Tuesday, August 07, 2007

I'm so blue.

I won at the fair

Look at those shiny blue ribbons! I hope you don't mind if I indulge in this moment of head-swelling pride. My Komi Mittens and Vertical Stripes Pullover won "first premium" in their respective categories at the Cheshire Fair. The sweater was even a last minute decision on my part; I figured I'd throw it in, just for the heck of it. Good decision, I guess. I did have very high hopes for the mittens. They're perhaps the most technically sound project I've ever knit, in addition to being visually striking. I admit that I would have been disappointed if they didn't win. But I think the sweater does have its flaws, and I was pleasantly surprised to see it come out on top.

I don't knit to win shiny ribbons, but it is a confidence booster. I have the best sweater and mittens in the entire county. Imagine that! I've not been sitting on my laurels, though. I've spent the week since my last post in serious swatch mode, working on the Not-Interweave-Socks (uh, I think they need a better nickname), as well as a side project.

My little side project got started because I discovered that the yarn I had bought for my main sock design project just wasn't right. There isn't anything at all wrong with the yarn, but the knitted fabric didn't have the sturdiness or stitch definition I really want for this project. (For the record, that yarn I'm no longer using is Lisa Souza's 100% merino sock yarn. It's incredibly soft, the semi-solids are beautiful, the yardage is fantastic, and I enjoyed knitting with it. It will be used with love in another project, but not in this one.) I asked a few friends for their recommendations for sock yarn that would work with my project, and am saving up their recommendations for when I publish the pattern. I ended up going with what my original (lost) swatch was knit in -- Harrisville New England Shetland. The gauge and fabric is right, the stitch definition is enough to make my knees weak, and the heathered colors are frankly more gorgeous than 99% of the hand dyed yarn I see people mooning over all over the internet. I live only 12 miles from Harrisville, so was able to go to the store in person on Saturday to choose the perfect color.

Harrisville New England Shetland

I didn't have to think about it. That color jumped right off the shelf. Lilac -- a perfect match with my pattern. The actual knitting is coming along slowly. I was about halfway through the leg when I realized that there were a couple of small changes I wanted to make. I was very good natured about starting over. This design is my baby, and it's worth every second it takes to get it just right. I'm proud of it already, and want to be as proud of it as possible when it's eventually published. Details count, and details there will be. In fact, I'm still working out a few details, which means more swatching tonight, before I continue with the leg. I need to prepare for things that come later down the leg.

During the several days between when I realized the Lisa Souza yarn wasn't destined for this pattern and when I could make it to Harrisville to buy my yarn, I played around with a variation on the short row heel. It was pretty freeform, without notes or a lot of research, but it was a good start. Eventually I'll have to sit down and more systematically figure out how to make things look and act exactly as I like. I think it might be a good project for when I'm working on the Autumn Color Cardigan again, and need a little colorwork break.

I also spent some of that time doing some last minute swatching for Brenda's upcoming Brother Amos sock pattern. It's a fabulous pattern, full of thoughtful, interesting details, as well as a bit of humor. I hope you all give a little to her tip jar when the pattern is out, so you can get your own copy. It will be more than worth it.

I won't be able to post much about my sock design, because I still think I'm going to submit it to Knitty. While I'm working on that, I hope to bring you a book review or two. A publisher was kind enough to offer me two review copies of new knitting books, and I think I have enough that's interesting to say about at least one of them to make a decent blog post. While I'm not providing you with photos of knitting (I know, secret knitting on blogs is annoying, even if you're the one doing it), I can entertain you with other photos. I've finished uploading and organizing the photos from our California trip. The entire collection can be found here, organized by day so it's not so overwhelming.

precariously perched tree 1
(See, don't you want to go look at all of them, now?)



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Beautiful work - congratulations on the Ribbons.....and I LOVE that tree - clinging up there...amazing.

8/07/2007 7:29 PM  
Blogger Becki said...

Congratulations! You definitely deserve them!

8/07/2007 7:32 PM  
Blogger fluffbuff said...

Congratulations! They are both beautiful.

8/07/2007 7:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good luck creating and perfecting your sock pattern! Given your usual impressive attention to detail, I can only imagine how great the results will be with this above-and-beyond detail attention.

Awesome picture!

8/07/2007 8:07 PM  
Blogger Rachel said...

Congratulations on the wins! They're both gorgeous. I've just started reading your blog, (funny how many more blogs you can keep track of with an aggregator) I can't wait to see the socks!

8/07/2007 8:18 PM  
Blogger Theresa said...


8/07/2007 8:32 PM  
Blogger Meg said...

Bravo! Your ribbons are well-earned. And the judges knew which colour would make a Bowerbird happiest!

8/08/2007 5:29 AM  
Blogger Tracy said...

Your colorwork looks like absolute perfection. No wonder you earned the blue ribbons! Congratulations!!

8/08/2007 9:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Congratulations on the wins! I agree with the judges - wonderful work in both execution and also visually pleasing.

8/08/2007 11:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Congratulations on your ribbons! The mttens in particular are stunning. Beautiful work!

8/08/2007 1:15 PM  
Blogger Molly said...

Congrats! Those are well-deserved wins, both of them.

And thanks for the Sock! Merino info--I'm hoping to use it in a sweater soon, and while I won't need cotton-level stitch definition, it's better to have all the information.

8/08/2007 3:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Congratulations! It's always cool to know that you can do something so well that even the critics recognize it. :D

8/08/2007 8:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Congratulations! You're a genuine award winning knitter!

That yarn is swoon worthy. Wowza.

8/09/2007 12:49 AM  
Blogger AnneB said...

Deserved blue ribbons for you ! Congratulations. Your trip photos are inspiring to hike in your footsteps. 12 miles from Harrisville? Oh my - I'd live there. I'm 100 miles away and still get there occasionally.

8/09/2007 4:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Congrats on your blue ribbons! You deserved them, I mean, look at your work! It's fantastic! And we all need pride boosters now and again :) Liz M of www.chocolateprincess.typepad.com

8/10/2007 11:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I had no idea that you could still enter your knits for prizes at fairs and such (very ignorant of me I know). But if I were you I'd be way puffed up with pride. Great hand knits and blue ribbons how much better can it get than that?

8/10/2007 9:54 PM  
Blogger Rebecca said...

Congratulations on your blue ribbons! I get encouraged by that, too. One of these years I need to enter something.

8/11/2007 10:50 AM  
Blogger Romi said...

Woooo! Congratulations! :)

8/12/2007 6:33 PM  
Blogger Terri said...

Congratulations on the blue ribbons.

8/12/2007 7:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Congrats on the ribbons! They're wonderful pieces!

8/14/2007 1:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

dude. you're awesome.

8/17/2007 10:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lovely work. Congratualtions on the 'blues' That is quite an achievement

8/22/2007 2:42 AM  

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