Sunday, August 15, 2010

Doing a Happy Dance Here.......

Another hot and humid day here!  Today after Divine Liturgy our parish had its annual Slavic Food Fest, and I'm full of kielbasa and sauerkraut, pyrohi, haluski and cabbage rolls!

I just returned from the fairgrounds, where I picked up my county fair entries.  As promised:
Bread & butter pickles, which I didn't think had much chance at all of winning any ribbon at all, much less a blue!  There are folks around here whose summer is entirely occupied with what is called "show canning", which means that all the vegetable slices are uniform and lots of times they are stacked individually into the jar before processing, so it looks all organized.  These are pickles that I put up the day before entries were due, and they were so yummy-looking that I threw them in as a last-minute entry.  I'm glad I did!
My entry in the Miscellaneous Crafts was this pysanka, or Ukrainian decorated Easter Egg.  It is a raw fresh egg, decorated by drawing lines on the eggshell with a wax-filled pen called a kitska.  After drawing the lines, you dye the egg in aniline (non-edible) dye, then draw more lines with wax, and dye again a darker color, continuing in this manner until the design is complete.  You melt off the wax lines with a candle and paper toweling, buffing to a nice shine.  If you are careful, your egg will last forever.  Some egg artists use a lathe to hold the egg so the wax lines are perfectly straight; I don't have a lathe so I just pray the Holy Spirit to steady my hand.
In case you are wondering, I don't remember what the red ribbon entry was; the first-place ribbon was won by a plastic-canvas Barbie patio set - gazebo, table and chairs and garden bench.
My entry in the machine-sewing category was Birdman's suit that he wore when he received his First Holy Communion.  It's a wool-blend suiting I found in the remnant bin at JoAnn Fabric, and I heavily modified the pattern to exactly duplicate a man's suit in my son's size.  It has hand-padstitched lapels, hand-applied undercollar (constructed of felt and haircloth in the Italian manner), haircloth and flannel suitfronts (to stabilize the front of the jacket), functional sleeve vents with three buttons, and genuine horn buttons.  The trousers have a French fly, set-on waistband with belt carriers and full pockets.
This is my crochet entry.  It's the "Betty" crochet shrug from the Berroco website, made from Patons Classic Wool Merino yarn in the gray heather colorway.  First place was taken by an awesome thread doily, and once again the second-place winner escapes me.  If you go to the pattern link, you can see that this is the sort of garment that doesn't do well on a hanger; it is best displayed on a mannequin or live model.  I get a lot of wear out of this; it goes on Pilgrimage with me every Labor Day weekend and keeps me warm on those chilly mornings before the sun burns off the dew.
Here it is!  My masterpiece.  I have named it "Forty Days in the Desert", because the lace motifs are supposed to resemble cactus flowers and it took exactly 40 days from cast-on to blocking; also it's the only thing I worked on during those 40 days.  The pattern is "Aeolian" from the e-zine Knitty.  I used Skacel Merino Lace yarn in a pale grey, and US 4 needles.  There is one uncorrected error in the whole thing, but it is invisible.  This one is actually the second time I've knit this pattern; I made a blue one as a going-away-to-college gift for the young lady whose Confirmation sponsor I was.

I did have "win a ribbon at the county fair" as one of my mental Bucket List items.  Not any more; I think I'll change that to "win a blue ribbon at the state fair".

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