Last year, I listened to David Reidy's podcast (Sticks and String March 23, 08) and he was talking about entering projects in local fairs. His discussion about entering items was very inspiring. But I didn't get around to getting anything finished for the state and local fairs that year. Then I went to our local fair. Not to be a yarn snob but FUN FUR placed. FUN FUR. I was determined that this year would be different.
This Saturday and Sunday was the submission deadline for the projects for the state fair. I, of course, was not finished with the various projects. I entered 5 different items: a skein of fingering handspun, an item knit from handspun, a sweater, a semi-constructed item (why did I enter that one?), and a knitted lace item. I had a couple of projects that were already finished or so close that it would only take a couple of days to finish them. The skein of handspun was already finished.
I can't remember if I blogged about this and am too lazy to go back to look. This is a 100% BFL 3-ply fingering weight yarn and is intended for socks.
The item from handspun was going to be one of two scarves: the Morning Surf Scarf or the Waves of Grain scarf. Rereading the entry information, I realized that needed to have a skein of the handspun yarn. Well, neither one of these had any yarn left over. I think I had 2 inches of the one and maybe a foot of the other but, of course, I threw it out long ago. The Morning Surf Scarf has a bind off edge. The Waves of Grain is grafted in the middle. That means that one was significantly easier to get a skein of yarn from it. I ended up unpicking the bind-off edge on the Morning Surf Scarf, ripping back one row, and rebound off. I quickly washed the yarn and dried it with a hairdryer on my mini niddy noddy. Even though they probably didn't want it this way, I wrapped it around an index card just because there wasn't much of the yarn.
The sweater was one of those projects that was mostly finished but not quite. It is the Hey, Teach! cardigan from Knitty. I started this project back last year but just didn't get around to finishing it. I think my main problem was that it was knit in pieces. Sure the pieces go fast but the seaming (or thinking about doing the seaming) takes forever. In addition, I kept knitting the same sleeves over and over. I was going to make 3/4 length sleeves rather than the cap sleeves that the pattern calls for. The first pair I made were waaaaay too tight and would have cut off my circulation in a heartbeat. I started them again in the next biggest size. They were waaaaaay too big. (This is starting to sound like Goldilocks!) Saturday night, I made the decision to rip the second set of sleeves out and start over with the original size. Luckily, I wasn't deluded enough to think that I could get the 3/4 length finished in that amount of time (I still needed to finish the semi-constructed garment). The decision was made to knit the cap sleeves and, once the fair is over, I can decide to knit the 3/4 length if I want. That is the great thing about handknit sweaters; you can tweak them after they are finished.
When I realized I had entered the semi-constructed garment categorey, it made me wonder why in the world I thought that was a good idea. I mean, what in the world does semi-constructed mean? When last Monday rolled around, I realized that I still hadn't done anything for this category. A shrug seemed to kind of fit the bill but I wasn't sure what yarn I had on hand. Then I looked at the Dream in Color Classy I had bought in Pittsburgh when I was visiting a friend last November.
I bought this yarn with a shrug in mind. The skeins are 250 yds each and with two of them I probably would have enough on hand for a shrug. Then when I started looking around, I couldn't find a pattern that only used 500 yds and looked like something I wanted to wear. On Monday, I did a search on ravelry again for a shrug with my yardage and yarn weight. The Dream in Color Lace Shrug popped up and it was like the designer was in my head and could see the shrug I was picturing. And the pattern called for 500 yards of Dream in Color!
I really liked knitting this shrug. After finding an online store (the Dream in Color site was down when I was searching) that had the shrug as a download, I cast on at 10 pm on Wednesday. I ended up seaming it together on Sunday morning at 11am. It was a really fast knit whose lace pattern is definitely memorizable.
You knit the shrug as a rectangle and then sew the ends into sleeves, pick up the stitches around the opening, and knit some ribbing around that. After looking at some of the FOs on ravelry, I decided not to flip the cuffs up which would have meant seaming up the WS for a couple of inches and then switching to the RS. I also decided to knit 2 1/2 inches of ribbing rather than the 1 1/2 inches the pattern called for. It made everything look more balanced with the cuffs unflipped.
The yarn was so sprongy and fun to knit. It was so much fun that I could even do another shrug in the same pattern without being bored. That is saying a lot about both the yarn and the pattern.
The knitted lace was probably the easiest thing for me to have finished. I have a number of shawls around which are already finished but I wanted to take the opportunity to finish up one that has been hanging around for a while. The Queen Anne's Lace shawl has been a hibernating WiP since last year sometime. It was started last June when I was coming back from a trip to Maryland and I got stuck in the airport. I was in the airport so long that I finished the shawl I was working on and didn't have anything else to work on. I think I will be scarred for life with that experience. Luckily, I had more yarn and the shawl pattern so I immediately started making another one and called it the QAL 2.
I modified the pattern a little bit. The first lace section was knit on US4s, the next section on US 6s, and the following one on US 8s. I did the extended version of the shawl and used US 9s for that section. I would say that using the 9s was on purpose so that the edge would be nice and lacy but that would be a lie. I just couldn't find the 8s because they were in another project somewhere. As a final touch, I put pearl seed beads in some of the last rows. After finishing it, I wish that I had put the beads throughout. They gave the shawl a little flare.
The deadline for turning in items to the local fair is August 8th so now I just have to see what I have finished. Or rather what I can get finished by then . . . .