Sunday, October 1, 2017

When Everything Comes Together at the Wisconsin Sheep & Wool Festival

When 4:30 PM rolled around on Saturday, September 9, it was perfect weather for the Walk & Knit Relay Challenge at the Jefferson County Fair Park. The sun was shining, the temperature was just right, and the pavement was dry. What more could a walking relay knitter hope for? Well, maybe just a touch less wind.

Contestants Ann Krieg and Laurie Rasch at the Registration Table
with Volunteer Jackie Hiley and Organizer Mary Germain
Photographs taken by Linda Gaalaas, the official volunteer photographer

Each team had to walk (or run) 4 laps while knitting as many stitches as accurately as they could. Teams were comprised of 2 to 4 individuals, and 2 heats were run with 4 teams competing in each heat. Cheering by team members and spectators alike made for a fun event as knitters made their way along the course.

The Starting Line
Ready, Set, make-sure-your-shoelaces-are-tied, Go!

The mother-daughter team of Kathleen and Susan Baert placed third in the event. They both practiced ahead of time but separately, as they live in different states (Wisconsin & Illinois). They did practice the bag exchange together on the day of the event. Their strategy “was to prioritize finishing first in our heat and not make mistakes in the knitting.” That’s why Kathleen actually stopped just before crossing the finish line on the fourth lap and knit more stitches before crossing the line just before the next team in their heat was about to cross.

Third Place - Susan and Kathleen Baert

The Madison Knitting Guild started the day with just 3 team members but rallied a fourth member to join them on the day of the event. They “discussed possible strategies but decided it was fruitless and just to have fun!” Having no specific strategy certainly worked for them.

Second Place –
Aud Matland, Mary Kaiser, Susan Du Charme, and Nicole Du Charme

The team that titled themselves “Awesome Foursome” really was awesome. They came in first overall by crossing the finish line in 3 minutes and 11 seconds (due in part to Javier choosing to run his lap) and knitting 81 stitches (the second highest number of stitches knit by a team) and with just one knitting error.

First Place –
Javier Jara, Nicole Gooding, Lynn Lundgren, and Abigail Goben
Photograph courtesy of Ray Mathew

The winning team’s strategy was to “optimize each other’s strengths” whether it was as a fast knitter, accurate knitter, experienced event participant, or one with speedy feet. Nicole’s comments on the event echo other participants’ feelings, “It was wonderfully silly and that made it fun to participate. Getting the prizes was great and the vendors were wonderful of course, but I really just enjoyed the ridiculousness of all of us trying to walk, knit, not fall down, find the line, etc. That and Lynn’s joy at getting a set of Addi Clicks.”

Nicole summed it up. It’s all about having fun! Thanks to all who participated, all the vendors who donated prizes, and all the volunteers who showed up to make it happen.


  1. That sounds like a great fun. Two things I favor combined: running and knitting. Was there something special they were suppose to knit?

  2. It was not something special. Contestants were knitting a circular swatch of plain stockinette stitch, making it easy to count the number of stitches completed and to see if there were any errors.