Wednesday, 4 November 2015

First Competition

I know I am a day late for the #craftblog club 'firsts' blogging challenge - whoops!

After much thought (honestly) I decided to blog about the first craft competition I ever entered. Now I'm not a serial competition enterer (inventing new words?) so it's fairly simple to remember the first, even if it was about 35 years ago!

The competition itself was the Billingham Show, one of those that has categories for cakes, veg, flowers and stuff. It was a big thing at the time, especially to an impressionable child of around eleven. I had to complete a form (all felt very official and grown up) and submit my entry by a specific date for judging prior to it opening to the public.  My entry was for the children's embroidery section.

Now my mother had taught me to embroider early so I may have been a bit confident going into this, mistakenly as it turns out, but I'm getting ahead of myself here. I thought it would be best to include a couple of different stitches, and also that design counted (very naive).  Off I went and drew a Celtic bird design onto some fabric, chose which colours and stitches would go where and started stitching.

Hundreds of tiny stitches and a lot of love later (stem, satin, chain, French knot) my bird was done. Judging day. Full of eager anticipation and a hefty dollop of nerves I walked up to the table to see the result. Second. Obviously when you were hoping for a rosette for first, second is a bit disappointing, but I've always been a fair minded person (yes even then) and when the one that beats you is a masterpiece - well that's fine and you should be gracious in defeat. Unfortunately the coveted rosette wasn't on a masterpiece of brilliant stitching or design, it was on a cross stitch kit of Mickey Mouse. So no design skills, and the tops of the cross stitches didn't even all go in the same direction (yes I noticed) so not top needlework. You can tell it rankled can't you.

I'd like to say I'm over it, and maybe this cathartic purge will finally get it out of my system, but what it did do was knock my confidence in my artistic ability to the point that I would only follow kits and patterns for a long long time.

My mother though, always the best fan anyone could ever have, kept it.  Later she got my sister to do a ceramic frame and mount it to be hung in the caravan. She has now given it to me as a keepsake and I'm very proud of it. Here it is:

I hope you will come and join me over at for all the other first blogs.


  1. I hope it hangs up somewhere special in your home. What a lovely story and keepsake. :)

    1. I'm trying to find the right place for it at the moment. Thanks for reading and getting in touch