Which quilt will you enter in your county fair? What? You are not planning to enter anything? It is a great experience for all quilters — even those who do not like to be competitive — to place an entry in a local county fair. There are a lot of good reasons for doing so.
First, it supports your local fair. Have you ever been to a fair that had very few displays? Eventually, people lose interest in participating. When crafters don’t enter, spectators don’t visit. It’s pretty simple.
Secondly, you may end up with a cash prize…or at least a ribbon. Some local fairs pay participants for allowing them to display their quilts and craft work. Ask to see if your fair does.
Also, if you quilt for a living, entering a project in the county fair is a must. You don’t have to be perfect or win a blue ribbon. Just keeping your name in front of the public as a quilter is free advertising enough. Oh, and if your fair pays entrants for participating, you will even make money while displaying your skills.
Your quilt entry may encourage someone else. A neighbor may see your display and approach you to ask to help her start quilting too. Maybe next year you will both have entries in the county fair! If your local fair is still a few weeks away, perhaps you can encourage a child to make a quilt. They can enter it in the children’s craft division!
Entering a project in the county fair also gives you a chance to have your work critiqued by professionals. They will look at stitch length and count, overall appeal, and other considerations. Getting this kind of feedback occasionally can make us better quilters.
These days, quilting can be such a private hobby. We quilt in the privacy of our own home after dinner. We carry a tote bag with us to the dentist office so we can work on a quilt as you go project. Gone are the days when groups of women gathered frequently to quilt together. In a way, participating in the county fair gives you a socialization opportunity. While visiting the displays, you can meet fellow quilters, share tips and techniques, and maybe even forge new friendships. Learn about quilting guild opportunities in your area, quilting and sewing classes, and reconnect with your community.
If you are interested in entering a quilt in the county fair, check with your local fair association to find out rules and regulations. Most of them have handbooks that specifically outline their rules and regulations. Some require that entries be made within the last year. They may require specific entry times. Be sure to read the fine print.
When you read the regulation booklet, you may be surprised to see just how many quilted items could be displayed. Some split the crafts into a number of categories — quilts, quilted wall hangings, quilted pillows, quilted toys, quilted clothing, quilted table runner, quilted place mats, quilted handbags, etc. You really have a lot of options if you want to make a quilt to enter in your county fair! Most fairs will allow you to enter multiple categories, sometimes even multiple entries in the same category. Again, check the entry particulars to know what your fair allows.
In addition to all the above reasons, entering a quilt in the county fair is one way to support good, old fashioned fun. You have fun quilting, while visitors have fun as they enjoy looking at all the quilting entries. Who knows? You may just walk away with a hand full of blue ribbons!
By Penny Halgren of http://www.How-To-Quilt.com
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