Shall I Or Shan’t I?

3 March 2009

Last year there was a lot of criticism in the Sydney knitting fraternity (and sorority) about the entries in the Sydney Easter Show.  They have a large knitting competition – probably the biggest in Australia, I think.  There was some exquisitely executed knitting, that’s for sure, but the majority of it was stuck in a 1950’s time warp.  Really ghastly items that my 88 year old mother wouldn’t dream of wearing.  Some of the garments were lovely but there were so few of them.  One woman was overheard saying that if you can knit as well as this, why would you knit THAT?  (If you want to see a really good description of last year’s event, go to Knitabulous’ blog) 

So I told myself at the time that next year, I’d enter something.  My skills aren’t good enough for a lot of the categories – I don’t knit Shetland lace, and my Aran knitting wouldn’t produce a perfect item.  Any Fairisle garment wouldn’t really pass muster and my finishing techniques aren’t fantastic.  Actually as I write this, I’m wondering why I considered entering in the first place.

But I do enjoy, and am reasonably good at, designing my own garments.  So I sent off my application form for the Original Design section.  And the paperwork arrived yesterday.

Now I have to decide whether to actually submit the garment.  I haven’t finished knitting it yet – heck, I haven’t finished designing it yet.  But I’ve got 3 weeks before I have to take it in. 

On the plus side, it would be great to see it displayed in the cabinets at the Showground.  And if I actually got a ribbon, of any colour, I’d be over the moon.  It’s also important that as many people as possible enter items that reflect the 21st Century.

On the down side though, am I going to be very disappointed if it doesn’t make the display cabinets?  How am I going to feel when I hear people make disparaging remarks or, even worse, write disparaging comments on the internet?  I haven’t developed a thick skin for this as I’ve never entered a knitting competition before.

In other words, shall I bother?  I think at the moment, it’s wait and see. 



  1. I don’t know that anyone ever develops a thick enough skin that criticism of something so personal and handmade, be it knitting, any craft (or children!!) isn’t going to dig in a bit. But if you never make the attempt, you never get the chance to bask in the praise, either. Go for it!

  2. You just do what I did the first year, and tell yourself that it’s because you’re just too progressive and avant garde for the philistines who judge the thing. 🙂

  3. I’d put those shawls in you had at R+L, they’re lovely, especially that one in the varied colour yarn.
    Also, I need a knitting commentator for the podcast are you interested (I think I can get an extra media pass for you)?

    David. (not your one obviously, the other one)

  4. If you’re thinking about it, enter.

    Don’t worry about what anyone has to say, honestly, don’t get upset. Did they bother to enter? It’s so easy to stand on the other side and judge.

    If you do not get into the “cabinets”, enter next year, or better still, get yourself onto the committee. We need to get rid of the old fashioned thinkers and have judges who know what the present day people would actually wear.

    Go for it and good luck!

  5. Don’t overthink it. Just enter it. And even if people don’t like it, it’s lucky your self esteem isn’t linked to the opinion of strangers on the internet.

    It is a risk, putting yourself out there – and it is a brave thing to do. You’re brave.

    I didn’t enter last year, so I felt it appropriate to make comments about the items knitted for the competition.

    I have entered this year, so I won’t be making any comments – conflict of interest and all that. But the display itself, it really needs a rethink. It has not changed in over twenty years.

  6. I’m kicking myself for not entering – I thought about it but just didn’t get myself organised. I hope you will enter – I agree, it is really important to show garments for the 21st century, whether they win or not! Good luck.

  7. Just do it. Some Canberra SnBers won some pretty snazzy ribbons for their gorgeous entries in the Canberra show – first time entries, too.

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