August 29, 2013
First-place winners in the State Sewing, Quilting and Tablescapes Contests are, from left, Melanie Stokley of Washington County, Aprons; Victoria Balakitsis of Tuscaloosa County, Youth Aprons; Anne Barrett of DeKalb County, Hand-Stitched Quilts; Mary Burroughs of Tuscaloosa County, Machine-Stitched Quilts; Gayle White of Crenshaw County, Mini Quilts; and Laura Panneton of Talladega County, Tablescapes.
Three generations of Tuscaloosa County seamstresses stitched their way to honors at the State Sewing, Quilting and Tablescapes contests sponsored by the Alabama Farmers Federation Women’s Leadership Division. The contests were part of the Federation’s 41st Annual Commodity Producers Conference held in Birmingham Aug. 1-3.
Mary Burroughs of the Romulus community in Tuscaloosa County won first place in the Machine-Stitched Quilt Contest, while her daughter Tammy Balakitsis placed third in the Mini Quilt Contest. Tammy’s daughter, Victoria Balakitsis, won the Youth Apron Contest.
Burroughs said she wanted to quilt for years, but took up the craft only four years ago.
“I love it,” she said. “I’d quilt all the time if I could. My daughter has been quilting a little longer than me. We all enjoy it. I am so glad the Federation sponsors this. I hope it encourages more young people to get involved and learn to sew.”
Tippi Healea of Randolph County won second place in the Machine-Stitched Quilt Contest, and Regina Painter of Lauderdale County won third.
Gayle White of Crenshaw County won first place in the Mini Quilt Contest, and again, Tippi Healea of Randolph County won second, (followed by Tammy Balakitsis of Tuscaloosa County who won third).
Anne Barrett of the Grove Oak community in DeKalb County won first place in the Hand-Stitched Quilt Contest for full-size quilts. Blanche Lee Mitchell of Blount County won second, and Gayle Smith of Limestone County placed third.
Barrett, who won the state contest in 2011, said she’s been quilting since 1982. She said her winning quilt was sewn without a pattern and took 14 months to make.
Following Victoria Balakitsis’ first-place win in the Youth Apron Contest was Kristin Quick of Cullman County, who won second. Sarah Oden of Etowah County and Maggie Killen of Lauderdale County tied for third place.
Melanie Stokley of Washington County won first place in the Apron Contest for adults. Christel Dockery of Limestone County won second, and Elizabeth Saucer of Monroe County won third.
In the Tablescapes Contest, Talladega County’s Laura Panneton of Sylacauga won first place with forestry decor that included a natural wood plate charger and a glass vase filled with pine cones and greenery. Dale Gilmore of Jefferson County won second place, and Carole Clements of Lee County won third.
Winners in each contest received $150 for first place, $100 for second place and $75 for third place.
Women’s Leadership Division Director Kim Ramsey said the contests are always a popular event at the Commodity Conference.
“The contests allow Federation members to display their talents while also spotlighting commodities grown and produced across Alabama,” Ramsey said.
The Women’s Leadership Division provides an opportunity for women to actively participate in the policy-making and policy-execution activities of the Federation. For more information about the Federation’s Women’s Leadership Division, visit AlfaFarmers.org.
For conference photos, including all the winners, visit the Federation’s Facebook page.