Held in conjunction with “What the Hay” and located midway between Windham and Hobson, is the Utica Day Fair sponsored by the Utica Women’s Club. This affair provides a wonderful festival-like atmosphere in rustic Utica and is held on the comfortable, well-maintained lawns of the Utica Clubhouse. It features a wide variety of exhibits and booths which offer creative home-made crafts, gifts, arts and food favorites like hamburgers, hot dogs and ice cream. Particularly prized are the sinfully delicious slices of homemade pies made by members of the Utica Women’s Club and the Hobson Women’s Club.
The highlight of the Utica Day Fair is the presentation of a unique, hand-embroidered quilt that is awarded to the winning raffle ticket holder at the end of the day. Proceeds from the Fair are used to provide scholarships for Hobson High School students and to sponsor community activities such as wedding showers, funeral dinners, Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners, and a long-standing cribbage tournament. Another “must see” on the Montana Bale Trail.
For further information contact Kathy at 423-5321 or Darlene (for vendors) at 423-5542
The Utica Women’s Club tradition of putting together a quilt for their Utica Day Fair raffle isn’t a short term endeavor. It begins during the slow time of the year with short days and long evenings. This year is no exception. The idea of a butterfly quilt was voted on early in the year, but having seen some work done with color crayons and embroidery, we wanted to head in that direction, but needed guidance.
Local artist and quilter, Lois Hajenga, demonstrated this technique using only one brand of crayon. We were admonished to keep it delicate with our embroidery - sometimes using one strand of machine thread instead of floss. The results are astounding due to her tutoring.
Masterpiece Quilt By Carol Campbell
The blocks were transferred to our light green background fabric and fused to the shiny side of freezer paper for stability. Then we were given four color crayons to work with, everyone using the same four. These were the four colors - yellow, green, green blue, blue and burgundy - however on this background they came out a little different. We found if you didn’t like your colors, you could go over them again and change the whole scheme. It really was exciting. They were then pressed with a paper towel over the block to absorb the wax from the crayon and set the color. Changes could be made until you were satisfied. It was an amazing experience.
Next the blocks were fused to a lightweight interfacing (after you removed the freezer paper) and the process of hand embroidering began. There were thirty blocks to do and although everyone had enjoyed the coloring - only seven or eight actually did the handwork. It seemed like it took forever. Once all of the blocks were completed, several workdays were held to put it together.
It went to our quilter, Laura Finkbeiner, and she put a lot of work into making our butterflies pop out at you. Her quilting made our beautiful quilt just outstanding. The blocks were filled with quilting blending into the background resembling the tiny blossoms in the embroidery around the butterfly. On the border she quilted a larger version of these blossoms and then with her variegated thread, that matched the colors in the blocks, went over it a second time making little butterflies. It is a piece of art - both the blocks and the awesome quilting. What a treat for your eyes.
The quilt appeared at the Central Montana Fair and will be shown for the next month at the Quilted Heart in Chokecherry Lane in Lewistown, where there are tickets for our Utica Day raffle. The ladies of the Utica club all have tickets they’d be willing to sell. In addition, Nancy’s Country Market, Hill Oil, and Hobson Insurance in Hobson can provide a ticket or two if you’d like. The raffle booth on Utica Day, September 11, 2011, will give you another chance to win this piece of art. There will be other handmade items in the raffle, made by our members and others in the community. The drawing will be at 4:30 and you do not need to be present to win - but we’d like to have you there! September 11th, 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. Utica Clubhouse lawn.
Label on the quilt is dedicated to Barbara Twiford, a long time member of the Utica Women’s Club. She loved to embroider. Barbara passed away during the construction of this masterpiece quilt.
In January while the cold winds were blowing the members of the Utica Women’s Club began their yearly tradition. It was time to choose a pattern for the 2010 Utica Day Fair Raffle Quilt. Over the years, they have experimented with several patterns, but the last few years they have gravitated toward those patterns requiring embroidery. The pattern they chose this year was called “Berry Picking Party”.
To execute this, it was necessary to trace the pattern onto the required size of fabric. This pattern has no two pieces the same size. Once they had their pattern traced- a piece of lightweight fusible interfacing was applied to the back. This makes a nice firm piece to hold the embroidery. Each lady was given the red threads to use since each block contained something to do with berries - mostly raspberries and strawberries. From there on she was on her own with thread color choice. It resulted in very individual blocks. In all there were eleven different blocks.
The next step was to create eleven pieced basket blocks to go in between the embroidered ones. A few small squares usurped the remaining space and a colorful scrappy quilt was put together.
Then came the sandwiching with the batting and backing and finally the quilting. We were so lucky to have an artist be available to do the quilting. Laura Finkbeiner of Grass Range took our quilt to her new quilting machine and created a work of art. She made our picture frames around the block look like it was wood grain. After she had done an outline around each embroidered design, she crosshatched the remainder of the background directing your eyes to the large center block. On the pieced basket blocks she made little lacey handles with her quilting. The reason for that came from the worked blocks since most of them had lacey doilies in them. Such a fun quilt! It isn’t particularly large at 67” x 76”, so it would look great on a wall, as a throw or just to snuggle under.
The ladies of Utica will be showing it off at the Central Montana Fair next week and following that it will be at the Quilted Heart of Montana in Lewistown. The raffle itself will be on September 12, at 4:30pm at the Utica Day Fair on the grounds of the Utica Women’s Clubhouse.
The club members support many efforts in the community in addition to maintaining and hopefully improving our log clubhouse so it can continue to be used for many functions. The club has been around since 1910 and enjoying their own little building since 1953. Your purchases of our tickets aid in all of our good works.