Settled

Hey friends!  I did not mean to be absent from this space for over a month but somehow time just got away from me and I never managed to sit back and write.  I’m happy to report that, other than hanging art on the walls, we are pretty much settled in our new home.  The house feels comfy and inviting and our new hood is turning out to be even better than we hoped for.  We have not met a lot of people yet, but the ones we have seem to be interesting and welcoming and the few events we have attended have been just fabulous. We are so happy to have made this move!

Home sweet home!

Home sweet home!

Over the past six weeks we have been working hard at setting up the house and Mr. Stitch’s furniture making studio (as an aside, for a peek at Mr. Stitch’s work check out his website), and plant a nice vegetable garden. A lot of it has been physical work, quite a change from sitting in an office all day long. In the beginning I went to bed sore every night and woke up each morning hurting in places I did not know one could hurt but I could actually feel myself getting stronger as the weeks went by.  I did manage to take some pictures to share with you – note that if you follow me on Instagram, a lot of these will be repeats.

I've been doing a lot of this, inside and outside. It's amazing how a coat of paint can provide an instant face lift.

I’ve been doing a lot of this, inside and outside. It’s amazing how a coat of paint can provide an instant face lift.

Mr. Stitch, battling the rototiller

Mr. Stitch, battling the rototiller before we planted the garden

It has not been all work.  We have attended events at a couple of nearby wineries and a distillery, entertained out first set of guests, dined at great local restaurants, and discovered a fabulous beach. I even managed to go to two knit nights at my new LYS.

The beach in Wellington, Prince Edward County

The beach in Wellington, Prince Edward County

Barrels of local wine

Barrels of local wine

Speaking of knit night, my sewing room was a disaster until recently.  I re-painted it and have now to put most everything in its right place.  In fact, I used my sewing machine for the first time yesterday to fix the hem on an FO I finished back in April and never blogged about. Since my energy has been spent at the end of each day, and because it took me so long to get to setting up the sewing room, I have mostly been knitting since the move.  Stay tuned for posts about freshly finished items.

This was the state of my sewing room until a couple of weeks ago.

This was the state of my sewing room until a couple of weeks ago.

It has been six weeks of moving furniture, unpacking, planting a garden, cleaning, fixing stuff around the house, cleaning, painting, weeding the garden, painting, more painting and more cleaning… you get the picture. It’s all been well worth it.  We feel settled and this place feels like home.

And now I am moving on to a different type of work: as of tomorrow I return to the practice of law at a small firm in town.  This will be a challenge as I learn an area of law that is new to me, but if there is something I have realized over time is that I am capable of learning and adapting and I am very much looking forward to this new professional challenge. Plus, I no longer have to wear a suit to work [**happy dance**]. Bring on those me-made clothes!

Mitzutama

Even though there has not been much sewing going on in these parts, there has been lots of knitting. In fact, knitting is the only crafting I did when I had the house full of visitors for weeks on end in March and April, and all I seem to want to do now in tandem with packing and getting ready for the another move. It seems so effortless and calming, so much more so than sewing.

Spring shawls!

Spring shawls!

Since I started knitting nine years ago I have been a self-professed monogamous knitter. Starteritis* is not an affliction I suffer from and, until recently, having more than one project on the go went totally against the grain of my organizational obsessions. Enter Mitzutama, the lovely (if tedious to knit) shawl that Kristin, Sara and I decided to cast-on for on a whim in an effort to accelerate spring’s arrival.

Look at all the pretty colours

Look at all the pretty colours

Here’s what happened: I casted on for Grace in early March and was moving right along with that sweater when I get an e-mail from Kristin with all sorts of distracting links to pretty spring knitting projects. This was the end of March. The weather at the time felt like it was the middle of winter and it had been about a million years since the sun graced Toronto with its presence. Sara, Kristin, and I decided that we could conjure better weather by marching down to our LYS, Ewe Knit, purchasing yarn in glorious spring colours, and knitting a pretty light weight shawl. Guess what: it worked!

I haven't got a clue what was so interesting atop that tree

I haven’t got a clue what was so interesting atop that tree

Knitting this project made me realize a few things:

  • I do not enjoy single plied yarn as much as I do the nice and plump plied variety.
  • Knitting lace is not my favourite thing in the world. I persevered, because I feel compelled to finish things, but the endless rows of YOs felt like a total chore.
  • My suspicions that I am a slow knitter were confirmed when Kristin and Sara finished this beauty in under two weeks and I was still going at it a month later.
  • While I am competitive about lots of things in life, I am not competitive about my crafting. It never once bothered me that I was slower than my friends and I realized that as a process knitter, I knit for meditation: knitting, even tedious YOs, calms down my over active brain.
  • This colour is impossible to photograph! It is closer to green than blue. It is almost like those green shades of Caribbean ocean one sees displayed on vacation brochures.
  • This shawl is extremely wearable. Check out the details of Kristin’s and Sara’s finished versions on Ravelry. My complete Ravelry notes can be found here.
Knitted polka-dots

Knitted polka-dots

I’m not going to lie to you: as a monogamous knitter setting Grace aside in favour of this make gave me a slight twitch, but I am happy to say that as a result I feel a bit more comfortable with the prospect of having more than one project on the go. I suspect that, so as not to go all twitchy on you, I will have to limit that to only two projects on the go at the same time. For now…

What about you: would you describe yourself as a monogamous knitter/sewist or do you have a chronic case of Starteritis?

*Starteritis, as defined by Miso Crafty Knits: “the uncontrollable urge to start project after project with no real concern or thought for when or if you’ll ever finish any of them in the near future.”

Change in Lifestyle

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to move from the big city to a small town? From a semi-detached home two blocks from the subway to an eight acre rural property in a place that requires you to have a vehicle in order to get from point A to point B? Leave your very secure job (and corresponding pension plan) to join the ranks of the self-employed? Skip the supermarket in favour of getting your own chicken coop and a large vegetable garden? Well, over the past few years Mr. Stitch and I have wondered often enough, and we’re about to find out: at the end of this week we are moving to a rural property in Prince Edward County, Ontario**.

Not our house, bur cool, no?

Not our new house, but cool, no?

We’re super excited, and perhaps I’m a little bit nervous as well, but most importantly we are happy to be moving in the direction of our dreams.

The next few weeks will be filled with change. I have the feeling that this change will make its way to this blog as I may want to document, alongside my crafty endeavours, the adventures we get up to in our new digs.

Packing

I could bore you to death with the details of our plans, but won’t do so because (a) you probably have better things to do, and (b) quite frankly, I’m a bit behind in my packing for the move (as well as in taking in taking photos of a few FOs for the blog). If, however, you have specific questions or would like more deets, feel free to ask in the comments or to shoot me a personal e-mail at stitchparade[at]gmail[dot]com

Tell me: what is the biggest change you have purposely undertaken in your life?

**For the record, had anyone told me ten years ago that I would be ditching the big smoke for a homestead in the country, I would have called them crazy to their face!

Sweet Temptation

Friends, it’s been a while! I had various out-of-town visitors staying with me every single weekend since mid-March up until the last weekend in April. My free time has been spent entertaining, preparing for a major move (again!), and very far away from the sewing room which has been good in many ways. I do have some FOs to show you on both the sewing and knitting fronts but I’ve been delinquent with picture-taking so I thought I’d ease back into things with my latest make: blankets for a couple of new wee babes born this spring.

All rolled up and ready to be gifted

All rolled up and ready to be gifted

For these simple blankets, I used two pieces of quilting cotton and a piece of batting for each one. Everything was cut 36” square and there was not fussing with binding: just layer your front and back pieces right sides facing each other, place the batting on top of these two pieces, and sew around the perimeter leaving 4” on one side. Flip right side out at the opening and then seal the deal by edge stitching the opening and, while you are at it, the entire perimeter as well for a more polished look. You may want to run some quilting lines as well, like I did on both of these. Easy, right? Well, not so fast. Initially I mistakenly sandwiched my batting between the pieces of quilting cotton and had to promptly unstitch all four sides when it became evident that after flipping right side out the batting would actually be showing on the outside. Duh!

For the baby girl: Japanese dolls.

For the baby girl: an army of Japanese dolls backed in purple.

The best part about this project is the fabulous store where the fabric and batting came from: Ewe Knit*. This place has got to be Toronto’s best kept secret. The yarn selection is vast, well organized, and exceptionally well curated. I have been known to order yarn from the U.S. because even after shipping charges are factored in, it tends to be cheaper than purchasing in Canada. Well, that is no longer the case because yarn is so well priced at Ewe Knit that getting stuff from the U.S. is no longer more affordable.

For the baby boy: foxes at play!

For the baby boy: foxes at play backed in polka-dots.

The only drawback to this fabulous store is that it has become an absolute dangerous place for me to visit. You see, as of a few months ago they expanded their inventory to include lovely quilting cottons, thread, buttons, and all the notions you may need for quilting. And then, in March, they brought in their first order of Liberty Tana Lawn. They also carry Victory Patterns and rumour has it that they will soon carry Deer & Doe patterns as well. You guys, I’m on a Stash Diet and this place is a five minute walk from my house – talk about sweet temptation!

Sweet Liberty Tana Lawn from Ewe Knit

Sweet Liberty Tana Lawn from Ewe Knit [Image source]

If you do not live in Toronto but would like to be tempted get in on the action, fear not: in addition to the brick and mortar shop Ewe Knit also has an online store. On orders of more than $110 they offer very affordable flat shipping rates (only $10 to the U.S. and Canada), and if you get carried away and order more than $110, shipping is always free. Recently the store introduced a loyalty system so that you get 5% back on all of your purchases and the good news is that this system is also extended to online customers. Go on, check them out, you know you want to!

And on that note, I have a piece of Liberty** to attend to on my cutting table. Pictures of some more interesting FOs coming soon. That’s a promise.

*Yes I bought fabric, but because these are gifts the fabric purchase is outside the scope of the Stash Diet.

** I may or may not also have bought some Liberty from Ewe Knit, which may have gone against my Stash Diet pledge. Ooops!