Friday, November 21, 2008


The Yarn Harlot’s post about her daughter’s room struck a chord with me. I’ve now moved out of my parents’ house twice. The first time around my sister moved into my room barely after I left. She had her own perfectly good room but mine had the cool built in bookcases and window seat and apparently she had been coveting it for years. She didn’t change much about it. She put up posters of anime characters and koalas but the essence of the room stayed the same. Two years later when I moved back so that I could finish school without acquiring another 10,000 in debt I moved into the office/guest room, a space that was never really mine. When Robyn moved out in March I reclaimed my old room, the one I had painted with my own hands, the one with the bookcases that a family friend installed especially for me shortly after we moved in.

Last weekend I visited my parents’ house for the first time since the move and saw my old room. It’s recently been painted taupe and most of the remnants of my former presence there are gone. And I have to admit, it felt strange. I know this is totally normal (I am 26 after all) but it is still strange to think that it is no longer my home. See, even when I lived away before, my parents’ house was still always referred to as ‘home.’ I was living in either cramped spaces or with roommates and these places never felt like mine. Now however, my parents house really isn’t home anymore. Home is with Andrew and though I am excited and happy about that it's still a little strange.

While we were visiting my parents’ on the weekend my mom started talking about Christmas and the tree. For the past 10 years my family has had two Christmas trees: my mother’s theme tree and the family tree which was decorated with the miscellaneous ornaments my sister and I have collected over the years. For years now Robyn and I have discussed and negotiated over whose ornaments are whose and last weekend my mother asked if I would be taking mine and if we needed to have the second tree. I know I should say it’s time for Robyn and me not to have our tree since neither of us live there but I’m not ready yet. Maybe next year.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Bits and Pieces

This was the weekend of the small project. I didn’t even touch Andrew’s sweater (sorry love). Instead I worked on my koolhaas and a sock I started ages ago. In my defense my head is getting cold in the mornings so I need a hat and I also need socks so that I can stop stealing Andrew’s. I don’t want to go out and buy more store bought socks of my own when I have plenty of socks. They’re just in yarn form that’s all.

I’ve started the second to last repeat of the koolhaas before I can start the decreases. I’ve finally learned that with my thick hair I need to knit the larger size for hats. Hats are the only item where I don’t knit the small version. I really enjoy this pattern, especially now that I have master cabling without a cable needle and have the pattern memorized. It goes really fast. And of course the Malabrigo I’m using is buttery soft.

As for the socks. I picked up the yarn at Gibsons and cast on a sock right away. Unfortunately I got almost half way through the foot before I could no longer deny that it was going to be too big. I guess I over compensated for my usual habit of making socks too small. So before we left for France I cast on another sock with fewer stitches. I made a lot of progress on the flight but unfortunately my needle tip broke and the sock went into hibernation.

For some reason, this weekend I was consumed with the desire to have some more handknit socks so I got out the super glue and fixed the needle and picked the sock back up. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that I’d gotten farther along than I’d thought. I’d thought that I had done the ribbing and maybe a few rows of leg but I actually had most of the leg too. I finished the sock before going to bed last night.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Oh right, knitting

Did I ever mention I was moving? Back in September Andrew and I made the big decision to move in together. We found a place shortly after returning to Paris. It’s located in a nice area, about 15 minutes by bus to work for me and about 40 minutes by bike (his preferred commuting method) to work for him. Once the Canada Line comes in next year it will be even faster. It’s a decent size but seems huge to me because I’ve never had free reign over so much space before. I’ve always either lived in tiny shoe boxes by myself or with roommates and somehow never felt very at home in the common areas. This time I was able to arrange the furniture mostly how I wanted it.

And the best part, this:

That is my yarn corner. I managed to convince Andrew to let me have half of the back room for yarn and fibre. It’s not huge but I have never had a dedicated place for this stuff before. I had a ball organizing my stash into the boxes. Though I had to laugh when after I ran our of storage bins before running out of yarn, Andrew looked at the pile of yarn and commented “you still have a lot of yarn,” then, looked in another box and commented “you REALLY have a lot of yarn.” An appropriate response from someone who’s just realized how much yarn he’s actually moved in with. Mind you I also realized just how much sports equipment I’ve moved in with. And yarn smells a lot better.

Now that the move is more or less over, I can get back to more knitting. Indeed I’ve been making up for lost time the last few days. I’m working on a Fog Sweater for Andrew. It’s a good mindless project at the moment and it’s growing a little faster now that I’ve switched to the larger needles. It felt like it took forever to get to three inches on the bottom ribbing. I had to go out and buy a new Addi needle because the one I had disappeared in the move but since I am now within walking distance to the yarn store that wasn’t a big deal. I’m also working a little at finishing my Central Park Hoodie. I’m working on the sleeves now. I really want to be able to wear this soon. To satisfy a lace itch I picked up the Icarus I cast on a month back. I hadn’t gotten far on it but I completed the first repeat of chart 1 yesterday. So far I’m liking it. I’m using Plucky Knitter’s silky merino laceweight in Hot House Orchid. I fell in love with this yarn on a visit to Village Yarn and Tea near Seattle. Gorgeous stuff.

I’ve also got some smaller projects, a hat and a few socks ongoing as well but those are mostly on the backburner at the moment. I’ll pick them back up once the Fog Sweater gets too big to take on the bus.

5 long years

On October 9th the brutal workload of January – August paid off. After 5 long years I finally got to walk across the stage at SFU and graduate.

I was expecting it to be kind of anti-climactic. I’ve been working full time for over two years now and haven’t felt like a real student for quite a while. It didn’t end up feeling anti-climactic at all.

After many years of seeing the grads walking around campus in their blue gowns, it was finally my turn. Believe me, there were many times when I thought that day would never come. My last two semesters were a real struggle. I had a terrible case of senioritis and it was difficult to get motivated. I also felt disconnected from my fellow students since most of my peers had already finished.

The best part of the day? Sharing it with the people who mean the most to me. My parents, who stressed the importance of education early on in my life and helped provide me with resources to pursue it. My sister, who can be annoying as hell but is always there when the chips are down and Andrew, who put up a lot from me that last semester. Indeed, it could have been the downfall of our burgeoning relationship. There are a lot of people who wouldn’t have been happy to watch me study or let me hole myself up at their apartment writing a paper because I couldn’t concentrate at home. He has been incredibly supportive and patient and most importantly, incredibly encouraging. So it was very special to have the four of them there.

The five years of my undergrad saw a lot of changes to my life. It was more than just a chapter. In any case, I’m glad it’s over.

Ah Paris!

I’ve been meaning to post about Paris for over a month but it’s been so hectic around here that I haven’t had a chance. Not to mention it’s hard to put the trip into words. It was a great but very busy trip. It was also so different from the last time I was there. Here’s some back story. I went to Paris twice during my solo backpacking trip a couple of years ago. The second time around a relationship I had been putting a lot of energy into saving came to a disastrous end. That, added to my homesickness helped cause a breakdown that took months to recover from.

Returning to Paris has always been something I felt I needed to do. I didn’t want my last memories of the city to be calling my sister in tears from the train station because she’d be the only one awake back home (she keeps odd hours). This trip certainly did an excellent job of overshadowing the less pleasant memories. The most important thing for me about this trip was going to the Orsay. It’s the museum I have wanted to visit more than any other and it is also the one I didn’t visit because I was too much of a mess. It was absolutely worth the trip. I saw paintings I’ve admired in books for years and discovered new ones. I got teary a time or two. Art galleries can have that effect on me. We spent four hours there and I give Andrew many many kudos for not wanting to rush through.

Even though I’d been to Paris before, there wasn’t a lot of repetition on this trip. I’d been to Notre Dame before but never climbed the towers (amazing view). I never went to the top of the Eiffel tower (worth doing once, probably not twice). And I probably wouldn’t have chosen to visit a few of the places we did but I enjoyed them.

Versailles was the other highlight besides the Orsay. The Chateau is nice but very crowded but the rest of the grounds were really, really nice. It’s too bad so many people focus on the Chateau. My favourite part was the little hamlet Marie Antoinette had built. It has all these quaint little houses. It was very beautiful and even better, we mostly had it to ourselves.

I visited two yarn stores while we were there: Cat’Laine and La Droguerie. I was at La Droguerie on a Saturday which may have been a poor choice. It was very busy and their system was confusing to me. You line up and wait your turn for someone to help you. They’ll help you choose your yarn and get it for you. You can’t take something from a shelf and go buy it like I’m used to. I guess it was a bit of LYS culture shock. I did get some nice alpaca and some linen yarn though.

I did bring knitting and had no trouble knitting on the plane in either direction. In fact, I went through security three times. I went through in Vancouver on the way to Paris with my bamboo DPNs and an addi circ without incident. On the way back I opted to take only my sock in progress on bamboo DPNs because I had read on Ravelry that metal needles can be a problem at Charles de Gaulle. I got my bag searched in Paris but they were more interested in the chocolates than in the needles. The screener didn’t say a thing about them. We had to claim our bags in Montreal to go through customs so I had a chance to reclaim my addi needle (and the hat on it). Once again it wasn’t a problem.

Unfortunately I didn’t get a whole lot of knitting done. I made some progress on a sock on the flight over before my needle broke. I tried to knit a bit of Empoisonnee but ended up ripping it all back. I’m pretty sure there’s an error in the pattern but I haven’t seen any errata for it yet. On the way back I started another koolhaas, for me this time because it’s getting cold.