Turning Yarn into Ribbons: A Recap of My First County Fair Judging

Back in January, my husband encouraged me to enter my shawl into the county fair which takes place annually in August.  I was hesitant to do so because I knew it had plenty of mistakes in it.  I didn’t feel like I should enter an inferior item.  He persisted in encouraging me, and so I felt that if I was going to enter it into the county fair, it should be entered along with something a lot nicer.  Hence, the fervent knitting all year long.

By the time it came to register my entries, I decided to enter six different categories:  shawl, socks, vest, child sweater, hat, and miscellaneous knitting.

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Here are the results.  I’ve put the judges’ notes in quotation marks.

Miscellaneous Knitting

“Cute as a button! Try to get more stuffing into the legs and arms to support the head a bit more.”

There were a handful of miscellaneous items. My Little Cotton Rabbit designed by Julie Williams got second.  He was made late last year, well within the time parameters for the fair, and he was well loved by my girls.  True, he flops, but I wouldn’t have him any other way.  I am not sure what the item was that got first place.  To be clear: I saw it, but I could not identify what it was.

Hat

“Nice cable work and tight pompom.”

I got second, again, but this was among a few more entries so I’m a bit prouder about it. The first place hat was made with a spectacular, lace weight yarn in a cabbie cap design with cables.  Mine was made on a whim with leftover yarn in a game of yarn chicken, so, yes, I’m a bit proud that this one got second place.  There were no comments for improvement, so if I want to place higher I might have to choose a more difficult pattern.

Child Sweater

“Lovely design.  Continue to work on even tension.”

There were two child sweaters. I entered mine as an original design and got second. I might be biased in thinking I should have gotten first place; however, they both were nice sweaters.  I believe my tension on this was actually pretty good.  The yarn I used, although commercially spun, was uneven.  I think that this might have been a poor selection, on my part, to use it for a competition.

Vest

“Lovely work.  Pay attention to the armhole stitch pick-ups and invisible tucking of ends.”

My vest, which was a Huxley designed by Jared Flood, got second place.  There were two vests so, yes, technically I got last place if I’m honest about it.  The first place winner in this category had done an amazing job producing a fair isle owl motif.  My vest was knit in two weeks, more or less, while both of my girls were recovering from an illness which had sent the younger one to the ER.  When it came time to switch yarn, I admit I was a little lazy about it.  I had carried the old yarn with the new and didn’t think twice about it as this garment was for me.

Socks

“Nice work with basic pattern”

There were a lot of socks entered in this category. Everything was lovely.  I got third. I don’t know how. I’m going to wear them with pride.

Shawl

“Lovely lace design.  Continue to work on perfecting your blocking.”

Although there was a separate lace category, I decided to enter this as a shawl.  The three shawls which placed were lace shawls so it was in good company.  The other entries that did not place were made with bulkier yarn. I admit I entered this one begrudgingly so I was very surprised to discover it had placed third among five different shawls.  I had blocked this one well over a month ago, and I probably could have blocked it again a couple of days before the fair.  The humidity was not kind to it.  Oddly enough, the judges overlooked those flaws I was worried about.

To recap, everything I entered to be judged at the county fair came home with either a second or third place ribbon. I also left with a little bit of prize money. It was encouraging to get such nice feedback from someone I don’t even know.  I’m thankful my husband appreciates my knitting and encouraged me to enter the county fair to see that what I make is good… so I quickly knit him a thank you present which I will write about in my next post.  The county fair was overall a good experience, and I hope to enter the competition again next year!

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6 responses to “Turning Yarn into Ribbons: A Recap of My First County Fair Judging

  1. I’m so glad your hubby appreciates your handcraft (mine does, too!) and encourages you! I think we are all our own biggest critics. I’m so glad you won in all categories and the way you laid out the comments and other entries was very interesting. Congratulations!

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  2. Thanks for sharing. I have wondered which merits knitted items are judged upon since the pieces are often so different from each other 🙂 Often I see items in fairs on which I disagree with the judging. I guess it’s different judging them when you can turn them over and see all the details. Still, I bet even judges get blinded by the beauty (or not) of the color choices we make!

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