GUESS WHAT TIME IT (almost) IS!

It’s aaaaaaaalmost FALL FAIR TIME!

Sign

As you may remember from last year, I am a HUGE fall fair fan. I just kind of love everything about them, a quality which has baffled a lot of my friends lately. But seriously, what’s NOT to love about them? Crisp weather (hopefully), adorable animals of all kinds, deep fried foods, farmer’s marketey produce and products, a midway, and exhibits full of hand made entries! I love love love fall fairs :)

Last year was the first year I entered things I had made into the fair since I was a kid, and it was definitely as fun as I remembered! I even won some ribbons, which was delightful.

A few days ago, I dropped off my entry form for this year’s fair. Eeeee! Not the actual entries yet, those don’t need to go in until shortly before the fair in a few weeks.

Entries!

So, based on those only slightly cryptic categories, can you guess what I’m entering? (You don’t actually have to guess… I’m going to tell you because EXCITEMENT!)

First, a plain sweater, which can only have garter, stockinette, and ribbing. Remember this guy?

Cozy!

Plain! And cozy :)

Next, a sweater with “fancy stitching”!

Shepherd

Basically, there are 3 categories of sweater – plain, fancy, and traditional aran. Even though this sweater has aran elements, I don’t think it’s a “traditional” aran. Hence, fancy stitching! I’m really really proud of this sweater, so I hope the judges like it.

The third entry is a baby’s blanket. I’m entering this happy thing!

A pop of colour!

I know the difficulty level is very low, since it’s all garter stitch, but I love the colours, so I’m going to enter it :)

Last thing! MITTENS! I’m entering these softie cabley beauties.

Here's to warm hands!

That’s it! I still have a few weeks to wait until the actual fair, but I’m really looking forward o it already. Are you entering anything in your local fair? If you never have, DEFINITELY consider it! It’s really fun, and helps to support agricultural fairs so they can continue to exist. Yay fairs!

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WOOOO FALL FAIR! :D

I really, REALLY love fall fairs. This week, someone asked me what I was most looking forward to at the fair, and I just could not pick only one thing… there is SO MUCH to see and do and eat!

(Disclaimer: I should warn you, this post has about one million photos.)

I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that I also entered some knitting and spinning this year, which was super fun.

Here’s what I dropped off on Friday for judging:

A pile of fair entries

That pile has two sweaters, a large shawl, a pair of mittens, and some handspun yarn.

I’m not even going to pretend that I didn’t head straight for the handcrafts room once I got to the fair – I really wanted to see whether I had won any ribbons! To my excitement, I did :)

Winning plain sweater!

The yarn for the sweater above is neat because some of it has a Vancouver Island connection! The pink and green yarn in the yoke is from Eastwin Farms, and was hand-dyed by Leola of Leola’s Studio. The natural yarn is from Juniper Moon Farm!

Winning Hooray sweater!

The yarn for this green cabled sweater is pretty special too – the 2012 Juniper Moon CSA share yarn!

In the Hand Knitted Shawl category - "Special Mention"!

Winning mittens!

I will definitely aim to enter again next year. Everyone running the fair and staffing the handcrafts room was really sweet, and seemed to be enjoying the fair as much as I do!  The handcrafts section was full of amazing things, from displays with information about wool and knitting to masterpiece creations, like a fully hand knit cornucopia! The genius of the i-cord green onions blew me away completely.

Wool facts! I did know this stuff, actually.

Knitting display

Incredible knit cornucopia on display!

Next up, time for some fair food. I went for a classic: a hot dog with fried onions!

Hot dog - a must!

After that, we checked out the vegetable, fruit, and flower exhibits. I have a totally black thumb, so I was amazed at the gorgeous produce people grew! Everything from giant squash to tiny cucumbers to HUGE kale to beautiful dahlias.

Giant squash!

Giant Kale!

Tiny cucumbers!

Longest beans

Neat tomatoes!

Carnivorous plants

Dahlia!

There was also some incredible baking on display, like this multi-seed challah!

Challah with many seeds

A fair wouldn’t be a fair without tons of amazing animals, either. There were sheep, goats, birds, bunnies, and both alpacas AND llamas galore!

Sheep sign!

Whoa, sheep sign!

Sheep butts

Sheep deets

Goat buddies

Alpaca!!

Serious flowing mane action.

Oh hello pretty!

Llama butts

Winner of best hair feathers

Lovely duck

Sweet gray dove

Hello soft rabbit!

OMG BUNNIES

We even caught the end of some recreational agility dog races, which were so fun to watch. I don’t think I’ve ever seen such happy excited dogs and trainers!

Dog races!

We finished out the fair with another must: mini-donuts!

Mini-donuts are integral to the fair!

I can’t wait until next year :)

See you next year, fair :)

Decisions, decisions…

So, you may remember, I posted a little while ago that this year, I’m entering some items in my local fall agricultural fair. I LOVE fall fairs, and I’m so so excited about being even a small part of this one!

I still plan to post about (and take some new photos of!) the knitted things I’m going to enter, but I’m also going to enter into one of the spinning categories (ooooh scary)!

I’m a fairly inexperienced spinner. I took a class at one of my local yarn stores about two years ago (I think) to learn how to spin on a drop spindle, and then my amazing woodworker brother-in-law subsequently turned me a ton of different spindles to use and play with. (I know, I really married into a family of awesome skills, eh?) I’ve spun lots of singles, and have tried both regular plying (just plying 2 singles together to get a 2-ply yarn), and chain plying, which yields a 3-ply yarn.

Still, I only spin on spindles, not a wheel; and I’ve only finished a very small number of yarns.

I do not expect to win anything in the spinning category I’m entering in the fair, but last year when we visited the fair, one of the women staffing the craft entry room chatted with me a bit as I admired the spinning entries. I admitted that I spin a little bit, and she encouraged me to enter even if I thought my yarn wasn’t great yet. She said many categories have only a few entries, and it helps them to maintain interest in the fair if they have many entries. I totally get that! So, I’m going to enter some yarn this year just for fun.

Since I’m not particularly pleased with the singles I’ve turned out, I’m going to put in one entry into the “plied yarn” category. And that’s all the catalogue says: “Handspun yarn, plied, not less than 25 yards”.

I’m debating between these two finished yarns:

fair spins 1

The top yarn is made from Fleece Artist merino sliver that I picked up on sale, on a whim, just to practice with. I learned how to chain ply with it! Even though it’s still certainly “advanced beginner” yarn, I am very proud of it, on a personal level. It’s proof that I learned a new skill, and to me, it really has that round, bouncy, “real yarn” look.

The bottom yarn is from an anonymous Corriedale braid that I picked up when I took my spindle class. It’s my best go at 2-ply, but it still has rather a lot of inconsistencies and uneven bits.

fair spins 2

There are things I really love about both yarns, and I feel good about them for different reasons. But, there also weaknesses in both: the gray 2-ply is a little bit crunchy, and the pink 3-ply is probably a bit overspun (I’ve been thinking of it in positive terms as “bouncy”).

I’m still deciding which of these I’ll enter (I can only enter one!)… and getting really excited about the fair!

Is it fall yet? :)

I did something exciting today!

Fair!

I dropped off my entry form for our local fall fair! It’s still summer weather where I live, but here, the fall fair happens on Labour Day weekend. The fair is coming up in just a couple of weeks, and entry forms were due.

I *really* love fall, it’s definitely my favourite season. So, as soon as summer starts to feel even a tiny bit breezy and cool in the mornings, I get excited.

I also REALLY love agricultural fairs, pretty much across the board. What’s not to love? Tons of cute and/or impressive animals, sometimes doing impressive stuff (one year our fair had an ALPACA OBSTACLE COURSE COMPETITION. OMG.)? Check! Delicious food that might be greasy or might be made from something grown very nearby? Check! Exhibits full of thing that people have grown or made with their very own hands? CHECK! Whimsy galore? Double check!

There is also a healthy dose of nostalgia mixed into my love of fairs. When I was growing up, my siblings and I not only attended but entered the fall fair every year. One year I entered a cross stitch sampler that I was very proud of (it did not win anything, how unfortunate). Another year I entered cupcakes decorated with the logo of the Toronto Blue Jays (those won first prize in kids’ decorated cupcakes – oooo :) My sister was jealous.) And my mom always entered in the adult craft categories. Usually, she entered something Christmassy – beautiful, handmade Christmas stockings with cross stitched scripture excerpts on the fronts, or a set of ornaments made for each child in the family. She often won, and definitely got several of the big flashy rosette type prizes over the years.

This is the first year I’m going to enter any fair as an adult, though. I’m a little bit nervous, but mostly I’m excited – and strangely, right now I don’t care at all whether I win anything. I’m just looking forward to seeing something I made out in the world where other people can engage with it, participating in local fiber arts and craft culture, and getting to eat a ton of corn dogs and mini donuts and probably pie :)

Sometime before I have to drop off my items to be (urk) judged, I’ll share photos of what I’m submitting so you can cross your fingers with me, if you’re the finger crossing type :)

Do you like fall fairs? Have you ever entered, or won? FAVOURITE FAIR FOOD? (Omg I cannot choose just one.)