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State Fair Competition

August 15, 2013 - Jane Whitmore
We receive a lot of information about the Iowa State Fair -- pre and post. It’s a well publicized event. That does not excuse the fact that I have never attended our state fair, and I have always wanted to see the cow sculpted in butter. At any rate, this weekend we received news releases about winners of the Fabric and Threads contests at the Iowa State Fair. Just for fun, I looked through the list of winners. The closest to Emmetsburg were two ladies from Pocahontas. Theresa Proctor of Pocahontas placed fourth in the Sewing Contest, Holiday Decoration and Christmas Stocking, for her pillow. Ilene Shimon of Pocahontas placed fourth in the Hand Knitting Contest category for Adult Cardigan, one yarn/color, worsted or heavier. I knit a sweater once (please see that is singular). My mother was an excellent teacher in many ways, including knitting and crochet and at the sewing machine. She made many of our skirts to match purchased sweaters. She also knit sweaters and mittens (some in our family still has the mittens; mine were white with blue snowflakes on the front). Not long ago I wrote about detasseling and the money we earned. We would go to our grandparents’ resort at Lake of the Woods just shortly after detasseling season. Often, I would take some of that money and purchase yarn on a trip into Canada. Then my mother would knit a sweater for me and we would purchase fabric for a matching skirt. When it came my turn to knit a sweater, I purchased yarn that didn’t stretch too much. Tension, how you hold your knitting needles and how tight you make the stitches, is a big thing in knitting. I knit the front of the sweater, then the back of the sweater. Last came the two raglan sleeves. It seemed like I was knitting forever -- months! When it was time to put it together, one sleeve was precisely one inch longer than the other, even though it had the same number of rows. The easiest way to fix the problem was to tear out the longest sleeve to an inch below I started decreasing stitches for the raglan sleeve shape. The sweater looked great and I wore it for years. This is the first I’ve admitted that one sleeve has fewer rows than the other. Perhaps that sweater is still around in the back of some drawer. Needless to say, I am much more comfortable at the sewing machine. When my son was young, I made many of his little t-shirts. My grandchildren have requested bath robes and Grammy has complied. But I have never even considered entering any knit, crocheted or sewn items into competition.


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