Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Washington State Fair: Entry Etiquette

You know, Readers, one would think that by now our society would have come to a generalized consensus about acceptable standards for civilized behavior.

Especially when it comes to participating in competitive exhibit entries at the Washington State Fair.


*snort*. I guess I should start from the beginning.

As my regular readers may know, I've decided to enter some of my knitting and crochet work into the Washington State Fair for the very first time. The deadline for dropping off items for judging in the Home Arts/ Textile division was last weekend, so Mr. Orb Weaver and I packed up my entries and drove down on Saturday.

Ooh! Ooh! Let me shamelessly show off my entries before I launch into my rant!

I re-did the lace parasol using a merino wool/silk blend in charcoal grey:

...and I am VERY, VERY happy with the end result! The yarn I used (Juniper Moon Farm Findley) ended up making the lace quite a bit smaller than my first go-around, but it had a lovely stretch to it; shaping the final parasol into a glorious bell when opened. The picture doesn't show it (and all of my attempts at getting a close up shot did not do the yarn justice, because my camera is terrible), but the yarn also has a lovely yet very subtle shine to it.

I had a bunch of the Findley left over, so I whipped out my lace working hooks and made a doily, which I also ended up entering:

It's nothing special, but I thought it would be worth a shot.

So, I packed these guys up along with the Spaceship baby blanket...

(which I'm posting again because I just love it so much!)
...and drove down to Puyallup on Saturday with the hubs to turn in the entries along with the paperwork.

It wasn't too busy by the time we got there, but the volunteers at the main pavilion (where they were collecting and organizing the entries) all seemed to have their hands full. The woman who helped me enter my crochet lace items looked absolutely exhausted.

She took my name, I signed the papers, and all that jazz. When I handed her the clipboard with all the t's crossed and i's dotted, she looked at me and said,

"Thank you, THANK YOU for being so nice and polite."

At first I thought nothing of the comment. I told her she was welcome, and then made my way towards the volunteers sorting the knit items.

After I was done entering the baby blanket, the volunteer from the lace area stopped me and asked if I could specify which side of my doily I wanted to be displayed, since "many participants get very upset if the doilies aren't shown correctly."

Um...I can understand feeling mildly peeved, but getting very upset?


For the doily I made, it really doesn't matter which side is which, so I just told her to display it however she liked.

But for other crochet pieces that incorporate cables, clusters and such, one would think that it was obvious what is right-side up. And even then, the judges inspect all of the entries BEFORE they are displayed, so in the grand scheme of things in really doesn't matter that much.

Readers, if you find yourselves getting very upset at a poor, over-worked fair volunteer because your doily is upside-down, you may need to re-examine your priorities in life.

Plus, on our way out, I witnessed some ridiculous behavior: as I left the main pavilion, I saw a woman scream at a poor security guard because the guard wasn't able to escort her to the pavilion personally.

Admittedly, I may be a bit of a Pollyanna when it comes to the culture surrounding competitive fair entries, since I've never done this before. But holy hell, knitters of Washington State, WHISKEY TANGO FOXTROT?

Is this a thing? Is it expected for participants to treat fair employees and volunteers in this way?

Perhaps I came in on an "off" day. I dunno.

But still, one would think that by now our society would have come to a generalized consensus about what's acceptable behavior when participating as an exhibitor at the state fair.

Anyways. Thanks for sticking with me through the above rant, Readers! Wish me luck!

Orb Weaver out!

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