Friday, October 12, 2007

The 2007 Samoyed National Specialty: The Show

For six days the world of Samoyed show dogs congregated in Lancaster, PA for their national specialty show. This is a wonderful time to get together with friends that you only get to see once a year, see all the dogs, shop with the vendors, take classes, and generally have a good time.

For those of us who are vendors at the national, it means setting up a booth, getting with old friends and clients, and getting to work. For me this year, it meant showing my new designs, setting up my patterns and books for people to see, displaying my newly designed knitting bag that celebrated the dogs, displayed the bear kit designed for the show, unpacking all the beautiful yarn, especially the Samoyed/Marino blend that is so beautiful, and getting ready to teach my seminar.

This year I offered the class 'Knitting at the National" for those who wanted to learn the craft in hopes of eventually being able to knit some of the beautiful spun Samoyed hair that our dogs constantly donate to the cause. With the class and follow-up sessions during the week, 17 people learned to knit the Kanine Knits way. They varied in age from the young to the young at heart and it didn't matter the skill level, all went away with the knowledge of how to knit and purl and create a simple garment. The hardest part of teaching is to convince the students that they can do it. Once they got over the idea that it was hard, they cruised along and were knitting up a storm. It did my heart good when my youngest student Hogan was working away and her father called her to get ready for Jr. Showmanship competition. "I just have to finish this row," she answered in the tradition of all good knitters down through the centuries.

My friend Sandy McDonough's puppy bitch Flurry had fun spending time in the booth with all the knitters, but she also did well in the ring by winning Best of Opposite Sex in Puppy Sweepstakes and then, since at nine months she's already a champion, going on to win an Award of Merit in the Best of Breed competition.

My booth faced the obedience ring with breed not far away so I was able to visit with customers and watch the judging at the same time. I made many new friends, and talked with old ones. It was an exhausting week, but definitely worth the trip.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

The 2007 Samoyed National Specialty: The Pedigree Book

Summer was a blur with the preparation for the National. In the world of pure bred dogs, this is the big one. This is the show in each breed that when you win, for that year, you are the top. Those who do achieve that level go into the history books, so needless to say, it's what everyone with a dog entered looks forward to all year.

For me it wasn't just the summer, but the spring as well since I had been drafted to create the Pedigree Book for the National. This was the insane annual idea begun in 2002 by the idiot, Peggy Gaffney, so I have only myself to blame. It gives owners a chance to feature their dog with a 3 generation pedigree and photo. It provides a guide to the breed and an historic record. This year, since I've published three knitting books of my own, I was again drafted to create the book gathering information from almost one hundred exhibitors and editing it into a worthy record of the breed.

The book turned out to be a great success and so the Samoyeds recorded there will have their place in history whether they made the big win at the National or not. The show, held in Lancaster, PA featured hundreds of beautiful entries competing in breed, obedience, weight pull, agility, and herding. But more about the actual show later.