Sunday, May 30, 2010

And the Winner is.....

So today is it. The end of the contest & I'm both happy & sad. I'm a little sad that it's over but I'm happy because LOOK WHAT I HAVE:
Charity Chemo caps
That is 72 caps for kids in all sizes & colors. I got packages from all over the U.S. as well as from Israel & the Czech Republic. Wow.

But you really want to hear about prizes, don't you? Here is what I did today. Last night I wrote out all of the prizes on a sheet in the order they are listed on the blog post. Today I went through & counted all of the hats & made sure I had an entry for all of them. I did, which shocked the every loving heck out of me! As stuff came in I put your name on an excel spreadsheet so you had an official "number". Today I put the numbers 1-67 (that is total without the ones I knit) in the random number generator & asked it to give me 10 numbers & voila! Here is what I got.

Wollmeise Vroni goes to Manda (knitpsycho)
Brooks Farm Acero in the aqua/brown goes to Sherilyn (sherilyn)
Scentsy Warmer goes to Tera (teammom)
Handgefaerbt Merino Extra Fine Superwash in Lord of the Vampires goes to Dawn (knittinwolf)
Yarn Pirate in Hawt Pink goes to Catilin (rabbidtriangle)
A Verb For Keeping Warm Organic Worsted Merino goes to Chana (chana)
Brooks Farm Duet** goes to Amy (knitterofhats)
Prism Lace goes to Julie (passioknits)
Madeline Tosh Sock in Fjord goes to Karen (sharptalk)
Sundara Sock in That's How It Is goes to Janet (jani22)

**This prize was going to be Brooks Farm Primero in a pretty brown/ivory colorway. Well, the donator contacted me & said that someone on Ravelry PM'd her & needed that skein to finish a project. I told her that it would be ok to let her have it - I figured that every knitter understands running short on a project & well, that just seemed like the right thing to do. So she put this Brooks Farm Duet in it's place & this is what I'll be sending to Amy. And then she also donated prize #11, which I promptly forgot about.
BF Duet

I realized I had 11 prizes so I did the random number generator again for one more number & got:
Chana....again. I thought it was weird no one won twice, and now here we have it!
Helen's Lace in the color Sand Ridge
Lorna's Helens Lace

Now....if you didn't win anything, don't despair. I don't want anyone to feel like a total loser & honestly, you have NO IDEA how pumped I am to be able to donate 72 hats in honor of Adrianna. I am planning to send out a little something to everyone who participated. Be on the lookout - I am planning to put all prizes in the mail this week because I'm going on vacation next week. I will be contacting everyone via email or more likely, on Ravelry to let them know what they won & when their packages go out. As for the hats- now what? I'd really like to deliver them in person. I'm going to Louisiana some time in the next month or so, but we'll just see how it goes as to rather I hand deliver them or just send them out. I'll let you know.

I feel a little bit like Christmas is over or something. You know, after you do all the shopping & wrapping & then open up all the gifts & then suddenly it's over? Yeah, kind of like that!

Congrats to all of the winners & thank you again for participating.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

It's Almost Time!

Contest deadline is quickly approaching. I'll be doing the drawing on Sunday May 30th. Get your hats in - if you are mailing any time from today on, PLEASE let me know so I can be on the lookout for them.

I also got another prize in the mail this past week. Manda (aka knitpsycho) sent me this gorgeous skein of Sundara Sock Yarn in the colorway That's How It Is. It is so beautiful & nearly impossible to photograph in a way that flatters it best.
Sundara Sock

It's going in the prize pile along with everything else, so I will update you late Sunday on the final number of hats collected & who won what. I am so excited I am having a hard time waiting.

Stay tuned!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Thanks for the Fun Mail

Do you & your spouse have mail time, or is it just us? You know, one of you goes to get the mail & comes in & says "NO BILLS!" or "All bills & nothing fun" or "This feels like yarn" (I'll let you guess which one of us says that. One of us KNOWS when it's yarn, if you know what I mean). Lately at my house it's been "hat or no hat" days. If I'm not home when Patrick gets the mail, he'll call me & say "Looks like you got hats today." It's seriously more fun than getting yarn. Well, my friend Manda sent me hats & PRIZE YARN & yarn for me, so I won't say that wasn't fun because it was. Every hat that I get lifts my spirits & renews my faith in the good of people in general. I think, "These people don't even know me & they are sending hats for my cause!" I know I have prizes and you might just win something, but that isn't how this whole thing has felt. I've gotten to chat with people I would have probably never met & hear their stories. One lady shared with me that she lost her 6 year old nephew to neuroblastoma too. I just really don't know what to say that will convey how happy these hats are making me. I know it's not about me, but I just wanted you know, it is making me happy.

A few weeks ago I started to realize that I had only made ONE hat for my very own hat drive. How horrible. Admittedly, I don't want to make a ton of hats by myself, thus the contest, but I thought I could probably contribute more than one hat. I mean, since it was my idea & all. So I pulled out this super huge skein of James Brett Marble Chunky & my Last Minute Knitted Gifts book and whipped out some cute hats.
Chemo Caps

I really like this yarn. I actually made my first sweater out of the worsted version of this yarn & then I bought this skein at Rose Path Weaving (which is a great shop, BTW, if you are ever in East Texas, Lindale specifically). These hats are really easy & I whipped these 4 out over a weekend. I hope to crank out a few more before the deadline. Or at least before I bring them/send them to New Orleans. My point being: chunky yarn + size 10 or 11 needles = lots of hats fast. So it's not too late.

Drawing is SUNDAY MAY 30, 2010. I'm not sure what time - do you care? I just know I'm heading out for vacation June 6th, so I wanted to give myself a little time to get prizes mailed out. Email me if you still need the address - time is getting short! If you mail something late, let me know so I can be sure I have it on the 30th. Email is bijouxmaster[at]gmail[dot]com.

FYI: because a few people have asked. As of today I have gotten 34 hats from others & I have made 5. I had no idea what to expect, so I think that's not too shabby!

KNIT AWAY!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

What the Hell?

Are you kidding me? I RAN OUT OF YARN. I know you were all worried that might happen one day, you know, it's not like I have a big pile of it at my house or something. Ahem.

I decided this year that I really do want to make more socks. I'm not a huge fan of making them these days, but they sure did come in handy when the weather went below 40ish or so degrees. Usually if I cast on some fairly plain socks & carry them around with me, I will magically knit on them & before you know it, I have socks! I cast on for a pair with this gorgeous yarn. Yarntini Good to be Girl
Yarntini Good to be girl

I knit on it a little bit but I kept getting distracted, as I usually do. I was about half way down the cuff when I brought them to Spring Fling with me. I did overpack my knitting projects for Spring Fling, but mostly while I was there I knit on these socks. I finished the first one & some wise person said "Cast on #2 right this second." I really wanted to work on something else, but I did cast on for #2 & what do you know, before I knew it I was at the heel. When I was at The Loopy Ewe, I bought this cute bag made by 3am Enchantments. (I actually bought this bag because some sweet person was seriously coveting my kitty one that Amy made me & I wanted to give it to her).


I only mention this bag because I place the blame for my epic fail on this adorable bag. I transferred by yarn ball & the one finished sock & the pattern cards I was using & my stitch markers & such over to this bag & never even looked at it. And I knit on that sock & knit on that sock. I was so close to finished that I even put off other projects to get them done. And then this happened.


Yep, I flat ran out of yarn. I was totally confuzzled. I didn't make my cuffs all that long (6 inches). The yardage on the skein seemed right for socks. I know! I know! The dyer sent me a short skein. That had to be it. I was pretty self righteous about the whole thing. The total ball should be 113 grams, which is plenty enough for a pair of socks! I got home from knit night & weighed the finished sock. Shit. 60 grams. I'm pretty good at math so I knew right away that man, I SHOULD have had enough yarn, but I didn't. It was totally me. At Spring Fling my finished sock even went around the room with people saying "Wow, that's a really squishy & thick sock" & "Do you think that is going to fit in your shoes?" & "Those might end up as house socks" (which is fine with me except I think they are too pretty to only show to myself & Patrick). I guess I should have known, but I didn't. I used a larger size 1 needle (2.5mm) & I really should have used a size 2. If I had, the fabric would have been dense enough, but not nearly as dense as it is now. I also wouldn't have used up all of my yarn.

I pouted for a few days. I have plenty of scraps from other finished projects & I figured I could just use one of those. But this base really is different than anything else that I have & I love it. I hated to put some not as squishy yarn with it. Someone suggested I just get some more - yeah, it's not all that readily available so it's not like I could just scoop some up. So I emailed Jessie at Yarntini & begged to buy a little over 8 grams of yarn from her, even if it was plain white. She said she would be happy to send me some, just send her my address. Angels do exist. That is customer service. You should go buy yarn from her. Except maybe not the Port because I've been having my eye on it. (totally kidding, please save me from myself)

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Spring Fling 2010 - Part 2

Mini Bottle convention
See that light bulb? It's miniature bottle of liquor that I got at the Midwest Miniature Bottle Collectors convention that was taking place at the hotel at the same time as Spring Fling. Now, I would think this was a weird hobby, but I had to remind myself that I flew to St. Louis to a knitting retreat with a room full of strangers. Ahem. Glass houses, stones, and all that jazz. PS - the lady I bought it from told me not to drink it because it's very old. Thanks for the tip.

I bought that bottle because, well, that's exactly how I felt after my 2 classes on Saturday. Particularly the Sweater Fitness Workshop with Anne Hanson. I'm going to swallow my pride & post this not very flattering picture of me with Anne because, well, it's a picture of me with Anne Hanson. Those lights were none too kind to either of us.
I really really try not to be a fan girl to any of the "knitting rockstars" because well, I imagine it gets pretty old for them. And I will admit that while I think Anne's patterns are beautiful, I don't faithfully stalk her blog or know all of her patterns on sight or anything. But DAMN, this woman is a genius. After I signed up for this class & saw that we were doing measurements & such I thought "why am I taking this same damn class AGAIN????" This is the third class I've taken on how to properly measure yourself & design / make a sweater for your shape. But you know, I still am not getting it right so I thought surely I could learn something & well, one day I'd like to not be frustrated with my finished sweater. I was really excited about it & I swear I spent the whole class nodding because everything she said made so much sense. I've tried to explain to people what I learned & when I try to explain it everything that comes out of my mouth sounds so obvious that I can't believe I didn't think of it myself. Anne gave us 7-8 areas of fit that I had just never thought of before. I don't know how to explain it other than to say if you are frustrated with failed sweaters, take this class! You know how sometimes you take a class & it's totally over your head? Or you take a class & you think "yeah, I know this." Well, I think I am at the exact skill level for this class to make perfect sense. I have made enough sweaters (10ish) & have had enough fit problems that I was ready to hear all of the material that was taught. Fingers crossed that this works for me.

The other thing I decided in that class that instead of deciding to do X sweater in Z yarn, I am going to swatch the yarn until I get a fabric that I like & THEN chose the pattern. I think I try so hard to force yarn/pattern combinations that just will never work. I also decided to frog October Frost. SHUT UP!!!!!! It's just never going to fit & I need to accept it & move on.

My second class was Two Handed Knitting, Forward & Backwards with Gryphon Perkins of The Sanguine Gryphon yarn fame. Wow. That's all I can say. My favorite part of the class is when she told us that you could knit lace forward & backwards without turning your work & a student said "I could never do that." Gryphon promptly said "Actually, you are going to do it in about 15 minutes." I cracked up. She made us do stuff that I think none of us ever dreamed of doing or thought that we COULD do. It was interesting & although I doubt I'll be knitting forward & backward without turning my work on a regular basis, I think it will come in handy for certain things.

Gryphon is about the cutest person I've ever seen & she was sweet to boot. Here is a picture of her showing me a different way that I could wear my Aeolian. Yeah, I think perhaps she could pull that off, me, not so much.

Other teachers at the Spring Fling included Wendy Johnson & Jared Flood. I was really torn on which classes to take, but I have taken classes with both Wendy & Jared before. I took some socks classes with Wendy at the Knit Out in Guthrie, OK & I took Jared's Seamless Sweater Workshop at my LYS, The Woolie Ewe. All of the classes got rave reviews & it was a stellar line up.

Sigh. I'm so sad it's all over. I wanna go back again right now! I'm so inspired to knit so many things that I don't even know where to start.