Sarah Pineda said she spent several hours during the spring and summer knitting a quilt she entered last week in the North Texas State Fair and Rodeo creative arts contest.
The 19-year-old entered the contest after learning how to knit from her best friend, but she said she might need more practice since she placed last in her division.
“Maybe they thought it was too childish or too plain,” she said with a laugh. “But no, it was my first ever and I really didn’t expect to win. It was a learning experience, and that’s a win for me.”
Judges completed their critiques last week. They judged the needlework of rugs, pillows, sweaters and towels. They also tested the quality of home-canned food items.
All of the winning items entered in the contest sit in the fair’s exhibition hall with names and ribbons pinned to each.
Janice Walker, a former contest judge, said judging each entry usually comes down to the details.
“When you look at an item, they all look well-made, and in most cases they are,” she said. “It normally comes down to how the fabrics feel, the item’s creativity and the quality of the work.”
Judges have a strict list of rules they follow to judge each item, Walker said.
“For canned items, judges will look at things like presentations. If the jar is rusty or dirty, that’s a reason for a deduction,” she said. “It’s all about the details.”
Pineda said she learned how to knit last winter after her friend offered to teach her. She said knitting became a relaxing hobby, and she would practice for several hours at a time.
“I started by just stitching little, tiny quilts for practice before I tried taking on a bigger one,” she said.
She said she plans on giving the quilt she entered in the contest to her sister’s baby once he’s born. To give her quilt a bit of character, Pineda stitched in a few quotes from her favorite Disney movie characters.
“It will be my first gift to him, so I guess that will mean more to me than winning a ribbon,” she said.
Pineda said that over time she hopes to improve her craft and enter more contests.
JOHN D. HARDEN can be reached at 940-566-6882. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org .