Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Duty Calls...and Pays
I must apologize to my new FO. In my last post I described the Nagano Sakura (Dragon Cherry Blossom according to my Japanese-obsessed son) scarf as my "duty knitting". In fact, I affixed the blossoms late Friday night just skating in under the wire to have it ready for the Five Counties Spinners and Weavers Guild Fair on Saturday. My criteria for choosing this project were simple; it was a fast project and I had the roving in stash. Our guild theme was Japan so I put up a frantic post a couple of months ago asking for advice as to Japanese-themed projects. While the infamous Hanami Stole by Pinklemon Twist was a definite contender - I needed a weekend project because (it's like dog years) my weekends take forever in terms of project time.

Dr. Steph came to the rescue and suggested this snappy little scarf from Knitty called "Nagano Sakura". Aha - I needed brown roving. I had a nice merino/alpaca roving that was a rich chocolate shade. I also had some singles spun from a nice rose-coloured merino. The original pattern calls for the scarf to be felted but I reasoned that since it was to be entered into a fair competition - I should show my work. It was also a case of leading with my stronger card since I've been knitting a helluva lot longer than I've been spinning. I found another blogger who had also knit the pattern without felting it and proceeded to knit the scarf with a simple cable.
I filled out the project description sheet for the show hoping that my copy writing skills would somehow mask the fact that the yarn was a tad over spun and the pink blossoms weren't quite bright enough to really show well against the dark scarf. I had a choice between two boxes to check off to indicate my skill level - experienced or novice. Having only been spinning for one year, it was a no-brainer. Novice all the way.

Our guild display looked pretty good considering we didn't spend huge blocks of time planning every detail. And my little scarf looked a bit lonely apart from the rest of the display - the only knitted item amongst a sea of woven entries. Didn't all the Geisha in Japan wear long sleeved T-shirts and alpaca scarves?

You can imagine my shock when they announced that my scarf had won the prize for "Best Novice Knitted Item". My reward was a $25 check. The judges were the speakers for the day including Shirley Scott who wrote "Canada Knits". She's got a wicked sense of humor and I highly recommend her as a speaker. I'd show you a picture of me next to my scarf but I kind of showed up to the event all disheveled, hair in a pony-tail and glasses so I (quite frankly) look like hell.
I've already invested my winnings back into materials for next year's Five Counties Fair. This cloud of loveliness is creamy Shetland roving kissed with a streak of silk in shades of copper and gold. Next year's theme is "anniversaries" and while I have a plan - I'll be keeping it to myself for now.
I guess even those items we knit out of duty can surprise us now and then!


Dr. Steph said...

Woohoo! Congratulations. I think the scarf is beautiful and I'm always impressed when people use their handspun.

Wendy said...

Who needs an Oscar when you have that kind of an award! Congrats!

vanessa said...


the new roving is lovely, i would hate to spin it since it looks so pretty as it is :-)

deirdre said...

Congratulations! Your scarf is just lovely - you must be so pleased!

May said...

Cute scarf. I should have realized earlier, but on Knitty, the castle behind the designer is what I used to see now and then as it is standing in a city I was born, Matsumoto, in Nagano Prefecture. Thanks for bringing me to that realization.