Sunday, 27 November 2016

Somewhat Random

1.  When I want to put off doing something I find all sorts of other things to do.  I don't get what I am putting off done right away but I feel like I have accomplished something.  In the end I do the right thing and complete what I should have started with.  So today I felt I needed to blog but was stuck on what I wanted to write about.  I did not quite run out of other things to do but my house is in better shape this afternoon.  I stopped when I decided I would just write about a few random things.

2. Done while coughing and sneezing over a week ago one dishcloth.

From the Leisure Arts book, Color Splash Dishcloths, #3 Soap 'em Up.  Knit with Lily Sugar 'N Cream cotton bought at the 2013 Listowel tent sale by the cone.  I bought the book back in October when I stopped into Mary Maxim in London for a little inspiration.  The sheep were a Christmas gift from a friend and they frequently sneek into my photos.  They are so cute I had to take more than one.

3. Finished and photographed one pair of socks for a friend.

4. Since I finished the socks, I needed some simple knitting for the hockey game on Tuesday.  I started the lapghan.  It needs to be 36" x 48".  There is no pattern, I am just making it up as I go using various sizes of domino squares.

The yarn is Paton's Decor (75% acrylic, 25% wool) in colourway "Mountain Top Varg".  I assume it is discontinued as this has been in my stash since the 2008 Listowel Tent Sale.  Hubby picked it up for me on a day trip on his motorcycle. [I have stash that is ageing, just like me]

5. I needed a simple project as the other one in progress is a pair of socks from the yarn left over from the Building Block Shawl.

The pattern is Ripple Socks from Socks Socks Socks by Knitter's Magazine.  The pattern is not difficult, but I do need to concentrate - incompatible with cheering on a hockey team.

6. Building Blocks is done.  I made the small size which is still generous.  However it also meant lots of leftovers.  See 5. above.

Hubby did a photo shoot for me outside.  He says he doesn't have to be good (he really does not know anything about photography) he just has to take lots of pictures.  I put the camera on automatic just for him.

7. Next week I am taking a weaving class at the Little Red Mitten in St. Thomas.  I have to go with the loom warped and ready for the class.

Its a 20" Ashford Knitters Loom in case you were wondering. Most of the tying on was done this morning as I procrastinated.

8.  My Christmas decorating is done.

Yes, this is really all I do.  Only the one Christmas cactus is blooming.  Half of it fell off in the summer when I brought home my great-grandmother's cactus.  What is left is producing lots of buds and blossoms.  My great-grandmother's cactus has produced a lot of new greenery this summer but I can only see one bud on the entire plant.  Maybe it is still too early for it.

9. I finally finished the fingerless gloves I started back in September.  I consider them a failed experiment.  They were too small for me and the design on the back did not turn out as I hoped but I finished them anyway.

I thought my boss would like them.  She likes bright colours and they are very colourful.  She took one look, squealled then put them on.  They fit her perfectly.  She is absolutely delighted with them.  She texted me yesterday to say that every time she looks for them to wear, she finds them on her son's hands.  His favourite colour is green. His hands are warm and he can text at the same time. I texted back that I was happy the gloves were a hit.  She texted back that they are "IN DEMAND".

This is why I finish not frog.

10.  As of writing this the Essex 73's are in third place in the league just 3 points behind Blenheim which is in first.  I am not concerned, as the top 8 go on to play in the playoffs.  There are only 9 teams in the league.

11.  My cold is still hanging on.  I am calling this one Nigel.

Sunday, 20 November 2016

Best Laid Plans

I had a wonderful blog post planned in my mind.  I was going to do a photo shoot to show you the Building Block Shawl.  I took your comments to heart and cast off for the small version.  I was going to photograph the lovely face cloth I knitted up and the swatches for the next big project.  I was going to go to Michaels and pick up the two colours I need for the afghan I am planning.  I was going to have a lovely photo of the socks I started  from the shawl leftovers.  Too bad none of these things happened.  I have come down with a nasty cold again and all my energy is going into just surviving.  I managed making some soup and that is about it.

Here's hoping I stop getting sick and get on with knitting.

Sunday, 6 November 2016

Mojo I Miss You

Since I came home from my trip to Newfoundland, I feel like I left my knitting mojo back in St. John's.  I have been knitting but more often than not it is just sitting in my lap not being worked on.  I had high hopes that the current project  would rekindle my desires.  Sadly it is one I am not enjoying.  Don't get me wrong.  The pattern is lovely.  I love the yarn I chose but it just is not sparking me to finish.  I refuse to start something else as I am afraid if I stop knitting on it I will set it aside and never finish.

Here is my progress on the Building Blocks, a mystery knit along from Stephen West.  I have participated in his mystery knit-alongs before and each time was fun and exciting.  Each clue brought something new I was not expecting.  I could not put the knitting down.  I needed to finish the current clue before the next came out.  When I knit the Colour Craving mystery knit along, I was so enthused I knit two over the course of the knit along.  Not this time.  Here I am just starting Clue 3 and the final clue has been out now for 10 days.

I have to decide if I want a small, medium or large shawl.  The small ends after the current section.  If I stop, the shawl will be approximately 68" wide.  If I go one more section, then it will be approximately 78" wide.  I think I have enough yarn to make the large but will it be too big for wearing?  Decisions decisions!

I have been knitting at hockey games.  I have to pay too much attention while knitting this shawl so I have been working on socks.  I started the second sock on the drive to Blenheim on Sunday evening. (Hubby drove)  Essex won 4-2.  I got some more done Tuesday night at the home game where Essex lost 7-5 to Amherstburg.  Hubby and I drove to Dresden Friday night for another exciting game where Essex lost 5-4 in overtime.

My vanilla sock recipe using Shelridge Farm Soft Touch Heather (85% wool, 15% nylon) in colour 08007.  The yarn was purchased so long ago I can't remember when or where.

I can't make it to Tuesday's game so these socks too have stalled for another week.

At a game a couple of weeks ago I picked up a new project bag.  Hubby thinks this story is embarrassing; I think the story is funny so here goes.

Regularly at the home games there are give-aways from sponsors.  I was sitting in section 110 and the give-away was some bags.  Some were from Ken Knapp Ford.  Others were orange bags from the 73's team.  A member of the 73's management started throwing rolled up bags into section 110.  I was not lucky enough to catch one but the lady sitting to my left down the row did.  She unwrapped the elastic from the tube to open up the bag.  She looked at it and I could see from the look on her face she was at a loss to see how she could possibly use this tiny bag.   It was way too small for groceries.

She looked in my direction.  I smiled at her then looked down at my knitting.  I looked back at her smiled again with raised eyebrows and eyes wide.  I held up my knitting for her to see; looked down and up at her again.  She looked at the bag then at my knitting.  She raised the bag a little and again looked at me; at my knitting.  I nodded and she handed me the the bag.  Living with Reba for the last 13 years taught me a few things.  I told the story to Hubby. He snorted, rolled his eyes and exclaimed, "You begged like a dog?  I am glad I wasn't there!"

Perfect size for holding the Building Blocks shawl and pattern.  It says Ken Knapp on the other side.

Sunday, 16 October 2016

I'm Back

When I last posted I was not sure what I wanted to do for the 2017 Harrow Fair and whether to continue this blog.  My mother and I went to Newfoundland (had a lovely time) but I came home with a nasty virus.   Then I accidentally ate some gluten  and for the last few weeks I have been incapacitated.

I am now feeling better and plan to continue this blog.  I may not post as regularly as last year but I think I still have a few things to say and hopefully make you laugh in the process.

For the 2017 Harrow Fair the plan is to again enter items.  I don't plan on entering each and every category again - at least not until I fully retire and have the time.  The plan is to knit what I want to knit and to concentrate on the categories I could not enter last year but can this year and the ones where I did not win first prize in 2016.  So of course my first project is one that doesn't fit this plan.

On the sidebar you can link to a progress report for 2017.

I hope you will join me on this latest journey.  There will be knitting content and I plan to do some sewing this year.  I want to dust off my rigid heddle loom.  I stocked up on undyed yarn at the Woodstock Fleece Festival yesterday and  plan to heat up the dye pot for some colour play.

I started the Stephen West mystery knit-a-long "Building Blocks".  I chose the yarns in St John's Newfoundland at Cast On Cast Off.  I wanted to capture the colours from the trip for this project.  I wanted to purchase the yarn while the colours were still vivid in my mind.  Therefore I walked the 4 kilometres to the store from the hotel.  My mother stayed behind and took a nap.

I did some knitting on the trip.

The above is a no-pattern hat knit with Briggs & Little Hand Painted Softspun in Eggplant.  I purchased the yarn on the trip at the gift shop at the Grenfell Centre in St Anthony, Newfoundland.

The socks above and below are from my basic sock recipe I created.    The yarn above is Patons Kroy Sock Jacquard in the colourway Summer Moss Jacquard - now discontinued.  Hubby picked it up for me at the 2015 Listowel tent sale.  The colours in the photo are much nicer than actual.

The  above striped yarn is from my stash.  I only had one ball and I seemed to have lost the ball band. It is likely discontinued as I think I purchased it at the Needle Emporium Tent Sale several years ago.   The red is Paton's Kroy in the colourway red.  I bought this yarn sometime last year at the London Mary Maxim store on sale.

The socks below were started on the trip but finished after coming home.  Patons Kroy Socks FX in Camel Colours - can't remember where or when I acquired this yarn.

The above photos were taken on Signal Hill in St. John's.  I had to hunker down below the rocks to keep from being blown away.  Luckily the wind was blowing away from the cliffs otherwise I might have gone over diving for my knit wear as it blew away.

Here they are finished.  I am keeping these babies for myself.

On the trip, there was knitwear just about in every gift store.  I loved so much of it but managed to limit my purchases to these.  My fellow passengers thought it was funny that the knitter on the bus was buying knitted items as souvenirs.  Makes perfect sense to me.  I admire the knitter's work.  Why wouldn't I want to support their efforts?

The sweater I ordered from NONIA should arrive in a few weeks.

I had this idea on how to use some of the stripy sock yarn I wasn't fond of.  While the idea was good it did not come out how I wanted.  Just the ends have to be tied in and it will be done.  These are too small for me so I am looking for a recipient.

Monday, 5 September 2016

It is Over

The Fair is over.

I will tell you and show you the results, but first a few thoughts.  This past year was a challenge for me.  I met the challenge and entered 42 items in the fair.  I think I am still too tired from crossing the finish line and attending the fair to decide if I am happy or not.  My first thought after handing in my entries was what do I do next.

So I cast on a sock.

Patons Kroy sock yarn in a discontinued colourway.  Hubby brought it back from Listowel for me last year.

The writing of this blog for the past year was part of the challenge of making the entries.  I am trying to decide if I am going to continue writing here.  I know I will continue making entries for the next Fair but don't plan on entering every knitting category I can.  At least not until I am actually fully retired!  If you have been reading this blog and think you would enjoy continuing to read about my thoughts, my life and my knitting, please add a comment, send me an email or contact me in person.

My mother and I are going on a trip together to Newfoundland next week so I will have a break to think about what challenge I want to give myself for the 2017 fair and whether there is any interest from you my dear readers in this blog.

To my faithful friends, Msmaltesecross, LaurieM, SVB who made a point of commenting regularly, I thank you. My friend Amanda sent me regular emails to comment on my posts.  I am grateful. Your comments let me know there were readers out there.  I would also like to thank the ladies of the Essex County Library Knitters Group.  I can only attend irregularly but they treat me like a regular member.  The ladies commented through Ravelry and in person and your support was much appreciated.  I thank the other readers out there.   Some of you I know.  I also read blogs but rarely comment.  Most of all I want to thank Hubby.  He thinks I am crazy for what I have done this past year but throughout it all, he supported me and helped out whenever and however he could.

But for now, back to the Fair.  I volunteered in the Needle Arts building answering questions but mainly telling people not to touch the exhibits.  There was so much to see in the Needle Arts building.  I swear, each time I went in, I saw something I hadn't seen before.  Here are a few pictures.

This post is photo heavy and some contain dolls.

One couple wandered down the knitting isle.  The gentleman went down the row saying my name out loud as he read the tags with the red ribbons.  He turned to ask me a question then said,"I sure would like to meet Mary Jane ...".  I held out my hand and said my name.  He was impressed with my work and really liked the vest I made for Cody.

I talked with some of the volunteers who helped the judge with the entries.  Apparently, after judging a few of the categories, the judge recognized  each of my entries in the subsequent categories.  The assistants quickly had my exhibitor number memorized too.  The general consensus among the volunteers was the judge was very good and most agreed with her choices.

My mother and brother came to see my exhibits.  Both were impressed with the Fair itself.  We toured the exhibits and stuffed ourselves with fair food.

I introduced my brother to one of the volunteers and said that the man's sweater was for him.  She said,"That explains why it is so big"!  My brother used his phone to take pictures of his sweater to send to his daughters and friends.

The head of the needle arts told me there were 982 entries registered this year.  Not all registrations made it to the fair but at any rate there were more than 900 entries stuffed into this building.  I don't know how those ladies managed to fit them all in and at the same time set up such attractive displays.

Here are a few more.

I don't know what was going on with this teddy bear.  Each time I visited the needle arts building he  was a little closer to the belly dancer.  He was certainly giving her the eye.

My dancer did not win a prize.  She was greatly admired but the consensus seems to be that she was in the wrong category.  Soft toys implies that the item is a child's toy and her hardware certainly is not soft.   However, toys do not equate to children.  My mother took one look at her and claimed her as her own.

The Fair is more than just the needle arts.  Here are some photos from the rest of the Fair.

I loved the line up of the bales by the show ring.

At the Fair, there are rides to be ridden, things to see, activities to participate in but I just love how this one child knows how to create his own fun.

Now for my entries.  This part is hard for me.  My aunt says that if you don't toot your own horn who will?  Yet the following photographs seem like bragging to me.  I feel I did very well.

First the specials.  The specials represent the best sweater at the fair and the best pincushion. Not just the best knitted pincushion but the best of all the pincushion categories.  I was the only knitted pincushion entered.

Below are the other 24 first place finishes.  There were a few categories where I was the only entry but according to my sources if the judge did not think it worthy, she would have given a second or third place or even none at all.  However, I think it is easy to get a first when you are the only entrant.

One of the volunteers helping the judge said that I just missed out on the best Christmas stocking special.  It went to the entry that was cross-stitched.  I can't say I disagree with the judge.

Looks like I forgot to include the ribbon in the photo below!

The following are the 11 seconds that I got.  In fairness, for some categories that meant that I came in last.

Two entries placed third.

Here are my three lovelies that did not place at all.  There were a lot of super slipper entries so my really basic slippers did not stand a chance.  I think the judge felt my other slippers were not felted enough.  All the prize winners were felted to the extreme such that no knitting stitches were visible.

I am going to close with a few photos from the Border City Barker's show.  The MC for the show told the audience that he attended the Michigan State Fair this summer and the Harrow Fair was far and away a better Fair.  We had more participants, more animals, more things to see and do.