Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Knitting at the Los Angeles County Fair 2011

The Los Angeles County Fair is in full operation this month.  I entered 7 items to the Knitting category and one item to spinning.  Here is what I submitted and what they won.
I'll start with the best awards first.
Here is a sock pattern named Chuncho. I knit it in BMFA Socks-that-Rock wool yarn.
I won the Judges Award of Merit and a Blue Ribbon 1st place.
Chuncho socks Fair 01

Here they are at home after I finished them.
Chuncho 05

Next: This pattern is called Rimefrost by Anne Hanson. She is one of my favorite designers. The lace pattern is like snowflakes. I knit it in BMFA Socks-that-Rock wool yarn.  I knit my sister Susan a  pair in this pattern but in pink.
I won a Blue Ribbon 1st place.
Rimefrost at Fair 01
See them there by my boob?
Carol & Rimefrost 01
Here they are at home.
Rimefrost 01

Next: This pattern is called Tree of Life Mittens.  The purple yarn here is BMFA Socks-that-Rock wool and The Woolen Rabbit Harmony merino wool in gold.  This is a fun pattern.
I won a Red Ribbon 2nd place.
Tree of Life at Fair 02
Here they are at home.
Mittens & Pepper 01

Next: are my NMH#3 Selbuvotter Mittens by Terri Shea.  They are knit in blue/green Noro Silk Garden Sock, and in Jamieson's Shetland Spindrift color Rye.  This was my first stranded knitting project. Ever.
I won a White Ribbon 3rd place.
Colorwork Mittens 02
At home:  The front side
NHM #3 Selbuvotter
At home:  the palm side.
Selbuvotter Mittens NHM #3

Next: This pattern is called Cadence. It was the ravelry group SKA 2010-2011 July Sockdown mystery sock by VeryBusyMonkey.  She asked all of us for suggestions for the name of the sock. I knew that she had horses and she did dressage.  So the term Cadence was just right. Of all the suggestions she picked mine.  The yarn is The Sanguine Gryphon Skinny Bugga. It is merino wool and cashmere. Very soft.
I won a White Ribbon 3rd. place.
Cadence Socks 02
Here they are at home:
Cadence 09 fav

Next: This sock pattern is called Winnie.  They are by designer Carrie of IrishGirlieKnits. They are named after her beautiful aunt Winnie who they called Mimi. She just went to be with Jesus this week. Bless her heart.
The socks are knit in The Sanguine Gryphon's Skinny Bugga merino wool and cashmere.
I won the White Ribbon 3rd place.
Winnie Socks at Fair 02

Here is Winnie at home:
IWinnie Sock107

Next: And then some handspun yarn.  This is YAK from Crown Mountain Farms. I spun it to a light worsted weight. It is a 3 ply, navajo plied.  It is so soft. The top is from Tibet and then Klaus of CMF dyed it to these beautiful colors.  This Yak was a contest gift from Klaus. It was my very first time to spin yak. I spun it from the fold because the fibers were rather short and downy soft.
I won a White Ribbon 3rd place.
Handspun Yak 01
At home:
CMF Yak spun prewash1
And at home in the roving/Top stage:
CM-Yak Tibetan Dreams

Next:  The last item I entered into the L. A. County Fair knitting competition was a sweater. I thought it would do very well and I will tell you why in a moment. This sweater won NOTHING.  I'm not being greedy.  Or snobby.  I just know that I worked harder and longer on this project than any of the others.  I can see that the judges love stranded color-work knitted items.
First before my rant I will show you my sweater.
Sprossling Fave Vert.dec
Sprossling Fave 01

Sprossling Fave 02

Sprossling 02
Sprossling ribbon 001

This pattern is named Sprossling by Anne Hanson. Anne writes a great pattern, precise, with diagrams and all the math you need. Very clear directions.  I used a beautiful yarn. The Sanguine Gryphon's Bugga of merino wool and cashmere.  Here is what Anne says about this sweater on Ravelry:
A close-fitting, ribbed lace cardigan in seven sizes (XS, S, M, L, 1X, 2X, 3X), with set-in sleeves, jewel neck, and offset body shaping. All pieces are knit flat, bottom up, and seamed.

This sweater took me 9 months to knit. There are 5 pieces, 2 fronts, 2 sleeves, 1 back. Then you knit the button bands including buttonholes. You then knit the neck.  There are 4 vertical darts knit into the lace for waist shaping.  This is not an easy task.  I kept the lace pattern going at the same time I decreased the stitches in a column to the waist and then I increased back to the original stitch count to make the dart. 
Every piece is steamed blocked. Then seamed with the mattress stitch so it looks like it was knitted at the seams.  The sleeves are set in like when you are sewing a jacket.  After seaming the sleeves, sides and shoulders you knit the button bands. I wove in every dangly yarn end. 
The sweater takes some time to finish but the result is lovely.  

I added some grosgrain ribbon behind the buttons. I wanted a sturdy band to sew the buttons onto. I didn't want any sagging or stretching of the knitted fabric.  
I steamed the whole sweater with a damp towel laid over it and holding the steam iron above the towel. The sweater came out really lovely. 

A nice lady on the Ravelry Knitspot group told me that this sweater looks deceivingly simple.  But still I just don't understand why a mitten knit in all stockinette stitch (my color-work mittens) wins a ribbon but a lace sweater with vertical darts, lace, seaming and massive work does not. 

End of rant. 

 I really am totally surprised that I did win as many ribbons as I did. I had to enter this Fair in June 2011, then take my knitting to the fairground in July 2011 and then wait to see what won in September 2011. A long process so my mind was thinking of what would do well. I guess going off of what other knitters think and commented on my Ravelry page I thought my only hope was my sweater and my chuncho color-work socks.  Go figure.

So that is the blog of my very first fair experience in all of my life.
This fair, L.A. County Fair is the largest fair in North America according to the Los Angeles Times newspaper.  So I am pretty thankful.

Have a great day and Happy knitting!!!!


  1. Carol, I'm just gobsmacked at all your success. Way to go! Beautiful knitting. I am also scratching my head over that beautiful sweater.

  2. WOW! congratulations. You should be very proud. Beautiful work, all of it. The true test of an object winning is it being used and loved. Enjoy that gorgeous sweater.

  3. Congratulations Carol! So inspiring to see all your pretty knits on display! I don't get the sweater not winning either, but it is GORGEOUS!

    And I agree, it was perfect that your Winnie socks won something last week. Thank you so much for your kind words and prayers.

  4. Ahhhhhh I love all your comments. Thank you so much.
    I will get a lot of use of my sweater this fall. It will be loved.
    I am very flattered I won anything at all.

    Your welcome Carrie. I hope you and your family are doing well. God Bless you

  5. Wow! Congratulations, Carol! It's so fun to see so many of your beautiful knits all together.
    I think you were robbed on the Tree of Life mittens, but they are a personal favourite of mine.
    Ribbon or no ribbon, our sweater is absolutely gorgeous and looks perfect on you. Wear it with pride!