Good lord, I am a big fan of the State Fair. I didn’t truly realize till just the last couple of days how much I really really love going to the State Fair. I love going opening day to check out whether I won any prizes on the years when I enter. I love taking my girls to the fair and doing all the fun activities for kids with them (and I truly feel blessed to have young children with whom to share these activities. They are so fun to watch.) I love going to the fair in the evening with a knitter friend and getting way too technical and nerdy over the knitting displays. I love the food, I love the animals, I love the people and the crowds and the crazy smells and the sun and the dirt and the getting to go home tired at the end of the day. Ahhh…
But after three trips to the fair now in six days, I can say with a “fair” (haha) amount of confidence that I am rilly rilly done with the fair for this year. I’ve eaten my share of junk food. I’ve seen pretty much all of my favorite sights. Some of them several times. I’ve spent way too much money on all the over-priced food and attractions, and I’ve pushed that damned DuoGlider full of 80 pounds of kids over several miles of varied terrain while trying to balance a cup of lemonade, a corn dog and a basket or two of other fried things before they get cold. Whew!
Backing up, on Friday night, my friend Laura and I trekked over to the Fair, spent an hour tracking down all our favorite yummy foods, as well as a bag of Minnesota-grown wool roving, and then another hour or so geeking out in the Creative Activities building. I brought along my premium book and my print-out of the winners, and we perused the cases discussing the various objects, trying to spot the competition in the categories we’d entered, trying to put names to other items that we particularly liked.
And while we were there, we noticed a couple of things. One thing was that although there are only three categories for socks listed in the premium book and in the winners’ list, there were four pairs of socks with blue ribbons on them. There were my rainbow ones, which we assumed had won the plain socks category, there was a pair of Fair Isle ones, which we assumed had won the colorwork category, and then there were two more that looked like they both belonged in the texture category.
These orange ones are gorgeous, and I am in love with them. Anyone know what the stitch pattern is, or who knit them?
Sorry for the blurry picture, but these socks had a diagonal ribbing thing going on, all knit in one handpainted yarn. Also lovely.
Laura and I just couldn’t figure it out. We ended up chatting with the guy in the building’s office about it, and he was clueless, but I did find out later from a reputable source that the judges decided to add a fourth category for socks, which will show up in the premium book next year. Apparently socks were so competitive and have been for so long that they decided they must just go ahead and split out a category. I think my source said something about splitting up the plain socks category into plain stockinette and ribbing categories. I’m not sure how that will work, but I look forward to reading the lot descriptions in the book next summer. I’m also pretty sure the source also mentioned possibly getting rid of the “slippers” category and adding another category to shawls, since they are also incredibly popular.
We also noticed that we thought my blanket had too many ribbons on it, and we spent quite a bit of time trying to figure out where they really belonged. In the end, after much discussion with Dan the office guy, I ended up getting a call the next day from someone in charge of Creative Activities, who explained that we were right, and how the two ribbons in question had been re-arranged. Blankie now has “just” three ribbons attached to it – the blue ribbon for its lot, the purple ribbon for the afghan sweepstakes prize, and the green ribbon for the Needlework Unlimited award.
I had questioned whether the green ribbon really belonged to the blankie, but apparently it does, and also the socks got one just like it. Needlework Unlimited sponsors three special prize ribbons, including best original sock design. While I think it is a bit of a stretch to say that these socks are truly my own design, I suppose they are. I did not claim original design on my entry form, but by the nature of having spun the yarn, by having used my own toes and heels, and by modifying the structure of the coriolis around the ankle by a tad, I suppose I could have.
Most importantly, though, the big blue rosette sponsored by the Thursdays at Four group was put in its rightful place on this beautiful stole by Carolyn Vance. They had gotten the label on it right, but for some reason pinned the ribbon to mine. I really wanted Carolyn to get the recognition for her incredibly intricate work.
Look how each of the little diamonds contains a different lace pattern.
I happened to run into Carolyn in front of the case yesterday morning when the girls and I stopped by to say hello to the blankie – such a happy coincidence! We had a nice little chat, and I think she mentioned that this pattern is in A Gathering of Lace. I’ll have to go take a look eventually. Amazing work, Carolyn – congratulations!
But yes, in case you didn’t catch that -the girls and I went to the fair *again* on Wednesday. It just didn’t seem fair that we had to cut our visit short last week without making it to the rides and the animals that I’d promised them. So we kept our visit to the knitting very very short (just long enough for them to each eat another breakfast of mini-donuts. I know – I’m going to hell.) And then we went and had some real fun…
Sophie was technically tall enough to ride this flying bumblebee without an adult, but I figured the humiliation on my part of riding a giant bumblebee was worth the peace of mind knowing that my baby was a little less likely to tumble out of the bumble.
Somehow I felt a little more comfortable letting them ride solo in the slightly tamer giant crocodiles. Especially considering the big sign declaring that this ride was for children only.
The butterfly house is always a big hit – Julie did great letting the little bugs land on her and tickle her fingers.
Sophie, on the other hand, loved watching the butterflies, but freaked out a bit when they landed on her. She almost squashed one beautiful creature in an attempt to wave it off.
The carousel ride is always my favorite, and I have to point out that the pictures of me and the girls together on these rides are courtesy of complete strangers who I very bravely asked to help us out with the camera. I love helping tourists out with group photos, so hopefully the people I asked felt the same way.
Oh, yeah – and we brought some little house guests home with us. These little guys are supposedly going to turn into Painted Lady butterflies.
Who knows what that yellow muck is on the bottom of the container, but they do seem to enjoy eating it.
And this one is some giant moth that likes to eat Ash tree leaves. Luckily, we have an ash tree in our front yard. Hopefully, this time nobody will die of starvation the way one of the Monarch caterpillars did last year.
The girls like checking these critters out almost as much as I do.
Oh, hey, look – the office room is incredibly messy again. I heard a noise coming from the bed, and found Daisy cat enjoying an empty box.
Oh, people – so much going on. So much I could share with you. Pretty much all of it is very good. I’m looking back at this summer and recognizing that I’ve been slack with the blogging. But I’ve really been focusing on enjoying my girls and living with them in the moment. It’s been good.
Now we are transitioning into fall, and I hope we can hold on to the golden moments of this summer. Last week, Julie said goodbye to her teachers and friends at the wonderful pre-school she attended this summer. Today we went to the open house for her fall classroom – the same room and teacher she was with last year – and next week she’ll be heading back to school.
Next week we’ll also make one more trip back to the fairgrounds to pick up my knitting, my ribbons, and the judge’s comment cards. I can’t wait to read what they had to say, although I’m a little leery of heading over to St. Paul during the Republican convention. I’ll probably share that with y’all, as well as some spinning that’s been going on around here. Lots of spinning!