What I've been working on: this won't take long, so I'll get it out of the way first. I've spoken before about how much I love the top-down, no-sew patterns from Knitting Pure & Simple. I can't recommend them enough for folks who would love to knit a sweater, but shudder at the thought of somehow getting sleeves, fronts, backs, etc. sewn together. Well, I recently got a new KP&S pattern (#1506, Lightweight Top-Down Baby Cardigan), and I decided to test it out with sock yarn. I don't know why, but I seem to have this tunnel vision when it comes to sock yarn: it's hard for me to think of it as being not just for socks. But this past spring, I broke out of that rut a bit when I began using sock yarn for my Heidi Bears African Flower crocheted animals, and I decided to go a bit farther and use it for a baby garment. After all, it's predominantly a natural fiber (in my case, wool); it comes in several different options, including self-patterning and self-striping; and it's machine washable, something I consider essential for children's garments, unless we're talking about those priceless heirloom bits.
So I made KP&S #1506 using Knit Picks' Felici sock yarn in the Ever After colorway (I don't see this colorway currently on offer on their website -- I hope it returns in the future!). And this is the result:
Isn't that just so cute? Felici is a self-striping yarn, so no annoying yarn ends to weave in at the end of the project. And after complaining that I had no buttons, lo and behold, I found these in my button box -- they matched the green of the yarn perfectly!
I used two 50 g balls of Felici, and had some left over -- not enough, unfortunately, to make a hat. But I think I can "frog" the hat and get some little socks out of what's left. If I do, I'll share photos with you!
Now, on to the really beautiful stuff ......
State Fair needlework: I can't wait to share the photos of the winning needlework entries at the State Fair with you! Unfortunately, I couldn't photograph every blue-ribbon winner, but I tried to get at least one photo of the Best of Show in each category. I need to apologize in advance for the photo quality. The hand-knitted and hand-crocheted items are kept in beautiful old display cases, enormous things of oak and plate glass, similar to what one found in old-fashioned department stores. The lighting in the cases is fluorescent, which doesn't yield the best photography. Also, owing to the height of the cases and the crowding of the items within, it's a bit tricky to get any photo at all of some things. Still, I hope you'll at least get an idea of the wide variety of work on display; and if you're interested in making the trip to Louisville, go to the Fair's website for information about hours, admission, parking, etc.
First, a look at the Best of Show for the entire Knitting Division:
You can see the difficulties I had in photography! What you're looking at is a christening garment for a baby boy. It has been knit to look like a tuxedo shirt, complete with cuffs and cufflinks, and has a matching hat. There is no photo I could get that does justice to this project, and its Best of Show rosette is well-deserved! I did manage, through a bit of stretching and lens-changing, to get a less-than-sterling photo of the winner from above ...
Those three bright circles are the reflections of the ceiling lights on the glass. But you can, if you look closely, see the garter stitch "tucks" in the bodice, like a real tuxedo shirt. Someone exercised a lot of creativity and exceptional technique in making this. That baby, whoever he is, is one lucky young'un!
Here are many of the other blue ribbon winners from the Knitting Division. I wasn't able to read the exhibit tags for all of them, but for the ones I could read, I've included the Class in which the item won.
|Knitted/felted bag, First Prize, Class 62 - Hand Knitted/Felted Item|
|Intarsia cape, First Prize, Class 63 - Hand Knitted Stole, Shrug, Wrap, Shawl or Poncho|
|Fox amigurumi toy, First Prize, Class 66 - Knitted Item, Other|
|Pullover sweater, First Prize, Class 54 - Hand Knitted Item Using Aran Stitch|
|Cabled afghan, First Prize, Class 51 - Knitted Afghan|
|Lacy baby socks, First Prize, Class 60 - Hand Knitted Baby Booties|
|Cabled socks, First Prize, Class 64 - Hand Knitted Socks|
Now, for some crochet work. I absolutely could not get a good photograph of the Best of Show for the Crochet Division, and I regret that, because there's no words of mine that can do it justice. Those of us who like crocheting flowers, leaves, and other applique bits must rejoice, for this garden-themed afghan was simply bursting with crocheted blooms.
My photo doesn't do it justice at all. In person, it is simply splendid.
Here are some of the other First Prize winners from the Crochet Division:
|Baby shoes, First and Second Prizewinners, Class 75 - Crocheted Baby Booties|
|Christening gown, First Prize, Class 77 - Crocheted Baby Dress|
|Jeffrey the Dog, First Prize, Class 78 - Crocheted Item, Other|
|Blue doily, Showcase Exhibit, Class 79 - Crocheted Doily|
I didn't photograph any of the quilts. Quilts comprise the lion's share of the textile exhibit. But take my word for it, they are glorious. My late friend, quilt expert and teacher Amelia Sparrow, took home blue ribbons for many years.
Other needle arts were well-represented, with the exception of hardanger and pulled-work embroidery. There seemed to be only one entry, and I wasn't very impressed with it, so I didn't photograph it. However, here are some of the other winners in the various needle art categories:
|Jacobean pillow, First Prize, Class 120 - Hooked Item Other than Rug|
|"Hello Kitty" dress, First Prize, Class 177 - English Smocking (Geometric Pattern), and Best of Show in Smocking Division|
|"How Great Thou Art", First Prize, Class 177 - Framed Crewel Embroidery|
|Fairy, First Prize, class unknown (one of the many cross-stitch classes), and Best of Show in the Hand Embroidery and Counted Cross Stitch Division|
|Baltimore-style sampler, First Prize, Class 161 - Cross Stitch Sampler, and Best of Show in the Sampler Division|
|Band sampler, First Prize, Class 174 - Counted Embroidery and Combined Techniques|
|Needle book, First Prize, class unknown (I just love needlebooks!)|
|Tatted necklace, First Prize, Class 175 - Needle or Shuttle Tatting, and Best of Show in the Needlework Techniques Division|
Well, there you have it -- all the winners I managed to photograph! There were, of course, many more, but I ran out of time and energy to get them all. I'll do better next year.
I hope you've enjoyed sharing my trip to the 2016 Kentucky State Fair! Don't forget, coming up the first weekend in October, I'll be at the Kentucky Wool Festival in Falmouth. It promises to be great fun, and hopefully there will be lots of terrific photo opportunities. In the meantime, remember to share these posts with friends who might also enjoy them -- follow me on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram (although I confess, I'm rubbish at keeping Pinterest and Instagram updated) -- and I'll see you next week!