Monday, 15 September 2014

Radcliffe-On-Trent Village Show

The day after the party me and Boyf went to Radcliffe-on-Trent so that I could judge the knitting bit of their village show. Now, I've never done anything like that before and it sounded a bit of WI good fun and a bit Bake Off so I said yes pretty much straight away and we turned up on the day with no idea what we were doing. Luckily the trusty satnav sorted us out and we were there in no time. In the middle of a few grey days there was glorious sunshine and the whole thing was just bloody great.

The ladies that invited me are part of the knitting group that meets in the Grange Hall every Wednesday from 1.30 to three for knitting, crochet, chatter and delicious cakes. They are an absolutely great bunch - really good fun with wicked sense of humour and perfect talent. I was told all of their names but you know I'm no good so I won't even try.

Anyway, firstly we were ushered into a big hall to look at the entries - there were nine altogether (a bit better than the four that we had originally, bearing in mind I had to choose a first, second and third). I was a bit overwhelmed. How do you make a decision when everybody's tried so very hard and come out with beautiful, wearable scarves that show so much talent? Maybe I'm not cut out to be a judge.

I started by feeling each one individually - trying some of them on, rubbing some on my cheek. I put down the ones that I didn't feel like rubbing anywhere, a scarf needs to be touchable. Then I thought about the design - did the colour/variegation match the design? There was one gorgeous cowl, really well knitted with a big chunky yarn, it passed the touch test but it lost some of the detail because the yarn was horizontally striping. So that had to go. :( I looked at other things like, how well the colours were put together, the size and shape of accompaniments like buttons, ribbons. I was down to about four then. And the final judgement was made on the finishing. It makes such a difference in a scarf because at some point you'll see both sides just because of how they hang. So every stitch needs to be in place every end needs to be woven in the right place. That narrowed it down to three. And then I made a personal choice about where to put them in order.

 This one came first:

Not a flattering photo... It felt lovely - very crisp. The pattern was really simple but because it was lace on a garter stitch border it looked really unusual, the yo's made a kind of 'cage'. You probably know that I have a real fondness for garter stitch - the first stitch that we ever learn and the most overlooked. It doesn't curl, it's thick and cushy, it feels good to knit, and it looks cobbled and old fashioned. I love it. On top of the old-fashionedness though was not only the unusual lace but the most delightful combination of deep charcoal grey, silver sparkles and a tiny tiny bouclé thread in a salmon-y beige colour. I've no idea if the lady (assuming it was a lady...) put it together herself or if it was all in the yarn but the pattern was a great match for the yarn. And oh my goodness I would wear this. If nobody had have been looking it would have been in my bag straight away.

Turns out though that the winner, and she won the princely sum of £1.50, was a stranger to the knit group! I had no idea obviously, having never met any of them. Happily though the second and third prizes went to regulars. Here they are: 

Second place. :) Now this was GORGEOUS. Much better in real life than my photos. And most certainly the best finished piece. The colour combo was beautiful. But the scarf-y bit was only a couple of inches wide so it wasn't scarf-y enough for me. The lady who knitted it spent the day spinning in the knitter's corner (more on that later) so we had a good chat and luckily she agreed with me. But it was beautiful. 

Third place went to: 

This one. Which is another one I would have worn myself. I like the reversible cable design. It's clever and still a bit unusual even though it's all over rav. The blues were gorgeous, subtle and that mixed with the organic looking cable gave a stunning watery feel. I learned later that the yarn was a leftover from a lovely jumper which makes me love it even more. Waste not want not. Also, the lady was so thrilled she got third that she gave me a hug. Haha. I liked her. :)

Other notable scarves that I would have walked off with were this one:

Which Boyf and I nicknamed the Mermaid Scarf. I adore the pattern and it was beautifully finished but it wasn't a reversible stitch and the edge curled a little. I adore the ribbon though, you can't see here but it was really subtly coloured and a perfect match for the yarn. Gorgeous.

And this one:

Which would have totes won were it not for a couple of split stitches. I must admit, I'd kind of forgotten a little about the Riot striped scarf thing but this one, in the Neon colourway, reignited my passion for this gorgeous and simple design. I ADORE the pompoms - a proper size for the scarf. And I very definitely need my own with, no doubt, the same amount of split stitches... :) I was about to say 'no judging here' but of course, there had to be. Haha. Sorry Ali - it was beauts!

This is the table as a whole. I was so impressed by the standard, especially the under 13's entry, that I felt I had to write a comment on every single one which meant there wasn't time to photograph them all. But each and every one was lovely and I'm sure they'll look great worn.

 Well done ladies!

When we were done we headed over to the knitting corner where people were hanging about, having a chat, eating a bit of cake, carding a little and spinning. Lovely. A few people had their knitting out too, so I got mine out. :)

We had cake and tea.

Which was well needed because despite barely drinking anything at the party, I was hungover... I'm getting old now. 

We admired the display. Really well put together with lots of interesting pieces including a Baby Surprise Jacket and some gremlin mask thing that was terrifying! Can you see it?

Then at 11 o'clock the whole thing opened and we went out in the sun to watch the opening speech given by a very important lady and some bloke that knows the queen... I'm not very good am I??

We went back in to do a bit more chatting and I had to design this beautiful poster because I'd forgotten my business cards because I. Am. That. Professional. I don't think I've ever remembered business cards before in my life. It's a wonder I even still own a shop isn't it!?

Then we had a wander around the place and it was jam bloody packed! AMAZING! I've never seen a village show so packed before. Not that I've ever been to one but in my head it's all bedraggled. This was a sight to behold. 

I'm sure the weather helped a bit. And the amazing dog show. :)

So we wandered around. There were plant stalls, and craft doll stalls and FUDGE stalls (Amy Singer, this fudge was divine but just in case we only spent £2 and now I wish we'd spent £8!) and pie stalls and then at the very end there was this.

Prize Marrows. I'm deffo taking my marrows next year. I'm sure they would have won. Sure. Look at this beauty:

 Which weight just over an actual stone. A stone. That's more than a baby. That's two good sized babies in fact. A stone. I made it into this:

Which is marrow rum. Although Chris has now told me that distilling is both hard and illegal so I won't be doing that and I guess I'll end up with something that's more like marrow wine or beer. I don't mind which. Anyway, it's bubbling away in an old broken fridge which is keeping it safe, warm and dark. And I won't know what it tastes like until this time next year when I'll either be drunk as a skunk or blind as a bat. It's like the prohibition in here, seriously.

Anyway, we bought fudge and pork pies at the fair and headed off home after a couple of hours. I wanted to go for a walk but Chris wanted to get home to Versace - saddact that he is. We gardened for a couple of hours, watched Call the Midwife and then went to bed. Gorgeous day. Happy times. And I got this photo:

Which is our wild flower front garden. I got a shaker thing one day when I nipped into Beeston whilst Chris was still in bed worse for wear. Dug every thing I could out of the garden which was just horrendous weeds that will never die and they stink and carried 16 buckets of pebbles through to the back garden and then shook it about. It took months to come through and there's a little tuft of horrid yellow flowers that must have clumped together on the other side but I am so pleased with this side. It was the set that specifically attracts bees and butterflies and I do see them about a lot so I'm doing my bit.

Ahhh. And that's that!

Love Eleanor. xxx

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