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Carlson given Best of Division honors for two Home and Hobby entries at SD County Fair

 

Last updated 7/18/2018 at 11:14am

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Barbie Carlson of Hemet won Best of Division for two Home and Hobby entries at the San Diego County Fair.

Hemet's Barbie Carlson took a llama and an alpaca to the San Diego County Fair for the livestock breed competition and also used wool from her animals in the fair's Home and Hobby exhibit competitions. Her alpaca was selected as the grand champion in the novice performance show and she won two Best of Division awards in the Needle Art, Sewing, Weaving and Felting competition.

"I was completely excited," Carlson said.

Carlson was raised on a dairy in San Jacinto and began fair activity in her childhood. "We used to do about seven shows a year," she said.

That included showing dairy cattle, beef cattle and sheep at the San Diego County Fair. "We were quite active down there," Carlson said.

The 4-H organization has activities other than animal farming, and Carlson learned needlework skills while she was a 4-H member.

Carlson graduated from San Jacinto High School in 1984 and moved to Hemet in 1987. Her property now includes a ranch of rescue animals; a 15-year-old llama named Smokey was purchased but her other animals, including a Mustang and birds as well as llamas and alpacas, were either adopted or born on the ranch.

Her animals and her needlecraft projects from the animal wool have been incentive to participate in fairs as an adult exhibitor. "I was just looking for a fair that had more competition," she said.

She didn't enter the San Diego County Fair until 2017. "I've always been afraid to enter at that fair," Carlson said. "The quality's high. I was kind of nervous about going down there."

The only animal she entered in the 2017 livestock breed show, a male alpaca named Lincoln, was born in January 2014 and adopted by Carlson when he was seven months old. In addition to being shown at fairs Lincoln also visits nursing homes and children's camps and Carlson takes him to parades.

"He's a special one," Carlson said.

Carlson entered six garments in the 2017 Needle Art, Sewing, Weaving and Felting contests. "I was hoping to get just one ribbon," she said.

Five of those six entries received ribbons including three which were given first-place ribbons, and two of those were selected for the Best of Division ribbon.

"I was in tears," Carlson said. "I just couldn't believe that I ended up with Best of Division."

Last year Carlson took Best of Division in both the Felting and the Knitting, Machine divisions. The jacket which was her Felting entry also won first place in the Felted, Machine Knitted category. The Knitting, Machine entry took first place in the Mixed Technique class which requires at least 50 percent of the garment to be machine-knit along with additions of other media; a sweater made from alpaca fiber was dyed royal blue and beads were added for a "blue halo" appearance. Carlson also received first place in the Any Single Garment, Formal (excluding wedding gowns) class of the Sewing division for a black dress, second place in the Other Than Listed category of the Knitting, Machine division for a brown sleeveless top, and third place in the Yarn, Hand-Dyed By Exhibitor class of the Weaving and Spinning division for alpaca yarn in the pre-sweater stage.

This year's livestock breed show for llamas and alpacas took place June 2 and 3. The performance competition has three components: public relations, pack and obstacle. Smokey was shown in the advanced division and won ribbons but no championships.

The novice class consisted of 26 llamas and one alpaca. Lincoln received the grand champion award after placing first in public relations, second in obstacle and seventh in pack.

"It's kind of unique when an alpaca beats out 26 llamas," Carlson said.

The Home and Hobby exhibits were displayed for the entirety of the fair, so the garments Carlson made using alpaca and llama wool were exhibited for all 26 days of the 2018 San Diego County Fair.

"I was trying to predict which of my entries would do well at the show," Carlson said.

A striped felted jacket won Best of Division in the Felting division as well as first place in the Needle Felted class. White llama wool provided the color for the top of the jacket which is complemented by rhinestones, alpaca fiber was also used, a blue overlay of sheep wool gives the bottom of the jacket its color, and rhinestones complement the closure.

"It was definitely a challenging project," Carlson said.

In December 2016 Carlson's children gave her a felting machine as a Christmas present, and she made the jacket with that machine. "I decided to finally do something with it," she said.

Carlson hand-spun and crocheted a youth-size vest from baby alpaca wool which won Best of Division in the Weaving and Spinning division, and that top also won first place in the Any Other Item category. Carlson used energized single knitting in which the yarn is "overspun," which is not the objective when seeking straight yarn but which allows curls to be crocheted into the fabric. "You include these curls in the design," she said.

Carlson also took second place in the Any Other Item class of the Weaving and Spinning division for a patterned jacket. "That was kind of fun for me to see," she said of her entries winning both first and second in the category.

The jacket hand-spun from llama and alpaca wool also includes fabric cut into strips.

The Any Single Garment, Formal (excluding wedding gowns) judges in the Sewing division gave Carlson second place for a blue dress with a black beltline and black neckline. Carlson was in New York City along with a cousin from Switzerland and picked up the fabric at a store called Mood. Because she acquired the fabric two days before the deadline to enter the San Diego County Fair she worked through the night to turn the fabric into a dress, starting the garment at 11:30 p.m. and starting a three-hour nap at 4 a.m.

Carlson received third place in the Original Pattern category of the Crocheting division for an off-white sweater made of yarn from Lincoln. Lincoln and a female llama are the parents of a half-and-half mixture named Abraham, whose wool was used for a brown lace and cables sweater which gave Carlson honorable mention recognition in the Adult Sweater category of the Knitting, Machine division.

"Now I feel I have to try hard for next year," Carlson said.

Carlson will have other fairs, along with the national Alpaca Llama Show Association Grand National Show of Champions which will take place Oct. 26-28 in Kansas, before the 2019 San Diego County Fair. "We have a lot of fun, especially Del Mar," she said of her fair activity.

"I think that I'm just reverting back," Carlson said of participating at multiple fairs during the year. "I'm doing everything I did in my childhood. It's gotten bigger and better, I guess."

Janice Blair of Murrieta received first place in two different Lace division classes in the Needle Art, Sewing, Weaving and Felting contests. Her award in the Tape Bobbin Lace category was for a rectangular multi-color Milanese peacock. She had the first-place Other than Listed entry for a needle lace version of a cherry pie slice.

Elizabeth Williams of Hemet took first place in the Article Made from 80 percent Recycled Materials class of the Sewing division. Williams made a clutch purse using what had been a men's silk necktie, buttons and lining fabric.

Hemet's Sandy Desmond had two awards for Crocheting division entries. A boy and girl octopus pair with a cap on the head of the blue octopus and a bow on the head of the pink octopus was given third place in the Other than Listed category. A light blue blanket received honorable mention status as an Afghan, Crib entry.

Nancy Drake of Temecula entered the Quilting and Comforters division and received a pair of awards. A quilt with both frog squares and shape pattern squares took third place in the Embroidered, Cross-Stitch or applique Quilt category. Honorable mention in the Quilt, Lap Under 75 Inches class was given for a pine-burr machine pierced quilt with 12 squares featuring four-point star patterns along with three-sided decorations along the quilt border.

Pat Schwalbe of Winchester was given third place in the First Time Quilter class of the Quilting and Comforters division. Schwalbe embroidered a quilt with horse and boot squares.

Becky Rutberg of Temecula took home an honorable mention ribbon in the Quilt, Pieced by Hand, Quilted by Machine, 75 Inches and Over category. She hand-embroidered a tulip quilt with tulip pattern squares surrounded by multi-color pattern borders.

Joe Naiman can be reached by email at [email protected]

 

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