The Results Are In!

G's granny squares blankets are always crowd pleasers.
G’s granny squares blankets are always crowd pleasers.

So we’ve just finished the first wave of local Shows. The shop has done very well overall, but no thanks to me.

The overall winner of all the shows we entered - G's shawl.
The overall winner of all the shows we entered – G’s shawl.

G was the champion by a long shot with her beautiful Jamieson & Smith cobweb lace shawl that took out first each show, also scoring Best Knitted Article at two of the shows. This year my shawls languished with minor awards, however I still picked up some firsts, seconds and highly commendeds for more minor articles.

Even Sheepie the Teacosy managed a first.
Even Sheepie the Teacosy managed a first.

Overall it was lots of fun and we still may enter some more local shows. A few of our items are currently on their way via CWA to the Land Handcraft competition.

My baby jumper in Zauberball did well in a few shows.
My baby jumper in Zauberball did well in a few shows.

This year I’ve been pretty focussed on shop knitting and my entries were predominantly the items I also make for the shop. I’m already thinking of next year’s entries and planning to start sooner rather than racing to the finish line as I usually do.

My lace baby shawl was left out in the cold.
My lace baby shawl was left out in the cold.
The linen stitch scarf earn its keep.
The linen stitch scarf earn its keep.

It’s Showtime!

It’s that time of the year when we have our local agricultural shows and the community get to display their produce, animals, cooking and handicraft.

G and I have been doing the hard knitting yards for some time now, to the detriment of shop knitting but it’s now culminating with the local shows, all hot on each other’s heels. This week we dropped off a few items each at Gulgong Show – we should find out the results late tomorrow when we pick up our knitting. The big one for us is next weekend with our local Kandos Rylstone Show, with Mudgee Show (which is the bigger one) the weekend after.

Our major pieces are still on the needles, hoping to make their debut for our local competition. Other Shows will come up, including the Sydney Royal Easter, but next week is the one that means most to us.

Will update the blog and post pictures as results come through (or not!)

Show Preparations

I love entering the local Agricultural Shows – I’ve only attempted the last few years and mainly with knitting. Whilst it’s a thrill to win a prize at one of the bigger shows like the Royal Easter Show, it’s more of a buzz to participate in the local ones.

I’ve had some reasonable successes with my knitting but have been an abject failure in other categories such as tomatoes, dahlias and roses, but am determined to persist with my efforts. And I’m way past the Showgirl section!

The knitting categories however are now the core focus for G and me, particularly now we have Convent & Chapel Wool Shop up and running. Somehow the stakes seem much higher this year. Anyway, we have our projects underway – using shop yarn, of course. To date I’ve focussed on lace shawls but will be spreading myself a little more this year, planning on also entering accessories – I’m thinking mitts, scarf and maybe a beanie – as well as possibly a baby garment.

The Shows start with a flurry in mid February, kicking off with Gulgong, followed by our own Kandos Rylstone Show, then Mudgee, Lithgow and Bathurst all jammed in closely. Other shows are a little more spaced with Sydney Royal Easter Show in late March. Not sure how many we will manage, but we will definitely be supporting our local shows.

At this stage the projects are under wraps – we’re keen that they will be surprises. no doubt you’ll hear about our results – good or otherwise.

The Convent Steps Up

If I’ve been a little lax with posts lately it’s because things are pretty hectic just now. I will be packing and moving out from Sydney in just over a week and this weekend the Convent is open for the Kandos Gardens Fair. Tomorrow the Convent opens its garden and the Chapel as part of a local gardens exhibition for the weekend – going public for what has been a very private building.

It’s been dry here for months with barely a shower – but, of course, rain is forecast for the next few days. We’ll have to see how this works out but I’m hoping the visitors will get a chance to have a good look-around.

I have a bit of latitude given my garden is positioned as “in progress” as the sale only went through earlier this year, but I’m hoping people will find plenty to interest them and enjoy in the work that’s been done so far. I also have amazing sculptures, food, tea and coffee and a plant stall to provide additional interest.

I’ll post pics and a debrief later, but just now hoping I have everything under control. Things should settle down in around ten days (I hope) as my new life kicks off.

Rylstone Kandos Show 23 February 2013

The Face-saving Baby Shawl

My first local Show. Supported by good friends, we bravely faced the local competition in my first hometown Show. Grabbing the bit by the teeth, I entered some very unfamiliar sections such as single white rose, edible herb collection and cherry tomatoes, as well as the slightly more familiar territory of knitting (although this is my first year of knitting competitions).

It was so much more fun going to a local Show and doubly-so by entering competitions.  The adventure started the day before, with entries having to be submitted to the Hall by 11 am Friday. The Stewards were so welcoming, friendly and helpful in showing us newbies the ropes and helping with paperwork and submissions. At 11 am the call went out for all visitors to leave so judging and set-up could commence. From 6pm Friday night was a special viewing of Pavilion entries to see all the exhibits and winners – so much more personal being up close and with Stewards and Judges able to give feedback on their decisions. This is always well-attended by the locals and part of the local Show tradition. My personal view on the knitting was that it was the best display layout I have yet seen – making an effort to hang lace fully in front of windows to show the patterns and hanging garments with care. The competition was strong (much stronger than anticipated). We later heard that some of the competitors have regularly won their categories at the Sydney RAS for over a decade.

IMG_0744IMG_0745We were thrilled to find out that we had done well, with my friend Lee taking out First in the Blanket category and second in the Lace. Whilst my Ten Stitch Blanket (a personal favourite) is yet to place in any Show, my green Shetland Lace was given a Highly Commended in the Lace category and my cream Fluidity won First and managed to score me the Champion Piece of Knitting for the Show.  The locals and regular contestants could not have been more welcoming to us and have inspired us to make sure we are up again next year. Refreshing to hear how positive the contestants were – no grumbling about judging, displays or undeserving winners – all just encouraging, supportive and proud of their local Show.

As for the Horticultural entries, I think it’s fair to say that I’ve set the bar low and can only improve. The cherry tomatoes (which I was originally proud of), were a complete embarrassment compared to all the other entries. My herbs were OK, just that the prize winner was outstanding and lessons were well-learnt for next time. I entered one of my few roses in flower and wasn’t embarrassed at my quality, just that the others were so much better. Still, it was a Pope John Paul II – some divine intervention may have been appropriate. Maybe the Good Samaritan rose will be in flower next year. We picked up lots of inside knowledge (all very practical) for next time and may even have a crack at jams or pickles in 2014.

After the viewing we headed to Kandos RSL  for its legendary Chinese. I’d put it’s szechuan chilli and crispy duck against many of the Sydney restaurants. Locals already knew of our success and we were warmly congratulated – one of the great benefits of a small community.

Unfortunately Show Day on Saturday was very wet, which limited the activities, but it was good to see the level of local interest. We looked at cattle and sheep like pros and pretended the home canines might behave like the Show dogs if we put them in the ring. Show fleece was on sale as there were obviously lots of local spinners. The Alpacas weren’t a Show category this year but it was fantastic to see how organised and co-ordinated the local alpaca community was in promoting their industry.

A great day with fantastic Rylstone Yum Cha at 29 Nine 99 and Indian dinner at Kandos.Taking bookings for Rylestone Kandos Show in 2014. Get started on your entries.

Show Entries 2013

Show entry 2013
2012 prize winner

Last year I set myself a goal and ended up surprising myself. After over 40 years of knitting I challenged myself to enter Shows and surpassed all expectations with a first and third in the Sydney Royal Easter Show in the Baby Shawl and Lace categories and taking out the Champion ribbon at Dubbo with the same lace baby shawl from the Sydney RAS.

This year I’ll have another go at lace but also try blankets. I have no expectations of winning again, although it’s always a thrill to see your item on display with a ribbon. The items are being produced anyway, but it is fun participating in local shows, particularly when they are my new local rural Shows as part of the community.

If I get my act together, first Shows will be my own local ones at Gulgong, Kandos/Rylstone and Mudgee.