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!

World Wide Knit in Public Day

The first Toronto Edition of the annual WWKiP was on Satuday. It was a great time, and a great turnout despite the rain. Granted the rain was light and only fell for the first hour, contrary to the thunderstorm predictions. That’s right, Mother Nature has knitters’ backs 😉

Lots more pictures here.

The media interest was great too. We on the planning committee decided I’d be the media contact (for better or for worse, I’m ok with public speaking, but I ramble when I’m nervous…)

  • Sarah Lazarovic wrote a comic in the National Post about us.
  • Fairchild‘s Cantonese station also interviewed me.
  • Xinhua news network also stopped by and interviewed many of us. Great coverage!
  • Snap Downtown edition also stopped by to take some photos, which will appear in their July issue in print and online.

All in all an amazing day! Knitters and knitting groups met and mingled, the learn-to-knit station taught new knitters both young and old, our Relay for Life team (we’re knitting all night on June 15 in support of cancer research!) got some more donations (I saw at least one $20 in the jar!), Ravelers had a chance to meet up, and Street Knit had a lot of their kits taken by people volunteering to knit for the homeless. I’d say that’s a success 🙂

June 11, 2012 update: ideas_dept posted some pictures on Flickr as well.

July 25, 2012 update: Snap article is here.

Community Through Quilting

I know quilting isn’t knitting, but it’s crafty in a similar way (in fact, knitting crops up later on – keep reading!). Plus this post is also about libraries, my other passion in life, so there you go.

I saw this post on one of the Toronto Public Library blogs today, and had to share it here.

Essentially, it’s about how “quilts can be created for many occasions such as for a new baby, a family memory, or a community group. Quilts are all different and unique and community quilts are meaningful because they can bring a group of people together… Community groups such as Toronto Public Library’s Craft and English Conversation Circle at the Gerrard/Ashdale Branch is one such example that has in the past few months created a quilt piece that was donated to a charitable organization. The quilt pieces were created by knitting and crocheting and then patched together by the individual members in the group. The circle began when there became a need to address a growing number of newcomer customers in the Gerrard India Bazaar neighbourhood. The customers wanted a learning space to develop their English as well as a social space to get to know their community. They quickly developed the idea to create a quilt, which helped to bring them closer.”

Pucks, purls, cats, and bears, oh my

Saturday was Pucks n’ Purls!
Hockey, beer, poutine, and freezing weather. A very Canadian, and very enjoyable, day!

Lanesplitter has been started! Unfortunately I was several rows in before I realized that my interpretation of “use two balls of variegated yarn that start with different colours” had resulted in something that looks like a Christmas elf barfed it up. I kept knitting, figuring it’s variegate, it’ll change soon. Nope. Here it is JUST starting to change colours. I’m stubbornly keeping my fingers crossed that this will turn out, feeling too invested to frog it. It’s just one small corner in the grand scheme of things… right?Where are all the other colours going to make an appearance?!

At least the wrist warmers are coming along alright.Yay!

A colleague wanted to know if I could knit a lapel pin after this design

Yeah, she’s a big fan.

It just didn’t lend itself to a 2×2 piece – the smaller details would not have shown through. So I ended up with this embroidery/needlepoint-on-canvas-type-thing.

Does it work as a likeness? You be the judge.

I haven’t mentioned Desmond in a while, a whole 2-3 posts even. So here’s an update.

Seeing double? One of our neighbours has a black cat that looks almost identical to Desmond. I’m hoping Desmond doesn’t grow much more, or we truly won’t be able to tell them apart.

It’s a daily routine: they do this sort of staring contest for a while, and then…

they wrestle? Yup, wrestling. I’ve never seen behaviour like it, but they don’t fight – there’s no hissing or scratching, and any biting doesn’t break the skin. They just… wrestle. Maybe it’s a black cat thing?

On the Sunday we went antiquing out in Norfolk county. I found this cute little handknit bear from Ireland:

I didn’t buy it only because I don’t have enough space for all my yarn-related stuff as it is. I did think it was worth taking a picture of though. Is it bad that I also thought “I can do better”?

Happy Holidays indeed

I love where I work. One of my lovely coworkers and fellow crafter offered to crochet a cat bed for Desmond. Voilà le résultat fabuleux!

Verdict = success

Last night the Knitters’ Drop-In program that I run at the library had their holiday party. I was pleasantly surprised to be given some lovely gifts and cards! I’m so touched 🙂

The most perfect mug ever

So, I was shopping and saw this mug and had to have it.Kitten (and BLACK like Desmond at that!) and yarn. ZOMG.

Plus, he really does like knitting 😉

Here they are together! …sort of. I was aiming for closer proximity, but this is the best I could get. It’s a little sad just how long I struggled to even get this oh-so-lovely shot of his butt…

I also grabbed this at the dollar store in the same trip. It’s a tin on a keychain that zips up. It came with candy in it, but my first thought was “omg I can keep my notions in it!” Everything in my life gets related to my yarn habit, it seems.

And in project news, mom’s driving mitts are coming along nicely. Slowly, but nicely. After I’m done the mate all I gotta do is put the buttons on the top and sew on the grips to the palm.

And I’ll end with some yarn porn. Swiss Mohair was on sale at Mary Maxim last week (I’d blame Lynn for talking me into buying it, but that would be a lie) and the Alpaca was from the 20-Somethings holiday party gift swap on Thursday 🙂

Knit Night with the 20-Somethings

As one of us put it, “now there’s a record of the debauchery that occurs on Thursday nights!”

The 20-Somethings Knit Night I’ve started going to in Toronto was happy to have Joanna, the Happy Seamstress, join us last Thursday night.

She took a lot of great, silly pics of us having a ball with yarn. They are up on her witty blog post for your viewing pleasure.