Archive for the ‘Tri-County Fair’ Category

Quilts at the Fair

Our county fair happened to open on my birthday this year. I had entered four quilts, and was excited to visit the fair, see the quilt show, and celebrate my birthday!


When I entered the quilt show building, it was filled with so many beautiful quilts! And all my other quilt friends who had the same idea and came on opening night to see the quilts. I turned to the left and easily spotted three of my small quilts hanging together. A 1st and two 3rds, yahoo!


My fourth quilt was my Big Pine creek mountain quilt. It took me a second to find it because it was hanging over the door as you walk in. And when I did find it, it was a great birthday present, Best of Show for Domestic Machine Quilting! Double yahoo.


(Super challenging to get a good picture, both because of it being way high up and over the open door …) What a great birthday present!


I’m always fascinated by how the judge selects their placings. Quilts that I thought would do better didn’t, and quilts that did well surprised me. It’s always exciting to get the quilts back after the show, because the fair staff very nicely write the judge’s comments on the back of the label. Want to hear what they said? (Apparently I have a lot of issues with tension …)


Okay, so I was surprised by my Bristlecone Sunset, because I love this little quilt. But it does have issues with quilting tension, as you can see in the tree trunk. The judge’s comments were: Overall design placement well balanced. Concept intriguing. Raw edge applique handled well. Lower yellow stitching has tension issues. Bobbin thread shows thru front. In leaf areas, some background. Facing is appropriate for piece.


After the Sun Sets also received a third place. The judge commented: Variety of vibrant colors adds interest. Trees appear out of scale. Applique well done. Attention to quilt lines create texture. Strive for more precise tension control. Facing is appropriate. 


Big Pine Creek surprisingly received a second, for it also being a best of show. I kind of assumed that best of shows also need to be a first place? Guess not! Judge’s comments: Very pleasing overall conceptual design. Excellent piecing technique. Small purple delineation lines greatly utilized. Quilting lines add texture. Well done! Facing well done.


And lastly, my sweet Cotswold quilt, was the first place winner! Judge’s comments: Pleasant and inviting scene. Perspective is well done. Variety of fabrics add interest, and are appropriate. Raw edge applique generally well done. Inner flashing (hard to read word) appreciated and well done. Machine quilting sufficient. Slight tension issue noted on back. Nicely framed and faced.

There you have it! I like the comments, but am also curious how the comments relate to the placings. Is the tension enough to make it a third place? How is design and technique and overall look weighted? Is emphasis put more on one than another? Does the judge just look at it and decide in that moment? Whatever the way, it is fun to support the fair, show our quilts, and receive the feedback!

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As I’ve mentioned before, I really enjoyed the new technique I learned using half square triangles. I also was really in love with the last batch of fabric I dyed. So practically before one quilt was finished, I started another. I started by laying out a gradation of colors. I wanted one color to blend to another, slowly changing across the quilt. I cut a lot of squares, and sewed them together.

IMG_1217-2Then like before, each square gets cut into four squares, and pressed into triangle squares. I used little scraps of paper to keep track of rows, with notes on which color went where.

IMG_1219-2I then would take a row of pieced squares, iron them flat, then pin them on my design board in the pattern of the chevron. It seemed like an extra step, but it was helpful to really make sure I pieced them in the correct pattern. After putting them up on my design wall, I took them down re-grouped as pairs to seam together.

IMG_1223-2Then I’d iron those, put back up on the design wall, make sure the pattern was correct, I would take them down again, re-grouped as a new pair, and seam again . . .

IMG_1225-2Then once strips were sewn, I’d sew the strips together, start with a new row, and continue on. Since I had set the color pattern to start with, piecing was a mindless task that was really enjoyable. I could sit down for ten minutes or an hour, pick up wherever I had left off, sew a bit, then leave it where I was, to come back later and continue.

img 2Once the quilt top was pieced, I lay it out and basted together. I used my walking foot again, to quilt it, echoing the chevron pattern with simple straight lines on either side of each seam.

img 1At this point, I was working on the quilt every second I could squeeze in. Our county fair was weeks away, and completely last minute I decided to enter this quilt as well. As the date for the drop-off approached, I began to sew on my lunch break, after dinner, late into the night . . . The night before quilt entries were due, I was sewing on the binding, and hand stitching it down.


The autumn evenings here are turning cold, while the cottonwood trees in the valley are turning a brilliant orange. This is such a beautiful time of year. I couldn’t resist taking the quilt aside and capturing it with some of the fall color. Thanks Kim for helping with the photo shoot!

IMG_6758The quilt received a second place at the fair! It is a lap quilt or baby quilt size. As soon as I get my etsy shop open, I’m thinking I’ll sell it there. Would you like to have a quilt like this to curl up under on a cold winter evening?

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Yes, I missed our county fair this year. Yes, I was sad to not see all my very talented friends’ entries. Yes, I am such a fair junkie that even though I wasn’t going to be in town during the fair, I still entered! This was due thanks to Lesley who dropped off and picked up my entries. Thanks Lesley! And congrats on your best of show, well done!

As I’ve said in the past, part of what I enjoy about entering the fair is to receive the judge’s comments. So here’s what the judge had to say this year! First, my two knit entries.

IMG_6755This was my first scarf and second knitting project ever. I used some of my rabbitbrush dyed yarn in a pattern called branching out. Judge’s comments: strive for consistent width.

IMG_6754This was my second shawl, made with some of my blackberry dyed yarn. Judge’s comments: beautiful delicate piece. Combination of stitch patterns appreciated. Scalloped edge noted. Strive for consistency in stitch.

So now for knitting I know I need to strive for consistency – a nice phrase!

And now my three quilt entries, two of which are from my recent infatuation with half square triangles.

IMG_6756My half square maze, a small wall hanging. Judge’s comments: a subtle and pleasing asymmetrical design. Placement of lights and darks create good contrast. Very good machine quilting. Good binding technique.

IMG_6758And a larger half square quilt, crib size, in a chevron pattern. I don’t think I’ve posted a picture of this one yet! Judge’s comments: hole noted in fabric of center taupe block. Color placement well developed. Excellent piecing. Excellent echo quilting and quilting stitch. Very good binding technique.

IMG_6760And my playful mosaic quilt. Judge’s comments: Graphically beautiful design. Originality appreciated. Faced seams noted. Some stitching problems noted on back. Strive to perfect binding corners. Machine applique well done.

There you have it, a nice blend of positive constructive criticism. I especially like the world strive. Next year, I’ll not miss the fair, honeymoons only come one time around. I’ll be posting pictures of my travel quilt soon!

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{This post is part of a series. To see additional posts on the same topic, click here.}

August is always a frantic time for me in terms of sewing. Our local county fair entry forms are due mid-August, and the fair is Labor Day weekend. Around the time the fair book comes out, I suddenly remember all my in progress quilts, and make plans to finish them all(!) before fair time.

So when August came around, and I started thinking about what I might enter, I resolved to finish my mosaic quilt. I had six finished mosaic blocks, my first geometric block, my tulip collage block, my California poppy block, my purple mountains block, and my two potato stamp blocks.

Each block was already quilted, so I wanted a way to join the blocks without adding another layer of fabric on the back of the quilt that would cover the quilting already there. After much thinking and discussing with fellow quilters, I found this tutorial on line which was exactly what I had imagined in my head.

IMG_6504Here’s the finished view from the back. I used the same pale yellow to connect the pieces on the back as was used for the backing fabric.


For the front, I chose a golden brown colored fabric to connect the blocks. I was trying for a color that would complement the blocks, but not overshadow their color. I think it worked out well!

PicMonkey CollageI used the same lovely brown for the binding as well. Here I tried another new trick I saw somewhere online. Roll the cut and folded binding trips into well, a roll, and put on top of your sewing machine where the thread spool would sit. It is then easy to pull and unwind strips of binding as needed, while the rest sits spooled on the machine waiting.

IMG_6512Unstoppable me, with deadlines looming, I immediately sat down and hand stitched the binding. That done, I sat back, and enjoyed the finished product.

PicMonkey Collage2I am so glad I took the time to put the blocks together, that I had the fair as a motivator, and that the Out of the Box ladies of our Calico Quilt Guild encouraged each other in finishing our blocks. I didn’t make one for every chapter, and one part of me wanted to, but in the end, I am glad I have something finished from the blocks I did make.

IMG_6584Our sunflowers recently bloomed in our small backyard garden, so this evening I took the mosaic quilt out for a setting sun photo shoot.

IMG_6581Look for the mosaic quilt at the Tri-County Fair in three weeks!

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Labor day weekend is county fair time in the Eastern Sierra. I love entering my crafty items in the fair, and also enjoy seeing friend’s entries as well. I didn’t enter any quilts this year, but did enter two of my batik fabrics and a set of patchwork coasters.

And the great news is – my underwater algae batik fabric received a Best of Division in the Beginning Fine Arts division! My sweet yellow daisy batik fabric on the right received a third place in the beginning fine arts division.

A set of my patchwork coasters made with hand dyed fabric received a second place in the clothing and textiles department.

And congrats to my crafty friends as well!

Lesley received a Best of Show with a knitted sweater.

Roberta received a Best of Show with this art quilt.

And Margaret received a first place with this art quilt, inspired by iced parfait fabrics she dyed!

Yay for another year of good times and beautiful crafty items at the Tri-County Fair.

Double rainbow at the fair on Thursday evening.

Here’s our view from the ferris wheel looking out over the fairgrounds and city.


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I was very pleased when my sister’s quilt received a first place ribbon in the original design category!

The judges comments were:

“Piecing technique good. Distribution of individual blocks well handled. Cloth produced is unique. Wonderful use of color. Amount of quilting good. Unique piece! (emphasis added)”

Now the quilt lives in Tuscon, Arizona. When I saw a picture of it in my sister’s house, I realized that with the yellows and turquoise, it was a very southwestern quilt.

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As you may remember, one year ago, I pieced this quilt top for my sister. Today – it is finished! Though I won’t sent it to her in the mail for another week, as I’ve entered it in our Tri-County Fair quilt show. But here are a few photos of the last finishing touches.

Finishing the quilting on a longarm machine. I love those waves!

I had fun playing with repeating geometric designs of quilting.

Sewing on the binding, using some of my hand-dyed turquoise fabric.

And done! This is one of my favorite batik pieces. I think this is what I like best about this quilt, it is very complex and there are these little parts of color and design that make me happy.

Happy Birthday Becca! Please be patient, I know it has already been a year, I’ll drop the quilt in the mail just as soon as the fair is over.

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