Monday, January 31, 2011

I'm good

Geez, where does the time go, eh? Almost a week since my last post, and nothing really fascinating to show for it, sadly. We're plodding along, trying to get back to a normal routine with Émilie and Maxime, and I find myself preferring to knit in the evenings rather than write about knitting. Go figure.

The latest projects to come off my needles have been, I think, pretty gosh darn sweet. As much as the Knitting Fates can be cruel and ruthless mistresses, they've been good to me with Castlegar and the Non-Cookie KAL Estonian socks. Everytime I think about these projects, I get an infusion of knitterly pride. I really can't wait for you to see. I keep envisioning the fantastic, Brooklyn Tweed-y shots I'm going to take, how fabulous the knitwear will look (not to mention - let's be honest - me). Awesome stuff, people.

Obviously, these "perfect knitwear" shots will require natural light. And a great location. And me looking fit and rested and not having zits on my face. All things that I totally have it in my power to pull off (in theory. The "rested and zitless" thing is a total crapshoot). Except that, for some reason, Phil and I just Could. Not. manage to get our acts together at the same time this weekend. If he was available, I was stepping off the treadmill or coming back from yoga (red, sweaty faced Tara-shots? Gee let me think...). If I was available, he was running out to do the groceries or heading out to go kite-skiing. Stuff like that, only All. Weekend. Long. And despite all my good intensions, turns out that being both the model AND the photographer/artistic director is kinda hard. For instance, this (kinda cool) shot of Castlegar was all I managed by myself. *Sigh*

But fear not! Today's post is going to be all about the WIPs. (Wait, make that the active WIPs. We're not going to discuss projects that are hibernating or in a time-out right now.) I can totally take pictures of those by myself, right?

Imagine my surprise when I only had one WIP to show you. One. One project on the needles right now. I was stunned. I've totally got my knitting mojo back, and yet... only one project? What was up with that?

Then I stopped and actually looked at what I was knitting. Oh.

And the (slightly blurry) reverse, because I know someone's going to want to see all it's floaty glory.

Turns out knitting a Bohus pattern is totally satisfying. That might change when I'm knitting the simple scarf to go with the hat, but for now? I'm good.

Happy Knitting, Everyone!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

More than Random

In what I believe is a testament to the very spirit of Random Monday, I'm doing it on a Wednesday. Because, as my mum used to say, sometimes that's just the way the cookie crumbles.

  1. I know many of you have been worrying, so I'll just give you the bad news now: I won't have enough yarn to make Émilie's second Mother-Daughter sock as it is. Despite me giving them my best puppy-dog eyes, the Knitting Fates have chosen to exact their prerogative and have smote smited screwed me over completely.
  2. I'd be devastated, except that I'm riding a superb knitterly high after completeling my Non-Cookie KAL Estonian Socks, and they couldn't be cooler.
  3. I realize it's hard for you to bask in the coolness of the Estonian Socks without pictures. I'll take some soon. Right after I take pictures of Castlegar. And oh, of the Aestlight shawl I finished. Yup, totally on it.
  4. The high of a Job Well Done is so intoxicating that I felt invincible enough to tackle the Bohus kit I've had in the stash for 2 years. Wild Apples Hat and Scarf Kit (scroll down on the link). Shit's gonna be Off. The. Hook.
  5. Kate and I are starting my sewing project tonight. I'm very psyched. Thinking maybe we shouldn't indulge in our habitual Knit Night bottle of wine though. Should be fun anyway.
  6. Émilie got a card from a boy in her class. I'd say it's a Get Well Card, but as I recall, Get Well cards don't usually come covered in hearts, kisses and messages like "Je t'aime" and "Je m'ennuie de toi, Émilie".
  7. While Daddy doesn't quite know what to make of the card, but is pretty sure he should be concerned, I think it's absolutely adorable. I'm especially happy that the kid was thoughtful enough to enclose a picture for us to oggle Émilie.
  8. The card is SO going in the "Blackmail Émilie Box" (Insert maniacal laughter here).
  9. Émilie went back to school for a half-day today. Her class was writing a math exam, and her teacher let her participate, even though she hasn't been in class since before the Christmas break. She got 100%. Hah!

Carry on, Knitters!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Complex Woman

You know, for someone who felt that knitting was self-indulgent a few weeks ago, there has certainly been a fair amount of self-congratulatory stash enhancement over the past month!

Naturally, there was some pre-Christmas "to me, from me, with love" yarn pron. I totally splurged and bought myself... Wait. Can you guess what it is?

Yup, it's a sweater's worth of SHELTER (Mmmmm, Jared Floooooood). I prefer to call it my Kerrera in the act of becoming, though :) Can't WAIT to knit this up.

I also had a small yarn accident at the LYS when I found out that Mission Falls was closing up shop for good. The idea that I would never be able to buy any Mission Falls EVER AGAIN sort of got to me, and before you could say "yarn diet" I had snapped up their entire selection of 136 Merino in colours I liked.

9 balls of this neutral grey (colourway 003)

5 balls of Forest Green (colourway 016)

5 balls of this lovely Wine Red (colourway 029)

So that's 19 balls of Mission Falls... Like I said, I had a wee accident. Total investment stashage though, and I regret nothing (ask me again when my credit card bill makes a dent in my mailbox).

But that's not all! I mentioned yesterday that Kate-the-Enabler, Émilie and I went on a little shopping expedition this week. It's a trip that's been in the works for quite some time, and we finally got our acts together yesterday. It was glorious, magnificent, great fun, and I think I may have discovered my new happy place. No, I'm not talking about a new LYS or a cashmere warehouse, I'm talking about... the fabric store.

We bought everything I'll need to make my first ever sewing project (the quilted lunch bag you see in the photo above), and I'm totally stoked to get started. Totally. Stoked. I was quite determined to be responsible (what?) and only buy what I'd need for this one project, but... well... everything was just so PRITTY!!!

Yup. I haven't even begun to sew yet, and I've already got a fabric stash.... *Sigh*

Happy Knitting (and sewing!), Everyone!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Crafting is afoot

I don't know if knitting can be considered "crafting", but it's certainly MY creative outlet. I get a real kick out of looking at patterns (really Tara?) and fondling smelling drooling over playing working with yarn (you DON'T say?), and the process of knitting is incredibly soothing to me. To be honest, the fact that I usually end up with a finished object is just a bonus!

Now, I realize I said that knitting and obsessing thinking about knitting was self-indulgent when all the tumour-related fit starting hitting the shan chez Dear, but that doesn't mean that I stopped knitting entirely during this whole ordeal. Knitting, I quickly realized, is a big part of my "mental fitness" regimen.

To wit: the day of Émilie's surgery. I don't think I would have gotten through it without my knitting! I knew I needed something mindless, and a plain, no frills sock seemed like a good bet.

No sooner had I decided to knit a sock than this Zen Yarn Garden Duets Squooshy sock yarn I've had in the stash for... heck, I don't know HOW long, practically leapt out of one of the sock yarn drawer and into my knitting bag. I don't know why, the colours just made me happy. And the best part?

If all goes according to plan (please, please, PLEASE don't smite me down, Knitting Fates!), I should have enough yarn to make matching Mother/Daughter socks :)

Speaking of Émilie, she's been crafting as well! Phil bought her some pastels and other drawing supplies earlier this week, and she's been drawing up a storm! We had fun drawing and colouring together yesterday afternoon, even though (I hate to say it), I'm getting a wee bit tired of her "horses and unicorns" phase. Hoping she moves on to another animal soon (says the woman who obsessed over Black Beauty for 5 years straight...).

Hmmm.... I was going to talk about a shopping trip Kate-the-Enabler, Émilie and I took yesterday, but I think I'll save that for tomorrow! Suffice it to say: I'm back!

Happy Knitting, Everyone!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


As I've gotten older (though not necessarily wiser), like many people I've lost my faith. I'm not talking about Faith in God or organized religion or anything precise like that (that's a discussion I'm SO not going to get into here), I mean my faith in the basic goodness - or rather the unselfishness, the altruism, the capacity to love and care for your fellow human - of people. I try not to make judgments on anyone according to MY standards ('cause really, who the heck am I, anyway?), and of course I like to believe I've surrounded myself with the BEST kind of people... But we're all struggling through the same thing, trying to negociate our way through this crazy maze of maintaining personal relationships, raising children, working, paying bills, etc., etc. It can be hard enough to think of yourself, let alone think of others.

Which is why the response we've received from friends and family, even people we've never met, over the course of this ordeal, has simply overwhelmed me:

  • My beloved Enabler, Kate, made us meals while Phil and I were pulling 30-hour shifts at the hospital;
  • My fab friends Robyn and Jennifer sent care packages for Émilie and Maxime;
  • Caroline sent me a lovely pattern (Sea Princess) for when I get my mojo back;
  • My father drove down on the day of Émilie's surgery to spend the day with us;
  • My online peep Sinéad sent along a fabulous hat for Émilie, a beautiful scarf for me, as well as a book;
  • Phil's employers gave Émilie a PSP (hah! How times have changed from when I got my tonsils out...);
  • Both Phil's and my parents pitched in with baby-sitting services when we were at the hospital and Maxime needed some TLC of his own;
  • And today, we received an incredible painting of Émilie from one of Phil's kiting friends. A lovely man we've met ONCE, and who's never even met Émilie.

That's not counting the flowers, the good wishes, the prayers and good vibes that have made their way to us over the past few weeks. It's been truly wonderful to see how people have responded. And it's paid off! We received the pathologist's report today, and were relieved beyond measure that Émilie's tumour is (was!) benign. Apparently, if you're going to get a brain tumour, hers is the one to get.

So thanks, friends. You've made a believer out of me once more.

Back to knitting content tomorrow!!!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Ten hours

That's how long Émilie's surgery was on Thursday: ten hours of worry, of hoping, praying, panicking, and knitting (well, for me, anyway). It was a long day.

But the good news is that the neuro-surgeon estimates that he removed 90-95% of the tumour, preliminary testing still points to it being benign, and there was no visible damage to the auditory or facial nerves. They extubated her really quickly, and we were able to see her in post-op. She spent the night in the ICU, and was released back to her own room yesterday morning.

I spent the day (and night, but that's another story...) with her yesterday, and by the end of the day she was eating and drinking. By this morning she was insisting I go to the cafeteria to get her some breakfast, because the tray wasn't coming fast enough to her liking, and by 2 this afternoon she had been transferred to a fancy-pants wheelchair to take a tour of the ward.

Ten hours of brain surgery. And less than 48 hours later, she's out of bed, colouring, and bossing her father and I around as always. The kid's amazing.

Happy Knitting Everyone.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011


Thanks to everyone for all the good wishes we received after Saturday's post. It really meant a lot to us that so many of you took the time to express your concern for Émilie and wish us a Happy New Year.

Sadly, the year still had some surprises for us. Émilie's surgery - which had been scheduled for 8 AM this morning - was postponed at the last possible minute, due to a lack of space for her in the Intensive Care Unit. Apparently they're overrun with flu/pneumonia cases etc., and they had an emergency cardiology case as well that took precedence over Émilie, even though her case is considered a semi-urgent priority at this point.

The surgery is now scheduled for Thursday morning. We're home again, and we've had a good day. But of course, now we get to start all over tomorrow night, the stress of getting her settled, yet more blood tests (you know, in case she changes types in 2 days...), the restless night at her side, the fear and doubt on the morning of the surgery... And the frustrating thing is that the doctors still can't guarantee that she'll be operated on Thursday.

Despite it all, Émilie's spirits are still fairly high. She's worried about the surgery, but not in the way an adult would be, which is a blessing. She isn't concerned about the outcome of the surgery, isn't aware of the risks... All she's worried about is whether it'll hurt, whether she'll be able to hear once the operation is over, and what she'll look like without any hair afterward.

As far as her father and I are concerned, she'll still be the most beautiful little girl we know.

Happy Knitting, Everyone.

Saturday, January 1, 2011


There is no knitting in this post, nor will there be any knitting related content on this blog for quite some time. Knitting, yarn, the endless hours I spent obsessing about such and such a project... it all seems pretty fucking self-indulgent at this point.

Émilie's Mystery Health Issues aren't a mystery any more. She had an MRI on Wednesday, December 29th, and the results showed a large tumour growing in the posterior fossa region of her brain. It's compressing her facial and auditory nerves, which explains the facial paralysis and hearing loss on her right side. She's scheduled for neuro-surgery on Tuesday, January 4th, at 8 AM. If she doesn't have the surgery, the tumour will continue to grow until it compresses her brainstem, and she'll die. It's that simple.

Obviously, Phil and I (and all of our family and friends) are in complete shock. There's a profound sense of disbelief about the whole situation, and a hefty dose of fear as well. For my part, I'm overwhelmed with sadness. I'm heartbroken that my bright, beautiful, 6 year-old daughter has to go through something like this. I can barely breathe from the weight of my chagrin.

Many people have expressed their hesitation at wishing me a happy new year over the past few days. For some reason, they feel it's inappropriate, given everything our family is faced with, the challenges that lie ahead. But I couldn't disagree more. We're entering this new year in total darkness. What could be more appropriate, what could be more welcome, than good wishes of health, prosperity, and happiness for 2011? Don't hesitate: bring those good wishes on. We need all the positivity we can get.

Happy Knitting, everyone. May 2011 bring you all the blessings you seek.