"Properly practiced, knitting soothes the troubled spirit, and it doesn't hurt the untroubled spirit either." ~ Elizabeth Zimmerman


Goodbye My Brother

Something truly awful happened yesterday afternoon. My wonderful brother-in-law, Chet, passed away. It was sudden. He and sis-in-law Diane were just settling down in a restaurant for his favorite meal, Fish and Chips, when he just-died. Doctors say a blood clot went into his heart and blocked his Aorta. What's especially ironic is that he'd just had a thorough physical 2 days before and was told he was in great health. He wouldn't die from a heart attack or stroke.

We are devastated. I don't know how I will live without Chet in my life anymore. I can't even comprehend it all. So, the blog is going to be set aside for a few days while we get about the business of mourning a truly great and wonderful man, Chester Arthur Park, who I am honored to call my brother.

Life is so fragile on this planet. Make sure you tell the people you love how much you do.

Take care


Workin' at the Fair Part 3

Busy busy busy busy. That's my life in a nutshell these days. Consequently I've fallen way behind on my Fair blogging. So I'm giving you fair warning (no pun intended). This is a long catch-up post.

Judging day (last Thursday, the 19th) was very interesting. My job was to bring the entries to the judges by category number, retrieve them from the judges when they were done, put the ribbons on them (Only Superintendents are allowed to pin the ribbons on the entries), and enter the award info on the list of entries. Then we send the info to the office to be entered in the computer.

I was quite impressed with the judges. There were two and they definitely knew what they were doing. We've had some judges in the past that were so bad I wondered if they even knew how to knit. But these two gals knew a whole lot about knitting, and judging. They had a huge and difficult job to do and they did it well. They turned everything inside out, examined seams, found dropped stitches in many of the items I wouldn't have (they carefully pinned each one with a safety pin so they couldn't run free), and even checked afghans to make sure they were 'square' and not wonky. Here's where blocking is really important, because unblocked afghans can be pretty wonky.

It was a long day-several hours of judging, so I understand that 'need' to go home. However, after the initial judging, there was still the job of awarding the premium ribbons which consisted of 3 grand champions, and 6 special premiums.The premiums were to be awarded in 3 categories: Adult Clothing and/or Accessories, Knit Afghans, and Novice knitter - 1st and 2nd Place for each.They did fine with the grand champions, but the special premiums were another story. They didn't want to take the time to figure out the last 2 categories. In fact, one judge vehemently refused to award them to any afghans. She wanted them to go to 2 adult sweaters. Other department superindendents told me this was okay. The judges could do what they wanted with the premium ribbons. So, instead of going to the office and checking with the boss that it was okay, I let the judges do what they wanted. Shouldn't have done that. Should have checked with the boss (and told the judges to sit down and do their job right).

The next day I had a mess to fix, and I was the one required to fix it. The mis-awarded premiums had to go to the specific categories they were for because that is what the sponsors expect and require. The job of awarding them fell to me. It wasn't hard to do. I knew which entries deserved them, but I felt so bad about allowing something that shouldn't have been and now people had extra work because of me (fixing the computer data). Lesson learned. Next year will be better.

I took pics of some of the entries to share with you.This is the Grand Champion winner for the Senior division. Click on the pic for a larger version.

It's a 40-inch doily knit with really really fine thread, size 50 or maybe even size 80 tatting thread. It is as close to perfect as knitting can get. I wish you could see the detail. It's amazing. The patience and skill it took to make this boggles the mind.

The knit felted basket on the left won Premium 2nd Place Adult Clothing or Accessory. Very well done. I didn't get a picture of the Premium 1st Place winner. Hmmm...I should have. It's really cute. A pair of felted sheep.

The sweater on the left won Grand Champion Adult Division. I don't particularly care for the design of this cardigan, but the workmanship is outstanding.

The one on the right got awarded an afghan premium. I had to remove it and put it on an afghan. The judges really wanted to give it some kind of special award because it was very well made. It was also knit by a man (judges didn't know that), which around here is a rare thing so I'm doubly impressed.

This is the afghan that won the Premium First Place-Knit Afghan award. A baby blanket with a lace pattern.

This little shawl was made by a Novice knitter. She did a wonderful job for a beginner, so she won the Premium First Place Novice Knitter award.

This dress won a blue ribbon. It's beautiful, and a clever idea.

Fabric is sewn to a knit bodice. The bodice is cables and knit sideways.

I love this vest. Don't know why. Just do.

This little fairisle baby set is so cute! It was knit by my friend Tami.

This elephant was made by my daughter Ruth, so I have to show it to you.

Please notice the blue ribbon. Besides the elephant, she also entered a pair of socks,

a scarf,

and a pair of fingerless gloves

which ALL won blue ribbons, and a hat that won a red ribbon.

 She entered a couple of crochet toys too. A lion that won blue

and a hippo that won Red.

Obviously, I'm a proud mother.

The day after judging day we started setting up the displays of all the entries. This was my favorite part. Making a really dull room look beautiful. We had to hang all the quilts up first. There are well over a hundred of them.

Then we (by 'we', I mean all the needle craft superintendents) were able to set up everything else. I did this display which is most all the baby clothing and toys in knitting, crochet, and sewing. The quilts hanging on the wall are made by children.

I love how some of the quilts were hung on the wall at angles rather than straight up and down. It makes the eye travel all down the wall so you notice a lot more.

The fair opened on Wednesday the 25th. I'm on duty each day walking the floor to keep an eye on things and answer questions.

Well, that's probably enough about that. My next blog entry will be about my entries and how I did.

Have a great day.


Workin' at the Fair Part 2

No pictures this time. I haven't had time to take any.

Yesterday was the second, and last, day for entering items in the Needlecraft building. Before going in, a bunch of us Superintendents and Entry Clerks met for lunch at Mulligans at the Coeur d'Alene Inn. I enjoyed myself and had an excellent Chicken Cashew salad. It's fun to get together with folks for lunch.
At the fair it was an incredibly hot day, and the building is one of those metal ones with no air conditioning. It was like working in an oven. I'm so glad I decided to wear shorts. The heat didn't bother me until around 6pm or so. Then I started feeling like my brain was being cooked. I drank plenty of fluids though. It was probably just getting tired from a long busy day in the heat.

We have a total of 154 knitting entries this year. It's down by just over 25% from last year, which isn't as bad as I was expecting. Actually, all the departments in our building are down about that much.

I have really enjoyed seeing all the entries. Some of them are amazing works of art. One lady entered a knit 40 inch round table cloth that took my breath away it's so gorgeous. The lace pattern features flowers that look a lot like Lily of the Valley. It's knit in really fine cottonthread. I figure at least size 50 crochet thread, or possibly tatting thread. Another lady entered a lace scarf that I can only describe as diaphanous. It's all lacy and white and fluffy and scrumptious. A gentleman entered a pullover knit all in cables and natural white wool with such perfect stitches I actually sighed.

There are some quilts, crocheted afghans, sewing projects, and cross stitch pictures that all of us had to oh and ah over they're so magnificent. I wish I could have taken pics to show them, but that wasn't possible.

There are quite a few entries from children too. One young lady, age 14, entered a whole bunch of knitted items including scarves, hats, purses, and whatnot. I had to write her name down so often I will probably remember it for ever. She returned the next day with 2 more entries. I say, "you go girl!". It's good to see young people getting hooked on knitting. We need them so the craft will live on after we're gone.

After we finished taking in entries we organized them by class number on tables so when the judging is being done it will be easy to find what we're looking for. It's all set up and ready to go.

My 'assistant superintendent' never showed up. I finally called her and found out she isn't coming at all (she's been ill). So we found a replacement. One of my entry clerks, Sandy, volunteered to do the job. She was doing it anyway, so I am glad she's actually going to get paid for the work she's doing.

I took daughter Ruth with me. I told everyone she was our designated slave and to please use her. We kept her very busy all day, and she was a great help. Having her there was much appreciated. It was also great fun working together with her.

Today I got the day off. I went to Yarnies where I laughed my head off as usual (such a funny bunch of ladies). I don't remember how we ended up talking about it, but I learned that Karen wants to have a real celebration for her funeral when she croaks (which is a long way off). She says she wants snacks, drinks, dancing, and everyone will have to wear a t-shirt that says "Lets put the FUN back in Funeral". It fits with her fun outgoing personality.

I also finished knitting and bound off the shrug I've been working on. I need to block it before I sew the sleeve seams. Won't have time for that until next Monday or Tuesday-maybe.

Tomorrow is Judging day at the fair. I have to be there about 9:00 am and we work until it's all done. Could be just a few hours, or it could be midnight before I get home. I guess I'll find out when it happens. I'm not doing any judging, but I have to assist them by taking the entries to the judges, entering ribbons in 'the black book' and whatnot. I'm looking forward to seeing how this process works. It should be interesting.

My niece Lynne and her son Austin are flying in from Cuba, Kansas tomorrow too. Lynne went to high school here in Rathdrum  and is coming to attend her 30th class reunion. She and Austin will be staying with us for a few days. Sweet Hubby is going to pick them up from the airport since I'll be busy with fair duties. I'm kind of excited about her coming.

I hope you don't mind my ramblings about my fair job. I decided I wanted to write about it here in my Journal so I can read about it later. I do like to go back and read old entries every once in awhile. It's entertaining.

Have a great day.


Workin' at the Fair

Today was the first day for bringing in entries for the North Idaho Fair and Rodeo. All needlecraft type entries like knitting, crochet, embroidery, sewing, quilting, tatting, etc are housed in Building 3.

 When I arrived I was given a large plastic box, referred to as "The box". I opened it up to find scissors, pens, paper clips, clothes pins (???), safety pins, tape, a ruler, a tape measure, some signs, various memos, and 2 black notebooks for recording the entry items. No instructions for either of them. So I picked some brains of Superintendents in other departments, and winged it. Oh yes, there was a badge that says Linda Jo Park Superintendent. Cool!

I am somewhat frustrated by the 'classes'-the categories for entering things, like Hand knit adult hat or cap and Hand knit baby style small afghan. There's nothing wrong with those two, but the list makes no sense at all. For instance, a pair of slip stitch socks and a pair of twisted stitch socks were entered. We had on our list plain, argyle, fairisle, cabled, and lace. (Just exactly what is 'plain' supposed to mean anyway, and shouldn't argyle be intarsia?) Neither pair fit in any of those. Thankfully, as Knitting Superintendent, I get to create whole new classes-which I did, with great glee. In sweaters we have pullover, cardigan, and vest or shell. They aren't divided up by stitch type like the socks are. I don't even want to think about the afghan classes. It makes my head hurt. (At least they removed the Granny Square Afghan class from 2 years ago-I kid you not!) I think a complete revamp of knitting classes is in order.

Unfortunately, entries are way way down this year so far. We've got less than half that was expected. I think it's because for the first time they did not print the entry information books. It's an online only thing now. A lot of people around here don't own a computer. Or if they do, they didn't get news of the change. We've had a lot of complaints about it today. Change is hard for humans.

I took my daughter Ruth with me. She was the designated slave of the day. I thought I was only going to have one Entry Clerk, and I didn't have a whole lot of hope that my Assistant Superintendent would show because she broke her foot and I doubted it would be healed in time. Sure enough, she didn't show. However, a second Entry Clerk did show up (I didn't know I had two). How cool is that! So, with 2 clerks and my daughter I was able to keep up with things.

What was extra fun was all 4 of us have never done this job before, so we were stumbling along trying to figure out what to do all together. It would be much worse if they knew all about it and I knew nothing. At least this way I don't look as stupid as I could have. ;-)

I've entered 3 pairs of socks. That is all I have to enter this year. Usually I'll have at least a dozen entries, if not more. I gave away most of the knitting I've done in the past year, done very little beading and stitching, and did no felt applique at all.  It's not that I haven't made a lot of things (remember all those baby booties?). I just gave most all of it away.

Tomorrow I have another day of taking in entries. Then, it will be preparation for judging. I'm so glad I don't have to judge the entries. I can't even imagine how hard that must be.

Have a good day.


Blocking Some Crochet

This is an interesting blog that I visit regularly:


The owner is celebrating her 5th Blogiversary. I have to use Google Translator to read it because I don't speak French, but she sure makes beautiful things with beads.

On Thursday my daughter Ruth and I organized the fair entries for the Knitwits (did I mention I'm in charge of that now?) and wrote up entry tags for all of them. We have 46 entries this year. That's a lot! It took several hours to get them all written up. My hand was really sore from writing so much. There's a lot to fill out on the entry tags. It worked out to 2 boxes of knitting and 4 boxes of crochet. There weren't more items of crochet, just larger because it's mostly afghans, whereas the knitting was a lot of smaller things like mittens, hats, scarves, baby clothes and whatnot.

I haven't been doing much in the way of knitting or beading this past week myself. I got about 12 inches done on the shrug. That's it. I washed the 3 pairs of socks I am entering in the fair and re-blocked them so they'll look extra nice.

I've also been helping my daughters with blocking their projects for the fair. This afternoon daughter Sarah came over to borrow my blocking equipment because she doesn't yet have her own. She crochets. I know most crocheters don't block their finished projects, but they really ought to. Anyway, I took some photos while she worked.

This is a shawl she's made for herself.

She told me she started out making a baby blanket but didn't like how it was turning out, so she decided to make it a shawl instead. She used Cascade 220 Superwash and made the pattern up herself.

Her sister, Ruth, was curious and came to investigate what we were doing.

What I like to call a beauty shot. Her stitching is so even. My crochet has never been this nice.

After she finished the shawl she blocked a baby dress she's made as a gift for a pregnant friend.

This is an old pattern (circa 1980's) from an Annie's Attic booklet called Babies Heirloom Wardrobe. I made a lot of these before I had kids as gifts for friends who had baby girls.

 It's one of the most wonderful patterns they ever published, in my opinion. I'm happy to say, they have just republished it and it can be purchased as a PDF file on the Annie's Attic web site.

The dress needs buttons and some ribbon and it'll be done. It was crocheted with Idena Bambino Ull, which is a fingering weight superwash wool.

If you're wondering how she blocked these, she did it the same way I do in this article I wrote, with blocking wires and a steamer.

Have a nice evening.


WIP Wednesday 8/11/2010

 I am doing WIP Wednesdays again. Another blogger has started a Mister Linky for the meme, which has inspired me to get back at it. If you're interested in participating, please join us.

The camping trip was a lot of fun. We did a great deal of relaxing, hiking, kayaking, and swimming. There was lots of wildlife around us too, including moose. Sis-in-law Sue even saw a mama Grizzly with her cub. I never got my camera out even once, which is a shame because the Indian Pipe was blooming all over the place and I could have probably got some really nice pics of it. I decided when we got there that I was gonna be a lazy good for nuthin' and did a pretty good job of doing just that.

I got a little bit of beading done. I spent 2 of the camping afternoons trying to figure out how to put into beads the picture in my mind of the necklace I want to hang the star donut on because I forgot to take my book with me that would have helped. I wanted a design with spiraling

4-petal flowers in two colors. I would bead something for a couple inches, not like it, then frog it, then come up with a different idea to get what I want, think I had what I wanted, do a couple inches, not like it, repeat.... Finally, after several hours I figured it out and was surprised how easy it turned out to be and wondered why I

didn't think of doing it that way in the first place. I want to have it done in time for the fair (entries are due next week).

I also should mention that 6 lb. Fireline is pretty sturdy stuff. Nymo would never have stood up to the abuse I put that thread through. I used the same piece over and over while doing my figuring. Didn't even fray a little bit. I'm impressed.

I worked on the Rick sock too, but by Friday I was totally disgusted with the quality of workmanship and frogged back to the ribbed cuff. One of the biggest complaints about this pattern that I found on Ravelry is that the two socks do not match exactly. They are knit to be mirror images of each other. This requires using SSK on one sock and K2tog on the other. I couldn't understand what the complaint was about until I started working on the second sock. It's not the SSK/K2tog difference that is the problem. It's the YOs before knits and YO before purls that cause the difference. The holes are much larger on the YO before purls. I've been experimenting around to see how the problem might be fixed. In the meantime, I've decided not to enter these in the fair this year. I don't need to pressure myself over that.

We returned from our camping trip last Saturday. We had to come back early (as in early morning rather than the usual leisurely wander home in the afternoon) because of a full day of obligations. Sweet Hubby's company had their annual Employee Picnic, so it was rush home, shower, and rush there. Then he had a high school reunion to go to after that. We didn't get the trailer unhitched and unpacked until Sunday. Now I've got the usual loads and loads of laundry. Sigh........

Monday I worked at the fairgrounds. The needlework group met at our assigned building to wash the display equipment. It is stored in a place where it gets incredibly dusty, so we all brought buckets, rags, and cleaner and went to work. We also cleaned up about 60 tables, and about 2 dozen folding chairs. I was pretty tired by the time we were done, but it was fun.

Have a nice day.