Thursday, July 13, 2006

Doily Fraud--The Seamy Underbelly of Pioneer Days

Last week I was asked to judge the knitting category in Marlinton's Pioneer Days Craft Show. When I arrived in town with my evaluation forms in hand, I discovered that there were no entries. The competition is generally referred to as the "Quilt Show," so I wasn't too surprised at this turn of events. Instead, I assisted the crochet category judge, a last-minute stand-in. There were about ten crochet entries, and I think we evaluated them fairly, with one possible exception.

It seems a cotton doily we ranked in the top four was suspect. According to the quilter who organized the show, the woman who brought in the doily entered it on behalf of her neighbor, along with another doily with a "Made in China" sticker still attached. The rules state that the entry must be your own work, an explicit addition after last year's scandal, in which it was revealed that the award-winning quilt was a purchased article.

Now, it costs $2 to enter an item in the show, and the winner's financial stakes are very low--less than the cost of a doily at Wal-Mart. What would motivate doily fraud? Bragging rights are limited, because one runs the risk of coming in third in a field of two. Myself, I've never entered an item in the show because once the competition is over, the display is not watched carefully, and much that is not nailed down in Marlinton disappears during Pioneer Days. (This is not typical--the rest of the year I leave my car unlocked without qualm. I blame the huge crowds from out of town.)

What kind of person commits doily fraud? My faith in needle artists is shaken. I have also been disturbed to learn of dissent and ill-feeling among the quilters in Pocahontas County. There are, it seems, quilters who would not interact with "that quilt show" for anything on earth. It's all rather disillusioning.


Dave said...

There's no fathoming the criminal mind! But maybe there's a perfectly innocent explanation for all this. Maybe the neighbor lady knit both doilies during a trip to China last year, and decided to attach "Made in China" stickers to add to the novelty value of her handiwork.

Rebecca Clayton said...

That must be it! Thanks for the spin doctoring!