Relay Recap

Friday night into Saturday morning was the Canadian Cancer Society’s Toronto-Central Relay for Life in support of Sunnybrook Hospital’s Odette Cancer Centre.

Our team, Downtown Knit Collective, raised almost $13,000!! I myself raised my all-time best of $560! Thanks to those of you who saw my many requests and blog post and donated 😀

In a typical relay you walk around the track all night from 7pm to 7am. Now, 12 hours is a LOT, so that’s why you register in teams, so that you can spell each other off, hence “relay.” Our team, however, has special dispensation to knit all night instead.

Though the reason for the event is serious and sobering, which is at times brought home by things like the Luminary ceremony, ultimately it is a fun night of camaraderie and hope. That and lots of sugar and coffee to help you stay awake.

       

   

There were also activities you could do on your breaks, including SUMO WRESTLING (yes, again. I don’t care it’s super fun) and these gigantic inflatable bouncy pony things that became the best thing ever at 3am.

CanadianChia even cut off her hair to donate to Locks of Love. And instead of just sending donors on their way, volunteer professional stylists styled your new cropped ‘do for free!

   

New this year was a Night Market. Naturally, we knitters had some wares for sale.

Flowers by the lovely Ilana

The cuteness of this hat just kills me.

Relay for Life 2014

Once again I’m participating in the Relay for Life on the Downtown Knit Collective‘s team.

We’re currently in third place for top fundraising team!!! (PS: if you feel like helping us get to number one, and donating to a very worthy cause you can donate by clicking here)

I’ve participated in the past (see here), but this year is particularly meaningful to me because my grandmother is fighting her battle with cancer. The same grandmother who taught me how to knit ❤

This year also marks 10 years of the Downtown Knit Collective relay team. To celebrate we will be hosting a Fibre Arts Activity Area at our Team Site at the Relay. As you may remember, in order to help the relayers stay up all night there are various activity areas. In 2012 canadianchia and I got to wrestle in sumo suits (pics here). We are thinking of using our activity area to teach other relayers things like arm knitting and finger knitting, making a pompom, corking/spooling, knitting on a giant scarf, crochet, making a flower, demos of spinning on a wheel and needle felting.

There is also going to be a marketplace this year and we have been offered a table. We will be selling small items in the range of about $1 to $5, such as hand-knitted cancer ribbons.

I’m SO excited!!!

Hi-yah!

Besides the fact that the fiancé and I were sick for a bit, it’s been a good couple weeks. First off, I must take a moment to point out an initiative very close to my heart that I found out about through a post on the wonderful Simply Notable blog:

The idea behind the Purple Stitch Project is to knit, crochet, or sew purple (the epilepsy awareness color) gifts for kids with seizure disorders. These gifts will serve as a reminder that they are not alone — that they have community support. The 2nd goal of PSP is to raise awareness about epilepsy, the 3rd most prevalent neurological disorder (next to stroke and Alzheimer’s). With every purple stitch made and every handmade item worn or carried, perhaps a collective conversation will begin about a disorder that surprisingly little is known about.

As some of you know, my fiancé has epilepsy, hence I am super excited to hear about such an awesome initiative. The fact that it involves the hobby I love helps too.

There are all kinds of patterns listed on Craftsy and Pinterest. Including awesomeness like this:

Everyone should make one!

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In other news, my shrug is coming along well. If I like it, I might also make it in white for the wedding 😀

Isn’t the drawstring square-bottom project bag you see in the photo awesome? I got it, along with another one in a funky pink, gold, and white fabric, from one of my fellow World Wide Knit in Public Day organizers, who made them for all of us who helped plan WWKIP Toronto Edition. It was such a nice surprise!

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On Friday I went to the latest

If you’ve never been and you’re ever in the area, you should go. Click on the Knitty logo/banner for the link to more info, but essentially it’s a great time in one of Toronto’s greatest (and probably coziest) yarn stores, The Purple Purl. You and twenty-nine other knitters get to test and review five new yarns ranging from super luxury skeins to bargain ones. The reviews are used by Knitty for their magazine.

Voilà, the swatch I had at the end of the night. There be alpaca, merino, and even cashmere in them there hills of inadvertent garter stitch.
And their are door prizes! I went home with this:

And the entire store was on sale, so this had to follow me home:

Did you spot my invasive cat in, not one, but both of the pics above? Because, you know, I don’t give him any attention, not at all.

More free things! :

This is chunky/bulky weight wool yarn from Briggs & Little that I got from a destashing friend.

Last weekend I visited family out in the country, and came back from antique shopping with some pieces of handicraft history.

These are two antique yarn bobbins/spools. Well used from the looks of them. See how they would have been used here.

This handkerchief is hand embroidered and edged with crochet. I love the little pieces of detail. And I couldn’t very well resist a four leafed (leaved?) clover.

Beyond that I’ve found myself cooking and baking a lot. It’s the fall weather – it is finally not too hot to have the oven on, and nothing is better than long-simmering soup, à la this recipe for Tomato Basil Parmesan Soup I made on the weekend. Pinterest is likely also partially to blame. I’ve been pinning way too much.

Speaking of baking…

We had a potluck at work. One of my colleagues and I are a) very nerdy and b) share a love of Game of Thrones (we’re librarians, so it’s not a surprise). Plus there is my love of all things medieval. This led to us using this:

To make things like this (complete with explanatory notes) :

Whole story here.

Charity knitting is a blast

The Relay for Life is a fundraiser put on by the Canadian Cancer Society every year. There are events throughout June all over the country. Typically participants register in teams, raise pledges, and then the teams all get together at the event site from 7pm until 7am (that’s right, all night with no sleep). Typically the site has a track. The idea is to always have at least one member of your team walking the track at all times, hence “relay.”

The Toronto Centre event is held at Sunnybrook Park. It draws a lot of teams, typically a couple of hundred participants. Everyone sets up tents for those taking time off the track to rest in. However, for years the Downtown Knit Collective team has been allowed to stay in their tent. Why, you ask? Because instead of walking all night, they knit all night. Chemo caps, scarves, and sweaters for local cancer patients, to be specific. So when they asked if I would like to join the team this year, I of course said yes. So last weekend I finished work on Friday and then headed straight for Sunnybrook Park.

Not only did I have a great time knitting with fellow knitters and watching the antics and passion on the track, but they had activities geared to keep you awake. I wasn’t about to karaoke, but canadianchia and I did sumo wrestle.

So much fun.

More pictures of the event here and here. Videos of our epic sumo battle here and here.

Not only is it fulfilling to raise funds for a very good cause, but knitting added an extra, tangible level. It felt good to spend the time creating something with my own hands for someone going through a very rough time. At the risk of sounding very cliched – it’s like a hug from afar.

Coincidentally, hugs from afar is the idea behind Heart for Africa’s Duduza Doll project. They have been distributing shoes to the children of Swaziland this year, and the hope is to have enough hand knit dolls to give each child a doll at the same time.  These dolls are called “DUDUZA” (comfort) dolls.  The goal is 10,000 dolls. Details and pattern (knit or crochet) to make your own at the link above. Ignore the due date, they are accepting dolls all year.

Here is my first finished doll, soon to be on its way to a child who needs him.

Not only are they oh-so-adorable, they’re also addictive. Everyone should make one!

Post-festival

Well, I didn’t get it finished in time 😥

So close though! Ok, maybe about half-way… but I got the entire green section and one blue done in 2 hours! Evidently if I’d not procrastinated and been distracted by other, more shiny projects I’d have had it finished in time. Here comes the guilt setting in! To make amends with the universe, I feel I must promote another charitable craft-related campaign. If you are a reader of crafting magazines (and really, who isn’t?) please consider renewing and/or getting your subscription through Nazareth House‘s fundraising campaign. Located in Toronto, Nazareth House is a supportive non-denominational community that provides a home-like environment to women at risk and their infants. Over the past twenty-five years, Nazareth House has been a safe haven for over 1,000 women and 160 children. Over 650 of the magazine titles are available at up to 85% off the newsstand price. 37% of proceeds goes to Nazareth House.

And now on to my Creativ Festival adventure! It was a great experience. Next year I’ll definitely plan to go for an entire day so that I can see more. 2.5 hours just isn’t enough! That being said, I did come home with some great finds 🙂

 

 

Books!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Possibly my favourite, albeit impulsive, purchase: this handmade wooden shawl pin from The Woodlot‘s booth. Now I just need to finish my shawl to go with it.

 

 

 

 

 

And of course, yarn! I was really impressed that it was $1.85 for 100% wool.

 

 

 

 

I also bought this kit to make a framed piece of felted artwork. I always thought felting was… blah. I never much liked the look of felted knitwear – I’ve only ever seen old ladies wearing felted pieces (granted an aunt once gave me a felted tea cozy that was quite cute, but the difference is it is not a wearable nor worked in the bright 80s-esque hues and pastels one sees so often). Little did I know you could use wool to both paint and sculpt in addition to knitting and crochet! Further justification of my obsession!

Something fishy

When I stumbled across this, I had to share. Such a cute idea! Using local, volunteered handicrafts to raise awareness and funds = awesome. Plus I have a soft spot for museums, our fellow information institutions ❤

Top Tip Tuesday: Knautical Knitting.

Krochet Kids

Found an amazing initiative today that I can’t believe I didn’t know existed! Krochet Kids international is a non-profit started by three college guys who loved to crochet (guys! crocheting!).

Over 100 people go to their compound in Northern Uganda everyday to work crocheting hats (and other projects) sold around the world. The collaboration of the staff in America and artists in Northern Uganda has created a sustainable cycle of employment and empowerment. The goal is “to create sustainable economic development programs that support holistic growth of individuals and communities within developing nations.”

LOVE IT!