Monday, August 31, 2009

The Fair, Part 2: Not so fair after all...

(I totally stole the title from Kevin's Facebook post about our trip. And if you belong to Facebook and haven't become a fan of the Knit Nook...well, then you are mean. Or lazy. Go over and do it right now.)

So the main reason for our trip (besides eating junk food and petting animals) was to see how our entries did. Now, before I begin my rant about the messed up judging, I will admit that I won a ribbon--and since my decision to enter was totally last minute--I was pretty happy. I got Third Place for my Odessa Hat and Clapotis.

And Heather's Socktopus won an Honorable Mention. When we turned it in, the ladies at the check in table seriously couldn't contain their excitement. (Okay, I do have a little beef: why isn't there a knitted toy section? Does it make any sense that Heather's Socktopus and Mary Beth's Latvian Gloves compete against one another? That's like comparing apples and socktopuses.)

And speaking of which... Mary Beth's gloves got third. Seriously. All that Fair Isle. Those tiny needles. She knit fingers for crying out loud! On US 1 needles!

Cindy wasn't going to enter anything, so when she decided to enter a pair of lace socks, we were proud. And she won fourth. She was happy because her expectations were so low. But seriously, first place was a pair of stockinette socks knit out of self-striping yarn. I will admit that they were perfectly knit, but how hard is it to get nice and tight stitches when you are only knitting? And furthermore, I had the sneaking suspicion that the judge wasn't aware that the yarn was self-striping. Meanwhile, Cindy has those SAME EXACT SOCKS at home. We're talking same colorway and everything. And furthermore, there was a pair of fair isle socks--and I'm talking REAL fair isle, not the fake isle you so often see--and they didn't even place.

And the Mayor. That beautiful hand knitted, felted, and needle felted third place. Again, I don't think the judge had a clue about the technique. The Mayor explained the process when she turned in her item, and I think they didn't realize that she designed it all free hand. There weren't any kits or stencils. She used the felted bag as her canvas and painted with roving.

But at least the Mayor got a ribbon. Mary Beth's adorable bag didn't even place. And that's the way it was treated, shoved down in the bottom of the case.

Which is where my wrap sweater ended up too. Maybe if I'd bothered to block it, I would have had a shot. The sweater that won first place was a beautifully blocked lace cardigan.

Another disappointment--and I didn't know anybody who entered in this category--was the crocheted baby sweater. A beautifully executed baby sweater won third. First place? A shell stitch baby cardigan out of Wal-Mart acrylic yarn. A perfectly fine sweater, but it looked like the baby sweater every Mamaw has crocheted for their grandbaby since the dawn of time. I could have done it, and I don't even know how to crochet all that well.

I know we weren't the only ones upset by the judging, but because I'm not actually willing to become involved in the Kentucky State Fair textile judging, I hesitate to file a complaint. I also heard, in the judge's defense, that difficulty of pattern or quality of fiber is not a factor, but rather perfection of execution. I guess I always thought it was like the Olympics, how dives were rated by difficulty and perfection. So again, goes to show how much I know.

Oh well. We got our discounted tickets. We mooed at the cows, petted some rabbits, and ate some ice cream. Overall, we had a great time.


The Mayor of the Knit Nook said...

"The UnFair".

I did notice that the judging was "off" this year. If "perfection of execution" was the gold standard then the results were anything but standard.

The finished look of the items alone told the whole story to many who are experienced in the fine arts of knitting and crocheting. While we were unable to examine the inside work of the items it was evident that one could not do such beautiful work and be unable to finish it just as nicely.

There is no defense for a beautifully executed fine work placing low in the ribbon category or worse, not being recognized at all. I will stop short of saying that there was something amiss.

Congratulations to all those who won ribbons and even more to those who entered but were not even recognized. Let's all vow to enter next year and hope for a fair judging of the work.

Jane aka the Mayor

Holly said...

I saw The Mayor's needle felting and it was one of my favorite things! (And I didn't even know it was hers, so I am not even biased!)

Jane said...

I did enter a crocheted baby sweater and it DID NOT deserve to win a ribbon. But there were many that did that went unrecognized or that were given a lesser ribbon than they deserved.


Aboli said...

I have to suggest that maybe with as many disgruntle knitters and crocheters alike maybe we should see about a petition or something. After all I seriously think dificulty should be a factor. I mean this is art. If we compared Michelangelo's sistine chapel to a Starry Night replica someone painted on their ceiling. It is common to find original master pieces with flaws.