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What have I been up to

Well it looks like I was just about to go to Summer School in 2009 when I was last active so here’s a very brief update on the last few years.

2009 – Summer School was great and we had a lot of fun with the dying. Went up to Scotland over the New Year but all the rivers were frozen and the only paddling the group did was on the Wii in the lounge of the cottage we were staying in.

2010 – Had a great trip to Canada in June as I became an Aunt again – to a beautiful little girl. One of each flavour now. Had a brilliant time as part of the Crew at KnitNation. Had a great time in August at my Grandma’s five yearly reunion in North Bay.

2011 – Trip back to North Bay in February for Grandma’s funeral, it was nice to see everyone again but I wonder if we’ll have the reunion again without her. Didn’t go to the Association Summer School but went to the Heritage Weavers, Spinners, and Dyers conference in Calgary. Volunteered again on the KnitNation crew and managed to win a lovely prize at the Bingo while there. Celebrated ten years of marriage by DH going to a paddling symposium in the US – Not sure we’ve managed to be in the same place (or even the same country) for very many of the anniversaries so it’s now a tradition. Went to Top Gear Live and really enjoyed the show.

2012 – Spent far too much time at the Hendricks venue at the Brighton Fringe (well they had some great shows, and lots of gin). Had a holiday in June with my family in Tofino, BC for my Parent’s fortieth anniversary. I was a Gamesmaker for the Paralympics and had a great time in Event Services for the Archery and Shooting at the Royal Artillery Barracks. I also got to go to the technical rehearsal for the opening ceremony for the Olympics – although my knitting was confiscated by security so I had to sacrifice my needles for both my projects. We managed to get tickets to the Women’s Quarterfinals for the Beach Volleyball – great day out and a fun time. Had a fun time at Lee Valley when DH got his new boat in November – a custom paintjob of a Union Jack on a 2013 Jackson Star. Lots of interested looks and it was fun taking photos of him on the Olympic Slalom course. Another trip to Tog Gear Live in October then a Spinning weekend in the New Forest in November. Became an Auntie again (another nephew) and spend the New Year in Wales – where this time there was lots of water for the paddlers.

2013 – Kind of a mixed year…

On the negative side, I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer in March so had six sessions of Chemo from April to July followed by a mastectomy at the beginning of September and Radiation throughout November. The oncologists said it looks to have been successful so it’s Tamoxifen for five years and reconstruction surgery (including a free tummy tuck) sometime in late 2014. DH and I both lost our jobs – finding out on the same day which was a bit annoying. Mine wasn’t a surprise – we’d been advised they were proposing this in February and in May we found out that our department was being outsourced so my last date of work was Dec 27th although I’d been off on sick leave since June. DH finished at the end of May but started a new job in High Wycombe in the middle of July. I’ll be starting to look for work in High Wycombe as we’re renting a flat up here but we’ll be keeping the Brighton flat for the time being.

Treatment wasn’t too bad – Chemo was the worst but apart from one stint in the hospital with low blood counts it was OK. Occasional nausea and tiredness as well as the hair loss were the main side effects. I didn’t bother getting a wig – just used head scarves – and it was actually really comfortable since it was right in the middle of a huge heatwave in July. It’s grown back and is looking good now. I had a port-a-cath put in so that I could have blood tests and treatment more easily. It makes everything so much easier as they don’t need to look for veins – just put the special needle through the port – I’d recommend anyone going through any kind of long term treatment to ask their doctors about them. I was surprised at how little pain there was after the surgery and I was back on my feet (although taking it easy) really quickly. Make sure you do the exercises they gave you – I did for the first week or two then slipped into the habit of just using it as normal and making sure I stretched it when I had a chance. It worked for me – it might not work for others though. Radiation was the easiest treatment – it’s a lot of sitting around waiting for your turn on the machine – then they pose you on the table, read out a series of numbers to each other while they position you, then leave the room while the machine buzzes. I can’t thank the nurses enough – they do an amazing job and I’ve been really impressed with the treatment I’ve had from them and the NHS throughout this.

On the positive side for 2013 – I became an Auntie again in July – a little girl this time so my brother and sister have one of each now. I had a great visit back to Calgary in January and again for Christmas. My parents both came for a visit in May and Mom came again for three weeks around the surgery – although luckily I didn’t really need too much help getting around. I went to Summer School again – dying with Madder for the week and we made Turkey Red.

Hopefully 2014 will be better.


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Welcome Back

It’s been a while since I dipped my toes into blogland but I ran across an interesting challenge that I think will bring me back to it.

The challenge posted on is to do a blog post a week about an ancestor throughout 2014 – it could be something interesting about them or they could be causing a roadblock in your research, or it could just be a way to share something new.

I’m going to ignore the fact that I may have already filed the challenge as the first week of the year is almost over. Since I’m starting out with the blog I’ll dedicate the first week to sorting it out and giving my general research interests. I guess that means that my first week’s ancestor may be myself

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I’ve been busy

I’ve been a lazy blogger recently (but at least it gave me more knitting time) and I’m sure I have a few finished projects that I haven’t shared.

I’m noticing that although I continue to largely be a process knitter and have chronic Startitis that I actually seem to be finishing projects and I don’t seem to have quite so many hanging around. I’ve posted Ravelry Links for now as I am due to leave very shortly for Summer School.

Finished off:
2 Shawls (a Forest Canopy for my Mom and Cleite for my Grandmother). Both of these have been started and finished since the end of May.
1 Pair of Socks (Over the Garden Wall from the March Socktopus Sock Club)
1 Toddler Sweater for my nephew (Tulip… it was meant to be his Christmas present but luckily he is quite skinny and the pattern is easy to enlarge by adding more stripes)

Almost Finished:
2 Pairs of Socks (Outside In from Knitty, and Heart and Sole from the May/June Socktopus Sock Club)

1 Shawl (Aurantium Blossom, a Mystery Shawl by Socktopus through Twitter)

These last 3 are going to Summer School with me as well as a couple Spindles to Spin. I’m not quite sure I’ve grasped that they plan to keep me busy learning to eye.

I’m a bit worried as I think I may be catching a bit of a sewing bug as well. I have made the The X Bag Pattern by Four Corners Designs in a couple prints I picked up in Calgary to take for my purse for Summer School. Although they are not actual Shibori pieces that look like them. I also designed and made myself a padded spindle bag yesterday for no particular reason at all.

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Spinning Fun

It’s been a while since I posted and I have been busy spinning this month for the Tour De Fleece group on Ravelry. I’ve also taken the Superspin 2 class offered by Diane through Socktopus and have learned loads and the talk at the Guild this month by Jan Blight on A Diagonal look at Spinning was so much more relevant than it would have been a month ago.

I still haven’t replaced the camera so here are a few things I’ve been doing:



Row 1 L-R 1. BFL Singles, 2. BFL Singles, 3. Two Ply, 4. Two Ply closeup
Row 2 L-R 1. Three Ply, 2. Three Ply closeup, 3. Navajo Ply, 4. Navajo Ply closeup
Row 3 L-R (All spun on the train on the way up) 1. Camel – long draw, 2. Camel closeup, 3. Cotton – spun from the seed, 4. Cotton closeup
Row 4 L-R 1. Spindlefrog Batt, 2. Batt closeup, 3. Batt closeup, 4. Knitting Goddess Roving – for future spinning

I’ve had more good new – I’ve also won a prize on Ravelry for the Tour De Fleece in the Great Random Prize Thread, can’t wait to see what my prize will be.

I’ll have to post again before the weekend as I am off to Summer School and I’ve been insanely productive on the finishing front as well.

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Across The Sea

It is so nice to have the week off – I’m sitting here enjoying the Canadian sunshine and having a great time seeing all the family. I’m not sure the tan is advancing much but the knitting is – I’ve started and almost finished a Forst Canopy Shawl for my Mom and have picked up my Tulip Cardigan for my nephew. It was supposed to be his Christmas present so it is lucky he is quite skinny as I will just need to add some extra stripes to the body and arms for it to fit him.

We had a great visit to Shuttleworks yesterday so I now have all my Christmas presents from my parents… I wonder if this means I can open them and start using them now? Today I’m spending the day with my nephew and tomorrow I’ll be going to the quilt festival at Heritiage Park.

Unfortunately there are no pictures yet as I managed to leave the camera in the UK. Luckily since I’m with family I can borrow others though so I should have some pictures at some time.

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I Aten’t Dead….

Hmmm I seem to have disappeared for a few months there…. What have I been up to?

Well January was quite a while ago and other than a lovely spinning day up in London after the New Year and finishing Laminaria I honestly can’t remember what I got up to.

February was a blur of frantic knitting as I was working on (and to my credit actually finishing) my Socktopus Sock Club socks from 2008 and my first one of 2009. I made it just under the wire finishing my Hopscotch and Tear My Soles socks before the end of February as well as my Om Shanti Bed socks from the January parcel. I am still trying to decide where I’ll sew all my Sock club finishing badges but they are a great incentive to actually knit up the kits.

March brought a great Workshop at Socktopus – A Sock Design workshop with CookieA. I learned so much and am starting to look at patterns with a more knowledgeable eye as a result of it. I had already heavily modified my Tear My Soles when i made them but I will feel much more confident adapting patterns in future.

We started our own sock designs in the class and I have continued with mine adapting as I go on. I am beginning to think that a 44 row x 34stitch (originally 30 but I have modified it as it was too tight) cable from one of the Barbara Walker Treasuries may be a bit of a large pattern but it is looking really good so far so I will continue with it and see how it turns out.

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Welcome back

Welcome back to work for everyone who was able to take a long break. I was working over it for the first time in quite a while so it was a bit of a shock to the system but at least it meant I didn’t have hundreds of emails that needed to be urgently answered today.

It looks like books are on everyone’s mind and a variety of reading goals are popping up on blogs everywhere. If anything I need to read less so I will avoid setting myself any reading goals. Check out the competition Justine is having though as it is a fun literery topic (so many I could have chosen). Let her know I sent you if you want to enter and have fun.

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