Sheep & Wool: Orderly prizewinning

Blogging from the trenches here! The flooding is under control, and we have the green light to move all the non-flooded rescued stuff from the basement into the new house. Now we just have to find time to do that tomorrow and still finish final papers, whee!! We’ll be fine. I’ll just be really glad when tomorrow’s over and this paper’s in. So now, job, between paper writing, and more job, I am giving myself a few minutes to blog about how I did at the Skein & Garment competition at MD Sheep & Wool!

I was really excited this year, because I entered a record number of entries. Out of the six entered, I won a first, a second, a third, and a fourth. In the words of Roommate A, “Aquinas would be proud.”

So, taking it from the bottom.

In the “blankets, afghans, scarves, shawls [hanspun]” category, my epic In Dreams shawl got 4th. I got 4th last year, which gave me a giggle. This was easily the most epic thing I’ve ever spun and knit, and something I’m most proud of, but before you go “zounds! 4th! what a scandal!” let me explain why I am very happy with 4th.

1) This is a very competitive category with tons of entries, probably the most in the show. They really need to create more categories, methinks, at least until the absolute craze of shawl knitting dies down. (Don’t wait up for that one.) So I am indeed proud of this white ribbon. And a friend of mine won second, so that was cool!

2) There are a few issues with the shawl, so I didn’t expect it to do very well. As a design, it’s not Susan Pandorf’s best; the fabric does tend to pull in places, and the beaded sections are so much more open and heavy than the rest of it that it tends to sag. If it were judged on the spinning and knitting alone, I’d feel slighted, but because of those issues I did not expect a blue ribbon.

3) horror of horrors – when the shawl arrived to be judged, it had a hole in it! You might be thinking, “it’s lace… it has a lot of holes in it” but this is a real hole – broken thread and dropped stitches. It was probably from the stupid basket I had to ship. The judges caught it and threaded a string through it, bless them. But I think that lost me points. Now I have to spin a bit more of this yarn to fix the hole, blegh.

[An aside – I had a small amount of bitterness when a special prize and blue ribbon went to an Evenstar shawl. I entered one last year and got 4th, and I thought mine was much prettier. *cat hiss*]

Next, in the “handspun and naturally dyed by spinner” category, one of my skeins of green dorset won third! How very pleasing, since this was my first-ever three-ply, and very haphazardly done. I got a significant number of points off on this one because I did not include an intended use (which was not on the requirement list; grr) and because the skein diameter was not big enough (I think that was on the requirement list and I missed it; oops. Guess I need a bigger niddy-noddy… any tips on how to make one on the cheap? Like cheap-as-free?). Oh well; you can bet I’ll be entering more handspun next year, with these issues well and truly fixed.

The “Handspinner’s dyed yarn basket” category was one I was super-proud to have an entry for. The idea is that you include all the yarn for a project, that you’ve spun yourself, along with a picture/sketch/copy of the project you’re going to make, and maybe a swatch. I used my chain-plied leftovers from the three-ply to make a swatch of one bit of Argonath, and was ever-so-pleased to see the fabulous stitch definition that I’d hoped for. I am thrilled with this red ribbon.

The big surprise for me was in the “Garment made from more than one colored yarn [commercial yarn]” category, where my Holly and Ivy mittens won a blue ribbon! I don’t know if they counted the fact that we’d dyed the yarn and I’d designed the pattern as works of supererogation, but the notes said it was “well finished.” (I don’t think there were a lot of entries in this category, lol… so you can bet I will enter again next year. Maybe the epic fair isle sweater will be done by then.)

In the end, I won exactly enough prize money to pay for the entry fees and shipping. I learned enough that I think I can be more economical next year – meaning, just enter things I know will do well, not just enter as much as I can to say I did. (Then maybe I can make a new goal of actually earning more wool money.) I am just pleased as punch that I’ve done enough spinning to make a contribution. Since I think this will be the Year of Lots More Spinning… I think I have a shot. Entering things in competitions is less about winning prizes for me, and more about celebrating the fact that I’ve accomplished some pretty cool things this year. But I’m not going to lie… I like ribbons. And cash. But just a little. You know.

2 thoughts on “Sheep & Wool: Orderly prizewinning

  1. Congraulations! So proud of you. And yes your evenstar was better! I stopped in on my way out of the fair and saw it!


  2. Well done, for entering and for winning! It’s a fair bit of trouble to enter things in a fair and I always appreciate so much looking at the items people sent. The shawls especially were gorgeous; be sure to stop in at the Bingo barn to see them next year!


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