“I just want more of her.” A wonderful piece on the late lamented food writer, Laurie Colwin.

The Mighty Skanks

Dear Ann,
I live such an exciting life; you have no idea. Take a week ago Friday, for instance. I had a lot on my plate. Niece Kristin arriving, via 3 planes, Carrie due home from her annual Sleep Week (aka low-dose sleepaway camp for kids whose dads don’t want them to go away to camp, or away to anywhere, ever). On top of this pre-existing agida inducement, look what the mailman brought me around 1 p.m.:
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It’s the Dish Rag Tag Box! Tag: I’m it! My beloved team, Skanks With Hanks (which in the parlance of Ann and Cara, translates to Skanks With Skanks), is counting on ME to:
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1. Open box.
2. Bask in the Goodies for a few brief seconds. (Blue Chibi! I got a Blue Chibi!)
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3. Admire the lovely washcloth Jen made for me in the brief interval before niece swoops in on it.
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4. Knit a dishrag with the enclosed yarn.
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5. Post the box, containing fresh-knit dishrag, new goodies, and new yarn for the next Skank, by Priority Mail in as little time as is humanly possible.
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Now. I am a humble creature, but I believe I can crank out a dishrag on a world-class level in terms of speed and overall dishrag quality. (If not me, who? If not now, when?) But this was a tough day, full of distractions and interruptions. Plus it was a Friday. I knew that even if I made it to the post office by closing time, that box was not going to arrive in Maryland (its next stop) until Monday or Tuesday. Kind of a buzz killer. But I cast on, with very little fussing (for me) about the color scheme. I knit and knit, under the quizzical watch of Kristin and her boyfriend, who until then had not really seen the full force of Aunt Kay’s Knitting Thing. (“You’re knitting what? You’re in a hurry why?”)
Then I had to stop to welcome a very bedraggled girl off the bus from so far away (aka 20 miles away), de-cootify her belongings, and tend to supper.
Long story short, on Saturday morning I was at the Post Office by 8:30. Saturday morning. 8:30. ME. That’s commitment.
I spent the rest of the weekend recovering from the strain of it all.
OK not really. But it was fun being a Competitive Knitter for a day. If you look at the standings, the Skanks are not doing too shabby. Having thought about this a lot, though, I think the Priority Mail (which should really be called “First Class Mail Only More Expensive”) is kind of equalizing any differences in DTT (Dishrag Turnaround Time) stats. It might be more of a knitting race, and less of a Priority Mail lottery, if all the participants lived really close to each other and literally ran from village to village, trailing dishcloth cotton. (Subway series! Sign me up!) But then again, it’s been a blast getting to know my fellow dishrag enthusiasts from across the country. Thanks, Emily, for organizing such a great party.
GO SKANKS!
(Please note the hilarious names of the competing teams in Emily’s sidebar. Rags to Dishes is my favorite, I think.)
Love, Kay
P.S. The Southampton knitting party was a smashing good time. More later! Must limit my time hanging out in parking lots spongeing free WiFi.

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27 Comments

27 Comments

  1. I’m still waiting for my turn at tag (Team XDR – eXpress Dish Rags) and amen, sister to the levelling effect of so-called priority mail. A city-based tag game would be great! maybe requiring use of only public or non-motorized transportation. combined with a pub crawl… yeah, that’s the ticket!

  2. I just suggested to Steph that we should have more contests and deadlines in order for us to finish things!

  3. I agree that the priority mail is slowing us ALL down. It is way fun, though. My team is Rag Racin and we’re having a blast!

  4. I take back my comment from yesterday! It’s pouring. Lots of rain. This is truly a magical blog.

  5. Yes, Priority Mail . . . isn’t. We, the Cotton Commandoes, have had awesome knitters (Sarah-Hope at whatifknits.com did a 3 hour turnaround!) but the USPS has hijacked us twice with deliveries a day or two late, and then my mail came at 5:45 freaking pm last Saturday, eliminating any chance of getting the box out fast. But I still knit my fastest! (See my blog for all the gory details!) And, yes, it was kind of hard to explain even to my family, who you would think would be used to me by now. I think the winning team will be determined by the vagaries of the USPS, but it’s still been a fun ride!

  6. Now, that just looks like SO MUCH FUN!!! And I’ve found a new blog, as well. Wish I’d known about this…then again, I’m such a pathetic teammate for stuff like this, nobody’d want me on their team!!!

  7. It is a total Priority Mail Lottery! We are in last place right now (Rag Tag Band of Knitters) due to an excessively L-O-N-G time on our first leg. Ughh. What is the prize for last place? More importantly, what is Emily going to do with all those dishrags? I was “supposed” to get my box in 4 days time, but I’m still 5 knitters down on our list….

  8. Way to be a team player! Dish Rag Tag is hugely fun!!

  9. what fun, I’m a rapid rag relayer, and blowing my own trumpet did a 3 hour turnaround, phew, it is so fun, cant wait for the results.
    go teams

  10. Way to go! I got my box late on a Friday when I had other plans (Jason Bourne, ahem), so I was up at the crack ‘o dawn on Saturday to knit mine and get it in the mail on Saturday. Oh, and my team? Rags to Dishes baybee! Good luck to the Skanks!

  11. I’m partial to “Going the Dish-tance” myself!

  12. Gosh–the competitive relay knitting? Think it will ever make it into the Olympics (minus the U.S. Postal Service)? Deb from Nebraska

  13. Yup to the USPS thing – ours moved really quickly in the beginning and the recently the leg from NJ to MA took forever which amazed me because pardon me, I know I live in the midwest but I always thought NJ and MA were pretty close to each other! ; )
    Still having a ton of fun though, my box arrived this afternoon and I’m planning to get it out asap in spite of my nasty head cold! Go Hip-knit-ized go!

  14. Who wouldn’t love sport knitting?? When I was knitting my dishcloth (at an embroidery group) I really needed a printed explanation to give to people to explain what I was doing and why…. Some people thought I was insane-others thought it sounded like fun. Love your blog and book!
    Leonie-Downunder Dishies

  15. “Skanks with Hanks”
    LOVE IT!!!

  16. I’d sign up for a Subway series!

  17. Meaning no disrespect, but doesn’t the put-up of P&C make you Skanks with, as Hemingway would put it, Cojones?

  18. I’ll cheer for skanks with hanks but you know, the happy yarn hags are really going to win this! Just a little good natured smack talk.
    My box arrived 11am and i just went to work on it. I was so close to being finished at 4:50. I know that if I finished it at home i’d never make it to the post office before it closed. So i went to the post office and I finished it on line( and thank goodness for the eternally long lines!) I casted off as my number was called and taped my box up at the window.
    Ditto about that competitive knitting rush.
    And i’m in for the subway series if you ever really want to do one. I live in Brooklyn and my social life is in manhattan!

  19. Our Xpresspost is way worse then your Priority Mail. Canada Post refuses to move any mail on weekends and we are lucky if three day service actually takes three days instead of four or five. I am amazed by your progress.
    I am still unable to use apostrophes and my navigation arrows on your comments. Only on your comments too so they are the problem. My English may improve that since I am unable to use contractions.

  20. how did I manage to miss the sign up for this team??!!!

  21. That “Priority” mail thing? I’ve noticed they don’t specify *what* priority. Sometimes it’s definitely low.

  22. i’m skankin’ to the beat!

  23. Kay! I haven’t had a chance to post or thank you yet for the stuff you sent. I LOVE the dishcloth and, you know, L’Occitane, just heaven. AND on top of that an extra skein of yarn! The chocolate, which I noticed you didn’t include in your picture, went straight to the fridge, then that nite, straight to my tummy!
    With those team names you’ve just got to wonder what goes through the minds of the postpeople who are delivering the boxes :)

  24. Here’s another of the Cotton Commandoes logging on to say “hello.” I’ve been suffering dishcloth mania all summer as a result of this game.
    Nice turn around time! Nice yarn! (Is it the self-frtiping Lily or something else?)

  25. Here’s another of the Cotton Commandoes logging on to say “hello.” I’ve been suffering dishcloth mania all summer as a result of this game.
    Nice turn around time! Nice yarn! (Is it the self-frtiping Lily or something else?)

  26. Glad you liked the package and the blue chibi : )
    Good job getting it out Saturday morning…stoopid slow mail makes us have to work extra hard.
    Go Skanks w/ Hanks!!

  27. and i just noticed that you used the wrong link for my blog lol i think that might be jennifer (mi) and i’m jennifer (oh).
    mine is knitwitgirly dot blogspot dot com : )