I have a Love/Hate relationship with August. I hate that the summer is ending. Did you know August is officially the last month of summer? August is also fickle. The weather is a little unstable. The actual month of August has changed the number of days in the month several times. It was not until Julius Caesar that August actually settled on 31 days. I love America and I am so grateful to be free. I hate to put away my red, white and blue…. and how do you decorate for August anyway? My porch always looks like a hodge-podge because I do not know what to display. But I also love August. August has National Watermelon Day, the perfect summer fruit. August is the time to reap what we have sown… literally. Vegetables are ready to be harvested. It is canning season. Kids go back to school. But the best thing of all….
The County Fair Begins!
I love the county fair. I have many fond and funny memories of it. I remember the rodeo at the fair. I remember a night that the bull got loose in the stands. I was terrified. I remember picking the best of every vegetable to enter in the county fair, but I remember growing pumpkins best. It must be why I have a pumpkin fetish to this day. My sister and I would plant and baby our pumpkins all summer long. We would add milk and cream to the stems, watch our parents carefully rotate the pumpkins so we would get the perfectly round shape. I remember going early the morning after the judges awarded ribbons at the fair. But the day that I went and found that I had been awarded the blue ribbon was the most difficult day of my life! My sister had won a red ribbon for her pumpkin. How could life be so unfair? Red was my favorite color. I wanted the red ribbon and it went to my sister!
Well, years have passed. I still love the fair, I still love pumpkins, but my thoughts on blue and red ribbons have drastically changed. I now spend hours gazing at the quilt displays rather than the pig and chicken entries. I still peek to see who won the Grand Prize Ribbon. I have a new goal as well. I would love to get that blue or grand prize ribbon at the fair, but this time I would love for it to be displayed on a quilt.
So where to begin? Today on [email protected] Kyle and I are going to share the things you need to know to create and enter a prize winning quilt in any judged quilting contest or event. Don’t be discouraged….most prize winning quilts take years to create. When you see that grand prize ribbon, you are looking at literal blood, sweat and tears for a very long time. Wow! Respect and love for the quilters creating these heirlooms. But do not be discouraged. Quilters and fair goers love to see quilts….up close or from afar. We all start somewhere. Quilts are displayed hanging, but they may be judged flat. A winning quilt is shown in pictures, videos, social media. I guess what I am trying to say is your quilt is judged first by it’s visual appeal.
This may seem obvious but it is amazing what judges of quilt shows see. So I am going to put a friendly reminder here and leave it at that. Do you have well secured edges, sharp points, matching thread, matching intersections, and small stitches? Just saying…..you did enter your quilt into a fair or quilt show. Also, look for shadowing. This happens when a darker color shows through the lighter fabric on your quilt. Trim your fabrics or back those areas so that black piece does not show through the white.
Let’s talk binding. I am the first one to admit that binding is an art. I love to bind. It is immediate gratification and those last few moments that you spend finishing a masterpiece. This is not to mention the hours of justified Netflix binging that can happen. I also hear that many quilters do not love to bind. If you enter a quilt in the fair, you are judged on your binding. Here are a few things that judges look for:
- Your binding should be filled to the edge and “stuffed.”
- Corners should be 90 degree angles and stitched closed.
- Speaking of stitches, your thread should match but your stitches should be tiny so you do not see them.
- Your quilt should hang straight
- Your quilt should be squared.
Finally, Your quilt should be clean and free of thread, lint, cat hair…… Use those lint rollers several times. And iron your quilt if needed.
I think I need some more practice before I win that prize but I at least have some goals and guidelines. Watch out Franklin County Fair….Allison Hoth is getting her grand prize winner ready!