Wednesday 14 February 2024

Back to the start, or maybe come full circle, or who knows what


That was the first ever photo I posted to my instagram account @yarnlab. Way back in March of 2015.

And this is the first ever photo I posted to my new one, @sara_yarnlab, February of 2024.

In an instant today I lost almost a decade to the interwebs.

There is so much time between those two photos, so much life lived, tears cried and joys shared. So many stitches knit, and ripped and woven and torn.

And yet I don't think I'm much different than I was then. Maybe I can achieve what I am setting out to this time.

That first photo is of some yarn, recycled from a sweater and dyed on my stovetop, with food colouring. I had these grand plans to sell recycled and redyed yarn at markets, and I even managed to do so a couple of times.

Here's a photo I took just a month earlier.

I had just come back from a trip to Hawaii, for the Wanderlust Yoga retreat (festival?) where I had discovered something about myself. I really wanted my life to be a more creative pursuit. 

I was desperately unhappy at grad school, with anxiety attacks and depression and who knows what. I was taking some much needed me time, and all I wanted to do was create and plan a life after my doctorate where I could spend my time being creative. 

(grad school me)

I was on a beach in paradise and spinning yarn on a drop spindle and in bliss. I can still look at that picture and feel it. Deeply.

But I had to finish my degree first, or I would hate myself for giving up.

And then months later we found out we were pregnant with the twins.

And we spend the next 7 or so years on that treadmill, speed turned up to max, running to keep up.

And just as things started to settle, around November 2022, I began to think again about my goals and what I wanted. I focused on a mantra of 'if not now, then when'.

Look at me, smiling and out running and wearing wool and motivated AF.

And then Bam, kick me in my soul why don't you. I got f*ing cancer!

Yet I still produced videos and knitting and goodness. I met the YouTube goals (more on those later) that I set for 2023, I chugged along, motivated and strengthened by what I wanted. By the end goal. 

And just like on that beach with that spindle, I can see what I want and dang it I'm going after it. 

And did this post make any sense at all? Maybe not to you, but to me it did. 

(Some singles waiting to be plied)

Wednesday 10 January 2024

Mad Hatter Quilt Block - Art East Quilting Co Mad Quilt Party


Friends I pieced together some cake today.

From pieces that have been sitting on my table since I want to say mid November.

From a block of the month that I promised myself I wouldn't get behind on (so much for that).

I also finished putting together the Mad Hatter (I may need to stick a 10/6 price tag on his hat later on).

These blocks are from the spectacular Art East Quilting Co. and their Mad Quilt Party annual quilt along. The fabrics are all Tula Pink True Colors by Free Spirit Fabrics, so you know you can't go wrong there.

And sure, do I have another quilt kit similarily themed?

Tula Pinks Mad Hatter's Tea Party Quilt

But I am a sucker for a good block of the month, and for starting way too many projects without finishing them. So you know, how it goes.

I've already finished month 2, the March Hare and his pocket watch.

And month 1, Alice, of course. 

The kit and pattern have been spectacular so far, highly recommend. And they leave me drooling over their most recent offering, the Folk Art Sampler block of the month.

But I need to be a good crafter who is working down her stash not up, so I'll hold off on that for now. But if you're interested, please do go check it out! Actually, it's only $45 Canadian dollars for the pattern, one block each week....... show restraint Sara. 2024 Folk Art Sampler Here 

For now tho, I will behave, and get to work on catching up, I believe the Door Mouse is up next.

Wednesday 3 January 2024

Starting as I plan to go on, and Half Circle Christmas Tree Napkins

 Merry Christmas and a Happiest New Year! Ah and doesn't it feel like a breath of fresh air after what a year 2023 was?

I'm still honing down my plan and project list for the new year, but for now I shall get started in the manner I mean to go on. By finishing a project to completion and getting at least one to do, done!

These are a full set (18 in total!) of half circle, sometimes called Christmas Tree napkins. They are terrible simple to make, two half circles of fabric, sewing right sides together, turned, pressed and topstitched.

You can find tutorials all over the internet, like this one on YouTube from Shabby Fabrics 

I had never seen napkins like these before, and the project certainly wasn't on my radar until I cam across this bag at a local thrift store.

I don't know if its clear in the photo but the bag was labeled "Christmas Napkin - Pattern and Cut Outs" and it was priced at only $1.50. I mean how could I not! even If I used the fabric for something else.

Inside were 18 each, precut red and poinsettia fabric half circles, a fabric template and an extra half yard or so of red fabric. I brought it home and promptly sewed one up as a test, and tossed the bag onto my to do pile and that was that.

How very typical of me!

 So January 1st, I figured I still had red thread on my sewing machine, may as well get this project wrapped up. I paired and pressed each set.

Stitched them all together with about a half inch seam (they weren't cut the most exactly so I figured a margin for error was best). 

I turned and pressed again and topstitched and folded and pressed again.

More ironing in the first two days of the year than  I would normally get to in a month. But a quick cardboard folding template really sped things up (highly recommend!).

I folded half green side out, and yeah I can totally see why they are called Christmas Tree Napkins.

And half red side out, turned like a cone they provide a cozy home for cutlery at your place setting.

And I packed the whole lot of them into a bin for next Christmas! 

Ah well, what else is January for if not for finishing Christmas projects you had planned to get done before Christmas. Anyways we didn't host this year, but next year should be a full house, and we'll put these napkins to good use!

After a wash and another pressing of course.

Hopefully your holidays were lovely, and fulfilling. I'll see you here again tomorrow with a belated Christmas knitting project! 

Tuesday 10 October 2023

Ripping Out my Geogradient Shawl, Westknits MKAL 2023

 You know I spent entirely too much time during the night planning what I wanted to say.

And then this morning writing a draft of what I wanted to say.

Before ultimately deciding Stephen captured just about everything that needed to be said in his video a New Direction - MKAL 2023.

So here's to ripping out and casting back on!

Sunday 30 April 2023

TCH Chemotherapy Round 1 Day 1 (Docetaxel, Carboplatin and Herceptin)


Well Yesterday we got things under way. Kevin and I hopped into the car just after 8 am, and drove down to the Tom Baker Cancer Centre in Calgary for my first round of chemo.

The day before we got things started with a couple doses of steroids, dexamethasone, morning of more dex and some zolfran for nausea.

I barely slept the night before. Likely a combo of nerves and the dex, and Marshall waking me up at 1:30 in the morning. 

Anyways, hospitals are beautifully empty on weekends, chemo Saturdays are the way to go in my opinion. My nurse Brenda was absolutely lovely, and everyone loved my chemo crocks and matching lulu sweater. My fresh blue hair was also a hit.

I got situated into my comfy recliner, and hooked up to my iv (hopefully I'll have a port by next time) and we spent the next 6 or so hours running drugs or saline.

The Herceptin first over 90 minutes was no problem. Then a 1 hour watch period with just saline.

The Docetaxel is the worse culprit for peripheral neuropathy, so we iced my hands and feet for the hour on that one. I definitely was watching the clock the whole time.

Then finished with the Carboplatin over an hour. That was the only one with a noticeable side effect, just in the last 10 minutes of the transfusion did my vein decide it had had enough. Lots of burning and stinging. But a warm compress and a flush with a sugar solution afterwards helped quite a lot. It's still a super tender vein today, but there are worse things.

On the drive home I had such a wave of fatigue, we pulled into our driveway just after 5 and I was straight to sleep until 7. Finished the day by celebrating the Leafs finally making it out of the first round of the playoffs (in 19 years) and tucking my kiddos into bed.  Then Kevin and I went for a nice cool evening walk up the road, 2km round trip and I slept like the dead last night.

Not too bad for my first day. For next time we need to do a better job of packing some real food and not just a big bag of snacks for the day. We watched some Walking Dead (Kevin has never watched and when started back at season 1 just after I was diagnosed, we're part way through season 3 now). And I even got some knitting done.

Now we see how my body reacts to all these drugs, I've heard the next few days can be a ride for sure.

Oh and before I forget, I went public with my diagnosis on the old social medias yesterday, and the steady stream of kindness, love and well wishes all day where a massive lift to my spirits and really did make the day a wonderfully special one. Thanks ever so much to everyone who liked a post, left me a comment or sent me a DM. It really means the world.


Saturday 29 April 2023

I start chemotherapy today. So here's all the questions running through my brain in the middle of the night.

It's 3:44 in the morning, I can't get back to sleep. So many things racing in and through my mind.

I start Chemotherapy today. 

Two months ago I would have never believed this was where I'd be today or that this was how I'd be spending my summer.

Two months ago I was a happy, healthy 35 year old, focused I prioritizing my goals, my self and my family.

But not because I had to, in order to have the best possible outcome for my cancer treatment.

And I certainly was up in the middle of the night reading into Canada's decision not to recommend funding for pertuzumab. I drug which up until a few hours ago I thought I'd be receiving tomorrow as part of my treatment. But now looks like it may be an out of pocket expensive that could run mightily close to $100 000 grand.

And how much would the addition or absence of this drug make a difference to my outcomes (I mean Canada decided not much, or not enough to be worth the funding)?

And what hail Marys would perhaps some external funding organizations combined with hopefully some good soul at our insurance company, would be pulled off on my behalf?

And why shouldn't I just be sleeping right now, rather than reliving my gradschool days combing though pubmed?

And don't I need to be well rested for my still very long day of TCH chemo tomorrow?

And am I a little hungry? Maybe dinner was too early tonight?

And where did I put my yeti full of water? I'm supposed to be hydrating.

Anyways, I dyed my hair blue, because it's all going to fall out anyways.

I'll write again after chemo...and maybe YouTube.

Speaking of which, today I tell my social media people's about my cancer. I'll link that video here when it goes live.

Off to maybe eat, maybe get some knitting packed and maybe sleep a little bit more.

Tuesday 6 April 2021

English Paper Piecing, or where my knitting mojo has gone

 I'm not going to lie to you my fibre friends, I've fallen down a new crafty rabbit hole, and believe it or not, there's no yarn there.

You see once upon a time I started watching historical sewers on YouTube.

So naturally, I believed I would do it too.

So naturally, I starting acquiring fabrics and using my sewing machine more.

So naturally, I started a new Instagram account just for needle and thread type endeavours.

So naturally, I found the quilters.

So naturally, I found Tula Pink.

So now all I want to do with my every waking moment is glue little bits of fabric to little bits of card stock, and then whip stitch them all together into something wonderful.

Like this cushion made with 2 inch hexies all fussy cut and stitched together, and quilted and bound and gifted to a knitter friend.

Or this quilt top in progress (actually, I've attached the boarders, I just need to get into the headspace to feel confident enough to free motion quilt it myself), featuring EPP blocks alternating with panels.

Or these blocks, actually my first English Paper Piecing Endeavours, learned from a Craftsy Class.

Or this pile of Tula Pink fabrics ready to become stars in a Tula Nova Quilt.

Or these fabric scraps and hexies as part of a Scraps Quilting challenge hosted by Quilter on Fire.

So you know, all that, and half a dozen more.

It would seem that in forcing myself to knit monogamously this year, I have stumbled into the Cast-On-Itis version of quilting.

Still working on my Stepaside Sweater tho, nearly done the hem, then just collar and cuffs!

(here she is a few weeks back).