Saturday, August 12, 2017

Fix It Friday - Saturday Edition

So I'm cruising along on the Wool-Aid sweater I told you I started on again.

The front and back get done. I seam them together at the shoulder (3-needle bind off). And I even pick up the stitches for the collar and start knitting.
Things are feeling pretty good. Until I lay it on my lap and take a look. Something was off and my heart sank (a little).

Can you see it?

The purple stripe on the front isn't as wide ("tall") as the back.
Do you see it now? And it's not as long as the rest of the stripes either. Somehow I knit that one four rows short! I'm sure it has nothing to do with the fact that I was working on that part either in the car on the way to camping or at the actual campout.

Obviously I need to stop and "admire" my knitting more often.

With so much being done on top of it (the whole front, seaming, the collar), I was not about to rip this back to the purple stripe. I knew it would require surgery -- that is, take out a row to get live stitches, knit the missing rows and then sew the whole thing back together. (Yes, pretty much all of my knitting fixes involve Kitchener. Good thing I like it.)

Since I'm working in stripes, I didn't have to cut any yarn. I could just start pulling out one row at the beginning of the purple where there was already a cut end.
 So I "unpicked" the stitches and put the released stitches onto needles:
You need a needle for both the stitches above the row you're taking out and the row below.

Once that was done, I had a sweater in two parts:
I attached purple yarn (from the ball) and knit three of the missing four rows on top of the tweed stripe. Et voila:
The fourth row was added by Kitchenering the two parts together. (To carry the surgery analogy a little further, this would have been the part where I rip off my mask and gloves and tell someone else to "close it up. My job is done here.")

The yarn is a single (or, one ply) and this means that it is relatively weak. I examined the long end resulting from picking out the row and it looked pretty good--not too worn from being pulled through all those stitches on its way out.

But when I started to sew with it, it came apart in a few spots. So I had a few more ends to work in than I originally thought I would:
That will just make it extra warm, right? :)

The tension of the Kitchenered row isn't quite the same as the knit rows, but it's not bad and I expect the difference will pretty much disappear after blocking.
I also missed a stitch about a third of the way. I didn't skip it entirely, but each loop should have two passes of the yarn through it, and two stitches beside each other only got one. (I jumped ahead one stitch.) Anyway, I didn't notice until I was nearly done and was counting the remaining stitches to make sure they were even. (They weren't.)

When I saw the issue, I decided not to take it out and fix it because the yarn wouldn't have been able to take the wear of sliding it through the loops two more times. (Once on the way back and once on the re-do.)

So, instead, I made the same mistake on purpose on the other side to even the number of stitches on the two needles. Not ideal, but it will affect neither the function nor aesthetics of the sweater adversely.

And here you go:
The purple stripe is now equal to the rest and the front is now equal to the back. The side seams aren't sewn yet, but I did get the collar done.
I improvised it from the pattern, which didn't have the crossover in the front. I think it makes a really nice neckline in looks, ease of getting it over your head, and warmth. I may fiddle with it some on the next one, but I think this looks good.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Quilts at the 2017 Cass County Fair

I didn't have enough time at this year's fair to take in and enjoy everyone's projects. I did go around and take pictures of the quilts. It's not the same in pictures as in person but when that's what you got then that's what you work with. And now you get to enjoy them too.

This quilt's colours don't appeal to me but I couldn't resist the little hedgehogs. Too cute!
Getting these blocks together must have been a good trick:
At first I thought they were a basic block of bordered squares but with the nine-patch in the middle of each block, that changes everything! I believe the blocks started with the nine-patch and the borders were added one side at a time in three rows made up of two different fabrics (side by side--white/beige, yellow/pink and black/white). It is a great job of matching all those seams!

A trip around the world quilt with extra rows on the top and bottom to make a rectangle:
Some very cute embroidered blocks on denim alternating with kerchief fabric:
Here's a very interesting block arrangement; it really holds my eye:
I like the colour palette and placement too.

A sampler quilt:
I love all the star shapes in the blocks.

What a cute little bunny garden quilt:
Not quite so cute as we had a family of bunnies decimate our blueberry bushes this year. :( The grand champion ribbon is from among wall hangings and smaller sized quilts.

Some more wall hangings or table toppers:


This is an interesting design:
Working with circles is always more challenging. I'm guessing the butterfly was done with strip piecing. Once the strips are cut, you shift each one higher or lower to make the wing shape. It's a striking design.

I really like the next one, and from the grand champion ribbon, I guess the judges did too!
The blocks are some complicated piecing (good chance it was paper foundation piecing) and then the applique in the border puts it over the top! The colour palette is unusual too. It reminds me of the softer colours you get from pencil crayons or some oil pastels.

I really liked this next one too:
It's a simple design of alternating nine-patch blocks with solid blocks, but I love how the colours have been arranged and the overall effect the pattern has.
The pieced border of tiny squares put this one over the top for me.

And one more (non-quilted) piece that I thought was so cute:
For all you cat lovers who design your own pieces, now you know how to add some "love" to your cat projects.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

3...2...1...County Fair Results (2017)

3. My long cable socks came in third. Not what I was thinking they deserved!
You can see the second place socks right beside them. Stocking stitch socks made with a self-striping yarn.

Here are the first place socks:
You can't really see it because of the tweedy or coloured yarn, but I'm pretty sure I could see a lace pattern.

I would say that the judges value lace work and colour work above cables, except that my elephant socks,
didn't even place and the colourwork there is a lot better than either of these. Oh well. At least I get to take them home with me and wear them!! (And today I found two pair of skinny jeans I can wear them over. Yes, you heard right...I'm planning to wear these socks over my jeans like boots. Just try and stop me.)

2. My striped knit dress received a second place ribbon:
I didn't see what it lost to--it was hanging with sewn garments and it's hard to pick out stuff in the "other" category.

1. My shawl made from handspun received first in the handspun category.
I wouldn't be surprised if it was the only entry. I think it's a good category to have but there aren't many entries (if any) most years. That's why I figured I could get a way with submitting something that was mixed with commercial yarn. (I did declare that very clearly on the card label.)

And my Farm Girl Vintage quilt received first!
That's out of all of the full, queen and king sized quilts pieced* and quilted by the same person. (They added a separate category this year for quilts quilted by others--meaning a professional long-arm quilter.)

*Pieced, meaning not applique or combined with applique.

The quilt entries were way down this year, but still...I'll take it! :)

My quilt block square for the raffle quilt got honorable mention:
That means it didn't place in the first six but did make it onto the quilt.

Here are all the blocks:
And here are the ones that will be made into pillows:
There was some drama about the second block not being on the quilt, but since I wasn't there, I don't know any details!

They have changed the raffle system this year.
The finished quilt from the 2016 raffle blocks.
My block is in the second row, third from
the left.
A little recap in case you forgot...it used to be that the raffle winner of 2016 (let's say) got a quilt made out of the 2016 blocks. Of course, that meant the quilt wasn't ready for a while after the drawing. It also meant that you couldn't see the final quilt. To me, that would be a plus because I could have some input on how it was finished. But for many people--especially those with no quilting experience--it was impossible to imagine the quilt they were buying a ticket to win. And 100% of the time, the finished quilt (which was displayed the following year) looked far better than the individual blocks.

So, they have decided to raffle the quilt made out of the 2017 blocks in 2018. They can display the finished quilt and the winner can take ownership of the quilt right away.

But that has left a gap year in 2017 with no quilt to raffle--the 2016 blocks were raffled in 2016 and the 2017 blocks will be raffled in 2018. What to do?

The solution was a generous quilter making a quilt for this year's raffle:
I bought my tickets. The drawing is tonight. I'll let you know if I win! :)

_____________________
UPDATE! I DID WIN!!

I just got the call. We had an amusing start to the conversation where she didn't know who I was because I only wrote my first name on my raffle tickets. (People were waiting and my last name is too long!) Once she realized who I was, she said "Oh you're my Christina." Ha ha, yes I am.

So tomorrow I will be able to bring home the quilt pictured above with my entries. How awesome!

PS: I'm crediting this to slightly crumpling my tickets so they don't lie flat and are easier to grab. But now that I've said that, don't use the same trick and lessen my perceived advantage!!

Monday, July 24, 2017

County Fair Entries - 2017

It's a small contingent going to the fair this year. I think I've worked on projects less over the last year and I think my time was more concentrated on a few projects. (I'm looking at you, Farm Girl Vintage quilt and Red Nine Patch.)

I mentioned that I'm out of town the weekend it starts so I'm not going to be able to help with the canning department. (Canning department sounds pretty impressive, but it's just me.) I think I'm more regretful that I won't be able to hear some of the judges' comments and won't have an inkling of how I've done before I go and see the results.

Someone is willing to bring my stuff for me and I'm glad it's not a lot this year so I don't feel like I'm imposing too much.

First up is the quilt block for the raffle quilt. This year's theme was "Day at the Lake." As always, I'm looking forward to seeing the different interpretations.
2. I've entered my Tilted Pi Shawl in the handspun category. The lightest colour is not handspun but I thought enough of the shawl is handspun that I could justify entering it. It's usually a pretty light category so they could use some entries anyway.
3. My striped dress is in the "Knitting-Any Other Item" category. I'm going for best of show with this one, people. #fingerscrossed.

They probably won't like that the stripes don't match on the side but I hope they at least notice all of the lovely facings.
4. The Farm Girl Vintage quilt which falls in the "Full" size. (Full, Queen and King are judged together). This quilt is in the "pieced" class. (As opposed to applique.)
5. And finally, my long cable socks. I haven't shown them here before because they're not really finished. I need to add the ribbon and fur pompoms. (I know, right. I'm excited about fur pompoms too.)

I decided not to try to do that before the fair, but to enter them just as they are. I'm not sure they would appreciate fur pompoms.

Maybe these will win best in show instead of my dress. They're pretty awesome.

And in case you're saying to yourself " 'The fair! The fair' She's talking like we all know what 'the fair' is.", I am referring to the Cass County (Michigan) Fair (established 1851). It's the perfect size to see in an afternoon. There are rides (which I don't do) and there are barns and barns of animals you can admire.

If you want to take a little more time, it can be very interesting to watch some of the sessions when the kids are showing their animals. It's the best when the judge is chatty and tells you why the winner is the winner. Or it's fun watching the class where they have to ride a horse and put it through all its paces.

There's a nice "home arts" building where all the things people have entered are displayed. You can buy tickets for the raffle quilt or bid on the pillows. Nothing else is for sale, though. (We have people ask often enough!) Right next door are the 4H displays in case you are more interested in what the kiddies have done.

And of course there's stuff like concerts, tractor pulls, demolition derbies, etc, etc in the grand stand. (Not that I've been.)

You can find it all on O'Keefe Street in Cassopolis. Check out the specials (like free admission on Monday for Veterans; free on Thursday for seniors; etc). Even without the specials, it's only $6 for adults/$1 for kids. July 31 through August 5. See you there!

Saturday, July 22, 2017

What Happens When I Try to Declutter

Two years ago I started a sweater for Wool-Aid. Remember them? I haven't been knitting much for them. I think it was getting stuck on this project that kept me from doing anything else for them.

I'm using a pattern that's more like a recipe. You provide the measurements and it tells you how to get there with your gauge. I had a bunch of Lopi that my sister found at a second hand store and I figured out a way that I could use the different colours and have enough (I hope) for a sweater.






I liked the various colours (teal, plum, light purple) and I liked the tweed colour and thought it would be good for a stripe between the colours. But the "oatmeal" and "light brown" weren't going to contrast with the tweed enough.

So I tried to dye the light brown to a green with KoolAid. It was not pretty. It was mostly green, but the brown came through as an orange undertone and highlights. Really not pretty.

And the project sat for two years because continuing meant I had to figure out what to do about the dye and included the risk of ruining the yarn for this project.

In the meantime, I had purchased some Wilton icing dyes, something I had read a lot about from others who have dyed with KoolAid. Being an icing dye, it's still food safe and can be easily handled in my kitchen. But it also comes in many more colours and the liquid ones can be combined in many ways to make even more colours. It's also a little more complicated because you have to add acid separately to set it (unlike KoolAid which contains the acid).

So just recently, (probably when I was trying to clear up some clutter and found this project bag in a corner of my living room), I decided to give it another try. I took the horrible green and put it in the pot with a recipe for a deep brown. I took the "oatmeal" and put it in a pot with Wiltons Juniper Green.

Besides adding more green to the pot, I was very happy with the results. The colour was very even and deep. The tone is not perfect with the other colours but is within the acceptable range.

Here's the brown:

And the green:

And so I picked up my needles again and was able to continue the project.
It's a very thick wool being knit into a dense fabric, so not the best summer knitting, but I like to be warm so it's all ok. :)

I'm also happy to say that I kept good enough notes that I could decipher them and think I know the plan for this sweater.

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