Artistic expression highlighted Alabama’s diverse farm commodities during a luncheon at the Alabama Farmers Federation’s 45th annual Commodity Producers Conference and Expo in Birmingham Aug. 5.
The Federation’s Women’s Leadership Division sponsored six contests at the conference where contestants from throughout the state entered quilts and Christmas tree skirts spotlighting Alabama’s top row crop — cotton. A tablescapes contest showcased all commodities produced in the state.
“I love to quilt,” said Anne Yancey Barrett of DeKalb County, the first-place winner of the hand-stitched quilt contest. “My quilt pattern is a ‘Dear Jane,’ which is named after the original pattern maker and has more than 5,600 pieces.”
Barrett, who has won the Federation’s hand-stitched quilting contest multiple times, said this year’s entry took about two years to make. She also placed third in this year’s machine-stitched quilt contest and won a custom Christmas door hanger as the People’s Choice Award for her Christmas tree skirt entry.
Martha Jordan of Monroe County won second in the hand-stitched quilt contest, and Elaine Bozeman of Crenshaw placed third.
Jean Vaughn of Etowah County won first place in the machine-stitched quilt contest, and Wilcox County’s Betty Gaines Kennedy was second.
Comfy, cute quilts for babies also drew several contest entries. Randolph County’s Stella Edwards won first place in the baby quilt contest, St. Clair County’s Loretta Morgan won second place, and Tuscaloosa County’s Evelyn Thomas was third.
While Christmas is months away, the holiday was on the minds of many contestants who entered the Christmas tree skirt-making contest.
St. Clair County’s Melanie Connell won first place in that contest. Cullman County’s Lydia Haynes won second place, and Etowah County’s Jean Vaughn was third.
The youth Christmas tree skirt contest, open to youngsters 7-12 years old, was won by Etowah County’s Sarah Oden. Lamar County’s Abigail Crosby placed second, and St. Clair County’s Madison Cole was third.
A wildlife-themed place setting design by Russell County’s Jeanne Lowery won first place in the tablescapes contest.
Lowery said her family loves the outdoors so it was only fitting she use natural elements like deer horns, turkey feathers and a quail figurine to accent her table.
“We love hunting and fishing and just being close to nature,” she said. “We have lots of deer, turkey, quail and all kinds of wildlife in Russell County, so this really does represent what our county has.”
Jefferson County’s Joann Wissinger placed second in tablescapes, and Randolph County’s Janie Danner won third.
The tablescapes contest promotes Alabama commodities used in place settings to accent dining tables.
Federation Women’s Leadership Division Director Kim Ramsey said this year’s contest was challenging for judges who were amazed at all the beautiful entries.
“Alabama commodities were well represented this year,” Ramsey said. “From cotton to dairy and poultry to wildlife, the table settings were creative and beautiful.”
First-place winners in each category won $150. Second place received $100, and third won $75.