the state fair and 12 days of Christmas [part 1]

This will be my third year entering projects at the state fair.

I blame 4-H and family for starting my obsession love of county fairs and the state fair.  I still cannot believe some people have never gone to a fair.  They must not get the same thrill of walking, eating, and people staring for 10+ hours at a time (plus the sweat and that grimy feeling that comes with fairs).  Like I said, I don’t get it.

Anyway, I was a 4-H member for almost all of my eligible years (kindergarten through one year past high school).  So it was about 12 years I was in.  As I grew older, it was always my goal to get a “state trip” through entering sewing, crochet, or knitting projects at the county fair.  Then it turned solely to knitting projects only.  My favorite memory was receiving a grand champion at the state fair for a knit sock display – only the top 3% 4-Hers of every category receive a purple ribbon (they are quite precise).

After all those years of 4-H, I got to like the planning of projects every year, the anticipation of what judges would say, and of course, waiting to see what kind of ribbons my projects would receive.  Not to forget the premiums that come with ribbons, or staying up late before projects were due (aka procrastinating).

SO, it was quite sad to become too old for 4-H.  But another door opened – the open class at the state fair.  I didn’t need to “qualify” anywhere; I just had to sign up in advance for what I would be bringing.  Now on my third year, I’ve [started] to learn what the judges look for and what places high.  Last year, I entered a pair of plain socks and received my first blue!  (I’ll have to do a post on those…)

This year I have 6 projects.  Almost.

About that procrastinating…I just started my 6th project July 28th.  Projects are due between August 11-14.

Christmas sock 1Progress as of today, August 7

My little knitting fingers have been going crazy!  There is a holiday sock category that I try to enter, after I discovered that they are quite fun to knit.  (Even though I’ve only made one before this one.  And that one took me over a year to finish.)

I found the pattern in Interweave Knits’ Holiday Gifts 2012.  It’s the Snow Bird Stocking pattern by K. Spurkland, and the finished size seemed kind of huge, so I sized down on needles to a 3.00 mm (and a 2.25 mm for the cuff).  The finished size is just over 20″ long, so my goal was 2″ per day when I started it on the 28th.  Today, I only have 14 rows left plus the toe!  So exciting!

Christmas sock 2A fancy b & w photo – August 5 progress

This pattern has been a great knit – I would recommend color knitting experience, or at least sock experience, as it has an actual heel flap, short rows, and a gusset.  And wouldn’t you know, it has a folded and sewn hem!  Just like my pullover from the “choose wisely” posts.  I’m glad I have experience sewing hems, as this one was a little harder to hem down with the small gauge and thick fabric.

Yarn I used is Knit Picks’ Wool of the Andes sport: 2 balls each of white and red, and 1 of grass.  I am all about affordability, and I like their Wool of the Andes line.  I could even see this sock knit in their fingering weight, Palette.

One mistake I noticed in the charts (at least the charts in the magazine issue) is that after knitting the birds (it’s a top down sock), the next charts of the net and stripes are not centered with the birds.  See how that center point doesn’t match up into the opening below it?  The stripes were also not centered with the center stitch.

Christmas sock 3July 31 progress – ripped back to bottom of bird chart

On Ravelry there are some (most) projects that have the misalignment – the photo above shows mine too, and I did go back with a smaller needle to rip out those rows.  I can’t remember if I fixed the problem by moving my marker to make my 1st stitch the last stitch, or by making my last stitch the first.

Christmas sock 4All better!

I took a break from knitting on it this past Sunday and sewed the hem down and some tails in.  I also added some of the green duplicate stitching, which really makes the patterning “pop,” I think.

Christmas sock 5August 4 – sewed hem and some green duplicate stitches

So, I still have the final rows on the foot, the toe decreasing, a couple more tails to weave, more duplicate stitching, and the blocking.  I plan to soak it fully in water as I want all of the stitches to relax; it looks a little bumpy up close right now because of knitting with two colors.  The blocking/drying will take the longest!

I think I can get it done in less than a week!  (Maybe by tomorrow – 12 days then, to match my post’s title?)  Have you ever made a project at the last minute – and finished it on time?


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