I love county fairs! More than the eccentric clog-an-artery foods and competitive animal demonstrations, my favorite part of fairs is the fiber arts competitions. Perfectly pieced patchwork quilts, granny square afghans and embroidered items that take your breath away.
This week I downloaded my application form and it got me thinking, have you entered your fiber arts in a competition? What item earned your first ribbon? If you haven’t entered a fair or other competition what’s holding you back?
My first competition in March 2007 wasn’t even my idea. My framer convinced me and he entered our work in the 44th Annual Needlework Show at Woodlawn Plantation. It wasn’t until I visited the show in person that I found out we won second place in the adult/commercial/cross stitch category. I tried to find a photo of me at the exhibit, but that was before we all carried smartphones everywhere and I didn’t have a Facebook account either.
My entry was “Beware” by Just Nan and so much fun to stitch.
But life got in the way — busy work schedule, a move to Connecticut, new job. Then in 2010 with new found confidence I entered the Terryville Lions County Fair! I was surprised by the second place win because I ran out of the thread I used to fill in the land. When I picked it back up to finish the color was discontinued. I tried to scatter what I had left with a close (but darker) shade of tan. Still bugs me to this day.
There are some gap years due to summer vacations getting in the way and I also changed from Terryville to Goshen due to timing. Terryville always happens at the beginning of the school year and makes it difficult to drop off and pick up entries, while the Goshen Fair is held Labor Day weekend.
Forgive some of the horrible pictures of past winners below. Some were gifts and had to be shipped so I can’t get better images.
This year I’ve decided to enter two knit pieces because I don’t have any quilts or embroidery I can enter. Cross your fingers!
Writing this post has me a little nostalgic. I can remember the trips and places where I stitched them — beaches, mountains, cars, planes, hotel rooms and rental houses. Some were stitched alone in front of the TV, others with my husband on our many adventures, and a few with a group I met at a local bookstore and needlework shop in Northern Virginia.
Friends and family who received one of these handmade gifts may not smell the briny ocean breeze or crisp Autumn air in their fibers, but I know there is a secret hidden journal in every piece I make.
Those gifts and the ones I keep carry a travel history with them.
I hope you find a hand-stitched item to enter in your area’s fair this season or some other competition. Let me know in the comments.
Yours in stitches,
Dawn, The Stitching Coach