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Don’t Miss It, Don’t Even Be Late

Dear Kay,
Oh, joy! We’re all going to the state fair. This is going to be great. I can smell the funnel cakes already.
General Ginger has already dug into her state fair’s rules and has found them thoroughly confusing.
Margaret has unearthed a new duct tape category at the Virginia state fair and is contemplating whether you can knit duct tape. We, of course, encourage this.
Susan has already swooned in a reverie about her 1967 triumph in the categories of Lazy Daisy Cake (need to Google this) and her prize-winning Twiggyesque dress. We will need to see photos of these.
There’s a whole group of alumna of the Dupage County Fair in Illinois who make it sound like the Dupage County Fair was a life-altering experience. (Susan M., Ruth, Donna, Carma–can we get some kind of reunion going?)
And The Knitting Doctor Lorette gives us something to chew on with her You Are There coverage of the knitting competition at last year’s Puyallup Washington State Fair.
It has been suggested that a button be created in honor of Blue Ribbon Knitting. I’m feeling very tender about Wilbur and Charlotte these days, so here’s one:
Anybody wanting to make a Blue Ribbon Knitting button is encouraged to do so. And if you’re thinking about knitting for a state fair, lemme know.
Kay, with your Nebraska heritage, I can’t wait to see what you’re going to make. I’m thinking hard at the moment.




  1. Could I really be first?
    I’d LOVE to enter a fair ~ my knitting teacher won blue ribbon for the Utah State fair last year.
    Have fun at the fair! Nice piggy button, btw.

  2. A State-Fair-A-Long! I am so there! I believe I’ll be a’quiltin’.

  3. Did y’all see, by the way, the Knitted Artifact in the Summer IK? It’s a lace christening gown made by Sarah Ann Cuncliffe for the Great Exposition of 1851 (sort of a National Fair, if you will). The poor woman “reportedly worked seven hours a day for five months to complete the estimated 1.5 million stitches.” And after all that, she only got 3rd prize! These State Fairs are going to be cuthroat, methinks.

  4. I just want to go on the record and say I’m NOT knitting for a ribbon.
    I just want to be A Part Of It All.
    I imagine the ribbon competition is too fierce for the likes of me.
    Ann, I was wondering, is there a category for Best Blocking? You might want to consider submitting a docu-drama on blocking Birch, for example.
    xox Kay

  5. Would you believe that the crummy NC state fair has no category for knitting?! They have a needlework category, but it’s for kids under 15 _only_, and it’s all latch-hook, etc. What’s a girl to do? (Besides learn to woodburn, that is…)

  6. Ann, thank you for doing this!
    Last year, on a *total* lark, I entered three knit pieces in the Montgomery County Fair (Maryland). I won three ribbons!! Am I that good? NOPE. But the organizer said that sadly, the fiberarts were being represented less and less each year.
    I remember my grandmother taking me to the state fair every year when I was young. I *hated* being dragged through all of the exhibit halls, but when I went last year, I marvelled at all of the amazing craft out there. So many of the women who I spoke with (while demo’ing knitting–you should see if your fair needs volunteers) knew nothing of blogs or the “hipness” of knitting. The fair was their time to show off and earn a bit of recognition (one woman got all of her “fun money” from her ribbon earnings–they give $8 for a blue ribbon in the knitting category).
    Please, send every knitter/baker/photographer/quilter/painter to the fair, so we can keep them thriving!

  7. I concur with Chelsea that our odds of winning are greater than we might think. I’m going to pursue the Mississippi State Fair idea, but I might just be mailing a sweater to Ann to sneak into the TN one in case my new home state lets me down.
    While perusing their website, though, I *did* learn that MS is building quite an impressive farmers’ market, although it’s in Jackson, and so helps me not at all. Oh well.

  8. I’m in. The theme of the Texas (where I live) State Fair this year is “Let Yourself Go.” It’s wide open!!

  9. Count me in Ann. I’d been planning to enter the TN State Fair since last year’s fair. BUT…ready for this one? I actually have to enter the “professional” category. Now THAT is funny! I almost think I’m assured a blue ribbon as I suspect I may be the ONLY entry in that category.
    Sheila, the professional knitter

  10. When I mentioned this to my boyfriend last night he informed me that I’m going to get my butt kicked… Apparently the only people in Iowa that enter the knitting catagory (outside the 4-Her’s but they have their own contest) are REALLY competitive woman over 80. But I guess I could enter just to show that there are some “younguns” takin up the craft.
    Hmmmm… But what to knit?

  11. My daughter Al should enter one. She can add it to her college apps. I feel Ive had adequate practice when I knitted for sockapalooza. I kept saying I felt like I was knitting for the State Fair b/c I wanted it to be perfect for my pal.!!!! Oh the pressure.
    Now WHAT will you knit? Let us know the categories for fun okay?
    Hope they have deep fried pickles.

  12. I have entered the Iowa State Fair for several years now. I mostly enter crochet, but I entered knitting last year. I have one a second and third place ribbon, and my Mom won first place for an afghan. It’s great fun, and I am doing it again!!!!!!


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