this.

When I buy yarn, that is just too lovely for words; I tend to get a little attached and recently, I bought two skeins of the most beautiful Manos del Uruguay yarn I’d ever seen in my life. (It reminds of sunsets and cotton candy.) Sadly, I don’t have a ball winder or a yarn swift at home, and I’ve spent more than my fair share of time winding yarn by hand. (This can sometimes get frustrating because the skein gets tangled and you’re spending hours undoing knots.) I wasn’t in the mood to revisit another night of frustration (and swearing), so I asked Trish (owner of Yarns on York) if I could come in one day and use her ball winder and she agreed. Finally, I was going to see that beautiful sunset/cotton candy yarn in its cake form. (I should mention that I had limited exposure to the ball winder/yarn swift method before that day.)

Trish was kind enough to help me get the skein on the swift, and I began snipping the knots that bind the skein together. What I didn’t know was that Manos del Uruguay has a history of binding the skeins in weird places and they don’t use a contrasting yarn colour to hold it together.

There I was winding in such glee (ignorance is bliss) which immediately turned into outright confusion as I watched the yarn glide smoothly off the yarn swift and onto the ball winder. (Now you might be saying to yourself, “but that’s what it’s supposed to do.” And you’d be right. Except when I looked up there was a still significant amount of yarn still on the swift itself.) After approaching it hesitantly, I inspected the yarn and realised that I had been a little too eager with my snipping and had snipped right through some of the skein itself. (I almost started crying.) Trish, luckily, saw me and came over to see what was going on.

In hindsight, that day seems so comical, but at the moment I was beyond devastated. I felt so out of control, frustrated (and emotional) and there she was calm as ever. While her demeanor helped to calm me (somewhat) I still couldn’t help feeling like a gigantic idiot. (Mentally, I was very rough on myself.) She, however, informed me that I was not the first person to ever do this, everyone has been there at some point in time, and that it was going to be alright. Now to me, she’s a Jedi master, and I am just a mere padawan, so when she told me not to worry and that it might be salvageable, I started letting myself believe that it might be okay. (And it was! It also made it a little easier to process when I realised I’d just gone through a right of passage on my knitting journey.)

Now I could have easily let myself wallow in my negative feelings, but at that moment her words reminded me that, in life, it’s important (and okay) to permit yourself to make mistakes. And in those moments when you’re feeling like it’s all caving in (and that you may have messed up monstrously) having someone there to tell you it’s all going to be okay can be just the thing you need to pull you out. (Though you still have to be willing to accept the helping hand.)

Yes, I know, I just connected the life experience of feeling overwhelmed by your blunders to winding yarn but hopefully, this story might help you see your situation in a much different light.

As Kendrick Lamar said, “One day at a time, sun gon’ shine.”

Are you there Summer? It’s me, Symone

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Celebrate good times, come on! I officially beat the mad rush to get any remaining work off my desk and that means I am NOW officially taking a small break from work. I mean don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love the work I do but every once in awhile I welcome a shake up in my daily routine. Last year, I had more of a workcation than a break (this year I’m a day in and still answering emails) so trust me when I say my brain can definitely use a time-out from constantly running through a to-do list. (I promised myself that I wouldn’t think about until it’s much closer to September.)

Needless to say, I’ll be spending the next few weeks focused on finishing up all my ongoing knitting projects. (Hopefully in time for Christmas.) I’ll also be spending time adding to my already ever growing yarn stash. (Sometimes, I like to pretend that I run a small country that uses yarn as its main currency.) There are a lot (and I mean a lot) of yarn sales in the summer and every year I find it hard to look away and contain myself. (You already know I have a bit of an issue when it comes applying self-control to my yarn purchases. Though to be fair, when a yarn you’ve been eyeing is marked down at 70% it can be very hard to resist. Ask the scorch marks on my credit card if you don’t believe me.)

All in all, I’m very much looking forward to my very own version of knit-palooza, (I’ll be knitting everywhere from my deck to the park) as well as counting down to our annual camping trip. That’s right in 16 days this wandering lady will wander again and spend 3 nights at Fundy National Park. I can barely contain my excitement about this because I absolutely love camping. It is the perfect activity that gives me the opportunity to go back to basics, spend time surrounded by the beauty of nature and fly my hermit flag high and proud. (I also get to completely ignore my phone for a couple of days which I’m quite tickled pink about.)

Today, I committed to fully kick-starting my vacation. (Okay I did take one small trip to the office and I sent one tiny email but I’m only human.) You’ll be happy to hear that I mostly spent today venturing around the lovely city of Fredericton (It really is a beautiful place. I took the trail from campus to downtown, saw a performance at Officers’ Square and grabbed a celebratory flight at The Abbey.) before heading home for another session of knitting on my deck, in the sun, surrounded by my makeshift garden.

I ask you, can life get any better than this?

It’s good to have options.

 

 

Où est le magasin de tricot?

There is a soft spot in my heart for the vibrant, electric city that is Montreal. The architecture, the food and the sound of the French language spoken with such exuberance never fails to provide a good time. Plus it is one of the places where I can practice my basic (and I do mean basic) French with wild abandon.

A couple weeks ago, I had the unique experience of hopping onto the East Coast Caravan with 55 entrepreneurs, from across Atlantic Canada, to attend Startup Fest Montreal. Yes, it meant leaving my hermit hole, my partner and Cosmo kitty for a couple of nights but this woman can not ignore the call of adventure, so I kissed them both goodbye (with promises to call and text), and off I went to board a bus at 11pm.

This trip to Montreal threw me headfirst into the kind of territory that manages to both terrify and excite me…the unknown (did you get chills too?).  Sometimes, I will admit, I’m a little anxious about new situations (I don’t however let this anxiety hold me back- a trait I’ve cultivated over the years) and walking into situations that aren’t familiar to me sometimes leave me feeling like I’m just too out of place. However, I can proudly say that I managed to put my anxiety aside and this trip rocked! (Which of course resulted in me having the time of my life – Dirty Dancing pun a little intended.)

Startup fest was everything I’d hope it would be. Great talks by inspiring speakers under a flexible conference format (I appreciate when conferences deviate from the norm). There were hammocks, Virtual Reality demonstrations and a pretty cool astronaut. It was THE place to be in Montreal that week and almost everyone we spoke to asked us if we were there for Startup fest. (So it must be a big deal, right? Okay, it may have also been because I forgot to take off my nametag while exploring around the city but I guess the real reason shall just remain a mystery.)

The cherry on top of this event for me was the conversations I had with other attendees as well as the speakers themselves. I mean eeek! I got to meet Kimberly Bryant (founder, Black Girls Code) and  it  honestly made my entire day. Startup fest was definitely an unforgettable moment for me.

Okay! So remember how in my first post I mentioned that I can’t quite stop talking about yarn? Well I have to say that the other participants on the trip got quite the earful on the topic and some even got to see my needles in action. (I don’t know exactly how many times I said the phrase “I need to visit the yarn store” but I’m sure it got up to the double digits.)

Luckily, on the last day, two of the most amazing humans (I’ll just call them R and V- you know who you lovelies are.) willingly accompanied me (They really are the best. I didn’t even have to break out the rope.) on the journey to Espace Tricot. This store is everything I hoped it would be (and more) and I couldn’t help myself from walking around in awe at the rows (upon rows) of glorious yarn. The employees there were also beyond helpful and one of them even took the time to regale me with the story of how Espace Tricot began. Colour me inspired! I’ve never met the owners but they sound like amazing, resilient women who saw a need and decided to create a unique setting within their community and beyond. (I can more than appreciate that.)

I dream of having a room that looks just like this.
Listening to the story of how Espace Tricot began. (I recorded audio but it wasn’t great so I decided not to post it)

Needless to say, I had an absolute blast walking around the store (taking in the multitude of colourful yarns that seemed to suggest the presence of a rainbow) and even splurged and added some new (and familiar) yarn brands to my already monstrous stash. (Though in hindsight, I am kicking myself repeatedly for not picking up one of their popular Chevron Baby Blanket kits. I did learn that they are available online to my absolute relief. (I may or may not have checked as soon as I got home.) It never once occurred to me (honestly, it never does) that I have no more cupboard space within my apartment to store any more yarn and in the end, I had to buy 4 more containers in the hopes of taming the beast.

I can not wait to get these beauties on my needles.
These knitting tags were so cute. I couldn’t resist picking them up.

After an amazing experience at Espace Tricot, my awesome travel companions and I decided to take a walk down Saint Catherine’s street for La Sainte-Catherine célèbre, which is known as the biggest open sky gathering of merchants in Canada. There were sidewalk sales, dance demonstrations, acrobats and music. (So many genres of music.) Our small but determined adventure group laughed, danced and conversed until we realized we’d walked the full length of the festival. (R and I both hit over 10,000 steps on our Fitbits. We were over the moon).

Walking down rue de Sainte-Catherine

Later we headed back to our hostel to relax before walking to the harbor front for one of the best fireworks shows I’d seen in a long time and (There is something, both endearing and amusing, about standing in a crowd of adults and children oohing and ahhing at the sky. Most especially, the awkward shuffle that ensues when the fireworks are over and it’s time to go home.) it was a really pleasant ending to an amazing trip.

Getting on the bus the next day was a bittersweet moment. Yes, I was super excited to get home to my two loves but I was also sad to leave a city I’d only partially explored and people I’d only gotten to spend a small amount of time with. Plus there was a 7 hour bus trek (it turned out to be much longer due to unforeseen circumstances) to settle in for. (Luckily, I had the perfect compact knitting project to work on so I was more than occupied.) I guess even this wandering hermit (what an oxymoron!) knows how to have a good time.

Check instagram to see the finished project.

First Post: The story of Wanderful Knits

Hi Everyone,

Thank you so much for taking the time to check out my passion project; Wanderful Knits.

I’ve been thinking about blogging for a long time but found myself too chicken to make the leap. Inspiring others is never an issue for me, but sometimes I find it a little hard to inspire myself to grab life by the proverbial horns and take a risk. If I’m being really honest, I didn’t think it mattered what I had to say and the fear of putting myself out there left me in such a daze that I closed the door, on what could potentially be a new adventure for me, before it even opened. However, what I’ve learned by surrounding myself with mavericks, radical go-getters and ass-kicking entrepreneurs is that every new adventure can either leave you whimpering on the floor clutching a half-eaten jar of peanut butter or it can make you bold and more susceptible to taking those risks that scare the life out of you. Proud to say that I’ve chosen to let my adventures lead me to the latter and the jar of peanut butter has been left untouched. (Mostly. I mean a girl still has to eat, and peanut butter sandwiches are great in a pinch, but I digress.)

I’ve noticed that I talk about knitting a lot (as in all the time). In just 3 short years it has become a passion that has woven itself into every fibre of my life (get it?) and has assisted me on my path to bringing balance to my mental health. Figuratively, I like to think that yarn is my obsession and knitting is my personal rehab and I’ll be the first to admit that I can get quite annoying about it. (I’m actually amazed that no one has strangled me with a skein yet, though it wouldn’t be a bad way to go. It would be sort of kismet actually.) So I thought to myself, “you’re clearly passionate about this and you can’t stop talking about it; so why don’t you write about it?” (Especially since I already bring it up in the most random of moments, places and conversations.) Hopefully, this blog will serve as a platform for me to combine my passion (slash fanaticism) for knitting along with my burning desire for travel and the experience of immersing myself into a new or familiar environment. Also, it gives me another place to talk about yarn. Wonderful, glorious, comes in a variety of colours, weights and types yarn. Did I mention I was obsessed?

Sometimes it’s literally all over me.

So I hope you join me on this adventure filled with mistakes, laughter, exploration and lots and lots of yarn.

This blanket (made by moi) has been a trusty companion on many of my adventures.