"Within Limits" & The Value of County Fairs


When I first moved to my little slice of paradise I had never been to a County Fair and barely knew that they existed. I grew up in NYC and the greater metro area and Fairs (other than art faires) were few and far between. I jumped on the proverbial band wagon 25 years ago though when my first fair entries were photographs.

Although I comsidered myself a quilter at the time I did not enter anything in that division for some years. As it turned out, that was a very good thing because my quilting hubris was much larger than my quilting talents were at that time! What I did not about quilting is, in hindsight, embarrassing! Over the years I learned a lot from the amazingly talented local quilters. My skills increased and I even managed to take a few classes over the years. In the last few years, for some reason, I have not entered many items in the quilting section and almost did not again this year. But........

Of course, County Fairs acquire funding based on number of entries and so I decided to enter "Within Limits" - a large bed sized quilt. It is based on a pattern called "Wagon Wheels" from American Jane by Sandy Klop and was beautifully custom quilted by local friend Keri Leighton-Stome from Orcas Island. As a huge fan of colorful scrappy quilts I challenged myself to use a more controlled palette of red, my new neutral, black, grey, white and splashes of mellow golden yellows.

When the quilt made it home....with thanks to my friend Janet for picking my entries up for me and even hand delivering them.....I was thrilled to see the bevy of colorful ribbons attached to my quilt. We all love and lust for the coveted blues and honorable mentions are a real bonus, but it was that fluffy Viewers Choice ribbon that meant the most to me. I had never received one before and I was tickled pink by this teal colored beauty. It encourages me and I am so grateful to anyone who took the time to vote on Saturday!

We had a special exhibit called the "Itty Bitty Teeney Tiny" challenge. We have a severely limited amount of available space for display in the "wool shed" (which houses quilts, sewn textile items, knitting, weaving, spinning, basketry etc etc) and so this year's theme was created to be not only a creative challenge but also to save on valuable real estate within the exhibit area. I entered two teeny tiny fabric baskets that I had made for a similarly theme challenge a few years ago. There was no restriction that entries had to have been made within the previous year.

I was surprised to find an envelope attached to the baskets. It featured this year's Fair theme and poster and inside was a very special little surprise. have a feeling that I know who was responsible for this most touching remembrance (MzT you know who you are!). MzT is a gracious, very multi-talented, thoughtful friend who always seems to find ways to make an event even more memorable.

I now understand County Fairs much better than I used to. They serve so many wonderful functions. I cannot imagine m world without them any more. County Fairs foster a love for all things wonderfully rural, critters, horsepersonship, the growing of good and beautiful things and the myriad displays of creative works by many talented hands.

County Fairs are empowering, they help to build a healthy self-respect, they engender a needful love of things that mean "we live in the country". Fairs bring communities together for a special annual week of friendship, sharing of all things fair ...."fair food", trashion fashion shows, getting to know our neighbors...and perhaps best of all they reconfirmed the joys that I feel every day for being able to live in "my special'place", and enjoy the benefits of deep roots and long friendships.

 

Have you always had County Fairs in your life?

Do you always enter things or not so much?

What is you favorite thing about your County Fair? Memory?

 

When Perseverance Pays...or Adventures With A Dinosaur Serger

My ancient Pfaff Hobbylock 788 serger...or a photo of one just mine. I bought it in about 1991. Yes, it's old. What's more it was always an incredible hassle to thread the loopers, and thus, it never saw much use.

My newly rediscovered love of making clothes made me realize how much easier some projects would be if I could use my serger. In all honesty, I hanker (lust) for a Babylock Imagine with easy, breezy air threading and auto-tensioning...but alas the state of my personal exchequer does not allow for such a purchase.

Today I was determined to figure out how to be able use the old Pfaff for a current project. After all...how hard could it be to get a simple machine in working order? Right?!

I started at 10:00. I wanted to be able to thread this darn machine and, as importantly, I also wanted to understand how this machine works. All went well until I decided that I had to get the hang of changing the threads...I generally just tie threads off and gently pull through the machine so that I can avoid the dastardly chore of threading this machine. Feeling as if I "had this", I blithely cut the threads and began at the beginning. Threading the needles -right or left- is the easy part. Next, I very carefully, and very slowly began rethreading the loopers. Again ....and.....again....and....again. I finally figured out that it was an issue with left left looper that was giving me fits. There was something in the diagram that just did not feel right, but I could not figure out what it was. I just kept making the same darn mistake; each time hoping for a better outcome.....I know....that in itself is not an indication of a sound mind!!

About 2:30pm I thought to look online. I was not very hopeful that I would find anything because it is such an old serger, but, lo and behold a very good, very nice person had a "YouTube" video showing exactly what I needed to see and within 5 minutes I saw where my mistake was (yep...with the left looper) and by 3:00 I had the machine humming and the blasted tension adjusted right! Eureka.

By the time I had the machine humming along I really needed a break. Tomorrow though I think I can finally just serge away. I did learn a lot today, I now understand the mechanics of this old machine better and I left behind a bit of my fear about threading it.

Hopefully, in the future I will be able to get the serger I want, but in the meantime I am happy to know that I will, at least, be able to have the use of a serger when I need it. A serger is definitely a great tool and investment when you make clothes...now I can give sewing knits more of a try too!

Perseverance paid off today. I just kept thinking "this is just a simple machine, I can do this!". Although it took much longer than I thought it would...mission accomplished! Phew!

 

KOGIN SASHIKO

Above: One of my first attempts used as a birthday card for a friend made using 16 count Aida In August,  Susan Briscoe , published her book...