Monthly Archives: October 2015

Sorry About That

Didn’t realize last week that the truck labelled “Pathology Exam” would flatten me so thoroughly. Honestly though, I also took advantage of the out studying for the exam gave me because I’d run into a little problem. Up till now, I’ve been leading you through the State Fair lots in numerical order – blankets, shawls, mittens. It made for a fairly easy structure to follow. However, starting with the next set, there was going to be a problem.

Lots 360 – 362 Scarves, sorted by yarn weight: I don’t have much planned for these yet. It’s a reasonable set of categories that I may save for next spring/summer, when I’m looking for a few more projects to round out my entries. At the moment, I have nothing to show you – no pictures of already completed projects, nothing in progress, not even a pile of yarn.

Lot 363, Gloves: I definitely have plans for this lot and all I’ll say it that it involves cables, colorwork, laceweight yarn and US 0000 needles. That’s, er, actually why I can’t show you anything at the moment – I don’t own any US 0000 needles.

Anyway, so on and so forth. All I have are plans and balls of yarn, no pretty pictures. Why? Well, school. Also, Lots 377 and 378.

Lot 377 – Adult sweater, texture pullover

Let me first say that I have no expectation of gaining my coveted blue ribbon in any of the sweater categories. I’ve seen the winners in these categories and I’m not quite there yet in terms of embellishment and/or finishing technique. However, I committed to making these sweater before I conceived of this mad plan, so they may as well get their day in the sun next summer.

This is the Staghorn Aran pattern, by Janet Szabo. I’m making it for my dad, who’s been intermittently asking for a sweater for about five years now. It’s knit from Cascade 220, one of my favorite worsted yarns, if only for the fact that it comes in a billion different colors. This sweater is also officially the biggest I’ve ever knit – previously, I’d only made sweaters for myself, babies, and one friend who’s approximately the same size as me.

It’s going well. Try not to laugh when I tell you that I hope to have it done by the end of the month.

Lot 378 – Adult sweater, texture cardigan

Since I was making an Aran for my dad, I realized that I’d never made one for myself, despite drooling over them for years. First I had to get over a love affair with Alice Starmore’s St Brigid pattern (nothing like an extra five years of experience to help you realize that won’t like knitting or wearing something) and then I had to find something perfect.

Obviously, perfection is hard to find, so I’m using a sort of choose-your-own-adventure pattern that has notes for converting to a cardigan and selecting your own cables: FLAK by Janet Szabo. One of the cables is from the St Patrick sweater in  A Fine Fleece by Lisa Lloyd and another actually was pulled from Alice Starmore’s Aran Knitting.

I hope to be done with this one by the end of November.

Now, I bet some of you are shaking your heads over these deadlines. Mauri, you’re thinking, the fair is next year! NEXT year! I know it’s sweater weather, but there’s no need…

Actually, these two are entered in a competition based on Ravelry that finishes up on November 30th. But don’t worry! I’ve carefully calculated how much I need to work on each one each day, that really helps me. I just need to knit 8 rows a day on the Staghorn until October 21, and then switch to 30 rows a day on the sleeves of my cardigan for the remaining ten days of the month. No sweat.

(Pay no heed to the fact that this ignores when I’m going to fit in time to do the collar on the Staghorn. And that before I begin the sleeve decreases, 30 rows a day means about 3000 stitches a day.)

Coming up…uh, probably slightly more complete sweaters, maybe with the finished versions of the mittens I showed you earlier.


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Hand in Hand – Lots 357-359

It’s time for one of my favorite categories – mittens!

It’s also the first time I get to show you something in progress for the fair, a 100% knit between the end of the 2015 fair and the start of the 2016 fair item. Actually, at this rate, it’s going to be a “100% knit in the first week of October” item. I may have gotten a little obsessed with these mittens.

These are the Gallus mittens, a pattern by Kirsten Kapur. I’m knitting them from Malabrigo Sock, one of my favorite fingering weight yarns…just not for socks. The yarn is a little thin and there is zero nylon content to slow wear and tear. However, it comes in beautiful colors for mittens and hats, and is relatively cheap. The color for these is Botticelli Red. As noted by others on Ravelry, this pattern produces a fairly long skinny mitten. That’s fine by me, I have long skinny hands. Others may wish to remove a few rows from the hand chart and/or add a few purl stitches to the side to widen these.

These mittens will be my entry for Lot 358 – Mittens, texture. There are two other lots just for mittens, 357 and 359, for Mittens, plain and Mittens, color pattern.

“Color pattern” (specifically defined by the fair as “two or more colors per row”) I understand. I have eleven pairs of stranded mittens under my belt, I got this. There are nine patterns in my queue that I’m considering. Well, make that eight, one of them includes an unmentionable word as part of the pattern. I’m leaning towards one that uses four different colors of yarn that I hope to start this December.

However. “Plain” continues to elude me. As defined by the fair, plain knitting includes “stocking stitch, reverse stocking stitch or overall garter stitch trimmed with ribbing or garter stitch. May include color stripes.” Hmm…I can easily think of patterns and designs that would fulfill these criteria, but how to make them state fair worthy? As I mentioned a few posts ago, I was unable to track down pictures of the winners in any of the plain categories this year.

After carefully combing Ravelry, I DID manage to find one winner from a couple of years ago – a pair of simply striped mittens with deceptively difficult thumbs. It’s a starting place at least.

Next time there might be a few more categories than usual – I haven’t really nailed down scarves, you see…

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