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Bring it on Home

Do you ever have one of those moments when you realize just how privileged you really are? My life is so full right now that I can barely breathe, and it’s equal parts exhausting and amazing. Right now, this is happening:

a partially built deck at the back of a townhouse
We are having a deck built in our backyard, so queue party time!

I can’t believe how quickly this is coming together. I was expecting the deck to take a few weeks, but it looks like it’s going to be done in a matter of days. There’s going to be some stairs going in on the left, and rails all around, and some lattice at the bottom to keep the animals from nesting. I’m going to have to book in a back yard deck-warming party to celebrate.

A backyard deck with rails and stairs.
Our finished deck. With rails and stairs and everything.

We had a really nice weekend camping at Murphy’s Point. It’s been a really bad year for mosquitos and I’m bitten all over, but it was worth it. We had a nearly perfect weekend. It only rained briefly while we slept, and otherwise it was sunny and just warm enough. It was a beautiful day on Saturday. I always do a bit of campfire cooking. This time we did one-pot pasta that ended up more like soup, and I brought some granola that I had made the week before.

granola in a decorative cereal bowl with a container of granola behind
Homemade granola with almonds, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, walnuts, honey and maple syrup OMG so good!

Since I usually do my running on Saturday mornings, I didn’t get to do it this weekend. I’ll probably suffer for it next weekend. We spent a lot of time around the fire drinking beer and chatting. I didn’t do very much knitting, even though I brought it with me. I started one of the sleeves on my sweater but didn’t make much progress.

Dinner Saturday night at Murphy's Point with some very good friends
Dinner Saturday night at Murphy’s Point with some very good friends
School

I seem to have an ongoing problem with my expectations for grades. Is it a little bit ridiculous to expect 80’s, and then experience crushing disappointment when you don’t get them? I mean, 77% and 73% are both perfectly acceptable! According to the University of Waterloo, that works out to a B+ and a B. What the hell am I complaining about? Honestly, I’m a little bit ashamed of myself, and need to worry less about my grades and more about the written feedback my tutor has been giving me.

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A reflection on June

I know it’s July and everything but let’s talk about June. A whole fuck of a lot happened in June. June was full of doctors appointments and other various unpleasantness, but the nicest part of June was our (all too brief) holiday in Gatineau. I rented us a cottage for the week about an hour away from home so that Chris and I could get away from life for awhile and just enjoy some quiet time together. It’s was a lovely week, even though it was buggy as hell. Some very good friends of ours joined up for the weekend and then we spent the rest of the week alone: reading, sitting in the sauna, watching movies and ultimately just taking it slow. I wish every day could start slow like that. It was so nice that even a bit of rain didn’t really matter, until we had to pack up the car in it. That was fun.

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Sitting on the dock of the lake. There were so many dragonflies!!!

Another super lovely thing that happened recently was my aunties came to visit. Auntie Julie had been to Ottawa before, but not Auntie Linda. Anyway, it was so very very nice. We went to the Museum of History (otherwise known as the Museum of Civilization until Harper changed it because War?) to see the exhibit on the Empress of Ireland. That was very cool to see. Then on Canada Day we met up with a friend of mine for high tea at the Billings Estate Museum. It was a little disorganized but the food and atmosphere were both spot on.

3 plates piled high with tasty afternoon tea snacks.
The tasty fare at the Billings Estate Museum (that’s my friend Lise looking all gorgeous there on the left)

English Course Accountability:

I’m a little frustrated with my course right now, but it can’t be helped. My tutor went on vacation shortly after I submitted my last assignment so I’ll have to wait nearly 2 weeks for feedback. This is extremely frustrating since I was so motivated and getting so much done.

Running:

Talk about motivation! I’ve been doing really well with my running. I’m up to 4km now, so I’m on track (ha ha, track) for my goal to run in the Terry Fox this year. I even managed to get a run in while we were in KW this past weekend for a family reunion.

Let’s get to the knitting:

Nothing too exciting for my knitting, but the body of my sweater is almost finished. I guess that’s pretty exciting, now that I think about it. I have a camping trip coming up this weekend and I’m really struggling with what to bring for a project to work on. I’ve had horrendous experiences with starting projects while away, and I’m reluctant to bring my beautiful alpaca silk sweater with me just so that I can knit some sleeves. If I have time this week I’ll try and get some socks on the needles before we leave.

A partially knitted sweater.
WIP: Simple Knitted Bodice
Pedros Christmas sweater

Clean slate

I don’t know what it says about me that I haven’t blogged in 4 years. I used to do it fairly frequently. I’m pretty sure I even had regular readers. Since 2010 I have participated in a few weddings, moved twice, bought a house, gained a housemate, and somehow managed not to scare away my husband. I’m reasonably certain the only thing that hasn’t changed is my place of work. Oh, things at work have changed, but I’m still there. And there have been big Life Events this year. In April I got called for jury duty. That was an eye-opening experience if there ever was one. I live in a very nice, tidy, safe little corner of the world my friends. So after 2 weeks of my life were sucked up by civic duty, I took off for my first trip to the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival with some very nice ladies I knit with. There have been lots of visits from family and friends, and I think it’s my turn for a summer of visiting them. The only dark spot has been the miscarriage I had in June. But we have lots of happy things planned for the rest of the year, so I have that to focus on! I’m currently working on an online English course at Athabasca University, I’ve started running again and have plans to do the Terry Fox 5km this year, and we have two camping trips planned this year: one with some local friends, and another with some not-so-local friends. I’ll be in KW this weekend for a family reunion, then back again in August for another one. With all that to look forward to it’s hard to find the time to be depressed about things you have no control over.

Let’s get to the knitting!

There has been so much that it would be ridiculous to try and get into all of it, so I won’t even try. I’ll pull out some highlights from the last 6 months or so: I knit the most wonderful sweater for my brother’s dog, Pedro:   Then there’s this very cute tunic for my niece: And this very sweet baby sweater with the most adorable bunnies: I have a few projects on the go at the moment. As ever, I have an epic scrap blanket constantly in progress. I have a sweater on the needles and a sweater planned. I’ve also been working on a Christmas tree skirt since last Christmas that is very nearly finished. With any luck I’ll finish it before winter. Don’t laugh! Anything is possible.

chart

Whale & waves chart

I finally got around to charting out my whale and waves. I originally created the chart when I was knitting Milo, a baby shower gift for a good friend. I’ve had a few requests for the pattern, and am now making it available on Ravelry. Enjoy!

 $1.50 CAD

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Keeping busy…

I’ve been keeping busy knitting these days. Sweaters and test-knits and part-time school Oh My! We have had a steady parade of welcome visitors and as the summer draws to a close, I find myself feeling the pull towards knitting some sweaters. Must… knit… sweaters! I just hope that we have a colder winter this year so that I can actually wear what I’ve knit. Take a look at what I’ve been working on this summer.

ON THE NEEDLES:

Of the three projects I have on the needles right now, this one is my favourite. I am knitting the Platte River Pullover by Kirsten Jensen (rav link) and I am so excited with how well it is going. This fair isle pullover is knit in sport weight at a tighter gauge. This pattern is free, however it only comes in one size, 34-inch bust. I am a 36, but luckily my stitch gauge is resulting in this being the perfect size. It’s like it was meant to be, because my row gauge is spot-on. I am knitting my version out of Mirasol Nuna, in Metallic Gold and Cardinal Red, on size 2.75mm needles. It’s knit bottom-up and in the round and is really quite easy. I’m actually nearly done the bust shaping, but here is the most recent photo I have of my progress:

The next project is a test-knit (rav link) for Twiss&Weber. It’s an awesome shrug/cardigan with really unique construction. I love how it’s turning out. I’m knitting it out of Berroco Blackstone Tweed Worsted & Chunky on 6.5mm needles. I only need to finish the edging and it’s done.

Lastly I have been working on Candelia (rav link) which is an adorable short-sleeved cardigan with pockets. I’m knitting it out of Loopy Ewe Solid in Mulberry on 4mm needles. I’m following the pattern so far, but I have decided to make mine with long sleeves instead of short. It’s going to be so cute, at least after I block it.

RECENTLY FINISHED:

On the Christmas front, in April I knit a pair of house-socks (rav link) for my Auntie. I knit the Comfy Socks pattern which is available for free on the KnittingDaily website. It also appeared in KnitScene Fall/Winter 2005. I knit this pair out of Patons Shetland Chunky Tweeds on 6mm needles. These only took me three days to knit, they were that fast.

Later that month I knit the Child’s Beach Top which is available for free on the LionBrand website. I knit this top (rav link) for my niece, who was in swimming lessons this spring. It was part of her birthday gift in May. I knit it out of Patons Bamboo Baby on 4.5mm needles. This took no time at all, less than a week.

And at the end of April I participated in a local fingerless gloves swap. Round-robin, the person you knit for did not knit for you. I knit a pair of cabled fingerless gloves (rav-link) for my swapee out of Mirasol Yarn K’acha. Can you tell I love Mirasol? These were lots of fun to knit, and are really soft and quite beautiful. She loved them.

FUTURE PLANS:

I am participating in another local swap this winter, but this time we’re knitting shawls. I’m planning on knitting Daybreak (rav-link) by Stephen West. It’s an awesome pattern, knit in fingering weight using two contrasting yarns for a cool striped effect. I’m planning to knit my version out of Noro Silk Garden Sock, which has been languishing in my stash for too long. I’m using a beautiful cream, with a variegated rainbow colourway for accent.

I am also playing with the idea of knitting my niece and nephew double-knit blankets with their names in binary stripes. I think it could be super cute, and need to think it through. It could be so awesome and geeky, even if I’m the only one that gets it.

Change

I’m going to take a break from talking about knitting for a moment, so bear with me. I want to talk instead about life choices, careers, and the future. My future. Maybe my experiences will give someone else insight into their own lives, maybe not. I somehow feel the need to write this down.

Graduating High School:

When I was nearing the end of high school I was doing what everyone else does. Considering my options. I was fortunate enough to have options. My parents were, and still are, very supportive. I never felt pressured to do anything I didn’t feel comfortable with or ready for. I really had no idea what I wanted to do. Looking back, I don’t think I full understood what a “job” was. My only experiences with work had been volunteering with kids, parks and recreation, boy scouts, and working at Domino’s. Since I had no idea what I wanted to do, I turned to college/university course books. I scanned the lists, looking for something that might interest me. To be honest, very little did.

Decision making:
First, university. I honestly believed I was too stupid for university. I had this misconception (fueled by high school teachers warnings) that to be a university student would be significantly above my abilities. I went through those books half-heartedly. I know I would never apply for any of those programs. I also felt guilty when I thought about the money for tuition.

When I decided on graphic design for my studies, my decision was met with support, love, and pride. I don’t even think I knew what it was, in reality. I had taken a couple classes in school, and done a co-op term, but I still didn’t fully comprehend what I was embarking upon. College itself was hard. It was the most challenging thing I have ever had to do, both socially and academically. I did learn to love the craft. I fell hard for typography.

I love print, and I do love what I do. I know that’s rare, and I feel lucky to love my job. Finding a job, and a workplace, that I loved was not easy. I held a series of jobs that I knew were stepping stones toward something better. Better money. Better fit. Not to say I didn’t enjoy aspects of those workplaces, or the people I worked with.

Now:
In the fall, Chris and I got married. He is my rock and my family, since the rest of mine are 7 hours away. I love my life here, yet I feel like something is missing. I learned to knit because I was lonely and wanted to get out and meet people on my own terms. I wanted friends that were mine. I know that’s probably selfish of me, but I felt the need to build something of my own here, so that I wouldn’t feel like moving “home” anymore.

Change:
And now for the change I was speaking of. The graphic design industry is changing. I don’t know how or what it’s going to do, but things can’t stay the way they are and remain stable. The design industry in Ottawa is too dependent on government, and government is becoming less and less of a stable client. A lot of firms in the area have closed/downsized/merged. Things have slowly been trending toward freelancing, and that’s simply not something that I’m interested in doing.What I need to consider is where my career will be in ten years, and whether or not I will be satisfied with the direction my life has gone.

I need a plan. I think I will soon want to do something very different with my life, and I need a long-term goal. I’ve decided to go back to school part-time. The long-term goal is a BA in Sociology, which I’m doing through Athabasca University, online. I don’t know if this will mean a career change. I don’t even know if I will succeed in getting a degree. But there are so many uncertainties in life, in general, that I can’t just continue on the way I have. I need to take action while I have the resources and the time to do so.

So this is my life. I’m not unhappy, but things are changing. Hopefully for the better.

~ Elizabeth

PS: I promise a knitting update soon.

Curly Girl and Opulence

First knitting. I’ve been working on a sweater for me since a little bit after my birthday in February. It required a bit of fiddling, since I was between sizes and decided to use a yarn with a completely different gauge than the pattern called for.

Pattern: Opulent Raglan
Source: KnitScene Winter 2008
Yarn: Moda Dea Washable Wool (discontinued)
Needles: 5mm
Size: to fit 36-inch bust (34-inch)

I extended the neckline by about 2 inches after reading that some people find the neckline to be higher than in the pattern photo. Now that the body is finished, I can see that one inch would have been fine.

I’m giving this pattern a “difficult” rating because of all the math and figuring out I had to do, but 5 stars because it’s a beautiful pattern and well-worth the effort.

Other mods to length include adding 4 inches to the the length of the waist (before hip-increases), and am adding 1.5” to the bottom of the sweater. I then added a 1.5” 2×2 ribbed hem instead of the fold-up the pattern suggests.

OMG I am so happy with this!

Last week, I went off shampoo. I also went off sulfates and silicone. I’m extremelly happy with how my hair is looking these days, and if you have curly/wavy hair, check out http://www.naturallycurly.com. Seriously. Go there and learn!

I also finished another Christmas gift. This one is a shawl for my mother-in-law.

Pattern: Andrea’s Shawl
Source: Knitpicks.com
Yarn: Knit Picks Andean Treasure
Needles: 4mm

Graphic designer with a passion for all things knitted

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