Friday, May 2, 2014

FO Friday and Back to Back Challenge

Happy Friday!!!!  I have a finished object to show you this week.

The Monsoon Shawl.  I knit this as part of a knit a long with my local knitting group.  It's a first lace project for many of the ladies participating (none of our male members are KALing with us).  I knit it in Cascade 220.  It's a fast shawl to knit.  Except the border.  That took longer than the shawl itself.

Here it is blocking.

 I ran out of t pins.  Next time I block it I am going to take care of that little triangle that formed at the center.
Here it is blocked and pretty:

I like the colors now that its done.  While knitting, I had some doubts.

For more FOs check out Tamis Amis' blog.

Last Saturday I trekked down to San Diego with a friend and her daughter to check out the Back to Back Challenge.  We were intrigued and we really wanted to see a sheep sheered in person.

It was a cold and rainy day for San Diego but the event was held inside.  As soon as we pulled up I knew that the sheep sheering wouldn't be happening on site.  The event was held in a small museum in a crowded parking lot between the library and a golf course with a grocery store across the street.  Not the type of place they allow sheering or live sheep to be present.

It didn't matter.  We still learned a lot and had a good time.

The event is an international challenge.  In the past there have been 13 teams that participated.  The event is not all on one day, but over a several months.  Each team has eight members.  One sheerer (also the only team member allowed to use scissors), 7 spinners-4 of whom also knit.  All of the sweaters knit by the various teams have the same number of stitches-the size various depending on the gauge of the yarn spun.

The San Diego County Spinners Guild is the group .  They took a ten minute penalty in order to sheer the sheep off site and ahead of time.

The spinning began at 9 am.  All 7 spinners spin until there is enough yarn to ply and then one stops spinning and begins plying.  This year the first plying began 9 minutes in.  Once that yarn is plied, then the first knitting begins.  This year the first knitter began knitting the back of the sweater 22 minutes into the competition.

All of the spinners and knitters were in a corner of the museum with tables and "talkers" in front of them to offer a barrier.  The "talkers" were volunteers who answered questions so that the competitors could concentrate without having to be interrupted.

 The lady in purple is the sheerer, the lade in maroon was the official time keeper.  Her job was to write down everything that happened and at what time.  The group then submits their time, pictures of the sweater, and the sweater itself to the officials.

Take a close look at this picture.  Do you see the glass of water with needles in it? (on the right)

It's not water.  It's vinegar.  Why, you ask?  To cut through grease.  The sheep is sheered without being washed, brushed or covered  for the previous 30 days.  The fleece is not processed.  It is dirty and greasy.  The vinegar cuts through the grease so that the knitter can knit without getting gummed up.  They alternate needles to let them soak and clean off.  The spinning wheels also get really gross and gummed up.

A sample of the fleece-see the dirt?

This is the sweater from last year-It was washed after the competition was over.  The brown swatch next to it was knit from the same yarn they spun the sweater out of.  The lighter swatch is the same as well-just washed.  See how much dirt and grime came out.

Close up of the same.

The end result is an Aran fisherman's sweater.  Because some of the grease will always remain the sweater is waterproof.  It feels a little crispy and a little greasy. Not sure that I would want to be wearing it.  But I suppose if the alternative was being wet and cold, you'd wear the sweater.

The team finished in 10 hours and 24 minutes.  A 10 minute improvement over their time last year.  The finished sweaters are sold and the proceeds benefit a local cancer center.

The winner will be announced in early June.  I'll pass that along when it happens.

1 comment:

  1. I Love your cascade 220 shawl . Colors are great. Shape is perfect