Featured

The Great Minnesota Get “Back” Together

Each year, I enjoy going the the Minnesota State Fair, viewing the artistry of the creative activities entries, as well as entering a couple quilts in the competition. In 2020, I was disappointed when the fair was cancelled.

This year, I had originally thought that I would not be able to enter any quilts in the competition. Having a trip to Colorado scheduled during the drop off days for the creative activities, I was at first unsure how I would be able to enter. About a week prior to our trip, I learned that I could drop off entries at the fair office during early drop off days before leaving on our trip.

After entering, I was still hesitant to attend the fair due to the increase in Covid cases. However, with the attendance numbers on previous days being down, I decided to go this morning. Being there from 8 to 11am, the number of people that were there was pretty small. The weather was cool and it was an enjoyable morning.

Things that I did not do:

  • Utilize a Park & Ride bus – to avoid the crowds of people on the buses, I left home early morning and was able to find parking in a lots across the street from one of the fair entrances.
  • Eat Fair Food – I usually avoid the fair food, so this was nothing new for me.
  • Ride any amusement in the Mighty Midway
  • Do any shopping in the Market areas.

Things that I did do:

  • Wore a mask and avoided crowds
  • Arriving early, I walked through several of the animal and 4H exhibits prior to the other buildings opening
  • Enjoyed the artistry in the Creative Activities building, including quilting, weaving, crochet and woodworking
  • Enjoyed the flora of the fair, a much overlooked aspect of the fairgrounds

Animals:

Creative Activities – My entries:

My hexagon quilt received a third place ribbon. The quality of the entries this year was amazing. So, I am pleased with a third place finish.
My miniature doll quilt, made with hand dyed fabrics received a second place ribbon. This was a huge surprise to me. I only entered this quilt as a whim at the last minute, the quilt was never intended to be entered into a competition.
The Twin Cities Skyline wall quilt that I made for a friend did not place. However, it is displayed in a very prominent location at the entrance to the Creative Activities Building. I will be interested to read the comments from the judge when I pick it up next week.

Creative Activities – Noah’s Ark: My absolute favorite of all of the creative activities entries that I saw today!

Creative Activities – Other Quilting:

Creative Activities – Weaving:

Creative Activities – Others:

Butter Sculptures of the Fair Princesses:

Flora of the State Fair:

Hats/Scarf Sets and Reindeer Brookies

Again this year, my dental office participated in the collection for the Hats & Mittens Organization. The boxes of donated items were picked up on Thursday.  About 150 items were donated at our three offices.

Like last year, I knit several items to donate.  New this year, several of the scarves that I included in the sets were woven. The hats and scarves were combined with purchased gloves to make winter sets.  Hopefully these sets will keep the children and teens who receive them nice and warm this winter.

Linen Stitch Scarf and Swirl Knit HatIMG_3272

Ombre Teal to Brown Knit Scarf and HatIMG_3269

Dotty Stitch Hat and CowlIMG_3265

Woven Scarf with Cable KnitIMG_3264

Woven Scarf with Swirl Knit HatIMG_3261

Woven Scarf / Ribbed Knit HatIMG_3236

Woven Scarf / Ribbed Knit HatIMG_3233

Woven Scarf / Ribbed Knit HatIMG_3230

Rib Knit Hat and Cashmere ScarfIMG_3228

Dotty Stitch Hat and Striped ScarfIMG_2971

Boa Yarn Knit Scarf and HatIMG_2944

As a special treat, I am including the recipe for the Reindeer Brookies I made today.  Kinda fun and very tasty!

Reindeer Brookies (makes 36, plus scraps from cutting triangles)
img_4285Cookie Base 
1/2 cup  butter, room temperature
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup granular sugar
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 cup flour
1 cup  chocolate chips (I used Andes Candies chips)

Brownie Layer 
1/2 cup  butter, melted
1 cup granular sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup Triple Cocoa Blend
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 cup flour

Chocolate Frosting and Decorations
1/4 cup  butter, softened
1/4 cup Triple Cocoa Blend
2  Tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/4 cup powdered sugar
Pretzels, broken
Mini M & Ms, red and brown
Sugar eyes

Directions:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line a 9×13-inch baking pan with parchment paper.

Beat together butter and sugars until creamy.  Add vanilla and egg and mix until creamy.  Whisk together flour, salt and baking soda.  Gradually mix dry ingredients into batter. Stir in chips. Spread dough into bottom of the pan.

Beat together butter and sugar until creamy.  Add vanilla and egg and mix until creamy.  Whisk together flour, cocoa, salt and baking powder.  Gradually mix dry ingredients into batter. Spread batter evenly over the cookie dough.  Bake for 20-25 minutes. Cool completely. Once cooled, cut into 3″ x 1 1/2″ triangles.

Beat together butter, cocoa, milk and vanilla until creamy.  Add powdered sugar slowly, beating slowly at first until incorporated, then beat at medium high speed until frosting is smooth and creamy, about 1 minute. Spread over cooled brookies. Place pretzel pieces to look like antlers.  Add sugar eyes and noses to complete the decorating of the reindeer.

Weaving 101

For the past couple of years, I have been thinking it would be nice to learn how to weave.  I have always been fascinated watching the weavers at the Minnesota State Fair and at different craft fairs.

31zFaVpQqGL

Do I really need another craft?  Well, no.  However, I have a drawer full of yarn scraps leftover from various projects.  The scraps are too short to make a hat or scarf, but might be put to some other use.  I thought that weaving could give me a good way to use them up.

So, this summer I purchase a rigid heddle loom (Knitter’s Loom) and spent a couple hours watching videos on-line before giving it a try.  I did some weaving as a child, but that was years ago and things have changed since then. 

img_4260I decided to start with just a straight tabby weave and see how well I did.  The first project I did, I used up leftovers of a solid royal blue yarn for the warp. Then I used another royal blue for the weft.  The scarf turned our really nice.  And, the best part was how quickly it was completed.

Being my first project, it took me about an hour to correctly warp the loom.  Once that was done, the weaving took only three hours.  I removed the yarn from the loom, tied knots in the warp ends and had a lovely 60″ scarf completed.

Continuing with tabby weave, I wanted to see how different yarns would turn out.

Three carves with solid warp and variegated yarn for the weft:

Two scarves with solid warp and eyelash yarn for the weft:

I also used made a scarf with various scraps of red, white and blue yarn used for the warp and solid weft of white cashmere yarn (also shown in the Independence Day post).img_3734

After doing a straight tabby weave, I decided to try a plaid pattern.  Using some glitter yarn scraps from a hat I had knit, I warped the loom in a pattern and then wove the weft with the same yarn in color sections.

IMG_3245

This new craft is proving to be a lot of fun.  I like the woven scarves better than knit or crocheted scarves because they do not stretch out of shape.

The first scarf I made was given to a really good friend for her birthday.  The two eyelash yarn scarves and the patriotic scarf I am keeping for myself.  The rest of these scarves will be put together in sets with a hat and gloves and donated (more about that on another day).

Weaving is so much fun!  I am really going to enjoy using up some of my yarns.

Happy Independence Day!

In honor of Independence Day, I decided to post a few Patriotic Crafts.

Red, White and Blue Quilt donated to Quilts of Valor

IMG_2806

A quilt given to a foreign exchange student to remind him of his time spent in the USA:

IMG_2768

A woven scarf:

img_3734

And, some Raspberry & Blueberry Scones:

img_3733

Raspberry-Blueberry Scones
Makes 6 scones
1 cup  flour
1 Tbs baking powder
1/4 cup granular sugar
1/4 cup butter, cold, cut into pieces
1/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 Tbs dehydrated blueberries
1/4 cup white chocolate chips
2 Tbs freeze dried raspberries, cut in half

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Combine flour, baking powder and sugar.  Cut in butter (a mini food processor works really well).  Add milk and vanilla.  The batter will be very crumbly but should hold together when pressed into a ball (add a small amount of milk if necessary).  Mix in berries and chips.  Divide into six scones.  Bake at 375 degrees for 15-18 minutes.  Drizzle with glaze (optional).