A State Fair Ribbon

One of the “firsts” I accomplished this summer was entering a skein of handspun yarn into the Oregon State Fair.  Not exactly a personal stretching type of first. The people in the 1st Wednesday spinners encouraged me to enter the skein of cotton that I passed around at one of the meetings. It’s the first skein of cotton that I’ve spun with the walking wheel. The two singles weren’t spun one right after the other, then they languished in a drawer for several more months before I finally got around to plying them.

Having been told that singles over a year old lose their energy and won’t ply decently and knowing the first single was spun over a year ago with the second one months later the odds weren’t high that it’d have an adequate ply. Contrary to expectations the yarn came out quite nicely.

Having demonstrated spinning with the walking wheel at the Fair and admiring all the beautiful handspun yarns plus textiles I decided it’d be a good experience to enter and actually have my yarn formally judged for the sake of learning.

Once upon a time I bought 1 pound of EcoButterfly cotton with the intention of eventually weaving material from the yarn spun using the great wheel. This was the first finished skein.  Gracious! I’d better get serious about spinning the cotton with the walking wheel if I ever want to get though that pound!

The index card was dutifully filled out stating fiber material and method used, plus the planned end use for the yarn. I should have written a shawl or some such knitted item instead of a woven shirt.


The fair over I was able to pick up the skein, ribbon and score sheet on my way to the 1st Wednesday spinners. The skein with accompanying sheet was passed around to everyone for their comments. They were all as puzzled as I about the -2 for direction of twist. The only thing we could think of was they thought it unsuitable for weaving. If any of you have knowledge about judging yarn I’d love your input. Given that this was my first spinning of cotton with the walking wheel, the length of time between spinning the singles, and more time before plying I’m pleased with the score which earned a red ribbon. I know that there’s good room for improvement, especially with the thick and thin as well as the consistency of twist.

I’m already plotting what to enter next year. 🙂 Perhaps even a woven cotton shirt – if I start putting in the paces with the wheel every day.

The Oregon Flock & Fiber Festival (OFFF) is coming up next weekend. I’m excited to again teach a 3 hour workshop on spinning cotton, flax & hemp with a spindle Friday morning. It’s fun to be able to expand our spinning repertoire and knowledge and teaching helps one to learn even more.

It’ll be an interesting week: Ed’s dad, JW, is moving to a place about 20 miles from us after having lived 3 hours away. When he was first putting in the bid for the house we made it clear that we would help him move any week but the week between the 18th and 25th. That one week was completely out for us since we had a major show that weekend.

JW called early last week with the news: he’s moving up on Tuesday, the 20th. sigh. Ed and our son-in-law arranged to drive down first thing that morning to drive the loaded moving van up here. Then he called Friday morning to tell us the guy he’s buying the house from won’t be out until Wednesday evening. Meanwhile, the people who bought JW’s house are moving into it first thing Wednesday morning. So, on top of moving JW up here the moving van will be parked at our place and he’ll stay with us until Thursday morning. If the house needs some serious cleaning…

I have faith that it will all work out in the long run. Between tying up all the last minute details for OFFF, and the workshop as well as helping with JW’s move, and hosting him (he’s not one to help with tasks) we aren’t likely to be very rested going into the festival weekend. And, the forecast is now predicting rain next weekend.  Our booth will be outside.

We’re trying to keep a good sense of humor, and attitude about how everything snowballed onto this week.


Author: Wanda J

I never dreamed my life would be entangled with fiber and the tools used to produce fibery items. When I bought a boat shuttle used in weaving Ed looked at it, decided to make a better one and the rest is history. For a decade he made shuttles, crochet hooks, knitting needles, until his spindles became so popular that he had to devote his time to making them, as well as Walking Wheels. Free time is spent reading, trying to coax food from the ground, and playing in the creek near our place. I love long walks and camping far from crowds. Playing a fiddle beside a stream or with good friends brings sweetness to my soul. Sundays are set aside for worshiping God with our small Quaker meeting.

7 thoughts on “A State Fair Ribbon”

  1. Congratulations on your award! Lovely spinning!

    My inlaws did similar things to me. I think that somehow by saying any week but….. The “but” dates stick in their heads and that was what they aimed for. It is frustrating. I’m sure everything will work out…..just hope the stress doesn’t get to be too much.

    1. Great point about inadvertently fixing the “but” dates, even when we’d told him that week wouldn’t work numerous times since he got serious about moving up here. Hindsight, we should have taped the date to his bathroom mirror. :O

  2. Oh Wanda, isn’t that just like life? And NOT the highlights of life…. I wish I could run down and help somehow, but I’m barely keeping up here with the addition of picking Brian up in Salem every day – except for the days I’m driving to one of his soccer games to pick him up there. (I am not, however, driving to his game in Roseburg this afternoon! The one in Beaverton on Wednesday I am.) Oy; OFFF already. I wanted to come, specifically to see you if you were going to be there. Friday is out since that’s Brian’s short day and I pick him up and drive him to Newberg for a violin lesson. I’m going to try to steal away on Sunday morning then. Will you have any horn spindles there?

    1. Your braided wristlets workshop would be fabulous to take! Someday I need to make arrangements to take one of your classes – you have such great ideas and presentations! See you at OFFF! Praying for good weather… 🙂

  3. Congratulations on submitting a skein to the fair for the first time, Wanda, and for the ribbon, of course! I’ve never tried spinning on a walking wheel, nor have I spun cotton, but I have a feeling that spinning cotton on the walking wheel must be a real delight. It might have taken a while, but in the end, you turned that fiber into lovely yarn!

    I hope the move went smoothly, and did not encroach too much on the time you needed to get ready for OFFF. You’re absolutely right in saying that we learn a lot through teaching. In that spirit, may your workshop be a wonderful learning experience for everyone involved, you included! I wish I could be there…

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