Sometimes you just have to watch roller derby

rural Alberta winterThat’s what this weekend was all about. Roller derby. Last year between trips abroad and surgery, I managed to miss most of the Calgary roller derby bouts, so when my sister-in-law (which sounds like such a formal title for my crazy tattooed sis) told us that her team would be playing in Medicine Hat, we jumped on the idea of driving out there. And since it’s about a three and half hour drive, hubby and I decided we’d turn the outing into a little vacation and spend the night at a hotel.

So we headed out Saturday afternoon, leaving the wonderfully warm and sunny city of Calgary behind. As soon as we left the city limits, like literally crossed over into rural Alberta, we were caught in a blizzard. Weather on the prairies can be so bizarre, with pockets of such distinct and dramatic weather changes. The blizzard itself didn’t last too long, but the entire drive was nerve wracking, and passing the many flipped vehicles in the ditch surrounded by emergency vehicles didn’t help the nerves. We took our time, drove sensibly, and eventually made it with enough time to grab dinner before the derby bout. Yay for ABC Country Restaurant! They had a super sticky, warm hot chocolate with my name on it!

It only took us about 40 minutes of driving around Medicine Hat to locate the derby. Google maps led us to fire hall in an industrial park. Thanks for trying Google. Not exactly the place we’re looking for. Stopped twice to ask locals, and then finally found it. Got seats right behind the bench of the opposing team, the Gas City Rollers. The bout was super fun! The score got pretty close, but in the end our Cut Throat Car Hops won! Nice job ladies! Well worth the drive for a little derby action! Plus I managed to get a bunch of crochet completed during the drive back home.

Very glad we aren’t on the highway today though. High winds and blowing snow, it looks like a decent winter storm is brewing out there this morning. Take care and safe travels where ever you find yourself today.

A Look Back

All this talk of making things for babelettes reminds me of a project which I have yet to share with you here. It was started well before the birth of this blog, although I did mention its completion in an early post here. And so the details on that project which were to follow are coming to you now, only slightly behind schedule. You’re so very patient.

Along the road of improving my crochet skills, I decided that what I really needed to do was to learn how to make granny squares. They seemed like some fundamental crochet technique that was imperative to acquire. As it turns out, making granny squares is really not all that difficult, or perhaps I’ve just only made the easy ones. While I had all of this brewing in my brain, longing for some purpose for which to focus this granny square making (I really do need an end-goal or things tend to lay unfinished), we were simultaneously starting to struggle with motivation at work. It hadn’t been the easiest of years and as yet another massive, monotonous project was laid out before us to tackle, let’s just say that the team was feeling less than enthusiastic.

At the start of this massive work project, we had already decided that what we really needed was a visual progress bar or else we might go completely crazy (or crazier). As all my keyword co-workers are crafters, it seemed natural that our progress bar be something crafty that we could all appreciate. This is where the granny square project was born. Combining work and crochet?! Well, sort of. I did refrain from actually crocheting at work, but it gave me some purpose and something soothing to do in the evenings after work. Cheap therapy, that’s what crafting is all about!

Granny squares in office
Thanks to Ellen from Craft Interrupted for the pic
With hook and yarn in hand, I settled into the couch and started making square after square. I swear I used a granny square tutorial on Attic 24, but do you think I can find it now?! No matter, the granny squares I made were very basic. I do remember that the pattern called for three colours per square, but I quite liked just the two.

At the end of each week, as we totaled all our work, more granny squares would get hung up around our desks. I believe each square represented 4,000 entries that we had to go through. Now you understand the need for a visual progress bar. The more work we completed, the more colourful our entire space became and the more people stopped by to see what we were up to. It was lovely!

Granny square baby blanketThankfully, that massive work project did come to an end to the great satisfaction of everyone. The granny squares which were no longer needed, came back home with me where they sat for a time without much purpose. That is, until my friend from work told me she was expecting her first baby in October. Wouldn’t you know, I had the perfect number of granny squares made up for a baby quilt! Just one extra square. With the realization that I would also have to be off work for two months to recover from my surgery, it seemed that things were coming together just perfectly for me to make an entire granny square blanket. I used a basic scalloped edge to create a bit of a border along the blanket and voila! Soft coziness to keep a babelette warm! There are some more pics here of the completed blanket.

The moral of the story, is that obviously, granny squares are incredibly versatile! They go from work to play in no time flat. So the next time things are getting a touch repetitive at work, consider bringing crochet onto the scene. You’ll be glad you did.

Blissfully making…

Debbie Bliss EcoBaby Sweater… stuff for babelettes. Not my own, mind you. Let’s be very clear about that. Seems like I am surrounded by wonderful, beautiful expectant mothers these days. It is such a blessing! It’s been a lot of fun walking alongside friends as they go through their first pregnancies and the coming months will continue to be full of change and excitement. Plus, my friends have given me the perfect excuse to make baby things!! Precious, sweet, cute, baby things! And so the blissful making has begun.

I’m actually planning on sewing a number of the baby items, but I got started on a couple new crochet sweaters just for fun. Couldn’t resist buying this lovely yarn after a trip to Pudding Yarn, our local yarn heaven. It’s the Debbie Bliss EcoBaby fair trade, organic cotton. I’m using this Multi-Coloured Top pattern that I found on Etsy. It’s been fairly easy so far. Vita’s patterns are very clear and have good photos to clarify the special stitches used. Just need to make the sleeves and sew it all together and then I can add it to the small pile of baby items that will surely grow over the coming weeks.

Happy crafting to you all on what some call Valentine’s Day, and others call Monday!