San Mateo County Fair 2022 Comparison

First place vs Second place
First place vs Second place

The quilt that won the blue ribbon in the category where I won second happened to be hung next to my quilt. The quilt that won is called Threads and is by Sara Guyol of San Mateo.

I like Sara’s quilt and the only reason I can think that her quilt is in the same category as mine is that they had to consolidate categories. Mine was entered into the Quilt top made by one person/pro quilted and the class was hand guided quilting – small quilt.

Sara Guyol's blue ribbon quilt -detail
Sara Guyol’s blue ribbon quilt -detail

I really think Sara’s quilt should have been in an embroidery category if there is an embroidered quilt category. Her quilt had a lot of Sue Spargo type embroidery on it. It was a really different style of quilt than my quilt. I think of the Fabric of the Year quilts as complex in design, but they are complex to design not to piece. As you know, there is a lot of moving of pieces around before the quilt gets sewn. Once everything is in place, the piecing is easy.

I don’t think the Fair really looks at design. Design is hard to judge, I know, but if they only look at technique, I will never win a blue ribbon. I am not angry about this. Sara’s quilt is amazing and I am pleased that she won. I’d love to meet her and wish there were a reception for the artists.

San Mateo County Fair Visit 2022

San Mateo County Fair 2022
San Mateo County Fair 2022

DH and I were both sick over the long holiday weekend. The illness lingered through the beginning of the Fair and through the day our extended family had decided to go together. I didn’t think we would be able to make it at all, but we decided to go last Saturday. I was not intending to see every single thing at the Fair and I made my desires clear: quilts and a frozen chocolate covered banana. I didn’t want to overdo it after resting and taking it easy for a few weeks.

I let DH pick what he wanted to see first, so we looked at the Commercial area first. It was sad. So many of the vendors and information booths we had seen before were not exhibiting. The vendors who made the effort were selling items of low quality or of no interest. I wish the Fair management would find a way to get artists to sell their wares.

After that, we went to see the quilts and other Home Arts. I saw Laura, the organizer of Home Arts, pretty soon after we arrived. She will be taking suggestions after she rests for a bit, but I talked with her about some things I thought were confusing. She also said that they had 75% of the entries they had pre-pandemic, which was a lot better than the other areas. I was pleased at the number of quilts even though it was obvious there were fewer.

BAM recycle/upcycle challenge
BAM recycle/upcycle challenge

BAM made a GREAT showing. In addition to my wins, I saw that Sue G., Joelle, Bonnie, and Cyndi all received awards of one kind or another. The upcycle/recycle challenge was shown in a prominent place.

Cyndi's Orphan block quilt
Cyndi’s Orphan block quilt

I saw one of the orphan block Sew Day quilts, Cyndi’s, which is a great effort. It is colorful and interesting to look at.

I was so impressed that she got her act together enough to get this into the Fair. I think it was made in April and since the deadline for entry and deliver are in different parts of May, it was a quick turnaround.

SIL#4 2022 Fair Entry
SIL#4 2022 Fair Entry

SIL#4 also won a prize for one of her knitted hats. I saw her hat before I saw either of my winners. It makes sense, though, as small knitted items are right at the front of the hall.

I was really pleased to see that my teaching paid off. Sue G., one student in a recent class (and member of the door prize team), put two quilts in the Fair and won prizes for both! I was thrilled beyond belief. She has been sewing a lot and practicing her skills, so the prizes were well deserved, but I was still thrilled. I’m not saying that I did everything, but I do take credit for instilling good habits and teaching good skills.

I was shocked at the prices. Everything had gone up. In some ways I felt like Fair management and the vendors were making me pay for the loss of two years worth of my attendance at the Fair:

Entry fee: $20.00 x 2 – $40.00

Parking:                          – $15.00

Ice Cream:                     – $16.50

Drink:                              – $10.00



minus free ticket:         $20.00




We didn’t even have lunch. I wondered how families with children were able to afford the costs just to get in? I told DH he had a year to figure out what to enter into the Fair next year so he could get a free ticket as well. By the time we got home, he had decided on a cell phone photo.


Fair Wins!

I always look forward to the Fair and make a point of entering.

I wasn’t well enough to go to the Fair last weekend with the family, but they were kind enough to send me photos of my wins as they walked the exhibits. I was SHOCKED to get two wins in the made-by-one-quilted-by-another category. That category is almost impossible to win in since there are so many entries. I am thrilled!

Fabric of the Year 2019 and Frolic! both won. Isn’t that purple ribbon pretty? I’ll have to see the details if I get to go to the Fair or when I get everything back.

Entering the Fair

After a two year hiatus, I entered the County Fair. I entered 3 items and hope I get free tickets.

My three items are:

I kind of wanted to enter more things, but wasn’t sure what else to enter or I don’t have the thing anymore. Also, I am busy, I don’t have time to figure out all the divisions, etc, especially now that they are only giving prize money for first place. Phooey on that! I really wanted to enter Flying Around, which has had no outing at all. It was, however, finished in 2019 and that seems like a long time ago in Fair years.

Super Winner Winner Chicken Dinner

A long time ago one of my quilts won a ribbon at the Marin Needlearts Guild show. That is probably the best prize I have ever gotten. I feel like that prize came from a real quilt show and the quilt did deserve to win.

Still winning at the San Mateo County Fair is pretty great, too. I did win at the Fair. I entered 3 items: two quilts and a pillow. I did not expect the quilts to win, because the ‘made by one/pro quilted’ category is really impacted. I did expect to win with the pillow based on SIL2’s analysis of the best categories to enter to get a prize.

Aqua-Red Sampler with prize
Aqua-Red Sampler with prize

First, the Aqua-Red Sampler Quilt got First place. As you know, I made these blocks in one of my sampler quilt classes. I am pretty pleased that this won. The two color scheme has an impact. Also, Colleen did spectacular quilting and the quilting shows. Definitely click on the image so you can see the detail of the quilting. I am really happy that the judges were able to appreciate this quilt. I think it looks a little modern, but I didn’t dare enter it in that category.

Under the Sea Embellished pillow
Under the Sea Embellished pillow

Second, despite reports to the contrary Under the Sea did win a prize. It won Third Place, which is fine. I am pleased that it won at all, because it was so much work and took so many years to finish. I could have gone on stitching, but this category gave me a deadline and finishing this piece got one more hand project off my list.

Metroscape with ribbon
Metroscape with ribbon

Finally, Metroscape won. WOW! This was a huge surprise. I did enter it into the Modern category in hopes of giving it a better chance, but I really didn’t expect anything. There it was hanging with a Second Place ribbon on it.

I enter quilts because I make them and want people to see them. I didn’t, as I said, expect to win. I don’t know what prizes I will get, but I know I will get a prize for each winner.

3 entries -> 3 prizes. Pretty amazing.


Fair Entries 2019

Last year I let you know what projects I entered into the fair. I saw the post by accident and can’t really believe another year has gone by. I didn’t wait until the last minute this year. Cyndi was kind enough to collect a bunch of entries at the BAM meeting to take to the fair. I gave her mine since it is much easier to have someone else drop them off. I think I’ll have to give her a gift or take her to lunch, because she really does save me a lot of time and energy.

I didn’t enter as much this year as I only wanted the free tickets. I know it is pretty callous, but it is true. There are so many quilts in the pieced-by-one, quilted-by-another category that I have no hope ever of winning for a quilt. I can usually win in the paper category, but didn’t finish the piece that I started with Nancy and Maureen.

SIL2 figured out that the embellishment category was the least populated so we had the best chance of winning, thus I had incentive to finish Under the Sea.


Under the Sea was entered.

Metroscape - finished
Metroscape – finished

Since Metroscape is pretty unusual, in that I haven’t seen a lot of finished quilts using the Quick Curve Ruler, I thought I might have a tiny chance, despite it being in that overcrowded category.

I really ended up liking the Aqua-Red Sampler. It is a striking quilt. Though I have no hope of winning anything with it, I wanted someone to see it and entered it anyway.

We’ll see what happens.

San Mateo County Fair Winners

I talked about my entries a few weeks ago. Once I get to the fair, I like to go and look at my entries right away to see what I won, if anything.

I got some prizes, but not many. Of my entries, two got prizes, the paper wreath which I expected and the Planned Improv quilt, which I did not. It is almost a guarantee I will not get a prize for a quilt, so i was thrilled to even get an Honorable Mention in any quilt category.

I was sad that none of these projects got prizes. The Flapper apron is probably the most ordinary of all of the projects, but it does have a great shape and interesting construction. The others are all very creative, especially the fabric placement on the Cal Shirt and the way I created a corset look on the Superheroine apron. Oh well, you win some, you lose some. I did well last year, so I can’t complain too much.

I have some quibbles with the categories. They don’t have a bag category and they should. There were a number of bags and the bags have to compete against everything in the sewn accessories-non garment category. My Zip Away organizer would have been better in a bag category.

I also think they need an apron category. There were a lot of aprons and mine would have done better it they weren’t competing against a tailored jacket.

I really worked hard on the shirt, especially finishing the inside seams with French seams, so it was letdown not to get any prizes at all for it. It will be interesting to see what they say.

SIL #2 cleaned up. She got four prizes including a first for her fabulous two-sided shell table runner. I did well last year; it was her turn this year.


San Mateo County Fair 2017

The Fair is held in June and with the YM’s broken ankle and a big new client, it took me awhile to get this post together. Here it is.

San Mateo County Fair Prizes 2017
San Mateo County Fair Prizes 2017

I was tempted to call this post 4 Entries, 4 Prizes, but I thought that might a bit too much self congratulation. It is true, however. I entered four items into the fair and received four prizes.

FOTY 2015
FOTY 2015

SIL and I have determined that the way to get prizes is to enter items into the non-quilt categories. I received monetary prizes for everything but the quilt, which received an honorable mention and more criticism on my binding as well as criticism that my seams don’t match. I was annoyed at that since there was maybe 2 seams that didn’t match. I work very hard on my piecing so it looks good. I suppose they have to find something to criticize. The point about my binding was grudgingly well taken. I had no idea what they meant, but SIL showed me what she thought they meant and I took her advice to heart when I did the binding on the Peacock.

Apron - 2017
Apron – 2017

I need to make another apron, so, perhaps, I will wait and enter that in the fair in 2018. In fairness, my niece has been waiting for this apron, so it might be a little annoying for her to wait another year. Perhaps I’ll make two.

The fussy cutting on the apron was worth it. There was a comment that they really liked the way I used the fabric. They also liked it that I finished the seams.

California Shirt with ribbon
California Shirt with ribbon

They did not like that I did not finish the seams on the California shirt. I kind of knew that when I was working on it. I wanted to make French seams like I do on the pillowcases, but just didn’t do it.

Now I want to make another shirt with French or finished seams. It might be a good way to learn to use a serger.

I have lots of pictures of exhibits to show, so I’ll see about writing some more posts on the Fair in general.


Viewing the San Mateo County Fair Quilts

As I mentioned, I went to the county fair last week. When is yours? Have you gone? Have you entered?

I decided to take photos only of quilts I really liked or quilts which inspired me in some way. I still took about 100 photos total. I am not going to share all of them here, but my upload them to Flickr at some point.

Zebras at the Watering Hole by Elaine Lindsay, San Carlos
Zebras at the Watering Hole by Elaine Lindsay, San Carlos

One of the first quilts, after I found my winner, to catch my attention was a quilt with a round motif. I found out, from a fellow quiltmaker also looking at the quilts, that this was a class held at the Peninsula Quilters Guild and the technique was called Circle Pizazz. There is a book on the style by Judy Sisneros and she has templates for sale on her website to make the process easier. I got the impression that there was a bundle of the book and the templates, but I don’t see it anywhere.

There were a number of these quilts. I often get annoyed when I see duplicates, but I was intrigued this time by the differences in them. I was pleased to see the effect when different fabrics were used. This was an example of the power of quiltmaking: same pattern, completely different quilts.

Elaine Lindsay’s (above) was one of my favorites, if not my absolute favorite. The turquoise with the black on white and white on black fabrics is very striking.

Leila Sigler, Palomar Park
Circles, Leila Sigler, Palomar Park
Circles, Leila Sigler, Palomar Park
Circles, Leila Sigler, Palomar Park

The indigo version is wonderful as well. It looks like it is constructed slightly differently,  but it could be that the fabrics are so different that it just looks like it is constructed in a different way.

I admire the indigo fabrics for a lot of reasons, but have never wanted to collect them. I saw this quilt and immediately thought of TFQ and her collection of indigos. It also made me think that if I had a collection that would make this quilt, it would be a good use of the fabrics. However, it has been done, so why bother?

I have to say that part of the attraction of this quilt is that Sigler did not add a bunch of other fabrics in. She kept the choices simple and that creates an elegance.

The other thing I thought when I first saw these quilts is that they look like my Flowering Snowball.

I am also really glad to see people make quilts that have more difficult patterns. I think it is great and adds a lot more variety to quilt shows.

By Zan Murzelloe, San Jose
By Zan Murzelloe, San Jose

I thought this baking/kitchen applique’ quilt was quite whimsical. I also liked the colors. I thought they were nice and soft, but the red and orange add some punch to keep it from being boring.

I went straight to the quilts when we arrived and told the boys they could wander off, if they wanted. My nephew surprised me, and, I think, my son, by wanting to stay and look at the quilts for a bit. It was an interesting and enlightening experience. It was good to get an idea of what he likes, which was not at all what I thought he would like.

Lone Star by Rosalie Applebaum of Menlo Park
Lone Star by Rosalie Applebaum of Menlo Park

The black and white quilts attracted his attention. I think part of his interest may have been the pattern. One that interested him was a Stack-n-Whack in black and whites. He also liked the Lone Star by Rosalie Applebaum of Menlo Park. I guess when his turn comes up in the Niece-phews series, I’ll think about making him a black and white quilt.

There were a lot of great quilts at the show.  I encourage you to visit your local county fair and local quilt shows and see what people are making. There will be a lot more appreciation if we encourage each other in this way.


San Mateo County Fair 2013

I love attending county fairs. I make it a point to attend my local county fair every year*. I also work hard to enter something. It’s not like I have a shortage of *ahem* quilts to enter. Also, if you have ever entered a quilt show, entering the county fair is a breeze. It is also really, really cheap, unless you are entering your quilts in the art section.

This year was no exception, though it was a very close call for me. The fair was changed from August to June a few years ago and is usually held the week of one of the major Library conferences I like to attend. As a result, I almost didn’t get to attend AND I almost bailed at the last minute. I was enjoying hanging around the house in my pajamas.

I like the Fair, and most all county fairs, because it shows what is going on in the community. It is a place for regular people to show off what they are making or growing or tending in the privacy of their own home. It shows off what the local organizations are doing. And there are the bizarre vendors (and not so bizarre, too).

I am sad, because my local Fair gets smaller and smaller and more and more expensive to attend. Here is a breakdown of costs:

$10 parking
+$22×3 entrance fee
+$36 for lunch
+55 carnival wristbands

That is a lot of fabric! I didn’t pay that much however, because the Young Man and I both entered exhibits we each got two free entrance tickets. We also got two parking passes, but I only used one since I can only drive one car at a time. My nephew paid for all but $5 of his carnival wristband. Our cost for the day was $71. I did take two teenaged boys and had to feed them. Still a lot for a day at the fair and out of the reach of many families with a few kids. It is definitely worth the money to enter exhibits. Even if I don’t win, I get $54 worth of entrance and parking right off the bat.

2013 Fair Ribbons
2013 Fair Ribbons

Last year I won a ribbon and was pretty excited about that, but this year I won 4 ribbons! Yes, 4!!!! I couldn’t believe it. I was thrilled when I saw the first one on the A-B-C Challenge quilt I did with BAMQG. I was ecstatic when I saw another ribbon on the Petrillo bag and practically jumping out of my skin when I saw the big, fancy ribbon on Cheerful Baskets. Then I saw the last ribbon on FOTY 2011. I forgot I entered that quilt and couldn’t believe it got a ribbon. Thrilled doesn’t even begin to explain how I am feeling right now. Thisis not a feeling I could ever imagine dealing with nor did I ever imagine I would win a ribbon. I have won two ribbons in the past, an Honorable Mention and a Judge’s choice, but not in the same year, at the same show.

Silly boys with Cheerful Baskets
Silly boys with Cheerful Baskets

I know some of you are thinking “Sheesh, it isn’t Houston, what is she getting worked up about?” I know this is a little show with a few hundred quilts and not Houston. I am still excited.

FOTY 2011 with 3rd Place Ribbon
FOTY 2011 with 3rd Place Ribbon

After looking at my quilts, I went back and started looking at all the quilts in a very orderly and calm manner. A couple of the local guilds use the county fair as their guild shows. This saves money and enhances the quilt exhibit at the county fair. There are separate designations and categories of winners for those guilds only. I believe the judging is separate as well.

A-B-C Challenge with 1st Place Ribbon
A-B-C Challenge with 1st Place Ribbon

There were a lot of nice quilts at the show. I enjoy seeing all the different quilts of all different levels. I took my own advice and looked for something in each quilt that I liked. It wasn’t hard as the quilts were so good. There really was some interesting about almost every quilt I saw there.

Julie Mcauliffe
Julie Mcauliffe

The above quilt is by a local longarmer. She also has a hand in organizing the Fair’s quilt show. I liked this one for a few reasons. First, it is very similar to the EPP piece on which I am working. Second, it looks like the Spin Wheel project for which I am hunting and gathering.

Julie Mcauliffe detail
Julie Mcauliffe detail

It also has great vintage fabric. The quilt was huge, thus the weird picture.

Sarah Martin Chocolate Challenge
Sarah Martin Chocolate Challenge


Sarah Martin Chocolate Challenge
Sarah Martin Chocolate Challenge






The above quilt is part of a SFQG challenge called “Chocolate”. I like this one a lot. There were a number of different renditions of the imagery of chocolate. I didn’t see any raspberries. I think that there is a lot of opportunity for creativity in a challenge about chocolate.


Kevin Martin
Kevin Martin

The above quilt is such a fantastic layout. One of the reasons I like it is the way the nine patches go out into the border. I also like it because the crosses are not cut off; they are complete.

Kevin Martin-detail
Kevin Martin-detail

It is easy to see from this layout how part of the nine patches really are a border. The parts of the nine patch and the blue create the illusion of the nine patches going into the border.

Tin foil dinosaur
Tin foil dinosaur

One of my favorite parts of the fair is the building that houses the kid exhibits. Entering that building is an explosion of colors, movement and exuberance. Everything is a little wonky, but all of the art has such life. If you have no quiltmaking mojo left, the Kids Building is where you need to go. Where else can you see a tin foil dinosaur?

*2012 visit is chronicled as is 2009. I didn’t go back farther, but you can search in the search box, if you want.

Fair Visit

Nosegay, August 2009
Nosegay, August 2009

I went to the San Mateo County Fair on Saturday. I was really pleased to discover that The Nosegay had won a 3rd place ribbon.

Third place isn’t first place, but I am so happy that I won something. It has been awhile since I won a ribbon. I couldn’t have done it without Colleen of Sew Little Time Quilting. She is a fabulous longarmer. She also sells fabric, teaches and designs patterns. Her longarm work is out of this world.

Anyway, I am reinspired to enter this quilt somewhere else. We’ll see if I can get my act together.

In general the Fair was fun. I ate two, yes 2, frozen, chocolate and nut covered bananas. I love them so much!! They just say fair to me. We saw fireworks, got free ice cream, watched hucksters and hawkers, and some people rode rides. I didn’t have as much time with the quilts as I would have liked, but got some nice pictures and will have some time to look at them carefully later.

Fair Photos

This was the last weekend of the county fair, so we took our free tickets and went and indulged in quilts, rides, funnel cakes, lemonade and frozen, chocolate covered bananas.

The cheerful quilts are coming. I saw a definite change in the palette of some of the some of the quilts. There were a few really bright quilts, a number of pastels and fewer in the brown range.

Oak Hall, which normally houses the Home Arts (including the quilts) was closed and they were using a huge tent. Not an ideal situation, but Julie Curry, the Home Arts building director did a great job hanging the quilts. I would have liked to have had more room to take photos and a little more light, but at least the quilts were not 30 feet up on the wall.

I hope to see some of the quilts at PIQF so I can get better photos.

PICT2183 San Mateo County Fair 2008

A selection of things from the set

PICT2183 PICT2045 PICT2046 PICT2047 PICT2048

This quilt was my favorite quilt. I liked the black on white print that the maker used for the background. I liked that s/he used a lot of different prints as well. I also LOVED the blue circle. That detail is genius. I think it makes the pink stand out even more, but takes off the sweetness edge.

S/he did this in hand applique

Nice border as well.

San Mateo County Fair 2007

We spent the day at the San Mateo County Fair yesterday. The Fair, in general, seems to get smaller and smaller every year, but they still had a great selection of quilts and other needlearts. I wish more people would take the time to enter one thing.

I attend county fairs for many reasons. I really enjoy it being a coming together of things that people in the county make/participate in. We spent quite a bit of time looking at the bee hive and talking to a beekeeper. The cut flowers and plants were also amazing. My two favorite things are the quilts and frozen bananas. I thought the frozen bananas had gone the way of the dinosaurs after I checked every food vendor and none had them. I finally found them hidden in the ‘international’ area. I never knew milkshakes and frozen bananas were considered foreign food. Oh well, you learn something new every day!

As you may remember, I entered Thoughts on Dots into the fair. It didn’t get a prize, but I was pleased with how it was displayed. I was happy that there were no Sunbonnet Sue stuffed dolls in front of it and it wasn’t folded over anything. You can really see the whole quilt.
I was also REALLY pleased with how flat it hangs (no ripples!) and how well the sleeve looks. No lumps!

While I like, what St. JCN calls, the San Mateo Dotty better, this quilt reminds me of it. I know they are very different, but there is something about it that brought the SMD to mind.

This is a close up and I really like the flower motifs for the quilting.
These were fun! They are crocheted cupcakes.
Detail shots. Do you like the “sprinkles?”
This quilt was tied and didn’t hang very well, but I loved the tree in the middle. That drawing was very well done.

Detail of the tree.

The complete group of photos, unaltered and BIG are here as well as few other needlearts items that struck my fancy.

San Mateo County Fair Yesterday

I love county fairs and wish that more people would enter their work. It is not a “highbrow” art organization, but everyone’s art and every entry is welcome. I also wish people would attend more county fairs.

It is great to see the wonderful and unusual items that people make and enter. It is great to see what people are doing in their homes: what they are collecting, the types of Lego and K’Nex constructions they build, the photos they take, the cakes they bake, the jams they cook and table settings they concoct, etc. I think county fairs are such a community event. You can really see stuff by your neighbors…. if more people would enter and attend.

That said, I have to admit that I didn’t enter something this year. I have done every year for the past several years and I just didn’t have (make??) the time this year. I will for sure next year. It is expensive to attend the fair ($32 for admission and parking), so getting the free tickets and parking passes from entering an exhibit is really worth it.

The boys were really interested in the Junior exhibits. They all reviewed all the Lego and K’Nex constructs very carefully and swore to build something for next year’s fair. We’ll see.

I, of course, went to the see the quilts. There were quite a number of them. I was, however, shocked at the California Living Building and the displays. There were no banners hanging outside. The building has been redone. It is not as light inside as it used to be. In previous years, quilts had been hung high up on the walls -near the ceiling, which made them hard to photograph, but made the building seem very cheerful. This year most of the quilts, even the prize winning quilts, were hung low and draped over something else or hung on racks very close together. At first I thought there weren’t very many quilts, but in the back of the hall I found quite a few, once I looked at the racks. There were some very nice quilts, especially a couple of star quilts that were amazingly intricate.