Sunday, August 24, 2014

State Fair Results

The Kentucky State Fair concluded today, so I thought I should head back out there and get a some photos of my entries in situ before I bring them home tomorrow. I had gone to the Fair on the day it opened, but I forgot my camera, so all I had were crappy cell phone pics.

While everything I entered earned a ribbon, none of them were blue (or red, for that matter), so I have to admit that I am disappointed with how I did. Overall, I think that each of the blue ribbon winners deserved their award, but I have a few quibbles with some of the other rankings. It's not major stuff, mostly technical issues with a few things. Oh, well. There's always next year.

My Cypri shawl earned a third place ribbon, which was a pleasant surprise, as I didn't really have any expectations on how it might do. My Rafters cardigan and Hanami stole both earned fourth place ribbons, which I'm alright with. The cardigan has been worn and washed often, and was a little felted as a result. The stole was entered in the always-competitive lace category and was up against a lot of really good stuff. All the ribbon winners in this category were beaded and knit from laceweight yarns. What ended up being the biggest surprise and disappointment was that my socks only earned an honorable mention (there were two honorable mentions in socks!). There was a lot of variety in the category this year, and the level of competition was definitely higher than past years. My favorite socks (aside from my own, I mean) were the second place ones (traditional stranded knitting). The first and third place socks were nice, and I thought that the fourth place socks had some technical errors, but did have a pleasing color combination. I'll just have to do better next year.

Aside from the knitting, there were plenty of other things to see in the exhibition hall. I always look at the needlepoint and quilts, and this year I discovered some fantastic baskets and leather work. The wood turning folks entered a lot of beautiful objects. Here are photos of some of my favorites:

That's it for tonight, Friends. Until next time.

Friday, August 15, 2014

A little of this, a little of that.

I just got back from a week at the lake, and while I mostly just spent a lot of time on the water, I did manage to do a few crafty things, including the following:
  • I finished my worsted-weight anklets. I used the pattern for the Peace Fleece socks, but since I didn't have a lot of yarn, I just did a one inch cuff before I turned the heel. I think it might have been the second day we were there. My seven-year-old nephew said, "Oh, you finished your socks. Good job!"

  • I bought a skein of yarn. Madelinetosh Tosh Sock in the Begonia Leaf color. It's a pretty reddish purple color. That's all the yarn I bought. I'll likely never again exercise such restraint.

  • I worked a little on one of the sleeves of my "chain mail" Halloween costume. It was a boring slog of a sleeve that still isn't finished, and I still have the second one to finish before I can start sewing the tabard part of the costume. I'm going to go as Sir Galahad the Chaste from Monty Python & the Holy Grail if I can finish the damned costume.
  • I finally finished the columbines needlepoint I started ages and ages ago. There wasn't much left to do - just the border - and I was making good progress, when I managed to break the only needle I had with me. Once I got home, I was able to complete it. Now all I have to do is take it to the needlepoint shop to get it blocked. Once that's done, I'll get it framed.

  • I started a pair of Rhombus socks for my mother-in-law. I'm using a skein of Sundara sock yarn in their Chocolate Covered Caramel colorway. This should be good commute knitting.

Well, that's it for tonight.  Next time, I hope to have a State Fair update. Until then, Friends!

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

State Fair Knitting: Done!

So I've completed my Kentucky State Fair knitting! It's been done for more than a week or so, and last Thursday I gave it to my friend, Karen, so that she can turn it in for me (I'll be out of town for the submission times, so she's kindly taking it for me.) I entered four items, most of which I've documented here, but one which I was determined to keep secret until the very last minute.

The secret project was my entry in the sock category. I won the blue ribbon in this category the last two times I entered, and I wanted to keep my competition in the dark about what I was knitting. I don't think anyone I'll be up against really reads this blog (except Karen, but I don't mind that she knows what I'm working on - we see each other at knit night anyway), but it's just one of those things. Maybe I'm just a little superstitious. Or just competitive. Actually, it's probably the competitive thing. My husband laughs about it and says that I should just go out and break their fingers, but I don't think that's very sporting.

Anyway, the sock pattern is CookieA's Gothic Spire socks and I knit them with Dream in Color Smooshy Sock in the Melon Bomb color. For whatever reason, I can knit Cookie's sock patterns, the tessellated ones especially, effortlessly. This pattern looks really complicated knit up, and I think a lot of people might find it to be challenging work, but the best thing about it is I think it will impress the judges. I was very careful, too, about the color choice. In past years, it seems that light, bright colors have earned more ribbons than dark, sombre colors, so this bright melon-y orange was just the ticket.

According to my Ravelry notes, I knit the socks in a mere eleven days, which, even by my standards, is pretty darned fast. I generally allow for up to 21 days for complicated fingering-weight socks, but these practically flew off my needles. Almost before I knew it, they were done! They are fabulously comfortable socks, due in large part to the yarn. It's a nice, squishy yarn, that knits into nice, squishy socks. I need more of this in my stash. Soon.

Once the Fair opens next week (on August 15, I think) I'll go check everything out. I'm very hopeful that the socks will win me another blue ribbon. I'm also submitting my Hanami stole (in the lace category), my Cypri shawl (in the shawl category), and my Rafters cardigan (in the Aran-stitch sweater category). I think the Hanami has a pretty good chance for a third-place ribbon, although the delicacy of the beadwork could get it a second place. The lace category is very competitive, and my friend Holly pretty much owns this category. I know that she's entering an epic beaded shawl and I expect she'll get the blue ribbon here. She should've had Best of Show for the beaded shawl she made last year, but she was robbed. I'm hopeful it doesn't happen twice. As for the Cypri shawl, I'm not sure how it will do, because I haven't paid much attention to this category the last few years. I think it's pretty good - maybe a second-place here - though I can't say for sure. I have no idea whatsoever how the Rafters cardigan will do. I think it shows a great deal of skill, so it should score well there, but I did wear it all last winter, and it's gotten slightly felted from several washings. The stitch definition isn't as crisp as I'd like it to be, but I don't know what it will be up against. I used a high-quality yarn, and the sweaters I remember from past years appeared to have been knit from acrylic, but I really don't know how it'll do. I guess I could live with an honorable mention, but I'd prefer to place.

Well, that's it for now. The Fair stuff is now out of my hands, and it's no good worrying about the judging, anyway. I've done my best, and now I'll have to wait it out. I'm at the lake this week, and I hope to put up another post while I'm here. It's amazing how easy the writing is when you're on vacation! So, until next time, Friends.