Saturday, May 19, 2007

prizes, yours and mine

***Long, wordy post, not very many pictures, maybe an interesting story or two...

Who got the frog and the yarn? The handy integer generator at spit out numbers 20 and 14, so that means Laura will get the frog and the mysterious S gets the yarn. I hope you are checking back to see if you won, because I don't have email addresses for either of you! Please email me (see the "contact me" link) and I'll get these items sent to you. If I don't hear from you by next Saturday, I'll pick another number. Fair enough? I'm so sad that I don't have prizes for every one of you. I think I'll have to institute regular prize drawings to help me feel better.

The first installment of my prizes from Jimmy Beans Wool arrived on Thursday. I've spent the past three days chauffering and applauding at various recitals and ball games, so I haven't had the chance to set everything out and take a picture, but I'll do that when the second box arrives next week. I did empty the contents of the white bag onto my bed last night and in the course of settling down to sleep, I might have rolled around in it. (Hey, the yarn smells fantastic and I'm a little lonely; Eric's gone to a show for the weekend.)

In her comment on the last post, Brynne pointed out something else that I had considered along with add-on cuffs for Presto, and that's knitting up a wider panel to accomodate an older, wider baby. (Lately I've been feeling cosmically aligned with other knitters. Is it the position of the stars? Is it the power of the wool? Is it the fact that I read your blogs and then forget what I've read and then read it again and it all seems so familiar? Sorry, what were we talking about?) Then Ali mentioned that the stitches could be pickup up around the cuff and just knit the sleeves longer, perhaps with a contrasting yarn. Good thought, Ali--and then you could knit a new panel in the contrasting yarn!

Also in the comments on the last post, Jen mentioned that the Presto pattern had been mentioned on the Knitty boards. Naturally I had to go see what was being said and a very nice person who goes by "lindydiva" suggested that the body of the sweater could be knit in a multicolor with pink and blue (or whatever) panels--handy if you don't know the gender of the baby for whom you're knitting. So many possibilities! I was thinking of perhaps starting up a Flickr group for all these Presto variations. I would love to see these great ideas coming to life.

Jimmy Beans of Jimmy Beans Wool is actually a lovely person named Laura. We've been emailing back and forth and she asked me what my inpiration for Presto was. I gave her the short version; would any of you like the long version? You would? Okay! (I like having these little imaginary conversations with you. You always say just the right things.) This is already one of the longest posts I've ever written. Let's just keep going!

My precious darlin' PeeWee, who just turned 2, was born with a tumor in her abdomen. Between the ages of 1 and 5 months, she had chemo to shrink it and treat the metastases in her legs. The chemo and subsequent tumor removal surgery did the trick and she is now, blessedly, cancer-free. She does have a few little residuals. They're not major and I do not mind them; they are an easy trade for the priviledge of being with my PeeWee. She's a terrible sleeper--prone to nighmares and easily startled--and she has a very touchy gag reflex. She doesn't throw up nearly as much as she used to, but we still have to be vigilant about foods that don't readily dissolve in the mouth.

Last fall, during one of those long pukey nights, I wished for all of her clothes to have interchangable front panels. Moving her around to change her clothes was often very uncomfortable for her and it would have been so nice to only have to unbutton the front and switch it out. This spring when I read about the pattern contest and saw the prize pack for the pattern contest, I zeroed in on the prize from Lantern Moon: a pair of Exotic Wood Needles, an Origami Bag, and a ball of 100% Silk Gelato. I promptly declared that I was going to enter that contest and win that prize, by gum! (Every day I fight the urge to spend all of the grocery money on Lantern Moon needles, and have you seen the Silk Gelato, have you?!?)

Now do you want to hear the story of the pattern writing and submission? Allrighty, then! During another of PeeWee's wakeful nights, I figured out the construction of the sweater in my head and then sketched it out the next morning. I had been wanting to try Blue Sky Alpacas Organic Cotton ever since reading about it on Ali's blog, so I ordered some and got knitting. I finished the prototype on April 28 then spent time on the 29th working out the other sizes. I got the final draft of the pattern written up on the 30th after my kids were in bed, then started trying to email it to Jimmy Beans at around 10:00 PM. I spent the next two hours trying to figure out why my blasted email program (Microsoft Outlook) wouldn't send, finally dissolving into tears at 12:10 AM, having missed the deadline. At 12:17 AM I had a brain wave: I opened up my yahoo email account, copied the entry into a new email and sent it off, telling Jimmy Beans that I'd had "connection issues" and would they please let me know if they could consider the entry for April's contest or not. Then I went to bed. I was sure I'd missed it.

The next morning, I had a reply from Jimmy (Laura) that the pattern had come through just fine and in time. The time stamp on my email was April 30, 11:20 PM!!!! Hooray for Nevada and the Pacific Time Zone! So if you read in their newsletter that I got my pattern in just before the deadline, you'll know they're not kidding!

Wow. That was long.

Edited to Add: I can't believe that I got so busy with telling stories that I didn't say this first-- Thank you so much for the kind and complimentary things that you've said about the Presto pattern. I appreciate it very much!


Brynne said...

What a heartwarming design story! I'm so glad it has a happy ending, too!

Jen said...

Val - You are so amazing! I can't believe how quickly you whipped that pattern up. You sooo owned that contest. I love this story.

Jean said...

You have such a wonderful way with words. I really enjoyed this long, wordy post. The sweater really is an inspired idea. I loved hearing about your design process and the drama of entering the contest at the last minute. Even if you hadn't won the contest, you have a darling girl and an ingenious sweater. That you *did* win the contest, reminds me that sometimes all goes right in the universe.

Faith! said...

What a great post! I love the pattern but the story of how it came about makes it all that more neat.

Cathy said...

The pattern is WONDERFUL and the story behind it makes it a treasure! Your little peewee is gorgeous and I am so happy that she is doing so much better.

uberstrickenfrau said...

Wow, that was a beautiful story,thanks for sharing it with us.I'm glad you won, like the others said, it was YOURS!

Yarn Thing said...

Valerie, I think you are just an amazing mom! On top of that you are an outstanding wife and knitter!

What an amazing story! I hope you don't mind but I am going to talk about this on the podcast this week! It is such a moving story and so inspiring.

Can't say it enough...but I love you dear.

Chat with you soon,