Thursday, August 20, 2009

Blue Ribbon Winner

My sister, Sharie Bergquist, made this christening gown for her niece's baptism this spring.  In order to enter it in the fair she had to "borrow" it back, but it was worth it since she won a blue ribbon for her work.  Isn't it beautiful?  Sharie learned to do heirloom sewing when she lived in Virginia a few years ago.  She has recently formed a partnership with another heirloom enthusiast, Mary Jane Sprague, & formed a business.  They are teaching and have classes scheduled in the Des Moines area.  They are currently scheduling classes for the fall.  If you're interested you can contact them at

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

State Fair Report

I attended the reception for entrants in the Fabrics & Threads division at the Iowa State Fair last Wednesday & was a little disappointed that I didn't win any ribbons. Maybe I shouldn't have been surprised since the two items I entered were my first attempt at both techniques. What I was surprised about was that in the category that I entered the portrait quilt (you can barely see it in the upper right corner of this photo), the judge only awarded two ribbons, second & fourth places. Second place (red ribbon) was given to the quilt on the left side, the maple leaf. Fourth place (pink ribbon) is immediately to the right, the abstract circles & squares.

The director of the Fabrics & Threads department explained that a judge is not obligated to award all ribbons. Okay, if I were a judge I imagine there would be times when I didn't feel as though any of the entries deserved a blue ribbon, but I don't think I would skip a place. Seems a little unusual to me.

Anyway, no sour grapes here. I've had positive feedback from many friends & will just need to try, try again. There's always next year!

Keep on stitchin'

BTW, there were 2800 items entered in the Fabrics & Thread division this year, over 800 quilted items! Only 600 quilts last year so I'd say it's growing in popularity.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Circle of Life Continues

A friend of mine recently had a new granddaughter & this is the quilt I made for her. If it looks familiar, it's because it is a variation of the pattern I designed that was published in Fons & Porter's Love of Quilting Magazine in 2006. My sewing & quilting were much more accurate on this quilt than the first, you know, practice makes perfect... I may have to make another one sometime just to prove the pattern deserves better than 4th place at the fair.

Speaking of the fair, I'll find out tomorrow evening if I earned any ribbons at this year's fair. I'll let you know.

Keep on stitchin'


Monday, August 3, 2009

State Fair Time

The dog days of summer have officially arrived here in Iowa. After the coolest July on record, the temps have climbed into the upper 80's today & are forecast to stay there or go higher the rest of the week. The grass is a little crispy as you walk across the lawn & the weeds seem to have overtaken everything.

Of course, with the onset of August & the beginning of school just around the corner, it also means it must be time for the Iowa State Fair. I suspect many think their state fair is the best, but I'm pretty sure Iowa's is at least in the top 10 across the country. Actually, I think I heard one time that only Texas has a bigger (& possibly better) state fair.

Although I don't remember attending the state fair more than a few times as a child, it has been a 'can't-miss' event for me for many years. I even worked at the fair for a couple of years taking tickets at grandstand events. It was a great way to see all the musical acts for free, plus I got free parking in the infield of the track. As I get older, the walking & heat tend to take its toll after a while, but I still go, usually at least a couple of times.

For years I admired the many quilts, sewing & needlework projects that were exhibited at the fair & dreamed that maybe someday I would create something worthy of entering the competition. In 2006, shortly after one of my quilts was published in Fons & Porter's Love of Quilting Magazine, I decided the time had come. Alas, I was a day late & a dollar short. The deadline for entries had already passed. I did get it entered the next year & got a 4th place ribbon. At the time, I'm sure I thought it deserved a better ribbon, but when I look at the quilt now, I can see that the workmanship just isn't that impressive. Not to be deterred, I have entered something every year since. Last year I won a second place ribbon...I'm improving!

Above, left, is a photo of one of my entries this year. For those of you who wouldn't know, it is a fabric portrait of my husband, Randy. I made it based on instructions from a class I took online at Quilt University. Marilyn Brelsford was the instructor. I think it is a very good likeness, although, some of the gals who were checking entries in at the fair on Saturday thought it bore a strong resemblance to Bill Clinton. This was my first attempt at a fabric portrait & I learned a lot. There are definitely some things I will do differently next time.

My second entry at the fair this year is the quilt on the right called Wild Rose. It's also a product of a class I took. Barbara Riggs from Des Moines was the teacher. I was satisfied with the way it turned out, but she deserves most of the credit since she drew the pattern & we were provided a kit with the fabric. I do especially like the leaves. It required some extreme positioning on the fabric to get the shading in the proper places.

Now, it's a waiting game. I'll find out on Wednesday, August 12, if either of my quilts were awarded a ribbon. I'll let you know.

Keep on stitchin'