Could you design and knit a large project, like a sweater, in 21 days? Could you imbue it with the deeply personal story of your own life, while giving it broad appeal so that others would want to knit it? Could you make a video showing your work in progress and explaining your inspiration? Could you send it off, knowing that a panel of judges would turn it inside out, examine your stitches and critique whether you'd successfully told your tale in yarn?
I'm not sure that I could do any of that, let alone all of it. But that's what all 12 contestants on the Fiber Factor succeeded in doing. Maybe the fact that I went to a school that didn't believe in competitive sports days is showing, but as far as I'm concerned that makes them all winners and I was honoured to examine and discuss them. In the end, we spent hours chatting about the entries and were picking things apart to find the littlest details that could be improved upon. It was rather delightful to chat with others who care so deeply about how crisply a yarn outlines yarn overs, whether the selvedge treatment was the neatest choice, or whether grading was considered when choosing cable patterns. I have so much respect for the contestants who made themselves, and their work, vulnerable to our judgements, and I hope all of them find our feedback helpful. We certainly tried to make it constructive and I know I learned from my fellow judges.
In the end we had to choose a winner and you can find out who won in the video of our judging session (fortunately edited down a little from the original 4 hour chat!) now posted on the Fiber Factor site. I can't wait to see what all of the contestants do next!