Monday, July 2, 2012

Going To The Fair!

I have always loved going to the fair.  But I never understood why adults wanted to go and see the exhibits when I was young - wasn't the fair all about the rides?  But now I am all over the exhibits and don't let my kids go on any rides - I know, so mean.  :)  But this year is extra special.   I am going to have a quilt block exhibited in the fair!

2011 Competition Blocks 
Each year there is a quilt block competition at the Iowa State Fair.  They send you fabric and you make a quilt block that is judged.  Then they take all of the blocks and make a quilt for next year's raffle.  Here are the blocks from last year. 

The 2012 Block Fabrics
These are the fabrics that they sent out this year...umm...not my favorites.  I mean, I like good Civil War reproduction fabrics, the poison greens, roses and cheddars, but not these.  But that will just make making a great block that more rewarding/challenging/impossible.  Right?

The only requirements are:
  1. The block must measure 9.5 inches square unfinished (9 inches finished)
  2. The block must contain all 6 fabrics
  3. No additional fabric may be added
  4. The light fabrics aren't so bad - I actually really  like the bumble bees.
    I have added a few more requirements for myself - I would really like to have a shot at winning - I am kind of competitive.  ;)
  1. It must have a decent amount of complexity but not over the top - the winners last year had nice simple yet effective designs with a traditional leaning
  2. All points must match
  3. The back must look good also - I figure when it comes down to the finalists, the judges will pay attention to the back of the blocks because all of the fronts are perfect.
  4. Make sure it is well pressed and has no loose threads
  5. Pay attention to fabric placement - make sure there is good contrast
Has anyone out there judged or seen judging for quilts/quilt blocks before?  Is there anything else I should pay attention to?

Here are the three blocks I have narrowed it down to (it is really hard to find 9 inch blocks that can use 6 different fabrics!).  L to R:  Aztec Logs, Eight Point Allover and Belted Star.  All of the blocks were found at the Quilter's Cache.

Right now I am leaning towards Aztec Logs because it will be easy to use all of the fabrics, the design fits the fabric and the small 1 inch triangles add a good level of complexity.  As a bonus they are paper pieced, so I have a decent chance of making them accurately.  In fact all of the blocks are paper pieced so hopefully my precision will be better than if I was piecing them with regular cutting/sewing.  But I like the other ones too...

What do you think?  


  1. I would definately go with Aztec Logs - I think it is a striking & unusual block design. Good Luck! :)

  2. yeah the aztec logs, I agree....good luck!

  3. competition is SUPER stiff at the ISF! the judges are extremely tough!
    the cow that got 3rd place in the blocks above is was the second year that i entered...i never dreamed i had a shot in the world...i nearly cried! good's a ton of fun!

  4. I think I like the 3rd block - but the 1st one is nice too. Do you have enough that you could make both? Or maybe you could make 2 practice blocks in the 6 fabrics so we could see how similar fabrics translate into these 2 different blocks? Or you can just ignore me and make the one you want haha :) Good luck!!

  5. I like blocks 2 and 3 better, block 1 looks a little messy to my eyes. You could highlight the bumblebees by fussy cutting them and use them in blocks 2 and 3, it might be a little harder to do that with block 1.

  6. Aztec Blocks definitely...and I agree about the choice of fabric ;-)

  7. They seem to like shades of blue and yellow don't they?
    The only fabric I really like in your selection is the one with the bees. I think Block 2, Eight Points Allover is the best as it looks simple but there are lots of points and we know how difficult that is! Don't like the first one at all - far too fussy. If you did Block 2 you could, as suggested above, make a feature of those cute bumble bees. Good luck!

  8. I like the belted star. I've always wanted to enter a quilt in the fair, but have yet to work up the courage. Good luck to you! Hope you do win!

  9. I like the Aztec Block! It's challenge looks suitable for a chance at a ribbon.
    This is the first year that I will be exhibiting at the Iowa State Fair too. I have wanted to, but then kinda chickened out. This is the 'what the heck' year! So I'm hoping to have 3 quilts in.

    Good luck and maybe I'll bump into you in the Textile and Threads exhibit!

  10. The one that catches my eye is the 8 point star. I think it would lent itself beautifully to use all of the fabrics. The Aztec is just to busy but then, it is probably the fabric choices that make it that way

  11. As your husband I am putting my money down on the belted star. If you win I will buy you whatever you want on a stick for dinner at the fair? Except fried butter. I draw a line there.

    1. As my husband, I think you are required to buy me something on a stick regardless. ;) But I think I will make two different blocks and see which turns out the best.

  12. I like Belted Star and Aztec Logs the best. I think the Aztec Star might work better as a larger, one block wallhanging though. I'm excited to see what you churn out. Good luck!

    beaniekins84 at gmail dot com

  13. I love that fabric and laughed when you said you didn't like it. I'd go with the belted star with the Aztec logs as a second choice. Good luck!

  14. I also prefer the Belted star. The Aztec logs are too busy for a 9" block. But that is only my opinion. I am sure you will produce something amazing and beautiful!