My latest yarn

I am always encouraging people to enter their creative work in a show. And this year I entered several things in The Black Sheep Gathering’s fiber arts show. I want to share my experience this year.bsg1

I was not able to see the yarn judging, which I was sorry to have missed.  I only got to read the judges’ comments here. I freely admit that I tend to suffer from moments of grandiosity, and I was disappointed to realize that the judge thought that my skein of yarn was not the most astonishing thing she ever saw.

But then I looked more closely and realized that she did have a point: my yarn was not even. Really I think I did an admirable job of being consistently inconsistent. That sums me up in a nutshell — consistently inconsistent! I have come to accept this about myself.

I think that the yarn is not uneven enough to be a problem in my design, as it will work in my granny squares. But notice how I defend my yarn! Which brings me to another interesting thing about entering your work in a juried show. It can tend to open a Pandora’s box of thoughts and emotions that you didn’t realize were there. Aside from disappointment, you might be facing ideas like jealousy, inadequacy, failure, or even rage!

But I think that we are making progress here. This is good. Because you don’t have to own those feelings. Those voices are not you. I believe that barrage of voices is a part of the collective unconscious. Some may even be the voice of your mother or teacher from the past.

The important thing is to choose the ones that you agree with and own now.

So I chose to keep: acceptance of my flaws, appreciation that I can learn from them, and thankfulness that the judge did favor my use of color. I will let the other voices disappear down into their cave.

Your creative work has significant value as the momentary expression of beauty as you see it. There is no need to defend yourself.

bsg5 This experience can serve to make you stronger. To solidify what you are all about. What other people (even experts) think about what you create is not as important as what you think.

We make stuff to please ourselves. For me, color is king. If the color turns me on, I am thrilled and inspired. I do desire to have good technique. And I will strive for that but at the same time not let it keep me from creating all the flights of fancy in my mind.

There were many things in the fiber arts show that inspired me and I just had to make something! And so, happily, I went home and made some more yarn.

bsg6I will continue to exhibit my work for others to see and to judge. Who knows? Maybe something about my work may inspire a fellow fiberista to create something! You never know.

Thanks for stopping by ~ Karen


44 thoughts on “My latest yarn

  1. Your yarn looks wondeful! I would love to knit something with it. I think it is high praise that she commented on your colour. I am just learning to spin now and and I love my lumpy bumpy yarn.. I am going for the inconsistent look LOL


  2. Thank you Karen for sharing your experience with us. Having ones work critiqued by others can be a very humbling experience and you are right when you say we can learn from the experience. Each show has different judges and sometime what we display just isn’t in the judges eye. I look at the winners to absorb the techniques and colors used. I also look at the losing entries to learn. Then I dust off my pride and bring my treasure home to enjoy for years. Enjoy the day and always find the sunshine…Linda


  3. But Karen, you are consistently inspiring! I’m crocheting the bag you posted last month and enjoying the process, the memories of crocheting with my beloved grand mother & my wonderful mother. Both women produced incredible crochet items!

    Things so much!


  4. Karen, I have been spinning, dyeing, and selling skeins for fifteen years. The skeins that look more irregular always always sell first. People respond to them who don’t even know what “hand spun” means. I have also been the judge at several county fairs. Sometimes it is very difficult to choose between two of something when both are equally wonderful. Oh, and there is a time constraint with fifty other items to judge and people waiting for you to get on with it. Sometimes the choice comes down to a very persnickety level where fairness may take second place to expedience.
    I think your skein is perfect, like all your other amazing creative output, and I am giving it Best in Show this morning!


  5. I love your thoughts on “putting your work out there”.
    If you love it and it brings your creativity into being – it is perfect !
    It is icing on the cake, when it inspires someone else. 😉


    • that is when the creative process gets even richer than it already is! and that is why it is magical to be inspired by something that was made 100 years ago — does the artist still feel how powerful that is? does time fall away?…


  6. Judging requires judgement which really is an opinion. In my opinion, it would be a bland world indeed if we all liked the same colours or styles. I think your colours are gorgeous – keep up the great work, and thank you for inspiring us here. Best, Mary


    • yes, i spoke with the judge later and she discussed how difficult her job is, and how she has to set aside her personal favorites based on her own preferences. i truly do not envy the job of the judge!


  7. Well said. I will add that the judging process is “their” perspective, which may or may not be the viewing groups or artists opinion.


  8. Karen, I like your work. Like the colours. Keep it up.
    Also, from another post, I’ve since completed one bag and inspired another person to make the bag!


  9. I started following your blog for the rug hooking (which I have yet to try…) only to find that your field of expertise is not exclusive. That’s the BEST part! As a spinner, knitter, crochet artist, and creator of anything made involving fiber or material, I am inspired by your work and your words. Thank you for inspiring THIS “fiberista.” You are a kindred spirit. 🙂


  10. Dear Karen…..
    What a valuable experience you had and how wise of you to take it all in, digest it, select what is ready to be dealt with and throw out the rest! What an enriching experience. You are such a wonderful success and have so much creative talent how could you be brought down by someone noting a lesser strength! Thanks for the insights!


  11. Karen years ago when I was in quilting I entered my quilts in shows to have the judges critique my work. I did it mostly for their honesty to help me grow in my art. I tried never to have my heart broken, yes it stings a little but it made me a better quilter in the long run!
    You know we love what you do and we appreciate you sharing your experiences what ever they present!


  12. how your words resonate, Karen. my own doubts, insecurities, questions of worthiness run parallel. thank you for your compelling honesty and for your positive, happy spirit!


    p.s. i love your yarn and i am inspired!


    • i appreciate your comment. if we dig deep enough, many if not all artistic people have insecurities about their work and abilities. but we conquer those voices and grow and move beyond! thanks for sharing and being inspired!


  13. Hi Karen,
    If I were ever a judge in a fiber arts show I would probably dock the work that was too consistent! LOL! Great post! Your work and fiber is ALWAYS inspiring to me! Keep being “consistently inconsistent” and many thanks for sharing all you do!!
    Cathy G


  14. Oh wow! I relate to you on so many levels, Karen. I do love to work in so many different mediums like you. It is still exciting to start a new project, running into wildly without thought but guided by feelings and joy. A lot of creating is such a non-thought process and the result is our own personal expression. Neither right or wrong but beautiful. You just do out st a high level.


  15. Karen,
    love your yarn colors–and I like the ‘bumpies’ too–think your granny squares are going to be gorgeous! 🙂


  16. Retired from being the fiber arts judge last year as I became more uncomfortable with judging anything in life. 🙂 Took up Saori weaving which is all about flow and not at all about standards. This has influenced my hooking, mosaics, and other crafts and everything is alot more fun. Karen, I have a feeling you would love Saori too–plus you can make great oook garments with the results.


  17. Karen, Your yarn is gorgeous and the block looks perfect to me. But you should tell the judge that she needs to learn to spell. She spelled “inconsistency” wrong. Just being picky. LOL Thanks for the inspiration. I’m ready to hook granny squares. Just wish I had some beautiful wool like yours. All the best,



  18. I loved reading this blog today. It spoke to my heart. I have had a similar experience and it certainly gets you “talking to yourself!” I too had many emotions that percolated up to the surface. Because I hold you and work in such high esteem- the fact that anyone could find ANYthing negative to say about your work is mindboggling- how you chose to deal with it will be very helpful for me as I move forward with my own hooking.


    • laurie, thank you for sharing your feelings. we are such complex creatures and i believe that it may take a lifetime to truly get to know our own selves, and love ourselves. in the meantime, i desire to observe my inner voices and try not to judge myself too harshly.


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