It’s Fair Time!

Ahhh…Summertime! Warm weather, gardening, swimming in the local pond, and, best of all, County Fair Time!

Here in the Midwest, we take our County Fairs seriously! It’s 7 days of Fair Fish, checking Grand Champion Socksout 4-H Projects, Hog Wrestling, Demo Derby, rides and games, and hearing local and some national  celebrity musicians play at the outdoor auditorium! In our county, practically everybody attends so you spend most nights visiting with neighbors, friends, and relatives! The Fair Queen is usually someone I know (except now it’s someone I know’s granddaughter!) so you chat with her and her court.

County Fairs usually have an Open Class competition in which you can enter your knitting, crochet, garden vegetables, cake decorating, photography, quilts, etc. I love the Fair so of course I enter! Our Fair iFair 3rd Places held around the first of July so the month of June is when I check out my past year’s projects to determine which ones to enter. Most years, I get a blue ribbon but one year I won Grand Champion! Hooray! I’ve pictured here some Fair winning entries.

Do you enter your County Fair Open Class Exhibits? Tell me how you did!

Fair 1st Place

Yarn Diets Are Like Food Diets…Just A Suggestion!

In January, I laid to rest my beloved Father and had to deal with the clearing out of his Florida home. He had a lot of stuff for his 87 years of life. When I got home, I looked around my much-cluttered home and thought, “I gotta start uncluttering NOW!”

Thus began my 2015 Yarn Diet. I decided to not purchase yarn but use something from my stash. Simple, huh?

Then I found out that a new, local yarn shop was opening up not more than 10 miles from my home. Uh oh! Of course, I had to visit! And then I had to buy some lovely yarn!

Okay. So Yarn Diets are like Food Diets (at least to me)….just a suggestion!

TTFN!

Dad and me a few years back.

Dad and me a few years back.

As God As My Witness….I Will Never Not Swatch Again!

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I’m channelling Scarlet O’Hara today! I’ve been teaching a class on knitting hats in the round and emphasizing to my students the importance of swatching….yes, me, the “I never swatch queen!”

Since I expect my students to do it, I’ve been swatching too. And guess what? It works!!! My hats fit the heads they are supposed to fit! What a revelation.

So I now have a new mantra…swatching is good….no swatching is great!!!

Seriously!

TTFN.

Teaching Knitting Tips For New Teachers

20130926-120335.jpgAlthough I have been teaching beginning knitting to family
and friends for years, I recently branched out to teaching a beginner’s knitting class at a local community college. But I have to admit, I was not as prepared as I should have been since I thought that no one would sign up. Was I wrong. I have 6 really special students and I am really enjoying teaching them the joys (and occasional frustrations) of knitting.

Now that I have a couple of “professional” sessions…..although why I think getting paid to teach makes me more professional than when I taught for free, I’ll never know. Another thought for another day.

  1. Name tags help a lot. Have name tags for each class until you feel that you know your class well.
  2. Handouts are a must. I didn’t have any handouts prepared (although I was working on them) until the 2nd week. Here are the handouts I’ve used so far…*Welcome with information on local yarn shops, local Sit-N-Knit meetings, my phone, email, Ravelry name, etc.

    *Learning objectives and lesson plans (so your class knows what you will teach each time).

    *Easy pattern to try. I basically wrote my own slipper pattern with two different types of toes so the class could work whichever style they likes.

  3. Be prepared to  have one or more who will need extra help. If you have a friend who can assist you, you can tag-teach and she can help some of the others while  you do one-on-one teaching.
  4. Enjoy yourself! I did not realize how much fun it would be until I let myself relax and enjoy the camaraderie and fellowship.

TTFN!

A Tribute to My Soxs

Soxs, the dog, came to us about 18 years ago, when my son was 9 years old. We had lost our Poodle, Marci, and Jason and I were miserable without a loving dog. So we went to the local Animal Shelter and he found Soxs. She adored him. But, she did NOT like adults. AT ALL! In fact, she would growl and try to bite me and my hubby. I could not abide that, so I threatened to take her back but Jason did not want that to happen. Hubby came up with a compromise. He would find a dog trainer (animal whisperer), who would help Soxs and us adjust. And he did. Soxs did okay but was still growling and biting us every chance she got. It seemed that we would have to take her back to the shelter.

Then we moved to the country and I decided that Soxs could be an outdoors dog. Our first night in the country, we kept her outside all night long. And she howled! And she howled! And she howled! Right outside our bedroom window! She howled so much that she became hoarse. Luckily, our nearest neighbor lived several miles away. The next day, Jason went to school and hubby and I stayed home to unpack. So we brought Soxs inside. From that day forward, she did not growl or bite at us. I guess she decided that she had better behave!

As Jason grew up and went away from home, Soxs and I became very close. She would love to snuggle with me. She was a great companion while hubby worked nights! I was very glad that I decided to keep her.

Earlier this summer, our dear Soxs passed away. She was by this time, at least 19 years of age– which is a very long time for a dog! I started this blog with her name because she would keep me company as I knit at night waiting for hubby to come home from work. I miss her very much.

Rest in Peace, dear Soxs! I know you’ll be waiting for me at the The Rainbow Bridge.

Soxs - May 2013

A Shawl For Judy

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Last summer, I promised my cousin Judy, a knitted shawl. I fully intended to finish it quickly. But, before I could even start, I fell and badly broke my wrist. It’s taken quite a while to heal (a long story in itself) but I finally finished and will be mailing it to her on Monday!

I’m also glad to be blogging again. See you soon….I promise!!!

The Mystery about Mystery KAL’s or CAL’s

I love mysteries….mystery books, mystery movies, even mystery food! I just enjoy watching or reading (or tasting) to see how it ends.

That’s why I love Mystery KAL’s. A Mystery KAL (or knit-a-long) is one in which a part of a pattern (clue) is released on a regular basis. It could be released weekly, every-other-day, or even monthly, depending upon the designer’s whim. You really do not know how the final product looks until you finish the last stitch.

There are all kinds of Mystery KALs as well as Mystery Crochet-alongs. You can usually find them in the afghans, bags, shawls, socks, and dishcloth threads on Ravelry. You can even join Mystery swaps.

If you would like to join a Mystery KAL or CAL, there are a few tips that I have learned:

  1. Plan to use more yarn than the design calls for. It’s better to be safe than sorry.
  2. Some Mystery KAL or CAL patterns are free; others are for a small fee. Most designers, if they charge, often charge a bit less if you purchase the pattern before the KAL or CAL ends.
  3. Find a local buddy to follow the KAL with you. You and she/he can serve as inspiration and nearby help.
  4. Always knit/crochet a swatch before beginning the first clue to make sure that you have gauge.
  5. As each clue is revealed, wait a day or so until you begin knitting that part. While designers work very hard to to have error-free patterns, it does sometimes happen. You’ll save yourself a lot of frog-pond time if you wait.
  6. Check your KAL’s Ravelry thread often for pattern errors.
  7. If you get in trouble, go to the Ravelry thread and ask. You can email the designer, but most often someone else has had the same  problem and can help. Likewise, be willing to answer if someone else asks and you can help.
  8. Keep in mind there is a chance that you will not fit/like/need/want the final product once you have knitted it. It IS a MYSTERY knit-along after all. If that’s the case, either give it away or frog it and use the yarn for something else.
  9. Most Mystery KAL’s have two threads in their Ravelry group. One is for pictures to be posted by those who have completed the clues (a spoiler thread) and one is for no pictures (no spoilers) but just questions, comments, etc. You can choose to either peek or not to see how the product is coming along.

Have I helped you clarify the mystery in Mystery KALs?

TTFN!