Sunday, August 31, 2008

Fair Inspiration

It's always a sign that summer is drawing to a close when the State Fair comes and goes. Last weekend was our last weekend for the Kentucky State Fair. Have I mentioned that I love the fair??? All fairs bring back such fond memories of 4-H exhibits (yes, snickerdoodles were the first thing I ever entered in a fair), parade routes (I played a squeaky clarinet), muddy shoes and wet clothes (it never rains on the Barlow Fair), and running around the Ohio State Fair with my sister and squealing with delight over moldy food in one building and air conditioning in the Senior Citizens' building. Yep. I love the fair!

Nowadays, I look forward to the annual events - for lots and lots of reasons - and for the inspiration. Here are pictures of a few of the items that caught my eye during this year's Kentucky State Fair. None of this work is mine, but I sure do find it inspiring!

Let's begin with some incredible quilts....

The color is what really caught my eye with all of these quilts. The appliqué on the one above is beautiful, as is each and every block in the design.

And I never would have thought to combine the blues and browns with all that beautiful coral in the one above!

As for the barnyard filled with chickens and roosters...too cute. Some even had sparkles and sequins to accent their feathers.

And I couldn't resist the colors and whimsy of each of these houses.

Even the Cat in the Hat was in the neighborhood!

As for these last two quilts, they are amazing! I love the garden design in the one above. And each and every wildflower in the one below has incredible texture and stitching that brings them to life.

One of the things that I've noticed over the years is that the quilt displays stay about the same in terms of the number of entries. There are always rows upon rows upon rows of beautiful quilts to wander through. Unfortunately, I can't say the same about needlework entries, and cross stitch entires in particular.

When I first moved to Kentucky and started attending the State Fair, the entire back wall of one of the convention halls would be covered with cross stitch. And that back wall wasn't all! Each year, the exhibit area gets smaller and smaller. It's sad to see the number of entries dwindle each year. Nevertheless, here are a couple of items that I spent time admiring.

I love Marjolein Bastin's artwork, so I really enjoyed seeing one of her designs in a larger scale. This particular piece was worked on what looked to be fabric for an afghan. I loved the overall look.

I also came across one of the most spectacular Christmas stockings I've seen. Not only is this a beautiful design, but check out the workmanship and the great details below. I love it!

I hope you've enjoyed seeing some of the great work that was on display this year. I hope, too, that those quilters, needleworkers, and fiber artists out there will continue to exhibit their work each year. What incredible inspiration!

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