Saturday, August 9, 2008

State Fair

The Illinois State Fair kicked off this week and my work to get some things entered paid off.

I entered a few things in the Illinois State Fair this year and was very excited to win several categories. There were 2 things which won big. One was the Skrå-Trøyer (Danish) Sweater which won first place in both the Scandanavian section and the Sewing with Wool. It also won the purple champion rosette for the best garment and for best wool construction.

The other was the Miser’s Purse which won the blue ribbon for best crocheted purse and it won the purple rosette for best purse and the silver platter for best in the division. I liked it but I really didn’t expect this. I’m guessing part of the reason it won was because it was so unusual.

There were a couple of other things that placed. It was really difficult to get good photos in the cases so I've used my file photos.

A knitted doily - 3rd place (the other one didn’t get a look in):

A knitted purse (second place):

Another crocheted (reticule) purse - second place:

A baby outfit - second place:

They did a much better job this year of displaying all of the entries and there were some wonderful things entered in all of the categories. I was amazed at some of the stuff. But I have to say, the cutest thing in the whole show, for my money was a wall hanging that didn't even place in it's category. It was a quilted wall hanging of an underwater scene and it was so cute that I had to go back and look at it 3 times!

The shame was that, the way it was hung, you can barely see one of the cutest aspects (see the little frog's leg?):

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Movin' On Up

I get weird mailings from time to time, as I’m sure you do. There are credit card offers and catalogues and book clubs and loans. Sometimes I can even tell the genesis of the offer. About 10 years ago I had a gasoline credit card. For some reason, when they processed my application, they wrote my name weird. Even today, sometimes I get offers that have that particular spelling of my first name which tells me they got my name off of a mailing list that has been sold over and over and over in the past 10 years. A little scary, I know.

I don’t always know where the offers come from however. In my mother’s case, she started getting catalogues and suddenly she was buried beneath an avalanche of catalogues. My stepfather would occasionally send in the cavalry to rescue her. She started a campaign to get off the catalogue listings of these hundreds of catalogues. It’s taken years and countless hours of letters and web sites and, although she can never let down her guard, she is managing to live a fairly normal life.

I’ve never had the catalogue thing (evidently it’s not inherited) but I think I’m moving in a positive direction with the mailing I got today.

It’s a “special invitation” to “experience The Phillips Club, the smart way to own a luxurious second home in Manhattan.” They let me know that they have “set aside an elegant Club residence for you at a special preview rate of only $400 per night.” Of course the effect is somewhat lessened by their need to inform me that this is a $700 value.

The elegantly prepared brochure continues by telling me that “The Phillips Club on Lincoln Square combines the advantages of home ownership with the amenities, services and convenience of a fine hotel.” Evidently, at The Phillips Club I’ll be much more than a guest…I’ll be home.

You’ll be happy to know that this is the “Sensible way to own the very best.” My Club home is available (ownership starts at $200,000) whenever I like and as often as I like, subject only to a flexible and generous reservation policy.

That’s gotta be better than the Billy Joe Jim Bob’s Mail Order Heaven catalogue.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Desert Sunrise (or is it sunset?)

This is one of the skeins I dyed with Wilton cake icing dyes. Remember I said that you never know what you're going to get with some of the colors? This started out with the yarn having been cooked with tea bags. After that, on a third of it I added some brown. It was actually brown, not this sort of ginger, clay sort of color. Then on the other third I added some "Delphinium Blue" which is a lighter blue. It wasn't as strong as I wanted it so I added a bit of regular blue. Here's what happened:

Do you see any blue here other than the flecks of teal? No, because it broke up into pinks and purples and, of course, the teal. Who could have planned this?

Now I like the sample so much, I think I'm just going to keep going and make a nice little scarf. These aren't particularly my colors but I find it so fascinating, I think I'll enjoy it.

State Fair

I've been cruising along thinking I needed to get my things out for the State Fair because it's coming up. Look at me cruising along and almost missing the whole thing (not like it's the first time that's happened). I did start pulling things out last night but was going to work on tagging, etc. this week, mistakenly thinking that I had to have them in on Friday. I just happened to look at my sheet this morning on the way out the door and discovered that they were actually supposed to be in yesterday or today!! It's just as well I have such a nice boss who let me take some time this morning to take care of it.

I had to mount the doilies on light card (which meant a trip to Hobby Lobby) and a hunt for all the staples in the house and then attach labels to all the items. I had 7 entries this year, mostly purses and doilies (and one very treasured Danish sweater).

I finished my Mom's gloves because I was going to enter them but I didn't get the 5x5 sample I would have needed to submit them for the category I was going to enter them into. Never mind, I finished them and am very proud (although tired of the pattern) of them.

I got many of my dyed skeins of yarn balled but I did also get another batch dyed. The Jacquard dyes come in a deep purple that's very exciting. I did 2 skeins of sock yarn and 1 of lace weight with the purple but I think I'm going to put them in one more time - there were some imperfections in the color of the sock yarn and the lace weight didn't get quite dark enough for me. I experimented by putting the 2 skeins of sock yarn in the bottom of the pan so they would have most access to the color and then put the lace weight on the top, with some of it barely in the water. I did like the way the lace weight took on the dye inconsistently so that there are quite a lot of color variations but I don't know if I can live with the lighter purple color. See what you think.

I also decided I like the "desert sunset" yarn and balled it before getting a photo but I'm going to do a gauge swatch to show the colors and will post a pic when I get that done.

Oh, yes, word to the wise. While it's a good idea to buy kool-aid when it's on sale, it can get hard if stored for a long time. It will melt in the water but it takes some attention when mixing before putting the yarn in. Voice of experience.