knit | spin

Show and Tell

July 24, 2015

As promised, some show and tell.

IMG_1100This wee Kowhai and Fern Beanie went to the Australian Sheep and Wool Show this year. I have wanted to knit this little cap ever since I saw it, in the 2013 Summer edition of Spin-Off. It seemed so suited to some Finnsheep fleece I had left over from a previous project. The fleece was prepared with a flick carder and spun with a worsted short draw into a two ply laceweight yarn. Details are ravelled here.

IMG_1102Finnsheep yarns are so so soft, as soft as the proverbial baby bot. This fleece came from Fairfield Finns, a good few years ago now.

Margaret Stove, famed New Zealand lace spinner and knitter, is the designer of this beanie. In 1982, she designed, spun and knit an exquisite lace baby shawl from a local prize winning fleece as the gift of New Zealand to the British Royal family upon the birth of Prince William. She designed two beanies using motifs from the original shawl for the birth of William and Kate’s first child.  Living in a colonial outpost of the British Empire, I am not really into royals but I do appreciate a good back story.

IMG_1113The Woolcraft judges generously gave this wee beanie a First. I am very grateful to the prize donors Ixchel and Moseley Park. And thank you to Jay Peterson from the Handweavers’ and Spinners’ Guild of Victoria for running a taxi service for entries, taking up and bringing back entries to Melbourne.

IMG_1104If you have never entered an item in a Woolcraft competition before, judges allot a score against a number of different categories. These are Suitability of Purpose, Structure, Finish, Presentation and Overall Impression. The scores are added up into a total score and the entry with the highest score is the winner. I have never seen a description of how these categories are judged so if anyone reading this has knowledge to share please do. Woolcraft competitions are essentially about encouraging us to better our skills so making the judging criteria open and understandable assists this aim. These are my best guesses from previous entries and tips passed on by more experienced competitors.

Suitability of Purpose as I understand it, means that your fibre choice, preparation and technique suit the item you have made. So a newborn jacket made out of chunky Herdwick would probably score low in this category but the same yarn as an outer garment for a adult might score highly.

Structure, I have no idea what this category means.

Finish is all about neat seams, lined up edges, appropriately sized buttons, woven in ends etc. An article I entered a few years ago scored poorly in this section because my yarn change occurred in the middle of a row. I certainly never did that again!

Presentation is about how the entry looks. Handspun skeins score more highly if tied with matching yarn with neat cut off ends. A knitted garment should be clean and freshly blocked. A lace shawl covered with cat hairs would score poorly but the same shawl minus cat hair with points sharp and even would score more highly in this category.

Overall Impression is the wow factor. Less points are available for this category, so wow will only get you so far.

Please do share any knowledge or tips for entering fibre craft competitions in the comments.

The next post will feature the beige symphony shawl of the Waysides, so do come back.