Knitting the Light Fantastic

Knitting, spinning, dyeing and other crafty goodness

SC State Fair

Posted by notthatkat on October 11, 2007

The State Fair opened yesterday afternoon, and I went down with my good friend Cindi to see what all was going on. We started out by going through the exhibit buildings. The first building housed the interesting mix of agriculture (produce exhibits and various councils and boards) on one side and fine art on the other. The art show (divided roughly in half between amateur and professional artists) is always an interesting mix of local and regional flavor, traditional subjects and themes, abstract, and completely off the wall. This year’s WTF winner (from me, at least) has two paintings by the same artist which were so dark and obscure that the titular subject matter (Iraqi woman and Afghani woman) were unrecognizable.

From there, we went across the way to the flower and plant building. This building also houses one of the crowd favorites every year, a large sand sculpture. The subject varies from year to year. For a while when I first got to South Carolina and attending the Fair on a regular basis, the sculptors would work throughout the week and a half of the Fair and it would only be completed toward the end of the whole shebang. While this concept was intriguing, and I enjoyed seeing the final product emerge, I suspect that those who could only go once, especially early, found it frustrating to only get a partial view. Perhaps for this reason, in the last few years, they have instead had the sculpture finished at the start of the Fair When we got there, the sculptor was just putting the finishing touches on, and there was no information up explaining the theme, as there usually is.

Sand Sculpture

Obviously something horse themed, but beyond that the concept escapes me.

From there, we went to the building with the home and crafts exhibits, including the knitting. I had found the judging results online Tuesday, so I already knew how I did (my messenger bag and shrug took second places and everything else I entered took a first, YAY!). I was more interested in seeing what everyone else had put in. The criteria for the judging is a bit of a mystery to me. For example, in the Shawls, Ponchos and Capes category (which I entered my shrug) they awarded no firsts, but three seconds. There was a lovely intricate lace shawl that seemed technically proficient and should have been a shoe-in for a first in my opinion. On the other hand, I took the first in the Hat and Scarf Set category, with the least impressive item I entered that I didn’t expect to do much. The mystery of the judging is further exacerbated, for me, at least, by the fact that there is no feedback, critique, or score sheets given to the entrants. If I knew where I lost points, I might have a better understanding what the judges are looking for.

I also feel (and Cindi agreed with me) that the purse that won the grand prize for knitting, while cute and well made, was not the most impressive knitted item by a long shot. Removing my own items from consideration, there was a fabulous fair isle vest that really impressed me. Plus the aforementioned shawl. And a couple other items. Granted I am doing my assessment on items on display behind glass, rather than getting up close and personal with all aspects of each item, but that’s my opinion.

All this should not be construed as sour grapes, or I felt I should have won and didn’t – I just find myself baffled by the process. I am very happy with how I did. I was also happy to see several pair of socks entered in the “other knitted item” category (although we couldn’t find my socks despite looking very hard in all the display cases several times. Not sure if we just missed them or if they got lost in the shuffle somehow and wound up under something else). I entered mine in that category since we don’t have a sock category, on the theory that they will never introduce a sock category if they don’t know that there are people out there knitting socks who would like to enter them. So I was thrilled to see 3-4 other pairs of socks also entered. I will probably keep entering socks in this category unless or until they give it a separate category.

After that, we took a bit of a break and watched a different kind of sculpture work:

Cactus

This little bit of Americana seems like something Ann would dig up and bring to the attention of knitters everywhere, so I figured I would share it with you all. While I don’t normally think of chain saws as precision instruments:

Dog

it’s clear that in the right hands, they can be just that:

Dog

My pictures of the finished grizzly bear didn’t come out very good, but the detail on that was even more intricate.

From there, we had a bit of fair food and moved on to the animal exhibits. The livestock shows are divided with dairy cows, horses, and small stock (birds, rabbits, cavys) being shown on the first half. Then they’ll switch and the beef cattle, sheep, goats, and pigs come in for the second half.

French Angora

While South Carolina is not generally a fiber-oriented area, there were a few French Angoras in among the bunnies

Cavy

As well as a few cavies (I wonder how their hair would spin?).

Llama

The petting zoo included some Llamas (as well as some sheep that didn’t make the picture).

Yak

Anyone know what fiber bearing animal this is? I’ll give you a hint: they aren’t native to South Carolina. Or North America for that matter.

Of the dairy cows and heifers, there weren’t a whole lot of exhibitors in yet, but the major (and 1 minor) breeds were represented:

Holstein Heifer

The Holstein

Jersey heifer

The Jersey

Guernsey Heifer

and The Guernsey.

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One Response to “SC State Fair”

  1. 1craftyboy said

    Congrats on the wins!! I knew you would do great cuz you are the most awesome knitter that i know!!! I;m actually thinking about doing something for next year’s fair,but in crochet. Is that cow looking guy a yak?

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