Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Sanity is overrated

Sleep deprivation does weird things to my inner monologue.  As I get more and more sleep deprived, outwardly I become quieter, but inwardly, I get crazier.  If this blog post sounds crazy to you, it's because I composed half of it while on the bus to school at the height of my sleep-deprived state this week.  Just to give you some context to where I'm coming from, I recently finished one of the most grueling school weeks I've had since undergrad.  Here's a pie chart of an average normal day juxtaposed with that of my average from last week.  Now, getting four hours of sleep in a night is not unusual on occasion, but to sustain that over a week of studying is more difficult.

According to Wikipedia, "The link between sleep deprivation and psychosis was further documented in 2007 through a study at Harvard Medical School and the University of California at Berkeley. The study revealed, using MRI scans, that lack of sleep causes the brain to become incapable of putting an emotional event into the proper perspective and incapable of making a controlled, suitable response to the event."  This is what it feels like from my perspective: Imagine that the inner monologue is walking down a path.  Normally, this path has fences on the sides put up by logic and reason.  These constrain things to their proper place, and set boundaries on where to travel.  But sleep deprivation is like a rainstorm.  When it continues unabated for many days, the ground starts to get muddy, and the fences start to wobble a bit.  After a while the fences start to tip over one-by-one.  And then the inner monologue starts kicking the fences over and cavorting through the mud wherever it pleases.

This isn't to say that there isn't any reason or logic behind thought processes in a sleep-deprived state.  It's just that the links are unconventional.  Almost like the stream of thoughts when falling asleep on the bus and slipping into a dream-state.  More abstract, more random, shifting much more quickly.  If a series of thought processes is like hiking down a mountain, that same path in a sleep-deprived state is like going down the mountain through the forest on a Slip 'n Slide.  Point A is connected to point B, but the way you get there is drastically different, and in the latter case the present is so overwhelming that it's easy to forget where you were just a second ago.

As an example, I was standing in line at Tim Horton's last week, and there was a very tall person in front of me.  Remarkably tall, in fact, probably close to 7 feet.  Now normally, such information would be a simple observation.  "Note: tall."  And then move on.  However, the inner monologue of sleep deprivation commented as follows, "Whoahhh, so tallllll! So tall! Super tall!   Like a tree!  Like a Christmas tree, with squirrels at the top.  If a squirrel climbed to the top of his head, it could ride around there, and the world would look like ants.  Then other squirrels could stand on that squirrel's head, and they could make a giant tower of squirrels."

I don't even know why I'm writing this post.  It's easy for me now to just pretend that last week didn't exist and dismiss all those thoughts as irrelevant.  And yet, I remember the me of last week partially composing this post and being adamant that this post must be published.  So, for the myself of last week, I shall finish writing and put this up for all to read.  I spend a lot of time thinking about what is real and what is true.  So I wonder, which is more real to who I am?  Which is a truer representation of myself?  All that I have been able to come up with is that both are equally true.  If the entirety of who I am is like a box of crayons, then perhaps these different states are just different combinations of colours being shaken out of the box to colour with.  And no matter the crayons I end up with in my hand at one time or another, I colour only and always for Jesus, so the picture is bound to be beautiful no matter what happens.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Spring Knitting

Yes, a whole season has gone by, with not much knitting to show for it.  However, I haven't yet posted pictures of the things I made way back for the gift exchange with the Langley girls!  My secret gift person that I was knitting for was Anna, who is a fellow linguist and a beautiful, sincere and joyful person.  It was so fun to make these projects for her!  First up, I knitted her the "Musica" fingerless gloves pattern.

Fair-isle really is exhausting.  Next glove/mitten pattern I do (which will probably be the Norwegian Totoro Mittens) I shall do doubleknit to save myself the agony of fair-isle knitting.  Anyhow, the other sizeable project I knitted was a simple Leaf Lace Scarf with beads.  The crochet method of adding beads to knitting has revolutionized the way I do lace.  It's so easy!  I love this colourway of yarn because it really does look like a dappled forest.  Here are a few pictures from knitting to blocking to finished project.  Incidentally, I learned that the foam inserts from inside my DDR mats make excellent blocking mats for knitting.  The pins stick into them really well.  Who knew they would come in so handy?  See them in action below!

Lastly, I finally looked up some online tutorials and discovered what the heck a crimp bead actually is, and made a few little stitch markers for her.  Yes, one of them is a dinosaur.  It's more awesome that way.

Now, in terms of current knitting, I became addicted to the lace-beads combination and have started the Haruni shawl with silver beads placed throughout.  The yarn is a gorgeous Malabrigo Lace that I fell in love with at a local yarn shop (while I was just browsing and trying very hard not to buy anything) and might be a good choice if I ever decide to knit the Here Be Dragone Shawl.  The first half chart of Haruni is actually quite memorizable so this has become my carry-around knitting for the moment because of its compact size.

I am also so very nearly done DS' scarf, the current project for the knitting request list.  This scarf has been sitting at nearly done for about a month now because it has gotten to the size that it's very hard to carry around.  But, soon it shall begin its journey to the Netherlands and find a new home there. (Picture only given of scarf in jellyroll form, because it's a surprise!)

I shall soon be finishing a couple potholders that I'm (much belatedly) giving out as prizes for the Retro Sig Week Contest at GotWoot.  Grats again to the winners, Archangel and Ryllharu!  Feel free to poke me if you don't have any news on this within a couple weeks, because sometimes I forget about these things.

And speaking of GotWoot, we now have our own fansub group.  The team is led by the amazing and talented Sapphire, and currently is releasing House of Five Leaves, which is a fun samurai anime with quirky characters and a unique art style that might take a bit of getting used to.  We've got an irc channel up and running as well so you can always visit #gotwoot on

Lastly, here is my latest baking adventure.  This week I was given the privilege of bringing a birthday cake for an amazing friend of mine at small group.  Now, I love these kind of opportunities because I get to try out new recipes and use everyone as my guinea pigs, hehe.  Anyhow, I wanted to do something special for her, because she has really impacted my life and blessed me more than I can say, and I feel like this birthday for her is fairly significant, so I wanted to mark the occasion with something elegant and extravagant.  What better time to try out making fondant?  The base cake was just a basic chocolate cake recipe I found on allrecipes.  Rating: satisfactory.  I used this online photo tutorial for making marshmallow fondant, and this stuff is fun!  By the time I'd finished kneading the different food colourings into my little fondant chunks, my hands looked like I'd been tie-dying all day.  The shapes I used to decorate the cake are reflective purely of the cookie cutters I own.  Verdict:  very fun experience, and tasty fondant!

Oh, and before I bid you all goodnight, I have just discovered that LeVar Burton (who you should be familiar with if you ever watched Reading Rainbow or Star Trek) has just launched a debut comic book entitled "Con-CERNed".  As the name suggests, it follows a physicist who is working at the Large Hadron Collider who gains superpowers and is purported to be a tale about "physics, family, and consequences."  The geekiness rating of this is off-the-scale, but it makes me oh so very happy.  Read the comic here!  (As a side note, you should check out the LHC on Twitter too, because whoever is tweeting there is hilarious, as I discovered via my friend and fellow blogger Beth).  Have a lovely evening and a fantastic week my friends!  Catch you next time.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

On Worth

So, I had a meeting this week with my pastor.  This is a meeting that I put off for months, and once set, awaited nervously.  I was scared.  Really, I had no good reason to be scared.  But somehow, the thought of this meeting filled me with fear and trepidation.  Lately I have been trying to confront my fear, so finding myself so afraid of this meeting really bothered me.  I was praying the night before, asking God why.  Why did I have so much fear about this?  It wasn't an issue of trust.  It wasn't an issue of submission to authority.  And then suddenly the answer hit me.  I didn't think I was worth his time.  My fear came from a lack of value in myself.

Worth is something that I thought I knew about.  It's easy to discuss worth academically.  It's like a thousand dollar bill, which is created with a value of one thousand dollars.  Nothing will ever change that, because it's the nature of the bill.  It can never be separated from its innate value, and it doesn't have to do or achieve anything to earn or maintain that value.  It was created with great worth.  Likewise, you and I were created with great worth.  All of our actions, anything we do or don't do has absolutely no effect on our value, because that value was stamped onto our souls at the moment we were created.

It's easy to intellectually agree with such a comparison, but more difficult to truly believe it for our own lives.  Even if I said I believed it,  I wasn't living as God's priceless treasure.  I was living as someone who needed to earn my value.  I felt like I needed to prove myself in order to be of worth.  Upon realizing this and recognizing it in myself, I saw it for the lie that it is.  But still, my heart was unconvinced.  The fear settled about me like a heavy blanket, and though I knew I could get past the fear by confronting it, I couldn't think of any way to address the underlying issue of self-worth.

So the next day I wrote down my Google map directions and hopped on the bus to get to my pastor's house.  I'd been feeling really tired all day long, and I don't know what it was about that particular evening, but I just wasn't thinking straight.  Somehow I got off the bus at the wrong stop and got lost.  Really lost.  Usually when I get really lost I just phone my brother and get him to look up directions for me on his computer, but he was out at a social function.  I couldn't call my pastor either because I hadn't entered his phone number into my contact list.  I kept walking, hoping that perhaps just after the next street, or the next one, that I'd reach my destination.  I was assaulted by discouraging thoughts such as, "You should just go home.  This whole meeting was a mistake.  It's way too late to have a meeting now, you better just give up and catch the next bus out of here before you humiliate yourself."  It would have been easy to just go home and pretend nothing had happened, but I'd come too far to turn back.

This was the point when my pastor phoned me, wondering where I was.  I relayed the situation, and it was determined that I was so far away that he'd have to come get me.  Now, as a young professional and a generally capable person, it is rather painful to appear incompetent.  I was completely helpless, and just needed to stand still and wait to be rescued.  Now instead of just taking up some of his time, I had caused him to have to drive all the way out and find me.  However, it was in this moment of embarrassment and mortification that God spoke to me.  Remember the parable of the lost sheep, where the shepherd leaves his flock and goes out searching for the one lost sheep?  Every time I heard that parable in the past, the lost sheep was someone else, and I was always one of those secure sheep back with the flock.  But that day, I was the one that was lost and my pastor left his kids at home to come out looking for me.  God spoke to me, "Because you're worth it."  And how much greater is my worth to God that He rescued me while I was helpless and died to save me?  He didn't do it begrudgingly, but willingly because I am worth that much to Him.  That's a staggering amount of value to hold, and suddenly what my mind had previously known, my heart began to understand.  My worth is already given.  I don't have to say or do anything to earn it.  And you know what?  I wasn't afraid anymore.  Given a glimpse of my own value, all the fear lifted off of me, and I walked into that meeting completely at peace and unafraid.

There is an amazing amount of freedom in knowing one's own worth.  It's not pretentious or self-important worth, because it derives purely from our creator and not at all from our own efforts.  That's true freedom.  Freedom to be who we are because we were created so amazingly and beautifully.  And the more I can see that in myself, the more I can see it in other people.  As I learn just how great a value God has given me, I see more and more of that measureless value displayed in the people around me.  So, my synopsis of this incident is this:  I'm worth it.  And did you know?  You're worth it too.

Monday, June 21, 2010

On how Christian life is like DnD

Hello blog readers!

I'd just like to take this opportunity to announce a bit of a shift in the focus of my blog. As much as I love writing about what I've been knitting and showing you all my lovely pictures (which I will still do, don't camera is just out of batteries and I keep forgetting to buy more - I promise there shall be dazzling pictures soon) there are a lot of things on my mind and on my heart that I want to share. I was encouraged this weekend to start writing more often, and what better place to compose my little essays to myself than here on my blog? I know at least God will read them, and maybe a few of you as well might read and be encouraged by the things I have been thinking about.

Today I'd like to talk about how Christian life is like DnD. Now DnD which is of course Dungeons and Dragons might be quite familiar to some of you, but completely foreign to others so I want to begin with a quick explanations of what DnD is, and what it isn't. It is a game where a group of friends will gather together around a table and each role-play a character within a fictional universe, with the core mechanics of the world defined by a set of rules crafted to simulate real life as closely as possible in such a simplified form. The random chance inherent in real life activities is governed by the rolling of various dice. The story is narrated by the Dungeon Master (or Game Master if you use alternate terminology), DM for short. It is a game that is basically a more structured version of improv acting, or a form of group storytelling. The story is guided by the DM, but the choices each character makes can dramatically alter their path at any time. DnD has gotten a lot of bad rap in the past from Christian groups for being 'evil' and 'Satanic', but let me tell you this. The game itself is neither good nor bad in and of itself. By the nature of the way the game is, it is built on imagination and will reflect what is in the hearts and minds of the players. The players decide for themselves what they will do, how they will do it, and what direction the story will take. I believe that not only can this game be a lot of fun, but it also can give you a lot of insight into the lives of different types of people as you branch out and try different characters, and try to imagine how someone different might act and be motivated.

For people just entering relationship with God, they have just become a level 1 Christian. Now, what do people love most in DnD? No, I'm not talking about gold. What do they love more than gold? XP of course! The more experience points you get, the sooner you can move up to the next level. When you move up to the next level, you get new abilities and your character becomes progressively more awesome. From my experience, people will do almost anything for extra xp. This is the heart and soul of the game. If you're not earning xp, you're not really playing at all (or, you have a really stingy DM). The same is true for Christianity. To gain levels, you need xp. What DnD adventurer is content to sit in the village and stay level 1 for the whole campaign? That's not fun at all! And yet many Christians choose to do just that. They're content with level 1 and never seek anything more. People that want to grow in relationship and maturity in their faith, they know they need xp.

The next question is, how do we get xp? In DnD, xp is earned through "encounters", either combats or role-playing encounters. If the players avoid all the encounters the DM brings their way, they won't earn any xp. However, when they face an encounter, even if they're not completely successful, the DM will award each player a designated amount of xp proportional to their level and the difficulty of the encounter. A good DM will tailor the difficulty of the encounters to the level of the party so that they will be challenged, but not overwhelmed. With Jesus as our DM, he does exactly the same thing. So if we're level 1, he brings us level 1 encounters. If we're a higher level, the encounters he brings us are commensurate with our skills and abilities. As the DM, he knows our capabilities exactly, and he also has the story and encounters planned out that will bring us into our destiny. However, we still have the choice to face those encounters or ignore them. The awesome thing about Jesus is that he's a wonderfully generous DM. Even if we feel like we failed an encounter, he will still give us xp for it and bring us that much closer to reaching the next level. Granted, the encounters are more difficult at the next level, but we face them with greater insights, more effective skills, and a greater degree of freedom in how we can come through them.

I can't say enough about what an amazing DM Jesus is. He's always at the table, always attentive to your decisions and moving the story forward. Even if you miss out on encounters maybe because you were afraid or maybe because you simply didn't recognize them, he will always bring more your way. If a certain encounter is getting the better of you, he'll bring in allies to aid you. It's actually really impossible to fail an encounter unless you choose to fail it. Which happens more than you might think. Imagine this scenario:

Player 1: "I walk up to the dragon and let it eat me."
DM: "Wait, what? Why don't you try attacking it?"
Player 1: "I know it's hopeless. I'll never win. So I'm just going to let it eat me now. Here I am, dragon!"
DM: "Ok, well the dragon sees you walking toward it and it grabs you with it's claw. Roll to resist grapple."
Player 1: "I'm not going to roll. I don't resist the grapple."
DM: "Well then you're grappled, and the dragon squeezes you dealing...5 points of damage as he begins to crush you in his claw."
Player 2: "I rush in and pour my potion of Cure Light Wounds down my friend's throat to heal him."
Player 1: "I refuse to drink it. Your potion just spills on my clothes because I keep my mouth tightly shut."

Now, obviously Player 1 is in trouble in this scenario. Is it the DM's fault? Does the DM want to see the player fail? Of course not! The DM wants the player to succeed, but he can't override the will of the player. It's obviously a ridiculous scenario, yet this is exactly what we choose to do in our lives. We are confronted with lies and instead of fighting against them, we choose to believe them and are consumed by them. Then we blame God for all the trouble we're in. One thing I have struggled with for a long time is fear. I believed it so much that I began to think, well this is just who I am, I'll never get rid of it so I'll just avoid those situations that make me afraid. Every encounter where I could have stood up to that fear, I simply gave in to it instead. I believed the lie, and couldn't hear the voice of my DM saying, "Why don't you fight? I have given you everything you need to win this." But now, I'm starting to see the dragon, and my battle cry is, "You are going to add to my xp, jerk! I'll show you what it means to fight, and you will have no more agreement from me, fear!" Is it easy? No, it's challenging. But it's a challenge appropriate to my level, and I'm confident of my success.

So, for those of you who are also adventuring with Jesus as your DM, I encourage you to look for those encounters that he brings your way. It might be anything from writing a note to a friend letting them know how much you care about them, to travelling into the wilds of Africa and raising the dead. Jesus is wonderfully creative and has all manner of exciting fantastic encounters waiting for you and so much xp to give out; all he's waiting for is for you to step out and start running to your encounters instead of away from them. Listen to the whisper of the Holy Spirit that says, "Here, this is your encounter today." Maybe this sounds cliche, but the world needs heroes. There are so many people suffering all around us that we can't afford to stay level 1. You have a destiny. Aren't you excited to level up and see what comes next? I know I am!

(Many thanks to my good friend Rachael, fellow DnDer, who inspired this post by making me a fantastic "Jesus is my DM" button. I love your crafty geekiness Rachael, and miss seeing you around the table every week.)

Monday, April 19, 2010

On Joy

What better time for a blog post than with scant hours remaining before a final exam?  My brain is so saturated with Bioprocess Engineering that every additional page of notes I bring in front of my face causes my eyes to glaze over and my brain to subside into thought fragments that are neither coherent nor relevant to the subject at hand, the static white noise of the mental sphere.  So, trusting that my brain likely knows enough to be able to pass the exam, I have come here to ramble a bit about things I've been thinking about.

It turns out that I want to talk about joy.  Joy is probably the farthest thing from any student's mind directly before finals.  The world of a student consists of Studying Diligently and Sleep Deprivation and Stressful Agonizing Hours during exam period.  And yet, as my pastor pointed out yesterday, the Bible has the audacity to say "Be joyful always" with the always meaning... well, always.

Now, I consider myself to have a very cheerful disposition by default.  Even on Friday when my software crashed at work and I lost an hour's worth of laborious AutoCAD drawing, I sighed for a moment, but resolved to save more next time and thought cheerily about how much faster I'd be able to draw it now that I had perfected the process for that portion of the drawing.  However, one thing that has the uncanny ability to bypass all of my innate cheerfulness is being sick.  All it takes is a little virus to reduce me to an inconsolable puddle of self-pity, cut off from the outside world and my entire universe reduced to myself, my pile of blankets, and my box of kleenex.  A former roommate once commented that I was the most miserable sick-person she'd ever met.  When I get sick, I shut down completely.  I don't go out, I don't think, I sometimes remember to make meals, but that's about all.  So imagine my horror when I started to feel the onset of sickness on Friday, right when I needed to be studying for exams.

So not only am I sick and have to force myself to study throughout being sick, but now I have to be joyful too?  That just seems unnatural.  Weird.  Who does that?  And yet, obviously this is something I need to learn to do, as I have set myself on this journey of seeking out the heart of God.  Joy is something that I struggle with understanding.  It seems to be fundamentally different from happiness, since happiness is an emotion and the experience of it usually involuntary.  A command to be joyful, that implies volition.  That implies that the choices I make have a direct effect on my level of joy.  So how do I choose to be joyful?  How do I know whether I'm joyful or not?  What are the indicators of a life that is firmly rooted in joy every moment of every day?

I think perhaps I understand it better by coming at it from the opposite side.  What robs me of my joy?  When I am sick, how do I choose to let go of my joy?  Perhaps joy is related to focus, such that when my focus remains on how miserable I am, my misery consumes me and consumes the joy in my life.  But when my focus is on God, somehow despite the very real current of misery rushing around me, joy remains the anchor that holds me in place and keeps me from being carried down into greater unhappiness.

Even after chasing these rabbit-trails of thoughts around in my head, I still don't feel like I understand joy any better.  It remains mysterious but one day... one day I will catch it and pounce on it and declare to the world "THIS!  This is joy!"  Until that day, I will keep chasing it.  Practically, at this moment, that means that despite the scratchiness in my throat and the sniffles and the exam (t-45 mins now), I will declare that God is good to me, that no matter how I do on this exam, I will pass the course, that even when I feel miserable God is working all things out for my good and that I am abundantly and extravagantly blessed.  I want to choose joy, whatever that may be, and however that looks.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Post-Easter Baking

Yes, Easter has come and gone, but the whole weekend was so busy (notable events included JazzyBunny coming to visit from Ontario....awesome times with her!) that I didn't get to do a single bit of Easter baking.  Then I took off for California to go to a conference which is a whole other story in itself.  But, back to the baking.  So this story actually begins last year when my friend ifihadaboat introduced me to the time-honoured Mennonite tradition of making Paska at Easter.  What is Paska, you ask?  It is a light citrus bread made at Easter that is eaten voraciously by any in sight as soon as it comes out of the oven, usually slathered in icing.  My inaugural Paska experience was all sorts of delicious, and the two of us were quite pleased with ourselves for producing such an authentically scrumptious Paska.  This year, I was determined to repeat the experience even though my dear Mennonite partner-in-crime is now residing in the Northwest Territories and couldn't just pop over to help me make it.

The most difficult part of this recipe is that it requires a whole blended orange and lemon, and I have no blender.  But luckily, it was my awesome brother and sister-in-law Shalyn who came to my rescue and volunteered their Magic Bullet for this endeavour!  They even provided me with a container to bring home my orange-lemon sludge once I had sufficiently pureed it.  Now that is what family is for, I tell ya.  Always there for you in your hour of most dire procrastinatory-baking need.

Behold, here is my Paska dough, ready to enter the fiery furnace!  I stole the idea of adding embellishments to the top from a Ukrainian Paska website.

And here is the finished product, right out of the oven and ready for noms!  Those Mennonites would be proud.  Incidentally, this recipe is huuuge.  I had another whole loaf besides this one.  Good thing there were lots of people to help eat this up!

Next week is exams.  Bleh.  But the Langley Knit Night Secret Grinch Swap is coming up, which will be my one scheduled break before exams (no more baking, I swear!), and well worth waiting for.  I can't wait for the unveiling of the secret knitted items  =D  Stay tuned!

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Designer and cat news

I have been knitting like a madwoman. I've even managed to partially get over being carsick so that I can knit on the bus! This is an exciting development that reclaims precious daytime hours for knitting. I'm very optimistic about how much progress I am going to make on the request list this year. I have also been doing homework like a madwoman. It is the nature of the procrastinator to be most productive in the time of highest stress and busyness. As I sit staring forlornly at my textbook, my imagination is spinning with projects to be knit, cookies to be baked, letters to be written, books to be read, etc etc. So, I actually have been doing quite a bit.

One item of interest is that I am officially a designer on Ravelry. I've had a couple charts up for a while, but recently started to compile all my other charts I've made for free download. I do plan to put up my Mario Boo and Question Box charts too, though I'm writing them up into an official scarf pattern rather than just tossing up the chart, because I realized that I wanted to write a pattern that would teach people non-reversible doubleknitting. So stay tuned for that! I know there are people reading this who have wandered over here from my Ravelry page, so if that's you, welcome! Stick around, have some cookies, leave a comment, I'd love to hear from you!

This also means that all semblance of anonymity is lost since my designer page contains my real name, though most of you know who I am anyhow. So, while we're revealing real life details, I'll let you know that you can find me other places on the interwebs. Most notably on the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research page which has a little blurb about my research if you're interested in science-y stuff and if you wonder what I do when I'm not knitting or baking.

The other news is regarding the only remaining feline at the ancestral home. Since poor Skittles met his untimely end likely in the belly of some coyotes last summer, only Creeper remains to keep my mom company with his chirruping meows while my dad is out working in the fields.

This fluffy bundle of cuteness was found to have diabetes recently. I didn't even know it was possible for cats to get diabetes. The poor little guy needs to have insulin injections now. It's not all bad for him though because he's been switched to an all-protein diet which means SALMON and TUNA every day. Truly, Creeper is eating like a king, and I'm sure will soon become ridiculously spoiled.

When discussing this with Zana on Sunday, she exclaimed, "Your mom needs a backup cat! What will happen if this one dies?" I tend to agree, though my mom seems to think that she's done with having new cats. We just need to conveniently arrange to have a kitten arrive at the house. Mwahaha!

Anyhow, not that this was ground-breaking news, but I wanted an excuse to post some cat pictures. Peace out my friends ^_^

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

A plethora of crafting

Has it really been so long since my last post? Oh poor neglected blog. What a tragedy to have such a forgetful owner as I. I shall placate you with tales of projects begun and projects finished! Multi-craft stories even! So here we go, this is going to be a fun post, because I have lots of pictures! Not that I've been crafting at a higher rate than usual, I just haven't had a chance to tell you about it of late.

So, let us begin where we left off. I knit a quick dice bag while I was on the plane because I needed a project I didn't have to think about, and the ziplock bag that I usually keep my dice in became so worn out that it broke. (On a slightly tragic side-note, my beloved DnD group has come to an end due to people moving far away. Tuesday nights will never be the same without all the terrible puns, talking in silly voices, interrupting the DM when he's trying to be profound, and crazy antics that our characters would get up to. I miss you guys.)

Now, before I continue, I must digress into some talk about Christmas trees. In the house where I grew up, we have a very high living room. Our old house burnt down when I was 2, so my parents had a chance to design the new house the way they wanted, and one thing they really wanted was a cathedral ceiling in the living room. This leaves a lot of space for Christmas trees, and we used to get HUGE ones when I was a kid. We would go out to the tree farm and cut one down, then put it on the truck and bring it home. Sometimes we would try to fit it up the stairs, but often my dad would just put it in the bucket of the tractor and lift it up to the balcony, so we would bring it directly into the living room through the balcony door. Then my mom would go and get the really tall ladder from the barn, and put on the lights, after which all the kids could put up the rest of the Christmas decorations. A few years ago, my mom decreed that because all the chilluns were far away and nobody got home in time to help her decorate the tree, she was only going to get small trees from now on. I remember the first 8ft tree. We all complained about how tiny it was, that it was just a little Charlie Brown tree, but my mom was not going to be dissuaded. So imagine my surprise when I came home to this tree:

So awesome! 16ft of glorious evergreen goodness. Oh how I love home.

I started some mystery items that will have to wait another month to be revealed because they're for a swap with the Langley Knit Night girls. Suffice it to say though, that they're awesome! In the meantime, here's some not-so-secret stuff.

Here's a quick pair of fingerless gloves. Likely going to mail them off to a friend soon, after I weave in the ends. This yarn and the yarn for the dice bag is Wooly Stripes, which I got at Dressew for an amazing $2/ball!!!! This pair was knit from one ball exactly, and I did the first one bottom-up and the second top-down to match the stripes. I have since spent way too much money at that yarn sale. Such as what you will see below, some Rowan Ribbon Twist that is going to become a sweater, even though it looks like a shapeless blob right now.

Below is a quick pair of booties I made for a coworker who just had a baby. I thought I'd try out this pattern (Christine's Stay-On Baby Booties) because it looked interesting, and I'm pretty happy with the result. Hopefully the baby will be too.

And, I've been saving the best for last, my mysterious sewing project is finished! Remember the post about Minou the cat helping me sew? Well, I finally managed to get out to visit my friend who owns a sewing machine, and managed to finish this sucker! The pattern is loosely based off of the Nintendo Messenger Bag Tutorial on Craftster. This was a gift for my awesome friend who goes by the nickname Lucifus online, and he had signed up on the knitting request list asking for a surprise, so the biggest surprise here was that it was sewn. I appliqued the symbol on the front (the geass symbol from the anime Code Geass) and made the outer part of the bag out of denim, and the inner lining out of green flannel. It's a very spacious bag, and I included a couple of snaps to keep it closed during transit. This is my first real sewing project (not including a pair of shorts I sewed when I was 12, under the supervision of my mother) so I'm really happy with how it turned out.

Lastly, I have begun knitting the Viking Girl Hat, and my friend is making the Viking Boy Hat, and together we shall make a matching pair for her cute twin babies. She will be here to visit soon, so I am SO excited for that!

I know this has been a whirlwind of a blog post, and I have no witty commentary to go along with my pictures, for which I blame Bioprocess Engineering, which is the course that is taking over my life right now. *shakes fist*

Have a lovely week! If it's still winter where you live, you can borrow some spring cheer from Vancouver.