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June 29, 2009

MS Ride 2009 Winners Are Up!

Oh my gosh.

202 prizes.

818 donors.

No wonder I don't count until its all over. I'd scare myself silly otherwise!

Each prize and the winner's first name and last initial are posted here. Each winner should have received an email from me either yesterday or today. However, mistakes happen. Spam filters happen. If you think you are the prize winner but didn't get an email, feel free to email me and ask.

Also, if you have donated a prize but are having trouble contacting the winner, please let me know so that I can help. If a winner just can't be reached, I'll draw another name within a reasonable time.

I'll admit, I'm really tired and need a drink....

Thanks again for an awesome fundraiser!

MS Ride 2009 Recap

The one-word description of the 2009 Knitters Against MS Ride is GENEROSITY. Check out the final total in the sidebar:

$31,070,73

Despite a world-wide economic collapse and many knitters facing unprecedented hard times, this community came through to support the goal of a World Without MS for our fellow knitters and others suffering with this disease. If money was tight, knitters supported this goal by donating prizes. Knitters who were able gave EVEN MORE than they did last year to make up for their compatriots who had to cut back. To be so close to last year's total....well, frankly its quite stunning.

Generosity is alive and well amongst us knitters. That realization alone should put a smile on your face this Monday morning.

The actual ride itself dawned bright, warm and sunny early on Saturday morning.

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Looking chipper at the starting line.

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Wearing the NUMBER ONE.

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As is our wont, we were running a bit late to get to the start.

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Luckily, the Number One bike gets to line up right at the starting line.

After a terrible-weather cold, rainy, suck-ass June here in New England, Saturday morning was the single beautiful, blue-bird sky day of the entire month (BTW, its raining again today). The ride temperature was a balmy 81 degrees F. with a cool breeze blowing throughout.

After starting off the line first, we managed to stay ahead of the thousands of other riders and pretty much rode by ourselves for the entire ride. (My preference: i hate riding with folks I don't know -- inexperienced riders are a death wish in a group). Of course, there was some smokin' of unworthys who had foolishly passed us. But no wrecks, no close calls. A fast, safe ride.

Miles riden: 76 miles
Pedal time: 4 hours, 10 minutes
Average speed: A little over 18 mph.
Finish order: Top 20, second female in

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Still Number One at the end of the ride.

This one is for Laura who wanted to see both the Number One and the improved biceps -- a trick seeing as how I wear the number on my back, but this will have to do.

Now for the fun part: THE PRIZE RAFFLE! I am more than half-way through giving out the prizes. I expect to be done with the raffle process later on today, and will post the results as quickly as I can. Winners started being notified by email yesterday and that will continue today. So watch your email and come back later on today for the final results!

It seems so inadequate to simply say, thank you for your support this year. But I truly appreciate everyone's efforts to make this fundraiser a success. I hope one day a cure for MS will be found and we all can just knit and blog on through the month of June without interrupting our regularly scheduled program for the begging. Until then, THANKS FOR STICKING WITH ME!

June 26, 2009

Last Prize Post for MS Ride 2009!

Finally my friends, we have reached the end. The last prizes to go into the MS Ride Prize Basket for 2009.

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From Opal (whose Etsy shop is here) comes this delicious handspun yarn. She says, "These dark saturated colors remind me of a midnight sky. Made from an alpaca/merino blend, I used the Navajo Plying method to keep the color repeats true to itself." Yarn Vitals: 311 yards, 4.1oz - 116.2g, 20-18 WPI / Fingering - DK weight.

Also from Opal:

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and

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The stitch markers are made with a pewter charm, a 7mm closed jump ring, sterling silver findings, and Swarovski crystals. They'll fit up to a size US 7 or a 4.5 mm needle. The stitch markers with the charms are perfect for marking the beginning of a row or round for any project.

From Kim D. comes a boatload of great prizes:

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A skein of Cherry Tree Hill Supersock DK in the Green Mtn. Madness colorway.

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2 skeins of Made By Ewe 100% merino wool sock yarn (100 g., 440 yds.)

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Two skeins of Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock in the Seaside colorway.

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A copy of the "Big Book of Knitting" by Katharina Buss.

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A copy of "Great Knits" from Threads Magazine and a copy of "Modern Classics" by Louisa Harding (this is one prize).

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A copy of SpinOff Special Socks Edition plus a copy of "Folk Style" by Mags Kandis (this is one prize).

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A copy of "Cables Untangled" by Melissa Leapman.

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Ray Whiting of Knitivity, an independent art yarn dyer in Houston, TX, has donated a skein of "Knitivity's Down Home Art Yarns - Socks" in one of his popular colorways: "Art School, Sr.", part of the Art School colorway collection. DHAY-SOCKS is 75% superwash/25% nylon, a full quarter-pound (4 oz), approx. 460 yards per skein. Thanks Ray!

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Valerie of the StitchyMushroom is donating one of her adorable handmade box bags (the winner gets to choose amongst the three bags shown) to the Prize Basket. Or, if none of these appeal to the lucky winner, he or she can choose another from Valerie's shop.

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SallyH (on Ravelry) is donating a copy of Ann Budd's "The Knitter's Handy Book of Sweater Patterns" to the Prize Basket. This is a tremendously useful book, and a great prize.

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Donna is donating this array of Opal sock yarn (orange-red, blue and purple) to one lucky winner. This is probably my favorite sock yarn for durable, color-fast socks and I think the winner will really enjoy this prize. But that's not all from Donna:

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Here is a skein of "Knitted to a T" merino wool sock yarn in the colorway "April Showers"; and

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A skein of See Jayne Knit hand-dyed 100% blue-faced leicester wool, together with a purple stitch marker.

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Emily, the talented dyer behind Sophie's Toes sock yarn is donating a skein of her delicious 100% superwash merino in the Renaissance Faire colorway. Thanks Emily!

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Linda is donating her copy of Cat Bordhi's book "Socks Soar on Two Needles". One of these days I swear I'm gonna try this.

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Diana of Otter Wise is donating a set of her four for-sale patterns as a prize. The pictured pattern is the Dragontail Shawl, but check out all of her patterns here (Rav link).

Ah, and now we come to the very, very last prize for this year. As is tradition, its a beautiful shawl.

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My Cookie is a bad-ass knitter, cranking out the fabulousness at a furious pace. Here she has outdone herself with an oversize rendition of the Peacock Tail and Leaf Scarf from the Nancy Bush book "Knitted Lace of Estonia". The yarn is Zephyr wool/silk lace weight in the Ruby colorway, bought for her by the equally bad-ass Norma. For more on the knitting of this shawl, click here. Thanks Cookie for making us an awesome prize!

It must be crystal clear by now that this "MS Ride Along Thingy Raffle" as Cookie calls it could not happen without the amazing generosity and support of the world-wide knitting community. Without you, there would be no prizes. Without prizes, there would be no way to suck in donations. Without donations, well...that's not really much of a fundraiser, now is it?

Tomorrow is the MS Ride, and the Knitters Against MS tandem will be wearing the NUMBER ONE and lining up at the ass-crack of dawn to be the very first bike off the starting line. The goal, of course, is to be the very first bike to complete the 75 miles between Quincy, MA and Bourne, MA. Any please-do-not-rain-tomorrow and please-do-not-wreck karma will be gratefully accepted.

The very last possible moment to donate to my MS Ride is this coming Sunday June 28th at 9:00 AM EST. After that, I will be assembling the Giant Spreadsheet of Donors and using a random number generator to raffle off all of these great prizes. Check back right here on Monday morning, June 29th to see all the winners and for a Ride recap.

Thanks to all of you for sticking with me through another fundraiser, the goal of which is a world free of MS. Hopefully one day they will find a cure for this horrible disease and then I can stop all of this fundraising stuff. Until then, Ride On, Knit On and Donate On! See you on the flip side.

June 25, 2009

Last Thursday Post

If you are a fan of Hanne Falkenberg you know that we are talking some serious coin to get into one of her kits. So you know that Sandra D. has made Knitters Against MS a very generous gift in donating this to the Prize Basket:

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This is the entire LaStrada kit (minus the original packaging), which will go to one lucky winner who donates to my MS Ride. Maybe it will be you!

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Ruth from 5elementknitr is donating a set of Stitch Savers (one of each in the four sizes she makes in the Basic, plus a customized one) to one prize winner. What a great little notion to have with you when you've dropped a stitch on the go, and we have ALL totally done that.

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This pile of deliciousness is my girl Juno's stunning contribution to the Prize Basket. This is eleven skeins of Chasing Rainbows kid/merino (180 yds per skein each, aran weight) and will make someone an amazing sweater. Or the winner can just roll around in it nekkid -- I'm open.

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My friend Sylvia is absolutely the most accomplished knitter I know, and that is saying something as I'm privileged to know my share of folks deserving of high praise for their mad skillz. She has made three fine-gauge knitted mitts for the Prize Basket, each being a separate prize. The raspberry and orange varigated pairs are a lady's small (6.75 - 7.25") and the brown pair is a medium (7.25 - 7.75 inches around the palm above the thumb). The yarn is a wool/bamboo blend knit finely on size 0s. Three lucky winners will be very happy with these!

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Erica is donating this drool-worthy skein of Black Bunny Fibers BFL sock yarn in the Audacity colorway to the Prize Basket. Thanks Erica!

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Don't want to knit socks, and want a pile of beautiful yarn for a larger project? Well, Karen has the prize for you: ten skeins of Rowan Donegal Tweed (109 yds, 25 g.) in the Pickle colorway, and a BlueQ oilskin 13" x 14" shoulder bag in black and white Manga-style from the "Cute as Hell" collection. There is no card-carrying knitter on the planet that wouldn't want this prize. (Apparently, I'd really like it, but no -- all for you.)

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Here is a very unique and beautiful prize offered by Martha of Thistle Handwerks. She will make one lucky winner this beautiful tea cosy, using Belgian linen and naturally hand dyed silk floss. Personally, I don't embroider and would have no way of owning such an heirloom piece other than winning it here. I can't win it, but you can!

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Christine S. is offering a lovely skein of natural fawn-colored alpaca heavier laceweight yarn, raised and spun in Saskatchewan. And,

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To bump up the color quotient, Christine is also offering as a separate prize two balls each of Filatura di Crosa Maxime Print Soft Socks, and Knitpicks Clementine Risata. Orangey goodness for your feet!

Now, get ready for a seriously generous prize offering by SusanSW. Each picture is a separate prize and I'm just gonna list 'em:

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Rowan Classic "Summer Delights" booklet by Martin Storey plus 8 skeins of Intermezzo's Aran 30 ply mercerized cotton (149 yds ea) in color 5--cream

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Annie's Attic "Knit Summer Tops" booklet plus 5 skeins of Brown Sheep's Cotton Fleece (cotton/wool, 215 yds ea) in Caribbean Sea color

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2 hanks of Trendsetter's Chameleon (acrylic, 88 yds ea), one in color 52--dark blue/green, one in color 76--rainbow

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1 skein Schaefer's Esperanza (lambswool/alpaca, 280 yds) in color Elizabeth Cady Stanton and 1 hank A Touch of Twist's Spectacular Softball (cotton, 231 yds) in color 5--soft blue/purple

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2 balls Elann's Sock It To Me (superwash wool/polyamide, 230 yds ea) in Puzzle blue/grey/black/white and 1 ball Yarn Forward's Knitted Sock Sensation (4 ply merino, 328 yds) in mint

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2 balls Regia's Kaffe Fassett (superwash new wool/nylon, 210 meters ea) in shades of browns/blues and 1 ball of Opal's Uni (superwash wool/polyamide, 425 meters) in marine blue

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Berroco's booklet #286 "Mica" and 1 skein of some company's "Icing" (cotton, nylon laceweight) in claret

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1 skein Great Adirondack Yarn's Papyrus (nylon/poly, 70 yds) in blues/greens and 3 skeins of wool by an unknown hand-dyer in shades of blues, reds, and greens

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Knitted Jackets by Cheryl Oberle and 2 skeins of Cherry Tree Hill's Supersock DK Select (superwash merino, 360 yds ea) in Blueberry Hill

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The Knit Kit and 2 balls of Classic Elite Yarn's Summer Sox (cotton, superwash merino, nylon, 175 yds ea) in color 5595 (raspberry, orange, grape, lime)

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2 skeins Oceanwind Knits' Fingering Superwash Merino (185 yds ea) in Berrijus and 2 skeins Radiant Twist's Superwash Merino Sock (375 yds total) in Ancient

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1 skein LuLu's Yarns' Supersock Merino (400 yds) in Limoni and 1 skein Merlin the Cat Yarns' Superwash Sock (560 yds) in Moor

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1 skein Sunshine Yarns' Superwash Merino (450 yds) in Black Rose and 1 skein Kangaroo Dyer's Superwash Sock (wool/nylon, 450 yds) in Queen Jewels

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1 booklet "Pure Noro" by Jane Ellison and 4 skeins of Noro's Oimochan (wool, 36 meters ea) in 1 orange and 3 multi

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14 skeins of Intermezzo's Aran 30-ply mercerized cotton (149 yds ea): 1 in white, 1 in burgundy, and 2 ea in lt. green, sea green, orange, hyacinth, aqua, and delft blue

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11 balls of Almedahls Idena's Cotton Lux (Egyptian mercerized cotton, 119 yds ea) in #70--lilac and 4 skeins Mouzakis' Butterfly Super 10 (mercerized cotton, 251 yds ea) in color 3782--poolside

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Mission Falls booklet "for him and her..." and 19 balls of 1824 wool (merino superwash, 85 yds ea) in tricolor 664--surf

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6 hanks of Madil's Pierrot Print (merino, 219 yds ea) in color 325--grey/royal blue

Wow. Them's alot of prizes, people!

To win these or any of the prizes in the MS Ride Prize Basket donate $10 or more to my MS Ride before 9:00 AM Eastern Standard Time on Sunday, June 28th (that's THIS SUNDAY). Come back tomorrow for the very last additions to the Prize Basket for this year's event!

June 24, 2009

Last Wednesday Prize Post

Some prize donors give more than just an item from their stashes. They give of their knitting time and expertise to lure you into donating to my MS Ride.

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Gayle B. knit this beautiful Peacock Tail and Leaf Scarf from "Knitted Lace of Estonia" by Nancy Bush especially for the Prize Basket. It is made out of Handmaiden Fine Yarn's Camelspin in the "Novia Scotia" colorway. A close-up view is here. Thank you Gayle! What a wonderful prize for one lucky winner.

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Moirae from Three Fates Knitting has donated this great skein of Three Fates Knitting BFL Platinum, 75% Superwash BFL, 25% Nylon. Kettle Dyed with Acid Dyes.

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Sarah D. is donating this lovely skein of Plucky Knitter MCN (80% merino/10% cashmere/10% nylon) fingering weight yarn to the prize basket. It is the Plucky Knitter's April club offering in a colorway called Leona Stevenson inspired by Barbara Stanwick in "Sorry Wrong Number". Sarah says this yarn is "very soft and squishy" and I totally believe her with all that cashmere in it.

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This lovely skein of Fleece Artist 100% merino yarn in the color "Amethyst" comes into the Prize Basket courtesy of Mary.

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Mary also is sending along this skein of Lorna's Laces Shepard's Sock yarn in the color "Mother Lode". Thanks Mary!

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From Leslie S. comes a copy of the book "Two at A Time Socks" and two balls of Australian Merino by King.

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Hattie is offering up her Tendril Embrace sock pattern (Rav Link) to one lucky winner.

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Caroline M. spun this lovely skein (442 yds., 105 g.) of three ply, superwash merino and nylon sock yarn and donated it to the prize basket. One lucky winner will experience the joy of knitting handspun socks without having to actually do the spinning!

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From Julie S. comes the book Norsk Strikkedesign, a collection of Norwegian designs. A great book for a knitter in a colder climate than Tucson where Julie lives!

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Kym picked a great way to de-lurk...donating great prizes for the Prize Basket. Above is a mouth-watering skein of Sundara sock yarn in the Bird of Paradise colorway, and:

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Socks That Rock in the Alina colorway. Thanks Kym!

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Nancy S. is donating a skein of her handspun made from 7.6 oz. of corriedale from Crown Mountain Fibers in the Druidenzauber colorway. Its a two ply yarn in a light worsted weight. Delicious looking.

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Here is a great skein of Regia sock yarn (one of my favorites) designed by Kaffe Fasset offered up by Mary Beth M.

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Mary Beth is also offering as a separate prize this skein of wool/bamboo blend sock yarn hand-dyed in Vermont by Ellen's Half-Pint Farm.

Now, don't be freaked out. But you are about to see an enormous array of delicious Vesper Sock Yarn dropped into the Prize Basket by Cindy:

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Neopolitan

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Sweet Water

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Aqua Me Lon.

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Knit and Tonic

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Strange Little Mama.

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Midnight Knitter.

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Meteor.

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Astro.

Wow. That's ALOT of great prizes in one day. I can hardly stand it! And, might I add, the chances of any individual donor winning a great prize are pretty darn good considering the amount of prizes that knitters around the world have donated. So, don't wait! Donate to my MS Ride before the raffle closes. Thanks for considering it!

June 23, 2009

Last Tuesday Prize Post

Just in case the chance to win two out-of-print Alice Starmore books isn't enough to get you to donate, here comes Number Three:

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Louise B. has donated her great-condition hardcover 1992 U.K. edition of Alice Starmore's "Celtic Collection". If you've been looking for this book, now is your chance!

Keeping on the book theme, Dr. Steph is donating the following awesome books to the Prize Basket:

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Yarn Girls "Beyond Basics".

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Kathleen Taylor "I love Felt".

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Vicki Howell 'New Knits on the Block".

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Tracy Chapman "Toys to Knit". Each book is a separate prize.

The next book in the Prize Basket today is one of my favorites:

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Kate is donating her copy of "Traditional Fair Isle Knitting" by Sheila MacGregor to the Prize Basket.

Lillith of Old Maiden Aunt Yarns is offering one lucky winner £30 in gift certificates to her on-line shop. A shopping spree is such a great prize.

Donna of D'Lynn Designs is offering three great prizes from her handmade, repurposed/upcycled jewelry collection:

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A cell phone charm.

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Great earrings; and

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These beautiful stitch markers. Thanks Donna!

If you are into handmade soap (as I am) here is a delicious prize for you: Shelley at Smelly Shelley's Soaps is offering one lucky winner the chance to choose any three items from her shop.

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Check out this Sock Monkey box bag from Stitched by Jessalu. Jessalu gave me my choice of bag for a prize, and I picked this one for you guys. The lining completely cracked me up.

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Wen is donating some top-notch sock yarn to the Prize Basket. Pictured above is a skein of Wollmeise "Saami" which is the December club yarn.

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And a skein of Socks That Rock Lightweight in the colorway "Rare Gems".

The following six separate prizes are all courtesy of Dawn M.:

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This beautiful, large knitting bag by Offhand Designs.

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One skein of hand-dyed rayon chenille (10.8 oz., 337 yds) from Roz Houseknecht.

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One skein of Schaefer Yarns "Esperanza" (70% wool, 30% angora, 8 oz., 280 yds.)

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One skein of J. Knits Superwash Me sock yarn in the colorway "Happy Anniversary to Ewe".

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One skein of Yarn Lovers Juliet sock yarn (75% superwash wool, 25% nylon) in the "Cloud Nine" colorway.

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"Brilliant Knits" by Brandon Mably plus Vogue Knitting "Socks Too" (this is one prize).

As always, to win these or any of the other great prizes in the Prize Basket donate $10 or more to my MS Ride.

Come back tomorrow to see if I can stuff anymore prizes into the overflowing Prize Basket (the answer is, that I CAN!)

June 22, 2009

Last Monday Prize Basket

The final countdown to this Saturday's MS Ride has begun! There will be amazing numbers of great prizes added to the MS Ride Prize Basket every day this week, so check back to see them all.

As you might recall, the very first prize in the Prize Basket this year was my personal copy of Alice Starmore's Tudor Roses. Well, now there is a second Alice Starmore book in play:

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Diana H. is donating her copy of Alice & Jade Starmore's "The Children's Collection", an out-of-print book, to the Prize Basket. If you could find this book, you'd have to pay quite a bit for it. OR, you could donate to my MS Ride for a chance to win it. Thanks Diana for this great prize!

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My friend Annie is donating this beautiful handmade tote bag for fiber artists crafted by Maggie Alexander of Maggie's Farm, a vendor at the major fiber festivals. Maggie also sells these bags through her Etsy shop. This well-made, sturdy, paisley tapestry fabric bag measures 15" wide by 19" deep and has seven deep, internal pockets for holding spindles, needles, notions, cell phones, keys or what have you. This bag has never been used (Maggie is Annie's MIL, so she has access to lots of them!) and Annie is kindly donating it as a fabulous prize.

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Kathy O. is donating this beautiful "Embrace the Lace" Lace Club package for March, named "Hope". This kit includes 2 skeins of Malabrigo 100% Baby merino wool, each approximately 470 yds/50 g. in the colorway "verde que te quiero verde". Included is the Fauxbius pattern by Chrissy Gardner. To see this item made up, check out the Embrace the Lace Group on Ravelry.

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From Pam R. comes this luscious 400 yd. skein of Black Bunny Fibers sock yarn, 100% merino superwash in the colorway "Summertime". Indeed, the perfect summertime sock project for one lucky knitter.

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Jill of Starstruck Cat Design will donate to one lucky winner two 10 oz. handpoured soy wax candles in the winner's choice of fragrances. The one pictured is "Gardenia" which just so happens to be one of my very, very favorites.

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Lucy of Mind's Eye Yarns knows exactly what lights my fire -- orange yarn! Here for my (and hopefully your) viewing pleasure is a skein called "Flames of Heck" -- 8 oz./90 yds. of sport/DK superwash merino.

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Amy, one of the few, the proud, the weightlifting knitters, went to the Estes Park Wool Market and hauled back a great prize for the Prize Basket. Here are two skeins of handspun dk-to-light-worsted skein of rose-grey alpaca from Evening Star Farm in Arvada, Colorado. "So soft!" says Amy, and I totally believe her.

To finish up today, here is story about how generosity begets more generosity.

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Etherknitter Laurie found herself with an extra copy of the new book by Barbara Parry, "Teach Yourself Visually -- Hand Dyeing", so she asked Barbara to send the extra copy to me for an MS Ride Prize.

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Then, in the same package with the book, Barbara sent me these two beautiful skeins of Foxfire Upland Wool + Alpaca, 80% wool, 20% prime alpaca (135 yds, worsted weight) in the color "Bittersweet" to add to the Prize Basket. How sweet of Laurie and Barbara to donate such great prizes!

To win these or any of the other fabulous items in the Prize Basket, donate $10 or more to my MS Ride using that link or the Paypal button on my sidebar. The last day to donate is 9 AM on Sunday, June 28th. So don't miss out and donate today!

June 19, 2009

The Longest Way Plus Friday Prizes

Sometimes the longest way is in reality the shortest way.

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Despite the many suggestions to cut the Alice sleeves off at the bottom and avoid reknitting the sleeve caps, in my opinion that would not have worked for this particular sweater. You see, there were other problems with the sleeves about which I did not tell you. Yes, the sleeves were way too long. But there was also "bunching" at the back of the armscye indicating that there was simply too much fabric (too many stitches around) at the underarm. In addition, there was bunching at the elbow -- again, less fabric was needed.

An elegant solution to all these problems was to rip out about 7 inches of the sleeve. This sleeve was increased up until almost the armhole edge (mistake!) so a substantial number of stitches went bye-bye during the rip. Also, this sleeve has a fussy ruffly edge which I would not want to reknit upside down.

So, the longest way (rip and reknit) really is the shortest way here. These sleeve caps are actually quite small, so I shouldn't even bitch about reknitting them. Its the re-sewing up that is the true pain in the ass. Tiny stitches! Black yarn! Blind knitter! Yikes.

Over the years of this fundraiser, Anne of Knitspot has always been right here with me. She lost her dad to MS, so this cause hits very close to home. This year, Anne is throwing some great prizes into the MS Ride Prize Basket: one $25 gift certificate and three $10 gift certificates to the Knitspot Shop. There is also something special brewing on her blog, so go over and check it out!

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Allyson D. has donated this great Ravelry tote as a prize. Mmmm....Ravelry merch is the best!

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Sue N. has tossed some dreamy yarn into the Prize Basket: two hanks of Prism Kid Slique in "Wisteria" (66% rayon, 26% kid mohair, 8% nylon). This will make a lovely scarf for a lucky knitter.

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From Mona and Stephanie at Dye Dreams comes their beautiful Celestial Mitts kit in the winners choice of color. A beautiful pattern and a luscious, soft, alpaca/merino/silk yarn. Heavenly, indeed.

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Sharon T. is donating one copy of the book Knit One Below by Elise Duvekot to the Prize Basket. This looks like a great addition to a knitter's library. Thanks Sharon!

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From Suzanne comes a lovely Morehouse Farms Belladona shawl kit. Their merino yarn is so soft and wonderful, this will be a great project for a lucky person.

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Here from Elaine C. are 12 balls of Adrienne Vittadini Olivia in a pale pink colorway (100% cotton, 50 g. = 90 yds). A great summer knitting project.

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Courtesy of Elizabeth is one copy of the book "Wendy Knits" by knitter/blogger extraordinaire Wendy. Thanks Elizabeth!

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From Anne K. comes this beautiful skein of Vines laceweight yarn from Earthly Hues (Rav link) in the Rainbow Feet colorway and a copy of Things I Learned From Knitting by the incomparable Yarn Harlot

If you think that this is a lot of prizes and the Prize Basket can't get any fuller, well just you wait until next week. Its gonna be crazy around here as I post every single day to get all these great prizes out here to tempt you to donate to my MS Ride.

The fundraiser officially ends at 9 AM on Sunday, June 28th so if you want in on the chance to win a fabulous prize, don't wait much longer. Thanks for considering it!

June 17, 2009

Thoughts of Destruction (and Prizes, Of Course)

As its been an unusually cool and dreary beginning of summer around here, recently I was rooting around in my cotton sweater drawer -- a place I rarely go because I find few appropriate temperatures in which to wear handknit cotton sweaters. Anyway, I found this sweater:

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I made this a number of years ago, but I never wear it. You see, cleverly disguised in the modeled shot is the fact that the sleeves are WAY too long for me. In fact, they completely cover my hand. Perhaps the sleeves weren't always that long, but cotton lace sure stretches out lengthwise with not alot of wear. And well, that's what it is. Unwearable.

I tried it on yesterday, and the body of it fits well and is cute. Silvia suggested that the vintage-y look of this sweater might be improved with three-quarter sleeves, and I agree. Frankly, I'm loathe to rip out black sport-weight cotton knit on US size 3 needles, but really. I just need to re-knit two sleeve caps -- admittedly my least favorite knitting chore -- but way less work than actually knitting a whole new sweater, aye?

So, cute enough to rip and work on? Or not?

It is a week and a half to my MS Ride, and I need you all to fasten your seats for the onslaught of prizes that I need to add to the Prize Basket from now until then.

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From Jenn U. comes this great skein of Wollmeise sock yarn in the colorway "Barista". There has been lots of hubbub about this yarn, and it looks fab!

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Check out these adorable set of sheepy stitch markers from Jillian at Wee Ones. I haven't seen anything cuter in a long while.

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From Tanis at String Theory Yarn comes this amazing skein of Caper Sock yarn (80% superwash merino, 20% cashmere, 10% nylon) in the Didgeridoo colorway. This yarn is amazingly soft -- cashmere socks! I'd keep this for myself if I could, but that would be wrong.

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Lori is donating this awesome sheep project bag. The inside totally cracks me up. Thanks Lori!

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Always wanted to try Rowan Kidsilk Haze but perhaps you didn't want to be so spendy? Well, here is your chance: Sue N. is donating three balls of this fabulous yarn in the Pearl colorway. This is more than enough to make a big wrap or shawl, like my Birch.

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Gina F. is donating a bunch of great books, starting with Teva Durham's Loop-d-Loop.

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Stahman's Shawls and Scarves, and

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Morehouse Farm Merino Knits. In addition to her book donations, Gina adds:

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Three skeins of gorgeous deep purple Misti Alpaca Lace. Thanks Gina!

Christa Giles is offering five lucky winners two patterns each from her Ravelry Designer Page. Lots of great ones to choose from for the lucky winners!

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Here is a very unusual prize brought back from China by Lisa R.: some way-cool Chinese knitting books and a stash of delicious tea. I know that its delicious tea because Lisa kindly sent some extra to me as a pressie. Thanks Lisa!

Lastly for today, is a special prize donated by Kathy (Woolybelle on Ravelry). She will donate to one lucky winner their choice of audiobook (15 CDs or less) from Recorded Books. I LOVE audiobooks, so I hope this prize will give someone who has never tried knitting to a story accompaniment to fall in love with it too.

To win these or any of the prizes in the enormous, overflowing MS Ride Prize Basket donate $10 or more to my MS Ride. Personally, I think Knitters Against MS have a fighting chance to be the Number One fundraisers again this year, but the current leading fundraiser has over $27,000 so we have some work to do. Thanks for considering it!

June 15, 2009

With a Little Help From My Friends

I am extremely fortunate to have good friends who support me year-in and year-out with the craziness of this fundraiser. Let's see what some of them have been up to for prize donations this year!

My friend Cara has supported me doing this fundraiser since it first began years ago. She is keeping on with her generosity by offering up TWO $25.00 gift certificates to the fabulous The Loopy Ewe. Thanks Cara!

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Lisa H. has also been an unfailing supporter of my MS Ride, donating prizes every year. This year she is offering up a skein of Vesper Sock Yarn in the colorway "Tartan"; and

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A skein of Zen String Serendipity (fingering weight 100% African superwash merino wool -- 375 yards) in colorway Vitamin C.

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Thea Colman of BabyCocktails is donating FIVE separate prizes consisting of one of her great patterns, plus a batch of vintage buttons in the winner's favorite color. You might remember that recently Norma looked stunning in Thea's Golden Vintage Cardigan, pictured above. I quite like this one for myself, but Thea has lots of other patterns to choose from if you win this prize.

Maryse is another friend who always supports me in this ride. A talented photographer, this year she is offering as a prize a set of her awesome greeting cards. Thanks Maryse!

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Traci P. is donating a copy of the "Knitter's Book of Yarn" by Clara Parkes. I reviewed this book awhile back and think its a great addition to your library and a great prize!

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Not only is Regina J. extremely cool and the absolute best of company, but she always breaks open her stash for this fundraiser. This year she is offering a skein of Sock Pixie Cashmerino; and

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A Fleece Artist Textured Scarf kit which includes two skeins of yarn and the pattern for the scarf.

Now, for all you Rowan fans out there, my girl carolyn has an amazing prize for you. I'll just put up all the pix:

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Rowan 25, 26 & 27 (all one prize)

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Rowan 31, 33 & 40 (all one prize)

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Ella Rae Book 13, Dale of Norway - Best of Tiur, Simply Shetland 4 at Tomales Bay

Wow. If you know of a Rowan fan looking for hard-to-find out of print Rowan books, this raffle is your place!

To win these or any of the other great prizes in the Prize Basket, just donate $10 or more (the more you donate the more chances to win) to my MS Ride. Thanks so much!

June 08, 2009

Time to Amp Up the Prize Volume

And now, a look behind the scenes at Knitters Against M.S.:

Every year during this fundraiser there comes a moment when I just get completely overwhelmed by the enormity of this task. Or....let me rephrase that -- a moment when I STOP MY HIDING from the enormity of this task.

I start the fundraiser at the end of April by sending a call out for prizes. And due to the generosity of the world-wide knitting community, prizes start to pour in. I note the pouring. I keep careful track of the prizes. But I do not count them. Counting would mean...facing up to the enormity of the task. So I don't. Count, that is. I randomly select one or two prizes from the stack to post each M-W-F and put off the counting until "I have time".

Well, I counted them.

H-ly crap!

And, I realize that I better start moving my ass faster to get these prizes up on this blog because there are, well, an ENORMOUS NUMBER of them to show before the MS Ride begins at the ass-crack of dawn on Saturday, June 27th. Which date suddenly seems to be bearing down upon me like a loaded-up freight train.

A week or two ago, a large box arrived from Sundara. With breathless anticipation, I popped open the box to find these delights, all for you -- none for me:

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Three skeins of Sport Merino in the color Spiced. (This is one prize.)

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Two skeins of Sport Merino in the color Poppy. (This is one prize).

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Three skeins of Aran Silky Merino in the Wild Blueberries colorway. (This is one prize).

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One skein of Sundara Sock Yarn in the colorway "Aurora Borealis".

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From top to bottom: One skein of Fingering Silky Merino in the "What I Need" colorway. One skein of Fingering Silky Merino in the "Everything You Love" colorway. One skein of Silk Lace in the "Remembered Joys" colorway.

People this is some serious yarn pron that you don't wanna miss! Thank you Sundara!

You'd think that this would be enough for one day, but trust me that it SO isn't.

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The beautiful and talented Johanna from Kaya's Kloset is donating a pair of handmade sheepy baby shoes as a prize. So cute it absolutely is hurting me. Thanks Johanna!

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Bets will send one lucky winner a package of three differently sized Pattern Tamers. These look really interesting and I'd love to try them myself.

And last, but definitely not least, the generous Blessed Juno will donate six bars of handmade soap (winner's choice) to one lucky winner. Mmmm.....soap....love it.

To win any of these fantastic prizes, or the other great prizes already in the Prize Basket donate to my MS Ride! Thanks for considering it.

June 03, 2009

Random Wednesday with Lots of Color

I feel like seeing lots of color on this blog today, so I've picked out some really high-test, eye-popping MS Ride prizes for you to check out.

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From Gail comes this great assortment of Sunshine Yarns Classic Sock Yarn. Each skein is a separate prize, so three winners will be very happy with Dani's beautiful product.

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From Julie at Big Sheep Jewelry comes a special prize: Julie will send one lucky winner a bead crochet bracelet of the winner's choice. I have one of these (in orange) and its a really beautiful piece. Thanks Gail and Julie!

Donate $10 or more here or via the Paypal link in my sidebar for chances to win all the great prizes in the Prize Basket!

Random thoughts of the day:

1. Yesterday I finished a big work project. Which is great: some time to breathe. But the focus of working only on one thing now gives way to playing catch-up on the fifty million things I let slide to make the One Thing happen. I really hate that about the finishing.

2. Its time for my tomato plants to get planted. Even though I have no soil, compost or tomato plants quite yet. I do have the grow bed, so that's something. But its getting to be now or never on this project, aye?

3. Lately I've been pondering what is and what is not age-appropriate clothing for a 44 year old. I was in the H&M; yesterday and completely passed on trying on some cute tops that seemed to be too "young" i.e: a bit ruffly, ties and smocking. (This is exactly why I do much better shopping with my sister: she makes me try shit like this on. I left that store with nada). What about wearing Chuck Taylor All Stars? I'm thinking about buying a pair to deadlift in, but perhaps I'd wear them "around" as well? I don't know. How do you decide what's age appropriate? What is your definition of "age appropriate"?

May 20, 2009

Random Wednesday with Awesome Socks

Before I head into the Random Wednesday crazy-forest, I would like to announce a particularly awesome prize going into the MS Ride Prize Basket.

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The prize isn't this yarn: its BETTER. Grumperina will knit the lucky winner a custom pair of socks, to his or her liking in terms of fiber, fit and color. Perhaps she'll use some of the pictured, delicious yarn from her stash. Or not. A pattern from her library, or maybe she'll purchase or create something special, just for YOU -- the lucky winner. If the winner is totally against handknit socks (OK, hard for me to imagine, but possible) perhaps she will substitute a small lace scarf, hat or mittens -- something equivalent to two skeins of sock yarn or so. You know Grumperina -- this will be the most meticulously knitted-to-perfection pair of socks you will ever own.

To have a chance at this special prize, donate $10 or more to my MS Ride by clicking this link or clicking on the Paypal button in my sidebar.

1. Yesterday I made a special trip to my local Peet's because I'm out of my favorite green tea (Gunpowder Organic). I scanned all the teas on the shelf. None. I scan the tea shelves again -- because, after all, I'm pretty blind and could have missed it the first time. Still no. I ask the pretty young barista....sold out until later on in the week. I leave empty-handed. Now, you'd think this wouldn't be a big problem. I'll just go back some other day, right? Well, that would be too simple. Now I'm wondering, should I try some interesting on-line tea instead. Buy some at the Whole Foods? Why is this such a conundrum?

2. An almost fifty mile tandem ride really kicked my ass today. So. Tired. Apparently I'm not in as great riding shape as I'd imagined.

3. The basketball situation is tragic.. I don't want to talk about it.

4. I am so glad for the warmer weather. Today I sat for a moment in the sun, closed my eyes and just felt the warm light on my skin. Happiness can be that simple.

May 18, 2009

A Good Monday Story

One of the best parts for me about putting on my MS Ride fundraiser is hearing from you when you donate prizes or money. I get some really awesome emails from you guys. Here is one of them.

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Katey J. writes:

My mother-in-law, Marsha Bish passed away from cancer this past January at 66 years old. She was a lifelong knitter and yarn collector. She, like a lot of us was a process knitter and I've run across many unfinished projects, but one of the things that I have encountered was not one, but two completed Colinette Absolutely Fabulous throws in the feather and fan pattern.

As I live in Georgia and we also inherited about a dozen quilts that she made, I'd like to offer one of the completed throws as a prize for your ride....I also will enlist my knitting group in helping me get the fringe on the edges this week!

So, how about that? What a lovely gesture, that results in a kick-ass prize for one lucky winner. To win this or one of the other great prizes in the Prize Basket, donate $10 or more to my MS Ride.

I wish that I had knitting of my own to show for my weekend, but alas I was chained to my desk for most of it. I hope your weekend was more knit-a-licious than mine was!

May 04, 2009

Knitters Against Multiple Sclerosis 2009!

Its that time again. Like last year, Team Claudia's Blog is once again fundraising to fight Multiple Sclerosis.

My 2008 MS Ride started off with a big, fat hitch: a broken husband/tandem captain. Because I am way too blind to ride 75 miles on my own bike, this seemed to mean that I would not be wearing the Number 1 bib in the 2008 MS Ride. Which was really disappointing because we knitters all worked REALLY HARD to become the number one fundraisers. Luckily my knitter/bicycle racer friend Michele volunteered to captain the Big Orange Tandem, thus saving the fundraiser!

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This year, the husband/tandem captain is fully healed up and absent catastrophe, we will be riding the 2009 MS Ride on Saturday, June 27, 2009.

Last year, knitters all over the world generously supported my ride and this charity to the tune of over $32,000 and we were -- for the second year in a row -- the NUMBER ONE FUNDRAISERS in the entire ride!

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So for the 2009 MS Ride, I will be proud to be pinning on this Number One bib one more time.

Last year I also heard from knitters all over the world who are struggling with this disease, which among other badness can compromise their ability to knit. NO! UNACCEPTABLE! How about we kick some more fundraising ass for them? Can we be the Number One Fundraisers for a third year in row? Yes we can!

Now, in order to provide donation incentive, there are FABULOUS PRIZES. The way this works, is that for every $10 (US) you donate, you get one chance to win the fabulous prizes. So, if you donate $30, that is three chances to win. The drawing happens on Monday, June 29, 2009.

You can donate two ways: directly to the charity by clicking on the tandem bicycle button (or just click on this link) or with Paypal by pressing the "Paypal" button (its in my left sidebar too)


and use any form of payment to leave me a donation. I forward every penny of your donation to the MS Society and pay the Paypal fees out of my own pocket.

Also, if you have a prize that you'd like to donate that would be great! Just email me or leave me a comment.

So, without further ado let me introduce you to the first prize in a Prize Basket that will be filled to overflowing by the week of the ride:

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This is my own personal softcover copy of "Tudor Roses" by Alice Starmore which has been in my library since 1998. Long out-of-print, this hard to find book has sold for crazy prices recently. If you'd like a chance to win it, simply donate $10 or more to my MS Ride fundraiser. You can also help me with this fundraiser by posting about this opportunity to score "Tudor Roses" on any lists or Ravelry groups/forums on which AS devotees hang out. Get the word out if you can!

Thanks so much for considering donating some money, a prize or spreading the word!

July 01, 2008

The Enormous MS Ride Raffle

Well, I'll be honest. That Enormous Raffle was an ENORMOUS lot of work. However, at this point all the winners should have received an email from me with the subject line "MS Ride Raffle Winner" and all of the prize donors have been notified where to send the prizes.

The list of all the winners is here -- each prize is followed by the first name and last initial of the person who won it.

Now, if you think that YOU are the person who won a prize, but haven't received an email from me, feel free to email me and inquire. It is certainly possible that some spam filter thought my message was garbage and never let you see it.

Again, thanks to all who donated money and everyone who donated prizes. We raised a ton of money for a great cause and had some fun along the way. There's only positive.

BAT/KAT folks, feel free to check in with me in the comments any day this week. Next Monday will be a two-week BAT/KAT count!

And with that, back to our regularly scheduled programming...

June 30, 2008

MS Ride 2008 Report

The MS Ride, 2008 edition went off without a hitch.

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I pinned on my Number One bib number courtesy of last year's knitter-donors.

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And decorated the big orange tandem with the Number One placard.

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Michele and I lined up right next to the start line. And then guess whose was the very first bike to start the race by breaking the ribbon? That's right, it was the KNITTER TANDEM that was first over the line to great applause in honor of all the money that the knitters pulled in last year to fight Multiple Sclerosis!

Although the weather wasn't the greatest (foggy, humid and cloudy most of the way) I got what I wanted: no rain. And by the time we reached Cape Cod about five hours and 77 miles after starting the ride, it was a sunny beautiful day.

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Back-of-bike-cam on the Cape Cod Canal going under the Sagamore Bridge.

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Happy to be off the bike, we pulled into the finish area well ahead of the vast majority of the 1700 riders. Which meant no lines for the much-needed showers or the even-more-needed massages. After a BBQ, we hopped on board a bus that took us back to the start line and the end of another successful MS Ride!

Barring unforeseen stealth money held by the Number Two fundraiser, it looks likely that Knitters Against MS will be wearing the Number One jersey again next year. In an absolutely AMAZING display of Knitter Power, between Friday morning and Sunday evening, knitters raised over $15,000 more dollars for this fundraiser bringing our total amount raised to a stunning $32,548.00!

Because the money was coming in so fast, so furious, I couldn't even count it all up and send out thank you notes until today. I hope to have the winners of the Prize Basket prizes up here later today or by tomorrow morning at the latest.

And speaking of Stealth, here are a couple of Stealth Prizes that I somehow missed showing in the Prize Basket, but will be won by some lucky knitters:

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Margene generously donated a skein of her beautiful handspun in the color "Wildflower Mayhem".

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The talented knit designer Kate Gilbert is donating eight of her patterns (winner's choice) to one lucky knitter.

And the one, the only Yarn Harlot is donating three of her brand new page-a-day calendars plus three skeins of Socks that Rock to make six winners extremely happy.

So, count the 2008 MS Ride as a roaring success. I was thinking, though, as I was riding with the number one on my back (which caused almost continuous commentary from other riders, some wittier and more tasteful than others) that there would be absolutely no way that I could have pulled this off without the support of my friends. Without Michele volunteering to captain the front of the tandem there would have been no ride at all. Without the world-wide knitters opening their hearts and their wallets so generously to support this fundraiser, there would have been no Number One. Thus, the last words on this edition of the MS Ride must be.....THANK YOU! You guys are awesome!

June 27, 2008

The Last Prize Basket

My dears, we have come to the end. Tomorrow, Michele and I will get up at the butt-crack of dawn and start riding the MS Ride. Sunday will be the Enormous Raffle. Monday we will announce the winners.

And Tuesday, this here blog will return to talking about knitting and maybe the occasional bicycle and/or tomato post.

If you'd like to donate to my MS Ride and haven't yet, if you donate $10 or more before 9:00 AM EDT on Sunday, June 29th you will make it into the Enormous Raffle. Certainly feel free to donate after that day and time, but you won't be eligible to win something out of the Prize Basket.

Since the vast, vast majority of knitters like sock yarn, I thought I would make this last Prize Basket a Sock Special. Except for the Grand Prize which is at the end.

From Nell comes this awesome prize package:

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This prize package includes one skein of Scout's Swage 100% Superwash Merino sock yarn in Je T'aime. Also a bar of Rosemary Mint Soap from Nell's Brown Bag Soap shop. Finally a knitting charm bracelet with a sheep charm rounds out this prize package.

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Elaine a/ka/ Beebs is making three Socks That Rock lovers very happy with these prizes, from L to R -- Dragon Dance, Mustang Sally and Lenore. Each is a separate yummy prize.

Elizabeth is throwing more great sock yarn into the Prize Basket:

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This prize is two skeins of beautiful green Koigu sock yarn.

The generous and amazing Sandra D. has donated a boat-load of prizes already to the prize basket. Here is her final prize:

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One skein of Cherry Tree Hill Supersock -- SSYC Special Edition, 420 yds/4 oz.

My buddy and sometime partner-in-crime Rosemary has put together a great socky package without any sock yarn:

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This is a brand-new copy of Cat Bordhi's book "New Pathways in Sock Knitting" together with a set of orange alphabet stitch markers that are used in the book.

Stephanie and Mona of Dyed Dreams are offering two lovely socky prizes:

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Twinkle Toes is a combination of 50% superwash Merino and 50% Tencel. This is a soft, silky yarn with incredible shine. Color: Caribbean; 100 grams, approx 360 yards.

Luster Sox is 100% superwash Bluefaced Leicester. This is a strong and lustrous yarn that is next to the skin soft. Color: Eggplant; 100 grams, approx 415 yards.

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Lucy of Mind's Eye Yarns is donating a gorgeous skein of her hand-dyed sock yarn (70% merino, 30% tencel superwash, 4 oz., 400 yds) in the color "Grasshopper Sky".

Safeena is donating a bunch of great prizes:

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Two 200 yard superwash BlueFaced Leicester sock blanks ready for dyeing. I've always wanted to try this (you dye them, unravel the blanks and then knit socks with the yarn) and one lucky winner will be able to!

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A copy of Lisa Lloyd's "A Fine Fleece".

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And a copy of the Knitting Stitch Bible and the Crochet Stitch Bible (this is one prize).

And the very last socky prize of the very last 2008 MS Ride Prize Basket is a great one:

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One skein of merino/tencel sock yarn, handpainted by Carol of Black Bunny Fibers. The skein is approximately 4 oz./400 yds and is dyed in shades of soft spearmint green with a little bit of brighter lime.

And now, ladies and gentlemen. I am proud to introduce the GRAND PRIZE for the MS Ride Enormous Raffle.

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Angela has knit an absolutely GORGEOUS shawl and is donating it in support of my MS Ride. Angela is a total knitting stud. Thanks Angela! Here is a closeup view:

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The pattern is Norwegian Woods by Sivia Harding. The yarn is elann.com Peruvian Pure Alpaca Fina, Blue Slate colorway. The size is gigantic! It is at least 36" long and 72" wide but possibly is bigger than that.

For a chance to win the Grand Prize Norwegian Woods shawl, or any of the other great prizes in the overflowing Prize Basket shoot me a donation of $10 per raffle chance to my MS Ride.

Thanks for all your support and see you on the flip side.

June 26, 2008

Second to Last Prize Basket

We are getting right down to the wire. The MS Ride is on Saturday and I will be announcing the last of the prizes in the Prize Basket today and tomorrow. You betcha that they are good ones!

June is an amazing handspinner, and she is generously donating two skeins of handspun to my Prize Basket:

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A skein of 40% camel down, 40% silk and 20% superfine merino, with just a touch of firestar (nylon) for extra shine. Its a beautiful fingering weight (my guesstimate) 3 ply yarn that I'm petting right now. Mmmmm.

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This is a 4 oz. three-ply skein of 100% shetland wool. Really beautiful.

The very generous Laura E. is donating four more great prizes (each picture is a separate prize):

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6 balls of worsted weight Misti Alpaca yarn in color 4388 - Aubergine. 100% baby alpaca - 50 g./109 yds per ball.

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One skein of Fleece Artist Sea Wool sock yarn in color Wild Flower. 70% merino, 30% Seacell - 115 g./350 m.

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Two skeins of Koigu KPPPM in color P613, 100% merino 0 50 g./175 yds per hank.

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Two skeins of Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock in Color 102 Mineshaft. 80% Superwash wool/20% Nylon - 215 yds per hank.

Lynn R. is donating 4 prizes worth of sock yarn to please knitters in warm climates:

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Panda Cotton, 2 balls each in Caribbean Blue, Periwinkle and Fuschia, and 2 balls of Cascade Fixation in black and white.

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Gina F. is donating this great prize: a Fleece Artist Garter Stitch Jacket Kit. Thanks Gina for such a generous donation!

Lyn M. is donating two lovely prizes:

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Two 50 g. skeins of Indigo Moon fingering weight Merino yarn (185 yards -169 meters) in the color Northern Steppe Paisley.

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Two skeins of Autumn House Farm Sagamore Hill (Silk, Cotton, Rayon, Linen), 180 yards per skein.

Deb Robson the publisher of Nomad Press is donating two fabulous knitting books to the Prize Basket: "Knitting in the Old Way" by Priscilla Gibson-Roberts & Deborah Robson (brilliant) and my favorite sock book of all, "Simple Socks by Priscilla Gibson-Roberts. If either of these books isn't already in your personal knitting library, donate for a chance to win them!

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Chris from Briar Rose Fibers is donating a beautiful skein of Angel Face, 2500 yards of delectable lace-weight alpaca.

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Lastly for today, Pam R. is donating two skeins of Lana Grossa Meilenweit Bosco sock yarn (100g. each). This will be more than enough yarn to knit socks for the biggest feet imaginable!

For a chance to win these great prizes, and all the other prizes in the ABSOLUTELY OVERFLOWING Prize Basket, donate $10 per chance to my MS Ride

June 25, 2008

Last Wednesday Prize Basket

Today's Prize Basket is a good one!

Emily the talent behind Sophie's Toes sock yarn is offering two delicious sock yarn-y prizes:

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Two skeins of Sophie's Toes Sock Yarn, colors American Patchwork (bottom) and Jean Jacket (top). Each skein is 100 grams, 350 yeards, 100% merino wool superwash, and each is a separate prize -- making two winners very happy.

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Allyson is donating two skeins of Green Mountain Spinnery sock yarn (2 oz. each) in a colorway of muted pinks, oranges and greens. This prize will go to one lucky winner to make some beautiful socks.

To delight a spinner, or to tempt a non-spinning winner into trying spinning out, Jenni is donating three awesome prizes:

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4 oz. of 100% handpainted wool (Finn) from Spunky Club November 2006, color "Pie in the Sky".

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4 oz. of 100% handpainted wool (Wool blend) from Spunky Club January 2007, color "Walkabout".

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4 oz. of 100% handpainted wool (Superwash Merino) from Spunky Club March 2007, color "Dandy Lion". Each of these is a separate prize. Get your spinning wheels/spindles ready!

And, if you don't yet know how to spin, perhaps you'll win this prize donated by Beth:

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For a chance to win these great prizes, and all the other prizes in the OVERFLOWING Prize Basket, donate $10 per chance to my MS Ride. Thanks!

June 24, 2008

Final Tuesday Prize Basket

A special Tuesday post because I just have SO MANY FABULOUS PRIZES to give away to donors of $10 or more to my MS Ride. Full details about the raffle and listing of every fabulous prize in the Prize Basket that you could win are here.

From Ruth of PennyRose Yarns comes her offer for the winner to pick a skein of hand-dyed sock yarn from her site, and she will send it out. Shopping without a price tag: how good is that?

Lorette has a...um...biggish stash and can be counted upon to give good prize.

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A skein of Seacoast Panda sock yarn, 60% merino, 30% bamboo, 10% nylon, 400 yards in the color Kelp.

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This Garnstudio yarn (110 meters/skein, 4 skeins total, 54% cotton, 46% viscose) will make a great silky-feeling scarf or small shawl.

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A brand-new copy of the book Selbuvotter, Biography of a Knitting Tradition.

Elizabeth M. sent me this great prize:

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Two balls of Trilly yarn (50% Cashmere, 50% Silk) in the color Lilac. This stuff is luscious and will make a great small project.

Suzanne has generously donated two great prizes:

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A skein of Cherry Tree Hill sock yarn.

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And a Gigi scarf kit from Morehouse Merino.

Lastly for today is a great prize from my friend Astrid, who has taught me (and lots of other students) everything I know about sewing.

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This is a fully washable, environmentally-friendly reusable shopping tote with a super-cute recycle logo embroidered onto it. It has two useful pockets, and the handles are exactly the right size for carrying a load of groceries home. I am very tempted to keep it myself, but no. I will send it off to the lucky winner!

June 23, 2008

Monday Prizes and Some Knitting

First up, the knitting, as this IS still a knitting blog not a begging blog.

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Behold the beginning of the first sleeve of the Apres Surf Hoodie by the talented Connie, done up in Knitpicks Gloss in the color Pumpkin.

So far this is a fun knit -- I just wish I had more time to actually work on it.

Part of the knitting-time-suck has been the preparations for my MS Ride which is this coming Saturday, June 28th.

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This is what Michele and I look like out on the road. Move outta the way for the Knitter Tandem!

Monday Prize Basket

First up in today's Prize Basket is a prize sure to please Yarn Harlot fans everywhere:

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The beautiful and generous Rachel H. is procuring and donating two copies of Stephanie's latest book, personalized to the winners by the incomparable Stephanie herself. Thanks Rachel and Stephanie!

Carole is offering a fabulous socky prize:

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No, not this EXACT pair of socks. But Carole will knit the winner a pair of handknit stockinette, picot edge socks (my favorite kind) in the color chosen by the winner. If you are a knitter who never has anything knit for you, or a non-knitter whose only hope of a custom pair of handknit socks is this raffle, well...you know what to do.

Now, after looking hard at the remaining prizes for today, I note an animal theme. I love animal themes.

From Jillian at Wee Ones comes this extremely cute prize -- sheepy stitch markers!

Kim of the Woolen Rabbit is donating a Bee Package:

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This kit consists of Anne Hanson's Honeybee Stole Pattern, 1400 yards of Whisper Merino in Tupelo Honey, 4 ounces of Tupelo Honey Merino/Silk Roving and a Bee stitch marker. Bee-licious.

Moving on into the water, from Ruth comes this:

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An adorable Fish Mitten kit from Morehouse Merinio. Also from Ruth is a prize that, unsurprisingly, I'd like for myself:

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A 10 pack of fingering weight 100% Superfine Alpaca in a burnt orange colorway.

Last in the animal themed Prize Basket are these treasures from Romi of Designs by Romi:

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A lovely dog pin, and

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A heart pin, which technically isn't animal themed but give me a pass on this one.

For a chance to win these great prizes, and all the other prizes in the OVERFLOWING Prize Basket, donate $10 per chance to my MS Ride

BAT/KAT Update

This was another great week for the Bicycling as Transportation/Knitters Alternatively Transporting Project.*

My bicycle trips instead of car trips this past week: 1
BAT/KAT project trips by all participants last week: 102
Total BAT/KAT project trips by all participants: 528

You guys are awesome! Knitters (and their sympathizers) have eliminated over 500 car trips since the beginning of this project. Think about all the gas saved/carbon emissions eliminated from our air. Check in BAT/KATers -- tell all of us how you worked within the project this past week.

*The goal of which is to substitute at least one bicycling/walking/alternatively transporting trip for one car trip every week. Join us any week you like by making a BAT/KAT Trip and tell us about it here in the comments on Mondays.

June 20, 2008

One Week to Go!

We have already reached the second-to-last Friday Prize Basket. Next Friday will be the very last Prize Basket post because the MS Ride blasts off on Saturday, June 28th. The Enormous Raffle will be held on Sunday, June 29th and all the prize winners will be announced on Monday, June 30th.

So, let's make this a good one!

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Sandra D. has generously donated lots of prizes to the prize basket and here is another one: a skein of J.Knits Superwash Me sock yarn in the North Carolina colorway.

My friend Regina J. is offering up two great prizes:

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A skein of Lorna's Laces Helen's Lace (1250 yards, 50% silk 50% wool) in the Irving Park colorway.

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And a skein of Alchemy Promise (423 yards, 86% kid mohair 14% nylon) in the Cherry Tart colorway. (Each are separate prizes).

And to provide some goodies in the Prize Basket for those knitters from warmer climates, Rachel is donating:

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Seven skeins of Sierra by Cascade Yarns (80% pima cotton 20% wool), five of which are olive green and two which are fuchsia. Each skein is 100 grams/191 yards.

If you want to check out all the great prizes you could win by donating to my MS Ride, click here for a look at the Prize Basket.

Tomato Cam

In an effort to direct better karma at my tomato plants, Jackie has virtually adopted the Supersonic.

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Which plant promptly sprouted a flower. Its working!

June 19, 2008

Time for Some Thursday Prizes

Let's start out our Special Edition Thursday Prize Basket with a burst of beauty. Talented photographer Cara is offering a box of her gorgeous Color Collection notecards, one box each sent to three lucky winners! I love these note cards, and I know that you will too.

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The delightful Teyani is donating six skeins of DK weight 100% merino that was custom-dyed for her in a lovely rose color by Jessie at A Piece of Vermont This is about 1470 yards of gorgeous yarn -- enough to make a beautiful large shawl.

From Shanti (who I finally met in person at Maryland this year - YEAH!) comes these two delicious silk prizes:

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Shaeffer Yarn Andrea, 100% silk lace weight in "Jane Addams".

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And Shaeffer Yarn Andrea in "Renata Tebaldi".

To end today's Prize Basket with a BANG, Gail is donating:

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a "La Digitessa" sock knit by Yarnissima. This prize contains the original yarn and the original pattern for these beautiful socks.

For a chance to win these great prizes, and all the other prizes in the OVERFLOWING Prize Basket, donate $10 per chance to my MS Ride

June 18, 2008

Wednesday Prizes with A Side of Tomato

Its time for the Wednesday MS Ride Prize Basket:

My friend (and good fisheye sport) Keyboard Biologist Theresa is donating a sock knitting kit consisting of either her Whiskers and Paw Prints pattern or her delightful Dragon socks plus -- get this -- a skein of Socks That Rock of the winner's choice chosen from the Blue Moon Fiber Arts website.

Another Chicago-based friend is stepping right up to the Prize Basket plate: check out these two awesome prizes donated by the beautiful and talented Bonne Marie:

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This prize is the entire portfolio of Chic Knits Patterns in hard copy form (16 patterns in all) including new releases that will be shipped the first week in August.

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This prize consists of seven skeins of Cascade 220 in Cordovan (color #9408), a luscious heathery dark brown, and three Chic Knits hard copy patterns (Ariann, Ribby Cardi and Twist) which are suitable for the yarn. I love, love my Ribby Cardi and Ariann and know for a fact what a great prize this is!

But there is MORE.

Laura E. is donating three fabulous prizes:

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8 oz. of Natural Colored 80/20 Alpaca/Cultivated Silk from Tactile Fiber Arts.

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4 oz./1000 yards of Laceweight Baby Alpaca in the colorway "10% Chance of Rain" from A Verb for Keeping Warm.

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4 oz. of 50/50 Yak/Merino from Tactile Fiber Arts.

Lastly for today, Yarnish Jackie is donating her copy of Vintage Knits: 30 Exquisite Vintage-Inspired Patterns for Cardigans, Twin Sets, Crewnecks and More by Sarah Dallas to the Prize Basket.

To win these or the other great prizes in the Prize Basket donate $10 or more to my MS Ride.

A Side of Tomato

Norma has the supernatural power to talk me into almost anything. Cooking beet greens (last night, delicious). Starting a Tiny Tomato Farm.

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Despite my black thumb, despite my disinterest in gardening, somehow I've hitched my wagon to Norma's Garden-Along. Will these plants survive? Are they doomed to suffer a horrible, lingering death? Tomato cheerleaders can follow the adventures here.

June 17, 2008

Tuesday MS Ride Prize Goodness

First up, I want to announce that the winner of the MS Ride mini-raffle for the Boston Harbor Cruise is....Beth L.! Congratulations Beth, and have a margarita for me.

People, I've got so many great prizes for my ginormous MS Ride Raffle to show you that I have to post every weekday from now until the ride (on Saturday, June 28th) to showcase them all. So, let's get started with Tuesday's Prize Basket!

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My friend Sylvia is one of the very best handspinners that I know -- and I happen to know alot of great, great spinners. This is 637 yards/55 grams of Sylvia's handspun 2-ply Merino/Bombyx silk. This stuff is skinny, skinny laceweight, knitting up in stockinette at a stunning 12 st/in on US no. 1 needles. It must be seen to be believed, and the winner of this prize will be a lucky duck indeed.

Duranee is donating one of my very, very favorite knitting books ever, Elizabeth Zimmerman's Knitters Almanac. Not only is this an entertaining read, but this book along with EZ's Knitting Without Tears were my only knitting reference books for many years. Two thumbs way up!

Speaking of Claudia's favorite things, another one is the unusual yarns available from Artfibers in San Francisco.

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Theresa R. has donated a 380 yd. cone of Artfibers Cheesecake. This would make a yummy scarf, and really. Who can resist a yarn named "Cheesecake"?

To up the irresistable cuteness factor today:

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my friend Judy A. -- a talented seamstress -- is offering to make one lucky winner a bib, onesie and burp pad set in the winner's choice of yellow/green, blue or pink. So. cute.

To win these prizes and the other great Prize Basket prizes, donate $10 or more to my MS Ride.

June 16, 2008

Monday Sock Festival

Today, your Claudia's Blog MS Ride tandem team presents a Sock Festival!

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Your sock-knitting MS Riders, Michele and Claudia with their current socks-in-progress.

What do we mean by "Sock Festival"? We mean that today's MS Ride Prize Basket is full to bursting with fabulous socky prizes that you could win by donating $10 or more to the cause.

First up, sock-knitter-and-designer extraordinaire Wendy of Wendy Knits is donating a Wendy Knits sock kit. The lucky winner will get to choose one of Wendy's great sock patterns and Wendy will put together a sock knitting kit to your yarn color preferences.

Next up, Sheri of the on-line mecca The Loopy Ewe is extending the Wendy Knits goodness by offering another lucky winner this great Wendy Knits sock pattern together with enough beautiful Sheepaints Silk Bamboo in the Jewel Lake colorway to knit it.

If you've already got a pattern in mind but want more delicious sock yarn, check this out:

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Sandra D. is throwing some sought-after Socks that Rock in the Covelite colorway into the Prize Basket. I freakin' love this colorway.

Lastly, what if you are a knitter that likes to wear handknitted socks but doesn't like to knit them? Or what if you are reading this and you aren't a knitter at all? Well, my dears do we have a prize for you. Debi, a talented and prolific sock knitter, will hand knit you socks in the color of your choice to your personal specs! Seriously! How great is that??

I believe we've covered everyone with todays Prize Basket except hand-knit-sock-haters. Are there really that many of those poor souls reading here? I think not. Remember, for every $10 you donate to my MS Ride through the links on my sidebar, you get a chance to win today's Sock Festival prizes and the other the great prizes in the Prize Basket.

BAT/KAT Project Update

This was another great week for the Bicycling as Transportation/Knitters Alternatively Transporting Project.*

My bicycle trips instead of car trips this past week: 1
Total BAT/KAT project bicycle trips by me: 12
BAT/KAT project trips by all participants last week: 82
Total BAT/KAT project trips by all participants: 426

You guys are awesome! Knitters (and their sympathizers) have eliminated over 400 car trips since the beginning of this project. That is some serious gas saved/carbon emissions eliminated from our air. Check in BAT/KATers -- tell all of us how you worked within the project this past week.

*The goal of which is to substitute at least one bicycling/walking/alternatively transporting trip for one car trip every week. Join us any week you like by making a BAT/KAT Trip and tell us about it here in the comments on Mondays.

June 13, 2008

Friday Prize Basket

The Friday Prize Basket is a lovely way to end the week:

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Jae from Some Knitting Required is donating a beautiful shawl knit, made up of her own Pretty as a Peacock shawl pattern and enough Heritage Handpaint yarn in the Nighthawk colorway to knit it (650 yds of a 50/50 silk/wool blend). Lovely yarn, lovely pattern!

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Carrie from Anemone Letter Press is kindly donating a custom handprinted stationery set of 25 cards and envelopes (as seen here) to one lucky winner. Thanks Carrie!

And because a daily Prize Basket can never have too much yarn in it:

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Lisa is donating four skeins of Louet Kidlin Pixie in the color "Cranberry" (I do SO love this color). This is a total of 1000 yds of laceweight yarn (49% linen, 35% kid mohair and 16% nylon).

For a chance to win these great prizes, click here to donate to my MS Ride. Have a great weekend!

June 12, 2008

Thursday Prize Basket

First up in today's special Thursday Prize Basket edition, let's gaze upon some pretty yarn:

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and

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Rebecca has kindly donated two skeins of Schaefer Yarn's Heather (wool, silk and nylon sock yarn) to the Prize Basket (each is a separate prize). Such lovely colors!

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Heidi has donated the perfect mug for your morning coffee or tea!

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Maryse is donating a copy of Rosie's O'Donnell's "Crafty U" which she reviewed here. This looks like alot of fun for kids and not-so-grown-ups. You know who you are.

Enter for chances to win these great prizes and all the prizes in the Prize Basket by donating $10 or more to my MS Ride. And remember that you have until Monday, June 16, 2008 at 12:00 noon EDT to email me if you want to be entered into the special mini-raffle for the Boston Harbor Cruise! See Wednesday's post for details.

June 11, 2008

Wednesday Random and Prize Basket

First a very short random Wednesday:

1. Someone stop me, but I'm thinking of growing a veggie. I have a patented black thumb, so feel bad for the tomato-plant-victim that I will shortly select.

2. Thanks all of you for welcoming Michele to the Claudia's Blog MS Ride Tandem Team. Its really fun to talk about knitting/girl stuff while riding.

3. I want my new yarn but alas it has not yet arrived.

MS Ride Wednesday Prize Basket

Let's do a little something different with the first new Prize Basket prize of the day. The prize is four tickets to the Cycling 4 MS Summer Harbor Cruise on Boston Harbor. The date is Thursday, July 10, 2008 beginning at 6:30 PM and the cruise is all about you bringing three of your friends to enjoy eating, drinking and dancing on a beautiful summer's night. Now clearly this prize will not be the thing for someone who doesn't live within a reasonable distance of Boston, Massachusetts USA. So, I'm offering this prize to anyone who has already donated $10 or more to my MS Ride or who donates by Monday, June 16, 2008 at 12:00 noon EDT who lives near Boston or is willing to come for this event. If you want to be entered to win this mini-raffle (which will have no impact on your chances to win the other great prizes in the Prize Basket), please email me by Monday, June 16, 2008 at 12:00 noon EDT so that I can put your name in the hat! I'll announce the lucky winner on-blog on Tuesday, June 17th.

Now for some fibery prizes:

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Donated by Sandra D. is a skein of Sock Pixie sock yarn in the Passion colorway (425 yds.). So colorful, so pretty....

If you'd like to pick out the yarn and colorway of your choice, Judy has generously donated a $25 gift certificate to her shop Ball and Skein. What delectable treats await the lucky winner!

June 10, 2008

Tuesday Prize Basket

A special Tuesday post with more delicious additions to the MS Ride Prize Basket. Just to clarify: each prize you see in the Prize Basket is a separate prize and will be raffled off to a separate winner.

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Straight from the wool festival shopping bag of Etherknitter Laurie to you, this is a skein of Seacoast Handpainted sock yarn in "Spring Storm" (100% superwash merino sock yarn, 560 yards).

Speaking of wool festivals, from one of my favorite vendors comes a really, really great prize: Rick of Shepherd's Flock is donating one pair of women's standard size short cuff shearling slippers as shown here. i LOVE these slippers and wear mine literally every single day in the cold weather.

To round out today's Prize Basket, Nannette has generously donated two prizes:

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A copy of Sheila McGregor's "Traditional Scandinavian Knitting" and;

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A set of beautiful stitch markers that Nanette will custom make (color and size) for the lucky winner.

To see all the great prizes you can win by donating $10 or more to my MS Ride, go here.

June 09, 2008

MS Ride: Now With 200% More Riding!

My 2008 MS Ride started off with a big, fat hitch: a broken husband/tandem captain. Because I am way too blind to ride 75 miles on my own bike, this seemed to mean that I would not be wearing the Number 1 bib in this years MS Ride. Which was really disappointing because we knitters all worked REALLY HARD to become the number one fundraisers last year.

That is now all changed...cue music:

Michele to the rescue!

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My friend Michele, a knitter and real-live bicycle racer, asked me if I needed a captain. Indeed! So your Knitters Against MS ride team this year consists of TWO knitters!

We don't need no stinkin' non-knitters.

Knitters doin' it for themselves, baby.

We'll be riding the big orange tandem 75 miles on Saturday, June 28, 2008 proudly wearing the Knitters Against MS number ONE bib number. All is right with the world.

In our practice rides, we have discovered that two chicks on a tandem gets us some good attention (cars give us a WIDE berth) and sometimes some creepy attention from drivers. Especially from balding males in fancy sports cars having themselves a big-ass mid-life crisis. Straight up comedy, people.

But, we can't show up to this ride without some more cash for the cause and we only have three more weeks to raise it. So lets get right to the Monday Prize Basket:

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Try as I might, my photo-taking skills cannot show the true beauty of Sundara's yarn. From L to R there are two skeins of Sundara Sock Yarn in "Sandstorm" (each is a separate prize), two skeins of Aran Silky Merino in Merlot (this is one, fabulous prize), one skein of Silk Lace in Tulip (a subtle, breathtakingly beautiful arrangement of peach, blush and pink) and one skein of Fingering Silky Merino in Charcoal over Denim. Now that I've shown you this delicious yarn, it means that five lucky-ducks of you will win these prizes and I can't just hoard it all for myself which was my first, greedy impulse upon opening Sundara's package.

What goes well with these fabulous yarn prizes? I'd say that clever, beautiful patterns are in order and Anne of Knitspot is donating three $10 gift certificates to her shop.

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To round out today's Prize Basket, the generous Sandra D. has donated a copy of Knitting for Peace. What a lovely, positive note for this Monday post.

Get a chance to win these and all the great prizes in the Prize Basket but donating $10 or more here or clicking on the Paypal link in my sidebar. Check back here tomorrow for more great MS Ride prizes.

BAT/KAT Update

This was an unbelievably great week for the Bicycling as Transportation/Knitters Alternatively Transporting Project.*

My bicycle trips instead of car trips this past week: 1
Total BAT/KAT project bicycle trips by me: 11
BAT/KAT project trips by all participants last week: 100
Total BAT/KAT project trips by all participants: 344

You guys are awesome! Knitters (and their sympathizers) have eliminated over 300 car trips since the beginning of this project. We are making a difference, one walking/bicycling/alternatively transporting trip at a time. Check in BAT/KATers -- tell all of us how you worked within the project this past week.

*The goal of which is to substitute at least one bicycling/walking/alternatively transporting trip for one car trip every week. Join us any week you like by making a BAT/KAT Trip and tell us about it here in the comments on Mondays.

May 28, 2008

Random Wednesday

There is nothing like the pain of hitting the wrong button and having half a post disappear. Poof! But really, that is quite in the spirit of Random Wednesdays.

1. Since there were no MS Ride prizes on Monday or yesterday's Fake Monday, let's make up for lost time:

The generous Lynne is donating thirteen of her original patterns, seen here each of which will be a separate prize. Thanks Lynne!

And, to raise up the yarny quotient around here:

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Lovely Imbrium of Nerd Knits is donating a skein of Araucania Ranco Multy, 100 grams of lovely wool/polyamide in a 100% delicious color to one lucky donor.

Mmmm....yarns and patterns. Every $10 donated buys a chance to win these and all the Prize Basket prizes.

2. In order to make myself feel less disappointed about missing my vacation due to husband-breakage, I bought a little bit more than yarn. I bought a used (to keep the $$ damage down) fisheye lens. Expect weird-ass distortion to increase around here very soon.

3. One of my biggest supporters in my own efforts to raise money for MS, and the guy who makes my favoritest shearling slippers ever, is Rick of Shepherd's Flock. He is working to save his local emergency response organization by putting together a raffle where you could win a new Suburu. If you are near enough to Brattleboro, VT to pick it up and want a good chance at a new car, check this out.

4. I don't know about you, but the day after I finish a big project I am just wiped out. Pouring, pouring, pouring energy into one thing, then having it finish is great. But, oh so exhausting. If Life had a pause button, I'd press it today.

May 12, 2008

Monday, Monday

I'm starting out this week with high hopes that this week will be much better than the last one! With that positive thought in mind, let's add to the MS Fundraiser Prize Basket:

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Courtesy of Sandra D., a brand-new copy of Knitting Classic Style by Veronik Avery. This is a lovely book that has a pattern for a sweater (the Military Cardigan (Ravelry link) that I especially lust after.

Continuing on the book theme, also in the Prize Basket is my brand-new copy of A Fine Fleece, by Lisa Lloyd which I reviewed recently here. If you' d like a chance to win these books or the other prizes in the Prize Basket, click here for more details. This link is the Knitters Against MS site, on which is a running tally of all the prizes you could win in this fundraiser.

BAT/KAT Update

My bicycle trips instead of car trips this past week: 2
Total BAT/KAT project bicycle trips by me: 4
Total BAT/KAT project trips by all participants: 74

This was a great week for the Bicycles as Transportation/Knitters Alternatively Transporting project. Lots and lots of you decided to take one trip (or in some cases, lots of trips) this week via bicycle, walking or some other transportation instead of your cars. YEAH!

Now, I want to make clear that this is a PROJECT, not an "a-long". There are no official "sign-ups". The goal is to cut out one car trip every week and instead use alternative transportation. If you want to participate in any given week, well my dears. That makes you a BAT/KAT participant! Just leave me a comment on Mondays or send me an email anytime and let me know what you did. This project is all about us supporting each other to make a small change in our daily routines that will help us and help out our planet. So bring it on!

This week I bicycled to the Whole Foods, which is approximately 6-7 miles away from my house. There is actually another Whole Foods much closer to me, but there is just no safe bicycle route to it, so I head out my favorite bike path to this one, albeit further away.

My friend Cathy bicycled out there with me in order to give me some practical riding tips to make my BAT/KATing safer. I was having some trouble quickly (and elegantly) starting up my bicycle from a stop. First, Cathy asked me what my dominant leg was....I picked my right leg since I'm right-handed. This will then always be the leg that I push off with. The trick to this is having my left pedal in about the "2 o'clock" position when I stop. Then, when I start I will push down on the left pedal at the same time shoving off with my right foot. This tip has really improved my starts, and I'm practicing up.

Another great tip is how to make a sharp turn. Cathy pointed out that going into a tight turn, make a wide radius initially, then cut in at the top of the turn. This works much better than cutting sharply into the turn at its beginning. I hope these tips help out my fellow BATers as much as they helped me.

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Here is my Townie taking a break along a wooded section of the bike path on the way to the post office. Note the important legal mail in the milk crate.

May 07, 2008

Knitters Against MS 2008 Edition!

Its that time again. Like last year, Team Claudia's Blog is once again fundraising to fight Multiple Sclerosis.

This year's ride will be held on June 28-29th, 2008. However, unlike last year, the front half of the Claudia's Blog tandem is sidelined and an actual ride may not happen. Nevertheless, we've got tons of fabulous prizes and a great cause. SO LET'S RAISE SOME MONEY!

Last year, knitters all over the world generously supported my ride and this charity to the tune of over $40,000 and were the NUMBER ONE FUNDRAISERS in the entire ride! Last year I also heard from knitters all over the world who are struggling with this disease, which among other badness can compromise their ability to knit. NO! UNACCEPTABLE! How about we kick some more fundraising ass for them?

Now, in order to provide donation incentive, there are FABULOUS PRIZES. The way this works, is that for every $10 (US) you donate, you get one chance to win the fabulous prizes. So, if you donate $30, that is three chances to win. The drawing happens on Friday, June 27, 2008.

You can donate two ways: directly to the charity by clicking on the tandem bicycle button (or just click on this link) or with Paypal by pressing the "Paypal" button (its in my left sidebar) and use any form of payment to leave me a donation. I forward every penny of your donation to the MS Society and pay the Paypal fees out of my own pocket.

Also, if you have a prize that you'd like to donate that would be great! Just email me or leave me a comment.

***

First up in the Prize Basket is the one and only fibery thing that I bought at this years Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival:

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This is the Pinwheel Lace Shawl Kit from Hunt Valley Cashmere. The kit includes enough purple lace-weight delicious cashmere to make the pattern, along with a detailed pattern booklet for this lovely shawl.

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Mmmm. Cashmere.

If you'd like a chance to win this prize, go ahead and donate! And stay tuned as more and more prizes fill up the Prize Basket.

May 05, 2008

Life is What Happens While You are Making Other Plans

Ah, best laid plans. On Friday I thought today's post would be a cheerful Maryland wrap-up and a lighthearted look at the Bicycling as Transportation/Knitters Alternatively Transporting Project. Plus maybe a teaser post about the upcoming Enormous MS Fundraising Raffle.

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Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival, 2008.

Indeed, the festival was a fun time, seeing sheep and wool, meeting up with old friends. That is, up until Saturday night when my husband called me to say that he had broken his ankle in a hiking accident and needed surgery in the morning.

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Comforting cup of tea at the butt-crack of Sunday dawn, BWI airport.

Two screws later, all is repaired. However, there will be no tandem bicycle riding for a good long time. Which throws an enormous monkey-wrench into the MS Ride we had planned to do at the end of June. As in, this ride ain't gonna happen.

I have mentioned previously that I don't see well enough to ride anything but a slow cruiser bicycle for short distances on mainly protected paths (BAT/KAT!) And since one injured family member is really all that's do-able at this point, I'm not eager to commit to riding 75 miles on my own.

As I was fretting about this in the hotel room, my sister pointed out that knitters don't donate to my MS fundraiser because I actually pedal a bicycle in the ride. They donate because of the prizes and the goodness of the cause of fighting multiple sclerosis which disproportionately affects middle-aged women. A large of number of whom are probably knitters.

So, my current thought is to go ahead with the fundraiser if the generous folks who have already donated fabulous prizes think that's OK. If so, I'll announce the first prize on Wednesday.

BAT/KAT UPDATE

My bicycle trips instead of car trips this past week: 1
Total BAT/KAT project bicycle trips by me: 3
Total BAT/KAT project trips by all participants: 19

I was going to lament in this space that my tandem training schedule was cutting into my BAT/KAT time such that I only managed one ride to the post office this past week. Now, apparently, the ONLY riding I'll be doing for the next eight weeks is BAT/KAT riding.

The BAT/KAT total only reflects the trips that participants have emailed me about: nursing duties have limited my ability to check up on your blogs. So.....BAT/KATers. Tell me how the first week of the challenge has gone. Tally up those alternative transportation trips!

April 16, 2008

Robin Trouble

Today's robin story is not the happy Robin TV -- a/k/a Nest Watch that I told here last July. Yesterday morning I noticed an adult robin sitting huddled on my driveway.

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Robin let me get right up close to it with my camera, and that is just not right. Any able-bodied robin would have gotten the hell outta Dodge. Then the neighbor's dogs wandered over to check her out, and although I shooed them away, Robin still didn't budge. Something clearly was very wrong with Robin.

I am, however, not skilled in Robin first aid. Previously I had heard of the Wildlife Clinic at Tufts Veterinary School, and sure enough I called them and they said they were able to care for Robin.

Now, I hadn't exactly planned to spend my morning taking a sick bird to a clinic close to an hour's drive away. I had ACTUALLY planned to get my tax returns done, waiting -- as every self-respecting self-employed person would -- to the absolute last moment to give the Government every last penny of my money. However, I've found it useful in my life to have made two decisions in advance, taking the in-the-moment thought process out of them and moving directly to the action step. One of these pre-made decisions is that sick or hurt animals must be helped.**

I went inside and got a small box. Robin half-heartedly tried hopping away from my gloved hand. But I easily scooped Robin up into the box.

On the drive to the Wildlife Clinic, I'll admit to occasionally shaking the box just a little bit to see if Robin was still alive in there. Flap, flap, flap. Wings hitting box. Still alive. Whew.

Turns out, Robin had a big wound on her side and belly and a head injury. If you look closely at Robin's picture (click for big) you can see a dark gap in his/her feathers on the bird's left side. I'm thinking something tried to have Robin for breakfast, and Robin barely escaped the realities of the food chain.

The vets have Robin in an oxygen chamber, and they've glued the wound closed. If and when Robin stabilizes enough to be put under, they'll try stitching the wound closed. In the meantime, Robin's prognosis is "Guarded".

But, hey -- it was worth a shot. Although I don't think Robin is the mother robin that I watched raise a nest of chicks last July, it is entirely possible that my sick Robin is one of robinettes. If Robin pulls through, I'll drive back, fetch him/her and bring the bird back to his/her friends for a robin welcome-home party.

And the tax returns? Brought to the post office just in the nick, together with all the other slackers.


**The other pre-made decision is to point out when a cashier at a store has given me too much change and give the extra right back.

April 14, 2008

Long Skinny Tube--Stretched

I am knitting Eiffel....theoretically. In actual fact, this project has been looking like a series of long, skinny tubes.

To allay my increasing fears that this just really wouldn't stretch to fit me, I put most of the stitches on some waste yarn and tried it on.

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Luckily, the thing will fit me. However, looking at this photo and comparing it with the pattern picture....hmmmm. It looks like I stopped with the lacy ribbing and started with the regular ribbing far too soon. Sure enough, what I swore up and down was nine inches of lacy ribbing when I measured it while knitting, turns out to be BARELY eight inches after being viciously stretched out after the try on. And, even the nine inches (the pattern spec for the smallest size) looks a little scant.

So, off with the last couple of inches and I'll knit more lacy ribbing. Honestly, I'd rather know now than later. Moral of this story: if one is knitting stretchy tubes, try them on before making biggish knitting choices.

2008 MS Ride Prize Call

Several kind folks have asked if I will be riding and fundraising again this year for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. Indeed, I will be riding the first 75 mile day of the MS Ride this year, and will be starting the fundraising effort right after the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival.

As you might recall, last year Knitters Against MS were the NUMBER ONE fundraisers in the entire ride! For this year's ride I will be wearing the number 1 on my jersey to honor all the knitters who so generously gave to help out their fellow knitters (and their friends and loved ones) who would so greatly benefit from finding a cure for this awful disease.

So, it might be nice to show up for this years ride with a few bucks.

To that end, we are going to have an Enormous Raffle just like last year when 180+ prizes went out to lucky winners chosen by a random number generator from 1145 generous donors.

If any of you would like to donate a yarny prize for this year's big-ass raffle, I would really appreciate that. All you need to do is email me at the address in my left sidebar. Thanks in advance for considering this request!

June 27, 2007

The Raffle Wrap-Up

Dudes. There were 180 prizes in this Enormous Raffle (plus a few stealth prizes and the hat). That's alot of prize-y goodness that will be flying around the world this coming week. Thanks so much to all of you who so generously donated these awesome prizes!

For a listing of prize winners go here. The person's first name and initial who won each prize is written in after the prize picture. Now, if you think I mean YOU but you haven't gotten an email from me in the last few days, feel free to email me and check in. Perhaps your spam filter caught my winner's announcement or something else computer-esque went wrong.

I need Mary Alice Tinari and Jennifer Curran to contact me to claim your prizes.

If you are a prize donor and are having difficulty contacting your winner, give it a couple of days and then let me know. After a reasonable amount of time has passed, any unclaimed prizes will go back into the hat -- I still have plenty of numbers to draw.

The winner of the last-minute Hat Raffle is.....Colleen H.! Thanks to everyone who played that little game with me.

Now, as I would do for any other Finished Object.....

Project Details:

Amount of money raised to fight MS: $40,190.00
Number of generous donors: 1145
Number of prizes: 180+

Way to go! This will be a hard act to follow up on next year, but I know better than to underestimate the generosity of this community.

Thank you.

June 26, 2007

MS Ride 2007

Amazing worldwide Knitters Against Multiple Sclerosis raised over $40,000 to fight this disease! Thank you so much to all of you who donated prizes and money to make this happen. You are the best. If knitters ruled the world, our planet would be a better and kinder place.

All day yesterday I was picking prize winners and sending out prize emails, thinking that I'd be finished "soon" and would put a Ride Recap post up then. Turns out, I had never actually counted how many prizes there were. I discovered the hard way that handing out 149 prizes is my daily limit before total collapse. So, I will regroup today and hand out the remainder of the prizes (I still don't know how many that is as I'm trying not to scare myself) and will post a winner's list tomorrow. If you've won something, you should have gotten an email yesterday or will get one today.

Unhelpfully, my server company pulled the plug on this blog for a bit of time yesterday and today because I'd exceeded my bandwidth. I threw some more money at them and I think we are safe now.

So....onwards to a 2007 MS Ride Recap!

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Early morning is just not my thing, but here I am at the start line putting on a brave front. It was a beautiful, warm (but not too warm) and sunny day on Saturday, just perfect for a bike ride with friends to raise money to fight a horrible disease.

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We ride our tandem bicycle with a bunch of other friends with tandems. Above is what part of a gaggle of tandems looks like. On a relatively flat course, as is the ride from Quincy, MA to Bourne, MA a well-ridden tandem can beat the pants off all but the fittest of single-bicycle riders. More on that later.

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Last year, generous knitters gave me the opportunity to wear Number Five on my back this year. Nice! I did see the chick wearing Number One -- as we were passing her at a high rate of speed...ahem -- and she looked like a nice enough girl. But she had my number, at least my number for NEXT year, and that must be ripped from her shirt with no mercy gently removed from her apparel. There is no way that any fundraisers, stealth fundraisers or not, beat the Knitters' Total this year, so next year its NUMBER ONE ALL THE WAY!

Note the lack of bicycles in the corral at the end of the first day. We completed the first day of riding -- 78 miles -- in 3 hours 56 minutes of pedal time at an average speed of 19 miles per hour. This brought us to the Massachusetts Maritime Academy as the sixth bike in -- actually the fourth and fifth bikes came in with us, so really only three bikes bested us. A full bike corral looks something like this.
We could have ridden harder, but decided to save something for the next day.

Also note that bicycle riding is my OTHER hobby and my ass is on the tandem bicycle training for many hours per week from April through November, and said ass is on a trainer during the winter. Most of the riders in a fundraising event such as the MS Ride probably ride a bicycle once a year, or train a bit just for this event. So, although to some of us "every ride is a race", that just isn't or shouldn't be the goal for 99.9% of the participants here.

But high-speed finishes do make for good story-telling.

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Ah, dorm life. I thought I'd left that behind ages ago, but the overnight accommodations at Mass Maritime were dorm rooms just like you remember -- bunk beds, hallway bathrooms and all. Since I'm not about the climbing down of a teeny ladder in the middle of the night, the mattresses went sensibly on the floor.

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Seen on the way to dinner in "downtown" Buzzard's Bay. I couldn't resist the picture.

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Sunset over the Maritime Academy. Generally I'm pretty picky about my overnight lodgings, but we were in bed by 9:00 PM and dead to the world until rudely awakened at the soul-crushingly early hour of 4:00 AM on Sunday. At that moment, people I'll be honest, I seriously questioned why I was doing this. I got over it.

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We got started on Sunday morning about 6:00 AM and headed for the Bourne Bridge which separates "mainland" Massachusetts from Cape Cod.

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It was a beautiful day at Wellfleet beach. Indeed, I saw it fleetingly as we whizzed by.

We finished the second day -- a little over 78 miles -- in a bit over four hours due to a stiff headwind during the last fifteen miles into Provincetown. Again, very few bikes came in ahead of us. This means clean showers with no line to get in them, a free massage (which fills up quickly as one could imagine), easy access to food and generally few of the hassles involved with a crowded event. I do quite poorly as part of a crowd (lone wolf, that's me) so I'm very motivated on rides such as this to haul butt to get to the finish line first.

Provincetown is a wonderful place, and they were having a parade (not for us) to put a nice finish on the weekend's festivities.

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And, there's gotta be a Pilgrim.

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And last, but far from being least, is the tasty beverage (Brooklyn Dark) and the lobster roll on Sunday afternoon:\

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Thanks to all of you for supporting me on the 2007 MS Ride. Its the community of knitters that is the shining star here, and you guys are NUMBER ONE! Check in tomorrow for the list of winners in the Enormous Raffle, which will officially wrap up the fundraising festivities at this here blog. Then its back to knitting, should I remember how to do it.


June 22, 2007

The Final Friday Prize Basket!

Last night my team and I rode over to the MS Society's office to turn in our fundraising and get the numbers we will wear for the ride. Knitter-fundraising was well-received, to an enthusiastic round of applause. Nice! The number I got -- referring to the amount of last year's fundraising -- was number 5. Apparently two stealth fundraisers snuck past me last year, as I was expecting number 3.

Now, not that 5 is a bad number or anything. I'm very proud to wear 5. But I confess to be just a teeny-tiny bit envious of this year's number one. And concerned about the stealth fundraisers, who don't appear on the website for some reason, but swoop in to steal the top spots.

So, competitive knitters everywhere: you know what to do. Fundraising asses need to be kicked. That's all I'm sayin'. As a bonus incentive, I'm holding a mini-raffle for this here swag that the MS folks gave me yesterday:

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Note the delightful orange-ness of the logo. Give me a donation via the MS Site or Paypal in any amount beginning after the time-stamp of this post through Monday at 9:00 AM EST, then email me with the subject line: Gimme the hat! and you'll be put in the hat mini-drawing. Of course, you'll also be entered in the Enormous Raffle.

Just when you think there can't possibly be more wonderful MS Ride raffle prizes...well here it is, the last day of showing off the Prize Basket and indeed there is still MORE. Take a deep breath. The finish line approaches.

The multi-talented Too Much Wool Cassie shares both her knitting and sewing skills in her Prize Basket contributions:

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Cassie makes really lovely Emergency Sock Kits using her awe-inspiring stash of quilting fabric. Here is the inside of the kit, but it won't be empty when the winner gets ahold of it. Oh no. Cassie is including a copy of her brand new sock pattern Loksins as well as the 2.5mm double point needles needed for the sock pattern. Supply the sock yarn (not a problem for most of you) and you are sock knitting on the road with style.

But, if you happen to want need some more yarn, Woolgirl Jenn has got you covered (each photo is a separate prize).

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One skein of Zen String Sport in the Dapper Colorway

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One skein of Valcalcar Acres Flock Sock Yarn (fingering weight) in the Blackjack Candy colorway

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Two skeins of Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sport in the Argyle colorway.

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One skein of Snitches Syncopation Self-Striping yarn in the Beardsley colorway

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One skein of Irish Baby Knits Alpaca/Merino blend in the Maeve colorway

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One skein of Irish Baby Knits Galenas Merino in the Maeve colorway.

Veronica, daughter of Joy does creative photo embellishments of children and adults and is offering as a prize her photo embellishment services for the picture of the winner's choice. This prize includes a 5x7 print of the finished picture.

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Gina F. has generously donated two skeins of recycled sari silk. These are one prize, but the gnome and rabbit are not included.

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Colleen of Spiffy Knits is donating one skein of her hand-dyed 100% Blue Faced Leicester superwash sock yarn in the "Mt. Wachusett" colorway, and as a bonus she is including a set of Brittany US size 2 double point needles in the prize.

Did I hear someone ask for something shiny? Well, Julie can help us out with her mad beading skillz. Each picture is one prize.

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A set of blue pearl stitch markers.

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A set of jewel tone stitch markers.

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A set of pink colored stitch markers.

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A set of pink pearl stitch markers.

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And, a super-cute sheep stitch marker.

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Rachel of Dyeabolical Yarns is donating a vibrant skein of DK weight hand-dyed sock yarn in the colorway Themyscira. I love this color name.

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Lynette of Fernwood Woolworks has donated an awesome Paint Your Own Sock Kit! Included is everything you need to dye your own sock yarn. The kit includes 2 skeins of Corriedale Superwash Wool. One skein is wound into a hank for space dying. The second skein is knit into a blank so you can try your hand at design painting your sock yarn. Also included is the rainbow set of Ashford dyes, complete dying instructions and a sample to show you how the dyes blend. Two samples of Soak Wash are included for washing your hand paint yarn.

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Kerrie of HipKnits is donating a sweater's worth (600 g.) of 100% pure silk hand-dyed yarn in the colorway "Chance". These three big delicious skeins are light worsted weight. Mmmmm. Silk.

Finally we reach the last item in the Prize Basket, and its a special one.

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Debbie L. has generously donated this Hanne Falkenberg "Ballerina" swing coat kit in color number 6 to the Prize Basket. You can see the finished coat here and the actual colorway knitted up here. Thanks Debbie for a great prize!

With this, I am officially closing the lid on the Prize Basket (although there will be a few bonus unannounced prizes that might appear in your mailboxes too). Tomorrow the ride begins in Quincy, Massachusetts at about 7:00 AM (um...a morning person I am NOT) and considering the race-ready crew with which I ride, I'd expect (absent disaster) to be done with the first 75 miles in time for lunch. We spend the night at the Massachusetts Maritime Academy, and then at 5:00 AM on Sunday morning (this will surely kill me) start out for the finish line in Provincetown at the very tip of Cape Cod, Massachusetts. Again, all going well, I should be done riding the second 75 miles in the late morning, leaving the afternoon free for some well-deserved tasty beverages.

Although the lid on the Prize Basket is closed, you can still get in on the Enormous Raffle if you make a donation before Monday, June 25th at 9:00 AM Eastern Time. That is when I'll finalize the spreadsheet. What spreadsheet? With the kind help of Cara and Grumperina, I have devised a spreadsheet of all donors which assigns each of you a range of numbers depending on how many chances (at $10 a pop) you bought. So Monday morning -- assuming I've survived the weekend -- I'll fire up the random number generator to pick the winners of all of the fabulous prizes!

See you on the other side.

And thanks.

June 21, 2007

The Thursday Prize Basket

Back to see more fabulous MS Ride Raffle prizes, are we? Well, I'm not gonna disappoint you because today there is more amazing loot to show.

One of the most accomplished knitters I have the pleasure to know, my friend Beadlizard Sylvia, knit two pair of mitts out of Socks That Rock especially for me to give away to you.

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A lovely chartreuse pair.

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And a lovely red pair. These will fit most women's hands. Read more about them here.

Now, if anyone doesn't like this next prize, well. There is clearly no pleasing such a person.

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Laura will send out this skein of 100% cashmere "Pashmina" from the Great Adirondack Yarn Company in the "Maple Leaf" colorway to one lucky winner. There are 250 yards of cashmere goodness in this skein, more than enough for a scarf or a pair or two of mitts.

Denise has donated a complete set of 14 knitting greeting cards to one lucky winner that you guys can see here. These are so clever and funny I know you'll have to click on each thumbnail on this page.

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Carole kindly donated a skein of Fleece Artist Silk Stream in the "Woodland" colorway. Its a blend of wool, silk and nylon and the skein is about 66 yards.

The delightful Stitchy McYarnpants (also known as Debbie) is donating three prizes:

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This is over 1000 yards of fingering weight alpaca from Danette Taylor in the colorway "Azaleas". As you might imagine, I really dig this prize. Alas.

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A "Knitting into the Blogosphere" tote bag from Stitchy's online store. And, lastly a bundle of vintage knitting magazines including some McCall's Needlework. Thanks Stitchy!

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Rebecca donated two skeins of Anne sock yarn from Shaefer Yarn (560 yards each, in a wool/mohair/nylon blend). Each skein is enough for a pair of socks and each is a separate prize.

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Michelle has sent some handspun sock yarn goodness our way. This is about 350 yards of sock weight superwash merino/tencel in the colorway "Lemon Spice" from Franquemont Fibers. This is a great way to score some handspun sock yarn if you yourself don't spin (and even if you do).

Here is the last great prize of today, and will especially delight the many fans of Zen Yarn Garden sock yarn. Roxanne was kind enough to donate two beautiful skeins of her hand-dyed sock yarn.

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One skein of merino/tencel sock yarn in the "Red Lantern" colorway.

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One skein of merino/nylon sock yarn in the "Passion" colorway.

That is all for today, but be sure to check out the entire list of fabulous prizes here and come back tomorrow for the final opening of the MS Ride Prize Basket!

June 20, 2007

The Wednesday Prize Basket

Our goal may be met, but I've got some seriously great prizes today and the rest of the week. Haven't donated yet? Well, I'm trying really hard to tempt you.

Caroline from Sockpixie is donating five skeins of her hand-dyed sock yarn. Each skein is a separate prize, and is 100% machine washable merino (425 yds.):

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From L to R, the colors are Cove, Stormy Seas, Wisteria, Raspberry Cheesecake and Poppies. What lovely colors here!

The generous Cara is sharing her awesome photography skills with us by donating five boxes of The Color Collection notecards. These are beautiful prizes, and I guarantee that the five winners (one box each) will be delighted with them.

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Diana T. sent me four lovely skeins of sock yarn to give away as prizes (each skein is a separate prize). From L to R, Meilenweit Cotton Maya sock yarn (45% cotton, 42% wool, 13% nylon), Sockotta sock yarn in a blue/purple/green colorway (45% cotton, 40% superwash wool, 15% nylon), Regia Cotton Tip & Top Color (41% superwash wool, 34% cotton, 25% nylon) and another skein of Sockotta in a white, teal, purple and pink colorway. Thanks Diana!

Want a ready-made hand-knitted shrug?

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Rachel is donating this Shrug using Sirdar Blur in Indigo. The size is a Women's Medium, and another view of the shrug can be seen here.

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Lisa H. (who donated a prize last year too!) is donating for this year a skein of mediumweight Socks That Rock in the Chanticleer colorway.

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Jennifer is donating 10 skeins of Rowanspun DK in the color "Catkin" Mmmm. Rowan. At 219 yds per skein for a total of 2190 yards, this prize will make up pretty much any wool sweater the winner wants.

Our sparkly, shiny objects of the day come courtesy of Kristen.

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This set of stitch markers will fit up to a US size 10 needle, and out of the set there is one marker that is different so that you can tell the beginning of the round. Clever!

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This second set of stitch markers (a separate prize) will fit up to a US size 5 needle, and is intended for socks and other small needles.

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Karen will send this delicious yarn -- two skeins of Fun With Yarn handspun/hand-dyed bulky weight merino/tencel yarn (71 yards each) in the Lemon and Violets colorway -- to one lucky winner.

Today's final prize comes with a story. Awhile back, I (quite bravely, really) showed you a horrible mistake that I had made. Then, in one of my periodic fits of throwing stuff out, I asked the blogiverse if anyone wanted to rescue the Teapot Sweater from the Goodwill bag.

Who should respond to the call to save this sweater from oblivion? Fluffa Becky! So, I packed up the Teapot Sweater and sent it off on a French vacation.

Well, people. Behold the triumphant Return of the Teapot Sweater:

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Becky made the infamous Teapot sweater into a tote perfect for carrying one's knitting! You can see more of her exquisite bags here.

We are calling this prize "Tea for Two" because its a joint Becky/Claudia project, made especially for one lucky winner! Check out the back:

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Design Specs: Tote bag in blue fashion denim and recycled hand-knit sweater with intarsia. One side has knitted fabric with intarsia tea pot. Other side is in blue fashion denim with knitted tea cup appliques and knitted fabric
striped panel. Knitted fabric is interfaced and edges are stitched or serged for durability. Bag is fully lined in matching blue fashion denim. Rigid base.

Approximately 11" x 12.5"
Base measures approximately 10" x 4"
Hand straps measure approximately 12.5"

Seriously, that is a kick-ass prize. I still can't believe Becky actually made the Teapot sweater into something so awesome.

If you'd like to win this special one-of-a-kind bag or any of the other fabulous prizes click here to donate or use the Paypal button on my sidebar. And, be sure to come back tomorrow to see what other great prizes the Prize Basket holds!

June 19, 2007

The Tuesday Prize Basket

Today's headline reads: KNITTERS RAISE OVER $30,000 TO FIGHT MS! Yeah! Just one more fine example of knitters REPRESENTING. Because we were at the $30,000 goal for exactly one nanosecond before it smashed through, I do wonder how much money we can actually raise. We've got the rest of this week to find out!

Although prizes are lovely to look at and great fun to win, news like this is what this fundraiser is really all about -- thanks to Agnes for the link. So if you haven't donated yet, consider how wonderful it would be if a knitter-dollar was the one which funded the cure to multiple sclerosis. And then click here.

You came here today to see prizes, and prizes is what you will see.

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Deb of Sunrise Ranch is donating two skeins of 3-ply fingering weight alpaca (about 200 yds. per skein) spun by Spinderella, the fiber for which comes from the prize-winning fleece of her alpaca named Torrunn. If you like knowing the name of the animal who grew the fiber for the yarn you are knitting with, well this is your kind of kick-ass prize now isn't it?

Get ready for more cute.

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Laura at Bella Knitting is offering this amazingly adorable Baby Viking Hat kit as a prize. The kit includes the pattern and materials, and there is also another version that the winner could choose.

Aubrey of Goodies Unlimited is donating ANOTHER $50 gift certificate (shipping worldwide included), so that two lucky winners instead of just one can indulge in some delightfully scented goodies.

Judy of Smatterings is a talented hand-dyer (and spinner and knitter) that I'm delighted to know in real life, and she is offering a gift certificate for a skein of her beautiful hand-dyed sock yarn, winner's choice! I know what color *I'd* choose (Gourd), but what would you?

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Moth Heaven Julia is donating this lovely Helen's Lace in color 205 "Irving Park" to the Prize Basket. This skein is 4 oz. (1250 yards) and will make a beautiful shawl/scarf.

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Mia reached into her stash and pulled out this skein of lightweight Socks That Rock in the "Rare Gems" colorway. Thanks Mia!

Melissa of Nytefalle Designs makes amazingly cute polymer clay stitch markers. She is donating a set of five stitch markers, prize winner's choice. The hard part for the prize winner will be deciding which to choose!

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In addition to previously shown prizes, the generous Sandra D. also sent in these great skeins of sock yarn (each brand of sock yarn is a separate prize). From L to R, one skein of Fearless Fibers superwash merino sock yarn (550 yards) in Marrakech, 2 skeins of Claudia Handpainted merino sock yarn (175 yards each) in the colorway "Butter Pecan", 2 skeins of Koigu KPPPM (175 yards each) in Color P323, and one skein of Cherry Tree Hill Supersock merino fingering-weight sock yarn (420 yards) in the Birches colorway.

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Susan has donated a special prize: this is a Shetland Triangle Shawl (scarf size) that Susan knit out of yarn that was handspun by Margene on a spindle! So, this pretty scarf is really from both of them to one lucky winner.

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Paula is donating one skein of her hand-dyed sport-weight superwash merino yarn in the colorway Peapod Green. This would be great for a pair of socks or a baby item.

Our shiny object of the day comes to us from Chris at Scotts Mountain Crafts.

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You can win this beautiful shawl pin that Chris made especially for this fundraiser or any of the fabulous prizes in the Prize Basket by making a donation of $10 per raffle chance by clicking here or by using the Paypal button in my sidebar.

Come back here tomorrow for another round of great prizes!

June 18, 2007

The Monday Prize Basket

We have finally made it to the week of my MS Ride which happens this Saturday and Sunday. Instead of my usual M-W-Fri posting schedule, this week I will be posting an absolutely amazing number of new prizes every single day. The reason for this jaw-dropping display of yarny goodness? Why, to meet our goal of $30,000 and if possible to smash right through it!

So, without further delay let's see some PRIZES.

First off, I'm going to show the very last prize that I bought at Maryland Sheep and Wool. Out of all the prizes that are in my care and custody, this is the one I was most tempted to keep and just not tell y'all about. People, there was lust in my heart.

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This is a stunning set of glass 24 in. circular knitting needles in US size 6 in the color "Triple Passion" made by Michael and Sheila Ernst. Dudes, you seriously must check these out. The cord is flexible and the joins nicely done. The tips are sharp and would make outstanding lace needles. I'll admit to buying these in a shade of blue/purple so that I could part them with. Had they been orange....well, I may not love all y'all that much.

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Amy has generously donated a skein of Jade Sapphire Cashmere-Silk in the "Forest Glen" colorway. Mmmm. Cashmere and silk....

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As part of Holly's generous prize donation, she included a skein of bamboo/merino sock yarn which is ready to dye, or she will dye it for you before sending it to the lucky winner.

Kira, one of the most creative knitwear designers that I know (and store manager of an amazing yarn store) is donating a complete set of her patterns to one lucky winner. Check out her great knitting and crochet patterns for both adults and kids here.

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Knitting Doctor Lorette sent me these two skeins which are separate prizes. One skein of Schaefer Yarns worsted weight merino yarn in the "Little Lola" colorway, and one skein of Cherry Tree Hill sock yarn in the "Martha's Vineyard" colorway.

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Lorette also donated this 8 oz. skein of "Bolero" yarn (mohair/wool/nylon) from Minds Eye Yarns.

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Jennifer has generously donated a set of four of her extremely cute Knit Note cards to one lucky winner.

Cyd a kick-ass knitter with MS is donating these prizes to the cause:

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1300 yards of very lightweight acrylic/poly boucle.

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1200 yards of brown/tan/olive green acrylic/poly boucle.

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And, 325 yard of mohair/acrylic boucle. Thanks Cyd, and knit on!

Wen Slowknitter has set us up with a trio of fab prizes:

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This beautiful sterling silver necklace is called the Knitter's Bell and apparently it really rings! Quite an appropriate prize for this crowd.

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One skein of Scout's Superwash Sock Yarn (375 yds.) in the colorway "Gimlet".

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One skein of Twisted Fiber Arts Fat Organic Stripe superwash merino sock yarn in the "Lizardman" colorway (480 yards). Wen says this yarn is insanely soft, and the lucky winner will be a happy knitter.

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Stephanie from Spritely Goods is offering a fruit-alicious prize. This is one skein of her Limited Edition handpainted superwash merino sock yarn in the Mixed Fruits colorway. To carry on the fruit theme, this prize will include a Mini Citrus Soak packet.

And finally for today, Caroline has donated a very special prize.

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This beautiful shawl is knit out of Caroline's own handspun yarn, and the pattern is from Marianne Kinzel’s “First Book of Modern Lace Knitting”. I can't believe she is giving it away to support my MS Ride, but she is. Read all about this awesome prize here Thanks Caroline!

Remember, for every $10 you donate to my MS Ride, you will get one chance to win all the amazing prizes listed here. Be sure to come back here tomorrow to see the Tuesday Prize Basket for yourself!

May 14, 2007

Great Prizes, Hard-Luck-Knitting

The sun is shining, the birds are singing, and the MS Ride prizes are flowing out of the prize basket and onto the blog. In other words, first the good news.

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Would you like these nine (!) beautiful skeins of wool, lace-weight, lilac colored yarn (note the lilacs in the background for effect) from Touch of Twist? Well, the delightful Ms. Knitting the Blues parted with these lovely skeins so as to induce you to donate to my MS Ride. Here is a close up (275 yards per 50 g. skein in the color "Morning Blues").

Of course, it is entirely possible that she donated this yarn knowing that it was the only way to get so much BLUE onto this blog, but I choose to believe her motives were pure.

Also, if you'd like to help me spread the word about this fundraiser on your own blog, the talented Marcy of Habetrot made a button that you could grab from her right sidebar (save to your own server please). This button links to the special Knitters Against MS blog which has a running list of all the great prizes offered, links to the donation site and the Paypal button, as well as the rules by which donations equal chances to win these fabulous prizes.

And now for the bad news. My Thermal is steadfastly resisting being completed. I mean, seriously. I worked on this sucker most of Saturday, having only a collar to knit and ends to weave in, and I thought I was being more than realistic in thinking it would be done for today. Not.

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The hitch turned out to be the bind-off for the collar. Now, I realize that this sweater could have been in the finished pile long ago had I been satisfied with a simple "normal" bind-off. But no. Personally, I hate the look of the "work two stitches, pull the first one over the second, work one more stitch, repeat" cast-off for any edge (especially a ribbing) that will show. I'd resolved long ago to do a tubular bind-off on this 1x1 ribbing.

Now, the thing is I've never actually done a tubular bind-off for a 1x1 rib. I figured, though, that I've done the more complex tubular bind-off for a 2x2 rib before, so how hard could this be?

I drag out the Montse Stanley Knitters Handbook. I dutifully follow the instructions.

It looks like ass.

I rip out (um......a stick in the eye would be preferable to ripping out asswich tubular bind-off). I try again, this time using Jody's excellent pictoral that I've linked to above.

It looks like worse ass.

There are bad words. There is muttering, and there may have been snapping at a kitty choosing the exact wrong moment to use Thermal as a kitty-bed. (sorry, monkey.) My husband takes one look at the scene and leaves quietly.

This is not a hard bind-off, and there is no good reason for my inability to execute it. I'll bet you, gentle reader, would have no trouble at all. But, me. Well, I was having a Blockage. And it was Ugly.

I re-read the Montse, and note that another way to execute this bind off is to put all of the front stitches on one DPN, all of the back stitches on another, and just graft the two sides together.

Grafting. THAT I can do.

But this way is fiddly and slow and, honestly, not fun. The tension issues are dire: too loose and the bind-off looks like ass again. Too tight, and this stretchy ribbing looses its elasticity. Grrr.

I'd like some cheese with my whine, please.


May 09, 2007

Knitters Against MS

Its that time again. Like last year, Team Claudia's Blog is once again racing riding in the MS 150 Bike Tour to raise funds to fight MS.

Two days. 150 miles. Bring it on, baby!

Last year, knitters all over the world generously supported my ride and this charity to the tune of almost $18,000! My goal for this year is to raise at least $20,000. Last year I also heard from knitters all over the world who are struggling with this disease, which among other badness can compromise their ability to knit. NO! UNACCEPTABLE! How about we kick some fundraising ass for them?

Now, in order to provide donation incentive, there are FABULOUS PRIZES. The way this works, is that for every $10 (US) you donate, you get one chance to win the fabulous prizes. So, if you donate $30, that is three chances to win. The drawing happens the day after the ride, on Monday June 25th.

You can donate two ways: if you are comfortable with the charity having your name and address, click on the tandem bicycle button (or just click on this link) and donate directly to the MS Society through my personal donation page. If you'd rather not give up this information, or if Paypal is just more convenient, press the "Paypal" button (its in my left sidebar) and use any form of payment to leave me a donation. I forward every penny of your donation to the MS Society and pay any Paypal fees out of my own pocket.

Also, if you have a prize that you'd like to donate that would be great! Just email me or leave me a comment.

What are the fabulous prizes, you ask? A new awesome prize will appear here at least every week, but today we'll start off with this:

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Even if you couldn't get to the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival, you can have this snazzy orange big-ass tote bag to carry around your knitting projects. Inside the bag is the cashmere that I wrote about earlier. Does handspun lace-weight cashmere dyed to your favorite color, inside the orange tote bag sound tempting?* If so, I'd sure appreciate a donation. Thanks for considering it!


*Kitty not included.

June 27, 2006

MS Ride 2006

Today the sun is shining brightly through my window, and there are fluffy white clouds against a light blue backdrop of sky. Current conditions are making it hard to remember what this weekend was like, so I will close my eyes....

Saturday 5 AM: Its been raining buckets for days. The streets are more than wet....there are big puddles on the roadsides. I look outside....its raining and dark. Well, the MS Ride folks say "rain or shine" so the car is packed and we head out.

Saturday, 7 AM: Well, you saw the picture. Dark, wet, rainy and apparently too dangerous for the ride organizers to send alot of inexperienced cyclists out on the roads. The sock was secretly relieved....it wasn't looking forward to 75 rainy miles.

Sunday, 6 AM: From the hotel window located "down the Cape" I could see.....rain. And clouds. And wet. Without too much expectation of an actual MS Ride, we pack up again and head for the start.

Sunday, 7 AM: They are riding! We see bicycles pulling out as we drive into the Sandwich, MA venue. YEAH!

Sunday, 8:15 AM: Its still raining. We have waited for our teammates to arrive and are making our final preparations in the parking lot. Most all -- in fact -- all the other bicycles have already left, the cheering squad is gone, and so is the food and support crew. We have to get on the road IMMEDIATELY. I look in my pack for the sock. No sock! See, last year the sock came along for the ride and starred in the picture show. I run to the car, and open the knitting bag. Now, I knit socks on five bamboo needles in part because the stitches rarely fall off of these needles. Yet, when I opened the knitting bag ....mysteriously....there was the sock with loose stitches everywhere and TWO sock needles dangling.

I did not leave the sock in this condition.

Clearly the sock was trying to tell me something. I do not speak Sock, but the message was either "please, please don't take me...PLEASE!" or "Yo! Bitch. Don't EVEN think about it."

I left the sock in the dry car. It was the humane thing to do.

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So, here I am at the first rest stop with no sock. It was wet, but quite warm and humid. Although riding in the rain is far from my first choice of fun times, the warmth made it bearable. And frankly, almost pleasant. I was, however, quite dirty.

Now, although we left last in this Ride we did not stay last. You see, I and my merry little band of tandem bicycles ride *quickly*. Unlike the vast majority of riders who participate in this event (who ride once a year), long-distance bicycle racing is our hobby. We passed hundreds of people. One person passed us as we were sitting up and chatting with our group. We chased him down mercilessly until he ate our rooster tail* then disappeared into the wetness.

Such is our way.

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By the time we reached the beautiful beaches of Wellfleet, it was only raining lightly. Indeed, I was soaking wet, but aside from that, life was good.

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Here is a picture of the R.O.A.M. team (Riders On a Mission) on a beautiful Cape Cod beach near the end of the 75 mile ride. They all thank you for your knitterly support!

After this picture was taken, it was on to Provincetown and the finish line which we reached at about 12:30 PM. The Claudia's Blog tandem was feeling pretty spritely and did the last eight miles of the ride solo at a dead sprint of upwards of 20 miles per hour. Sometimes you gotta do things just because you can. Riding the MS Ride has made me appreciate my luck in being able to do just that.

So, in this last bit I will confess my evil scheme which combines fundraising, knitting and bicycling into a coherent plan to recruit new knitters. Jaime, one of the members of my team, rides the Pan-Mass Challenge every year to raise money to fight cancer, but decided to ride the MS Ride to be with his friends (us). Because he couldn't fundraise for both events, he was planning to pay the $400 minimum out of his own pocket.

I saw an opportunity.

I say to Jaime....I have an abundance of riches courtesy of the Knitters. How about I pay your fundraising with Knitter-money if you agree to learn how to knit? After all, the money is all credited to the same team. What did this manly-man, a brewmaster by profession think of this?

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Friends, a new knitter is born. And a cute one at that.

And with that, I hereby return this blog to its regularly scheduled knitting/spinning/fibery programming. Thanks to everyone for participating in a great effort to beat down Multiple Sclerosis with thousands of pointy sticks! Knit on.


*"Rooster tail" is the enormous spray of grit-infested water that shoots up and out from the back wheel of a bicycle directly in front of you.

June 26, 2006

A Wet MS Ride and the Prize Police Head Out

I'm back from a very.....interesting....weekend that was full of unexpected (and extremely wet) twists and turns. Today, I'd like to focus on the prize giveaway...perhaps tomorrow I will tell you guys the whole story. The short of it is that due to terrible road flooding and a torrential downpour, the MS Society decided to cancel the Saturday MS Ride.

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Here I am with the sock on Saturday right around 7 A.M. after finding out the the Saturday ride was cancelled due to flooded streets and pouring rain.

Indeed there was a 75 mile ride on Sunday in the rain -- from Sandwich, MA to Provincetown, MA -- but that is a longer story which I will save for tomorrow. And, yes. There are pictures.

Today, though, let's talk PRIZES. Here is how it worked. There were aboout 610 donors and each donor was assigned a number on my Enormous Spreadsheet. Then, not being smart enough to completely automate the lottery because each donor bought a varying number of chances, I printed out each number the appropriate number of times and cut each number into an individual little strip.

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See? Then all the numbers went into the dyepot. I mushed up the numbers with my grubby little hands. And then, with eyes closed, reached in and grabbed a number -- sometimes from the top, sometimes from the bottom or sides, filling in the numbers beside all the prizes. Then I fired up the spreadsheet and saw who won what.

That was as fair a process as I could make it. All the winners should have gotten an email from me today notifying them, but I got a few bounces so if you think I mean YOU and you didn't get an email, let me know.

And the winners are:

1. Starmore Fair Isle Knitting book -- Gina F.
2. Sundara Lace Yarn -- Silvia (nope wasn't fixed), Danielle McG. and Lyn McC.
3. Stephanie K. Handspun -- Leslie E.
4. Phildar Yarn from Becky -- Margaret V.
5. Mountain Colors yarn from Margene -- Stacey R.
6. Elan Cashmere from Margene -- Stephanie A.
7. Lavender Fields yarn from Margene -- Brooke A.
8. Blue stitch markers from Rabbitch -- Sue P.
9. Mutlicolored stitch markers from Rabbitch -- Minne McK.
10. Handspun from Yarn Harlot -- LeeAnne R.
11. Traditional Knitted Lace Shawls book from Lynn S. -- Elise H.
12. Alpaca skein from "Haggis" and Deb at Sunrise Ranch -- Monica G.
13. Prime Alpaca skein from Stella -- Laura A.
14. Keychain sock blocker from Bliss -- Aporanee S.
15. Colinette Mohair Jamboree from Bliss -- Sarah O.
16. Briar Rose Superwash sock yarn from Bliss -- Mireille d.
17. Handpainted merino laceweight yarn from Bliss -- Laurie S.
18. Orange beaded necklace donated by Lisa H. -- Sharleen H.
19. Vesper Sock Yarn from Julia -- Michele S., Martha H., Donna W., and Denise W.
20. Cherry Tree Hill sock yarn from Carole -- Anne H.
21. Cashmere sock yarn from Kerrie -- Martha Ha.
22. Jamberry yarn donated by Heather -- Mardel F.
23. Pippikneesocks yarn donated by Heather -- Cara D.
24. Beautiful note cards from Cara -- Dorothy N. and Priscilla H. B.
25. Socks That Rock in "Prove it All Night" from Cara -- Pam R.
26. Socks That Rock skeins in Highway 30, Dutch Canyon and Scaponia from the girls at We Heart Yarn to -- Marie W., Denise F., and Deb A.
27. Alpaca skein from Sarah at Knot Another Hat -- Erika P.
28. Emergency Sock Kit from Cassie -- Maryse R.
29. Merino tencel sock yarn and cool stretchy circular sock needles from Amber -- Carol D.
30. Hand-dyed boucle yarn from Lucy Lee -- Lorette M.
31. Hand-dyed sock yarn from Dorothy -- Elizabeth S.
32. Billie Holliday jazz CD from Regina -- Deborah J; and Chet Baker CD -- Becky F.
33. The cool swift -- Ruanne E.
34. Great Adirondack Yarn Co. skein from Juno -- Susan C.
35. Two skeins of Alpaca Cloud in "Smoke" from Julie -- Susanne W.
36. Handspun sock yarn from Anne -- Claire S.
37. Two skeins of Artisan NZ Merino Laceweight (300 m. each) donated by Benedetta -- Stephanie M..
38. Two skeins of merino/silk yarn from Carolyn -- Dawn V.
39. Skein of cashmere laceweight yarn from Deb at Fearless Fibers -- Elisa P.
40. Gift certificate to Goodies Unlimited -- Robin Z. and Cari L.
41. Ironstone Showstopper yarn from Katey J. -- Jane J.
42. Copy of Vogue Knitting: The Ultimate Knitting Book donated by S.Kate -- Meliissa W.
43. Handpainted skein from Lucia -- Meera C.
44. Beaded sock patterns by Sivia Harding -- Jamie F. and Signe O.
45. Wool skeins from Alice at Wonderland Dyeworks -- Kathy B.
46. Cotton skein from Alice at Wonderland Dyeworks -- Bonne Marie B.
48. Silkworker roving from Alice -- Ingrid T.
49. THE HYRNA SHAWL so generously knit by Angela goes to.....Rachel K! Dude, there is jealousy in my heart, as I'm sure it lurks in the hearts of many more of us. Enjoy it!

I don't have email addresses for the following winners, so if you are reading this PLEASE EMAIL ME. I will try like heck to get your contact information from the MS Society, but to ensure I don't have to select an alternate winner, please contact me yourselves:

Lyn McCormick
Laura Ambrose
Sharleen Herz
Michele Smith
Martha Haynes
Priscilla Hockin Brown
Marie Watterlond
Ruanne Ewing
Susan Crawson
Ingrid Turk

As you can see from the sidebar total ($17,800.09), Knitters Against MS raised an absolute boatload of money to fight this disease. Thank you all so much for participating. See you tomorrow for a Ride Report, and then its back to regular knitting content 'round these parts.

June 23, 2006

Prize Police: The Grand Finale

You and I have finally reached the end of Prizes. I know its been hard, coming here day after day and having to gaze at pictures of delicious yarn, intriguing books and other knitting and fibery oddments. Its really hard to be us, isn't it?

So, without further ado the curtain goes up on the Grand Finale of MS Ride Prize Police:

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From my friend Alice at Wonderland Dyeworks comes this cornucopia of hand-dyed goodies. Alice's own 100% wool skein in "Harvest" (8.7 oz., about 609 yds.), 100% cotton skein in "Sorbet" (13 oz., about 845 yds.) and a sock-weight skein of 100% wool in "Crocus. But Alice brought more....from her stash comes an enormous pile of teal-ish wool/silk roving from The Silkworker. The wool skeins will be one prize, the cotton skein another. The luscious roving will be a third prize, and hopefully it will go to a non-spinner who, upon receiving it, will be forced by the utter loveliness of this fiber to learn. I'm evil like that.

Now, the remainder of the Prize Police today has a lace and bead theme. Hearing no complaints about this, we move on:

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From Julie comes two skeins of Knit Picks Alpaca Cloud in "Smoke" (total of 100 g., 880 yds.). Lace shawl anyone?

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Deb at Fearless Fibers has offered to give away one skein of CASHMERE laceweight yarn in the colorway of the winner's choosing (go here for an idea of what's available). The colorway shown in the picture is "Endless Night". Did I mention that this prize is CASHMERE? Mmmmmmm. Cashmere.

Check this next one out: the talented designer Sivia Harding is donating two of her new beaded sock patterns to the Prize Police:

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One Waterlily pattern

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And one Cherry Blossom pattern. What pretty socks these are, and the patterns could be YOURS.

And now.....drumroll please. Here is the GRAND FINALE of Prize Police, the prize that just doesn't get anymore kick-ass, the prize that will make everyone out there spend the entire weekend making donations in the hopes of winning it!

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The incredibly generous Angela has knit a Hyrna for a prize. I KNOW! I couldn't believe it either at first. And, what a Hyrna. Its knit from Elann's Baby Silk and beaded with size 6/0 silver-lined clear glass beads at the bottom. For a picture of this Hyrna blocking go here, and here is a close-up of the beading.

Thanks Angela, that is amazing! Thanks to all the Prize Police contributors! The sidebar total wouldn't have happened without your generosity.

Today I am packing up and preparing for the weekend's riding. I am very sad to report that weather forecast for this weekend truly sucks. If I said that I was looking forward to riding 150 miles in the pouring rain...well, that would be a big-assed lie. But, maybe it won't rain! Maybe the knitters of the world will collectively ward off the rain with their awesome powers! It could happen.

Monday (assuming I'm alive) will be the big drawing and you can get in it by donating anytime prior to Monday June 26th at 9 AM EST.

See you guys on the flip side. And thanks.

June 22, 2006

prizes, Prizes, PRIZES

You know, when you type the word "prizes" over and over again it starts to look a little weird. Just sayin'.

Today's p-r-i-z-e-s are:

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Dorothy dyed up this lovely superwash DK weight skein of 100% merino (4 oz., 300 yards). Socks, I say!

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Anne will send a lucky winner some of her handspun yarn sock yarn (enough to make an adult pair) from a winner's choice selection of yarn similar to that in this picture. Oooo. Handspun socks -- that you didn't have to spin yourself. Delightful!

Its not all socks all the time today:

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The blogless S.Kate will send one lucky winner this great Vogue Knitting book.

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The lovely Lucia will send this handpainted skein to a lucky winner -- 560 yards of fingering/sport weight merino.

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And to wrap up today's great prizes, Katey is kicking in this purpley-goodness skein of Showstopper Yarn by Ironstone Yarns into the prize lottery.

But there is even more to show you. Don't miss tomorrow's grand finale episode of....MS Ride Prize Police!


June 21, 2006

The Prize Police Roll On

The Knitters Against MS are kicking some serious fundraising ass, as the money and the prizes keep rolling in! Check out today's Prizes:

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Donated by Heather, this is two skeins of handspun singles in the colorway "Jamberry" from Pippikneesocks. In addition, Heather is adding another lovely skein of this handspun to the Prize Police.

Just to break up the yarny-ness of the Prize Police a little bit, my girl Regina is adding some mood music to complement all this fiber:

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These are three-CD sets of vocal and instrumental jazz music to knit by (or perhaps to do other things by which are beyond the scope of this blog) from Verve Music.

Juno has fought off the demons of yarn greed and contributed this:

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A beautiful "shawl-sized" skein of Great Adirondack Yarn Co. Silk Noil in the Autumn Maple colorway. That just looks good enough to eat, doesn't it?

And lastly (but not leastly) Aubrey of Goodies Unlimited is donating two $25 Goodies Gift Certificates. If you've got dry hands (Everything Balm) or a spindle or spinning wheel that needs some lovin' (Wood Beams) you will be hoping that I draw your name out of the dye pot for these two awesome prizes.

Believe it or, but I STILL have lots of amazing prizes to showcase. Don't miss the entries for tomorrow or Friday, OK?


June 20, 2006

More Prizes for Awesome Peoples

Apparently, you all wanted me to reach my fundraising goal just as much as I did. This morning we sailed past the goal to get to $15,297.09. YEAH! Thank you all so very much. And to all those knitters who wanted to reach the goal so bad that they donated AGAIN. Well, I'm just really touched by your generosity.

But as promised, there are four days of prizes left to be unveiled, and the absolute deadline for giving a donation and getting into the prize lottery isn't until Monday June 26th at 9:00 AM EST. So, lets move on to the goodies:

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Here are two skeins of Artisan NZ Merino Laceweight (300 m. each) donated by the lovely Benedetta. I've always been curious about this yarn because this is Margaret Stove's company. Awhile ago I had the great pleasure of taking a lace designing workshop with her, and she is truly the Queen of Lace and a delightful person to boot. Check out her book here.

My girl carolyn sent in this:

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Two skeins of 50/50 merino and tussah silk yarn (4 oz., approx. 260 yards each) from Spinning Flock Farm. I'm sure she bought this at Maryland S&W; one year because I bought some of this too. Can you say *soft*? I knew you could.

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From a generous anonymous knitter, comes this kick-ass Nifty Swift. Its an all-wood swift that -- get this -- you don't have to clamp onto a table. All I can say, is...wow.

From the beautiful and generous Carole comes:

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Mmmmm...a skein of Cherry Tree Hill sock yarn. Mmmmm.....

Until tomorrow.......

June 19, 2006

The Begging Ramps Up

Here in the US, the public television channels once or twice a year have these fundraising telethons. They air great programming, then spend 20 minutes begging viewers to call the telephone number and support the programming they've just enjoyed. The classic shot is of a bunch of volunteers with telephones sitting around "waiting for your call".

I've always found this to be extremely annoying.

So, you have fair warning if begging annoys you. THE BEGGING IS BEGINNING IN EARNEST 'round this blog beginning today and through Friday. Why?

Because this coming Saturday and Sunday is my MS Ride. And we are still $1200 away from our goal. I totally believe with every fiber of my being that the knitters of the world will make it happen.

So let me recap the rules: for every $10 you give to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society -- whether through the MS Society's website or through Paypal (see sidebar) -- you get one chance to win the fabulous prizes. So if you give $20 you get two chances, and so on. A complete list of the fabulous prizes to date can be found here.

To date, there are 454 donors and I expect a total of over 45 great prizes. So about 1 in 10 donors will absolutely win a prize. Pretty good odds, I'd say.

But, putting the prizes aside, you should consider donating to show your support for your fellow brother and sister knitters who suffer from MS. And for the knitters who have family or friends who currently have MS or have already died from this disease. They've written me to say that they are getting alot of comfort from seeing the "tote board" on my sidebar go up.

Through the research efforts of the MS Society, the first gene involved in MS has been identified. This is the first step to unraveling the genetic/environmental factor mystery of how and why MS strikes. In addition to research aimed at preventing this disease, MS Society-funded projects are underway to determine how to repair the nervous system of people whose bodies have already been damaged by MS.

Every day this week I'll be posting a slew of new, great prizes. Between the good cause and the prize incentive, my aim is to lure whomever reading here has the ability to give to do it, whether its a little or alot.

MS Ride Prizes

How about some delicious-looking alpaca from Sarah at Knot Another Hat.

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This is a 4 oz. skein (300 yards) of DK weight 100% alpaca in a natural fawn color from Miner Creek Alpacas, a small farm near her shop.

From Cara, comes more delightful gifts:

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Lucky winners will get a box of Cara's cards (I love these and when I send them out people think *I* took the great pictures...of course I tell them the truth) and a skein of Socks That Rock in the colorway "Prove it all Night".

Thanks Sarah and Cara!

June 14, 2006

I Hope You Guys Aren't Sick of Prizes

I could show you another picture of Crinkle (the back piece is past the armhole bind-off) but no. I'll leave that one to the imagination. The fact that there is any knitting going on over here is amazing considering all the bike riding, keeping track of an ENORMOUS spreadsheet of MS Ride donors and the rest of life. I have ideas for really-truly knitting posts and even an idea for another audio entry, but I'm just seriously short on time.

Instead lets focus on prizes for the MS Ride. Right now the tote board sits at $13,352.09. That is so awesome! Quite frankly, I never thought we've ever get that high. But knitters are kicking some serious fundraising ass. And the hearts of knitters everywhere are so big that the fundraising ass-kicking just keeps on getting more amazing over at Cara's awesome Heifer International fundraiser too. Not to get all mushy or anything, but...you know...thanks.

So, for all you generous knitter-types, let's open the curtain on the prize parade for another day:

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The knitting goddesses over at We Heart Yarn sent in these skeins of three new Socks That Rock colorways -- Highway 30, Dutch Canyon and Scaponia. My treacherous camera photographs the purple in these skeins more as blue, but you get the general idea. Wait. Here's a tissue...drool is bad for keyboards.

Continuing today's sock theme, check this out:

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Look at the fabulous Emergency Sock Kit that Cassie sewed up as an MS Ride prize. In true Too Much Wool style, this kit comes fully loaded, baby.

Stay tuned. There are so many more amazing prizes I just don't know which ones to showcase next.


June 07, 2006

Beating Crinkle Into Submission

Hmmm...that title sounds a bit violent doesn't it?

As I discussed in earlier entries, I've been having severe gauge problems with Crinkle. I did my usual sleeve-as-swatch routine, and discovered that US size 3's, 2's and 1's all did not give me the pattern stitch gauge of 23 stitches to 4 inches. The size 1's were close, but still not quite. And the row gauge.....oh my goodness, can we talk about the compressed row gauge that the size 1's yielded? Instead of 32 rows to 4 inches, I was getting 40 rows to 4 inches! This completely changed the drape and look of the fabric, and the eyelets became much smaller and less prominent to the texture of the piece.

So thusly I reached the crossroads. Either give up on making Crinkle and use the Rowan Cotton Glace for something else entirely, or rewrite the Crinkle pattern to my preferrred stitch and row gauge. I swatched for this very cute pattern but decided that the Cotton Glace was not the right yarn for it. sigh.

And despite it all, Crinkle still called to me.

Then, I remembered that a few weeks ago I had purchased Knitscape software from the nice folks at Artfibers but hadn't yet had a chance to sit down and try it out. Re-writing the Crinkle pattern to my gauge would be the perfect first test.

Because Rowan schematics SUCK, I first had to do math to figure out all the dimensions that they had not seen fit to include in the pattern. This is straightforward -- if you want to know how wide the sleeve should be at the armhole cast-off, for example, divide the number of stitches the pattern gives you by the stated pattern stitch gauge per inch. So if the pattern says to have 75 stitches at the armhole cast-off and the pattern gauge is 5.75 stitches per inch, the sleeve should be about 13 inches at that point.

So, once I had figured out the dimensions of the design (and reality tested those dimensions against my own measurements) I entered them into the program and told the program I wanted a cropped cardi with no button bands, moderately tapered set-in sleeves and a round neckline. Then I entered in the stitch gauge and row gauge I was getting from the post-wash US size 2 swatch. I picked this swatch because the look and drape of the fabric pleased me the most and I still enjoyed knitting with the size 2 needles. The US size 3 swatch was a little too loosey-goosey and I thought it would stretch out. The US size 1 swatch was too stiff and knitting this yarn with those needles blew.

Then I pressed the "pattern" button and the software generated a new Crinkle pattern for me. YEAH! No tedious reworking of stitch and row gauge. All done for me and served up on a silver platter.

So far, so good on the new pattern. I'll keep you guys updated on how this turns out.

MS Ride Prizes

There are more delectable prizes to entice you to donate to my MS Ride. Todays Prize Police is brought to you by Bliss a generous and accomplished knitter who happens to have MS. Thanks Bliss!

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Look at all this good stuff....a 100 g. skein of Colinette mohair in "Jamboree", a 400 yd. skein of Briar Rose superwash (75% wool, 25% nylon) sock yarn in "Sweet Freedom", and an 880 yd. skein of handpainted merino laceweight yarn. Bliss also sent an extremely cute keychain sock blocker. That's four more donees to the cause that will get fabulous thank-you gifts!

June 04, 2006

A Fabulous Prize and Socks Too

A new pair of wool socks, finished just in time for.....SUMMER!

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Here is the flat view.

Project Specs:

Yarn: Scheepjes Invicta Coloris in Color 1701

Needles: Crystal Palace Bamboo DPN's in U.S. size 1

Pattern: My own standard picot-edge 60-stitch, short row heel-and-toe socks. Don't all fall over in shock, now.

Alright, so the timing is a bit off, but I'm sure I'll appreciate these come fall....or later this week if the rain and cold don't let up. Just so's you guys know, I had to rearrange my entire sock drawer to fit these in without exploding the whole she-bang. Literally. Exploding. I'm thinking its time to knit a few more husband socks since clearly I have my share.

Speaking of sock yarns, check out this absolutely kick-ass prize generously donated to my MS Ride Prizes by the beautiful Kerrie of HipKnits. She is donating 100 g. of CASHMERE SOCK YARN custom dyed in whatever colors the winner picks. Here is a sample of what the yarn could look like:

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Did I mention this was CASHMERE?? Just making sure you guys are paying attention. Thanks Kerrie, and feel better soon!

June 02, 2006

Go Big or Go Home

I am guilty of thinking small. See, I should have known that the world-wide community of knitters who care about other knitters and their loved ones who suffer from Multiple Sclerosis would savagely blow past tiny, insignificant monetary goals.

Since apparently a goal of $10,000 was THINKING SMALL (who knew?), there is now a new goal. Can knitters raise $15,000 to fight the nasty scourge of MS?

I'm betting on it.

Here is another awesome prize to tempt youse.

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Deb McMurtrie from Sunrise Ranch in Kamas, UT is donating two skeins approximately 2.5 oz. each (about 250+ yards per skein) from Haggis. Isn't Haggis just the cutest? He is a five year old creamy white male alpaca. The skeins are fingering weight, spun by Spinderella. Thanks Haggis and Deb!

May 17, 2006

Prize Police

While I stare suspiciously at the the crochet hook needed to finish off Hyrna, let's invite the Prize Police over to show off more fabulous goodies to tempt you into making a donation to my MS Ride.

So, in addition to the book and the amazing custom-dyed silk yarn, here are some more yarn-y delights:

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Want some luscious 100% alpaca handspun but can't or won't spin it yourself? Well Stephanie K. can help you out. There are six skeins of heavy-worsted weight alpaca, enough for a hat and scarf and maybe wristwarmers too.

What about some Frenchy yarn?

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Fluffa Becky can hook you up with two skeins of Philar Laine et Cachemire. Everybody knows the French word for cashmere, right? Mmm-mmm good.

The total raised by Knitters Against M.S. as of this morning is $9,007.09. Our goal of ten thousand smackers is looking pretty darn possible, no? More amazing prizes next week!


May 12, 2006

Fabulous Prize and a Archaeological Dig

First off, let me announce this week's new FABULOUS prize for donating to my MS Ride.

Three -- count 'em, three -- lucky winners will receive one skein each of Sundara Yarn Silk Lace yarn dyed to the color of the winner's choice. Sundara is a very talented dyer, and this same yarn was used to absolutely stunning effect by Eunny recently. I covet this prize for my very own, but no. The prizes go to the terrific folks supporting Knitters Against MS. Thanks Sundara! The new total to date is over $7,000 -- we knitters are well on our way to the $10,000 goal.

Onwards to the archaeological dig. What could she mean?

Friends, I am talking about my newly-unearthed Oldest Unfinished Project EVER. Seriously, this project is older than many of you who read here. And, I'm thinking that showing this project may result in some of youse shaking your heads at me in disbelief. Nonetheless, check this out:

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My mom is visiting me for this week, and out of her luggage popped the above. Its a crochet project (!) in blue (!) unidentified yarn that I remember working on when I was in junior high school. Junior High School!

Whoa nelly.

Now, why I was making a crochet stole at the tender age of fourteen...well, that I cannot answer. Should I wish to, however, I could finish it since I thoughtfully left the crochet hook in the yarn ball. Oh wait. I'm safe. I can't remember how to do this stitch. Regardless, my secret is revealed, I can no longer give the lovely Maryse shit about her crochet habit.

Damn.


P.S. If you have an interest, as I do, in helping to fight poverty and hunger in this country and around the world, check out my friend Teresa's family effort for Crop Walk. She's got some kick-ass prizes and I'd appreciate it if you'd consider supporting her.

May 05, 2006

KAMS Update and Bags Are Packed

On Wednesday after posting my plea for Knitters Against MS, I packed up my laptop and repaired to the library for the day. Now, when I get a new email, my laptop makes a little clicking noise. And I was fully hooked up to the library's wireless.

There I am, in the dead silence of the library, when my laptop starts clicking hard, fast and continuously. People stared. I turned off the sound, opened my email and was stunned.

Knitters REPRESENT, bay-bee. They support their own, they come through for their peoples. It took me most of two days to clean up my exploded in-box, but the 48 hour total is:

$5,372.09

Thank you so much to everyone who donated. Of course, there are seven weeks until the Ride and lots more fabulous prizes to showcase. And the need is great: read the comments to the last entry for proof. So I'm thinking we aren't at all done yet.

ETA: Margene thinks the new goal should be $10,000. I agree with her. Let's do it!

More good news: its Sheep and Wool time!. Silvia is in the house and we are set to go. Well, mentally set to go. The bags? Not so packed.

The mobile blogging device (laptop) is coming with me, so chances are good for a mid-festival update here. If you are interested in a festival shopping guide, I really don't have much to change from last year's guide.

As you know if you read here alot, I'm not so keen on buying more yarn and fiber these days. I might be in the market for books and some solid colored sock yarn. I'm buying more chocolate soap from Lori at Got Soap.com and the husband has requested new slippers from the very cool folks at Shepherd's Flock.

But I'll do my very best to enable others into buying cool stuff. I'm evil like that.

May 03, 2006

Knitters Against Multiple Sclerosis

Its that time again. Like last year, Team Claudia's Blog is once again racing riding in the MS 150 Bike Tour to raise funds to fight MS.

Two days. 150 miles. Bring it on, baby!

Last year, knitters all over the world generously supported my ride and this charity to the tune of over $3300. My goal for this year is to raise $3309.06 -- one U.S. dollar over what we raised last year. Last year I also heard from knitters all over the world who are struggling with this disease, which among other badness can compromise their ability to knit. NO! UNACCEPTABLE! How about we kick some fundraising ass for them?

Now, in order to provide donation incentive, there are FABULOUS PRIZES. The way this works, is that for every $10 (US) you donate, you get one chance to win the fabulous prizes. So, if you donate $30, that is three slips of paper in the dyepot, waiting for the husband (neutral third party) to grab yours. This all happens the day after the ride, on Monday June 26th.

New buttons have mysteriously appeared in the sidebar (thanks Becky for the technical assist). You can donate two ways: if you are comfortable with the charity having your name and address, click on the tandem bicycle button and donate directly to the MS Society through my personal donation page. If you'd rather not give up this information, or if Paypal is just more convenient, press the "Paypal" button and use any form of payment to leave me a donation. I forward every penny of your donation to the MS Society and pay any Paypal fees out of my own pocket.

What is the first fabulous prize, you ask? Its this:

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This is my personal copy of "Fair Isle Knitting", an original hardcover 1988 edition of this book which I bought myself in....yup...1988. It is in very good condition -- other than a scratch on the front paper cover, it is perfect. Smoke free home. From my Fiber Room to yours. This book is out of print, and sells for a tidy sum on Ebay. Want it? Then please donate.

Next week there will be a new Fabulous Prize, and so on and so on. Until you just can't stand it anymore and are forced to press those buttons. Thanks for considering this request.

August 17, 2005

A Pretty Picture and a Good Cause

I've been taking inspiration from the lovely sheepy and wooly cards that Cara gifted to me and could not resist an arty shot of some Lincoln fleece that I dyed with Cushings Terra Cotta during Julia's Dye Day.

Delicious.

I've never spun Lincoln before (click here for more information about this breed) but these long locks just beg for some combing out. Hair stylist to a sheep, I'll be.

I would so appreciate it if those of you that read here might notice the new button in my sidebar. There is a handsome little boy named Oliver belonging to my friend Emma that needs a bit of help to get the equipment his family needs to best care for him. If you can help, just click on the button to donate via Paypal. And Kerrie, in typical kick-ass fashion, has set up this auction and this one for some truly luscious yarn to benefit Oliver's Fund.

Thanks for very much considering this.

August 04, 2005

Brief Thoughts on a Square

I've made a square for the John Glick Blanket organized by the lovely and thoughtful Annie:

Handspun, hand-dyed, almost square. I went for a "happy" square because that seems to be the kind of person he was.

This is handspun that has been waiting around the Fiber Room for awhile. Do you notice a pattern here? I gave the finished two-ply wool skeins an inelegant dye job...one blob of orange on half the skein and one blob of cherry on the other half. See? At least in an eight inch square, the effect is much more subtle than the ham-handed technique would have suggested.

I'm hoping that blocking will actually impose a square shape on this. Knitting with (my) handspun is guaranteed to produce a somewhat...um...variable fabric.

There is alot of fun and learnin' to be had by randomly opening one's Barbara Walker, picking a likely candidate and testing it out on a swatch. This particular pattern is Diamond Brocade on page 30. I wanted a knit-purl pattern to break up the variegation, but not one so complicated that it would get lost in the colorful yarn.

Now whether I should have knitting a wool square in a Camaro with the t-tops off stuck in Boston traffic, on a 93 degree day, high humidity and no A/C is an entirely 'nother issue. (as a passenger people...do you honestly think I can drive a standard??) I'm counting on youse guys to solidly back me up on this one.

P.S. This square has the Igor Seal of Approval.