It’s the Giveaway Llama!


The Giveaway Llama is really excited, because  it’s Friday, Giveaway Day–her favourite day of the week.

This time, there were an even 100 comments (!!) on Monday’s post. I love how so many of you wrote reasons why you wanted the Eunny Jang Fair Isle DVD, that made my week, thank you…because you KNOW how much personal begging testimony influences the random number generator. (grin)

Ready for this week’s winners? Me, too.

Drumroll, please, while I let the random number generator do its thing…

Congratulations, Commenter #7! It’s WOOLIZARD! WooHOOO! She wins this:

Woolizard, you will be getting an email shortly asking you to send me your postal address so I can send you the Fair Isle DVD.

But wait…what is this?

Where did THAT come from? It’s a SECOND COPY of the Eunny Jang DVD! I cannot imagine how that happened, but you know what that means…that means I have to send the second person on the list the second copy of the DVD. And the second person is….HEATHER! Woooo! Heather, congratulations, and you’ll be getting a little email from me in a bit as well.

And then there were THREE

Hold on just a second…there’s also a Thing From Sandi’s Stash that wants to be a prize, remember? That means I have to look and see who the third number on the random list is…and it’s BARBARA A.!  Barbara, it says in your comments that you are a sock knitter, which I think is a Very Good Thing, given that your prize is this:

Lovely, soft sock yarn. Two skeins. Brand new, never been frogged; really pretty shades of gold, pumpkin, olive, brown, and cream. (Email to you will be on its way shortly.) Congratulations!

Next week the Fairy and the Llama have more goodies up their sleeves for Deep Winter January, so stay tuned.

Making More Kindness Happen

Someone (and I can’t find your note, sorry!) asked me somewhere if they could donate a goodie to the giveaway. I thought about that one for a bit, you know, asking myself if things were Getting Out of Hand. Then I realized that the Deep Winter Kindness Fairy would very much enjoy it if Kindness got out of hand this year! (How can that be a bad thing?)

More magic is never a bad thing

Thus: If you feel moved to donate a goodie, email me (wiseheart AT gmail DOT com) and I will post the goodie on the blog, and then match up a giver-of-goodies with a random number winner, and then you two can take it from there as far as addresses and mailing stuff goes. Sound good? Does to me.

Garter Stitch Potato Chip

I kid you not. That’s what this, this…thing…I knit looks like:

The cast-on edge is along the top; the bind-of is the thin dark blue line along the bottom. Inbetween are increases and decreases and bind-offs and pick-ups and all kinds of mischief.

So what is it? Hm. What if I take these two corners along the cast-on edge, and match them up?

What would happen then?

Well, now. Will you look at that? It looks like…a sleeve. And those little holes down the purple band look almost like…buttonholes. Let’s fold the same two points on the other side till they match and see what happens next.

It’s another sleeve! How about if we flip the right and left bits underneath?

Looks almost like a kimono, doesn’t it? And now, it’s pretty clear that this is the back of a cute little baby jacket.

What does the front look like?

Dusty says he thoroughly approves.

This is, of course, the Baby Surprise Jacket by Elizabeth Zimmermann. It’s MAGIC. I had never knit one before, never even seen one in-person, so I wasn’t quite sure how the thing worked. All I had was EZ’s hand-drawn diagram and instructions in The Opinionated Knitter to go by.

This meant that I really didn’t have a clear idea of where the stripes ought to go. I guessed. Totally and utterly guessed, except for the thin green stripe around the cuffs (the instructions said “cuffs” so I was pretty sure that I was making a little border for the ends of the sleeves there), and the purple/green/blue buttonband at the front (because of the buttonholes).

I’m spacially challenged, in that I’m not the sort of person who can take that potato-chip sketch in EZ’s book and Just Figure It Out. I have to have the object in my hands, and play with it, before my brain kicks in and goes OH I GET IT.

The seams are at the TOPS of each sleeve, instead of the bottom, as most of us are used to seeing

Thus, what the jacket was going to look like really WAS a surprise to me. It was as if EZ had planned a clever knitter’s game for all of us, and as I folded the sweater up for the first time, I felt her laughing just behind my shoulder. (Thanks, Elizabeth. Brilliant fun.)

The stripe that confused me and surprised me most was the thin green one near the hem of the sweater. I’m not sure what I thought when I put it in; I think I thought it was going to go all the way around the base of the cardigan. By the time I realized it was only part-way across the width of the sweater, I was too near the end to rip back and “fix” it…and now I’m glad, because it makes for a really interesting visual element there.

The purple band was totally a last-minute fix for every knitter’s nightmare: I ran out of the main yarn. I knew I had about 13 rows, maybe 15, left to do, and I only had about 4-5 yards of the blue left. I needed some for the sewing up…and so that meant another stash-diving session, with me bobbing up for air and saying “How about this one?” to Nicholas every few minutes. We decided on the purple, because after all, the sweater is meant to go to the same baby as this:

Zoe helps to model the Baby Berry Hat while Dusty offers his opinions on the matter

All in all, I think the entire set is quite charming. I do think the Baby Surprise Jacket is aptly named; I am extremely surprised at how well it turned out given all the spur-of-the-moment colour changes and how little planning went into it.

I already want to do a another one, this time in handspun. Good thing I have another friend who just had a baby…

My Potato Chip, Origami Life

I’m finding that I’m missing the every day blogging. The character of my posts changes a lot when it’s not daily; they become, I don’t know…much more difficult to write, and a bit more surface, a bit less thinky. But really…who would want to read a daily blog post? Especially the length I write. This is puzzling the heck out of me. I want to write more often than MWF, but I have to find a way to make it workable.

Plus, I have to figure out what I want to be when I grow up. I’m doing the usual freelancer patchwork of jobs: writing, editing, teaching, speaking, making, designing. But I feel as though my work lacks what I call a “passionate focus.”  It’s as though all the things I am doing now are that bit of garter-stitch wonderment above: A big floppy potato-chip of potential. Fold it one way, and it almost could be something. Fold another way, and it’s almost something else. But fold it here, and there, and sew it along that side, and here…and magic happens.

That’s how I feel just now. As though all the stitches of my life are here at my fingertips, bound off and ready for the magic, ready to be origami…but origami WHAT? What do all the pieces fold into?

Of course, the trick in origami is to learn to see things connected in unexpected ways, connected by surprising dotted lines that fold and bend and go this way and that, until they form…A Something.


Today’s Random Goods

To go with today’s giveaway theme: An online knitting chart maker for colourwork. Test out colour combinations and patterns for your next stranded knitting project!

Neil Gaiman’s Personal Library...the downstairs one, anyway. (I’m moving in.)

Tim watches his copy of Eunny's tutorial

About sandi

Knitter. Spinner. Quilter. UFO Wrangler. Sometime bead artist and weaver. Two toddler-age kittens, 1 permakitten, 2 grownup cats, 1 beloved dog angel, 1 spouse, 1 crazy life. I suppose that the 5 cats make me 1 crazy cat lady; OTOH, apparently, yes, I do need that much feline supervision.
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23 Responses to It’s the Giveaway Llama!

  1. Mary says:

    Who would want to read a daily blog? If it’s yours, I would! I love your blog and miss you on the days you don’t post.

  2. Barbara says:

    “But really…who would want to read a daily blog post?”

    I do, I do….

    no really, I think a daily blog post is a fabulous thing.

  3. Laura says:

    Umm, me. I’d read a daily blog post, for sure. However long you want to write it. And if you can write your way to a more comfortable (for you) focus on your projects, fantastic! If it’s just another creative outlet, hey, that’s great, too.

    My first BSJ also had some interesting stripe placement. That pattern still makes me smile…it’s just so unlike anything else.

    Oh, and congrats to the Kindness winners! I’m basking in the glow of some small kindnesses offered to me by my students today, so I’m smiling on this grey January day. Hope you and others are, too.

  4. I made my first BSJ in 1975 when I was expecting my 2nd child. I love the pattern and the version I have was from a magazine with soaker and booties!

  5. I would read daily! Really I would! I check every day just to see if you ‘forgot’ and accidentally posted on any given day so that I can find out what you’re up to.

    FWIW, I’ve learned along the way that life tends to fold the origami the way it wants to. That potato chip might have wanted to be something else, but it wasn’t the decider in how it came out – you were.

    I keep thinking back to your Dec 5 post (yes, I really do read them daily). I was going through all the exact same things – except that I thought that your decision was easy. Sure YOU should follow your dream even at the expense of a larger paycheck. But ME, well, now, that’s complicated… Well, finally I realized we were in teh same exact boat and that I also need to get over myself and do what feels right. I start a new job on Tuesday! Woot! At substantially less pay. woot woot! And I couldn’t feel more blessed for that. Thanks for being there and guiding me in through the process. That’s what you’ll do when you grow up 🙂

  6. molly says:

    if you write it, we will read…
    no matter what the length!

  7. Marika says:

    “who would want to read a daily blog post?”
    Well, I would! I love your posts, no matter how long.

  8. Mireille says:

    Of course we’d want to read your daily blog posts! You give voice to a lot of things we’re all thinking – what do I want to be when I grow up…how do I deal with this part of my life that isn’t quite right, but not in my control…when the heck did I get all this stuff and why can’t I find the One bleepin thing I need?
    Write it and we will read.

  9. Julia in KW says:

    I, too, would read your daily post…and I also checkdaily…just in case. I envy you the oppportunity to find the right thing for you right now. I started out freelancing as a copy editor and being “me”, but eventually ended up working full-time in a job that is sometime very satisfying and often frustratingly stressful. I know that I make a difference for my employees and clients, but my job does not feed my soul in any way, shape or form…my crafting does that and I would encourage you to continue to let life take you where it will to feed your soul as long as you can…
    I am so glad that you are posting regularly again…(don’t stop:))

  10. Lynn says:

    I prefer daily blog posts. With frequent vacations, as desired, of course. Much more fun for this reader, as I get to really see what you’re up to!

  11. Lu says:

    Hi Sandi,
    I know when you blog from your tweets so that is easy to come by and read everyday! You could consider this a journal instead of a blog. Then, as much as you need to write whenever you need to and when you don’t need to anymore, then don’t.
    Clearly, we’ll read no matter what!

  12. Rachel says:

    I would read daily! Like others here, I check every day just in case you have snuck a new post in.

    As for Neil Gaiman’s library, all I can say is that it is EXACTLY the dream room I have had in my mind for years. Every book I could possibly want, a truly comfy chair (with obligatory cat), a good reading lamp… how dare he steal my room?

  13. Vicki says:

    Ditto – I check daily, just in case….

    Ditto – I’ll read anything you write no matter how long or the subject matter because you are a GOOD writer.

    Ditto – What you are saying really IS important even if you don’t see it hitting home.

    Imagine your words as a drop of water in a pond. The words go in and then the ripples begin. They go on and on and on and on. Your words spread and help us all.

    As for writing..well…saying I’m going to write only on M, W, F kind of locks you in. You like the freedom to write when you want to. By not writing when the mood hits, you are depriving yourself of what you really want to do. Kind of like when someone is on a really restrictive diet.

    When you write, you are working out thoughts and issues and THAT is making you feel and be more creative and more “in control” of your life.

    So…write what you when you want, how you want. Don’t worry about us! We are in for the long haul. After all, we found you after you left Knitting Daily.

  14. woolizard says:


    In the bleak midwinter,
    Llama gave a gift,
    Kindness cast down over me,
    I’ll learn to fair-isle knit.

    Thank you ever so!

  15. naomi says:

    Srsly. You write it, I’ll read it. Though I won’t promise to always read on the day of posting.

  16. fae says:

    Color me naive, but didn’t blogging begin as an online journal (web log) except the writer shared their journal with the world? Since journaling is generally done for the benefit of the journaler, shouldn’t a blog be the same? The fact that I do not read every word written by every blogger I follow doesn’t invalidate the either the blogger or the blog. I’m only the outsider looking in. If I choose to read a blog it’s because I expect to receive some benefit from reading, be it entertainment, education, or the realization that I’m not the only person that still doesn’t know what I want to be when I grow up. (I’m only 11 years away from Social Security, by the way.)

    So by all means Sandi, blog as often as you feel like. It is, after all, your blog. I, for one, will drop by to see what you have to say. And I thank you for opening your life and expressing things I have felt but not put into words.

  17. Shirley says:

    Every morning I check my favorite blogs for new posts and always look forward to yours.

    I am so happy you posted photos and commented about the BSJ. I too am about to knit my first and wondered about the stripes. Seeing yours helps.

  18. Margo says:

    You ask “who would want to read a daily blog post?” I would. I look forward to reading your posts.

  19. NancyN says:

    I’d love daily blogs – any length, any subject. Your writing always lifts my mood. I read it in the morning so I’m always a day late, but it starts the day on a positive note. Anytime you want to write, I will read.

    Congrats to the Deep Winter Fairy Goodness winners!

  20. Patricia says:

    On the days you don’t blog something and someone is missing from my day. I love your writing style and the content is always interesting. I don’t spin or weave, yet I find it interesting when you write about it. Please write whenever you like; I’ll read it.

  21. Amy P says:

    Congratulations to the winners (all three of them!).

    Thanks for the link to the chart maker – I hope it will prove very useful this year when I begin my stranded-knitting adventure.

  22. Becky says:

    Sandi, I’m chiming in a day late, but adding another voice to those saying yes, please write whenever it suits you. I enjoy your writing, no matter the subject.

  23. Kate says:

    Sometimes potato chips are just potato chips and not origami. Somebody quoted “intelligence without ambition is like a bird without wings” to me in grad school, probably meaning well to get me over a hump. I remember it because I so strongly disagreed. Intelligence doesn’t need ambition. Intelligence needs compassion. You’ve got those. I don’t think you should feel like you’re wasting opportunities by not growing up. You’ve already made more lives better than most of the intelligent & ambitious eggheads I graduated with.

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