By Michael Brandt
For the Courier 

County 4-H Preps for Fair


With the Northeast Montana Fair only two and a half weeks away, Valley County 4-H members are busy preparing their projects that they will be entering. Some are busy with their market animals, while others are busy baking. For some other members, they are working on their sewing projects.

The members that are entering their sewing projects took in the Sewing Camp held June 20 at the Opheim High School. Eighteen 4-Hers participated in the camp, along with five leaders and three instructors. The members brought their own sewing machines, thread and fabric. The camp, which is in it’s second year, was hosted by the Northern Lights and Four-Leaf Clover 4-H clubs. Three sisters, Paulette Knaff, Donette Johnson and Lynnette Nelson, all former Northern Lights 4-H members, wanted to share their sewing ideas with other 4-H members.

“The 4-H clubs oversee an activity or an event,” said Knaff. “We were former 4-H members and we just decided to get together and come up with something that would be fun to do. We came up with this and put it all together. The kids come and sew for the day and hopefully they have something at the end that they can use in their home and enter it into the fair as a project that they completed for their sewing.”

The three ladies also had help from some of the mothers, which was very helpful for the three instructors. “Otherwise we would be running around like crazy people,” said Knaff. “It’s really nice when they join in."

“We already have plans for next year,” added Johnson.

The instructors wanted the kids to have a few tricks or ideas for what they were sewing and to have something they would be proud to display at the fair and in their home. “ [We want] to keep their interest in sewing. It’s something they can use their whole life,” said Johnson. “There are some kids that aren’t in sewing and now have their interest peaked and maybe [will be] in sewing next year. We find a lot of joy in sewing and sewing together and you can do it until you’re very,very old.”

“Sewing is one of the skills that you can find a need for. It’s a skill that they can use forever,” said Nelson.

“This year we had them bring their own machine so that they are familiar with it. They learned how to iron or press, how to sew a straight line, how to measure and keep their seem straight,” added Johnson. “And it’s fun.”

Kate Parks, a four-year member of the Jackalopes 4-H club, made a table runner, but she didn’t like how it looked so she had to start over. She had her mother, Kellie, helping her. “We didn’t like it at first so we are doing it over,” said Kate. “We had to rip out all of the seams.” This is Kate’s third year working with sewing. She has made handbags, quilts and little things.

Mandy Fuhrmann has only been sewing for less than a year, so this was a learning experience for the Four-Leaf Clover 4-H member. “It’s fun. I like it,” said Fuhrmann, who will also enter a market beef and lamb. “I was scared of messing up when I was cutting the material, but it’s fun.” Fuhrmann did finish a blanket, which will be entered in the fair along with her other project that she was making.

“It was fun for me at the fair because I went into the 4-H building and found five of the lap blankets that all got blue ribbons. It was so rewarding to see them,” said Johnson. Brooke Westby was one of the new sewers that was making a table runner. She is busy at this time of year as well. The nine-year Northern Lights 4-H club member will be entering a market beef, lamb, breeding sheep and a three-year-old colt.


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