Thursday, August 20, 2009

One more time ... San Mateo County Fair 2009

It's been a while. Let's get straight to the knitting.

I entered my PaƱo de Portada (lace cover cloth) from the book Muestras y Motivos, Tricot Hogar No. 1, in the San Mateo County Fair this year.

This pattern is in Spanish, so my friend Laritza provided help with the translation. The "big doily" as my husband likes to call it, was knit from a no-name laceweight yarn, 70% merino and 30% silk, that was given to me by my friend Bill. I knit it fast -- it took about six weeks -- with the express intent of entering it in the Fair.

The pattern is not so much complex as it is tedious in some places. It was knit on size 0 needles. Some of the repetition tripped me up on occasion. You know, when you knit the same repeat 10 or 20 times, you start to lose track of where you are.

If I were to do this again, I'd switch to larger needles around Row 50 and again at Row 87, to get a better, more open effect after blocking. Importantly, there is an error in the pattern. I haven't seen this mentioned anywhere else. The pattern indicates the first double decrease on Rows 199 and 205 are knit using the last stitch of the previous row and the first two stitches of the current row. The row numbers are wrong. They should be: Rows 183 and 189.

When all is said and done, even with my complaints about the pattern, I'm happy with the final piece. And I won Best of Show in the Textiles Division!

The exhibits area was much, MUCH better than last year. In 2008, the space was cramped, and mainly taken by the quilters who have a great deal of support at the Fair each year. The knitting, crocheting and other needlework was all crammed together. The lighting in the big tent was dim, and it was difficult to see everything.

This year, the Home Arts took over one side of the Expo Hall. Quilts were hung on bars from the high ceiling. More glass display cases were added. The lighting was perfect. Home Arts shared the hall with Fine Arts on the opposite side.

A super, moving chandelier hung over some of the paintings that caused us to stare up at it for about five minutes.
It was made of cardboard tubes covered in silver reflective paper and string, with a mechanism that made the tubes rise and fall in a sort of merry-go-round pattern. They even stationed a bench right under it, just for the gawkers to sit and marvel at it. Straight down the middle of the hall was the Green Expo, showcasing vendors mostly selling home improvement items, but also selling the usual Fair tchotchkes and food, including aloe vera miracle cream, fudge, cheap jewelry, etc.

I was surprised and excited to see my "big doily" in its own display case. This year I the Fair. Next year, maybe the State Fair in Sacramento?