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Does anyone craft for County Show type competitions?

(13 Posts)
LunaLoveg00d Tue 29-Nov-16 16:14:22

I have been entering our local show for a few years with some success (although to be honest there are often only 2 or 3 entries in each class). It's fun interpreting the brief and there are often classes like "something new from something old" which gives you a high degree of flexibility over what you do.

Anyway, I have decided to ramp it up this year and think about entering the Royal Highland Show in June where the standard is considerably higher. They have a "theme" each year for the crafts tent and for 2017 it's Scottish Landscapes. They are also much more specific - rather than just saying "a knitted blanket" as it would at hte local show, they say "a knitted blanket using fair isle techniques, showcasing fancy stitches and made from 4ply wool". Or similar.

So I have decided to enter the hand knitting category where the sub-theme is "moorland". I am thinking this means colours and textures you'd associate with the moors. The class is "a waistcoat in DK yarn". I am knitting the following pattern in a grey wool DK yarn -

Half way across the back and I'm having a crisis of confidence. Is it waistcoat-y enough? Was grey a good colour choice? Are the judges just going to laugh???? I quite like the pattern and style of this item so will keep going and complete it, but would be nice to hear from other people who have entered this sort of competition before.

Also thinking about having a go at "tunic in chunky yarn" and although I've bought a nice purple yarn, can't find a decent pattern.

user1477282676 Tue 29-Nov-16 20:02:49

I think it's beautiful but honestly I would worry it's more of a tunic/shawl...which if I remember correctly is another thing altogether.

LunaLoveg00d Tue 29-Nov-16 20:19:38

Yes that's my worries too. But I wouldn't wear a traditional knitted waistcoat like this pink thing. Hmm. Well the money's spent on the yarn and it's only £2 to enter. Will reserve judgement until it's finished.

user1477282676 Tue 29-Nov-16 20:26:29

I do think that grey is a good choice of colour for the theme "moorland"'s reminiscent of mist and some heathers to me.

FantasticBeasts Wed 30-Nov-16 05:49:51

Have a look at Carol Sunday's rippling ribs vest on Ravelry, it is lovely. I have knitted two of them. I would go for a marl or something that chabges colour. In fact I would probably get something dyed to reflect moorland. FreyaLynn on etsy makes beautiful yarn - she would help you to win grin by dyeing to order.

FantasticBeasts Wed 30-Nov-16 06:04:12


LunaLoveg00d Wed 30-Nov-16 08:36:21

That is very lovely too. So many things to knit and so little time....

JoffreyBaratheon Wed 30-Nov-16 15:22:59

I'd go with it. Looks waistcoaty enough to me. I've entered and judged similar things. If judging I look for the thing that took the most technical expertise - rather than necessarily the prettiest or most eye-catching. But that's just me. If I see something that's an original design or full of interesting technicalities, that is the one I'll select. Most people enter these knitting other people's patterns, though, so it shouldn't matter.

I once entered a large local craft fair's soft toy making category that had loads of entrants. Was horrified to realise they left your name and address on it on a label til it was judged, so the judges (from the next village along) knew some of the entrants. And the judges weren't craftspeople themselves, just random members of their committee. Not only did I not place, but that year an internationally known teddy bear maker who had just had her work on the front cover of a big magazine, also entered and also wasn't placed. Her work was truly expert. Mine, not so much but it had a lot of work in it. The winner? An acrylic crocheted clown made by a regular churchgoer, known to the judges. There was maybe one or two evenings' work in it. It was awful on every level. Never entered that one again.

Have won knitting ones but seen many of these competitions where the ones that win, or place high might be technically not very advanced or complex, sat beside unplaced things that are incredible. The judging is very patchy!

LunaLoveg00d Wed 30-Nov-16 16:48:55

That's a really rubbish system. Even at the local Show when you enter the class you put your name and address in a sealed envelope with the item. They judge the class, then open the envelopes. People who don't place don't even have their envelopes opened. Some of the entrants are very competent, but not professional.

At the bigger Highland Show there are a lot of experts around. I'm considering entering the 2 ply shawl contest but shying away from it because there are 90 year olds in Shetland who have been knitting fine shawls all their lives and could knit rings round me.

JoffreyBaratheon Wed 30-Nov-16 16:53:23

Have you seen Sharon Miller's books about Shetland shawls? Absolutely love them! And no reason why you couldn't knit something at least as competent!

RaisingSteam Sat 10-Dec-16 11:46:48

I think go with your waistcoat. I enter our local WI competitions and anything contemporary looking does standout. There are some brilliant quilters but fortunately there's not too much competition in the knitting.

What I also do if there's a risk of misinterpretation or "not as schedule" is put a neat little anonymous card in with the item - e.g. "Rose Trellis Shawl vest knitted in ** yarn, a modern and wearable interpretation of a waistcoat, inspired by the tiny flowers that bloom in rocky outcrops on the moors". And stage it with a beautiful brooch pinned on. Don't knit something you don't like just for a show.

Can you get a dummy/torso to stage it on so the drape can be appreciated? I covered a plastic torso from ebay with a bit of stretchy velvet to good effect once. And got a best in show grin

LunaLoveg00d Sat 10-Dec-16 22:16:37

I think they do all the staging themselves. You have to deliver the items for judging to the showground the weekend before the actual show starts and hand them over - someone else will arrange the display. I volunteer in a charity shop and we get loads of costume jewellery handed in - I will keep my eyes peeled for a suitable brooch.

I also wholeheartedly agree that there's no point in knitting something you don't like.

Well done on the best in show! Did you get a rosette??? I want a rosette.

RaisingSteam Sun 11-Dec-16 12:37:03

Just typed a long reply and lost it! I might pin a note/picture to the entry asking for it to be laid out showing the drape, but if you aren't displaying it then it shouldn't be judged on that. Looking at the mark scheme there are most for workmanship and technique so it does need to be immaculate inside and out and blocked.

In terms of tunic how about something pretty challenging - how about Burnside, Creekside or Guisely on Ravelry?

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