Wednesday, 10 August 2016

2016 Fair Entries

Three fairs and 20 ribbons later, I have finished with fair entries for 2016. The total is 10 firsts, 8 seconds and 2 thirds. This year, I decided to add the fair in my town in addition to the fairs at a nearby village and hamlet, though I didn't do as well there as at the other two. The village and the hamlet tend to be more generous with their ribbons. I could have added another fair, but I will be hanging out with Phil in Edmonton this Sunday, so won't be available to pick up fair entries when this fourth fair is over. Maybe next year. And hopefully, I have learned my lesson to not enter classes for which I had not yet completed a project. Or even begun one. 
It happened this way: The entry sheets for the fair in town need to be in, in advance of the fair. This year it was July 27, while the fair was August 4, 5 & 6. I didn't have anywhere near as many projects completed as I wanted to enter, so I had to decide what I figured I could finish by the entry drop off date of August 3. I actually had a 5-day weekend before the fair, so figured I could get a lot done then. And I did, but I spent pretty well the whole weekend quilting. And my hands still ache from using the rotary cutter so much. 
Fair #1, as mentioned above, was August 4-6 with entries having to be in August 3. Fair #2 was August 7, with entries having to be in August 5. That meant nothing I entered in Fair #1 could be entered in Fair #2 as they would still be on exhibit until the end of the day on the 6th. However, Fair #3 was on August 10, with entries due on the 9th, so entries from either #1 or #2 could be entered in #3. So, I entered all of the #1 entries in the #3 fair, plus one from #2 and one that was only entered in #3. 
In the machine quilted category, I entered Stars Over Africa, which was a previously completed quilt. It won a third in Fair #1 and a second in Fair #3. 
I had the quilt top for Fractured Pinwheels completed, so I stitched up the backing and took it to my LQS on July 28, the first day of my 5-day weekend, and quilted it on the Long Arm machine. 
As you know, I prefer using pantographs to free motion, so I had to use the Handi Quilter 16, which is the machine at my LQS that has a laser stylus. All of the long arm machines are in the basement of the store, no windows, concrete floor and low ceiling. My head connected with one ceiling beam near the Handi Quilter a couple of times. The HQ16 was near the wall at one end of the basement, with an upper cupboard on the wall near one end of the quilting frame. I couldn't help but think of a limbo dancer as I maneuvered between this cupboard and the long arm frame - numerous times over the course of the day as I worked with my quilts. This machine had obviously not been used in a while as I had to do some serious dusting to have a clean area for my quilts. I also think it could have used a good tune/lubrication up as it didn't glide very smoothly. And I don't know why, but when I attempted to baste the edges of the quilts, which had been standard procedure when I quilted at the long arm studio, I couldn't seem to get it to work - the fabric kept bunching and puckering - and I finally gave up on basting. I managed to get this quilt done and it brought me a 2nd at Fair #1 and a 1st at Fair #3 in the crib or baby quilt class. Actually, at Fair #1, it was the Miniature Quilt class, with crib or lap in parentheses. Hmm, I never considered crib or lap quilts to be minitiature quilts before.  
I had been working on the Kimono Rose quilt from Asian Influences, a Fons & Porter ebook. I figured it would do for the Innovative Quilt class (must have 2 or more techniques) in Fair #1 as well as the Applique Quilt class in Fair #3. However, Friday, August 1st was the day I would have had to quilt it in order to get it ready on time for the first fair. Not only was I looking after my grandson that day, which would have made it very interesting trying to quilt, but I hadn't been able to get the quilt top finished. There's some pretty involved work on that quilt. Maybe for next year. Meanwhile, I had to come up with something for those classes for this year. Rummaging around in my fabric stash, I came up with what I might call "impressionist" butterfly fabric and I used that to try my hand at kaleidoscope quilting, where you cut 4 squares of the exact same part of the fabric pattern and rotate the squares to produce a kaleidoscope effect. I did two kaleidoscope blocks and two applique blocks to produce Kaleidoscoping Butterflies (the butterflies' antennae are hand-embroidered, by the way): 
I had grander plans for this quilt. I planned to put sashing between the blocks with alternating mini kaleidoscope blocks and machine embroidered butterflies as the cornerstones. As it is, it's only 24 inches square. With 4" sashing and borders, it would have been 36" square. Time, however, was not on my side, nor was the idea of quilting a 36" quilt on my domestic machine. I'm kind of disappointed that I didn't add the extras and perhaps it would have made the difference between winning a ribbon and not winning a ribbon in Fair #1. When I went to the fair and viewed the bench show, I was rather surprised that this one didn't win any ribbon at all, but chalked it up to the capriciousness of the judges. However, when I got my entries home and was removing the tags, I noticed a note written on the back of this one: "Not a quilt, beautiful techniques." Well, thanks for letting me know that my techniques are beautiful, but it's got a quilt top, batting, backing, quilting and binding: if that's not a quilt, what is it? But what can I expect from people that consider a crib or a lap quilt a miniature quilt? The interesting thing is the full name of this class is "Quilt, Innovative, mixed technique, 2 or more techniques, ANY SIZE." Perhaps it needs to be more specific and say, "any size over 48 inches" or whatever size restriction they want to enforce. However, it did win me a first place ribbon in Fair #3.
I also had to come up with a quilted wallhanging. I have a pattern for a stained glass type wallhanging that I wanted to make, but realized my time was too short for such a labour-intensive technique. I remembered that I had 20-piece layer cake of sewing-themed fabrics and decided to put my Twister ruler to use and made this pinwheel quilt top: 
However, I didn't end up using it for a fair entry because: a) it's 38" x 45" and I didn't think I wanted to quilt something that large on my domestic machine; b) I didn't really have a proper fabric I wanted to use for the backing; and c) all of the edges are bias cuts, so I really need to add a straight cut border as well. Too bad this one didn't make it to the fair this year, but there's always next year. And I've now used my Twister tool. It's my goal to use every one of my many rulers at least once. 
After spending all of that precious time on a quilt top that I decided not to use, I still had to come up with a wallhanging. Then I remembered that back when I entered the Moda mini quilt challenge, I had purchased the Picadilly Circus pattern and still had the fabric to complete it. Presto!
I decided to give it a different twist and add the fussy cut lion instead of another piece of the same fabric line. I'm still not totally sure if that was the best decision. I call it The Lion in My Heart. I added tabs for hanging as I really don't like hanging sleeves. There's no way you can get around hand-sewing the bottom edge. And I didn't have the time or inclination. This entry garnered me a 3rd at Fair #1 and a second at Fair #3. 
Amongst all of this quilting, I somehow managed to fit in some crocheting as well. This ridiculous hat, which is now property of my daughter, won a 2nd at the first fair and a first at the third fair. 
Damian's Choo-Choo Train afghan brought in a first place ribbon at both fairs in the crocheted afghan class. 
My Tunisian Crochet totebag placed 2nd in Fair #1 and 1st in Fair #3. As Tunisian crochet looks so much like knitting, I added a note to the tag for Fair #1 stating that it was Tunisian crochet. I failed to do this for Fair #3 and the judges moved it to a knitting category!
For Fair #2, I still have not given the Unbroken quilt to its intended recipient, so I entered it in the Large Quilt class, where it placed 1st. 
The Evening Snowfall quilt top has been finished for months. It was the second quilt I did on the long arm on July 30th. It was entered in the crib quilt class, though, as my daughter pointed out, there is not really anything warm and cuddly about this quilt, with the plastic-y coating on the fabric. I added tabs to this quilt as well as I intend to use it as a wallhanging, and can enter it as such next year in Fairs 1 & 3. It took a 2nd place ribbon. 
The finish on this fabric unfortunately reflects the camera flash so that you really can't see either the pattern on the fabric or the quilting, both of which are snowflakes.
In the Small Quilted Article class in both Fairs 2 & 3, I entered the Spools mini quilt. 
It placed first at Fair #2 and second at Fair #3. 
For the crocheted afghan at Fair #2, I entered Damian's Star, which placed second. 
I managed to squeeze in time to complete a second crocheted hat, so I could enter one in all three fairs. This one was completed first, but entered in the second fair, where it won a first place ribbon. 
I have the fabric for a paper-pieced quilt that I hoped to finish on time to enter in the Paper Piecing class in Fair #3, but that's a throw-sized quilt and the clock was ticking. However, my Paper Piecing class from Craftsy has the pattern for this Christmas Star, which is only 21" square. And I had Christmas fabric. 
I really love my fabric choices in this quilt. Unfortunately, I decided to use a quilting stencil that looks sort of like a snowflake to quilt over the centre star. Bad decision! First, I tried using my Pounce to mark the stencil. Does anyone ever have success using that stuff? All I got was a bunch of smudged, vague lines that I couldn't have followed if I tried. And, of course, it didn't show up at all on the white fabric, so I had to use a fabric marking pen to mark the pattern on the white. Then had to liberally douse it with water to remove the ink. I finally resorted to using that gold quilting paper to trace the pattern on, but there were so many small stitched areas that it took me forever to get all of the little bits of paper off of the quilt. And then it looks horrible - it really doesn't suit the quilt at all. And there's too much messy stitching, especially in the centre. However, I am happy with how the rest of the quilting turned out. I just used a basic free-motion loop-de-loop and it went relatively well. And it won 1st place, in spite of the ugly quilting!
That's it for this year! (Now, what am I going to do with all these quilts?)