Iowa State Fair 4-H Projects

The Bruce L. Rastetter 4-H Exhibits building is another place at the fair where you will find projects of all kinds that our youth have entered. 4‑H is delivered by Cooperative Extension—a community of more than 100 public universities across the nation that provides experiences where young people learn by doing. Kids complete hands-on projects in areas like health, science, agriculture and citizenship, in a positive environment where they receive guidance from adult mentors and are encouraged to take on proactive leadership roles. Kids experience 4‑H in every county and parish in the country—through in-school and after-school programs, school and community clubs and 4‑H camps. In Iowa, our 4-H organization is through Iowa State Extension. From there it extends to each county in which there may be a few or many different clubs. If you missed it, you can read about this in my past blog, Chickasaw County 4-H Fair.

There were many quilts and I will show you some of those in another post, but for this one I have chosen two projects that I thought were interesting at the State Fair to tell you about. This first project caught my eye from across the building.It is a chair that was reupholstered with quilts! I am sure some of you have seen this before, but I had not, so of course I was going to check this out.
When a 4-H project is entered, a write-up must accompany it. It is recommended to explain how you completed this project step by step in detail, and to include photos, cost and sources. Here is one of the pages showing us the before photo of the chair and the quilts they used for reupholstering the chair.Another page shows the supply and cost list for the project. A large portion of the write up includes their goals of the project and how they went about completing it. If you can read this you will see they used Great-Grandmother’s 50 year old quilts, now, some my gasp at this and some may feel this was a wonderful idea. I do like how Great Aunt Joann helps them with this project, to me it feels like their are passing on Great Grandmother’s work and Great Aunt Joann is passing on her knowledge and skills.If you look closely at the first chair photo, you will see this project received a red ribbon. Maybe the judge felt it was not done well enough, but I can appreciate the process and the story of this project.

Another project, using fabric in a nontraditional way, was a rug. We do not have a loom, so we have never made any of our own rugs.
I do remember as a child though, I would help my Mother cut up old worn out clothes into strips and then sew those strips together to make very long strips of fabric. Next as some of you know, we would roll those strips up into large balls. When she would have a large box of fabric balls we would take then to a lady who would make rag rugs for us. It may sound odd, but it was so exciting to go and pick up the rugs when she was done. When we came home we would open up each rug and ooh and aah about how pretty they were. I think it must have been a feeling of happiness to have the old clothes made into something pretty that we could use, even though the rugs were mostly blues, browns and blacks!
Here a photo of the rug I saw at the fair. I decided to take a closer look at this because of the color variations and how beautifully made it was.Here again a write up is included and photos of how they went about completing this project.Photos with captions are a wonderful way to explain to someone how you would go about making this. If you are able to read her story, she too talks about her Great Aunt who has the loom and helps her with making the rug. I also thought it was interesting that the fabric they use is purchased from a company that sells salvage edges from blankets. I was impressed with the details included in this write up. She clearly explains the process of how she did this and I found it interesting and educational.

In my past blogs I have wrote about our generation of quilters and if we are doing all that we can to make sure we pass down our knowledge and talents. Even though these are only two projects, both were done with guidance from previous generations. I feel in these two separate families, there is hope that their talents will continue through to the next generation, as it will in ours.

6 thoughts on “Iowa State Fair 4-H Projects

  1. Sue Kuennen Massman

    Thank you Carla for sharing these 4-H projects from the Iowa State fair! Each entry has won the top prize and category at their home county to advance to the Iowa State fair. Many people anticipate the day they can view their project and see how the judge awarded their efforts! What I liked about these projects and especially your blog, Carla, is the most important task “we have,” is to pass on our LIFE skills and our heritage!! Thank you for sharing!

    1. Carla Post author

      Oh Susie, your are the very best at passing on your knowledge! Please keep doing that and thank you for the comment!

  2. Kim

    Both of these projects were interesting to read about and see, thanks for sharing. I think the chair is super cute, I might have to find me an old chair and give it a try.

  3. Donna

    I have seen a chair reupholstered with quilts but not nearly as nice as the one from the fair! Both projects were really interesting!

    1. Carla Post author

      Thank you Donna for the reply, I wonder how many quilters would cover a chair with a quilt? I think it would be challenging!

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