From the monthly archives:

July 2008

hsks5 swap package

by Michelle on July 27, 2008

I’ve been remiss in posting about the swap package I received from Cecilia Kettleburn for the Hogwarts Sock Kit Swap. Here it is, finally:

HSKS5 Swap Package

The yarn Cecilia included is the softest sock yarn I’ve ever felt! Softer than the squishiest merinos even.

Fortissima Socka Teddy Color

It’s kind of chenille-like…but nicer than most that I’ve experienced. It’ll be fun trying it out.

There was a size 2 Addi Turbo, which is awesome because I love them and didn’t have one in that size. She included the book Charmed Knits (as you see in the photo above). I’m really excited about that one, because I’d been hemming and hawing over buying it for ages.

I don’t have a separate shot of the hand-covered blank book, but you can see it in the photo above too. Very pretty! I have to find something special to use it for. Cecilia also made me my very own wand:


I’ve saved the best for last, though. She made me these BEAUTIFUL Ravenclaw (book colors!) stitch markers:

HSKS5 Swap Package

AND a matching bracelet:

HSKS5 Swap Package

Cecilia really did a fantastic job on short notice (my previous spoiler dropped out of the swap fairly late in the process). Thank you, Ceci! 😀

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$1125…and counting?

by Michelle on July 24, 2008

It’s been an interesting week. First, a picture of a pretty pair of glasses:

Blue Moon glasses

I’ll explain their significance shortly. 😉

Starting last Saturday, I have been on a bizarre lucky streak the likes of which I’ve certainly never experienced before.

Saturday was my company picnic. The company is known (internally anyway) for being very generous with prizes at the picnics, so we knew a prize raffle was coming. When I arrived, I dropped my two raffle tickets into their respective bins (one of which intriguingly said “silent raffle” on it) and wandered off to enjoy the picnic (and wait for the prize drawing!).

The prizes that were announced at the picnic started at $100–gift cards for all kinds of places like Target, Best Buy, Barnes & Noble…–and went on from there. There was an iPod Nano, a 3-day Avis car rental, a stay at a downtown hotel, and the gift card amounts went up to $200, $250…finally, there was a 42-inch television given away. The other top prize was a $1000 voucher for Delta Airlines. They gave away three of them.

I won one!

So that was pretty neat! I got to work Monday morning and heard people twittering about the picnic and how I was one of the big winners, etc. Pretty soon, we got an email from corporate communications which turned out to be the results of the “silent raffle.” The silent raffle was created so that the prize drawings/announcements wouldn’t go on for hours at the picnic, and included all of the smaller prizes. They were all in the $25-50 range (plus I think I saw one that was $75).

I won a $25 Barnes & Noble gift card. [Side note: Remember that book I said I fell in love with at the yarn shop in Lincoln City? I turned right around and ordered it from B&N Monday afternoon. :D]

Wow, two raffle prizes! I was really lucky!


I have to backtrack just a bit to something I don’t think I’ve mentioned on my blog. Just before my vacation, I was nominated for a “You ROCK!” prize at work. To get that, you are nominated by someone else at the company. Once they’ve gone through the procedure, you, quite literally, receive a rock. So the two women who nominated me showed up at my desk and gave me a rock and a nice certificate. I thought it was really nice of them to go to the trouble, so I’ve left the rock in a prominent spot on my desk and hung the certificate on my wall. Other than occasionally laughingly showing off my rock, I hadn’t really thought much about it.

Fast forward a couple of weeks to this morning. I showed up (pretty much last) to my department meeting and was surprised to see the two women who’d nominated me and also someone from corporate communications. I had a suspicion that something was up, but had no idea what. Turns out I was chosen as the “You ROCK!” winner for the month of June–and I won a $100 Macy’s gift card. They also took pictures of me, which will appear in posters throughout the company and in the corporate email that goes out every Thursday. I’d seen posters with other winners around, but somehow never really considered that I’d be on one of them! And I had NO idea there was actually a prize involved.

Are you counting? We’re up to three prizes, totaling $1125. But I’m not quite done yet…

This one isn’t so much a prize, but it kind of fits so I’ll mention it anyway. I got back from the meeting just in time to run off to Lloyd Center to meet with a few knitters at lunchtime. Just as I was about to walk away from my desk, the phone rang. I picked it up and Jessica, one of the knitters I was meeting, said, “Hey, I have a 2-for-1 coupon for Jamba Juice! Want one?”

So–free Jamba Juice for lunch today. 😀

Incidentally, every person I’ve related these events to so far has said something along the lines of, “You need to play the lottery this week!”

Nik and I had been amusing ourselves with this idea off and on today. (I’m a former math teacher and we’re both very rational people, so the whole idea of “cashing in” on a string of luck is pretty funny to us.) Nik even went so far as to speculate that I’d actually USED UP my good luck and it was over now, so no need to buy a lottery ticket.

When Nik picked me up this evening, we were both hungry and I didn’t feel like going home and cooking so we went out to dinner. We went to Micky Finn’s, a pub a mile or so down the street from us. Wednesday is Pint Night and the rep from Blue Moon (tonight’s featured brewery) was going around handing out raffle tickets to everyone and told us there’d be a drawing in around half an hour.

This, of course, caused further discussion of the whole luck thing. (Nik is wondering if there’s a conservation of luck in force, and if so, who is having a really bad luck week to balance out my good luck?)

I’m sure you can guess by now what happened.

The Blue Moon rep gave out 6-8 prizes and kept calling out ticket numbers…nope, not mine. Not Nik’s. Eventually, Nik made some crack about, “Well, this is proof.” (We’re still not sure what it was proof OF, but whatever ;)).

Numbers were called, people picked their prizes…then he announced that the next would be the last one for this drawing. (I’m pretty sure they do multiple drawings through the night.)

Guess whose number was the last one called?

That’s where those pilsner glasses, pictured above, came from. 😀

Crazy, huh?

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hsks5 and the secret project

by Michelle on July 11, 2008

Yay, my spoilee for HSKS5 got her package today!! I’ve also had a report from my spoiler that there’s one in the mail for me now, too! Swaps are fun!

Since the veil of secrecy is now lifted, I can finally tell you about the so-called SECRET project! One of the requirements of this swap was to send a “handmade item” (a bag, a needleholder, or…something else, I don’t remember). It was not required that this be a knitted item, but since I don’t really have a place to put up my sewing machine and didn’t have any other great ideas I decided to knit my spoilee a bag. I ran across the HP House Fair Isle Pouch Bag pattern and fell in love, so I ran with the idea.

As it happens this was my first completed Fair Isle project, and also my first lined bag. I was a bit worried during the knitting because no matter how careful I was with the floats, it contracted into a bumpy tube once it was a few rows away from the needles. I just kept hoping that blocking would fix it. So when it was done, I washed it and blocked it rather aggressively. Thankfully, blocking worked miracles and it came out GREAT!

Slytherin Bag

(I didn’t put any fringe on the bottom. I finished the bag late one night and frankly forgot. Then I decided I liked it just fine without.)

Here’s one that shows the lining:

Slytherin Bag

And, since knitters always seem to want to see the wrong side of Fair Isle, here’s a shot of the inside before I lined it:

Slytherin Bag

I followed the instructions for this bag pretty faithfully–with the exception of the fringe. I did make one major change, which was to use worsted weight yarn (Cascade 220–I’ll have to look up the color numbers once I’m home again) rather than DK. I used a size 6 needle because I wanted the result to be pretty dense. Otherwise, I knit it as instructed and just let it turn out whatever size it wanted to be. I think it turned out around 11.5″ x 14″ post-blocking (Narcissa, can you verify that? I didn’t write it down and only vaguely remember from measuring it for the lining). I used less than 1/4 yard of fabric for the lining. I sewed the lining completely by hand, which is something I haven’t done for a long time (hand-sewing, I mean). I can’t say that I love sewing by hand, but I am definitely proud of how the bag came out and I’m glad I went to the trouble.

I’ll let you read about the rest of the swap kit over on Narcissa’s blog, but I did want to mention one more thing. I had our wonderful local indie-dyer, Sharon of Stitchjones custom-dye a skein of her fantastic merino sock yarn in Slytherin colors. Here is the beautiful yarn she made for me to send on to my spoilee:

Stitchjones 100% superwash merino

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yarn purchases and vacation

by Michelle on July 8, 2008

I haven’t found anyone with leftovers of the yarn I need (it was a longshot!), so I bought another skein from The Loopy Ewe. It should arrive by the time we get home from the coast. (I actually got an “it’s been shipped” notification the same day I placed the order! It’ll probably get to my house before I do.)

Yesterday, I drove up to Lincoln City to visit Nestucca Bay Yarns and run a couple of errands. Nestucca Bay is a cute little shop with some nice yarns (including lots of Cascade 220, Manos del Uruguay, many Rowan yarns, and their own handpainted yarns). I bought this:

Noro Kureyon Sock

Tara, who was working at the shop yesterday, and I had a nice chat. I think I’ve inspired her to pick up crochet. And she tempted me with this book that I now really, really want. It’s all about crochet stitch motifs, which is way more fun than rows and rows of crochet. All different kinds of squares, circles, and other shapes! I already have ideas in mind for some of the things I saw in the book (I sat down and flipped through it for a good 15 minutes, at least). [As an aside, why doesn’t Amazon have the book? Nestucca Bay had about 6 copies of it!]

I also rather liked this book.

After my nice yarn shop visit, I went off in search of a place to get a pedicure and found a great, tiny shop called Nail Extension. Two manicure stations, two pedicure chairs, and I’m not sure there was much else (other than a few shelves with products for sale). Bit pricier than I would normally pay for a pedicure but it was really nice, she did a beautiful job on my toes, and we had a very nice chat while she was working on me. Well worth the cost, imo. 🙂

I’m not sure if you can really tell the color, but here’s a shot of my toes:


They’re a deep purple that looks like midnight blue in certain light. Really pretty!

And finally, one photo that cracked me up:


This is my niece, Sydney, trying to beg me for the Nintendo DS her dad had just announced that she DOES NOT NEED for Christmas this year. Too cute!

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oh nooooooooo!

July 6, 2008

I’ve been zooming right along on my Flower Scarf. It looks great! Then, on the way to the coast this afternoon, I RAN OUT OF YARN. 🙁 🙁 🙁 *sigh* Anyone have any leftover Claudia Handpainted fingering in the “Oops” colorway? I don’t need much!

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time to celebrate

July 3, 2008

I’m now officially on VACATION! I don’t go back to work until July 14th. YAY!! Tonight, I need to put the finishing touches on my “secret” project so I can get the HSKS5 swap kit in the mail tomorrow. Pretty much everything else is ready to go. I can’t wait for Narcissa to get her […]

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a new goal

July 1, 2008

I missed posting yesterday because, frankly, I was tired and forgot. Also it was ridiculously hot this weekend, which made me really not want to have my laptop on my lap. (These MacBook Pros are scorchers!) Saturday, we had a contractor come over to work up a bid for the exterior work we need done […]

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