Judges faced tough task during IPM quilt block raffle challenge

The theme of the International Plowing Match’s (IPM) quilt block raffle challenge was “Thirty Shades of Green” and quilters from across the province certainly came through.

The 80 blocks submitted were on display at the Teviotdale OPP station on Dec. 4 and the table was a sea of every shade of green imaginable.

Judges were unable to narrow the field down to just three winners, so two honourable mentions were also awarded. As a special feature, various dignitaries were also asked to choose their favourite blocks for recognition.

First place was awarded to Mary Katherine Hopkins of Guelph, whose block was a meticulously-researched depiction of Wellington County. She used both quilting and embroidery to display all the towns, rivers, lakes and forests of the county on hand-dyed fabric.

Second place was a winter scene by Nancy Winn of Waterloo, who used more than 30 shades of green in the depiction of tiny houses and embroidered trees.

Third place was a jewelled sunflower submitted by Robin Bogaert of Waterloo. She used thread painting and beads on the block and “the judges admired the intensity of the thread work on both the front and back.”

Judges Elizabeth King and Bonnie Murdoch, both of Waterloo and members of the Waterloo County Quilters’ Guild, awarded honourable mentions to blocks submitted by Anne Peters of Guelph and Judy Pearce of Kitchener, who  submitted well-designed pastoral scenes using contemporary quilting approaches.

IPM 2016 chairs Ron Faulkner and Walter Traschel, along with Minto Mayor and Wellington County Warden George Bridge, host farmers Anne and Earl Schneider, and Wellington County Queen of the Furrow Allison Witzel of Mapleton also chose their favourite quilt blocks.

Faulkner chose one made by Mary Townsend of RR4, Arthur featuring a tan coloured, ultra suede depiction of a walking plow in the centre of the block. He said he well remembered using one of those plows. Traschel picked a block entered by Judy Eckhardt of Elora, who grew up in Gordonville.

Bridge chose a block depicting a rooster, made by Brigitte Dimock of Puslinch, while host farmers Anne and Earl Schneider selected a block submitted by Pat Hooker of Mount Forest that depicted a farmer looking out at a beaded autumn farm scene.

Witzel chose a sunflower block submitted by Betty Henry of Harriston.

Renske Helmuth, chair of the IPM quilt committee, said the 80 quilt blocks submitted will be made into a quilt and a wall hanging, both of which will become prizes for the annual raffle fundraiser.

She explained this year’s quilt block challenge was different than in years past. Quilters were asked to submit small, fully-quilted blocks on the theme “Thirty Shades of Green.”

Raffle ticket sales will begin in January.

The raffle quilts will be displayed at “The Fresh Taste of Quilting” quilt show and competition at the Harriston Curling Club on Aug. 19 and 20. The show will feature entries in 11 different categories, including  “A Fresh Taste of Quilting” themed wall quilt and group quilt, miniatures, baby quilts and a youth category for quilters under 16.

The quilts will be judged in August in accordance with Canadian Quilters’ Association standards, with $4,200 available in prize money. The show will also feature a merchant mall, tea room and viewers’ choice.

The 2016 IPM is being hosted by Wellington County near Harriston from Sept. 20 to 24.

It is the largest event of its kind in North America, with over 600 exhibits, daily shows, plowing competitions and food, and is expected to attract well over 75,000 people.