Wednesday, July 31, 2013

2013 County Fair Results: I Came. I Saw.

I got my butt kicked.

Where shall I start? Ok, let's start with the knitting...

First up, the "big one," my lace coat:
You can see it got a second place ribbon, and that means it wasn't eligible for the Grand Champion ribbon.

I'll take a moment to repeat an exchange I had on Facebook last week:

Aunt: Lots of great entries. I think your lace coat is the star of the entries. But that's just me.
Me: (Not just you...frankly, if it doesn't win Grand Champion, I'd like to see what does.)

So in the spirit of eating my words, I looked around for what did win. It was this hooded zippered cardigan:
Yes, nice cable work. But primarily seed stitch in a bulky acrylic. (Ok, that was a low blow; I'm not sure they're supposed to take the material into account when they're judging.) It was well done, however; don't let me imply lack of quality. I'm guessing it's the hood and zipper that put it over my lace coat, or they just didn't like the lace coat. Big disappointment there. My only comfort is that the lace coat did lose to the Grand Champion.

I didn't see another "coat or cardigan" which means despite wearing a red ribbon, my lace coat also placed last. :(

My vest entry also won second:
Also out of two, so another last place. I thought this would be at a disadvantage because it is a bulky knit (unless you're a bulky red cardigan apparently, ahem). I would have entered my (Not So) Lacy Underthing except that I forgot all the lace on the front so it was considerably less impressive.

For the sake of completeness, I'll show you the first place vest:
Small gauge and cables and colorwork. (Same knitter as the red cardigan...I think I've found my nemesis. ;)

In the pullover category,
I scored a blue ribbon (first). It was the only pullover, but at least they judged it worthy of a ribbon. (They don't have to award any ribbon if they don't think it's worth it.)

In the knitted hat/scarf/mitten set (any two pieces will do):
Another second place. I couldn't really tell why the first place one won first. Maybe the scarf was longer. The stitch wasn't any more impressive and the hat was a regular toque shape. Who knows.

In the knitted "other" category:
Again second. I looked around for what my socks were up again. I mean, in the "other" category, it could be anything!

But alas it was another pair of socks:
Stocking stitch socks. No pattern at all. I'm wondering if the judges thought it was colourwork. It's not, by the way--it's self-striping yarn. So the plainest sock you can make won over my Jaywalkers. I don't understand this one at all. Either they didn't like my short row heel vs the traditional heel-flap heel on the black socks, or they just didn't like the look of my socks. I'm baffled. (The black socks were really, really soft--probably with angora in the blend, but again, I don't think you're supposed to be judged on the material you use.)

On to quilting, oops I mean sewing... My "tied" comforter won...
you guessed it, second place! It was the first time one of my quilts was hung on the wall instead of folded and hung over a rack, so I was happy about that. The first place comforter (as far as I could tell) was on the rack, so I don't know how they make those decisions.

While I was working in the building on Monday, I heard one comment on this blanket. A lady said to her friend, "Hey! I think that's made out of tshirts." Then as she continued to look at it, "Yes, it is because I have the 2002 one on there!" They were moving on, so I didn't make conversation and ask about their volunteer time at the House but that was kind of fun.

In the jewelry category:
My bracelet could be found with the "also rans." No ribbon. I realized after I turned in my entries that I had actually entered this same bracelet in 2009. (It won third.) I didn't look up the exact rules for the miscellaneous categories, but most departments of the fair allow you to enter things over multiple years. They do put a cap on it (usually three years, I think). I'm guessing this gives you a chance to improve your item per the judge's comments. (We don't actually get judge's comments back, so it's kind of moot at this fair.)

On to canning, where I did get to hear the judge's comments because I was the clerk for this section.

First, my pears which I decided to enter at the last minute because I thought they looked bright and fresh. Well, then a quart of someone else's pears came in and made mine look down right dingy. I knew as soon as I saw them on my check-in table that I was outdone! The judges agreed. It didn't take them five seconds to put my jar aside as a non-winner for it's unappealing appearance. The quart got first place.
On to my pickled whole pears. There were eight jars in the category (that's a big group at this fair) and the one judge's immediate comment was "Oh, these are hard to do." So they stayed in the possible winners group.

Then as they were getting down to ranking 1, 2, and 3 the other judge picked them up and said to the first "Oh, you really liked these?" just to confer on what she thought. And the first judge says very off-handedly "Oh no, not particularly." They still managed a second place.
The beans is also a popular category (about eight jars). They really liked my long beans right from the start. And then again, as they were ranking 1, 2, and 3, the second judge said, "Oh I didn't notice that headspace; that's way too low." And boom! my beans were in third place.
I count myself lucky though. I think if they had noticed the head space right off, I would have been out of the running all together. (They take full jars and little head space very seriously.)

Now I'll run through the photography. The only ribbon winner was the black and white seascape with another...second place.
I'll go ahead and show the rest because now you can see them in a frame.

Black and white "head or figure"
Head or figure:
I love this metal (enamel?) frame I found at Goodwill.
(Not sure it's the best for this picture, but it will be great
for something in the future, I'm sure.)
I think the general display was a lot better since everyone had to use 8x10 frames. I hope they stick with it, despite the many questions (and complaints) from people at check in. Those were just "growing pains" from getting to know a new system.

And let's end with a cutie from the "baby animal" barn:
Too sweet, isn't he!?


  1. Oh, I'm sorry that you didn't win with the lace cardigan or the socks. Wouldn't you have loved to be a fly on the way during the judging for those.

    I know nothing of knitting really, but I can see the difference in the socks between a pattern you made, and one that the yarn just makes.

    I hope the fun of making your projects outweighs any disappointment of not winning what you/I/we all hoped you would!

  2. Thank you! I really would love to be able to eavesdrop on the judging. But it probably still wouldn't make me agree with them! :)

    The good thing is that I knit because I enjoy it and not to win ribbons. I can keep it in perspective, even when it is frustrating.

    Thanks again.


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