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The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

SE student’s quilt earns blue ribbon at State Fair

Dual+credit+student+Raelea+Hiller%E2%80%99s+%E2%80%9CA+Critter+Christmas%E2%80%9D+won+first+place+in+the+holiday+wall+hanging+category+at+the+State+Fair+of+Texas.+Another+of+her+quilts+won+a+third-place+ribbon.%0D%0APhoto+courtesy+Raelea+Hiller
Dual credit student Raelea Hiller’s “A Critter Christmas” won first place in the holiday wall hanging category at the State Fair of Texas. Another of her quilts won a third-place ribbon. Photo courtesy Raelea Hiller

By Karen Gavis/managing editor

Raelea Hiller
Photo courtesy Raelea Hiller

A 17-year-old dual credit SE student earned a blue ribbon at the State Fair of Texas for a quilt that competed against all age groups.

Raelea Hiller has been sewing since she was 9 and entered two of her quilts in this year’s fair. “A Critter Christmas,” which was placed in the holiday wall hanging division, a category open to all ages, won a blue ribbon. Another of Hiller’s entries, “Lasagna,” placed third in the juniors division. Hiller said entries are judged on attributes like quality, consistency and arrangement.

“It [sewing] was something my mother and sister knew how to do,” she said. “And I wanted to learn how to do it as well.”

When sewing, Hiller said she will sit down with a cup of coffee or tea and block everything else out.

“It is wonderful,” she said.

When she first began sewing, she would have one piece of material and her stitches were “horribly large,” she said. But now, they are neater and tighter. She decided to enter her quilts in the fair because her friend, Maggie Hartman, who also attends TCC, won a blue ribbon with one of her quilts.

Dual credit student Raelea Hiller’s “A Critter Christmas” won first place in the holiday wall hanging category at the State Fair of Texas. Another of her quilts won a third-place ribbon.
Photo courtesy Raelea Hiller

The two take sewing classes together from Lou Ann Rudeseal, who operates The Sewing Basket out of her home in Arlington. Rudeseal said quilting regained popularity in the mid-’80s, and modern tools have made the craft easier. She tries to find patterns that appeal to different age groups, she said.

Hiller said Rudeseal’s classes are small with usually three or four students at a time.

“I go to class every week. It’s usually about two hours,” she said. “It is usually my mom and I and Maggie.”

“A Critter Christmas” involved an applique technique and was constructed from a pre-planned kit Hiller bought from Rudeseal. However, the fabrics and colors for “Lasagna” she chose herself. Hiller said she pieced together the quilt tops, and Cindy Vincent sewed the layers together. Hiller does most of her work on a machine. And Vincent does long-arm quilting, which refers to the type of machine that is used, Hiller said.

Rudeseal called Hiller a quick learner who is artistic and gifted in many areas. She is also a perfectionist.

“It is just not hard to teach her,” she said.

Hiller is in English instructor Pennie Boyett’s class on SE Campus. She said Boyett learned of her win because she asked to miss class to go to the fair. Hiller wanted to go see her quilts, and it was the only day that all of her family’s schedules would accommodate.

“She [Boyett] was really curious,” Hiller said. “And she let me have a day off class.”

Hiller said what she enjoyed most about the fair was the time spent with her family.

“The rest of the fair probably wouldn’t have been fun without other people to do it with,” she said.

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