Sunday, August 11, 2013

Fair Enough, Part 3: The Day of Reckoning . . . and Funnel Cakes

On Saturday, my husband and I made our long-awaited trip to the Iowa State Fair.  We went with two of my Home Ec friends, Cassie and Angela.  We were glad to go with two people who had such an appreciation for hard work, craftsmanship, and the success of friends.  We were very excited to see two Home Ec patrons practically sweep the hand knitting division.

Sooooo many blue ribbons.
After winding through the breathtaking quilts and evening gowns, we found my matzah cover.  My first impression was, "I got a ribb--wait, they hung it upside down."

*Sad Trombone*
While the border is a circle made of the steps of the Passover seder, the middle of the pattern contains the word "matzah" in Hebrew.  That definitely has a specific orientation, and they hung it 180 degrees in the wrong direction.  I found a fair worker and explained the issue.  He asked how it is meant to be displayed, and I replied that it is meant to be flat on a table, on top of food.  He said that if they had known that, they might have been able to put out a table to drape it on, so I will know that for next time if I make a similar item.  He also said that I am probably one of 3 people over the course of the entire fair who would notice this problem.  That is probably true, but I still worked very hard on the item and would like it displayed correctly.  My friends wondered why they didn't use Google to figure it out, but frankly, I don't think they had enough knowledge of the subject to even know what to google.

So, how did I actually do?  I got a 4th place ribbon in the Embroidered Holiday Decoration class!  I am still gathering my thoughts on this . . .

On one hand, there were only 4 items entered in this class.  (Contrary to my prediction, the class was not dominated by Christmas decorations.  Two of them were for Thanksgiving and St. Patrick's Day.)  

On the other hand, I have looked over the overall results and the judges clearly do not feel obligated to just give ribbons to everyone, even in smaller classes.  There are even categories with the results, "First place--no award given.  Second place--no award given.  Third place--Mary Sunshine, Ames."  If I got a ribbon, then it is clearly because the judges felt I had successfully achieved a certain standard of skill.

On the OTHER other hand, the three items that placed ahead of me were all small quilts with some embroidered blocks. In contrast, my item focused entirely on the embroidery.  (A barricade prevented us from examining the pieces more closely, but it appeared that I used a wider variety of stitches as well.)  Were the other items considered better because they were quilted, even though this was in the Embroidery division?  It seems like these items should be held to two entirely different standards in separate categories.  On first glance, a quilt probably does look more impressive than embroidered white cotton.  There is also some talk that most of the judges are quilters.  Ultimately, I will not know the judges' reasoning until I receive my critiques.  

This is another reason why I was glad I went to the fair with my husband and friends.  When I said, "But--"they cut me off.  "No, there is no 'but.'  This is an accomplishment and you should be proud."

And now for something completely different!

Old-timey linotype machine
"Sun Bonnet Sues" of Many Lands
When you want to go hunting and look good while doing it
All hail the Iowa Urban Poultry Queen!


  1. Jorie, that's awesome! Congrats! I received your letter and plan to pen a reply this week :)
    Jessie B-V

  2. Any state fair recognition is a cause for great pride. You also "faired" better that that poor buttercow!

    1. It was vandalized several hours after we left the fair! Now they are selling shirts that say "Butter Cow Security."