I went to the Marin Co Fair yesterday, and checked out the textiles category quickly.  My top line results of my entries:

1 blue ribbon – 1st – socks

2 red ribbons – 2nd –  handspun targhee and handspun-Ishbel

3 pink ribbons – 4th – shell sweater, something blue cardigan, and kiri shawl

I don’t really enter to get a particular ribbon, although if someone wants to give me a special award with a gift certificate to the LYS, I’m not gonna object.  But I do expect the results to make sense to me as a knitter.  Some of the results did.  For example, Gunda made this amazing shawl out of her spindle-spun yarn – trust me, it’s fabulous:



so I didn’t mind at all that my own handspun shawl took 2nd to hers.  In fact, I predicted this on Ravelry.  And LaDonna’s amazing scarf/hat set won first place too.  Chiaki is a great designer, and I hope she gets more attention – she’s got a couple of flattering vest patterns.

But there are simply some bizarre choices.  For example, my first place came in the sock category:


Frankly, not so deserving of a first place – it’s a simple lace pattern that takes advantage of self-striping yarn.  There were more deserving socks, trust me.  And my Something Blue project got fourth in the original design category.  The first place was lovely and of unusual construction – bravo!  The second place was a pair of socks that one could make by plugging in a new stitch pattern to a book by a famous sock designer.  Sorry, that’s not design to me.

The women’s sweater category continues to baffle me.  I had no skin in the game, so I can be impartial.  The winning sweater, while of detailed construction, is basically a clown-clothes sweater.  I’m sorry to be so blunt, but it’s true.  I know few people who would be caught dead in it. Another award winner had odd colors that just didn’t work.  These were placed over sweaters with detailed cables and of colors that adults would actually wear.  I guess being tasteful is simply not a requirement, but maybe being important in the local knitter’s guild counts for something to the judge of the event.  I don’t know, I’m just baffled.

Very little handspun was entered this year – Marie of Llama Llama and Judy both took the year off, and I think only 3-4 skeins were submitted, which meant I got a 2nd place for my handspun.  Spinners, we need you!

7 replies on “Idiocyncrasies”

Congratulations on capturing SO many ribbons, including a 1st place!

Competitions that are judged are often inscrutable. But your projects are just beautiful, so I think you deserved the ribbons!

I can now, finally, understand why knitters and spinners don’t enter more. the way the items are displayed are left up to quilters! And they, frankly, care more about their craft than ours.

While I get that it’s difficult to display items in what might be considered a pleasing fashion, the reality is, this IS a competition, and not a “how to display handcrafts” fair. Quilts take up all the walls, whether they are ribbon winners or not, and delicate, beautiful lace shawls are used as tablecloths.

Renee and I spoke with the fair office, and hopefully, next year, there will be changes.

Hi Renee, congrats on your wins! And thank you for your nice words ;o)

And I had wondered about the judging and the arrangement of displays as well, but now I understand better how it ended up being arranged the way it is. Yes, I saw some beautiful lace shawls, and yes, they were used in place of tablecloths (one of mine, a big thing that would have looked good on a wall, as well). A shame…..

Gunda, Judy and I pointed out your Faroese Shawl as one that needs to be spread wide on a wall for the full glory to be shown. I have a bit of hope that at least the prize winners for shawls will get their own wall space next year.

I do sympathize with the folks in charge of displaying, as there were so many beautiful entries and such limited space. But certainly some of the quilts could be folded in lieu of using all of the lace for tablecloths, as you’ve pointed out.

As for the judging, I tend to tell myself that part of the judging is based on the finishing details that are invisible to the rest of us (especially the way things are displayed). It’s definitely quite subjective.

I happened to meet Marie of LLK at the fair, and she pointed out that a number of the lace shawls were displayed wrong-side up, to boot. I hadn’t actually noticed this until she pointed it out (and it’s hard to actually see the lace shawls with all of the other stuff that’s piled on top of them).

My Ishbel shawl was upside down – even the tag was put on that way. And then there was the judge’s comment about the “crochet edging” – when there is no crochet on the edge. Oh well!

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