Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Fair Results (2014)

Here we go...are you ready?

I took a look around the Home Arts building before I worked my shift on Monday night. I'll show you my entries in the same order as before...

1. Pullover: Third place.
I think there were three sweaters, so last place. I won't show you second place, but I'll just say I'd rather have this with a white ribbon than that one with a grand champion ribbon. :)

I didn't really think the fair judges were ready for this. But I did rearrange some of the displays while I was there to show off some items better, and this was one of them. Spread it out a bit so people could see it. (I did the same thing for the second place sweater, in case you think I'm playing favourites. It was blocked by a pillow and that just isn't right.)

2. Vest/Shell: Second place.
It's hard to see the ribbon from this angle, but I promise you there's a red one on there.

3. Blouse: First place.
Looked like there were two in this category.

4. Hat/Scarf set: Second place
You can see the first place set just to the left of mine. It was a finer weight and the scarf was longer. I don't know if that's why it won. I also forgot to mention on the entry card that I hand dyed the purple. I don't know if that would have made any difference.

5. Other knitted item: No place.
There were four pairs of socks and no ribbons on any of them. I believe the winner in this category is the scarf hanging to the left of my "blouse" in #3 above.

Four pairs of socks though...I really think they need a sock category.

6. Raffle Quilt Block: No place.
That's mine in the centre of the bottom row on the reject board. I'll get into this more in a future post.

7. Recycled item: First place.
I don't know if there were any other items in this category, but I'm glad they liked my purse enough to let it win.

I really like this category. I'll be thinking of what I can make for it next year. Maybe I'll finally get to that rain coat crocheted out of plastic bags.

8. Black and White Head or Figure: Second place.
Nice ribbon for a cute baby! Um, but why is it sideways on the shelf? Apparently it's a magic baby that can sleep on walls. :sigh:

9. Black and White Landscape: No place.
I'm kind of glad this didn't place because after I had it all ready to enter, I realized it wasn't really black and white. The scene has mostly whites and greys in it, but there is red on the barn. (That's why the red frame looked so good.) I don't know if the judge noticed that and disqualified it or if he just didn't like it. (There was no comment on the card.)

10. Black and White Still Life: First place.
Wow! I did not expect this.

While working the canning table, I was "spying" on the photography judging. I'm pretty sure this one was one of the last two up for Grand Champion of black and white. I overhead something about liking simplicity but something/something in the other picture beat it out. (I think that's the Grand Champion just below it--the one with the big purple ribbon.)

11. Figure or Head: No place.
I'm a little sad this one didn't do better. I really like it. Once again, it's sideways...same magic baby, I guess.

12. Landscape: No place.

13. Seascape: First place.
I am really surprised by this one! But I won't argue. :)

14. Abstract: First place.
Again, wow! I don't how many were in the category, but there were some others. (I watch them stacking up the pictures as they check them in and sort them.)

Once again, the picture is sideways. Gah.

15. Animal: No place.

16. Birds: Third place.
I'm also surprised by this one. Nice!

All in all, I think I would have liked to do a little better with my crafty items, and am surprised how well I did in photography.

This is the second year that they required people to use an 8x10 frame and I think the display looks much better. I also noticed that more people are submitting larger pictures (no more 4x6 snapshots) and better quality pictures. I really enjoyed looking at everyone's pictures on Monday night.

Another thing I enjoyed doing was turning my three pictures upside right. I had to find a ladder for one, but I was determined. I looked closely and found one other picture that was on its side. Three out of four were mine...should I take that personally???

Saturday, July 26, 2014

2014 County Fair Raffle Quilt Block (The Wheel Goes Round)

Last time I mentioned my raffle quilt block, the Carpenter's Wheel, it was finished,
but too small. By a good 1/2 inch.

That was January 26. By January 31, I had made the decision and started ripping it apart.
 Piece by piece, until I had a big pile:
 I decided the central cross shape was far enough.
(I couldn't stand the thought of redoing the star.)

Then to help the pieces get rid of their very well-pressed seams, I soaked them in water and let them dry:
That's a big puzzle to put together. (Ok, so not compared to an actual 5,000 piece puzzle, but you know what I mean.)

And then the pieces sat and sat and sat and waited for me. Apparently waited until I finally felt the looming deadline of the Fair. I started putting this back together about a week ago and concentrated so hard on it that I didn't take any pictures.

I assembled the whole thing and it measured (close enough to) 12.5"--the needed dimension. But the edges were very ruffly meaning the outside rows were too long. I took out the center light coloured rectangle from each outside row because that's where the problem seemed to be and sewed it back in with a larger seam. This helped a lot and my square ended up like this:
Not too bad. I got rid of every last hanging thread, and there were a lot of them with all that ripping and resewing. The square does measure closer to 12.5 x 12.5 than anything else, but some of the edges are uneven. There isn't enough width to cut them straight.

Since I made this block three times and made a fourth out of my practice fabrics, I figure I have enough for a wagon now!

I am still proud of the back and how good the pattern of seams looks. (How you press your seams is a very big deal in quilting.)
I think it's quite a lovely block, although I have no desire to make a quilt out of a bunch of them! And now that it's done, I'm wondering if I should have gotten more creative with the colours. Maybe made all the points of the outside shapes one colour. And of course, I would have loved to use more red, but it was the only bright colour and I felt it had to go into the star.

One thing is for sure, I will be putting a suggestion in the suggestion box to use some bright modern fabrics one of these years. It would be a nice change!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Going to the Fair?

I am! Yes, it's county fair time again. This Saturday I'll be helping with the canning category. I check in the entries, organize them for the judges and record the results.

I will also be checking in my own entries. I'm just starting to pull them together. I don't usually make things just to meet the fair categories (because it's not like anything you make will have a category to enter) so this time of year, I look over what I've made since the last fair and see what fits.

Here's what I came up with:

1. Pullover Sweater-Adult: the Enchanted Mesa. This is an old picture before I fixed the neckline and blocked it. I don't really think they'll be impressed with it because of the unusual construction (it's very biased. ...I mean the knitted fabric is on the bias; that's not a comment on the judging) but it's what I made this year and looks great (in my opinion) so we'll see how it goes.
2. Vest or Shell: Cotton Lace Tunic. Does a tunic still qualify as a shell? I interpret this category as anything sleeveless, so we'll see how it goes.
3. Blouse: Silk Stripes Sweater. Ok, I still don't know how to define the difference between a knitted pullover and a blouse, but I'm hoping this will do. It's silk. It's fine weight. It's drapey. I guess that makes it a blouse?
4. Hat, scarf, and/or glove or mitten set: Zig Zag Hat and Cowl. I made a number of sets this past year, but this is the one I chose to enter. I think I'll mention on the tag that the purple was hand-dyed and see if that helps my cause.
5. Any other knitted article not listed: Elephant Socks. I made a bunch of socks this year but these are the ones I chose to show. Despite wearing them a couple times, they still look new and all that colourwork has got to impress, right? Of course, I'll give them a fresh blocking.
6. Quilt Block for the raffle quilt. We had to chose blocks from the Underground Railroad pattern. I picked the Carpenter's Wheel. It took no less than three attempts (not counting the practice square I made in other fabrics), but I have something good enough to enter now.
7. Recycling. I've never noticed this category before! It's under Miscellaneous in the Folk Art categories. I think I'll try my skirt-turned-purse.

Now on to some photography:

8. Black and White: Head or Figure
Is it cheating using such a sweet baby? I haven't won with a cute baby picture yet (although others have), so we'll see...
9. Black and White: Landscape
A picture of Troy's parents' barn I took last winter and then "vintaged" with the pinhole look, perhaps a bit too strongly.
10. Black and White: Still Life
Keys at the hotel we stayed at in Texel.
11. Colour: Head or Figure
Is it fair to use two pictures of the exceedingly cute baby? Oh well. I think this one tells a story (no pun intended) so I considered it worth entering.
12 Colour: Landscape
Doesn't this look like an alien planet? Something I took in our back field a couple years ago.
13. Colour: Seascape
Also on Texel, looking over the North Sea. Cliche? Maybe, but I still like it.
14. Colour: Abstract
I had no idea what this category was from the fair book. But I've studied some of the entries over the last two years and I think this is the type of thing that they mean. This was an indoor "sidewalk" in Des Moines. I came around the corner and was instantly arrested by the warm glowing light and pattern from the rising sun through the glass blocks. It was beautiful.
15. Colour: Animals
I have quite a collection of elephants in my house, but I find I am both repulsed and attracted (and respectfully fearful) when I see them in person. This one was taken at the San Antonio zoo.
16. Colour: Birds
This is a duck and ducklings we saw in the canals in Delft. It doesn't have the best focus, but I still really like the picture. Apparently I'm going for a lot of cute this year because I really think those ducklings really are.

Phew! I think that is all of it for this year. I would have like to enter the two quilts I finished, but I had to give them away! I guess I should finish them sooner...

I'll let you know how it goes, but if you want to see for yourself, the Fair is open Monday, July 28 through Saturday, August 2. I'll be in the home arts building on Monday night, 8-11, so feel free to stop by and say hi!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Too Much Fun Can Really Take it out of You!

So I had a great trip with my mom to the Netherlands. We were there for two weeks. We stayed with a lot of her cousins, who all showed us a very good time. And we vacationed on our own for a few days on the island of Texel (pr. Tessel). All very lovely. Here we are enjoying a sunset over the North Sea:
It took me a while to accept that I was really home again and to get back into regular life. (What? You mean I have to prepare my own food?) I don't think I knit for a week. Of course, I was working on a Shutterfly album already so that was part of it.

While traveling, I did work on the socks that I took with me. Some scoffed that I thought one pair of socks would hold me for two weeks. But they did. I had turned the heel by the time we landed, but had quite a ways to go on the leg and cuff still. But by now I am tantalizingly close to the bind off. I would have shown them to you, but I didn't want to take a picture, load it onto my computer, etc.

I'm a little ambivalent about pictures right now because I lost one of my cameras at the end of the trip. The "little" one with fewer pictures on it. But still. I shouldn't take it out on my other camera and picture taking in general, but I find that I'm still not really ready to get excited about picture taking. I'm sure it will pass. (Can I recommend you take a picture of your email address or phone number and leave it on your card? At least it will give a well-intentioned person a way to contact you.)

Meanwhile I will show you a few pictures I do have of my yarn tourism in the Netherlands. The day after we landed, I found my first yarn shop: Esde in Dokkum.
That's my mom and her cousin, in case you're
trying to figure out which one is me!
 They had a nice selection and I picked out a ball of sock yarn I liked:
You can see I paid 8.50 Euros for it, which I thought was alright since it will do a pair of socks. (Honestly I think of $20 as "regular" price for yarn for a pair of socks. Anything less than that is a bonus.) My mom's cousin who was with us thought it was a little "duur" (expensive), but I got it anyway. We went to another shop in town the next day and the same yarn was 8.55, so I figure I did alright. :)

I didn't hit another yarn shop until we were in Amsterdam at the end of the following week. I had researched shops on Ravelry before we left and knew there was one pretty close to our hotel. So we ventured out, walked a bunch of residential streets seeing some "everyday" Amsterdam and found it pretty easily. Wolboetiek Sylvia--a small crowded shop where I found a nice set of skeins for socks and a luxurious looking blend in gold.
The blend is Rayon (70%), Mohair (20%), and Polyamid (10%), so a little different than my usual choice of wool. I think it will make a very pretty something for around the neck or shoulders. Who knows what, right now though.

The next day we were at another cousin's in Haarlem and I knew there was a wool shop right around the corner from her house. She didn't know it, but when I gave her the address, we went right there. It was simply called "Wol!"

The shop had a lot of Rowan brand which I can get a home any time,but I found two balls to take with me.
The top one I couldn't resist because it said it was hand painted just for this shop (even though the store owner said it wasn't. I guess I just believe what I read.) Well, and it's pretty. The bottom ball was the closest I could come to straight-up orange. With the Netherlands doing so well in the FIFA World Cup (right up until today actually) and taking first (women) and second (men) in the Field Hockey World Cup, there was orange everywhere. I wanted to take a little home with me. This ball is a little more yellow than orange (although more orange than the picture), so I may touch it up with some orange dye before I knit it up into some House of Orange socks. Maybe I'll knit them during the next Olympics knitting games.

The final yarn stop was on our last day of vacation when we were in Delft. I hadn't researched any shops in Delft since I didn't know we would be going there, but the shop was recommended by my second cousin. She did more sewing than knitting, but she knew her local craft stores. This one was Knotten Wol.
Another little shop chocked full. Having quite enough sock wool to hold me for a while, I went with something super bulky:
I've got a project I've been collecting up different yarns for and I thought these colours would blend in well enough.

And that's the extent of my crafty holiday. I have to say, I think it was a pretty good haul! :)
Winding down the day on a roof-top terrace.

May I suggest?

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