It is a nice walk, albeit almost completely uphill, from my house to our mailbox. Wednesday was a beautiful day so I strolled up the hill to see what goodies Gary The Mailman had left us. In a small town you know everyone. Gary's wife is the librarian in the next town south of us.
I wasn't expecting anything special so I didn't take my camera with me. You will just have to imagine the lovely picture presented to my eyes when I opened the box. A largish white plastic mailing envelope, plump and soft. Could it be... yarn?
It was from a certain knitblogger so yarn was an excellent guess. Either I won something in her recent contest or she was just being a generous friend. I forget which. Aren't knitbloggers just the best, most generous people on earth?
ETA: Okay, I went back and re-read her post about the winners of her blogversary contest. I was not an *official* winner as chosen by the Official Random Integer Generator. She was being extra-special generous to send me something. Wowzers.
Let's take a look, shall we?
What is not visible in this photo is the lovely peppermint fragrance wafting from the envelope's contents.
First, there was what every knitter needs:
A knitting-themed [temporary] tattoo and a feline-themed bookmark. The latter is actually one of Cathy-Cate's Moo cards, I think, but it is destined for a new life in my house as a happy bookmark.
There was a chocolate-nut-caramel confection that lasted about 5 seconds, or as long as it took me to rip it open and pop it into my mouth. Mmmmmm, good.
Here are the official contents, in a less-than worthy photo:
The soap is Queen Bee Driftless Flood Relief Soap, with lemon & peppermint, proceeds of whose sales benefited, through the Sow the Seeds Fund, the farmers in southeast Minnesota and southwest Wisconsin who were flooded out last August. (In case you are wondering, "driftless" refers to the terrain of that area, which is the only area in thousands of square miles of the Midwest that was not scraped flat by glaciers in the last ice age.) A worthwhile cause, to be sure.
The yarn -- that's what you are waiting for, right? the yarn? -- is Cherry Tree Hill Supersock DK, a 100% superwash merino. Cathy-Cate e-mailed me to ask my color preferences, to which I responded "jewel tones." Boy, oh boy, is this jewel-toned or what? The color sends little thrills up my spine.
There are a few random strands of blue-brown in there, too, but I missed them in the photo. I have never knit with Cherry Tree Hill, so this will be extra special. The yarn will soon become a pair of woolly warm winter socks for me for next winter. I've been looking forward to making myself some heavier socks -- these will be my first pair.
Thanks to the ever-vigilant Chris, I saw last week that Purling Dervish was having a contest. Off I went to enter, and lo-and-behold, a few days later I got a congratulatory e-mail from Stacy, the Dervish herself. I won! W00t!
Tonight I was heating myself a little dinner in the microwave tucked into the corner of our department -- there is a very nice break room downstairs with tables and banquettes and vending machines and lots of microwaves and a toaster and a toaster oven, but I use my eating time to commune with y'all, so I tend to eat at my desk -- and while my dinner heated (Kashi Chicken Florentine and a bowl of cream of chicken Florentine; sensing a theme here?) I checked the nearby file drawer to see if I had any mail. Wowzers, there was a package for me!
It was soft and squishy -- whatever could it be? Well, I kind of knew because Stacy had said when she posted the contest what the prize would be. Work with me here, 'kay? (The suspense builds.)
Whatever it is, the inner wrappings coordinate well with an individual tax file. Good thing I wasn't working on a partnership return; those files are blue. Or a gift tax return -- those are bright yellow. Horrors! (Suspense builds.)
Could it be.. yarn? (Suspense reaches unbearable level.)
Why, yes! It could be!
And this is not just any yarn. This is Malabrigo 100% merino laceweight. Two (2!) 50-gram skeins. That's 940 yards, folks. Enough to do some serious lace damage.
Now, I am not a lace knitter. I have attempted a few easy lace patterns in the past with less than stellar results. All attempts were frogged after a couple inches. But some say that the key to success in learning something new is to do it with a yarn or fiber that you love.
If so, look out lace -- here I come!
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In the interval since I wrote the above, Things Have Progressed. Nora is hosting a shawl KAL. She blogged about it for several days, agonized over her choices, solicited input from her readers as to what shawl she should knit. In the process of reading about it Thursday night I got snagged, er, hooked. The Icarus pattern has been googled, purchased, downloaded, printed, and currently resides in my knitting bag. Icarus is mostly stockinette, with regular columns of k2togs and yos; the *real* lace doesn't come until the end, when I will be ready for it. I hope.
My swift and ballwinder are at the house in Wisconsin, so I sent one skein of the Malabrigo with #2 son, who is going there this weekend with his girlfriend (also a knitter, can he pick 'em or what?) Their assignment is to wind the laceweight into a ball, firm but not too tight, don't wind too fast or the ball will fly off the ball winder, be careful a strand doesn't slip off the winding platform and get tangled in the gears. Can they do it (the winding)? Can I do it (the lace)? Stay tuned.
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I had a contest here myself a couple weeks ago. Remember this picture? Now it has a caption.
"I have six stitch markers, the fifth dpn, and the remote. You gotta problem with that?"
Congratulations to Sheepish Annie! Chris and I each picked our own several favorites, then I chose the winner from the overlap.
I know that Annie is a lace knitter, but guess what? That Malabrigo is all mine. Sheepie, you are getting something else(bwahahaha). I already know what the non-fiber, non-chocolate bit will be.
Thanks to everyone who sent funny captions. To be brutally honest, I had an ulterior motive in staging this particular contest: I wanted to entice people to send me things that would make me smile or chuckle or gigglesnort or laugh out loud during this, a rather stressful time of year for me. Last year I just came out and begged. This year I was sneakier.
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Now, for your amusement I give you my winning entry in Purling Dervish's contest. First the set-up:
I know, you’re all here for the contest portion of this post. Recently, the possibility of not returning to my current position due to the floppy paw has been brought up. Something about being in front of a computer for 9 hours a day not being conducive to having full use of my arm. I was asked “Have you thought about what job you would do if you couldn’t go back to what you were doing?”
::: blink, blink ::::
::: deafening silence :::::
I hadn’t even considered that. Not on my radar at all. My thoughts were: Doctor fix. Do PT. All better! Return to my job. That makes sense, doesn’t it?
So the contest… give me an answer. What job could I do? or What job would you do? Don’t worry about education or talent requirements. No answer is too silly or too serious. It just can’t be sitting in front of and using a computer all day.
To get you all started, the first two that came to my mind are:
phone sex operator
No, I do not have issues, why do you ask?
Here’s a review:
Post your answer to the question “What job could I do?” or “What job would you do?” .
Let me know if you only knit or if you knit and spin. (I kept typing sit and spin)
Random number generator will pick three lucky winners.
I may even throw in a special prize if you make me pee my pants .
I guess her pants landed in the laundry that night because I won the Big PIMPing Prize. And here it is, the pee-pimpin' comment that won the Malabrigo:
The common factor among these, of course, is that those people don’t really DO anything. They read a lot, they think a lot more, and then they talk. Endlessly. The floppy paw thing? No problemo, dude.
My personal choice would be Empress of the Universe. But I would hire others to make all the decisions I didn’t want to be bothered with and to enforce my decisions on the important stuff: what sodas to have in the vending machine, what the chef should make for dinner tonight, what to knit next. You know, the important stuff.
* I have been listening to a biography of Albert Einstein, the theoretical physicist to end all theoretical physicists. (He specialized in thought experiments.) And I've always been fascinated by non-Newtonian physics, although I will freely admit I don't really grok it. See the quotation visible in the first photo, above.
I was just over at Norma's and read about her Pay It Forward thing. You can go read about there; to quote her most excellent summary:
I will send a handmade gift to the first 3 people who leave a comment on my blog requesting to join this PIF exchange. I don’t know what that gift will be yet and you may not receive it tomorrow or next week, but you will receive it within 365 days. That is my promise. The only thing you have to do in return is pay it forward by making the same promise on your blog.
My personal twist is that the winner may, if s/he so desires, designate that I knit something for their favorite charity/cause instead of for them personally. The actual objet d' knit will be of my own choosing after due consideration of each recipient's preferences with respect to color, fiber, care, etc.
So…go for it!
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Is it really December tomorrow? I guess that means I did the NaBloPoMo with only one missed day, and I didn't have real Internet access that day. So I am patting myself on the back and saying, See, Kath, you really can talk that much.
Whether I actually had anything worthwhile to say is a question for another day...
I won another contest! This one was at Big Alice's -- look at the great sock yarn she sent me! Thanks, Carrie!
And look at the sock that someone in Ravelry (wolldruide) is making from a slightly different color of this yarn -- I don't know if I will ever make these socks, but wow! aren't they something to aspire to? Pattern is from Charlene Church's More Sensational Knitted Socks.
I bought some yarn from Webs. (They keep sending me e-mails, tempting me with their sale yarns -- I refuse even to click on the yarns that are not on sale; not that their non-sale prices are bad, just that I Don't Need More Yarn.) This is Noro Aurora (wool/mohair/silk/polyester), enough for a striped scarf for me a la Jared. You may not be able to see it in the photos, but the 5% polyester in the yarn is sparkly :)
I finished another Calorimetry for myself:
That's Paton's Soy Wool Stripes, cast on 96 st on size US#6s. I've been wearing it and loving it.
But we are not totally about the mememe! here at Chez Kat. I knitted three squares for Kay to include in her afghan for Oliver's Fund. It proved to be impossible to get the colors right in the photo; the red is tomato, the darks are more subtle:
I'm making a couple pairs of kid's socks for the Soaring Eagles Project using Plymouth Encore Colorspun (hair added because... it's everywhere):
Wait, what is that weird tube thing I'm using?
It is a keeper for projects on circular needles. Invented by The Tsock Tsarina and available here. The place where I really, really need to use this is on the kimono sweater -- I cannot count how many times I have grabbed the sweater out of my knitting bag and pulled the needle out of the fabric. Arrgggh. No more, though :)
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For those of you who were freaked out by yesterday's serial killer post, let me assure you that Matthew's remark was made in jest. It was last July so I don't remember the full context; not to worry, though, no living creatures were harmed in the making of the funny.
Awhile back I won Deb's happy hour contest. Forgetful as I am, my winning slipped my mind until she apologized a few weeks ago about not sending my prize(s) yet. No problem, Deb!
Then she posted this on Monday. Go read it; it will make you laugh. I'll wait.
Okay, back now? Here is what arrived in yesterday's mail (as I was opening the box I kept thinking about how I really should take photos of the unopened box, the partially opened box, yada, yada, but since I am all about the non-delay of gratification you will have to use your imagination to fill in the intermediate steps):
Well, well, well; clearly this is not the kitty that the menagerie at Chez Kat were hoping for. Hannibal and En Esch were planning to teach that new kitty how to dash out the door when Kat lets the dogs out; Lucy was wondering if this kitty knew about the "no claws" rules when batting at her nose. All does not appear to be lost, however. Let's take a closer look, shall we?
We have a kit for making felted flowers:
Those funny-looking pins at stage right are the glass-tipped stamens for the flowers. Somebody used their creative imagination to design this kit.
A keychain sock blocker, plus instructions and yarn (STR, yay!) to make a tiny sock for it (crayons added by me for, um, color):
Was there yarn in the prize? Yes, there was yarn in the prize -- dyed by Deb's own hand during one of her [in]famous Saturday dyeing sessions with Chris and Jeanne. I'm a big fan of jewel tone colors, so I was thrilled with what she sent.
There was yummy Henry's Attic Treadsoft (100% merino superwash) for a pair of socks:
and gorgeous Henry's Attic Pony laceweight (100% fine merino), perhaps for a scarf:
Tragically, my camera refused to capture the true colors of the sock yarn. The darker bits, which look teal-gray in the photo, are actually much brighter, some of them bright teal. I love the look of contrasting heels and toes on my socks, so I'm thinking I will search out some suitable teal yarn for those parts. I was able to tweak the colors in the second photo so they are fairly accurate. Yum. Do I detect Chris's [purple] influence in this one?
But it's not all about the yarn. It's really all about the love...
Thanks, Deb! (And doesn't she have the coolest handwriting on the planet?)
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Knitting of the kimono sweater was interrupted yesterday by the opening of an eBay package that arrived while I was at the tax conference earlier in the week. Four skeins of Noro Silk Garden, 2 each of 244 and 251, for yet another Noro scarf Christmas gift: