Today we went off to the fair, to have a look around and get a picture of my yarn in the display case. Fortunately there is more than one digital camera in the household.

Skein of yarn and ribbon: First Place San Mateo County Fair

My friend predicted I’d get a blue ribbon and I did. I’m not personally all that motivated by winning, so I had to be convinced to enter. It is another way to explore further what judging yarn means, so I can learn something there. (I won’t get the comments, if any, until after the fair ends.) Perhaps somebody will be inspired to explore traditional yarns as a result, and that is a good thing.

There was a group of spinners demonstrating in front of the yarn and weaving display, one turned out to be a yarn judge. I asked her about how they evaluated the entries and the judges were looking specifically for technical skill. I’ve talked to many people about entering their yarns in competition and have heard several stories of seemingly random results, so this is encouraging. It isn’t that I don’t care at all about creative visual design (let’s just say it isn’t high on my list) but I do think that some people don’t look past it to consider structure. It is the structure that interests me, and that is best seen by starting with even and consistent yarn. Such that apparently there was some discussion about whether on not my skein was actually spun by hand.

I get this comment once in a while, it’s still always weird when I do. (People ask me all the time where I buy my clothes, you would think I’d get used to it.) Some spinners believe one shouldn’t worry too much about making fine and even yarn because irregularities give it “character.” If they wanted even spinning, they would buy it already made. I actually don’t consider if yarn is machine or hand spun when evaluating it’s qualities, only that it has certain characteristics. Handspun yarn tends to have particular ones and machine spun others. It’s all still yarn. It’s the whole subject of what is “good” yarn where I get bogged down in the sea of opinions and personal preferences.

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