Gathering Wool

Oh my, I’ve neglected this blog…I’m sorry…SIGH.
Partially because I’ve been busy with the Crochet Liberation Front and the first annual Crochet Award nominating process soon the voting starts! Please join us on that…and partially because well, I just haven’t spun much for the past year. In fact I think it is safe to say that I have only spun 2 skeins of yarn in the past 16 months…stupid shoulder.

Well the stupid shoulder seems to have become a little smarter and doesn’t hurt so badly. And the thoughts of the Stanwood Camano Fair loom large again…Today I went out to speak to a fiber goat/sheep 4-H club about how to enter their fleece, how to sort their fleece and covered some very basic fiber preparations.

Our fair is probably the only on left in Washington State to judge fleece the way we do. Most of the other fairs are so big with so many entries that they only take bits and pieces of the fleece out of the bags to judge them. Sloppy work if you ask me.

At our fair, we roll out the entire fleece and judge it the old fashioned way. You can not only tell a lot about an animal by it’s fiber (same with humans, hair says a lot about general health, hygene and nutrition), you can tell a lot about the exhibitor.

A fair is like a fashion show for livestock and produce. Think about it, when you walk down a run way you don’t (in general) go on stage in the harsh lights with no make up, your muddy boots, and dingy comfy clothes…No way! You are up there to sparkle, and show off the best that you can be.

That goes for entries whether it’s a sheeps fleece, or a finished garment. It doesn’t matter how nice and usable the fiber will be once it’s cleaned and carded, we want to see that it was sheered properly, that you bothered to take the vegetable matter out of the fleece, and didn’t leave the poopy parts on the fleece.

Amazing how many people don’t think about it. In yarn it doesn’t matter how “pretty” the dye job is, if you didn’t tie the skein in four places (allowing it to tangle up) and didn’t block the yarn (if it’s supposed to be) then it is not going to show as well.

If you put in a sweater and didn’t weave in all your ends, or joined your seams sloppily, well don’t expect a blue ribbon.

It’s that simple. It used to be common knowledge but the world has changed and people have forgotten what fairs are all about. They seem to be more into the prize money and ribbons than what was the original intent behind those ribbons and money.

This is where a person used to make deals for breeding, top prizes went to the superior animals for qualities like meat and fiber or dairy production; not how cute and sweet the animal was.

You could make deals to sell your fleece, or yarn, or swap and trade with other folks from farms around your area.

Now if someone doesn’t get a blue ribbon their feelings are hurt, when in all reality it may have been someone elses entry was just that much better, technically.

I’ve thrown in hasty last minute entries to make up entry numbers in years gone by, with non woven in ends, expecting white or red at best knowing going in, and have heard the public exclaim with disbelief “But that is PRETTIER than the one that won.”

I usually chuckle and walk over and explain why the prettier piece didn’t win, and when they try to argue, I let them know that I am the maker of said item. I also let them know I don’t care a fig for ribbons and trophies since I showed as a kid and still have those things hanging around in a box in the garage.

Well, ok, I have one rosette that hangs up on my wall and I’m most proud of it. It was the first time I won Best of Show for yarn, I won it with a painstakingly fine knot yarn that I spun at a fine weight on an Ashford Traveler with a bulky flyer. They said it couldn’t be done, and I did it. It was insanity, but I did it and I won. Not bad for she who doesn’t knit…yes, that used to be my handicap πŸ™‚ That ribbon means a lot, but then again I worked harder on that one skein of yarn than any other before or since.

Anyway…my soapbox is complete for the day…and oh yeah, I just grease d up my wheel…The spinners coming back to the wheel, world watch out!


About thegoldenme

I love crochet and hand-spinning. I am visually impaired, and thus extremely tactile. I love texture and color, and creating things that feel good, and look good has made life richer and warmer.
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2 Responses to Gathering Wool

  1. kaet says:

    Thanks for the info. I’ve never been to a fair like that, so it’s really interesting.

  2. camanomade says:

    Thanks Kaet πŸ™‚

    Partially because British fairs are a little bit different from American Fairs, but you know the concept and basic reason for having them is the same πŸ™‚ Europe had the fetes which would center around produce and food with other reasons being said…but you know what else is there for humans? Food, and clothes…I mean ok there is shelter too, but really it all boils down to that πŸ˜‰

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