The North Carolina State Fair

Howdy, knitters! Welcome back to the Knitting Daddy blog. For those of you who are returning readers (or maybe are the spouse of a returning reader who tells you about the blog), thanks so much for coming back to keep up with my knitting adventures. If this is your first time reading Knitting Daddy, I hope you enjoy it and come back for more. I’ve got a lot to write about today, so let’s jump in.

I’m really excited to tell you about my knitting at the North Carolina State Fair (ribbons were involved, which you already know if you’re following my KnittingDaddy Instagram account or my KnittingDaddy Twitter account), but before I get to that, let’s look at what else has been happening in my knitting world recently.

Blue Ribbon Socks

I was thrilled to see my socks won the blue ribbon at the NC State Fair. They’re the green ones right next to my shoulder.

Recently In Podcasts

I ended up doing a decent amount of driving lately (picking up items from one fair and driving them to another, e.g.), which meant that I was able to keep up-to-date on my knitting podcasts, and even listen to some of the non-knitting podcasts I enjoy. Since I last posted, I listened to podcasts from 2 Knit Lit Chicks, Curious Handmade, Down Cellar Studio, Fiber Hooligan,, Knitcircus, Knitting Pipeline, Knitmore Girls, KnottyGirls, and The Yarniacs. I enjoyed them all, and recommend any of them to anyone looking for some knitting-related podcasts.

In 2 Knit Lit Chicks Episode 78 (She’s so Fancy!), Tracie and Barb talk about the various knitting projects they are working on (lots of sock talk!) and books they’ve been reading lately. Tracie talked about a book that might get me to finally get off my duff and check out this Jane Austin lady everyone seems to love.

In Curious Handmade Episode 44 (Trends in knitwear for A/W 2014), Helen and her friend, fashion stylist Vicki Hillman, talk about the trends in knitwear for the upcoming fall season. In Episode 45 (How I get things done (aka muddle along)), Helen talks about time management. There’s not as much knitting content in this episode as there usually is, but it was one of my favorite episodes of the week. I especially enjoyed Helen mentioning the Pomodoro Technique, a time-management technique that I’ve been using both at work and at home off and on for years. If you are finding yourself struggling to stay on top of things and get things done, listening to this episode will give you some insight that may be helpful. In Episode 46 (Colour Theory and Knitting), Helen talks about color theory. This was a fascinating episode, since colors are a definite weak link in my toolbox. It’s a joke around my house that I only acknowledge the existence of about 8 colors, something I think a lot of guys can identify with. The subtleties of shades, hues, etc. with color continue to escape me and I rely heavily on assistance from my wife and the folks at the yarn store when picking out yarn for projects. I definitely can use more work in this area.

In Down Cellar Studio Episode 54 (Apple-y Knitting Along), Jen talks about how to determine if your family and friends are knitworthy. Give this episode a listen and read her blog post about it to see what you think. It’s definitely something worth thinking about — knitting is a time-intensive process, and when you make things for other people, you want to make sure they will appreciate it. In Episode 55 (Rhinebeck Ready), Jen talks about getting ready for Rhinebeck. Some year, I hope to be able to attend myself.

In the Fiber Hooligan episode with Franklin Habit, Ben talks with Franklin and they discuss knitting, writing, teaching, and wide variety of other subjects.

In Episode 9 (Color), Pam and Hannah talk about, well, color. Much like the Curious Handmade episode on the same theme, I found this fascinating. It is definitely worth a listen. In Episode 10 (Modifying a Pattern), Hannah talks with Amy Herzog about what it takes to modify a pattern for your specific body shape and size. With a little bit of work, you can create clothing that is exactly custom-fit for you, and that’s a powerful and satisfying thing to do.

In Knitcircus Podcast Episode 50, Jaala and Amy share some great tips about how to publish a pattern. They also introduce a new yarn line that I totally want to try. It uses a dying process that creates a self-striping yarn that is also a gradient. It sounds an looks amazing.

Knitting Pipeline Episode 186 (Mittens Are the New Socks), Paula talks about how awesome it is to knit mittens. She got me excited about knitting mittens again. I just don’t know when I’m going to be able to work it into my schedule!

In Knitmore Girls Episode 302 (Yarned and Delirious), Jasmin and Gigi continue to pimp out the Outlander KAL as well as the other KALs they perpetually are running. They also review The Spinner’s Book of Fleece: A Breed-by-Breed Guide to Choosing and Spinning the Perfect Fiber for Every Purpose, which sounds like a must-have for spinners. In Episode 303 (Tentacles), they have a great discussion about the concept of caveat emptor — buyer beware! It is a definite must-listen for things to think about as we enjoy purchasing from independent dyers. Knitmore Girls also had “director’s cut” episodes with Beth SmithJudy Becker, and Amy King that were enjoyable interviews.

In KnottyGirls Knitcast Episode 36 (Sweater Weather (Or Brenda Casteil Knits a Twenty-Year Sweater)), Laura and Jen interview designer Brenda Casteil, who shares many stories about how she learned to knit, and how she became a designer, including a story about taking twenty years to knit a sweater.

The Yarniacs Episode 73 (A Chat With Edie Eckman), Gayle and Sharlene share a chat with Edie Eckman, who talks a lot about crochet. I love it when knitting podcasts include crochet content, because it helps expand my fiber arts horizons. I haven’t learned to crochet yet, but I suspect I’ll pick it up at some point.

Recently On My Needles

I’ve really only worked on 2 projects recently: a pair of socks and a hat. I’ll talk about the socks in the next section, so let’s take a look at my hat now.

One of my knitting goals this year is to knit a fish hat for this year’s fishing trip. The trip is just a few weeks away, so time is running out to get it on and off my needles. Once I finished my sock knitting for the state fair, I cast on the fish hat. Wow, I had forgotten how quickly a worsted weight hat on size US 7 needles can knit up! I’d guess that I’m almost halfway done with this hat, and I should be able to finish it before the fishing trip without a problem.

Fish Hat

Got the lips done, working my way up the head of the fish hat.

So far, knitting this has been a lot of fun. I’ve used it as an opportunity to learn a few new skills: wrapping and turning with short rows, and jogless stripes. I won’t go into a lot of detail on this hat now because I suspect I’ll devote a full blog post to it in a few weeks once it’s finished.

Wrapping And Turning

The fish hat has given me the opportunity to learn how to do wraps and turns with short rows.

Ravelry Project Page: Fishing Trip Hat
Pattern: Fish Hat [Dead or Alive?] by Thelma Egberts
Yarn Used: various wool-based worsted

The North Carolina State Fair

The North Carolina State Fair is happening right now. I love going to the fair. There are rides to be ridden, crazy food to be eaten, friends to catch up with, and exhibits to see. I was particularly excited to go this year because I have five knitted items competing in the exhibits. I’m happy to report that three of my entries earned ribbons! All of my entries were in the Clothing department, Adult Hand Crafted Items class.

Blocking Swatches

All of my entries at the NC State Fair except the toy required swatches. I knit them all up after the fact a couple of days before I had to drop off the entries.

Dropping Off Some Of My Items

I dropped off my hat, Milo, and socks over the weekend. My shawlette and toy were still at the Dixie Classic Fair and I needed to drop them off later.

My Bunny & Lamb picked up an honorable mention in the Stuffed Animal: Hand Knitted lot. There’s no premium payout for that, but the ribbon is a nice addition to her collection. With this ribbon, it means she has received an award for every competition she’s been in. In addition to this honorable mention, she’s picked up 2nd at the Dixie Classic Fair, 1st at the Central Carolina Fair, and was randomly selected for the Ewe University Valedictorian a few months ago. She’s retiring from competition now. 🙂

Honorable Mention Bunny & Lamb

My Bunny & Lamb picked up another ribbon: this time an honorable mention at the NC State Fair.

Ravelry Project Page: Prize-Winning Bunny & Lamb
Pattern: Bunny & Lamb by Susan B. Anderson
Yarn Used: Stonehedge Fiber Mill Shepherd’s Wool Worsted in Zinnia PinkWhite, and Berries

The Fair Isle Sampler Hat I knitted in the Susan B. Anderson workshop earlier this year earned the 2nd place red ribbon in the Hand Knitted: Baby/Child Hat lot. This was a fun hat to knit, and pulling it out for the fair brought back great memories of the class. I definitely want to do another fair isle hat now, maybe trying my hand at designing some motifs on my own. The winning hat was also a fair isle hat, and it looked great. It was knitted with handspun yarn, and the yarn really matched the hat very well.

Fair Isle Hat

My fair isle sampler hat earned the 2nd place ribbon.

Ravelry Project Page: Blueberry’s Fair Isle Sampler Hat
Pattern: From a Susan B. Anderson workshop
Yarn Used: Spud & Chloë Sweater

My Simple Skyp Socks that I finished just before the deadline to drop items off at the fair earned the 1st place blue ribbon in the Hand Knitted: Socks lot! I was hoping for a ribbon for those socks, but was really surprised to see that it earned the blue ribbon. The pattern is not very complex, and one of the other socks had some beautiful cable work that I know was more difficult to execute, e.g. shrug I guess it’s hard to predict what will strike the judges’ fancies.

Blue Ribbon Socks

My socks and their blue ribbon.


Simple Skyp Socks

My Simple Skyp Socks, washed and on the sock blockers, just two days before I needed to drop them off at the fair.

Ravelry Project Page: Simple Skyp Socks
Pattern: Simple Skyp Socks by Adrienne Ku
Yarn Used: Malabrigo Yarn Sock in the 855 colorway (green)

All The Socks

All the socks at the NC State Fair.

My Milo and Pebble Beach Shawlette did not earn ribbons at the NC State Fair, but they looked great in the display case with all of the other knitting. I spent a lot of time looking at all of the entries in the knitting categories and getting ideas for what I can do in the future to improve my chances of earning ribbons. It looks like for shawls, one thing that distinguished all the ribbon winners was beads. I’ve never incorporated beads with my knitting, so perhaps that’s a new technique for me to learn next year and try to incorporate into a shawl for the fair. It also looks like there was a sheet of paper attached to each of the entry tags, which I assume include judging notes. I’m looking forward to seeing them when I pick up my items next week.


The Milo looked cute with the other knitted children’s clothes.

Pebble Beach Shawlette

The Pebble Beach Shawlette didn’t get a ribbon, but it got a front row spot in the display case.

The NC State Fair runs through this weekend. Fair items will be available for pick-up on Monday, and I’m looking forward to seeing the judging notes for all of my items. I’m also looking forward to letting Blueberry wear her Milo now that fair season is over. 🙂 Participating in the fair was a lot of fun. Our whole family went on Saturday and took in the whole fair experience, then I went back again Sunday and concentrated on looking at all of the exhibits. I got a bunch of ideas for future knitting projects and am already starting to think about things to knit this year with an eye on what I can enter in the fair.

All The Ribbons

All three of my ribbons: 1st place for the socks, 2nd place for the hat, honorable mention for the toy.

With the State Fair happening now, my fair season is over for the year. Competing in 2 local fairs and the state fair was a lot of work, but it was also so much fun. In addition to the various knitting-related categories that I was concentrating on, my wife and I kept an eye on the children and youth categories, and we’re looking forward to encouraging Blueberry to participate in the fairs once she’s a little older. It looks like there’s a minimum age of 4 for participation, so we have a couple of years before she’s eligible. There are so many creative and interesting categories, that I’m sure we’ll find something that she’s interested in.

Have you entered any of your knitting in local or state fairs? What was your experience like? Join the conversation by leaving a comment and sharing your knitting and fair experiences. You can also get in touch with me by any of the contact methods listed below.

Blueberry And Sid

Blueberry had a great time at the fair. Here she is hanging out with one of her favorite characters, Sid The Science Kid.

Until next time, keep on knitting for the ones you love!


4 thoughts on “The North Carolina State Fair

  1. Your little one is so cute. I live how you cart her around. She will have so many lovely memories of spending time with first man in her life. I like that brown and orange red together for your fish hat. Can I ask you which of the podcasts you listen to are just audio? I can handle that. Video ones are too much for me as I can’t knit and watch.

    • Hi, Kepanie — thanks so much for the kind words about Blueberry. I agree that she’s a cutie, but I also know that I’m tremendously biased. 🙂 As far as audio vs. video podcasts go, I’m the same as you — I don’t have the time right now to commit to video podcasts. All of the podcasts I talk about on the blog now are audio. Right now, the only exception to that is when Susan B. Anderson releases a new video blog. I always make sure to take the time to watch them. I hear about a lot of other great video podcasts, but I haven’t made the time to check them out yet. Audio is definitely the best for me — I can listen while I drive, while I’m at work (unless I need to do serious concentration thinking), while I’m knitting or cleaning or cooking, etc. Video just doesn’t work like that for me.

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