Monday, August 24, 2009

IH Contest Extended, Knitting in the Movies

I totally forgot that I'm going to be neck-deep in monsters the week the contest was supposed to end (working on a horror movie that John is directing), so I'm extending the deadline to September 19th. (I'll update the main post, so there is no confusion!)

Packages already sent by: Heather H. & Sarah T. Many thanks, ladies!

Speaking of horror movies... if you think you might be interested in acting in a movie, or - at the very least, playing a zombie-type extra - check out Filming starts September 5th in the NW part of the state (south of Cadillac, MI), and all the zombie stuff is happening that first weekend (Labor Day weekend). It's a low-budget deal, and we're camping, and it's going to be TONS of fun!

This is a fun bit of news: There is going to be knitting in the horror movie. Once details are finalized, I'll be back to share the sponsor info.

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Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Updated Snake Scarf Pattern Available

I forgot all about this! A few months ago, I updated the pattern for the snake scarf I designed for my nephews (bio & honorary) and put it up on Ravelry as a for-sale download.

One thing I love about Ravelry is the library section. You can save patterns (free or purchased through the system) in your library, and they're available to download whenever you want. I didn't realize until recently that I could add this little button and offer the pattern via my blog. (I don't know if a Ravelry ID is required to purchase or not.)
Just $2.00
The pattern has been test-knit (by someone other than me), and is very robust -- I even included a template for the felt tongue and charts for the head & tail sections.

If you can access Rav, click on the link in the first paragraph and then the projects tab to see how others have interpreted the pattern - there are some really fabulous versions!

I also have a free pattern available on Ravelry: view Bath Scrubby on Rav; or download PDF now

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Monday, August 17, 2009

Knitting Finds: Robot, Darning Needle Case

The story's happy ending first: Check out Danger Crafts for a super-adorable knit robot pattern (and several other great toys). I just placed my first order with Rebecca this morning, the 5-for-$20 deal, and had to have the robot as one of the selections. (See end of post for the beginning of the story.)

I received my email well within the 24-hours promised (more like 2 or 3) and am very impressed! The patterns appear to be very clearly written, with lots of pictures showing all the steps. (As a visual learner, I always appreciate this kind of thing.)

If you have babies or small children to knit for (or monster/robot fanatics), I highly recommend these patterns! I cannot wait to cast on for one... just have to decide which one* is first.

*I also got: Daphne & Delilah (Momma & Baby Monster); Frances, the Charismatic Monster; Olivia, the Audacious Monster; and Penelope, the Empathetic Monster.

My new knitting accessory
This was my birthday present to myself. It's a (darning) needle case, and it's even prettier in person. These fabulous cases are hand-made by a gentleman by the name of Dr. A (I don't know if it's cool to share his entire name).

Here's a quote from an email I received from the good doctor: "I work in rare and beautiful woods from around the world and especially America, all harvested from otherwise what would have been scrapped wood. If you have a particular piece of wood with sentimental meaning, I can also craft one from that. Also, as you know, I also work in acrylic plastic, which has an infinite range of color possibilities."

My case is acrylic, because that's what I wanted. The cost was $25, including shipping, and it arrived the day after I paid. (Delivery times could vary, I'm sure, depending on several factors.) It was the orangest one he had in stock and I was too impatient to wait for one of "my" sick greens or other shades of orange. I have no regrets; not only is it very pretty, it also kind of matches my dagger. I'm going to add the sock needle gauge (mentioned in the previous gadget post) to the ring, as well as another gadget that's on its way, and pop the whole thing in my main notions bag.

Check out other samples of his work on his daughter-in-law's blog, Reading While Knitting (link goes directly to the needle case entries). Directions on how to order can be found in the entries.

The beginning (for me) of the Robot pattern story
Once upon a time, there was a pattern for a really cute robot. It was available for a very limited time, in a small booklet, which sold out very fast (two printings). The designer opted to not release any more booklets, as is her right. Right now, you can only get legit copies at very high prices on eBay. I knit one of the robots myself (not well -- it was my first attempt with insartia), and while it's little more than a square with arms and legs sewn to the sides, it is a cute pattern. I remember getting pretty pissed-off at a magazine for featuring the robots on the cover, with a statement implying that the pattern was included (even though I already had it). I've been on the lookout (casually) for another robot pattern to recommend. So glad I found it.

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Thursday, August 13, 2009

IH Contest Update

I heard from Kathy, the social worker at Interim House (the one who created the program this contest helps out), and she shared some current special needs with me:

  • Straights size 8 and up
  • Circulars size 11, 13, 15
  • The ladies love the multicolored Red Heart kind, and they always love fun fur.
Feel free to send whatever you'd already planned. This is for folks who wanted some guidance.

Also -- the post card isn't a requirement. Just a request/suggestion. If that's the only thing holding you back, don't worry about it.

I've heard from several people who were going to be working on packages: thanks to you all, and to anyone who is thinking about it!

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Saturday, August 8, 2009

Happy Birthday to Mel - IH Contest Time Again

Please note that the deadline has changed to September 19th. I'll be updating the graphics as soon as I can!

For the last few years, I've held a contest that ended on my birthday. This year, I had to mix things up a little, and I'm starting it on my birthday. Help out a worthy cause and win stuff! This is the 5th contest, but the 4th I've held linked with my birthday.

Short version of the details

  • First Prize: 1 skein of Urban Legends sock yarn in a to-be-determined (and dyed) colorway)
  • Second Prize: 1 Urban Legends project bag (There may be more, but I don't want to promise until I'm sure)
  • Deadline: Package mailed and email to me by noon on September 19th, 2009
  • You could have up to five chances to win (1 for mailing, 1 for blogging, up to 3 for referrals) - see the part about spreading the word. Of course, you need to enter yourself for this to work!
  • Absolutely EVERYONE qualifies, no matter where you live or if you won last time.
Longer version of the details
Interim House is one of a very small number of charities that I both trust and support. It's a rehab facility that (very successfully) added knitting and crochet to their curriculum. Volunteers come in to teach and show off projects, and all the clients learn at least one of the crafts. It contributes a huge boost to their self-confidence to finish something tangible. You can read more about it at their blog. Please note that you'll never see the faces of the clients in the images for privacy reasons, but you'll see their volunteers and interns modeling the clients' work (and their own).

On to the details: It's simple!
  • Between now and noon (ET) on September 19th, send a package to Interim House, containing yarn (see notes at end about what to send) and/or notions/tools. Make sure you take a picture of the contents!
  • Please include a postcard from your area (the ladies like knowing where the packages come from!)
  • Send stuff to: Kathy Duffy, Social Worker
    Interim House Inc.
    333 W. Upsal St.

    Philadelphia PA 19119
  • Send me an email telling me that you sent a package. Please include a picture (or a link to one) of the assembled goods (and who referred you, if that's the case (you can't refer yourself)). My (spam-proofed) email ends with and starts with crazycatladymel (just switch the order and pop 'em together).
  • Keep track of updates via this link, or click on the button in the sidebar. I'll post about developments, update about prizes, etc.
Please, please, please spread the word! Don't think of it as lowering your chances of winning. If you're meant to win, you will! Feel free to grab the button and link to this post. In addition, to sweeten the pot:
  1. If you post about this on your blog (and let me know), I'll put your name in a second time. You can post about it before you mail, of course! As long as you get a package out before the deadline, both entries will go in.
  2. If someone enters and says you referred them (and you entered too), I'll put your name into the basket again. Up to 3 more times!
Sometime after noon on the 8th, I'll put all the names into a basket (including the bonus entries) and draw the winning name.

What to send
  • Please send at least a couple of complete skeins. After that, feel free to pile on any partial balls. (It's absolutely fine if you shop from your stash 100%.)
  • An assortment of accessories and tools would also qualify (new or gently used). Lingerie bags are helpful because of the popularity of felted bags. (Update: requests from IH.)
  • Please send what you feel led to; however, if you need ideas, I'd consider sending things like feltable wool (felted bags are very popular) circular needles (short for bags, long for shawls & blankets), darning needles, etc.
  • Please don't send scary yarn. Barring texture and fiber preferences (e.g. fun fur or acrylic), if you wouldn't knit with it, please don't send it. This is my request, not necessarily theirs, and I've never yet had an issue with it. But I've seen the kind of things people donate to charity... it's okay to throw some things away!
A great thing that more than one person has done in the past is to put a kit together, with everything needed for a project: yarn, needles and pattern. Most of the women that come into the program start out as beginners, but some of them progress really quickly, so they can use virtually any kind of project (cotton washcloths, felted bags, lace shawls). If you're a sale-watcher, watch for clearance items like tape measures or yarn. If you're a knitter/crocheter, then you KNOW what to get (anything!).

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Monday, August 3, 2009

New Blog: Mel's Halloween All Year

I've been wanting to do this for ages: Mel's Halloween All Year. You can follow it in Google, or subscribe to it in a reader. From now on, I won't put full Halloween posts here, just make tiny announcements that there's new content over there.

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