I grew up in a rural area of southern Ontario, and when I was about 12, my father somehow convinced me and my older sister to join the 4-H calf club. Membership in this club involved learning about cattle anatomy, diseases and husbandry in general. To join this club you were required to have a calf to train; this training would culminate in the 4-H kids parading their calves around in the cattle show of the local fall fair.

My pedigreed Polled Hereford heifer, Missy, had a lovely personality and we enjoyed our time together. Somewhere there is a photo of me on our farm sitting on her back as she grazed contentedly; this behaviour did not conform to show rules.

I wonder if it was her eventual tragic demise, however, that turned my attention to sheep?

A year or so later, my dad bought me two ewes. No pedigrees here. These Finn-Lincoln cross sheep were more like mutts. But they were my flock, and I stuck with sheep for several years beyond the 4-H course requirements and the Puslinch Fall Fair sheep show.

Yes that really is me, and yes I once was that skinny.

Yes that really is me, and yes I once was that skinny. The ewe is Nellie, who was generation 2, with her lambs.

The point of my reminiscing is that back then, when I was 17 and had eventually bred a flock of a dozen or so sheep — selling lamb chops to neighbours and selling poor-quality wool to whoever owned that truck that came to pick it up — who would have imagined that years later, I would be sponsoring a knitting category in another fall fair in another province? Not me, that’s for sure.

But, here we are. The Maritime Fall Fair is fast approaching, and The Loop is sponsoring a new knitting category in the Homemaking Competition: Lace scarf or shawl. The prize will be a lovely and generous gift bag from The Loop.

When I spoke to the organizers of the competition about the current interest in lace knitting, they seemed skeptical. I talked them into it. So please, all of you genius lace knitters out there, please don’t let them think I’m crazy. You have until October 6th to submit your entries. (Please don’t submit them to The Loop!)

Other knitting categories include various types of mittens, sweaters and socks.

You can view all the rules for all of the homemaking competition in a lengthy Word document, downloadable from the Fall Fair’s website. There are 21 points in the General Rules, so we recommend you download the prizebook and check it carefully. The rules include but are not limited to the following points:

¬ Articles will be received by officials in the Handcraft Division between the hours of 12:00 noon to 8:00 p.m. on Monday, October 6, 2008. ENTRIES ARRIVING LATE CANNOT BE ACCEPTED.

¬ Persons who cannot [deliver in person] their exhibits may send them express or mail prepaid, addressed to the Handcraft and Needle Arts Division Maritime Fall Fair, 200 Prospect Road, Halifax, Nova Scotia, B3T 1P2. Such parcels must be mailed or expressed to reach the Exhibition no later than Monday, October 6th. at 12:00 noon.

¬ Exhibitors showing original designs are encouraged to send short descriptions of methods and materials used.

¬ Articles must have been completed within the past year.

We are constantly impressed by the talent of our customers, so we hope you will participate in the Maritime Fall Fair! You know you want a blue ribbon!