Thursday, August 28, 2008

Welcome to the Family

This is my 200th post! It kind of snuck up on me. I wish I had something profound to say but I don't, particularly. I just have pictures of my trip to the park last Friday with the hats and pictures from my front yard of the hats I've received this week.

OH! But first, I have some pictures of prizes. These three prizes were generously donated by Kaylee at Hooks & Needles. By the way, Kaylee is going to be having a big going-out-of-business sale. (Yes, I know, I'm broken-hearted). If you are in the area, stop in. If not, visit the website. She has lots of wonderful stuff that I'm sure will go fast.

Kaylee has donated three prize packages that have nothing to do with hats. (Because we're guessing that after making 700+ hats, people are going to be in the mood for not-knitting-hats.)

H&N Prize #1

A kit for Kool-Aid dying: Two skeins of Cascade 220 Superwash - my Kool-Aid dying yarn of choice - and a variety of Kool-Aid flavors and colors. Not included in the picture, but I will include in the prize, directions for Kool-Aid dying.

Blue-Blue-Blue bundle.



The beautiful blue Lantern Moon hooks/needles/gadgets cozy, a set of Clover US Size 2 dpns and two skeins of Panda Wool. (I'm told the Panda Wool makes excellent socks, though I've never tried it myself.)

And my favorite prize package (lucky for ya'll I'm disqualified from prizes or I would claim this one for myself) Everything you need to learn to needle felt!
A Fiber Trends Needle Felting starter kit with pad, needles and instructions; two packages of roving and a way cool pen style needle holder tool.

Last but not least, here is the gorgeous Anne that goes with the watches in the fundraising raffle! (Only $5 a ticket!)

Hats in the City

Last week the truly lovely and kind Barbara and Carisa invited me to San Francisco for dinner and knitting with their knitting group. Carisa and Barbara were actually two of the first people to know about the hat project because I met them at the Maker Faire back in April (or was it May?...) when I first came up with the idea.

I had such a wonderful time that I was nearly convinced to crochet something. Seriously.

Thank you so much, Barbara, for opening up your home and thank you to the whole group for your warm welcome and your good company and your amazing hat knitting! (Carissa tells me she has MORE hats to send me, too. I'm can't wait!!)

Frolicking in the Park

Here are the hats from the Needle's Eye gang in Santa Fe (group shot, followed by close ups)
(I'd like to take a moment to say - #*(^%@#& to the stupid picture function. In my files those pictures are all facing the right direction but I'll be damned if I can get them to upload right.)

Hats from various knitters all over, enjoying the bouncing bridge

and taking the steps up to the spiral slide

More Recent Additions

This week, too, as been an excellent week for hats.

On Wednesday, I picked up all of these that had been dropped off by the local knitters at Hooks & Needles.
I also picked up these two lovelies, knit by a lady named Coby (or is it Cobi?) whom I've never met or spoken to or gotten an email from but who'd heard about the project at the shop. I called them doubled knitted but Kaylee pointed out that while they are doubly thick, they are not doubled knitted. Coby used a provisonal cast on, knit one hat brim to top and then picked up the cast on stitches and knit another hat brim to top then tucked one inside the other for a twice-as-thick, twice-as-fabulous, twice-as-warm extravaganza of hat fabulosity. I neglected to take a picture of the insides but both have the snowflake pattern on the inside as well. They are very cool.

Speaking of this style of hat, I've gotten quite a few from all over knit like this - or maybe actually double knit, I'm not certain - and they are thick and cozy and oh-so-great. I can't say enough about how talented and awesome all of you are. Double thick and single thick knitters alike, ya'll rock.

Early in the week, I received a big box of 50 hats from Gari and her brigade of talented hat crafters at Maranacook Yarns in Maine. (Gari was one of the very first to get on board with the Ravelry group.) Thank you all SOO much. While taking the pictures of the hats above, it came to my attention that my yard had just been mowed. I put down a sheet for this bunch because I didn't want to spend the whole rest of my evening picking grass clippings out of hats. (After all, I had important things to do like....knit a hat and, umm, watch TV.)

All 50 of the Maine hats (some with their very courteously attached fiber content tags showing)
A couple of closer up pictures of the Maine hats.

And though it seems kind of superfluous to even mention, here's one hat. Knit by me.

Malabrigo Chunky in Floral something (can't remember) that I bought at ImagiKnit in San Francisco. That makes a total of 59 from me. I've got one more on the needles and maybe a few more in me after that but we'll have to see.

So there you have it. The latest members of our oh-so-exclusive, oh-so-exceptional Hat Quest club. Current total? 688. I got a call today from a man at our local paper and he asked if he could do a story on our Hat Quest. I'm stunned. I'll let ya'll know what I hear on that front. (I'm secretly a little nervous about this prospect but it is also kind of spiffy.)

I can't say enough about how wonderful it is to do this project and to have all of you do it with me. I am awed and truly, truly giddy happy about this - happier and more inspired and impressed every single day. I tell people about it all the time - friends and co-workers and perfect strangers. I'm sure my parents and my siblings and my SIL and the rest of my family will be glad when it is done so I will stop with the "News Flash! Guess how many hats I have" business. Me? I am so eager to make the trip and share all of this hat love but I am also a little sad about it coming to and end. Maybe next summer we can make hats again!? : )

On Sunday, September 7, I am planning to take pictures of ALL the hats and everything I have received. Since we are now approaching 700 hats (with 7 days still to go!) I know it is going to be a serious undertaking. If you live in the area and would like to join me, please send me an email and I will give you the details. ( crickitleigh at hotmail dot com) It will be in the morning so shouldn't interfere with anyone's afternoon or evening plans.

Today's Quote:

"Far away there in the sunshine are my highest aspirations. I may not reach them, but I can look up and see their beauty, believe in them, and try to follow where they lead." -Louisa May Alcott

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Hats Hats Hats!

Friday after work I took the most recent arrivals on an outing to the park. These hats include 50 that RC has collected in Pennsylvania - PLUS 19 pairs of mittens and 6 pairs of socks, 131 from the knitters in New Mexico, 28 from the group in San Francisco (who invited me to dinner and knitting last Wednesday in the city and it was a wonderful time!!), and varying numbers from other knitters all over.

The total count to date? 619 YES!! Six Hundred and Nineteen!!!!

(I forgot my camera at my parents’ house over the weekend but I did manage to upload a couple of pictures before that. As soon as I retrieve the camera, I’ll show you the rest of the pictures. A fine time was had by all....The mittens, in particular, loved the slide.)
619. I am so excited and amazed! Thank you so much, everyone!! Please keep knitting and sending. I'll be collecting until September 5. That Monday, I'll be shipping them ahead of me to North Carolina. Do you think we can make 700?


As I shared with ya’ll previously, I’m working to raise the additional funds to cover the expense of getting the hats to the Ukraine. I’ve had several people make donations already via PayPal and regular mail - Thank you so, so much to each of you!! To aid the efforts, I’m holding a raffle!

Say hi to Terry Wiggs (R) & his son TJ Wiggs (L). They are the fine gentlemen who own and operate Terry’s Touch of Gold in Modesto. Last week, I stopped by the shop to talk to Terry and told him about the Ukrainian orphans and the hats and all the awesome. I also told him about the package fees and extra expenses that I hadn’t originally counted on. Being the kind, generous soul that he is, Terry agreed to offer up a raffle price to help me race the funds.
His & Hers Watches from ESQ Swiss. Retail value: $400

And just for the knitty fun of it, I’m throwing in a beloved skein from my stash: a skein of Schaefer Anne, in beautiful shades of purple. ETA: Picture of Anne.

Want to make them yours?? Buy a raffle ticket!! The cost is $5 per ticket. (For those who’ve already contributed, I’ll put your name on a raffle ticket for every $5 you donated.) You can use the PayPal link at right or email me at crickitleigh at hotmail dot com, and I’ll give you my address and you can mail in your ticket money by check or money order. All raffle tickets must be purchased before 11:59 p.m. Pacific Time, Monday, September 15. I’m recruiting the help of my little pal Matthew (coincidentally, the son and grandson of TJ and Terry) to draw the winner, which I will announce on Wednesday, September 17.

As a matter of full disclosure, the money raised from this raffle will be used for the following purposes:
- pay the third bag and (likely) overweight fees for the luggage containing the hats.
- cover additional expenses for my trip to Ukraine like…
- hotel stays when I go to meet the group in NC and the night I fly back to NC, before I return to California.
- Meals while in Kiev
- If we raise more money than I need to cover those expenses, I will donate that money to the children at the orphanage in Rivne.

Thank you all so much for your hard work and dedication in knitting hats. It has been so amazing seeing this come together and in such a major way. The outpouring of kindness and generosity…I just don’t have the words to describe how awed and inspired I am by all of you!

If you have any questions, please feel free to email me. crickitleigh at hotmail dot com

Monday, August 11, 2008

The Miracle of PayPal

Looky there! In the sidebar! I created a Donate button. Turns out I can receive payments through PayPal. Isn't technology amazing?

Some people have asked if they could simply make a monetary contribution to help cover the expenses of transporting the hats to the Ukraine (as discussed in the previous post) so I've set that up. If you are inclined to donate - THANK YOU! - every amount will help. I will be holding a special drawing on Wednesday, September 17 (my Daddy's birthday) to draw a very special price from among those who contribute financially.

And I am, of course, still collecting hats! I'll have an update on new numbers and the list of contributors in the next several days.

Thank you all for your kindness and ongoing support on this. I leave 6 weeks from today!

(In case you are following world events, dont' worry: I have no intention of allowing the military/political goings-on in Georgia to prevent me from making this trip. While Ukraine and Georgia have many close ties, Rivne is - by my estimation - a very safe distance from the fighting. Anyway, I am among the hopeful that this will wrap itself up soon.)

Today's Quote

"Where there is a will, there is a way. If there is a chance in a million that you can do something, anything, to keep what you want from ending, do it. Pry the door open or, if need be, wedge your foot in that door and keep it open." Pauline Kael

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Drive-by Update

Today I had Chinese food for lunch and my fortune said,

"You have a strong instinct to take care of people you love." ahh...

Seriously, where does the time go? Please forgive me for the lag time of posts of late. When did life get so crazy? (Maybe it always has been...)

As of Monday, I have in my possession 344 hats. HURRAY!!! I am so thrilled. Beside myself excited. This is amazing! And everyday I am a little more excited and eager to see where this is going to take us. 500? 600? More? I am in awe. Thank you so much! This weekend or early next week I am going to post a list of names of the people from whom I've thus far received hats. Just as a check.

For now, though, how about a picture of the latest additions?

There's the whole crowd - 120 new ones since my last post - followed by closer views of the same hats. Can you pick yours out of the crowd?

And this little darling that I particularly love, knit by Ruth in Minnesota.
It is probably a good thing I don't wear hats because I would want to keep this one for myself.

A Plea for Help

I am posting this next bit verbatim from what I posted this morning on Ravelry so if you've already read it there, skip to the "Look What I Did" section below.
Help! Ok. I have been privately panicking about this for the past week and I’ve decided I can’t solve this one on my own so I am appealing to all of you.

When I go to Ukraine in September, the bulk of the trip will be on Austrian Airlines. Back in June, I contacted Customer Relations at Austrian Airlines and explained about the hats and the orphans and they told me how to go about getting them to wave the fee for the third (heavy) piece of luggage. So I went through that process and I thought it was settled and I hadn’t been worrying about that expense. This week I got a letter saying that they have discontinued the practice of waving that fee except under very narrow circumstances…circumstances that don’t include handknit hats for orphans.

I have considered the idea of splitting them up between everyone in the group but there are two things that make that a non-option. 1) I won’t be meeting up with the group until we are all at the airport the morning of September 22 so if it didn’t work out, I would be stuck and 2) we are also taking school supplies and necessity items over with us so everyone is pretty much maxed out in the luggage department.

As with many of life’s worries, this one comes down to a matter of dollars. The mail isn’t a reliable option to that area (which I have known all along) so they are going to have to go on the plane with me. My best estimates (and I think they are very good estimates) indicate that with the large duffel bags I have and the space bags that were so generously donated, I will be able to get all of the hats there in two (admittedly heavy) duffel bags. (I am using an estimated total of 600 because that is where I think we are going to end up. How awesome is that?!?) This means two of us will have a third bag. Per Austrian Airlines, the third bag fee is $105 for a bag up to 50 lbs. These two bags will be heavier than that (right at 70 lbs) so that is another $75 for the overweight fee, plus a $50 charge per additional leg (i.e. we fly from DC to Vienna and then Vienna to Kiev. The $50 additional fee is for Vienna to Kiev.) All of that adds up to an additional $460 I hadn’t planned on.

I will concede that this is an excellent problem to have…but a problem nonetheless. I don’t know about that rest of you but nearly $500 is a chunk of cash for me. I have already covered the $2800 for the base cost of the trip (at least that is done) and then I’ll have the expense of the hotel stays when I go to meet the group in North Carolina and then again when we come back, I’ll have to spend a night in NC before flying home as well as miscellaneous costs while I am away.

I have debated and debated about posting this. I guess it is my Southern roots… I come from a place where it is considered bad form to discuss money matters publicly. (Equally bad form to ask a woman’s age, but that is an entirely separate matter.) In the end, I’ve concluded that we have been in this hat making business together from the beginning so it is only appropriate that I should come to you with this.

In my heart, I know that we are doing an amazing thing with the knitting of the hats and I also know that the Lord wouldn’t get us this far and then not make a way to get them there. I know, too, that, cliché as it sounds, the Lord helps those who help themselves.

All of that being said, here’s my idea. Tell me what you think. I am working on putting some things together – yarn related things, maybe a jewelry item, other things…I’m still working on the specifics. (This idea has only recently come to me.) Anyway, whatever those items end up being, what do you think of the idea of an eBay auction to raise this money? Do you think it would work? Have any of you sold anything on eBay before? I haven’t so I would need some help. Do you have any other ideas? This is starting to keep me awake at night…

And as an optimistic side note, if we raise more money than I need for the expenses directly related to this trip, I would donate any extra to the orphanage in Rivne.

Look What I Did

I have once again (or still...) been neglecting Lori's socks. This weekend, I was being particularly neglectful by both starting and finishing a brand new project. One of these days, I will tell you the whole story behind this but for now I will just show you the pictures.

I knit something for myself. A Kiwi bird.
Based on this pattern, with a fair amount of poetic license. (I added the "feathers" and completely changed the feet.) Thank you, EnnaVic, for the fabulous mug!

Today's Quote
"I do the very best I know how - the very best I can; and I mean to keep on doing so until the end." -Abraham Lincoln