Here Comes the Judge


Yesterday was a very interesting day for me. Why? Because yesterday, I was one of the two judges for the weaving and spinning home arts competition at the Maryland State Fair. It was a good time, getting to go over everyone’s entries with a fine tooth comb. Of course, doing that made it a long day. I didn’t get home until 8 PM.

Here are some observations:

  • Judging was not as difficult as I thought it would be. This is partly we need more people to enter. I don’t remember one entry from the Howard County Fair that was entered into the state fair. That is kind of sad.
  • Another reason why judging was not as difficult to do as anticipated is because the other judge and I agreed on how things should be judged and agreed on the ranking of items on the first time in most every case. We only had to talk things through in two or three classes because the entries were so close in quality.
  • People try to push the rules. Someone tried to enter one item in three different categories. Problem was, the item only qualified for one of those categories. The other two categories, it did not qualify for even with the loosest reading of the category descriptions.
  • People try to cheat outright. Someone actually tried to pass off commercially spun yarn as handspun. No. Really. Someone did. Why? I can only guess. I can tell you, no one is going to get rich from the prize money given at the fair, so there is no trip to Hawaii in store based on the possible winnings. This was pretty incredible to us.

In a future post, I will talk about why you should enter your local state and county fairs, if you have them. It will cover a variety of things, like what judges should be looking for, what to do after you get your entries back, etc.

Copyright 2008 by G. P. Donohue for

7 thoughts on “Here Comes the Judge

  1. A judge? Good for you for getting involved. I can’t wait for part 2 tomorrow.
    And the whole commercially spun thing really is too much to ponder. People can do some incredibly weird stuff. Did they at least remember to remove the label???
    I like that you’ve written the copyright in your post. Mind if I steal that idea from you?

  2. You should talk to David about judging. After his last experience he’s sworn not to do it again. I still expect he’ll get suckered into it at some point, though.

  3. I had problems getting your blog for the past few days. Glad that was only temporary. I would be a little intimidated to be a judge, but it sounds as though it really wasn’t all that bad. Dealing with cheaters and rule-stretchers would be tough, but it’s just not right to let them get away with it.

  4. How do you deal with cheaters?

    The Montpelier Fall Fiber Fair in VIrginia always has some beautiful entries!

  5. What told you that the yarn was commercially spun? I’m not a spinner and I’d really like to know.

  6. You’ve come a long way, from entering your yarns and sweaters to judging them and you just turned 40! I used to enter fairs and found some of the info helpful but at times I thought I knew more than the judges.
    I was criticized on a Fair Isle sweater for the k2, p2 rib and the color changes showing on the p2 part. Alice Starmore assured me that I was correct in not working a k2 for the first row of the color change and “fixing” the p2 color overlap.

Comments are closed.