Monday, August 24, 2009

Competitive Knitting Recap

I promise that this is the last of this year's posts related to the Knitting Competition at the Iowa State Fair.

I finally made it to the Fair on Saturday. It could not have been a nicer day to be there with tens of thousands of other people. Generally, the day I decide to go to the fair it's usually around 100 degrees with 90% humidity. Instead it was sunny in the mid-70s with a light breeze and no humidity to speak of. Part of our cooler than normal summer, I guess.

Iowa State Fair 82209

After perusing the baby animals, the ginormous animals, eating corn dogs, Bauder's ice cream, and other assorted snacks, we made it to the Knitting Exhibit. It seemed to me that there were less entries than I remembered in recent years. But this could have been because of the way the items were displayed.

My baby dress received an Honorable Mention.

State Fair Knitting - my baby dress

I'm happy with that as I know that the dress had some flaws in its construction. The underarm sleeves were a little sloppy and the snaps poked through more than I would have liked. The being said, the other entries were cute and, for the most part, well made.

State Fair Knitting - my corndog

My Corn Dog, not unexpectedly didn't receive anything. Nor did my felted bag. Again, the Corn Dog was more a novelty and a tongue-in-cheek appreciation for the theme. The Felted Bag was a last minute addition, and had some flaws.

State Fair Knitting - my felted bag

But the chicken. Honestly, I was confused by this one, because I believed it to be the best thing I entered. I entered it in the Knit Toy category. That makes sense, right? Well, it didn't receive a ribbon. But it did have a note on it saying "Life's Little Merit Badge for Coloring Outside the Lines." Huh?

State Fair Knitting - my chicken

I had no idea what that meant and the entry book only indicated that it was an award under "Other". But ultimately, it's not a blue ribbon. Or any color ribbon.

I sent my younger sister to pick my items up today. When she asked about the "Life's Little Merit Badge" here's what they said. Apparently the judge wanted to award the chicken a ribbon (or so they said), BUT he didn't feel that it fit in the category of knitted toy and instead thought it was more of a home decorative item (doorstop (see below)). Because he didn't feel that it fit in the category, he couldn't give it a ribbon. He still wanted to recognize the intricacy of the work because he just "loved it", thus the merit badge. Admittedly, the chicken has some heft because some poly pellets are used to stuff it so that it sits up. But the poly pellets are enclosed in a sewn bag inside so they don't sneak out during play. But I guess he couldn't have known that.

Not to say that had the judge agreed with my classification of the chicken as toy that it would have won a ribbon, but still... It's just bizarre because (1) I thought is was pretty clearly a stuffed toy and (2) there is no class for home decorative accessories. The only class where I could have put it is in the "Fashion Accessory - other than scarf, bag, purse, shawl"* That didn't and still doesn't seem like the best category to me. They can clearly only have a finite number of classes, so I think they should interpret the classes as broadly as possible.

As for scoring, just for record-keeping, and in case you are interested, here are the comments I received, which are nice:

Baby Dress:
4 out of 5 for workmanship
3 out of 5 for finishing
"very cute dress. Gap noted in joining, pucker noted along running stitch on trim, suggest blind stitch." I agree with everything except about the join. But these are solid, constructive comments and I appreciate them whole heartedly.

Corn Dog
5 out of 5 for appearance
5 out of 5 for workmanship
5 out of 5 for finishing
"Really cute, not really fashion, but enjoy seeing it." Thank you!

The Chicken:
5 out of 5 for appearance
5 out of 5 for workmanship
5 out of 5 for finishing
"love this chicken, really well done, seems more like a door stop?" Door stop? Seriously? I'm not sure what kind of door that little guy would hold open.

Felted Bag
5 out of 5 for appearance
5 out of 5 for workmanship
5 out of 5 for finishing
"cute little bag- petals a bit big. Nice lining." The oversized petals were the point. Oh well. The other items in this category were quite nice, so I have no complaints.

Now, I know that the people who arrange all of this are volunteers who are doing the best they can and is undoubtedly a thankless job done with enthusiasm and passion. And I honestly and absolutely appreciate that. But I think it's clear that entries in the knitting category are down. And frankly, the whole category needs a little life and creativity pumped into it, which was one of my main objectives for even participating.

So what do you think? I'm curious. Leave a comment or email me and let me know. There are more pictures of the knitting in my Flickr photostream. Take a look if you are interested, but note that the pictures are a bit shaky due to the low-light conditions and the choice of lens I brought along. And to leave on a positive note, the best of show for knitting was a gorgeous lace shawl that was really beautiful, but was unfortunately displayed rather poorly.

*In a bit of irony, I actually entered my corn dog in the other fashion accessory category because I wanted to enter it but couldn't enter 2 toys. Apparently had I switched the two around, I may have had different results. So odd.

4 comment(s). Tell me what you think!:

Rykert said...

Maybe you should take your greviance to the state fair appellate judge.

L said...

Are you mocking me?

Knittripps said...

No ribbon for me this year. I will enter again next year - bigger and better. I have my gripes about the fabric & threads competition but that won't stop me :)

Meagan said...

Ok, lots of commentary:

First - jealous of the weather & temps that weekend! Nice!

Second- the baby dress is adorable. If we are fortunate enough to have a little girl, I'm going to hire you to knit a couple of dresses for her :)

Third - maybe the chicken would be large enough to prop open the cage of my doggie kennel - but it is way way way too cute for that!

Fourth - thanks for the suggestion on "Hobbies for Meagan" - 2 other people recommended knitting in the course of 4 hours yesterday so I think y'all may be onto something (ha, duh - you've only been doing it how long now?!). But seriously, I may give it a try - I have to be on bedrest for a few days at the end of September so that may be the perfect time to pick it up while I am in a stationary position! Thanks!! And then I might actually know what to comment about when I read about certain techniques or stiches that you talk about :)

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