Finished, and what that means

So, I completed my thesis defence on December 6th, my thesis was accepted by my supervisor on the 16th,  I submitted my thesis on the 22nd or so, and I finished paying the last $1600 in tuition in early January.

Now, I’m unemployed.  The job market right now is less than fabulous, and I do have certain requirements for a job, so although I’m applying for jobs daily, there are only so many jobs out there that I’m currently willing to apply for.  This will probably change if it’s been 2 or 3 months without a nibble, but for now, I’m trying for research-type positions that are more (or less) within my field, and involve interacting with people, rather than just animals or cells.

It’s not that I’m opposed to animals or cells, it’s just that when you talk to them, they don’t reply.  Or at least… they shouldn’t reply.  Mice talking back to you is not a good sign (unless you’re trying to teach them human language…)

My biggest problem is that it’s sorta lonely and boring to be at home by myself everyday. Sure, I COULD go to a coffee shop, but I’d rather tea that I can get for cheaper at home.  I want to see people, but right now all my people are busy.  I guess I just feel a little lost right now.

I’ve set myself up to either go for a run or do some weight training everyday.  I’m trying to write here regularly.  I have a goal of applying for 2 jobs a day, and adding 2-3 jobs to my list every day.  But that isn’t enough to fill my day.

When (if) I start getting interviews that will start filling my days more, but until then, I have to keep myself optimistic and getting out of bed in the morning.  Before 8am would be really nice.

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Presents for myself

So much of what I knit last year ended up being given away.  I knit my first pair of two at a time socks, and gave them to my nephew.  I knit my second pair of two at a time socks, and in December, ended up giving them to my mum (they were too tight on my calves, so I was going to rip out the legs, but they fit her perfectly).  I knit two wedding shawls, and of course gave them to their respective brides. I made my husband a Domo-kun for his birthday (ok, that’s crochet, but close enough), and one of my best friends got “red is best” socks for hers. Then, I started on the baby stuff.  Socks for a cousin (the purplish ones, further down), and a whole set of things for my new niece or nephew. Finally, for Christmas I made my husband (and I) Christmas stockings.

What all this adds up to is that of the 14 items I finished in the past year, I got to keep two (my running head band and my Christmas stocking).  Well, I had my socks for most of the year, I’ll call it two and a half.  I decided that this year I have to be a little more greedy.  It was greed that was long planned for.  It is greed that is warm.

For my birthday last year, I got gift certificates to Romni from my mother-in-law, and a book called “Weekend Knitting” from one of my girlfriends.  I was immediately drawn to a brioche hat and neck warmer set.  But I had all that other knitting to do for other people, so it was put on hold.  But I found some fabulous discounted Noro Bonbori.  I’d been thinking of doing the Noro Scarf, but thought that combining the Noro colours with a brioche pattern was just too much for me to refuse.

Then I actually looked at the pattern, and realized that Brioche is sorta slow.  I found this video.  I was immediately in love.  After the colour work I’d been doing with the Christmas stockings, I’d already gotten the hang of knitting two handed.  The most important part is to complete a knit round (by itself), and then going on to the double dutch.  I also found that instead of actually wrapping my left hand (purling) yarn, I just left it in front of the left needle (because it’s a yo anyway) and knit underneath both strands with my right hand yarn.

Anyhow, I did the neck warmer first, because it has no decreases.

Nice straight brioche stitch, and look at this colour combination.  I was in LOVE

But because it’s Noro, you never really know what colours you’ll end up with, or which colours will end up together.  My warm and fuzzy masterpiece of a neck warmer!

I think I finished it in 3 days. I’m sure I cast off while watching Saturday Night Live, or maybe whatever comes on after it.  I just had to finish it.

I then moved onto the hat, which I finished in 4 days?  5?  Either way, the decreases have to be done one strand at a time, and when they say knit 8 inches for brim, they mean it.  I did less than that.  I bound it off. I cut the tail.  The hat didn’t cover my ears.  I had to carefully remove the tail from the top 8 stitches, tie the cut off end to the ball, and rip the entire thing.  I hadn’t thought to put a life line in before starting the decreases.

So I knit it again, and this time, there was much joy, because the brim was long enough to cover my ears.

So, although I love my hat, I thought I was buying purple and green yarn, not purple and PINK yarn. This became a bit of a problem at the crown of the hat, where you can see that I was knitting pink on red.

Now, even with a hat and neck warmer, I was not satisfied.  I wanted something for my hands.  So I decided to make myself some fingerless gloves – two at a time (works surprisingly well with brioche), and still doing that two handed technique.

I wound my two balls, and used the inside strand of each to cast on, and then added the outside strand from the OPPOSITE ball for my second colour. Cause I just like to make life difficult for myself =-) This worked really well colour-wise, but not so well tangle-wise.  Each round that I knit created an additional twist between the two balls, and I couldn’t figure out how to untwist them (if that was even possible).  At one point, I had to give up, cut two strands and untangle the mess.

I made thumb holes by casting off 4 stitches (in pattern), and then casting on 4 (in pattern, including the yo’s) in the next round.  My favourite part of these is that at the finger tips, the colours are similar enough to make it clear that they match

And I always wear them as shown, so that the colours are inverted.  I like that they match, but aren’t identical.  I guess this can be said of the entire set, I had plans, but the yarn, it had its own ideas.

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Since last time

So there has been a break in the updating, but to a certain extent that should be at least slightly expected during the Christmas break. I have the finishing details of my stockings to show, a new hat/neck warmer/wristy-gloves set done (which I love and am somewhat worried about washing…), and two more squares of my forever and ever afghan. But because this is going to be so image intensive, I want to make sure that they aren’t huge and taking forever to load, so I have to play with Photoshop for a bit first. 3Mb for a picture is just a bit much…

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Ok, so that wasn’t so painful after all. And uploading is SO much faster. And I think the colours will be better… and hey, I even figured out how to set my upload folder.  It’s sad that I’ve been doing that manually for so long.

So just before Christmas, I realized that with all the stranding inside the stockings, they couldn’t be used as-is. So I bought this massive red felt Christmas bag from the dollar store (it was actually cheap material unfortunately, very thin in some places) and ripped out all the seams. I folded it in half, and pinned the stocking to it.

I then did the very obvious cutting around the stocking (while being paranoid that I would cut all my hard work to pieces), and sewed the cloth into a sock liner.  I don’t have a sewing machine (seriously, where could I fit it in this house?) , so it was whip stitch to get it all together.

Once that was done, I turned the stocking inside out, and shoved it inside the lining.  I attached it at the top all around, and a couple stitches at the toe.  Fortunately the sewing can’t be seen from the outside.

And then I hung the stockings with care.  No fireplace, so just in the TV room.  This last picture is our house on Christmas morning, and all the gifts we were giving.  The stockings are hiding on the right.

The thing I’m most concerned about is the loop that I made for the stockings, I just don’t trust them to support their weights fully loaded.  And the plastic hooks we’re using might not support that much either.  Luckily, this year the stockings were not too heavy, but I do worry about next year.

I think I’ll end this part of the review with what has become a tradition in our house.  On Christmas morning, we have créme brulée.  I use a super easy recipe, but I’m thinking I’m going to have to upgrade to pre-warming the cream next year – we’re both starting to notice the grainy-ness.

Ok, so there’s my Christmas round up.  I promise, there will be something involving Reading, Running or Knitting next time.

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Done

My PI has just accepted my edits for my thesis.

I can now submit it to the School of Graduate Studies and to my department, and then I never have to think about this project again, unless I want to.

So surreal.

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Where do we go…

I defended my thesis yesterday.  I’m all but done my Master’s degree, and I don’t know what I am doing next.

Not completely true.  I know that today, I am relaxing, drinking rum and eggnog (done my 3rd at 1pm), and setting up the Christmas tree.  But after today, I have no specific plans.  And it’s scary.

While prepping, I read Illegal Alien by Robert J. Sawyer.  It was the first book that I have read by him where no part of the story takes place in Canada.  Sure, one of the minor characters is Canadian, but the story itself never goes there.  And further, the Canadian character is not likeable.  He’s full of himself, and willing to put aside his morals for the chance of fame.  It also feels like there’s a bit of Deus ex machina going on at the end of the book.  Certainly it’s foreshadowed, but new information comes too late in the story for it to feel natural.

I am also having trouble getting a good mental image of the aliens.  I understand their structure, but can’t close my eyes and see Hask (the main character), and I’m not sure if that’s because he’s non-human, or if the description still hasn’t settled in my head.

I’ve decided to go through the books on my reading list and start ordering them from the library.  I can’t expect myself to buy every copy of these books, or for them to miraculously land in my lap, so to the library I go.  Though I may switch up the order to read books I may get for Christmas read earlier.

I also finished Dave’s Christmas Stocking while I was getting ready to defend.

I’m really happy with the way this turned out, although the contrast between the blue and green, and the black and green both leave something to be desired.

I’m thinking that I should probably line this with fabric of some sort, because all the internal stranding will catch on, well, almost anything.

The details of the project are here (Ravelry link).  I’ve also already started mine, and I can’t wait to finish it.

As you can tell, although I clearly worked hard to get my Master’s done, I’ve also been stressing about it, hence all the other stuff I’ve been up to.

Oh, and I haven’t even mentioned the three applications that I had to have submitted by the 2nd (Thursday).

But still, where do I go from here?  So much of the past 4 years of my life have been tied up in this project and this goal.  And it’s gone, and I’m at a loss.  I graduated myself into unemployment.  I’m happy, but worried.  I want to do something that interests me, but I also need to have some money to, you know, help pay the bills and such.

But today is not for navel gazing, moping, or wrapping myself in worry.  Today is for eggnog and rum, and christmas trees, and figuring out where to hang stockings!

Well, mostly.

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A very Skidl Present

So, I was told the correct spelling of my niece/nephew’s current name.  Silly me for not realizing it was a combination of my SIL’s last name and my brothers’ (and my) last name.  Oops.

But all the baby gifts have been given. I finished the socks

And the hat

The socks are in pi (3,1,4,1,5,9 rows in stockinette, and 3,1,4,1,6 in reverse stockinette). For the hat I changed colours when I felt like it.

Then I put everything together

Wrapped it

And gave it to my brother and SIL. It looks like it will fit.

I’ve since been working on my husband’s Christmas stocking (no pictures yet), but I’m at the heel. I’ve never done a short row heel before – I always do flap heels. For some reason I’m having trouble wrapping my head around it.

I also have my defence date for my thesis. It’s what I should be working on right now. It’s on Dec. 5th. That’s REALLY soon. But I have my slides ready, and I’m down to 21 minutes (20 minutes is the max time). I’m doing practice presentations to the remaining people in my lab on Thursday, as well as to my adoptive lab (my PI moved to Ottawa this summer).

As one of my lab mates said “It’s all just a formality”. but still a nerve wracking one.

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For a Skitl

The things I will do for a sktil.  Not a skittle (yummy sugary candy), but a skitl – the name my brother and sister-in-law are using for their baby.  I bought some yarn for it (we know the baby is either male or female, but not which) while on vacation in Italy.  Since early September, I have been knitting almost exclusively for its birth day presents.

This baby will be getting a blanket

And this baby will be getting a sweater.

It will also get a pair of socks (in progress), and a hat. The little thing is due in January and must be kept warm!! The sweater, socks (and maybe the hat?) are striped based on pi. Partly cause I’m nerdy, but more so because my brother and sister-in-law are.

I have 11 rows left for each sock, and the hat hasn’t been started yet. They arrive on Saturday. I hope I can get it done….

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Take a break

So, I’m not allowed to run for the next 4 weeks because I have developed Achilles tendonopathy.  Which means that it’s swollen and hurts, but they aren’t exactly sure why.  I saw a sports Dr, and he thinks that it’s micro-tears in the tendon, but can’t be sure of the treatment until the ultrasound I had done today is analysed.

I really miss running.  Or more accurately, I miss physical activity.  I’m not sure what I’ll be allowed to do until the ultrasound is done… which is Monday at the earliest.  Although I’ll be going downtown on my bike tomorrow.  I’ll go slow and steady, but I really think I have to do it.

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Temporarily Back

Although I’ve not been updating recently, that’s because I’ve been busy, not because I’ve been slacking off.  I’m supposed to be editting my thesis right now (and will be once I get this written), and I’m also looking at applying for more school.  We also went on vacation for 2 weeks to Europe this summer, and we’re re-doing our main bathroom.  Despite this, I’ve been finding time to do the things that I love…

I haven’t been reading very much.  I think partly because I don’t have the next book in my list (Illegal Alien by Robert J Sawyer), partly because I’ve been knitting on the subway, and partly because reading is something that ebbs and flows a bit for me… and right now I’m on an ebb.  But even so, I’m at 25 books for the year so far, and I’m sure I’ll get a couple more in there before the year ends.

I have been running a lot.  I decided to make the switch to bare foot running this summer, and after a couple weeks of transitioning, I’ve done runs of up to 12km.  I know I’ll have to get some sort of protection for the winter, but even today, at only 10°C, my feet were toasty warm after the first 5 minutes or so.  I’m also trying to get out of my walk break habit.  Today I did 8km at an easy pace with only 2 stops – and the first one was forced upon me by traffic lights.

In terms of knitting, since finishing that shawl (which is featured in all the church photos from the wedding), I have finished 5 items (7 if you count socks as 2 items – I don’t), and I’ve found myself yet ANOTHER large item with a firm due date.

I’ve finished the red socks for my friend

The only real change is that I added an extra crossover at the centre of the pattern to make complete diamonds.

I also did some vacation knitting, for my forever and ever afghan, and ended up getting all three of the planned squares done… eventually (I really hate seed stitch).  I’ve also cast on for another plain stocking stitch in purple.  I’m not loving the purple yarn, and I think it’s got a different weight than the other skiens (which are all from the same company)… we’ll see how this goes.

I also made a pair of teeny tiny socks for a cousin’s baby shower. The yarn is the same as the leaves and diamonds wedding shawl I did earlier this year, and is much more purple than it appears in the picture…

Finally, I’m working on a baby blanket that I must have done and mailed to my brother and sister-in-law by mid-December (they’re due in January).  Currently no pictures (because it really doesn’t look good on the needles), but it’s a simple pentagonal blanket with strips of yellow, green, and blue.

So I now feel a bit more caught up – back to my thesis.

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Another Pretty Shawl

My huge knitting projects for the year are complete.  I finished the second wedding shawl on Wednesday night (at 11:58pm or something).  It’s beautiful.  It’s HUGE.  It is DONE. Here it is sitting on our standard 3 person couch:

You can’t see it very well, but there’s a lace work butterfly in the central section.  I came up with the pattern by modifying a textured pattern.  I think it turned out VERY well, all things considered.

Go team me!!  So yesterday I gave the shawl a nice wash (warm water and Ivory body wash), and got some of the non-fast dye out.   Then I pinned the whole thing to our bed.  I was going to be good and use the drying board, but it was REALLY too big for that.  I didn’t measure the final size, but I think that “big” should be a sufficient description.


That’s a Queen sized bed, by the way, so it really is as big as I think.

I’m giving it to the bride tonight at her rehearsal dinner, and I’ll make sure that my husband takes some pictures of her wearing it at the wedding – I’m in the bridal party.

So, that’s another project done.  I’m now working on socks for another friend’s birthday – a due date I will NOT make, but I’m so worried that they will swell up to size 13 men’s… I just have a nasty feeling about this yarn (and no, of course I didn’t do a proper swatch…)

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