Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Iowa State Fair, Quilters Edition

Yesterday I took the girls to the Iowa State Fair.  I wish I could say we had the time of our lives, but honestly, it was packed, we got lost, I got grouchy and did I mention I had four kids with me?  Don't get me wrong, we had fun, but it wasn't magical like the fair sometimes is.

 One of the first things we saw was a line of quilt blocks surrounding the Jacobson Exhibition Center.  From a flier:  "A call was sent out to Iowa counties in the Spring of 2009 to create a quilt block design to represent each county in an outdoor mural at the Iowa State Fairgrounds.  The winning designs from each of Iowa's 99 counties have been constructed in tile on the exterior of the new Richard O. Jacobson Exhibition Center.  The quilt block project incorporates Iowa's heritage and tradition of barn quilts into the Fairground's newest facility."

The flier also had thumbnails of all of the quilt blocks.  I am sorely tempted to make an "Iowa" quilt out of them.

The next stop was the Thread and Fabric exhibit.
Every year there is a Make-A-Block category at the fair.  They send you fabric and you make a block that is judged.  Then they take the blocks and make a quilt that is raffled off the next year at the fair.  Fun!  I have to remember to sign up next year for sure.  Do you see the cow block that took fourth place?  Here is the tutorial for it.  How fun is it to know where someone got their block pattern from?

 As we walked along the walls of quilts, I realized two things.  #1 - I was at least 15 years younger than most of the women there and  #2 - quilt shows are a much better place to see quilts.  In order to maximize space only a few feet of each quilt is showing.  Bummer.  But here are some favorites.

A Dear Jane Quilt

This one was on the cover of a recent Quilters Newsletter

I am hoping to enter my Grandmother's Flower Garden quilt next year,
so I needed a picture of the competition.  :)

I love the graphic look of these flowers.
An appliqued flower quilt is on my must make someday list.

Loved these bright HST

The six year old loved the yo-yos.

I really liked the colors
and different designs in all the diamonds.

Got to love the vintage quilts.

Great Cathedral Windows and Stars.

Tiny pieces in this around the world/postage stamp quilt

More Beauties.

Snakes!  Love this block.
This was the last quilt in line and much to the girls' relief we left the quilt area, wandered around, ate, looked at animals and went to the Little Hands on the Farm exhibit.

Me milking a cow!
She must be so embarrassed to have this picture of her on the web.

I must say that I enjoyed looking at the animals.  They had a great building with newborn baby animals and their moms.  If it hadn't been so crazy in there I could have stayed all day just looking and petting.  And cow milking?  Awesome!  I am totally a natural.  :)

Did you go to the fair this year?


  1. When I saw the flyer I wanted to make an Iowa quilt as well! Ninety nine blocks though?! Don't think so.
    Thoroughly enjoyed the fair. Hope you got to eat some fried deliciousness.

  2. The quilt exhibit is always one of my favorites at any fair. An Iowa quilt sounds like an awesome idea! I'm going to have to tell my mom about it and hope she makes one. They'll be going to the fair tomorrow and I'm sure she will go through all those quilts. You are very brave indeed to take 4 kids all by yourself!

  3. Love the Iowa quilt idea. Sorry your fair trip wasn't so magical!

  4. Hoping to get moved there before next summer's fair...love the pictures! Very inspirational!

  5. Great post Leila. Thank you for taking the time to do it. Oh, and there should be a point 3 to what you realised about the people looking at the quilts: there are an awful lot of people wearing comfy elasticated waist trousers. You're not one of them are you?!

  6. What an amazing array of quilts! Sad you couldn't really see all of them.

  7. No elastic waisted pants yet!

  8. I was visiting family this year and got to go too! I loved seeing all the quilts -- it was like happyland. And I too, felt the weirdness of being the youngest there -- as I toted around my 18 month old looking at the quilts, I felt like the older ladies were wondering why I was there. ha ha! And I love that building! Last year I took a bunch of pictures too -- I just love that they used quilt blocks as decoration -- genius!

  9. We went to the fair over the weekend. It feels like all we did was eat and see the quilts. There is all sorts of stuff that I forgot about that I wish we would have seen. Like the Little Hands on the Farm. My kid would have loved that!

  10. Thanks for taking me to the fair!

  11. I love the idea of making the quilt blocks a part of the architecture. Wouldn't that be a great way to customize the back splash in your kitchen?

  12. what great quilts at your fair.
    The block thing is a really neat idea.
    Our fair is in Oct. and I will be entering a few things.