Home Arts: Quilts and Baked Goods (Videos)
Home Arts exhibitor preparation begins long before entry days. Participants look for new ideas in their art forms and review their grandmothers’ recipe books and pattern stash. Some of the items, such as the quilts and crocheted cloths take more than a year to complete. But most of the entries are required to be made during the year running from end of fair one year to the day of the entries the following year. This creates a great deal of competition and striving for best work ever. Women and men, teens, and youngsters are ready!. Entry day proves that as exhibitors line up at the registration desks carrying pie plates, garments on hangers and racks, canned goods in wagons, needlework in tote bags, cakes on trays and refrigerated items in coolers. (Note: the Fair has facilities for refrigerated entries.) Interest builds as exhibitors greet familiar faces and meet new entrants. All are discreetly checking out other’s entries. It is very festive!
One year I was in a hurry and placed my apple pie carefully on the car roof while I checked the children’s seat belts. I jumped in the car and started down the street. Immediately there were several cars beeping at me, and pointing to the car roof, and I realized I had left the pie there. I pulled over and found it nestled safely in the roof rack; how grateful I was!
The first items to catch your eyes upon entering the Home Arts Building will be quilts presented hanging from the ceiling. They are constructed using a wide variety of techniques: pieced, appliqued, embroidered, hand and machine worked, and comforters (which are tied rather than quilted). They make an incredible display. The entire class represents monumental effort and enjoyment, much of which will be passed on in families.
This is a section of a Whole Cloth Quilt, white with over 140,000 hand stitches.
The photos of quilts in this blog represent typical quilts and quilted wall hangings you will see; those photographed have already been entered in the Fair, and one time is the rule. The ribbon quilt is a comforter of previous awards; the ribbons are appliqued to a square muslin base each with three stripes. The squares are arranged in the Rail Fence design. This comforter is tied at intervals by a zig zag stitch in place. A bright red and white cotton print backing/lining makes the double sized quilt interesting.
This pair of wall hangings celebrate an anniversary of Bryn Mawr College in PA. The first is of Lantern Night when the new students are welcomed into the academic world of the college. The wall hanging battings are of silk, the stitching and quilting are in silk threads and the designs are original The May Day is an annual celebration at the college on a day of festivities when the young women wear dresses of white or garments portraying Renaissance days and the result is like a cameo from history. Techniques employed are quilting. embroidery, Brazilian embroidery, Trapunto, applique, and crocheting.
The Tree of Life double size quilt is embroidered entirely of X-stitch in vibrant floss. The embroidery consumed over a year of ‘stolen moments’ from family duties. Then the cotton batting and cotton lining (backing) were added and intricately quilted in swirls filling the spaces and echo quilting framing the flowers.
The black and white photo has a cathedral quilt and a biscuit quilt. Both of these are ‘old time’ patterns for quilts. A color photo depicts the full size cathedral quilt hanging, and a side photo gives details of the squares. The squares in muslin and jewel tones of velvet are all stitched by hand. This quilt has 1105 pieces.
Also in the gallery is a Madonna and Child wall hanging, machine appliqued and quilted. A sleeve on the back holds a dowel from which this art hangs.
When planning my baking entries I make two of each item, select the best of each class to enter, and delegate the ‘rejects’ to the family and neighbors. This consoles the family as they see the baked goods they love ‘disappear out the door’.
Decorated cakes are a separate class from ‘regular’ cakes which are made from scratch. You will note the faux sapphire ring on the tiered cake, shown below, to celebrate the engagement of Prince William and Kate. This was for a women’s tea. Here in this department you will see amazing original entries, and many made by children who may enter any class in Home Arts.
A variety of demonstrations are scheduled in sewing, accessories, knitting, crocheting, and usually spinning, which is an opportunity to see an current as well as early Home Arts.
Follow along in the videos below as I prepare one of my favorite cakes:
I hope to see you enter you special projects on entry day. Then again when you come to see the Home Arts Building arrayed with the county’s finest work!