Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Washington State Fair: Entry Etiquette

You know, Readers, one would think that by now our society would have come to a generalized consensus about acceptable standards for civilized behavior.

Especially when it comes to participating in competitive exhibit entries at the Washington State Fair.


*snort*. I guess I should start from the beginning.

As my regular readers may know, I've decided to enter some of my knitting and crochet work into the Washington State Fair for the very first time. The deadline for dropping off items for judging in the Home Arts/ Textile division was last weekend, so Mr. Orb Weaver and I packed up my entries and drove down on Saturday.

Ooh! Ooh! Let me shamelessly show off my entries before I launch into my rant!

I re-did the lace parasol using a merino wool/silk blend in charcoal grey:

...and I am VERY, VERY happy with the end result! The yarn I used (Juniper Moon Farm Findley) ended up making the lace quite a bit smaller than my first go-around, but it had a lovely stretch to it; shaping the final parasol into a glorious bell when opened. The picture doesn't show it (and all of my attempts at getting a close up shot did not do the yarn justice, because my camera is terrible), but the yarn also has a lovely yet very subtle shine to it.

I had a bunch of the Findley left over, so I whipped out my lace working hooks and made a doily, which I also ended up entering:

It's nothing special, but I thought it would be worth a shot.

So, I packed these guys up along with the Spaceship baby blanket...

(which I'm posting again because I just love it so much!)
...and drove down to Puyallup on Saturday with the hubs to turn in the entries along with the paperwork.

It wasn't too busy by the time we got there, but the volunteers at the main pavilion (where they were collecting and organizing the entries) all seemed to have their hands full. The woman who helped me enter my crochet lace items looked absolutely exhausted.

She took my name, I signed the papers, and all that jazz. When I handed her the clipboard with all the t's crossed and i's dotted, she looked at me and said,

"Thank you, THANK YOU for being so nice and polite."

At first I thought nothing of the comment. I told her she was welcome, and then made my way towards the volunteers sorting the knit items.

After I was done entering the baby blanket, the volunteer from the lace area stopped me and asked if I could specify which side of my doily I wanted to be displayed, since "many participants get very upset if the doilies aren't shown correctly."

Um...I can understand feeling mildly peeved, but getting very upset?


For the doily I made, it really doesn't matter which side is which, so I just told her to display it however she liked.

But for other crochet pieces that incorporate cables, clusters and such, one would think that it was obvious what is right-side up. And even then, the judges inspect all of the entries BEFORE they are displayed, so in the grand scheme of things in really doesn't matter that much.

Readers, if you find yourselves getting very upset at a poor, over-worked fair volunteer because your doily is upside-down, you may need to re-examine your priorities in life.

Plus, on our way out, I witnessed some ridiculous behavior: as I left the main pavilion, I saw a woman scream at a poor security guard because the guard wasn't able to escort her to the pavilion personally.

Admittedly, I may be a bit of a Pollyanna when it comes to the culture surrounding competitive fair entries, since I've never done this before. But holy hell, knitters of Washington State, WHISKEY TANGO FOXTROT?

Is this a thing? Is it expected for participants to treat fair employees and volunteers in this way?

Perhaps I came in on an "off" day. I dunno.

But still, one would think that by now our society would have come to a generalized consensus about what's acceptable behavior when participating as an exhibitor at the state fair.

Anyways. Thanks for sticking with me through the above rant, Readers! Wish me luck!

Orb Weaver out!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014


"One can no more approach people without love than one can approach bees without care. Such is the quality of bees."
                                                 -Leo Tolstoy

I've got a new snowflake pattern, Readers! I hope you enjoy!

"Apis" snowflake


Size 10 crochet thread

1.65 mm crochet hook

Chain 6, form ring (or make magic circle).

Round 1: Ch 3 (counts as first dc), 11 dc in ring. Join with sl st in third ch of beginning ch 3.

Round 2: Ch 1, sc in same st. *ch 8, skip next dc, sc in next dc. Repeat from * 4 times. Ch 3, dtr in first sc to form last ch-8 sp.

Round 3: Work beginning 4-dc cluster in same sp. Ch 9, *work 4-dc cluster in next ch-8 sp, ch 9. Repeat from * around, join with sl st to beginning 4-dc cluster.

Round 4: ch 12, sl st in same sp. Ch 20, sl st in 20th ch from hook. Ch 1, 8 sc in next ch 9 sp, *Ch 21, sl st in 20th ch from hook. Sl st in next 4-dc cluster, ch 12, sl st in same 4-dc cluster. Ch 20, sl st in 20th ch from hook. Ch 1, 8 sc in next ch 9 sp. Repeat from *4 times. ch 21, sl st in 20th ch from hook. Ch 1, and sl st in first ch of beginning ch 12.

Round 5: sl st to the center of first ch 12 loop. Ch 1, sc in same loop. *Ch 10, sl st in 2nd ch from hook; hdc in next ch. ch 1, skip one ch, tr in next ch. Ch 1, sk next ch, dtr in next ch, ch 1, skip next ch, ttr in next ch. ch 1, sc in same ch 12 space. Ch 9, insert hook into 10th ch of next ch-20 space, yo and pull up a loop (2 loops on hook), insert hook into 10th ch of next ch-20 space, YO and pull up a loop, YO and draw through all three loops on hook. (Ch 6, sl st in same st just made) twice. Ch 9,  sc in next ch 12 space. Repeat from * 5 times, omitting final sc. Join with sl st to first sc. Bind off.

Pin and stiffen using whatever method you prefer:

Crocheters, you may use the flakes you make from this pattern in any way you like, but please do not sell or republish the pattern. Thanks!

Friday, August 1, 2014

Haiku Friday

A true pianist
Warms up his hands, has a snack,
And licks the keyboard.

(This video cracked me up to no end, Readers! So adorable and funny!)

Friday, July 25, 2014

Haiku Friday

Bass is great. Tenor
is Gorgeous. Alto is Fab.
ALL tones are lovely.

Readers, I love this song. I love the tune, I love the bass line, and I love the singer.

However, I am disappointed that Ms. Traior decided to use the term "skinny bitch" in her lyrics.

All women are "Real Women", Readers. All body shapes and sizes are beautiful.

Monday, July 21, 2014



Hello, Readers!

Wow! This weekend was probably the most productive one I've had in a LONG time!

We had a lovely dinner out on Friday, saw Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (a cliched but quite entertaining film), completely finished the Starship baby afghan, AND put up six pints of homemade barbecue sauce to boot:
Readers, please forgive me for the crappy photography. My fingers were covered in sticky spicy sweet goodness and I didn't want to muck up my phone's screen

Now that Starship is all finished, I can focus my attention on lace parasol 2.0! I'll be sure to post more pictures as the parasol progresses!

Here's hoping that the blanket does well at the fair! Think Purple Ribbon thoughts for me, Readers!

Until next time <3

Sunday, June 15, 2014

To my Dad, who hates the Care Bears

Yikes...did he hate those bears. Image found here:
Ah, Father's Day. A day to celebrate fathers and fatherhood.

I hold countless memories of my Dad, and I hold nearly all of these memories very near and dear to my heart (well, except for the time he made me get in the back of the car while about a dozen bees were buzzing around in there).  But, one of the most striking memories I have of him during the early years of my life was the intense white-hot hatred he held for the Care Bears.

My first memory of my father's Care Bear hatred stems from way, WAY back in the day; back when my family lived in central Wisconsin. I think I was between the ages of 4 and 5 at the time.

I was born into a very, VERY large family. I have nine aunts and uncles on my fathers' side, and five on my mothers'. I have an army of cousins, and most of my extended family lived within a two hour drive of each other. This was FANTASTIC growing up! I was never a lonely child, since all of my aunts, uncles, and cousins were present for nearly all of our major life events.

When we found out that one of my older cousins was in labor, my parents packed us up and we drove to Rhinelander (my cousin, her parents, and my Grandparents live there) so we could be present when the baby was born. EVERYBODY on my Dad's side of the family was there!  The older family members decided that we, the younger cousins, might be a bit too overwhelming if we were to visit the hospital (plus, many of us  were too...impressionable to witness the miracle of life),  so we congregated at my Grandparents's house while we waited for the new arrival.

It was during that day-and-a-half vigil that my father discovered his inner Care Bear hatred.

A few of the older folks stayed behind in order to keep an eye on us munchkins. I think that there were around eleven of us little ones who stayed behind. My Dad was the only adult that I distinctly remember being present, along with a few of my uncles/aunts. Dad opted for phone duty; staying awake by my Grandmother's phone (this was before cell phones were a thing), waiting for news.

He was waiting by that phone from the time we arrived there (around eight in the evening), to the time we were put to bed in one of Grandma's guest rooms (around nine thirty), to the time we woke up to eat cereal and run around the house (around seven in the morning).

Since the weather was too cold and wet for us to play outside, we watched videos. And the only video that my Grandmother had at the time was this:

Image found here:

As my cousins and I sat there, mesmerized, in front of the TV, the fact that my father had only gotten about an hour's worth of sleep within the past day and a half started to manifest in his ongoing commentary on the film. I don't remember the exact words he used, but I remember quite a few of the things in the movie that he thought were just WRONG:

"Where on Earth are the camp counselors? Why don't the kids go to an adult if they keep on getting picked on?"

"What's the Care Bear Stare? Is that like a laser beam or something?"

"So...the Do they ever DO anything about whatever it is they care about?"

This went on and on.

The last straw for Dad was the...shall we say...climatic ending.

Image found here:
Again, I don't remember the exact words he used. It's been way too long. But I do remember my Dad turning the movie off, loudly proclaiming something to the effect of "This is the stupidest thing I've ever seen," and launching into a lecture about how "Caring about something won't ever solve your problems if you don't do anything about it."

That lecture lasted the whole afternoon, and the whole car ride home.

The above memory might seem like nothing more than the goofy memory of a frazzled 30-something projecting his exhaustion and grumpiness onto a bunch of candy-colored anthropomorphic bears, but I don't see it that way.

It was on that day that my Dad planted a seed in my brain, a seed that has grown into a skill that has served me well.

Through his hatred of the Care Bears, my father had unintentionally shown me the face of critical thinking.

Dad, throughout the years, you have taught me many things, and lead me to many wonderful places. You have always been there for me, and I have learned how to be a better person by simply watching you.

Even when you're hating on the Care Bears.

I love you Daddy!

Happy Father's Day, Readers!

Until next time!