Saturday, September 18, 2010

Friday Night Sew-In

The busier I get, the more I fantasize about knitting/sewing/creative pursuits. It's a general rule around here that during exams I do more blog browsing or knitting than at any other time! Since clerkship started, my creative output has taken a bit of a hit. I'm currently on a surgical rotation, and after spending 80 hours in the hospital this week and coming across a "Friday Night Sew In" on Heidi's blog, I knew it was the perfect way to end the week.

My initial plan was to work on this quilt I started earlier this summer:

It's the Stacked Coins baby quilt pattern from Moda's Bakeshop. Despite lots of efforts, my quilting is still a work in progress.

However, after getting invited a birthday party for my favorite set of 10 year old triplets, I decided to make them wallets instead. The idea came from a wallet I made for myself a few weeks ago, as I was desperate to replace the ugly first aid kit medical recruitment propaganda turned change purse that I'd been carrying around since the zipper broke on my last wallet, oh, about a year ago.

This was the result:

Scrounging through my newbie fabric stash, it was a bit of a challenge to find something suitable for three very different 10 year olds!

I finished stitching the top of this owl pillow:

And here's a kitchen mat I made a few weeks ago to replace my old ratty one:

I took a knitting break to work on a little neck scarf:

Other knitting projects on the go include a second Ishbel done in Malabrigo Lace, some plain socks in Trekking XXL, and a pair of Hedgerow socks knit in some Regia sock yarn that has been kicking around my stash for about 8 years now.

The verdict: a Friday Night Sew In is the perfect antidote to a hectic week. I'll have to do this more often!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

The View From On-Call

I'm sitting by the window of the NICU call room, gazing out over Lake Ontario at a) the hospital smokestack, and b) what appears to be a lovely Sunday afternoon. I'm on my second 24-hour call shift in three days, and am hoping that my pager will be a bit more quiet than the last night I was on. I'm grateful for this little spot by the window, where I can come for a brief moment of comfort, away from all of the beeping monitors, hurried voices, and high tension.

Over the past week I've had a giant paradigm shift - one that I'm trying not to let disturb my inner core. I didn't realize, on the beginning of this journey into the world of medicine, how much of myself I would give up. We see it on TV, and in the media; the doctors, residents and med students who are sleep-deprived and constantly working. I expected to work hard, but I didn't know how it would feel, how hard it could be on the human spirit. I feel guilty when the busy yet very kind resident stops to ask me if I've had anything to eat, when it's 8pm and I know they probably haven't stopped to rest or eat since much earlier in the day, and that they probably won't stop for many hours yet.

A room with a view, at least

I love working hard - I'm happy as a clam to have a list of things to do as long as my arm, be it scut work, seeing patients, a busy emerg clinic, or admissions. What I don't like is the fact that my apartment is dirty, I no longer have time for hobbies, I barely see friends unless we run into each other on-call, and being chronically tired/feeling dull and unprepared for teaching sessions because there just isn't enough time to study.

Please feel free to disturb me occasionally... just not that often

It's with mixed emotions that all of this has come about - it's hard not to feel lazy, weak, or like I'm letting myself and others down. Ultimately I'm trying to reassure myself that I'm choosing to "work to live", not the other way around. I love medicine, and I care about patients, but there are other things in life I like too, and I think I'm a person who will be happier with a better balance in life over an intense career. The kicker was being at a BBQ with classmates last night and overhearing a conversation that went something like this: "yeah, I'm gunning for specialty x. What's the point? I'm single, have no responsibilities, and what would I be making time for in my life if I did something less demanding?". I could come up with many things I would be making time for if I did something less demanding. Now to get over the guilt of "only" wanting to work 50 hours a week instead of 80...

All of this to say I haven't knit, sewn, or embroidered much in a very long time:)

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Knitting on the Road

Oh poor blog... I've come thisclose to paying attention to you over the past 3 months. I can't believe it's already 10 weeks into clerkship - it's been a whirlwind indeed. I'm currently on a 9-week, three city electives tour, away from my cozy, crafty nest of an apartment. Of course, one could not hit the road without packing a few compact knitting projects, namely a new Ishbel, and two pairs of socks. Clearly I overestimated the amount of time I have to knit!

Here are a few projects leftover from Christmas:

Crispy-white quilt top... before wreckage

This quilt was started in August, with the top finished just before school started. I was really pleased with how the quilt top turned out - everything seemed to be going well. Then I made mistake #1 - after frequenting the local fabric store to find material for the backing, I could not justify spending 11$/m for plain broadcloth. So, I scrimped and bought 3$ worth of red flannel. Oh man. It fell apart like paper both when I cut it, and when I had to rip out a seam after sewing parts of the backing backwards.

I meticulously taped the layers to the floor, pinned it within an inch of its life, hoping that better basting would eliminate my puckering problems while quilting. Not so. It puckered like crazy, to my disappointment, despite using a walking foot and solid basting.

Crinkled, pinkish finished quilt

Dissappointment #3 - being a cheap student, I had not spent the 4$ to wash the red backing before sewing the quilt. After excitedly putting my finished (yet puckered) quilt into the wash, I was left with an antique pink and red quilt top. I wanted to cry. Fortunately, my parents still liked it, and if you use your imagination the colors sort of work.

Christmas project #2: handmade sheep and yarn stitch markers. These were really fun to do, although somehow making a dozen turned into making 50-60, and it took a lot longer than expected.

And some beginning-of-clerkship knitting: traditional thrummed mittens made with Briggs and Little Heritage wool and roving. I love love love this yarn, it is so rustic and wholesome. The bits of vegetable matter in the wool, and lanolin smell bring it all home. These were gifted to a friend for her birthday.

Mmmm, thrums!

I've got one week left in Ontario before heading off to the Maritimes for elective #3. It will be nice to be closer to home!!