PA Farm Show Part 2

I, of course, submitted a bunch of fiber exhibits to the farm show as well.

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="640"] I took a new picture but I don't know where it went. You get this from back in the fall.[/caption]

First up was this jacket/sweater. This was knit up using Rambouillet yarn that I made from a fleece purchased at MD Sheep and Wool a few years ago. It is such a weird fiber. It almost has spongy like qualities. The project was not, in my opinion, particularly excellent work. Handspun makes things tricky (especially when I was learning a new spinning technique, and I actually ran out of yarn and was making more which is never ideal. But it was the best option I had for the knitted garment category. I like the clothing and textile categories because they give comments on their judging. The primary problem the judge pointed out was that I had blue pockets on the inside which she (assuming) didn’t understand.



Next was my knitted accessory. This is a tricky category because so many of the items I create fit into it and you can only submit one. I went with my Sochi Faberge. It was knit using handspun alpaca (Lance and Max) entirely during the 2014 Winter Olympics. I thought the pattern was an excellent tribute to the Russian hosts and I used gold, silver, and bronze beads to tie in with the Olympics. As much as I love this project it has a few visible mistakes so I was on the fence about submitting it. They do say however that often ones self is ones biggest critic as seems to be the case since I got third place! The judge left the comment that “tough category, many entries, keep entering”. Which makes me feel extra awesome since perhaps she was indicating that it may have deserved an even higher place if not for the volume of entries.



In December when I was pre-registering everything I decided I should whip up a crochet accessory. I found this awesome looking hat on Ravelry and filled out all the forms. Later when I was actually crocheting I found that the pattern was a bit tricky. As I was reading comments from others who had made the hat I saw that someone actually entered a hat using the same pattern last year and won the category at the PA Farm Show. It felt a bit weird to be entering it after that. But I got the hang of the pattern and really liked the effect. And it got third place!



Handspun yarn being the first category I ever entered I was aiming to have a strong contender. Spun during this years TDF there are over 1000 yards of this silk merino blend from just 2 oz of fiber spun using a trindle. I absolutely loved it and had high hopes. But alas, nothing. Doubly unfortunate is that there are no comments from the judges for anything but clothing/textiles so I don’t know what they are looking for. Ah-well now I get to think about what I can make for myself using the yarn.



I think I first saw a crochet Olaf appear on the facebook page of a friend. I thought it was awesome and hunted down the pattern and promptly made one the following weekend. It came out well but he was rather top-heavy. So I added my own improvements of pipe cleaners through his middle, rocks in the feet, and pipe cleaners through the arms. He was a big hit when I had him displayed in the office. And he got a third place. Oh! One last thing. At first I was going to enter him in as a “cloth toy - animal”. But then I realized he should probably be a “cloth toy - doll” which allowed me to choose another animal entry.



Lastly I entered a knit hedgehog. These are the same hedgehogs that I was making en-masse back in the spring when the trend was started as a gift project and then steam rolled into hopeful gift shop sales. I actually underestimated the amount novelty yarn needed and had to re-knit nearly the entire “quills” portion to get hedgie finished. But I’m glad I did since he got my one and only first place!

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="640"] Everything[/caption]

PA Farm Show, part 1

The Pennsylvania Farm show is kind of a big deal. There are no exact numbers but many thousands of people attend each year. Along with seeing all the animals and eating all the unhealthy fair-type food one of my favorite things is the “Family Living” section of the show. The Family Living Department is kind of like an old-type home economics program gone crazy. There are hundreds of different exhibition/competition categories. Everything from an apple pie to canned vegetables to quilts to woodworking to needlepoint. It is everything a crafter, especially one who tends to dabble in all sorts of crafts, could think of.

I am lucky enough to live maybe 2 miles from the Farm Show complex which makes entering “exhibits” into family living almost a no brainer for this crafter. I discovered such things were possible 4 years ago when I entered a single skein of yarn which was given an honorable mention. The year after that I entered 5 or 6 different items and netted some ribbons. Last year I was distracted by life and didn’t enter anything, so to make up for it this year I entered 14 items.

I branched out this year and entered some non-yarny things.

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="427"] There is a greeting card contest and I thought it would be fun to try my hand at quilling again. It’s been a long time since I quilled anything but once upon a time my Mother and Aunt did some wonderful pieces. After wandering around the interwebs for inspiration I settled on making this funky little tree. It felt kinda like something a Who might have in a Dr Seuss story. And it got third place![/caption]

 

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="640"] Wait this project is actually yarny. But the category was Hobbies: Christmas Ornaments so it wasn’t a fiber category. It seemed like it must be a huge category. But when my friends and I visited we could never find where they were all displayed so I really have no idea what the other entries were like. I just know that this “sheep ball” that myself and so many others seem to enjoy also got a third place.[/caption]

 

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="427"] At the ninth hour, so after Christmas before the Farm Show deadlines. I whipped up this little cross stitch. It didn't win anything but I think it's absolutely delightful and it makes me want to do much more embroidery.[/caption]

 

I don’t consider myself to be a serious photographer but I do like to take pictures and some of them are even pretty nice (I hope). So I found five photographs that seemed to fit in the competition categories.

Domestic Animals:

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="420"] Helo, who is actually dreadfully uncooperative when it comes to picture taking.[/caption]

Wild Animals:

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="420"] Up-close to a giraffe while in Animal Kingdom.[/caption]

Portrait and Personality:

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="420"] I actually kind-of cheated here. I love this picture of Father from our Peru trip but it was actually taken in 2013 which is against the rules. Shhhhh.[/caption]

Scenic:

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="420"] Love these flowers out in the spring along the Susquehanna. Although I do wish that daffodil was not quite so half dead.[/caption]

Still Life:

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="420"] And lastly we have yarn! This picture is kind of like the inception. I took a picture of yarn that I spun from fiber that I dyed from fleece that I processed myself. And holy moly it actually got an honorable mention. I’m probably most proud of this unexpected honor.[/caption]

 

Stay tuned in another day or two for the rest!

Tea Tuesday: Chocolate Pomegranate

Having tea has become one of the most beloved holiday traditions among the ladies of my family. This year I went with my Mother and Aunt back to one of our favorite tea rooms: The Talking Tea Cup, www.thetalkingteacup.com. There we each selected one of the holiday teas they had on the menu. Mothers choice of Chocolate Pomegranate was declared the favorite choice. It was good enough to purchase some to take home with us. And I am even luckier since she did all the buying but was still kind enough to send half of the tea home with me!

[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="225"] I cheated and found this picture on the interwebs.[/caption]

Chocolate Pomegranate is a black tea that also has little mini chocolate chips and bits of dried pomegranate spread through. It brews a deep brown cup of tea.

The aroma is quite possibly the best part of this tea. The fruit gives a wonderfully tangy note to the rich smell of chocolate that dominates.

Tasting the tea after smelling is quite surprising because the chocolate falls into the background. Instead you get a wonderful rich tea with the fruity and not at all tart taste of pomegranate. The chocolate however is still present its more of a warm background sometimes almost aftertaste.

It is quite excellent and I highly recommend it for something quite different but good.

Christmas Gifting

I planned very poorly for Christmas this year. Gifts were almost entirely made during December which really is never a good plan. But I like how everything turned out:

There were socks for my Uncle:



Extra colorful socks (by request) for Brandon:



They’ve been well loved and partially worn out already!

 

And slippers with thrums for my Aunt and for my Mother:









I tried to go as soft as possible with a grey wool alpaca blend and then hand dyed by yours truely merit angora fiber for the thrums.
Then because offhandedly Mother mentioned liking slippers up to her knees there were also leg warmers:



The last of these items were finished up on Christmas Eve at my parents. Really I ought to not cut things so close next year.