Thursday, August 20, 2009

Missouri State Fair

Warning: lots of pictures

Last Saturday part of our knit night group went on a field trip to the Missouri state fair. We made a bee-line for the Home Ec building.

Man oh man, I miss home ec. I had home ec for 12 weeks in 9th grade, half was cooking, and half was sewing. The cooking part was awesome because it was right after lunch hour and we cooked yumsie food we could eat instead of the yucky stuff in the boarding school dining hall. And the sewing part was great because I could make lots of scrunchies to match all my clothes. Scrunchies and lemon meringue pie. Good times! Anyway, the home ec building at the fair housed all the "fair sex" arts, like baking, canning/preserves, sewing, "collecting" (total BS btw), scrapbooking, quilting, clothes-sewing, spinning, crochet, knitting, etc.

The quilting was the best. If I learned anything at the fair, Missouri is a sewing state, not a knitting state. This was the "best-in-show" item, a hand-stitched tone-on-tone quilt that was really spectacular.

Another amazing quilt--I don't know whether it won a prize, but if it didn't, it should have! It's very modern.

The stitching is all done by hand, in different patterns/threads within each little teeny fabric section!

This one looks like stained glass.

An homage to O'Keefe. If anyone wants to make me a quilt like this, I wouldn't argue one bit.

On to the knitting. At this point in our tour, the lights went out in the building!!! OMG OMG horror of horrors! We drove 3 hours each way for this! Anyway, the pictures are all washed out and crappy because of the flash, many apologies.

There was a whole case of handspun. Did you know you can hand-spin fun fur yarn with sparkly bits? Good to know. Unfortunately all the yarn was in a glass case and fondling was not possible, so it was just like looking at all the pies and breads and not being able to taste anything.

There was a little store there, with various handmade goods, nice baskets, and more handspun yarn. All of us have titanium self-discipline, and so we didn't buy any of it. (Actually, there were only single skeins. Spinners need to figure out that multiple identical skeins = more sweater-knitters = more $)

There was a LOT of crochet, of which this is a small selection. I do like crochet, but I feel there is a very short and slippery slope to making granny shite.

Finally, the knitting! These two pullovers won for best pullovers. There were only 3 pullovers being judged, but both did deserve a ribbon because both have really detailed colorwork/fair isle.

This is a tiny section of a huge blanket knitted in fingering or lace weight yarn. Inexplicably, it didn't win a prize, and we thought that maybe it was an antique and was thus disqualified. It was absolutely breathtaking, and we could only see like 1/16 of the thing because it was all folded up!

One of the winners for the shawl/stole category is this tan lace shawl, which was used to line the base of the display cabinet, obscured by all the other crap little things on top! Very little of it was visible, sadly.

The other winner in the lacy category is this scarf, in the squiggly lace pattern whose name I can't remember but is very popular. Again, it was folded up and very little was visible.

Overall, the knitted goodies were few, and with a couple exceptions, not too great. We all decided to enter next year and kick some knitterly ass! Certainly the knitting was not displayed very prominently, especially compared to the quilts, which were all individually strung up in full glory. A long while later the lights came back on and we went and took another look at everything, but still, the knitting paled in comparison to the quilting.

Some of the best items were on the bottom shelf--this giraffe and donkey are felted little darlings!

The other jaw-dropping art on display was smocking--various garments, decorations, etc were displayed and were breathtaking. These wee smocked eggs were my favorite.

I wonder why no one has combined quilting with smocking yet. That would get the "best in show" for sure. The strangest thing in this building was this talk/show which was going on (and persisted after the electrical failure), which although looks like it should be a demonstration of prairie farm skills, and is actually a live informercial for tupperware.

There were some amazing woven items, too, like this scarf. There were a couple men who entered woven items, preserves, and breads, and got a ton of ribbons, because they got to compete in their own division. Seeing how men, juniors, and seniors get their own divisions, I think "women with full-time jobs" should also get their own division. But I digress.

After the home ec building, we looked at the "fine" art, which was pretty good in the top-50 section, and ho-hum in the rest. This quilt of an ophelia-esque scene was beautiful.

We went to the floral building (has a special name, but I don't remember), where roses were displayed for the day. One lady basically swept all bazillion categories, and I felt really bad for all the other rosebush-owners in the state. I purposefully forgot to take pictures. But here is a picture of roses made of wood that were being sold at the fair.

The last stop was the children's animal barn, or something like that, where various animals were in little pens. This included dogs and cats, and although I took pictures, they made me so sad I've censored them off this blog. All the animals were in little pens surrounded by tall fences. The goose with the yellow mouth in this picture was very unhappy and kept on honking quite loudly.

Sweet bunnies!

There was a sign outside each pen with the correct vocabulary for male/female/baby versions of each animal, etc. The "kindling" part made me laugh because I'm a dorky neurologist, and no one else will find this funny at all. But it is very informative.

Poor cow behind the fence.

And, lastly, poor little sheep.

The animals seemed overwhelmed by all the screaming kids poking in their hands, the other animals, and the whole fair scene, and I felt very bad about the whole thing. There should have been a pen with a couple humans in it to make it a fair fair.

We cheered ourselves with food. No pictures, but we had french fries and roasted corn. Having bought (and eaten) a ginorm bag of caramel corn on the way to the fair, I was too full to have funnel cake. It rained buckets on the way there, so there weren't many people at the fair, which ended up being fabulous for us because we had lots of breathing room, and it didn't rain there at all!

Next year, we are planning to enter our own knitted goodies, and I'll definitely leave room for funnel cake!


Team Knit ! said...

I totally think you should write a letter to the fair organizers and complain about the animal section- that is so, so sad. Either they should get animals that are trained for petting zoos, or don't display live animals in cages as though people have no idea what a cow looks like. They all look so sad and scared!! Ugh, animal treatment is a sore spot for me, sorry!

It's so interesting to see how knitting is treated in fairs!! You should definitely enter next year, you sweep through the categories like that lday you mentioned with the rose bushes. ;)

- Julie

VeganCraftastic said...

Yay for state fairs, that Ophelia quilt was amazing. I love going to the MN state fair but I steer clear of the animal buildings, I know I'll just get all "angry vegan" and make myself miserable.

Rose Red said...

Thanks for sharing all the photos, it's almost like being there! I'm glad to know that it's not only our Easter Show (equivalent of your State Fair) that displays the knitting terribly! (well, I'm not glad, but I hope you know what I mean!)

So many things to comment on! The smocked eggs are amazing and the little felted animals are so cute!

Emily said...

It was so fun to share the day and ooh! and aah! and huh? over the exhibits. Next year, watch out Sedalia!

emicat said...

Thanks for sharing the photos - I look forward to one of the state fairs here that will start in a couple of weeks.

I agree, the knitting displays were not good at all - it looks someone who doesn't knit just threw them in a glass case without a care.

Some of those quilts are amazing and those smocked eggs??? Too friggin cute!

I also second you entering a few of your projects - you're definitely bound to win a couple of ribbons!!!

soknitpicky said...

You definitely need to enter in some of your show-me knitting next year! And someone needs to show them how to properly display knitted items.

soknitpicky said...

P.S. Kindling *is* funny and--given the reproductive reputation of rabbits--fitting

Anonymous said...

I had a wonderful time, and thanks to Emily for bringing all the sandwiches, apple sauce, cinnamon, chips, and drinks! How thoughtful (not to mention the fact that she drove us all the way there!) We all felt that the knitting was basically judged by size; i.e., a big old stockinette afghan knitted in 3-4 strands of worsted weight wool won a prize, while some far more intricate & subtle scarves did not. This makes me wonder whether there is a way to knit something big and showy while still maintaining knitterly integrity?


Flat Creek Farm said...

Hi! Not sure how I arrived here, but I really enjoyed this post on the MO State Fair. We live in central MO and attend every year. I spent a very long time in the Home Ec bldg and somehow missed that felted donkey. Which is amazing since I have two mini donkeys. My sister has sheep and wonderful fibers, and I've been wanting to felt for a long time. That little donkey is my inspiration now.. so thank you! Glad to 'meet' you. You are very talented. Knitting is one craft I've never been brave enough to attempt! -Tammy p.s. I usually go in the petting zoo, but last year left me feeling sad too. So I did not go in this year!

Martha said...

I stumbled upon your blog when I was googling "smocking" just for kicks. And found my smocked egg featured. Thanks. I hope to have more entries in the fair this year. Thanks for your kind compliments. There have been some smocked quilts. See my blog post
where my chapter smocked miniature dresses and put them in a quilt.