Home-schoolers Rachel Rizzuto and Haly Hendricks are literally and figuratively stitching up projects for the Harvey County Fair, which starts Aug. 1.
The teens are members of East Lake 4-H Club. Both seem to enjoy 4-H, and the friends have a variety of projects they?ve been working on for the fair?including sewing.
?I like that they make you try new things,? 17-year-old Rizzuto said about 4-H. ?It?s going to be new to you. I?m glad they keep the old skills (like weaving). They let us try to learn and experiment with things.?
Hendricks, 16, had her own reasons for liking 4-H.
?I like that it forces you to go farther in projects than you would,? she said. ?It makes you go farther and try harder things than we would overwise do.?
Hendricks, who is in her 10th year in 4-H, believes some of the skills they learn in 4-H are going by the wayside.
?A lot of that stuff is a dying art?even cooking,? she said. ?People don?t cook that much anymore.?
Hendricks also said 4-H gives her an incentive to do better on her projects. During the fair, 4-H projects are judged and given ribbons. There also are open-classes, where anyone can enter?they don?t have to be in 4-H.
?It makes you do your best because you know the judge is looking for the very best, and so I give my best because that?s what?s expected,? Hendricks said.
While many 4-Hers enter bucket calf and other animal projects, Hendricks and Rizzuto have opted to learn about other matters.
In addition to sewing, Hendricks? projects this year include weaving, arts and crafts, foods, clothing buymanship, and leadership.
Last year, Hendricks received a champion ribbon for her purple and yellow placemat weavings at the county fair and a purple for them at the state fair.
Rizzuto?s projects this year are arts and crafts, fiber arts, which includes knitting, crocheting and weaving, and sewing. Rizzuto said the sewing project can be anything sewn.
?I?ve been sewing pillowcases for this year,? Rizzuto said.
She also made a white button-down blouse, wool skirt and a pillow. With the pillow, she used a ruffle foot, and the ruffles go diagonally on the front of the pillow. She also made a dress with flouncing on it for her cousin Kylie.
?It was a lot of fun,? Rizzuto said.
In the realm of sewing, Rizzuto took a quilt piecing sampler class last fall at Stitches Quilt Shop in McPherson. She made the lap-size quilt top last fall and plans to enter it in the 2015 Harvey County Fair.
For the quilt, she used nine patches, 16-patch and a Split Rail design. She used fabric triangles to set the squares on point, and she also learned how to miter corners.
Results are in
As judging for clothing and sewing has taken place for the 2014 fair already, the girls know what ribbons they?ve earned. Hendricks received a blue ribbon for the white shirt she made; purple and champion awards for a blouse; reserve champion for modeling an outfit; a purple on a pillowcase; and two blues on two buymanship outfits she modeled.
In buymanship, 4-Hers buy outfits and accessorize them.
Rizzuto was given a blue ribbon on construction and modeling of the dress she made for her cousin, who also modeled it; purples on two pillowcases; and a purple on her pillow.
Rizzuto, who has been sewing for six years, said sewing is her favorite project because she really wants to learn how to make most of her wardrobe because it?s difficult to find clothes that fit.
Hendricks? favorite project is cooking.
?I?m gonna make a pie this year,? she said. ?I really enjoy cooking at home.?
She said she?ll probably make cherry pie and has been practicing on making piecrusts. One fell apart when she put it in the pie pan, as the crust dough wouldn?t release from the wax paper.
During a previous fair, Hendricks received a blue ribbon on an angel food cake.
?It rained the whole week of the fair,? Hendricks said. ?Angel food cakes don?t like humidity.?
Susan Jackson, Harvey County Extension agent, family and consumer sciences and community development, hopes 4-Hers in cooking learn about nutrition.
?Hopefully, they learn about nutrition along the way,? she said. ?Even if they select food from a restaurant, they?ll select healthy choices. Yes, I think it?s important for them to put together a healthy meal. We get hungry three times a day.?
With Rizzuto?s favorite project, sewing, she said she?s taken it one step at a time and started by learning stitches on the machine, including embroidery, decorative stitches.
Rizzuto and Hendricks have spent at least part of the summer learning ? learning about sewing clothes when they attended Sew Camp July 1-3 at the K-State campus in Salina.
?They taught us how to make a white button-up blouse, and we learned how to work with wool,? she said.
They also learned about fusible and non-fusible interfacing, and which was the best. Interfacing is used to slightly stiffen fabric, as in the case of a collar.
The girls also were taught three hemstitches.
?And then we also made T-shirt dresses for girls in Africa,? Hendricks said.
When they arrived at camp, they hit the ground running.
?We got there in the evening, and then we immediately started cutting out the pattern,? Hendricks said.
The patterns were adjusted to fit the girls. Camp activities mostly consisted of cutting, sewing, eating and sleeping. At one point, Hendricks laid her head on a sewing machine because she was worn out.
About 20 girls from all over Kansas attended; no boys were there.
?It was kinda interesting because all of the girls were at different stages of sewing,? Hendricks said.
Hendricks liked the wool project at camp.
?The wool project was interesting,? she said. ?I never really thought of sewing with wool because I thought it would be scratchy and hard to sew. It was really easy to sew ? even easier than cotton. And, it?s really soft. It gave me confidence to sew with wool.?
Rizzuto enjoyed another part of camp.
?Putting together the blouse,? she said. ?I?ve never put together that many pieces before. The collar went in easier the second day. I had to do that twice.?
Hendricks did the white blouse buttonholes at home, cutting them with a razor blade so she could be very precise.
Arts and crafts
In her arts and crafts project, Hendricks made two clay bowls she threw on a wheel at Clayworks Gallery in Newton. She also learned how to wheat weave at an Uncle Carl?s Camp offered by Kauffman Museum in North Newton.
Hendricks also plans to enter a place setting in a Chinese them, she made a duct tape pouch and was crocheting a VHS tape into a pouch.
?It?s a good way to recycle,? she said. ?Then the pouch turns shimmery because the tape is shimmery.?
Rizzuto?s arts and crafts projects include a fruit bowl and a knitted scarf made from sashay yarn. She?ll also enter a place setting with a 1700s China set theme.
Another of Rizzuto?s projects is the home environment project, which can include anything a 4-Her does to improve his or her home. In Rizzuto?s case, she made thrifty curtains out of sheets. She?ll have to explain to the judge how the colors fit into the color scheme of the room.
?It was all a lot of fun,? Rizzuto said.
What also might be fun to the girls is getting exposed in 4-H to things or activities that aren?t a part of their everyday lives. In horticulture, for example, Hendricks said she learned how to identify plants and how to tell what they need. If they?re yellow, they learned what to give them.
Two years ago, the horticulture team of which Hendricks was a member won state and then went on to nationals in Wisconsin. She was able to meet 4-Hers from all over the country, she said.
?You already have a common bond because you?re all in 4-H,? Hendricks said. ?That?s a neat experience I wouldn?t have had if I weren?t in 4-H.?
Photos and Story by?Wendy Nugent