Springfield, MO

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Quilters enter a variety of contest categories including quilts older than 50 years old, hooked rugs and quilt wall hangings.
Quilters enter a variety of contest categories including quilts older than 50 years old, hooked rugs and quilt wall hangings.

After 5: Homespun Hobbies

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I never knew there was so much a pair of hands could do with a needle and some thread.

Walking through the home arts aisle in the E-Plex at the Ozark Empire Fair, my head swayed side-to-side caught by the colors, shapes and details in the quilts, rugs and garments on display.

“There’s anything that can be done with a needle here,” says Ginnie Beaman, superintendent of the home arts department in the Family Living Exhibits.

Beaman, a closing agent and Republic office manager for Lincoln Land Title Inc., is familiar with needles and wool – she’s served as fair contest superintendent for 18 years and owns a small wool shop in Ash Grove.

The quilts steal the fair’s show due to their size and vibrant colors and patterns.
Springfieldian Sandra Sutton’s quilt is a can’t-miss item that screams color and mixes geometric shapes with floral schemes. Sutton collected first place in the quilt by senior citizen category. Springfieldian Sandy Balster’s heritage quilt is amazingly crisp and colorful, but strikingly so for a different reason. It’s more than 50 years old and won first place in that category.

For the more modern tastes, Yvonne Kelly of Springfield produced a baby quilt with a sewing machine that could very well be hanging in Babies “R” Us. The baby elephant pattern with sage green and brown is sure to attract any young mother and earned Kelly a second-place ribbon for baby quilts.

Linda Dillow of Branson completed a hooked rug with flowing branch-like images in neutral colors. She received second place in a rug category as well as a special award, which is made possible by corporate or individual sponsorships, Beaman says. Dillow’s special award is from, a seller of hand-dyed wool.

The cash awards are not in great amounts, Beaman says – $3 to $5 for the regulars and up to $25 for the specials. The participants are mostly involved as hobbyists.

“I don’t know why I do it. Can I say for fun?” she says with a smile. “The people here get to be family. It gets into your blood.”

Beaman’s hobby started at the ripe age of 5, when her grandmother taught her embroidery. At 12, she picked up crochet from another grandmother.

“My passion now is rug hooking,” says Beaman, whose T-shirt on this day pictures a sheep and reads “Primitive Rug Hookers.”

The downside to acting as home arts superintendent is that Beaman can’t enter the contests. She works with the six judges, who make their picks on the Sunday and Monday before the fair opens, and she sets up the displays each year.

That doesn’t mean Beaman isn’t using her hands and needles.

“I just started a new rug this afternoon,” she says. “It’s Santa and his sleigh.”[[In-content Ad]]


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