Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Taking the Australian to the County Fair.....

We arrived at the fair around 11am. I proudly presented my free "Exhibitors Pass" for entry and we immediately see a stage to the left. We arrived just in time for the "Animal Noise Contest"!! I'm anxious to see the Needle Arts display to see if any of the items I submitted were displayed. This was my first year submitting anything and the primary reason for doing so was to get the free passes to the fair. But now that I was at the fair.....I was anxious to see how I did.

Grant and Janeva wanted to make animal noises.....their making noises is nothing new....but to see them do it one stage would be a first....how could I say no to THAT!!

Janeva jumped on stage first, she decided at the last minute to make the sound of a domestic cat whose tail is being stepped on. She made some hissing noises and a hedious meow cry into the microphone. So loudly and startling that I think any stray cat within a 2 mile radius ran for cover! Being the proud mother that I am, I cheered, hooted and whistled for her.

Later in the competition, my husband stepped up to the microphone. Strangely, he spoke softly into the microphone.....was he nervous? He explains that he will be making the call of a "rare Australian Red Kangaroo male"....and he proceeds to make this soft clicking, almost chirping sound. Everyone strained to hear it, because seriously, how many chances do we get to hear one of THOSE in San Diego?? Again, being the proud wife, I cheered, clapped and made a scene....but all the while looking at Grant thinking the performance was suspect. Seriously! He could make ANY noise and name it as something rare and in Australia....who, in San Diego will challenge him??

Grant warming up for the Animal Noise Contest

BTW, Janeva took 1st place, and Grant took 2nd place in the competition! While they gloated, my mom and I were thinking we should just be happy to be seen with them. (rolling eyes)

We stop off at the Australian deep fried potatoes...and anxiously wait to taste an Authentic Australian dish. We loved them, my mom raved, I enjoyed them, Janeva thought they were "okay"...and Grant said he never seen anything like it in Australia. Go Figure!

So...off to the Needle Arts Display!

I enjoyed seeing all the beautiful knitting and crochet and tatting displayed. I then was thrilled when in the midst of the display Grant found the first of four sweaters that I had entered......I took a Blue Ribbon First Place prize in the Woman's Knitted Sweater division, Third Place in the Mens Knitted Sweater division, and a Third Place for a knitted/crocheted combo sweater in the "Other" division. I was thrilled!

Bed and Breakfast Pullover Green Gansey Sweater Burgundy knitted and crocheted sweater

I was doing the Happy Knitters Dance out of the showroom, and Janeva totally into the spirit of competition entered a pie eating contest. Even though this sweet little girl of 13 was up against some hulking teenage boys (perhaps THAT is why she entered?) Janeva took a respectable 3rd place in the Pie Eating Contest!

While Grant and Janeva went off to ride some of the stomach turning rides on the Midway, mom and I decided to shop the vendor booths. We scored some hair clips and three of the "it slices, it dices, it mixes, and purees" cutters. (Mom a few days later testing the slicer gives it a thumbs up review.....only the thumb now has stitches it it!!! OUCH)

All in all, we had a fabulous time. I am knitting with a new purpose....to enter into next years fair so we can get the free passes and see Janeva take 1st in the Pie Eating Contest!!!! (She announced that she is in training and I need to bake pies now.....hey....I could maybe enter one of those too!!)

Thursday, June 7, 2007

The History of My Obsession

I learned to crochet when I was 19 or 20 by Jeanette, a coworker at the time and now longtime friend. I lived across the street from her during the "Dallas" and "Falcon Crest" era of the 80s. Every friday night, I'd go to Jeanette's house to watch the friday line up of night time soaps and we would be joined by all of Jeanette's cousins. Everyone was crocheting baby blankets and booties at the time and I believe all of them had learned from their Grandmother the patterns that they crocheted.

This was completely new to me, so I was thrilled to learn the basics from Jeanette and then found myself completely obsessed. I'd work all night to complete a row. I absolutely loved watching a long strand of yarn take shape through MY fingers!

At one point, I branched out to reading everything about crochet and learning to read patterns which developed into a pattern collecting obsession. Back then we didn't have all of the magazines devoted to knit and crochet as we do now....so I'd buy anything that had "yarn" mentioned in it. In ten years, I enrolled and subscribed to any magazine and crochet club that was available and was able to have a large collection of what would now be considered "vintage" patterns. How many patterns of Granny Squares, pot holders, spoon covers, dish cloths and baby booties can you have? I'm sure I don't have them all, and yet I have more than I will ever beable to make, and I'm STILL collecting them.

I really can't explain what I'm about to disclose next. It just happened this way....

I didn't know anyone that knitted. Yet, while on a mission to find patterns of all things crocheted I'd find patterns for knitted garments and for some unexplainable reason, I'd buy them. Why? "Because maybe one day....." perhaps? I would spend hours reading the patterns, looking up the yarn they called for and just think "I wish I could KNIT that!"

In June 1990, I gave birth to my first daughter, Jillian. Apparently, that triggered Post Partum Knitpression. When I returned to work, I discovered that a yarn store was located within my reach during lunch hours. In September 1990, I walked in, found a beautiful pattern for a cable knit sweater and skirt set sized for 12 months. I purchased the wool (in a deep navy blue) the pattern and the needles. Then one of the gals at the store showed me how to cast on, make a knit and a purl stitch and what a cable needle was and then I was off to make the most adorable outfit for my baby Jillian. One of my first Motherly Missions!

I worked full time, had a young baby, and the typical household duties but with the time left over, I worked on this knit project. Remember it was sized for 12 months....

I finished Jillian's outfit in August 1993, she was 3 years old. Southern California, in August, knitted in wool. It came out quite nicely though. We had two sassy kittys, Seg and Pacer, who ended up adopting the knitware for beds.

I stopped knitting, but continued to buy knit magazines and patterns....something that I still can't explained.... Somewhere around 1998, I exclusively bought knit patterns and magazines and stopped pursuing crochet.

In 2003, I discovered Lori's Frames and Fibers in Alpine California. A wonderful and recently expanded yarn store. I rediscovered knit but stayed safely on beginnner patterns. Lori encouraged to go beyond the label of beginner, intermediate or advanced knitter and told me to just knit what I LIKED.

With all of the encouragement and support I got from Lori and the Wednesday Night knit group there I still stayed within my comfort zone picking knitting projects. Then Lori shared with me that there was a class at Foothills Adult Education Center and the team of Charlie and Athena who teaches all of the handknitting and crochet classes there.

Because of Charlie and Athena, I feel fearless at attempting any project. I knit what I want and enjoy the process of learning from any of the mistakes or adjustments needed in any of the patterns. Because of having them as a Knitter's Safety Net, I have grown this hobby into a full obsession.

I have become "A Knitter" vs "Someone Who Knits".

(OH ...SIDE NOTE: Jillian will be 17 years old next week. Three months ago, I finally made a sweater for Jillian. It is a knitted/crocheted combined sweater which is currently at the San Diego County Fair. It not only FITS her, but she LIKES it as well. My first Motherly Mission is finally completed.)