Posted by: Leslie | August 1, 2010

Skein competition how-to, Part 4: Tags and mailing

Most competition require skeins to have identification tag of some kind, listing both the entrant’s contact information as well as preparation and spinning details. This serves two purposes: one is the obvious way to keep track of who submitted what skein, but the other is so that the judges are aware of information that may affect their decisions. For example, if it’s a close competition between two equally well-spun skeins, the fact that one was prepared by the spinner from raw wool may give it an edge over the other spun from commercially prepared fiber.

Different competitions have different requirements for how the tags should look and what information they should contain, so it’s best to read the rules carefully. Many competitions, however, follow the following format:

On one side of a 3 x 5 index card, write the spinner’s name, address, phone number, and/or e-mail. On the other side, write the class number, fiber type, number of plies, length of the skein in yards, spinning technique (e.g., short forward draw), and any other details that pertain to preparation or finishing. If you prepared the skein from raw wool, be sure to note that including whether the wool was combed, carded, etc. I write my finishing techniques as well (rinse in cool water, hang unweighted to dry). Unless the rules say otherwise, I affix the tag to the skein using coordinating yarn around one of the ties. Here’s one of my tags from this year, looking a bit worse for wear after two cross-border mailings, but it’ll give you the idea:

If you’re like me and live in an area with no skein competitions, you’ll have to rely on those that accept mail-in entries. Again, pay close attention to the rules as some specify a particular carrier for returning the skeins to you– usually, it’s Priority Mail but I’ve also seen UPS. With your skein, you will want to include return packaging with enough postage to cover the weight of your skein and any ribbons or awards. MA Sheep and Wool gives a ceramic cup or plate to the best in show, something that would definitely influence the kind of packaging and postage you include with your skein. Don’t forget to include your entry form and any fees, and if you have any questions it’s best to contact the competition organizer ahead of time.

As this is the last in my skein competition series, I’d like to say thanks for reading, and good luck with your entries! I’ll also point out that Finger Lakes Fiber Arts Festival has several awards just for novice spinners this year and will give lots of good feedback on submitted skeins. If you have any questions about how to submit your skein for any competition, please feel free to leave a comment.

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