Saanich Fall Fair 2014!

Finally, the fall fair! We went last weekend, and I haven’t had time to share the news until now (because we also moved last weekend… busy times!) This post has kind of a ton of photos, so I hope you’re into that.

First, I won’t lie, I went to check out the Needlework Room, since that’s where my entries were! (In case you missed it, the post about what I entered is here.) Out of four entries, two won blue ribbons! SO EXCITED! Both the cabled mittens and the Shepherd Hoodie won in their categories :) The other two things just got to be part of the fair, which is also pretty excellent as far as I’m concerned. The Shepherd Hoodie also won the Victoria Knitters’ Guild award for best Fancy Knitted Sweater! So cool. I love fairs. (And if I’m honest I really like winning stuff too.)

Winning Mittens! (The white ones)

Winning sweater! (The white one, again)

My garter spectrum blanket!

Other awesome stuff we saw in the Needlework room: an incredibly cool knitted salmon, a crazy intricate knitted gingerbread house…

Coolest knitted SALMON!

Incredibly intricate knitted gingerbread

The whole room was full of amazing things, which of course I failed to photograph. Oops! I did snap lots of other cool fair stuff though. Vegetable dude!

Incredible vegetable dude

Tiny adorable plants!

Tiny tiny plants

Apples make me feel like fall is right there. Right?

APPLES GALORE!

Beautiful and leafy!

Thanks for the instructions 4-H!

How to Ice a Cake. Thanks 4H!

I ate these. Also mini-donuts which I failed to photograph :)

Hot dog. Onion Rings. Yes.

MOHAIR GOATS!

Regular goats and mohair goats!

ALPACA PARTY! I got to pet one. What.

ALPACA PARTY! I got to pet one.

Sheep haircut time! Just a trim.

Sheep in the beauty chair

Brad: “Do you know why some of them wear coats?” Me: “YES! It keeps their wool cleaner and prevents it from being discoloured by the sun. KNOWLEDGE!”

Sheep in coats

Sheep buddies :) Their faces are basically the cutest.

HI SHEEP FRIEND!

Cows

Sunflowers

Fluffy bunny

Prize winning eggs! This colour is bananas.

Prize winning eggs

Bye fair! I’m already excited and planning for what I’d like to enter next year.

Bye fair!

Is there a local fall or agricultural fair near you? I heartily recommend them :)

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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!

FINISHED Shepherd Hoodie!

Finally! Finished, blocked, buttons-sewn-on, totally dunzo photos of my Shepherd hoodie!

In case you need a recap (or you’re new – hello!!)…

Pattern: Shepherd Hoodie by Kate Davies

Yarn: The Shepherd & The Shearer by Juniper Moon (still available for sale here)

Buttons: Handmade antler buttons from Button & Needlework Boutique

I LOVE this sweater. I would knit it again in a heartbeat! The yarn was right up my alley: a little bit rustic, a lot unique. The pattern was well-written, easy to understand, clearly illustrated, and easy to adjust too. I’ll let it speak for itself from here :)

Shepherd

Shepherd

Shepherd

Shepherd

Shepherd

Shepherd

Button band

Button and tulip buttonhole

More photos on flickr, if you want all the gory sweaterey details!

I’m sad to be finished because it was SO fun to make, but I’m really, really excited to wear it :)

Shepherd Progress!

I have some actual exciting progress to show you on my Shepherd sweater! (Design by Kate Davies, yarn by the amazing Juniper Moon Farm — you can STILL get kits to make your own Shepherd or Shearer sweater right here!) This post is pretty photo heavy :)

Since my last update, I finished all the knitting and wove in lots of ends. First, I finished the hood knitting! Soooo much seed stitch.

Shepherd Hood

Then I handled all the yarn ends lurking on the inside of the sweater. Some people don’t enjoy finishing work and find it kind of a chore; I actually really love it! It feels so tidy and orderly, and the results are super gratifying.

Weaving in ends

Weaving in ends

Weaving in ends

Weaving in ends

Tools for end-weaving

Next up, blocking! I ran into a little speed bump… the sweater was way too big to fit into my sink, where I usually wash handknits.

Uh oh... not fitting in the sink

The solution? The bathtub of course!

Shepherd bathtime!

After a nice, loooong bath in warm water and Soak wash (I have the special Ravelry scent, and I love it!), I squeezed it out, squished in a towel, and laid it out for blocking. This sweater needs a fairly firm blocking hand, to make the cables really stand out properly and to get the right size. I blocked to a combination of pattern measurements and my own modifications (for example, I made the sleeves shorter, because my arms are shorter :) )

Blocking!

Button band blocking

Sleeve blocking

Since the sweater is kind of hefty, it’s still drying. (Well, also because I live in a very damp rainy place, and that’s not helping it to hurry up and dehumidify.) Hopefully in a couple of days I’ll have a dry, finished sweater to show you, with buttons sewn on and everything! I did get buttons, and I looooove them. More on that next time :)

Guess who has two thumbs and two sleeves?

This guy!

Two sleeves and the start of a hood!

Remember, this is Kate Davies’ Shepherd Hoodie knit in Juniper Moon’s limited edition Shepherd & Shearer yarn (which you can STILL GET right here!)

How about a super blurry selfie modelled shot? I’m expecting it to look a bit different once it’s been blocked, but you can see the general shape of the garment.

Blurry selfie!

Once the sleeves were finished, I moved on to the last big knitted element – the hood! Working the hood requires you to collect stitches on hold and pick up new stitches, from the front button band edges, up along the shaped fronts, and across the back. (Bonus cat hair in the photo! Thank you, cat, for spreading your body hair all over everywhere.)

Smooth pickups across the front

Tiniest hood progress!

Then there’s a sea of seed stitch to work!

Seed stitch ocean!

The hood requires quite a lot of yarn, so I ended up unravelling my swatch to reclaim the 30+g it had used up. Here’s the swatch yarn unravelled…

Ramen yarn?

…and after a soak and air dry! Much better.

That's better!

I’m so looking forward to having the finished sweater available to wear, because it’s been quite cold lately (cold for my corner of the country, anyway). But I’ll also be a tiny bit sad when the knitting is done. This piece has really been a pleasure to knit, and the yarn is an absolute favourite. I’ll be looking for more hard-wearing, lanolin rich yarns in the future, for sure: they’re awesome to knit with, and they result in garments that wear and last extremely well.

I admit that I’m looking ahead to what’s next too – a pretty, shiny lace project!

Shepherd Sweater: Sleeves, part 2!

I hope you’re into the Shepherd Hoodie, because it’s all hoodie all the time around here these days :)

I finished the first sleeve!! Aaah excitement! I modified the length and adjusted the decrease placement slightly to fit my actual arm. The cables look so lovely all long and lean!

Sleeve cables!

Here’s what the underside looks like – you can see that the cables in this section get a bit distorted as you integrate decreases into the pattern.

Underside of sleeve - decreasing in pattern

The cuffs are worked in seed stitch, and are designed to make a bell shape, which I find extremely charming.

Seed stitch progress

Sleeve cuff

I bound off my cuff using the plain old “Work 2, *pass second stitch over first stitch, work 1, repeat from *” method. I bound off purlwise, so that the bind off would be less visible from the right side of the work. (You can see how it looks on the inside of the cuff below.)

Sleeve cuff - inside bind off view

It was a pretty exciting milestone to finish the first sleeve. One more sleeve to go, then the seed stitch hood, weaving in ends, and buttons! I can almost see the finish line if I squint!

Seed stitch bell cuff

One sleeved sweater!

Shepherd Sweater: On to the SLEEVES!

The Shepherd Hoodie is really starting to look like an actual garment! SO exciting :)

First, I finished the upper back portion of the sweater body.

Body!

Upper back

Then, I joined the shoulders using the 3 needle bind off, which is a really cool technique. I think it creates a very tidy and pleasing finished look!

Shoulder Seam - 3 needle bind off

Here’s a wrong side view of the shoulder seam:

Shoulder Seam - Wrong Side

And here’s how it looks on the right side!

Shoulder Seam - Right Side

Next up: sleeves! The sleeves are worked in the round, from the shoulder to the wrist, and include a wedge of seed stitch in the armpit that gets decreased away as you work sleeve shaping. I’m working the sleeves using a long circular needle and the magic loop method. It’s my favourite for small circumference knitting! I don’t mind dpns for lighter weight yarns, like sock yarn, but for heavier weights, I prefer magic loop. (What do you use? I’d love to know!)

Shoulder Seam & start of sleeve!

Starting sleeve cables!

Sleeve!

My execution of the decreases in the seed stitch wedge is not as great as it could be; or, more accurately, my integration of the decreases into the rest of the seed stitch is not as invisible as I would have liked. HOWEVER, since it’s in the armpit (and who looks at armpits?!), I’m not going to rip it out.

Bottom of sleeve seed stitch wedge

In order to make sure the sleeves are a good size for me, both in terms of diameter and in terms of length, I’m trying the sweater on as I go. This is one of the great advantages of this type of sweater construction! I do want the sleeves to have some positive ease, so that I can wear other garments underneath, so I might not end up decreasing as much as the pattern suggests.

I feel like I’m getting so close to wearable sweater even though there’s a fair bit left – a sleeve and a half, the hood, and finishing work still to do! How’s your knitting going?

Shepherd Taking Shape!

Since my last Shepherd sweater update, I’ve made some exciting progress!

I finished up the right front, which was shaped with a combination of binding off stitches and decreasing at the neck edge.

Close up of front shaping

Right Front

Then I worked on the left front, shaped in the same way.

Left Front

Doesn’t it look pleasingly symmetrical? I’m starting to see “sweater” when I look at it instead of just “rectangular block of cables”!

Body without top back!

Now I’ve moved on to the center back portion of the body. It’s wider than the front pieces were, so it’s a bit slower going, but no shaping to keep track of! I’m looking forward to finishing this bit, because then I get to join the shoulders and start SLEEVES!

Even for such a large and labour-intensive project, knitting this sweater isn’t at all a slog. There’s constant evidence of progress to keep me feeling motivated and excited! I only wish it was small enough to carry with me on the bus ;)

Shepherd Update!

The last time I showed you my Shepherd sweater, I was making steady progress on the lovely, heavily cabled body, and generally gushing about both pattern and yarn’s considerable charms.

Shepherd before dividing!

I’m still totally in love with the pattern and the yarn – no surprise there. I know it’s been said (by me, and by others) already, but the yarn for this project is just SO so special. It’s not buttery soft like most of the commercial yarns available today, but it’s not really what I would call “rough” either. It just has more substance, more body, more crispness, and I loooove it. Also bears repeating: it just smells. so. fantastic. Lanolin is magical, and fragrant.

ANYWAY! I took a little break from Shepherd over the holidays, to crank out a pair of socks for a beloved whose feet were cold and whose office mates apparently had handknit socks made by their wives. Now my attention is back on the sweater!

Like my friend Amber, who is also knitting (and blogging!) the Shepherd hoodie, I’ve just divided for the fronts, back, and sleeves. (*waves* HI AMBER!) Before I divided, I worked the body length to about 16.25″, a little bit shorter than the pattern calls for, for my size, because I’m a bit shorter than, um, most eighth graders ;)

A bit messy

I prefer to put held stitches on extra circular cables, instead of waste yarn, so that they’re super quick to pick up again when I need them. So, that means my sweater looks like a bit of a hot mess right now. All is well, there are just a lot of extra cables flapping around!

Starting the right front!

Progress :)

I’m making progress on the first front piece, and getting really excited about being able to try on a sweater body sometime soon :)

Knitted Goods are Needed

Things are, predictably, busy this month. But yarn is still a constant for me, which is a VERY good thing. Because it’s been unusually cold the last week; knitted goods are needed!

I’ve been wearing wooly owls,

Owls!

And knitting with the brightest green,

Brightest green!

Hex!

And starting a sock for a beloved with cold feet.

Sock!

Hope your knitted goods are keeping you toasty and cheery, too :)