Sunday, September 9, 2018

Knitted Items at the County Fair - 2018 Edition

This year marked my fourth year entering handmade items in the county fair and the second year of entering some items for Marion. It's always exciting to see if we win any ribbons and to find out what comments the judges leave for our items.

Knitted Baby Sweater

Marion's baby sweater took first place! She recently gave me this vintage cardigan to list on our Etsy shop. It's yellow with an extra special white detail along the top. She's been knitting baby sweater sets in this pattern for more than 70 years. The judge's note? "Perfect."

hand knitted baby sweater

Knitted Hat

Marion's baby bonnet is knitted to match the sweater set, although I entered a plain white one that didn't match the yellow sweater. It won second place!

knitted baby bonnet

Knitted Baby Booties

These booties are typically part of the sweater and bonnet set. They won second place.

knitted baby booties


My super soft and textured purple cowl received a second place ribbon. I wasn't sure how it'd do since it's not a traditional scarf. I'm glad the judges liked it as much as I do!

textured purple cowl

Children's Mittens

I made a last-minute decision to enter a pair of our thumbless mini mittens instead of a pair of kids' mittens like I usually do. It turned out to be the right decision! My mini mittens took first place in this class.

knitted mini mittens

Interested in trying to make a pair of these yourself? The pattern is on Ravelry and Etsy!

4-Needle Mittens

This class was a head-to-head competition for us. I entered a pair of mittens that Marion made as well as a pair I've been working on this summer. Marion's were made from Caron Simply Soft Party in Fuchsia Sparkle and I used an alpaca fiber. I knitted the thumbs onto my mittens the night before entries had to be dropped off. They were a bit small but I didn't have time to do them over.

Marion, the original mitten maker, won the class! My mittens were right behind in second place. It was the perfect way to close out the fair and the summer.

knitted mittens

knitted mittens

More fun at the fair: 2017 | 2016 | 2015

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Visiting the Green Mountain Spinnery in Putney, VT

When Basketville was located in the Arlington, VT area I used to make annual trips to see what they had in store. Then the place closed down. I was exciting to discover this year that they're still open, in Putney, VT.

We planned a day trip to the area for some scenic views, basket shopping, and antiquing. When I Googled to see what else Putney had to offer, I discovered Green Mountain Spinnery, a yarn shop. That was the perfect addition to our little road trip! 

green mountain spinnery

Green Mountain Spinnery is located right off I-91. I looked around the corner at the end of the exit ramp and there it was! 

green mountain spinnery

They make and dye their own yarn right at the facility. I peeked through the doorway from the shop to see what was in process that day. 

green mountain spinnery green mountain spinnery

The shop is small but packed full of different types of fibers in a rainbow of colors. It was tough to choose, but I settled on two skeins of their Alpaca Elegance; one in a grayish purple and the other a dark green. This fiber is a 2-ply DK weight made of 50% alpaca from New England and 50% wool from Targhee (a cross between Rambouillet and Columbia sourced from herds along the Front Range of the Rockies).

alpaca elegance yarn from green mountain spinnery

I was so excited to get into the store that I didn't notice the beautiful display in the entrance. Look at all of those pompoms! This pompom make was definitely impressed. 

green mountain spinnery

I can't wait to make something from this yarn! And I have a feeling I'll be heading back for more...

Sunday, August 5, 2018

Learning to Crochet, One Stitch and One Afghan at a Time

Crocheting was never something I was interested in - but then again, neither was knitting. After learning how to make mittens the closest I got to crochet was chaining strings to connect mittens.

Never say never. There are some crochet projects I'm looking at for the future but just don't have the skills to do. So, I picked up a hook and some of my trusty Caron Simply Soft, and started learning to crochet. My teachers were a combination of some great tutorials on YouTube and a crochet stitch book I picked up in the clearance section of Barnes & Noble.

In order to really learn the stitches and commit them to finger muscle memory, I decided to one baby afghan per crochet stitch. Boredom or project fatigue can be a problem for me and so striped afghans seemed to be a good idea. Yes, there were ends to weave in - but stripes kept it interesting.

Single Crochet

I started at the beginning with single crochet stitch. This was the most time consuming of the three I've learned so far. It also produced the heaviest, thickest, nicest blanket of the bunch. It sold the same day it was listed to a customer who already had a similar afghan that my aunt made and sold in our shop! Details on Ravelry.

Half Double Crochet

Silly me, I thought that double crochet would be the next stitch in my crochet adventure. Turns out there is a stitch in between single and double and it's called half double. This blanket went faster than the first and I had fun playing with blue hues. My biggest challenge was learning that there are a few extra chains required at the end of each row. When I realized it was starting to be shaped like a pyramid, I ripped out, learned, and started again.

Double Crochet

My third stitch was the double crochet. This one produced results the fastest since each row is considerably taller than those made from the other crochet stitches I've tried. Of course, the tradeoff is that the afghan is less dense and the holes are larger, but it's light and fluffy and of course super soft thanks to the Caron Simply Soft yarn. I went with purples again since the first afghan sold so quickly.

Baby afghans in the Marion's Mittens Etsy shop