Ack! Yesterday certainly got away from me! I felt like one of those game-show contestants who are locked in a wind-booth so they can humiliate themselves by grabbing for money, only I was grabbing for seconds, minutes, hours. That, and, for the first time in 3.5 years, I had diddly squat to write about. I’d milked the hysterectomy drama for all I could, the Giveaway party was over, Dulaan is “between years,” there are no vacations planned, no Feral meetings for a couple of weeks, no Guild meeting for at least three (althoooough it does occur to me that La Stephanie is supposed to be here this weekend. Score! Who’s going to be at Third Place Books? Speak up!). And then, for some reason, I couldn’t access the Mossy Cottage site and couldn't have posted if I'd wanted ta'. So, you get a Thursday post today, Dear Readers, a first.
First, the answers to a couple of comments followed by a coupla comments of my own:
1. Readers from other states have asked if they can get copies of F.I.R.E.’s “One Steppe at a Time” movie. F.I.R.E. tells me that, in their ongoing efforts to raise the $40,000 they need every year, they are selling the movie for $10. Only 4,000 copies to go, and they’re golden! So, no, unfortunately—but for a good reason—I can’t make copies of the movie and distribute them. (We did show the movie three times at the Giveaway. It was a great success, if you define “success” as having two of our guests became so snurfly and weepy that they had to leave the room. Do I know how to throw a party or whut?)
2. A few readers have asked if they can start mailing Dulaan 2007 items to F.I.R.E. now. Heck, yeah! You can mail items in any time they’re ready to go. However, you might want to wait until I have the 2007 version of the Dulaan Box Inventory Form posted so you can use it. TMK and I have to hunker down and talk about logos and such in preparation for the launch of Dulaan 2007.
3. I am thrilled to see that a lot of out-of-staters are clamoring for the remaining Avalanche yarn. I will need to develop a plan for getting it distributed; as soon as I know what the heck I’m doing, I’ll post info on the blog.
(Speaking of the Avalanche yarn, at one point MaryB casually tossed off a comment about how the Avalanche vest—which I knit in one back and two front pieces and which has laughably bulky seams—could, in fact, be knit seamless up to the armholes. Whuh?! Surely you jest! But, no, she jesteth not. So I’m astonished to find myself knee-deep in a redesign. It’s going well, considering that I have no bloody idea what I’m doing. Thanks to the bulky yarn, though, I am very quickly getting to the part where I will bungle things, then I can frog the vest and, just as rapidly, bungle them all over again. Fun times.)
4. I am working on the new list of suggested patterns for Dulaan because a lot of the existing links have become obsolete (no thanks to Lion Brand, which now requires you to give away your first born before you can access their free patterns. Grrrr.) Suggestions, please! I am looking for warm, straightforward, free and online.
And now, so this entry won’t be all business, long-time readers will remember that I am sock-monkeyphobic. I hate sock monkeys. They give me butterflies—and not the good kind—in my stomach, they make me restless and uneasy, and compel me to look at the ceiling, at the floor, out the window, at my fingernails, anywhere except at the sock monkey. It’s not an extreme phobia like a fear of flying (which I also have) or a fear of heights (which I don’t have); I just find sock monkeys very, very disturbing. So you can imagine how I felt about this. (Watch the video; there’s another dress where two strategically positioned sock monkey heads form the bust of the dress.)
No posting Friday or Monday, Dear Readers. I will be out and about.
My apologies for a lack of entry on Friday, Dear Readers. When I tried my usual 7am lurch out of bed, my back said with an Exorcist-type voice, “If you try to get out of bed, I will hurt you so much you will faint.” Huh.
Three days of anti-inflammatory medication and much fussing over by TMK who has Oh-So-Been-There, and I can now get up without first crawling around on the floor like a wolf-child until I find a place where I can pull myself up. Which explains why I played hooky from work Friday. I didn’t think crawling across the parking lot would have looked very managerial, and my employees would only have put up with having to wheel me around in my desk chair for so long, especially when I demanded to be taken to the bathroom, now, now, now!
Fortunately, I was well enough to be up and about for Giveaway Day. The good news: We emptied six honkin’ boxes! The bad news: Gold yarn—not so popular.
What an interesting mix of people and approaches we had at the Giveaway, from busy moms who only had time to for a drive-by grab, to more sedate types who happily helped themselves to a bag or two of yarn and settled in for a long afternoon of noshing, knitting and getting to know ya’, to a few who admitted that they only came by for the company and the noshing since bulky yarn makes them break out in hives. It was lovely. I had such a wonderful time.
Here, Giveaway guests help themselves to the yarn. Oddly, no one believed me when I said “Please pay the cashier on the way out.” I didn’t make a red cent on this entire deal, people! Apparently I’m losing my ability to run a good scam.
Here, MaryB, Elaine, Melinda, Leslie and TMK brave the sun.
Here, the knitters have wised up and moved the table into the shade where, granted, I should’ve put it in the first place. Notice all the bags of yarn destined to live elsewhere besides my garage! Hallelujah! Oh, and MaryB took advantage of this photo-op to practice for her audition for "America's Next Top Model."
And here, the finished Avalanche Vest!
I am astonished at how the vest looks because, frankly, it looked like crap a few days ago but with the armhole ribbing fixed, the ends woven in and the buttons attached, it looks quite acceptable, and it even got a nod or two from the Knitters of Great Experience who were at the Giveaway. Woot!
The pattern for the vest is 95% done. I’ll post it as soon as I can.
Thank you to everyone who came to the Giveaway and helped me "liberate" some of the yarn!
P.S. Kmkat, you asked for a larger version of the picture of the children in Mongolia wearing all the knitted items. This page shows larger versions of the photos.
Regular programming will continue on Friday but, for today, this needs to stand on its own.
That's 7,567 more than our goal, people.
I can only say, "Wow." And perhaps, "Holy Cow." And "Dude." Just imagine: F.I.R.E. will be able to give at least one item of clothing or a blanket to more than 12,000 men, women, and children in Mongolia this winter. Mull that over for a while, while giving yourselves a huge, collective pat on the back. And if you are suddenly overcome by a huge wave of self-satisfaction, go with it; you deserve it.
A heartfelt thank you to:
At 12:01 PDT, 71 hours and 430 votes after the launch of the poll, we had a winner, although, as you can see from the pie chart, not by a wholeheckuvalot. With a difference between the two voting “factions” of a mere 6.6% (even with the hanging chads taken into account), the winner is—drrrrumrrrroll!—the old logo!
It was fascinating to watch how the voting went—particularly because TMK and I were unshakeably convinced the new logo would win by a landslide, it being so “knitty” and knowing how we knitters are about our “knitty” things—and to read what people had to say. Although you understood and appreciated the look and feel of the new logo—and some of you fell loco in love with it, as I did—there was obviously a strong loyalty toward the old logo, its ethnic feel, and the history we have with those earthy colors, that font, and that “desert-y” look. So the old logo it is. Benissima. Now TMK and I can start gearing up for Dulaan 2007. Thank you!
On the Giveaway front, a fun development. I had my semi-annual meeting with my financial advisor last week and, you know how it is—we’re pals; we’re gals; we natter; we chat. She tells me all about her most recent international triathlon in Newfoundland and I tell her all about the knitting and Dulaan (triathlete, meet couch potato; couch potato, meet triathlete). After hearing about the Giveaway, unbidden, she volunteered to supply all of the lemonade and cookies, with the bonus addition of scads of popcorn for the watching of the movie—and she’s not a knitter, nor will she even be at the Giveaway! It's just important to her to support the project in any way she can. So the yarn will have been donated by a rug manufacturer and the munchies will have been provided by a financial planning company! Dulaan has gone corporate!
We’ve also gone (very belatedly and perhaps arguably) high-tech. As much as I appreciated TMK’s offer of letting us use her laptop to view the movie, what with all the in-your-lap huddling that would be required, the leaning-in and the clapping and gesturing-excitedly-at-the-screen that would surely ensue and the pointy sticks we would all be waving around, I was worried that someone would be severely and painfully poked, making me ineligible to compete for Hostess of the Year. So, I now own a DVD player. A cheap-o one, to be sure, since it will probably never be touched again until ten years from now when it is pulled out to be replaced with whatever the newest, latest, greatest technology-of-the-moment is, but it will do the trick for Saturday.
Also, the number of rubberneckers is increasing exponentially so, officially, if you'd rather have three root canals in a row without benefit of anaesthesia than take any of the yarn, but you still want to come knit, hang out, drink lemonade, eat cookies and watch the movie, what the hell—come on down! For directions, email me.
Lastly, I have an email in to F.I.R.E. to find out what the latest numbers are and I will post them as soon as I know.
P.S. A wink and a nod go out to Dear Reader Annette in Australia who has been successfully helping me combat the post-Dulaan-2006 doldrums. Thank you, Annette, for your lovely emails!
I’ve discovered that there’s no better cure for the post-Dulaan-2006 doldrums than to start thinking about Dulaan 2007. And the only thing more fun than thinking about Dulaan 2007 is thinking about the Dulaan 2007 logo. Granted, the logo process—like all artistic endeavors—has had its ups and downs. The discussion between TMK (who has designed all of our logos, for those who might not know) and me about it over the weekend grew quite heated and almost devolved into a bout of arm wrestling and bitch slapping, and I do believe the phrases “poo-poo head” and “stupid fart” were thrown about yet again. But, as of today, we have settled on two choices which we want to put to a vote.
Choice 1: Last year’s logo with the date just changed from 2006 to 2007. (My opinion: I love this logo. Always have; always will. Love the color. Love the oh-so-appropriate “dry desert” cracks in the border. Love the exotic font.)
Choice 2: A whole new logo. (My opinion: No surprise—I love this logo, too. Love, of course, the color. Love the lightness of it. Love the knitting design element. Which’all explains the need for a vote. Please help me keep my head from exploding with indecision.)
I've had to use different polling software this time because the site for the one I usually use is extraordinarily sluggish today and has even timed out, so let's give this a try. Once you vote, this software will show you the current results. Let me know if there are any problems.
However the votes stand as of noon on Monday will determine what logo we use, so get voting, Brigadiers!
|Web Polls by Vizu|
Because I’m suffering from a severe case of post-Dulaan-2006 knitting and blogging doldrums, my devilish scheme to distract you from what promises to be a bland and banal blog entry is to post pictures of some of my dahlias, now in full bloom. No one can resist flowers. Besides, there’s color in the flowers and fiber in the leaves so it’s almost like yarn, isn't it?
First, one of my perennial (pardon the pun) favorites, Honey Dew. This champ has grown true to form and type every year, no matter how many times I dig up and abuse the tubers. This picture doesn’t even begin to do justice to the light cantaloupe blush of this flower. This one I have actually been known to fondle.
Secondly, a lovely yellow and orange dahlia that grew very well then suddenly developed weak stems, making the flowers flop over melodramatically as if they, too, were suffering from the post-Dulaan-2006 knitting and blogging doldrums. So sad. Time for this dahlia to retire to a nice condo in Boca.
And one of my other favorites this year, a stunning rich-red dahlia, my first attempt at introducing a less-traditional dahlia into the flowerbed. (That’s what happens when your partner is a designer. You go along and you go along, perfectly comfortable with the all-white walls in your home, with your traditional country color-scheme of green, blue and yellow, with your traditional round-petaled dahlias, and then the whispered suggestions and the gentle prodding in the ribs begin, and then words like “sage” and “terra cotta” and “midnight blue” and “sand” and “tangerine” start cropping up in your interior-design vocabulary and wacky cactus-petaled flowers like this start appearing in your yard. It’s a conspiracy, I tell you; a conspiracy!)
And, now, to change subjects so fast as to perhaps cause whiplash among some of you, I will further distract you with some ferret clothes.
And then I will further distract you with a knitting question. When you are knitting a v-neck cardigan, do you knit the collar band first and then the button band? Or do you knit one continuous band that runs from one side of the sweater around across the neck and down the other side of the sweater? I ask because I tried Option A on the bulky baby vest and it looks like doo-doo. Because of the angle of the v-neck, the place where the collar band meets the button band makes a funny, lumpy, badly angled amorphous point. Blech. I think this is partly to blame for the knitting doldrums. Somebody throw me a life ring. Or perhaps a slice of medicinal chocolate cake. Or three.
What my garage used to look like:
What it looked like after this weekend:
Whuh?! What happened?! Did I sneak the Giveaway in early and not tell anyone? Or did TMK and I just decide to keep all the lemonade and iced tea and cookies and babe-a-licious strippers for ourselves and have Disasters ‘R’ Us come and haul the yarn away to the landfill?
Uh, no. The yarn was outside, on the lawn, being sorted. I was not handling it well.
I recovered after a little while, moved to a different vantage point, and just stared at it fiercely, hoping it would sort itself or that I would discover heretofore untapped telekinetic powers. It didn’t and I didn’t.
Let me tell you, though, knitters, there are some yummy colors in that pile-o-rama. See the last box far in the back, with the rich red peeking out of it? To die for. (The huge, amorphous pile of terra cotta is the same gigantic skein that I’ve been hauling all over the place for photo ops. I’ve now grown attached to it, named it Kitty, and am keeping it as a pet. Despite appearances, it wasn’t out there to be sorted; it was merely keeping me company while sleeping off a big bowl of fish-flavored Kitty Krunchies. At one point, it did mistakenly get stuffed into a box but it was rescued after it let out a few angry yowls.)
Smooches to TMK for her remarkable work in the garage. Even after I finished sorting the yarn and we crammed all the boxes back in, there was room to maneuver. I discovered as a result that there are an astonishing number of things in the garage that have nothing to do with yarn like, curiously, a lawn mower, a cord of wood and Christmas decorations. Who knew?!
This weekend we also watched the finished version of the F.I.R.E. movie, “One Steppe at a Time.” At the last knit-in, we had the opportunity to watch a version that was about 50% completed; this time around it was like watching a completely different movie. It was longer, richer, more moving, more complete, and, more importantly to me/us, there was quite a bit more footage of Dulaan items being distributed (MaryB, a great close-up of one of your hats!). At the end, a surprise—a heartfelt "thank you" to all the knitters and contributors! I believe TMK and I clapped and let out a "squee" or two. Or, more likely, I said "squee" and TMK uttered a slow and smooth Danny-Zuko-like "cool" because, after all, she does have to her street cred to maintain.
Kudos to all of you who suggested that we show the movie at the Giveaway. Fabulous idea...or it would be if this semi-Luddite owned a DVD player. Fortunately, TMK has come to the rescue—yet again—and said she will bring her laptop so we can watch the DVD on it.
(Note to Pat: I’ve sent you an email with the Giveaway information. Let me know if you don’t receive it.)
I have to share with you one of my most favorite on-going dialogs generated by the Dulaan Project and, at the same time, shed some light on Wren’s mysterious comment, “We have clothed Tuvalu! (plus a few to spare).”
About six months into Year One of the Dulaan Project, I received an email from Wren expressing an altruistically-based frustration that we couldn’t clothe the entire population of Mongolia. Which, apparently, led her to mull over the possibility of clothing the entire population of any country. Which led her to realize that this was actually achievable, if instead of Mongolia, pop. 2,791,272, Cuzzin Tom and I had decided to focus our efforts on Pitcairn Island, pop. 47. (This is made all the funnier by the image of the residents of that tropical isle careening around in stiflingly hot knitted clothing.) I became instantly enamored of Wren's "vision," partly because it made me laugh until copious amounts of Frappuccino came out of my nose, and partly because, as an incurable information junkie, I immediately went online and filled my brain with fascinating yet useless trivia about the Pitcairn Islands (like the fact that when six men were recently sentenced to jail, it caused a major hullabaloo because they were the only ones who knew how to operate the island's longboat).
Now, per Wren’s latest comment, the recent count of 11,980 means we have graduated from successfully clothing the entire population of Pitcairn Island to successfully clothing the entire island of Tuvalu which—according to some quick Googling—has a population of 11,636. (As an aside, we have also successfully clothed all of Vatican City, pop. 900.)
Perhaps next year we aim squarely for Naura, pop. 13,048?
The Norma Project is 99.9% done!
For those of you who are following along, TMK reports that the outer courses of pavers are sagging a bit so she is going to put some cement underneath and around the outside to help with this. Other than that, my personal bias aside, it looks really fabulous!
Apparently my offer to provide male strippers piqued some interest in the Giveaway since there has been a spike in my email since my last posting. I knew you could be bought! Heh.
Thumbs up to the additional people who have said they may drop by. Now, everybody, pray for sun. No praying, no strippers.
I'm flabbergasted that two people are driving up from Portland for the Giveaway. For those of you unfamiliar with the Great Northwest, that’s about a 2.5- or 3-hour drive! I’ve tried to convince them that they could buy a pantload of quality yarn for what they’d spend in gas to get free, somewhat questionable yarn plus all-you-can-eat lemonade and cookies but, I’m secretly delighted to say, they are determined to schlep up nevertheless. True Dulaan devotees. Perhaps I’ll have to abandon my Nilla Wafer plan and go straight for the Double Stufs. (Or, as the title says, champagne, caviar and one or two Chippendales.)
That being said, I need more locals! Five intrepid souls have stepped into the breach (and two others have confessed that they are coming just to rubberneck); now I need twenty, thirty, forty more! Don’t let the Portlanders put you to shame, Seattleites! Did you see how much yarn I have to get rid of?
And to the jokesters who want to add yarn to the Giveaway? Yo’ mama.
The details again:
Dear Reader Jennifer asked for the latest Dulaan number. I’ve been hesitant to post it because F.I.R.E. is still waiting for 3,145 sweaters to arrive from GuidePost Knit for Kids but, what the hey—let’s just do the math, shall we? Add the 3,145 to the 8,835 received from all of you and the grand total could possibly be:
That’s 260% of our goal of 4,518, people. And there may, in fact, be even more since F.I.R.E. said there were one or two other boxes that had not yet been counted.
A moment of silence, please, for this absolute miracle. And MaryB, I forgive you for predicting that we would get over 10,000 items this year and for being...for being rrr...for being rrii...okay, I can say it...for being right.
A couple of other notes:
No lie, people, within two minutes of arriving at the house, Rabbitch had whipped the infamous midnight-blue panties out of her handbag and had arranged them on her head. I exaggerateth not. And I have five witnesses to back me up. It was hysterical yet, oddly, not surprising since that’s just the sort of thing you learn to expect from the pleasantly unhinged sorts who populate knitblogland. And now I know that the way to break the ice with people you’ve never met is to carry a pair of satiny, midnight-blue French cuts around with you and whip them out by way of introduction or whenever conversation grows awkward (which did not, by any stretch of the imagination, happen on Saturday). Note to self: Swing by department store on the way home. Second note to self: Lose enough weight to make people believe you actually wear French cuts.
The rest of the day was spent a little more sedately, as you can see from this photo showing, clockwise starting from TMK: TMK, Leslie, Elaine, Rabbitch sans undergarments (or at least the ones on her head; I can’t speak for the rest of her), Patti and Melinda, wonderful company, all.
(Note to Kay and Anne: Including Yours Truly, of the five knitters at the table, three of them were working on or had within arm’s reach a Ballband Dishcloth. Dude. You should find a way to wangle a commission on these. You could both retire to a life of ease, knowhatmsayin'?)
Okay, local knitters, I’ve finally been able to gird my loins enough for the Event of the Summer. Announcing:
The Giveaway will be held on Saturday, August 26, from 10am-2pm at my house in North Seattle. (I repeat, especially for anyone who has been to a knit-in: At MY HOUSE, not at TMK’s.)
Please email me if:
1. You might, perhaps, maybe, possibly, perchance come, so I can send you directions.
2. You want to come but can’t come that day so I can decide whether to hold another Giveaway.
To repeat from earlier postings, with regard to the yarn:
1. Because of a tax agreement between F.I.R.E. and Rosemary Hallgarten, the yarn has to be used for Dulaan.
2. The yarn is a bulky, chunky weight (I get 2.5 stitches to the inch on size 13s, but I am a neurotically tight knitter).
3. The yarn is medium quality, not terribly itchy, not terribly soft but softens up a bit when you wash it (I’ll have a swatch for you to feel). It’s good for outerwear like vests, cardigans and hats, probably not good for scarves or pullovers or anything that would be worn directly next to the skin.
4. The yarn comes in a variety of colors from beiges through pastels through fun blues, oranges, reds and yellows, to a dark slate gray but, again, the Giveaway will be strictly first come, first served. When I run out, I run out. No bribing the Giveaway hostess. Or her partner. Or the dog.
5. The yarn is put up in a variety of ways, some small skeins (at a guess, 80 yards) and some super-colossal hanks like this:
which we can find a way to wind off if needed, and one grab-bag box that has what looks like one smallish ball of every color. I haven’t yet had a chance to look in all the boxes so there may be more surprises yet in store.
Again, please email me if you think you might come, or if you want to come but can’t make it this time. I need my garage back to, well, store other yarn but we don’t need to go there. And I need to get TMK to stop shaking her head at me over the pickle I've gotten myself into.
P.S. Once I've gotten rid of as much of the yarn as I can locally, I'll start taking orders for shipping it elsewhere.
I’m happy to say that I did not have to bail TMK out of the hoosegow for battering her, as Dear Reader kmkat put it, “Manland emissary.” In fact, TMK reports that, although her emissary didn’t exactly bring her a rose, chuck her adoringly under the chin, and execute a lively and charming buck and wing in her driveway, he was quiet, efficient and didn’t give her ‘tude. That’s all we really care about, guys; no ‘tude. Oh, and pants that don’t show your crack. Euuuww.
Most importantly, he brought this, the sand and the pavers:
Here, Frankie waits for TMK to lay down something new she can poop on since pooping on crushed gravel is so yesterday.
Here, as of last night, sand and four pavers in place, and Frankie considers what kind of doggie contortions it will take to baptize the tamper. (Oh, and let me point out something truly annoying. Notice how the previous owners painted only the three sides of the shed you can see from the house and then quit? You just gotta wonder sometimes.)
The pavers are level!
As of this morning, 28 pavers in place, also level! (Note to tomorrow’s lunch guests: If TMK brings her balsamic vinaigrette potato salad to the table and then collapses to the ground and begins snoring, you will know why. I suggest we just put some underpants on her head and leave her be.)
On the knitting front, despite Robbyn’s detailed instructions (thank you, Robbyn!) and despite the other research I did on the Web, the concept of applied i-cord is still whuppin’ my behind. I can do i-cord (thank God, or I would start to think it had been named after me); it’s the “applied” part that’s making me all kinds of crazy. I see a little bit more research and some trial and error in my future. Thank you everyone for your suggestions!
(Quick Note: If you left a comment on the last entry and it didn't show, it should show now. My comments needed a little "spam wrangling.")
This is what I know about Rabbitch:
Are any of these reason enough to decline an impromptu invitation for a rendezvous this weekend? Hell, no! There’s certainly room in my social circle for an underwear-on-head-wearing, zipper-hating, Canadian-or-maybe-American stranger. Which is a good thing because come noon on Saturday, Rabbitch, Elaine, Leslie, Patti, and I will be ensconced in TMK’s backyard having yet another one of our infamous barbeque knit-ins and watching Frankie steer her tushie in the general direction of the Norma Project.
That’s the thing about blogging. You start out thinking it’s an insufferably stupid hobby which only vain and narcissistic egocentrics would get sucked into. Then you discover that you are, in fact, a vain and narcissistic egocentric and start a blog. And three years later you find yourself running a charity that knits things for children in a country 10,000 miles away, flying to California for the wedding of two people you’ve never met, and blithely inviting into your home a complete stranger who is Canadian, or maybe American, wears underpants on her head and who may, by the time she gets to your house, be frantically fleeing American and Canadian border guards who received an—ahem—"anonymous" tip to be on the lookout for her. Ah, what a ride it's been!
Think good thoughts for TMK if you have a mo'. Some escapees from Manland will be arriving at her house tomorrow to deliver the rest of what she needs to finish the Norma Project and she will need all the positive "woman energy" she can...Wait. No. Back that thought up. Think, instead, good thoughts for the escapees from Manland. On her turf, if there is a rumble, TMK will win, hands down. (Anyone thinking Sharks, Jets, “West Side Story” now? I am. Although now I have segued on to the Vain and Narcissistic Egocentrics’ national anthem, “I Feel Pretty.”)