Quilt celebrating 100 years of the Moffat County Fair travels coast to coast
December 17, 2018
CRAIG — Fabric scraps were sewn together to create images of wholesome county life in Embroidery Shoppe owner Renata Beason's "One Hundred Years of Moffat County Fair Happy Trails" quilt.
The quilt was made to commemorate the 2018 fair — Moffat County's 100th annual fair — and it's likely to spend the next three years traveling across the county to quilt shows for thousands to see.
Beason began making blocks for the quilt in January. She announced on July 4 that she had completed the top, and by July 28, the ornate, free-motion machine quilting was finished.
"There were days that I sat for three or four hours," Beason said.
She started with a pattern from P3 Designs, which she altered to suit her notion of Moffat County's history.
P3 owner and designer Pearl Pereira has a passion for designing quilts, inspired by a style called “a Baltimore Album,” first created — as the name implies — in Baltimore between 1846 and 1852.
Using a technique called applique, pieces of fabric are shaped and stitched to create a pattern on a square of base fabric. Like a scrapbook, the design on each block is meant to represent a page in the album.
Each of Beason's blocks includes a distinctly western theme. The center of the quilt features Moffat County brands, including the Beason family brand.
Once the basic blocks were made using a mix of hand and machine applique, embellishments were added — hand embroidery, Swarovski crystal, three-dimensional work with leather and buttons, and lots of quilting.
About 18 yards of fabric, two layers of cotton and wool blend batting, and countless stitches were used to make the quilt.
Much of the quilting is freely drawn across the quilt with the sewing machine. It was Beason's first free motion quilting.
"I started with the pebbles and had so much fun," she said. Soon, she was creating feathers, one of the most complicated patterns to quilt without a template.
The hard work and intricate quilting caught the eye of judges and visitors to Moffat County's 100th Fair.
At the fair "One Hundred Years of Moffat County Fair Happy Trails" was awarded Grand Champion in its category and Best of Show.
Thrilled with her success at the fair, Beason submitted photos of her quilt to juries selecting some of the best quilts in the county for shows from coast-to-coast.
Its journey began on the West Coast. The quilt won second place applique at the Northwest Quilting Expo, held in September in Portland, Oregon.
From there, it traveled to Santa Clara, California, for the Pacific International Quilt Festival in October, where competition from international quilt artists was fierce.
The quilt has returned to Craig for a time, but it has already been accepted and is a semi-finalist in the first time entry category at Daytona Beach Quilt Week, set to run Feb. 27 through March 2, in Daytona Beach, Florida.
The little more than 240 quilters, representing 42 states and 18 countries, were accepted into the show to compete for more than $50,000 in prizes. But Beason is most excited about the number of people — more than 15,000 — the show is expected to draw.
From Florida, the quilt will travel to Lancaster, Pennsylvania, in March.
It is likely to keep traveling, as Beason said the quilt will be eligible for most shows for about three years.
As her quilt presents a few pages from the album of Moffat County's past and present to quilt show attendees from coast-to-coast, Beason is hard at work on her next project.
"I'm already creating my first original quilt," she said.
Contact Sasha Nelson at 970-875-1794 or snelson@CraigDailyPress.com.