Thursday, July 30, 2009

Washington County Fair Entries

Shelia during one of our spinning sessions had mentioned that Washington County Fair had contacted the Aurora Guild for volunteers to spin at the Fair. Initially I thought about volunteering, maybe next year it will work out.

Instead I read the booklet on how to enter items. In the Textiles section there's mention of a "Niftiest Needler" award. You have to have entries in five different categories to win. No mention is made that its based off of also winning in those categories - I guess its implied. So I came up with five different categories to enter in and tried to meet those goals. (One of the ladies at check in told me she entered 50 items in attempt at this award. She had been working all year on this from the last fair.)

One of them was of course hand spinning, and you've seen the two entries I made in those category - pink superwash (under the 2 or more plied yarn) and the wool-flax (naturally dyed yarn).

Under the hand knit category was 'dishcloths'. Those are pretty easy to whip out and I figure they're also great for Christmas gifts, so why not do the three for the requirement? I had gotten that Red Heart Eco-Cotton yarns and decided they would be perfect for these projects. I had already done two dishcloth patterns that show off using two colors - plaid stripes and the famous ballband. I just needed a third, then remembered I had in my Rav queue the Lizard Ridge that uses multiple colors. Perfect! Unfortunately, in my eagerness to get things turned in on time Sunday, I forgot to take individual pictures of the dishcloths, so just have this one that shows all the things I was going to turn in:

Also in knitting was 'scarf', so I thought it would be fun to bring out the scarf I had drop spindle spun last year during the Tour de Fleece, my Deep Blue Sea Sinuate. The scarf pattern is one done by Marnie MacLean.

Under the Holiday Decorations category I pulled out the minis - the sweater, hat and mitten set that I had made earlier in the year to use as gifts:
. I sewed them all together and made a hangar of it so that they would stay together. Hopefully I'll get them back!

So those are three categories done. The other was one mentioned also in a previous post - quilting. With the Summer Stained Glass Window Quilt:

This leaves the last category - Toys. One option was rabbit under 10 inches. Another Christmas gift to work early! Debbie Bliss has patterns for knitted toys, and yes, I could have done a bear, but I did the rabbit. I used her 'small rabbit with sweater' pattern with a change of the sweater. I did the 'smock' that was used for the angel rabbit instead. I used my handspun grey - the Spinner's Hill Corriedale-Finn-Rambouillet and Stitchjones Alpaca, Moon in Libra for the smock.
Her name is Priscilla. I'm not sure which of the nieces will get it, or it will be Christmas or Birthday (one has a September, the other October birthdays).

All of the items together. There's a snowflake ornament that I was going to try to enter but I didn't read close enough and was two ornaments short for that category.

Domestic Goddess - umm yea, right ;-)

While all that spinning was going on during July I've also been busy cannning - a whole bunch of raspberry jam - 17 jars, 6 containers of freezer jam, raspberry sorbet - its yummy, and some raspberry-rhubarb crisp - it was also yummy.

What the raspberry jam looks like:

We've recently been experiencing 100+ temps in our area. Yes, we get it at least once a year where we'll have a few days of this. Everyone forgets or the transplants are shocked. Oregonians really hate extreme temps if you haven't heard. Optimum temp range is 65-75. Yes, that does seem like a small range but below 65 you hear complaints of 'how cold' it is and above 75 'that its too damn hot'. So with that in mind imagine what you hear when it gets triple digits? Lots of Oregonians also don't have A/C (after the first year in the house that was the first thing purchased with the tax refund) so it becomes a matter of trying to stay cool for many people. We really aren't a bunch of wimps after all we are also the people that will be running around in the middle of winter in baggie shorts, a couple of sweaters and socks with Birkenstocks (no I've never done this, I find these people crazy, but admit that they do exist.)

So these extreme temps caused the figs on the tree to all ripen together. Nice that a whole bunch of them all ripened at once, bad because I then had to deal with them all. They got one day in the refrigerator (picked them Tuesday night) so that I could pick up a box of canning jars, then today they were turned into jam. First there was the peeling of the outer green skin (edible but too green with the pink flesh), and then into the pot to be turned into jam. I forgot to take a picture of them all cut up before they were turned into jam. Really a pretty pink flesh with the seeds. The resulting golden brown jam really is reminiscent of fig newtons. I had enough that I filled all 12 jars.

In other areas of domesticity, and the county fair inspired, I pulled out a bundle of fat quarters I had picked up a year or so ago at JoAnn's. Nice bright primary colors. Perfect for turning them into a miniature quilt. I have three other miniature quilts that are my seasonal wall decorations. I was missing a 'summer' one. My spring has been doing double duty. ;-) I found four different block patterns to use together. I think they came out nicely and came together well:

I've always machine quilted my quilts. With hours to complete to turn into the county fair I decided it wouldn't be that difficult to hand quilt it. I went with a 'rustic' feel of doing a running stitch. If you're terribly interested I can do a close up of the blocks. I'm calling the quilt - Summer Stained Glass Window.

The county fair opened today, but I didn't rush over to find out the results of the judging. There were a lot of quilts being turned in, so I'm sure that competition was stiff. I'll find out the results when we go to check it out on Saturday (when its cooler).

Tour de Fleece 2009 Wrap-Up

I really did mean to post along the way but was keeping busy with spinning, knitting and other projects.

Here's a collage of what was done:
Click on it to make it a little bigger.

I finished up the pink superwash. It ended up being 2217 yards of spinning time. That's singles - 1478 yards, plying as a 2-ply - 739 yards. Having to re-ply that 739 yards again to get it really plied so that I could then cable ply it (ply it back on itself creating a 4-ply) to end up with 357.5 yards of cabled yarn.

I picked up from Tactile Fiber Arts a naturally dyed wool-flax combo. It's a 60/40 blend that was fun to spin up. It wasn't a difficult as the merino-tencel in the past. I ended up with a 210 yard 2-ply that along with the pink superwash went to the Washington County Fair.

I had also gotten Tactile's "Ancient Breed Sampler" pack. Five breeds of sheep - Finn, Gotland, Icelandic, Norwegian and Shetland, all with one ounce each sample size. I was able to spin up the Finn, Icelandic and Shetland singles on the last day of Tour de Fleece. I've since finished them - plying and washing the finished yarns:
Finn - soft! Lovely to spin, definitely will be including this on my shopping list of must have fibers! 333.66 yards (yes, from 1 ounce!)

Icelandic - felt soft until spun, itchy and caused allergy problems - 1639 yards

Shetland - softer than Icelandic, not as soft as the Finn - 195 yards

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Happy 4th! Tour de Fleece Day 1

We were up bright and early to head out to Scholls to pick up the reserved raspberries. Yes, I could have picked them myself, but it was already pretty warm and bright at 10am. Two flats are now waiting to be made into jam tomorrow morning.

In preparation for dinner I've marinated the flat iron steaks, made potatoe salad, whipped up a key lime pie (with key limes!) and have white corn on the cob waiting to go into the pot. I'm looking forward to dinner! ;-) I had to take a picture of the key lime pie, since its my first attempt and it looked pretty. It will look prettier with its whip cream and lime zest later too:

Thursday afternoon I stopped in at JoAnn's to pick up some ceramic glue and found a copy of June's Simply Knitting magazine on the stand, 10% off. This is a UK magazine that always has a goodie included with the actual magazine and often a bonus insert. This one had some bamboo dpns and a dpn holder as well as a cool sock pattern:

This year the Honeyberry had favorable conditions and produced more than two or three berries:
I'm going to probably blend them in with a milkshake. ;-)

I showed the pink superwash that was given to me. I spun up what was on the bobbin at the weekly spinning on Wednesday. It was approximately 1.4 ounces. I weighed out 1 ounce this morning and spent the afternoon between projects spinning it up. It's my contribution for Day 1 of Tour de Fleece. I'm part of two wildcard teams: Fleece Bottom Girls and Portland Spinnerati. I want to finish up the pink and try to get the one pound of purple Jacob I picked up at Dublin Bay during the Seattle-PDX Yarn Crawl back in January. The pink:

Last night I figured out that the reason why I had 'so much leftover yarn' for the Bonsai Swing Top was because I was almost done with the back portion. I had conveniently forgotten I was supposed to do two pieces of the bottom skirt. I had really hoped to get this done over the weekend and be able to take in to the shop on Monday. I'll see how far I get but I'm certainly not holding my breath on that one! I forgot to take a WIP pic of it today, so will try for tomorrow.

Tour de Fleece means that there will most likely be more blog posts, shorter too. ;-)

Have a happy and safe 4th of July celebrations!