I'll be announcing the items that will be included in the giveaway for the Team Cupcake Mafia fundraiser for the Make-A-Wish Foundation and how to make a donation next week. If you would like to donate an item for the fundraiser, please contact me at lynn AT lynnzimm DOT com. Thank you to everyone who supports our team!
I've always loved competition. Growing up, it was softball, volleyball and basketball as well as showing animals, baking and sewing for 4-H at the county fair and entering things that I had made at the Iowa State Fair. Competitions allow me to set a goal and get feedback on how my work compares to others who have the same hobbies.
As an adult, I've been on the rowing team, done triathlons and recently started doing Olympic lifting competitions. Since I've moved away from Iowa, I can no longer enter the Iowa State Fair, and I haven't lived near the state fairs in the other places I've lived, so I haven't had a lot of chances to enter the things I make in competitions. Fortunately, I live near Estes Park, Colo., and can attend the Estes Park Wool Market that is held each year in June and enter their handspun competition.
This is the second year I've entered the competition, so I felt like a pro going into the competition. Last year, I learned that the judges prefer skeins where the wool is prepared for spinning by the contestant rather than using fiber that was washed and prepared by a mill, so I took on the challenge of preparing fiber from a Paco-Vicuna and an Alpaca.
This is much more time intensive because the fiber is dirty - Paco-Vicunas and Alpacas roll in the dirt to clean themselves and they have bits of hay, weeds, etc., stuck in their fiber. You must try to get as much of that out of the fiber as possible. Then, you card the fiber - basically brushing it to get all of the fibers lined up so it's easier to work with as you spin. I chose to wait to wash the fiber until after it was spun into yarn. Alpacas and Paco-Vicunas can also have secondary fibers that are course and you really don't want them in your finished yarn. I spent a lot of time picking those out...and I was picking them out until I finally had to let the yarn go to be judged.
All the work was worth the effort! There were a lot of amazing entries in the competition and I'm sure the judge had a tough time picking the winners. Despite having an underweight skein (lesson learned - unwashed alpaca will lose a lot of weight once the dirt is washed out) I took first place in the Alpaca category...
and I took 2nd in the Paco-Vicuna category. And again I lost points for an underweight skein. From now on I will always make sure to spin much more than I think I need.
After prizes were awarded by points, the judge got to select a few skeins for special awards that were not based on points. She selected my Paco-Vicuna skein as the best skein of all the PV/Alpaca skeins that had been entered. For that, I won some yummy alpaca/cashmere fiber and a cash award!
The rest of the Estes Park Wool Market was just as wonderful. My friend Denise once again flew in from Portland to join me there and the weather was perfect.
We got to see lots of cute animals...
I love the goats...
And the vendors at the market had a lot of lovely things to look at (and possibly bring home).
I can't wait until next year!