Thursday, January 3, 2013

Review 2012: A Year of Big Changes

Hello lovelies!  I'm sorry for the long absence.  My life has consisted of a bunch of big changes lately, and I've been a little reluctant to share much of myself.  And while I've been crafting all this time (knitting, to be exact), it's mostly been Christmas gifts for family and friends, and thus stuff I can't post on here until they receive it all.

I've been thinking a lot about this past year, and I realized that there have been a lot of big changes for me in 2012.  Some of it external, a lot of it internal.  I thought it'd be nice to review some of those changes, along with my sewing (and knitting) projects completed (or nearly so) along the way.


This month found me settling into my new apartment in Manitoba, working a job that I really didn't like, but was the first semi-related-to-my-education job I could find.  It was paying the rent and bills.  And allowing me to buy pretty things.  This was a really freeing time for me, because it was the first time that I'd had regular, full-time, grown-up career-like job after being a student for 9 years.  I loved having my own apartment (where I thought I'd be for years to come) and the ability to afford the little things I couldn't afford on a student budget.  My favourite thing in this place was my semi-dedicated sewing space, which was starting to look super cute!

I did actually manage to do some sewing.  I made up a version of McCall's 8408, which looked much better when made up 3 sizes smaller than my measurements indicated.  I'm sad now, because I have no idea where this cardigan wound up.  Might be at my Mom's place in Manitoba?

I spent a lot of January and February working on my Wooly Coat.  I'll note that while I still have the coat, it's still not finished.  All it needs is buttonholes and the sleeves hemmed, and that's it.  Sadly, I've been stumped on the buttonholes since I neglected to do bound buttonholes, and while my dear sewing machine can stitch beautiful buttonholes on this fabric, the material is actually way too thick to cut through easily without also cutting the stitches.  I might have a solution for that though, so maybe I'll have a me-made winter coat someday.  Probably in time for summer.  Again.

I also (finally) finished up a Christmas present I procrastinated all over for months.  This crochet hook holder was my own design and I was damn proud of it!  It was for Heather over at FussWorks, and it seemed to be a success.  Woo!  I mostly worked on it with the sewing group we created after PR Day 2011.  Aw, I miss those awesome ladies now. :(

This was a tough month for me and the source of several Big Changes.  My Mom found a lump the previous December, was diagnosed with breast cancer in February, and had her Lumpectomy on March 9th.  While it was caught really early, it brought back all sorts of fears and memories from when my Dad battled cancer, and eventually lost his fight on March 8, 2006.  My Mom is my best friend, and this brush with her mortality effected me deeply.  I chose to wear my Think Pink blouse as battle gear on the day of her surgery, and it must've helped because it went really well.  Of course, my ENTIRE family was there and took over the waiting room(s - there were a lot of us there) and then the cafeteria when most of the unruly bunch got kicked out of the waiting room(s).  I'm glad to say that Mom is now past the radiation and chemo and is doing great; she's working really hard to grow back her hair and quit smoking!  :)
Sewing is a great distraction, so you'd think I'd've done lots of it this month.  Alas, the month was full of failures and puttering around.  The highlight of the month was a Heather-Is-Getting-Old Birthday Giveaway, which was a lot of fun!  In desperation to sew something, I whipped together the infinity scarf above at the end of the month, which took all of 20 minutes to make.  Phew!

In April, I discovered a sudden and deep love of yellow, finally hemmed a polka dot blouse I'd made and been wearing for months (left picture), and even sewed a RTW-inspired blouse for a PR contest (which I still love and wear to this day - right picture).

And then I got fired from my job.

Getting canned wasn't necessarily a bad thing.  I didn't like the job, and was pretty relieved.  See, back in March, I decided to make a big change in my life.  I've been in an on-again off-again long-distance relationship with someone that I was more than a little crazy about.  I decided then that I'd take the risk and move to the Yukon and see what could happen when we were both in the same time zone.  I was planning on waiting until the Fall, but 2012 decided to take matters in it's own hands and moved the date up.  So May was mostly spent doing a lot of thinking (about where my life is going, and even where I've come from, including an interlude on how I learned to sew) and a lot of packing.

I managed to finish up a crocheted pillow, just in time to start selling/tossing/donating/packing up my well-loved, pretty little apartment.  I think I was projecting my anxiety and sadness about moving away from my family and friends, because I'd start crying over getting rid of the silliest things.  I thought I'd have more time to spend with my Mom and Brother and everyone else before I left, and it added a sad note to the adventure of moving to another province (or territory, in this case).
The only sewing project that I managed to make before packing up my sewing stuff (and as it turns out, the last completed sewing project for 6 months) was Baby's First Straight Jacket which, sadly, never made it to it's recipient.  :(

Mid-June, I crammed in everthing I could in my brand new '96 Sunfire (bought for me by my Brother for $800) and drove 3200 km from Winnipeg, Manitoba to Whitehorse, Yukon!  It was an awesome adventure and an absolutely terrifying drive through the mountains by a prairie girl who has never driven through the mountains before.  Once here in Whitehorse, I got settled into the room I'm renting from a friend of the guy I followed up here, and then realized just how little sewing I was going to be able to do due to lack of space.  In fact, with one thing or another, I didn't actually blog this month at all (the 'Hello from the Yukon' post was actually written in July).  Whoops.

I spent a lot of time this summer exploring my new home.  Whitehorse is a beautiful little city, and what it lack in shopping options (particularly it's derth of garment fabric options), it more than makes up for in outdoor recreational options.  Where else can you go hiking on trails or wilderness, on the side of a mountain, within city limits?!  I went hiking and mountain biking (!!!) all summer, and even went to both the Whitehorse and Dawson Music Festivals (so much fun).  All in all, I spent a lot of time getting to know my boyfriend and my new home.  Time very well spent, in my books!

Despite the lack of sewing (or possibly because of), I was still itching to create stuff.  I bought some lovely Cascade 220 wool from an adorable little natural fibres yarn shop here in town (I think it might make up for the crap fabric store we have here) and crocheted the divine toque.

And then I taught myself to knit.  And that basically sums up most of the rest of the years creative endevours.
owl coffee cup cozy
owl toque - sent off for a teenaged head in Australia :)
Oh yeah, and then I helped yarn bomb an airplane.  Good times.  :)

Apparently to make up for the lack of posts in June, I blogged a lot in August, from winning a fabric and pattern giveaway, to project and wardrobe planning, reorganizing a potential sewing space in my bedroom (which never actually panned out - too tight of a space being used for too many things), making up a set of pattern weights (which are, it turns out, worth their weight in gold), and absolutely spazzing out over a line of Burda Magazine patterns (which is relevant later on), it was an interesting month.

I haven't mentioned it, but during all this, I was hunting for a job.  I was on employment insurance all summer, but I knew my benefits were running out and I was starting to get desperate.  It's pretty demoralizing though, to send out so many resumes and meet with so many companies, and only get silence in response. September wasn't a good month for me, and I started to regret both of my seemingly useless university degrees.  I did, however, keep knitting.  I even tried sewing a top, but I lost steam on it pretty quickly.  Oh the WIPs.


In October, a few things conspired to grab ahold of my sewing mojo and give it a swift yank.  Finding a gorgeous if well loved Danier leather jacket at a garage sale, and the PR Refashion Contest.  Just like that, I was off finding a wool jacket to combine with the leather to make one of the Burda jackets I spazzed out over back in August, and I started tracing the pattern from the magazine.  In which case I learned that Burda Magazine patterns are a living hell.  I even sewed up a toile of the jacket to check fit.  OMG SEWING!!!

(I also knit up my first pair of mitts [okay, fingerless mitts].  I LOVE KNITTING!)

Due to an overdose of Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (in all sorts of forms), this jacket became the Hitchhiker's Jacket!  This is, honestly, my crowning achievement in sewing for the year, and I am so proud of the finished result.  Despite the issues involved with working with limited material and working with leather, I managed to finish this just in time for the contest to close mid-November.

(There was lots of Christmas presents made from October to December, but I still can't show those yet.)

And then, soon after that, I basically fell off of the blogisphere.  The reason for this was I finally had one company interested in hiring me.  This was excellent timing since my EI had run out and I was running on financial fumes.  I enthused all over a mining company at a Trade Show, and they practically jumped me when they learned about my education and experience.  Which is funny, because they weren't that interested the previous 3 times I applied with them.  Oh well.

AND THEN my thesis supervisor arrived in town and got me an interview with an environmental consulting company in town.  I expected the usual 10 minute chat and 'we're not looking for anything right now but we'll be in contact if something comes up', and then never to hear from them again.  I got a 2.5 hour interview and a lot of enthusiasm.


AND THEN I basically had two job offers at once.  Eight months of searching with zero interest from anyone, and I had two places interested at the same time.  But since the environmental place didn't even know if they had the budget to hire me yet, I chose the mining company.  Plus it was a really good offer!
This dawn is sort of how my future feels right now: bright and full of promise. /cheese

The only caveat was that I'd start on Dec 13 for two straight weeks in camp (it's a fly-in camp on a two week in, two week out rotation), so I'd be working through Christmas.  Considering that I couldn't afford to get back to Manitoba anyways, I was mostly alright with this.  Plus it's almost like I got a career for Christmas, one that, as it turns out, I already love (despite getting the Camp Plague 4 days into my rotation).  So not only have I been busy getting employment worked out, but I've also done a rotation in camp already!  

To top it off, I'm also moving in with my boyfriend.  Yeah, things are going well.  So like I said long time ago at the beginning of this post, lots of big changes lately!

This year has had a lot of ups and downs, and some unexpected 90 degree turns.  I'm so thankful to have an outlet like sewing, knitting, and blogging.  While I may occasionally disappear from the online sewing community when things get too overwhelming, I can't explain how much I appreciate that we have this excellent community to come back to.  Thank you all for your patience and kindness this year.

I wish you all the very best in 2013.  I can't wait to see where it takes us!


  1. Gosh what a year! There have been some ups and downs but I'm so happy for you with your new job! I know what its like as a student for like ever, its difficult to get into the big wide world but you seem to have coped with it brilliantly, I love your finished objects especially that jacket!
    Heres to a peaceful and happy new year!

    1. Growing up is hard. :D That's why I went back to Grad School, in hindsight. lol

      I hope you have a fantastic new year as well!

  2. Wow what a year! Hope stuff works out with the job and boyfriend and you are able to share some more projects with us.

    1. Yeah, it was a bit crazy and tiring, but good too! And oh there will be projects ahead: a dedicated sewing room and two weeks of free time a month will quarentee it. ;)

  3. Hi Heather, What a difficult year you have had to endure. I hope all the bad things are over and done with and I wish you all the best with your new job,your man and ,of course, with getting the sewing mojo back. I look forward to hearing all about the fly in fly out mining job (I did that myself for a short time in Australia) and what life is like in the Yokun.

    1. It'd been a tough year, but a good year too, and it definitely ended on the up!

      I'm sure there will be a post in the future about my job. It's very neat and I'm looking forward to getting my hands dirty there. :D

  4. I'm so excited for you! What a relief on the employment and congrats on moving in! I was just wondering where you had gone off to this week. BTW, I have my first knitting class because of you Sunday. Oh lord!

    1. Thank you! I'm so excited to be employed. :D And YAY KNITTING! I think you'll love it once you get the hang of it. There's so much you can do...although possibly slightly less when living 3 m from the sun... :D Eh, you'll find great summer patterns. Check out Ravelry for some great ideas and patterns!

  5. Whew, I got tired just reading about your year, let alone living it! And getting a job you like is the very best present of all; I've had a lot of jobs I hated, and getting one I liked really turns the rest of your life around too. Congrats!

    1. Thanks. It was a tough year, and I didn't realize how exhausting it was until the last couple months (hense the lack of will to post anything of late). But some fantastic things came of the year, and I'm glad of where I am right now. :)

      My career goals have basically amounted to 'finding a job I love' since I was 12 and watched my Mom work jobs she hated. I can't believe what a difference it makes!

  6. Wow! What excitement! How great that you got a job, I felt quite certain that with your education you would eventually find a job up there.

    Where is the camp located? Is it north of 60? Next time you go, take some large bottles of isopropyl alcohol, and wipe down every single thing that you and everyone else touches. I used to clean all door handles, telephone, toilet handles etc weekly when I was in management, and the illness rate plummeted. Seriously.

    Two weeks in and two weeks out, that sounds like a great rotation, you will be on a perpetual honeymoon.

    1. The mine is in the Yukon, about a 45 minute flight from Whitehorse. It's nice actually, I have the shortest flight home as any others in camp. :D

      That's a good idea, this flu/cold beast has taken out about 30-50% of the workers, and it's not really going away. I think I'm going to bring some sort of disinfectant into camp. Spraying down everything people touch is a good idea.

      I'm really pleased about the rotation. Between 2 weeks time out, a regular income, and a new dedicated sewing room (more info soon), I think I'm going to get back into the sewing projects I've been dreaming about lately! Including a couple projects from the fabric you sent me (which I still have to post about, sorry about how late that post is). :D

    2. Oh please don't worry about posting about or sewing with the fabric, it can age forever if you want 8-).

  7. I love your refashioned leather jacket. I suggest that you take your coat to a professional buttonholer. There is a great guy in Sydney, but not sure if you want to travel 12000kms!

    1. Haha, yeah not so much. I might look into someone to do it, but I suspect that I know how to solve the buttonhole problem. Revisiting the Wooly Coat blog posts have sparked my interest in the project again. Maybe I'll have a coat by the end of the winter!

  8. Heather, you make my year look a cake walk. I'm happy that things turned out great for you. Happy New Year to you.

    1. Eh, it wasn't that bad, just trying. There was a lot of good points though and next year should go even better! I hope 2013 is good to you too. :)

  9. That is wonderful! I'm excited for your new year too!:)

  10. So glad you've got a job now & moving in with the boy too! Your jacket is absolutely fabulous and you should be proud. The coat is gorgeous too. Is there any way you can send it somewhere to have the buttonholes made professionally? It's too gorgeous to sit in your closet for another season!!

    1. Thanks so much! I think I have the solution figured out. A blogger recently did a buttonhole that's a combination of 4 part machine buttonhole and hand-stitching.

  11. What an eventful year for you! Such cool projects and I am sorry for some setbacks in your life. You look like you are coming back strong in 2013. Best wishes! :-) ~Louella

    1. The year definitely ended on the up, and should continue on like that! *knocks on wood* Thank you, and best wishes to you as well. :)

  12. wow what a crazy roller coaster of a year for you and it ended up with a smashing finale!! best of luck in 2013 and i can't wait to see what you whip up :)

    1. It's like I got a (good) job for Christmas!

  13. What a year of amazing highs and crashing lows. I really hope that you have a fun, stable fulfilling year in 2013. And congratulations on the job! I love both knitting and sewing and they seem to fill different moods for me. I find knitting far more relaxing - good luck with your new projects.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...