August 22, 2012

"ME!" ~Reese Witherspoon

My own design: Beadboard Beach Socks
"I never win anything." We all say that.

Yet, most of us also don't purchase lottery tickets, enter random contests (like the sketchy ones at the county fair...where strangers are asking for your name, address and the times of day you are not at home). Most of us also don't think much about entering legitimate contests, either.

For example, at the same county fair, absolutely anyone can submit their artistic works including photography, cross stitch, knitting, crochet, quilting...even food items or spun and dyed yarn. If we do these things, not only do we contribute to our communities and support the arts, we can also win something.

I have personally let these and other opportunities go by time after time, always saying, "Next year I'll do it," or "next time." Next time never comes. Until now.

Last March something possessed me. I was on Ravelry (oooohhhh...big shock....) reading along in some of the forums, and noticed something about a Martha Stewart/Lion Brand Yarn contest. I thought, hmmm...that might be fun. And for some alien reason, I actually clicked the link and read the information.

There was a contest for creating something from Martha Stewart's new line of yarn. The Grand Prize was 125 skeins of yarn plus a weaving loom, and the first prize winners--of which there would be 10, likely the finalists who would compete for the Grand Prize, I assumed--would receive a weaving loom. The final winners, the second place folks, 20 of them, would get a subscription to the Martha Stewart Living Magazine.

My first try with Debbie Stoller's 100% wool,
worsted weight yarn
In spite of my first thought that this contest was most certainly a marketing tactic to get people to try out the new yarn, and in spite of my next thought that it would be a lot of work to create something for a contest that I likely would not win, and in spite of my final thought that I make it a general policy to not throw my hat in such rings since I don't have much extra time, I decided to enter.

Those of you who follow the blog know what happened next.

Not only was I late to the party--er, contest--and I was also a newbie. (A newb, for those of you with gaming teenage boys. Is that mixing metaphors? Gaming/knitting? Both have grids, right? Oh, wait...that's Dungeons and Dragons. Mixing again...I digress...) I learned quickly that I had to hurry up and find a design to knit, purchase some yarn for it, actually knit the design and take photos of it, put in in the Lion Brand web site, etc.

Upon my first reading of the rules, I thought the design had to be original. Meanwhile, while I was completely wrong, I became engrossed in quickly coming up with a design that I though represented my home, would appeal to a Martha Stewart-esque audience and, most importantly of all, that I could do quickly.

I didn't see a lot of socks in the sample patterns for the new yarn line, so I decided on socks. After all, there was a merino yarn. There was, but not in the local stores here in Vancouver, Washington. After ordering the yarn I needed online (with a rush to boot), writing the pattern, practicing it with some "Stitch N Bitch" yarn (worsted wool), I was ready. The minute the real yarn came, I hit it hard.

Several sleepless nights later, it was done. A pair of socks. Photos shot, put on the site. Contest entered.

For about 5 months I waited. No contact about being a finalist. I thought, "ok, so I won't get 125 skeins of yarn. And probably not first place. Maybe there is a spot left for me in second place, probably not, but I do like the magazine." At least, if nothing else, I had two pairs of socks that I really liked.

During this time, I semi-obsessively checked the Lion Brand web site and after a while, I didn't know why I was doing it. I had gotten into a habit--like brushing your teeth before bed. 8 times. I couldn't stop. Every day, a few times at least--really like 15--I was looking for contest announcements. Then one day there was an announcement: winners would be announced on August 20, 2012.

On August 20th, I checked. Nothing. Next morning, I checked again. Nothing new. Then on August 21st at 4:05pm, I looked again.

There was the grand prize winner at the top! She had created a very cute baby set in crochet with chrysanthemums as the theme. I thought maybe that would be the only winner pictured. Then I saw some projects below the grand prize winner, the first prize winners.

I quickly did the math before moving on: 15 finalists-1 grand prize winner. 14-10 first prize winners. That left 4 that would fall into the second place category. 6 additional people would still be able to win second place.

I had hope. I scrolled down.

As I was speeding through the first prize winners, I did a double take. There was mine. My name was on the list of first prize winners. MINE. MINE!!

No way. My name was on the list.

I looked at the list again. I was at work. I squashed a squeak that tried to leave my lips. I wasn't really supposed to be surfing the internet. I coudn't stand it. I ran, silently waving my hands to my friends at the front desk. I began shout-whispering to them, pounding--quietly--on their collective desk. "I won! I won first place!! There are others, too, but I won!!!" My throat was dry. Who wins anything?! 

"What? What are you talking about?" My friend Linda was confused. I was still trying, and failing, to not cause a disturbance. I was whisper-squealing now, too many words were spilling out of my mouth at once and then all over the floor, out of order like in an impromptu game of 52 card pickup. Linda probably thought I was having a seizure.

I dragged her to my computer screen. I couldn't stand it. Linda had known about the contest, so my wild gesturing and scrolling around the screen said everything she needed to know. She understood. Her eyes grew wide. As she proclaimed her congratulations, words would still not come to me. I couldn't even figure out how I felt. I thought about my inhaler and wondered where it was.

Then I remembered Reese Witherspoon.

I thought of her character, Elle, in Legally Blonde standing in front of the newly posted list of candidates who had been accepted to a competitive internship at Harvard Law. She, the unlikely candidate, was on the list. She herself could not believe her eyes. She stood silently in a crowd of other students that were high-fiving each other, and talking loudly and excitedly about the list. Overwhelmed with feelings unknown to her (except for a bit of revenge that does not apply here) all she could say was one word: "ME!"

Knitting may not be Harvard Law, but Elle, I get it. I get the feeling.


Congrats to everyone who won and to everyone who entered!! In all seriousness, way to support art and creativity! We can't live successfully on this planet without it! Here is the link to the site where everyone's artistic endeavors can be found.

Happy, happy knitting, my friends,

Janelle of The Knitting Muse


Knititall said...

That is amazing, congratulations!
I loved reading your story, I could feel the breathlessness and excitement.
And the socks are wonderful!

Sandra said...

Congratulations. Super socks, well deserved win. Enjoy your prize!

The Sampler Girl said...

They deserved the win - awesome!!!
Tanya :)

The Knitting Muse said...

Thanks so much for the kind words, you guys : ) I am really excited, too!