Apologies in advance for the massive post this is about to become. Hey, I even broke it up some!
My wonderful knit-swap buddy sent me two skeins of silky wool and two of Noro Kuryeon, which is something I've always been curious about but have never had the chance to try. And it's like she read my mind about favorite colors, which is very cool. She also sent me a handy booklet thingy that has estimate yardages for a variety of projects - I always just use the display ones they have at the LYS, but it'll be more polite to have my own.
My mom apparently just went down my wishlist and gave me EVERYTHING on it. The six-skein knitter's tote (which is ENORMOUS. And quite heavy. So it's more of a storage system than a tote, but if I ever fly anywhere by myself, I've got it covered.) and the Boye Needlemaster set and membership in TKGA and a subscription to Creative Knitting magazine (I'm glad she didn't get me IK, I'm still mad at them) and and and... whew. And she got my aunts and uncles together to get me the first level of the Master Hand Knitting program, which is nifty.
My husband's grandmother sent me the Denise Interchangables. And she passed away between Thanksgiving and Christmas. So it's been kind of an emotional time for us (putting it mildly). And now I have these needles, and knitting with them makes me think of her. She was an amazing person, and while I don't think she'd actually like me getting all gooey over it, they really are special to me. I don't have the way with words I'd need to really express it properly, sorry.
I may be able to do a better job with explaining the next thing. My cousin gave me a gift certificate, which I spent on yarn to make a baby blanket for an expectant friend. (Dear Friend: I'm sorry, the obsessive need to document trumps surprising you. Please stop reading now if you don't want to find out more!) But hey, didn't you want to get that spendy alpaca handpaint? Well, yeah, but I also want to make this blanket. Am I regifting my Christmas present? I don't think so. I still get the joy of picking out a pattern and knitting the thing and using a yarn I wouldn't normally use (fiber snobbery be damned, baby blankets need to be washable!) and giving the present. Which is way more pleasure than I would get just making something for myself. Besides, I have UFOs I need to finish for myself - if I knit for OTHER people, I can start new projects guilt-free.
Speaking of other projects - I ordered KnitPicks' alpaca cloud to knit the Matthew scarf. But it needs to be orange. So I got the "sunshine" (which is much paler than it looks on the website) and some burnt orange dye and I'll be going to town. I've never dyed anything before, so I'm a little nervous, but I have faith that it will work out. (Alison Hyde was very reassuring about the whole thing!) And I was pleasantly surprised - I placed both of these orders at lunchtime, and by this evening I had both shipping confirmations in my inbox. These folks work fast! It is kind of a bummer that I'm spending almost as much on shipping as I am on yarn/dye, but even with that, it's still not going to be a terribly expensive project.
And I don't want them to go too fast - I need to finish Yet Another Hat before I get into another WIP. And at some point I'll probably yammer on about the Stahman book, but today I've gone on long enough, no?