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Nice Handiwork

Clarke’s tablecloth draws ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’

It took Paula Clarke, of rural Verona, a few months of evening work to complete her embroidered linen tablecloth with matching napkins that she submitted to this year’s Grundy County Corn Festival Hobby and Handicraft Show.

It was a hit with the hundreds of viewers who filed past during the exhibit’s two days, who could tell the careful handiwork that went into the detailed purple flowers, green leaves and vinery and golden accents.

Clarke’s submission won her Best of Class, Adult Female and also more than her share of “ooohs and aaaahs.”

“I was very excited,” Clarke said of learning of her award. “I didn’t expect it at all. It was the first time I entered. We only moved here last year.”

Clarke said she enjoyed her first Corn Festival and admired the many fine submissions to the Hobby and Handicraft Show. She does more cross stitch and knitting than embroidery, she said, but she made the tablecloth and napkin pieces that will surely become heirloom pieces for her parents’ golden anniversary.

Jim Coonan took Best of Show in Hobby and Handicraft for his dual-toned wooden swivel chair. He also won the show last year for a similar rocking chair.

This one, it is said, is an exact replica of the chair Thomas Jefferson sat in when he signed the Declaration of Independence. Some of the pieces were hand-carved, such as the seat, while the legs and back spindles were machine-crafted.

Madison Pickles, of Gardner, won a first place in the youth category for her crocheted ribbon necklaces, both beautiful and as light as air. Show volunteer Mary Lee Howard said she was impressed by the degree of difficulty in the pieces.

The several quilts displayed in the show also drew quite a lot of attention, as they always do. The designs ran the gamut from abstracts with prism colors to country apples, an American flag, seashells and the seashore, and Channahon quilter Carol Davidson’s small quilt of a fairy tale knight fighting a dragon at a castle.

There were crocheted and knitted hats, scarves, blankets and clothing. A pair of tall, dark brown leather cowboy boots made into lamps took first place in their category, made by Gerald Matteson, of Morris.

There were scrapbook pages, a model submarine, and a large stained glass lighthouse. Rick Roberts, of Morris, took first place in his category for a smoothly crafted woodworking piece of a peaceful church with steeple.

And Gail Peterson, of Morris, turned “three ugly shirts” into a collection of stylish pillows to garner first place in that category.

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