I don't know how so much time manages to pass between posts. It's nuts. Sorry about that.
A few weeks ago I attended a stitching retreat hosted by my LNS ... Thread & Eye. As always it was a fun time with an informative class. I highly recommend these retreats, there is something special about a whole weekend spent doing something you love with a room full of people who love the same thing! So good for the soul.
I arrived later than usual because I had to attend my convocation ceremony earlier in the day. As I walked down the stairs I received a rousing round of applause (I blushed) and tons of congratulations from my friends. Another pretty special moment. My friend Martha had a sign taped to my chair:
What a nutter! It certainly got a good laugh out of me! I kept it on my chair all weekend and I just kept on grinning.
During the evenings when we don't have class, I worked on some of the projects I brought with me. And I finally have a finish!
This is Welcome Sampler by Kincavel Krosses -- well, a truncated version. I started it as part of my Ultimate Crazy January Challenge (31 starts in 31 days) back in 2012. It needed to be done. This will one day hang on the wall of my office, when I get a professor job, that is.
There was lots of stitching, chatting, laughing, and finishing at this retreat (literally -- the class was about finishing ornaments). A good time was had by all.
It's so true ... stitchers (and knitters) are truly the very best kind of friends to have.
I've been sitting on this post for 2 weeks because I haven't wanted to share the loveliness and warm fuzzies. I wanted to keep them all to myself! But after a little bit of hogging the love, I just have to share the awesomeness.
Over the past 3 years as my grad school friends finished up and graduated, I would stitch them something to mark the momentous occasion of finishing a PhD. A few people got designs that were specific to them (my friend Jordana, who loves all things white, got a big hardanger piece), but the majority got a personalized version of Metamorphosis by Ink Circles.
I carefully chose fabric and thread that would appeal to each recipient. And the design itself, well, it symbolized the journey and the change that occurs when you work on an all-consuming project for years. I stitched this 4 times! While I was sick of stitching the same pattern, there was love in every stitch. I was very proud of my friends.
I finally finished my PhD in August and good wishes were sent by all. A few weeks later and I was back in the thick of things at work and when friends suggested a stitch night ... I was ecstatic. It would be just what I needed. I arrived at stitchy night and saw all sorts of cars in the driveway. I'm usually the first one to arrive, but I guess I was late that day.
I walked into my friend's house, into the dining room and everyone yelled "SURPRISE!" Aww shucks ... my very first surprise party ever! Hugs and congratulations all around, and then they presented me with a card and gift. I opened the card and it was one of those musical ones, but this one just had cheers and applause! I had to laugh; it was perfect.
Then the gift -- the moment I saw it I had an idea of what it was, but I couldn't believe they'd done it. Metamorphosis in a gorgeous purple gradient (one of my most favourite colours). Each element was stitched by a different person and they'd had it beautifully framed for me. I cried. I was so touched and overwhelmed that my friends, knowing what that design meant to me, went to so much trouble (and secrecy) to make me something so beautiful and special. I felt so loved.
It is, without a doubt, one of my most treasured possessions, and it will one day grace the wall of my office when I become a university professor. For now, it'll hang on my wall at home and remind me how much I am loved.
I feel like today is the perfect time to share this because today I walk across the stage and receive my degree. I will be, finally and officially, a doctor. I can't thank my friends enough for being my cheering squad and support system. Love you all.
I attended my very first knitting related festival and oh boy was I in trouble! I got an early start and arrived at the Woodstock Fleece Festival just after it opened. There was already quite a crowd gathered and it got busier as the morning progressed.
I did well ... I managed to do an entire tour of the barn before I bought anything. I went back to the very first vendor I visited and scooped up some lovely, bright sock yarn by Stitch Please Yarns. This is their Amethyst Label in Supreme Sovereign.
Then I headed to the main building and did a tour of the outer ring of vendors (I was looking for a specific vendor). Huzzah! Found what I was looking for: Zigzag Stitches, who makes the nicest project bags ever! I bought several ... they are beautifully made, wonderfully lined with lots of thoughtful details.
While I was in school full-time for the past 7 years, I rarely did any fun reading because I had so much school-related (often dry and boring) reading to do. I'm one of those readers who tends to devour books in single marathon sessions and that is not conducive to getting essays written.
Now that I'm done school, I (kind of) have the time to slow down and read. I know I'm a little behind the times in my choice of books at the moment (Game of Thrones), but seeing them wrapped in plastic on my shelf waiting for me to be done school was a pretty good motivator. Over the summer I had a lot of free time while waiting for my PhD defense, so I read a lot (though I managed to avoid too many marathon sessions ... I'm getting too old for that!) and got through the first 4 books in less than 2 months.
I started working again at the end of August, and my reading time has dwindled considerably, but I'm still plugging along with Dance with Dragons!
I've just recently picked up this project again. It's the Vortex shawl knit in Knitpicks Stroll Tonal in Summer Blooms. This was my first in-the-round project and I'm not even halfway done, but loving every stitch. It's a wonderfully relaxing knit.
Last May, while visiting friends in Indiana, my friend's 6-yr old son saw me knitting and asked me to knit him a scarf. It started off being a red scarf, but when we got to the the knitting store and he saw all the yarn and all the colours, he just couldn't decide. He wanted all the colours.
About 2 weeks ago I finally started on the scarf that I'd promised he'd have for Christmas:
Addition of ball 2 (I'm only using one colour repeat from each ball):
There were four gigantic balls of yarn purchased for this project. The cacophany of colours emerging on the scarf made me comment that this is what unicorn poop would look like -- rainbows.
Still have purple and pink to finish from ball 2. Then just 2 more balls to go.
It's actually a great knit (despite being acrylic). The pattern is No-Purl Ribbed Scarf by Purl Soho. It's super simple, easy to memorize, very ribby and stretchy, and it's almost impossible to screw up! Whenever I mess up, I know within two stitches, so correcting my slip ups is a breeze! I love things that make it easy for me to not screw up. I like this pattern enough that I might knit it again someday.
So I saw this somewhere on the internet (of course I didn't record where I saw it). I can't take credit for this idea, but I had to try it and share if it worked.
I always felt that yarn cakes are delicate things that would get tangled and dirty if handled too much (this might just be a me thing, not reality). Then I read about this trick where you protect yarn cakes by using the toe/foot of a pair of new nylons. I picked a nice pair of black ones (think more thick tights not sheer nylons).
It is a nice snug fit that keeps everything in place and can be handled, tossed in a bag, carried around, etc without much worry. I put in a brand spanking new cake and started knitting.
I loved it! The yarn was wonderfully protected and the outside of the cake didn't come loose and fall apart no matter how much I handled it. My only worry was if it would tangle and knot as it got smaller.
It did knot once or twice (which was way less frequently than I had expected), but the knots were pretty easy to resolve.