Chances are good that you may have missed the most intense part of the Denver County Fair over the weekend. If it wasn't the animals (and the hipster animals), the floating hamster balls, the Sears representatives casting for a new commercial or eating fried Lucky Charms mixed with Cap'n Crunch, what was it then? Ok, we'll just come right out and tell you -- because you probably would have never guessed -- that it was speed-sewing.
We were on pins and needles the whole time (hay-o!). It was like watching an Olympic swimming race: There was a clear front-runner that you would root for the entire time and that you know was going to win, but for whatever reason you just could not take your eyes off of the underdog -- who, in this case, was a twelve-year-old girl who ended up being a worthy competitor among the thirty- and forty-somethings who clearly had much more sewing experience under their handcrafted belts.
Ok, maybe it wasn't that intense, but damn if it wasn't the most intense sewing challenge we'd ever witnessed.
The challenge worked like this: There were fifteen minutes on the clock, sewers knew nothing about what they had to craft prior to the competition (a sphere) and they only had thread, needles, scissors, pins, a sewing machine and an 18x22-inch piece of fabric, all courtesy of Fancy Tiger Crafts. And don't forget the emcee, who was as enthusiastic as he was annoying, as he went from competitor to competitor trying to pry some sort of strategy out of them but instead usually getting a chuckle or an irritated glance.
"I looked at the girl next to me and I sewed really fast," explained Crystal Hanks, 32, who won the challenge, a blue ribbon and a $50 prize. Her sphere won, after an audience vote, because it had alternating pieces of pink and orange fabric in its design.
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The sewing challenge was split into two rounds of competitors. During each round, the contestants had to make a sphere without a pattern, but for the twelve women who competed in the challenge, they didn't need a pattern -- each person managed to finish their sphere in the time allotted.
When it came right down to it, though, some spheres just weren't "spherical" enough, as a Fancy Tiger employee determined during a preliminary judging. There's always next year, ladies. Until then, just keep sewing.