August 26 through September 29, 2017
After nearly 54 years on this planet, I am less certain of my purpose than ever. I do, however, know my passion, and that is crochet. Only God knows if that has anything to do with my purpose because I can’t see it, but at least He gave me the ability to make things out of yarn and a stick or else I’d be truly lost. It does give me joy to make things for others.
So, while I may not have figured out my purpose, nor how it relates to crochet, this blog had a purpose and it has definitely strayed. I began this as a place to hold myself accountable for all of the projects I wanted to enter in the 2015 State Fair, after failing at my attempt to enter a couple of items in 2014. For a while, I was posting every day about my progress on whatever it was I worked on that day. Somewhere along the way, I started slipping to once every few days, to maybe once a week, to a couple times per month. And then I fell off for a few months when I accidentally missed the turn-in deadline in 2015 and then Bella died that November. (I can’t believe she’s been gone almost 2 years!)
I also changed my posts from what I was working on to whatever might be on my mind. So, the main purpose of this blog has shifted. In fact, it doesn’t really have much of a purpose anymore. Maybe that will change as I prepare for 2018’s fairs, or maybe I’ll stop writing here at all.
Having said all that, I’m going to update you (yes, you, the sole reader) on my 2017 State Fair results. Tomorrow I’m going there to see everything on display. Maybe I’ll post pictures on Sunday rather than after another month passes. I never did post pics I took at the Fair last year.
This year I turned in entry fees for 18 items. That’s 7 more than last year! And, they cost me a dollar more as fees were increased. It seems ridiculous, in retrospect, to spend that kind of money on what amounts to some ribbons and a little bit of ego boosting. I could’ve bought more yarn with that money! But, I guess if I were able to write it off on my taxes, I could count it as Entertainment. When you rarely leave your house, Entertainment comes where you can get it.
Let me back up for a second. For those of you (whoever “you” are) who don’t know me, I don’t stay in the house due to physical or mental illness. I work from home, and I’m one of those freaks who is reliable and responsible, so I don’t sleep, watch TV, or even crochet during the hours of 8am to 5pm. Now, I may spend time on the Internet, but I have always had “down time” over the 25 years I’ve done this job, and that’s when I check news & email, write a blog post, look at crochet patterns, or window shop for yarn. I always get my work done though. As for after 5pm, I really don’t have much of an incentive to go anywhere. My friends all have families, so they can’t drop what they’re doing on a Tuesday to go do whatever with me. And, to be honest, at this point in my life, I’d rather be home crocheting and binge-watching Netflix or Prime. If something special is happening, like the Fair or the RV show I went to with friends a few weeks ago, I’m outta here. But, on an average day, it’s too much work to get dressed in more than what I have to wear to walk the dog, lock up Tilly in her kennel, and then worry that her barking lasts for most of the time I’m gone. I suppose someday I will be able to leave her without the barking, and maybe someday after that I will be able to leave her like most normal dogs who sleep on the couch while their owners are away (like Bella did). But, I don’t trust her yet. Last week, she managed to get some papers off my desk while inside her kennel and chewed them up. Luckily, it was a crochet pattern and a rent statement that I can reprint, but it showed me she’s unreliable about keeping her lips off my stuff.
OK…so…back to the Fair. 18 entries turned into 17 because I hated one item. I changed up what I was entering in the Knit & Crochet Felting category at the last minute, and I ran out of time to perfect it. I’ve now got about 10 months to fix it.
Here’s what I did turn in and where they placed (or didn’t). Let’s start with what came home without a ribbon. I’m not resentful about these like I was with the blanket last year.
These 2 items were entered in Holiday categories, which can be any kind of craft. So, I’m competing against a much bigger pool of people than just those who crochet. One was entered in the Christmas Ornament category and it’s the same pattern I used to make a gift for each of the guys at work last year. I hope they liked theirs more than the Fair judges liked this one. The other was entered in the Holiday Table Decoration category, which is quite broad. Last year my Christmas doily got a 3rd place ribbon. This one is, admittedly, not as nice. The metallic thread made it difficult to block. I like it, but it probably wasn’t “Fair-worthy.” This is one category I may skip next year as it appears doilies aren’t really favored to win. Unless I find time to make a really cute mice & sleigh display that I’ve had on my radar for years.
Now for the Honorable Mentions.
I’m not too surprised my little ghost got an HM in the Halloween Table Decoration category. Again, lots of competition. I am happy he got anything at all, and he will be on display tomorrow.
I have varying levels of emotion about the rest of my HMs, including a bit of resentment about one of them.
(I neglected to take a photo of the shawl after blocking, so it looked better than this when I turned it in.)
First, I had a Hat and a Shawl that I thought would place higher, but I’m OK with them at least getting a ribbon. I’m a wee bit disappointed about the Hat because I absolutely love it. However, the Shawl was up against a ton of competition (one of the most-entered categories, aside from Afghans). In fact, when I dropped off my items, I even saw another shawl that used the same pattern as mine. Not surprising, since it’s one of the most popular patterns on Ravelry.
My Sunflower got an HM in the Doilies up to 18″ category. The first year I entered, I got a 3rd place in this category, but last year I also got “just” an HM. I’m going to have to step it up for next year. I love this doily though, and it was started as a gift for a friend, so she’ll get it when it’s done being displayed at the Fair. It will be fun to see it there tomorrow with her.
Finally, this is the HM that makes me scratch my head. Last year, I lost 1st to a giant zebra head and felt NO remorse over that because it was spectacular. This year, I think I lost to a lion’s head ’cause I saw it on the table at turn-in. I don’t know what I lost 2nd and 3rd to, but I intend to look tomorrow. Normally, I just wander around and look at everything, without trying to spot my competition. This time, though, I’d like to know. Last year I just happened to see what got 2nd over my little doggie who got 3rd, and I was perplexed, based on what I know about crochet and I know what pattern they used. This year I want to know what beat out my amazing (in my opinion) little fox. He wasn’t easy, and he’s one of my favorite items I’ve ever made. So, I love him even if the judges didn’t.
OK, now we’re up to the 3rd place ribbons. There’s just 1.
As I write this, I’m realizing that I may be “wasting” my time on all these Holiday categories. I’m not really into this for the ribbons, but I do enjoy them. I’d be lying if I said I do it only for the fun of it. Winning is part of the fun! I like this, which was entered in the Valentine Decoration category, but would I have been able to make, say, an afghan if I hadn’t been making all these holiday items? Plus, at $5 per entry, it would make more financial sense to enter 1 afghan instead of 5 holidays. We’ll see what happens next year. I do love pairing projects to the various categories I know I have the skills to enter.
There’s also just 1 2nd place ribbon.
I’m thrilled that my little tree earned a 2nd place ribbon in the category known as “Christmas Tree, Felt or Other Fabric.” It was fun to make. You can’t tell from this picture, but I used lots of different shades of green yarn thanks to my hoard of mini skeins. Some of them are very nice, not-cheap yarns that I have been able to acquire through swaps offering mini skeins. I couldn’t afford (or would choose not to buy) some of these as full skeins due to cost, but I get to work with the yarn anyway through minis. Love ’em!!
Get out your calculators now, so you can do the math and figure out how many entries earned 1st place blue ribbons this year. 17 entries – 2 no ribbon – 5 HM – 1 3rd – 1 2nd = drum roll… … …
8 1st place ribbons! My best showing ever, so I am very happy and proud of myself.
First, the 2 that I was most surprised about.
The doily was made in 2016, but you’re allowed to enter items made within the past 2 years. It wasn’t my first or even second or third idea. Problem was, the doilies in this category have to measure up to 12″ and the others turned out (or were turning out) larger, despite what the pattern said. So, with time running out, I chose this over some others in my stash, and it actually came in 1st. I was really surprised since it seems that the Fair judges prefer solid color, more traditional doilies. The little snowman mat is from an ancient pattern. I actually made one of these as a Christmas gift not long after I learned how to crochet over 25 years ago! I ran across the pattern in my cabinet this year, and I decided to whip one up for the Filet Crochet category. I don’t think there was much competition. Next year I’ve got ideas to make a really pretty table runner that will be more elaborate and “Fair-worthy.”
The next 2 are items I had a lot of fun with and had no expectations that they’d show so well.
The baby sweater & booties were made without any baby in mind to receive them. I just loved all the watermelon sweaters that were being knitted by ladies in one of my Ravelry groups, so I went in search of a crocheted version. The bag is made from a mandala pattern out of a book of over 50 (I had plans to make each one, in order, and then do something with them…one of these days). I chose this one because it was “dense” and I wouldn’t need to sew in a liner. I love how it turned out. The pic does not do justice to the color of the yarn. The main color is more teal than the blue it appears to be. I also found a great source for purse handles and similar things at a site in China that has amazing customer service, cheap shipping, and reasonable prices. Check out 8seasons.com if you need that kind of thing.
The last 4 are the ones I’m most proud of, for various reasons. Either they took a lot of time, or they came out nicer than I expected, or both.
The red Jamie vest took me over 2 years to complete! I had lots of months where I did nothing with it…in fact, I think there was actually nearly a year where I didn’t touch it. But, I loved it the whole time. There was no reason it took me so long, except that I knew it was something just for me, and I didn’t put a priority on finishing it. I’m very happy that it’s now done and also earned a blue ribbon, despite the cat fur on it. When I was blocking it, I left the room for 2 minutes, and when I came back, Maxi had sprawled across it. Pins and all. The little blue sweater was designed by one of my favorite designers (Brenda K.B. Anderson), and I’ve made a number of her designs over the years (including the felted bag that won 1st last year). I loved making the sweater and, yes, the dachshund does go all the way around the back. I won 1st in this category last year, too, and my toddler sweaters have earned special recognition at the last 2 county fairs as well, so I hope to find another amazing design to work on for 2018.
Finally, these 2 items are probably my favorites of the year (in addition to the little fox). Both were designed by the same person (Johanna Lindahl, Mijo Crochet), and both use my new favorite yarn, Scheepjes Catona. The shawl incorporates the same color palette used by the designer, although it would look amazing as a single color, too. I rarely work with so many colors because I suck at choosing them. However, when I saw this I literally gasped and knew I had to make it. I also rarely make the same pattern twice, but I have a few gradient skeins in my stash that may become another version of this shawl. As for the pillow, I’ve never made anything like this before, and I do see myself making more of these as well. I want to do a Christmas version next. My color choices for this were “borrowed” from another Raveler because they perfectly match my living room colors. Problem is, with a dog and cat who use the couch as their own giant pet bed, I may not be able to display this for fear of it becoming a chew toy or a giant blob of fur.
So, there you have it. Tomorrow I’ll see all of them on display. I’ll take pictures, and maybe I’ll post them before next year’s Fair. I don’t know what my next post will be about. Maybe about the Fair. Maybe about crocheting. Maybe about Trump. No, I’m going to keep my mouth shut about the last one. Not worth the time, the effort, nor the elevation of my blood pressure.
Until next time, Happy Crafting, or Happy Whatever You Do that Brings You Joy!