Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Fair Results

Sorry to keep you waiting...I worked the home arts table last night and got there early enough to take a look around and to take some pictures of my entries.
Red ribbon (2nd) on my pillow. (There were only two entries.) And a white ribbon (3rd) on my pink tshirt (pullover). First place was a really lovely grey short-sleeved sweater with a cable pattern up the front. I couldn't tell what the second place one looked like because it was all folded up.
Blue ribbon (1st) on my quilted wall hanging. I was a little surprised at this because it was in the 'under 45" ' category and there could have been a lot larger pieces in the category. (Mine's only about 12".) Usually size does matter in a category like this.
Also a blue ribbon on my skirt. Finally I didn't lose out to a sock in the "other" category. I thought if anything would win a grand champion, it would be this skirt but no such luck.
My gloves and hat won a blue ribbon. I was unsure how it would be received, but they must have liked them!

Now the photography...
No ribbon on my sock still life. :(
No ribbon on my "head or figure" either. How could you resist that smile? I joke that babies always win, but this year it was someone draped in the flag. I didn't think of the flag trumping babies. (Of course, in the black and white category, a baby won but it was a baby with wings. Sneaky.)

My other pictures did better...There's a red ribbon on my landscape (in the white frame below).
I think it lost to the forest scene in the middle of the upper row.

And my seascape had a blue ribbon!
I'm very happy with that because I've been trying for a seascape picture for a few years now.

And finally, the entry that caused me a roller coast ride on Saturday placed sixth:
It was a roller coaster ride because I kept "wandering by" the table where they had the blocks laid out but didn't know what system they were using to sort them. (It seemed obvious they were sorting them as they came in.) At first I thought I was in the reject pile. Then pretty high up. Then out of the placings but in the quilt. As I walked out I saw the ribbon on it. Sixth place. I'll take it!! :)

Here are all the blocks:
There were so many nice blocks! Here is a close up of the first place:
I didn't think a machine appliqued block would ever do this well, but it sure did. I really like the "painterly" feeling of the block. Lovely.

Here are the blocks they chose for pillows:
You can see there are a lot more pieced ones here (as opposed to applique). These are the ones you can bid on. I myself have tickets for the raffle quilt and I think this year's my year!

Here are the blocks from last year, now assembled:
They didn't have as many entries last year so they had arranged them for a twin quilt. It looks like whoever won the quilt opted to have it made into a "bed runner" instead. Or maybe a wall hanging. I find the setting a little dark, but the blocks look lovely.

Next year? The theme is "The Birdhouse." And so it starts again...

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Ravellenics...or whatever

The Olympics have started again. And so they are celebrated by knitters everywhere with their own competitive events. Events like afghan marathon, balance beads, cable steeplechase, charity rowing, colourwork cross-country, cowl jump, double-knit boxing, felted freestyle, frogging trampoline, handspun heptathlon, holiday hurdles, lace longjump, 
scarf hockey, shawl sailing, single skein sprint, sock put, synchronized stash busting, weaving vault, WIPs wrestling, and more.

I have participated in a couple of the winter games (the knitting ones, I mean, not the actual athletic ones, obviously), but really didn't think I was going to get into it over the summer games. Even though I knit year round, I still kind of feel that knitting just belongs with winter. And I have a lot going on right now.

But I took just a little peek at the Ravelry group for the games and the first team I saw was Team Apathy. And I thought...that's me! That's where I belong. So I joined. I know, right? If you were actually apathetic you'd never join the team. But whatever, nobody cares enough to argue the point. The best part was, they didn't even care if I cast on. So I could join, "participate," and not actually have to do a bloody thing! Brilliant! (Oops, sorry. There are a few too many !s there for someone on Team Apathy. Won't let it happen again.)

And once I had joined and realized I had not one, but two, gatherings to attend to celebrate the opening ceremonies (both of which I'd be knitting at anyway), I started to wonder....what events do they have this year? What yarn do I have to use? What project do I need to start anyway for that trip next week?

And so I started another pair of socks.
Third time's the charm! That's how many times I had
to reknit this toe tonight. But I think I'm off and
running now...
(I'm almost done the one pair I have going, after all.) I figure it should qualify in two events: sock put and single skein sprint. And one of my sisters wanted to learn to double knit while we're at the cottage next week. So if that actually happens, I could enter the double-knit boxing.

Or not...doesn't matter. Whatevs...
Progress by the end of the night.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Fix it Friday!

Once there was a sweater.

A blocky sweater, kind of wide and short, but much loved by its owner. I think I originally picked it up second hand for Troy, and it is a very well-wearing sweater.

But not indestructible-wearing. Near the end of last winter, Troy pointed out the neckline that was failing and asked if I could mend it before next winter.
It looked like more damage to me than just mending a seam. (I really was worried about moth damage, but I don't think there was any.) I figured on ripping out the neckline and reknitting it. I had two little balls from my grey colour-changing yarn
and decided to start with the darker end.

As the project was turning around in my mind, I thought why just mend the sweater? Why not make it even better?

So before ripping out the collar, I marked some lines to turn this sweater into a V-neck.
Troy has a thing about things pressing on his neck and he much prefers V-necks. And I thought, "I can do that!"

Next step, I pulled out the collar.
It was a little weird because it was knit from the outside edge in and then knit onto the sweater body. Very strange. I can only guess that this makes it possible for them to machine knit the ribbing before attaching it to the sweater.

Once that was off, I stitched along the chalk line and then went right beside it with a slight zig zag.
Next step? You know it....cut!
Since this is a Fix it Friday post, I will also mention that while I had the black thread on the machine, I stitched up the failing leather wallet I use as a tool kit.
It's needed it for a while (of course) and I was so happy to be able to repack it with my accessories and be sure they weren't going to fall out the side!
Back to the sweater...I picked up some stitches around the neck and did some 3x3 rib (which is what the original collar was), making sure to decrease at the centre front to make the V nice and pointy.
I did not do anything to cover up the raw edge on the inside. The extra row of zig zag should be plenty to keep things together.
This is a sturdy, "sticky" wool and I have no trepidation about how it will wear and hold together.

And there you go! In the time it took me to watch the latest Inspector Lewis, Troy has a not-just-mended-but-much-improved sweater!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Cowl with a Point

I had a hard time resisting this colourway of Fleece Artist's BFL Sock wool...and then I stopped trying. It's gorgeous. Beautiful tones of red shot with yellow and peacock blue. So I bought the skein.

I knew I wasn't going to make socks out of it, however. But what else to make?

An idea started to percolate and I got itching to make a cowl. A long looped cowl (sort of like the Honey) that I could wrap around twice and wear at the office when I'm cold.

The colours are beautiful enough, but I really love how
well the yarn blended from one to the next. No short
choppy transitions here!
But I wanted something that would lie flat in front, so I thought it needed to have a corner, or a point. I started the project once but wasn't pleased with the stitch pattern and threw it into a box while I got distracted with other projects.

I pulled it out recently when I realized I only had socks to work on and thought to myself that socks are meant to be the easy project to work on between projects, or when a project is too big to leave the house; not to be the main project. So I remembered this cowl and pulled it back out.

Project Stats
: 16 Jul '12
Finished: 21 Jul '12
Pattern: my own (see bottom of post)
Materials: Fleece Artist Blue Face Leicester Socks, 1 skein, I think the colour was Hercules (they're not labeled) ($24)
Before I had thrown it into a box, but after I had ripped back the first attempt, I had made a swatch of variations of the stitch pattern I had in mind. There were about five different stripes. I considered them. And then decided to alternate two of them. And then I started knitting...

It didn't take too long for me to have a cowl pretty close to what I had envisioned.

I really like how the bottom layer can lay flat because the point turns the corner.
It's a little bit "kerchief-y" but kerchief's are hot right now (well, knit ones are), so that's ok. I think the next one (and, yes, I think there will be a next one) may have a twist knit into it. (Like a Mobius strip.) So both layers will lie better, and they won't get "crumpled up" where they have to twist over each other to make the double loop.

Someone who is not me might even like to wear the cowl as a shoulder wrap. Not too bad from the back,
but really not my style from the front:
Too howdy-doody or giddyup, or something.

The construction is pretty simple,
and it is knit from bottom to top. If you would like to knit your own, here is what I did:

Cast on 240 sts, join in round
Knit 2 rounds
(K2tog, YO) to end of round
Knit 2 rounds
Knit 2 rounds
Repeat from beginning for pattern.

Like I said, pretty simple, right? Knit and purl rows for the most part. Now to make the point, you need to do the following:
At the same time place marker after stitch 60. On every other row do a centered double decrease at the marker. (CDD=slip 2 tog as if to knit, knit1, pass the two slipped stitches over). On the alternate rows, make sure to knit the center stitch of the decrease even if it is a purl row.

You will need to move the marker to the right as you do the decreases. Don't worry, that is normal.

Knit as wide as you'd like. When you're ready, just cast off (bind off) on the second last row of the pattern. Mine is about 7 inches wide and took 200 m (220 yds).

Oh yes, and since someone will ask, I used 4 mm needles (US 6).

Go forth and make a point with cowls...

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Time for the Fair!

The Cass County (MI) Fair that is. I'll be helping out again this year as we turn in things for the Home Arts classes on Saturday (July 28). The public is welcome from Sunday, July 29, (free admission day, but there are no rides) to Saturday, August 4. Come join the fun!

And what will I be turning in this year for adjudication and display? Not as much as some previous years. (I'm blaming my pesky job!) But in the "crafty" departments, we have:

Adult knitted pullover: my pink tshirt.
Knitted "miscellaneous": my zig zag skirt.
Knitted hat, scarf, and/or mitten set.
Knitted pillow. (I didn't know they had this category until I read through the premium book carefully.)
Quilted wall hanging (less than 45"). This one is more like 12", so very small. I hope they don't think it belongs in the miniature quilt category because it's really not.
Raffle quilt block on "Down on the Farm" theme.

And in photography we have,
an entry in still life
an entry in "head or figure"
an entry in landscapes
and my first entry in seascapes.

Cross your fingers for me!!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Phone Sock

I finally decided it was time for a new phone. Troy's been bugging me for years. Just because all the outside coverings were wearing, ripping, and falling off was no reason for a new phone, was my thought.

And just because it was a hand-me-down in the first place, and more than six years old--that's no reason to replace it, right?

Of course, the lack of reception where we live was a bit of a problem. I get zero reception at work. (Not that I use the phone at work, but it would be nice on breaks or after hours to at least be able to receive calls).

I was resistant in part because it was work to figure out what phone I wanted and to actually go get one. In part, because Troy has gone through a few phones in the same time and I was determined to keep mine for as long as possible. (Although there comes a time to admit it may "work" but isn't actually very useful.) Plus, the phone I was using was $5 a month. That's hard to beat.

But I finally caved, bought one online (to minimize the effort) and it is under $9 a month, assuming my usage doesn't shoot up now that I have some limited web access, etc. I am really enjoying the full keyboard. (Don't mock me, those of you who can send text messages by voice--I never said I was on the cutting edge!)

To celebrate the new phone, I decided to make it a "sock." Although I do not define myself by what phone I have, I have picked up that lots of people make protective socks for their phones in many creative ways. I kept it simple (and relatively fast) by picking out a couple of pieces of felted sweater that I had prepared for a blanket I'll do "someday."
I also finally had a reason to pull out all the embroidery flosses that I inherited from my sister. (Getting the box organizers was just as good as getting the floss!)
I sewed the two pieces together on the machine with a straight stitch. I left the edges raw since the felt won't ravel. (Plus it's too thick to worry about folding the edges back.) I also found a lime green floss to match.
 I sewed across the bottom and then used a button stitch to sew the seam on the centre back.
 Slip in the phone,
 and you're done.
Now if only I can figure out how to get the ringtone that I downloaded working...

May I suggest?

I Say! or at least I did once...