Lambert earns ribbons at State Fair

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, November 16, 2004

MURFREESBORO – When Julie Lambert began quilting six years ago, she never knew her talents would win her the recognition she received at the North Carolina State Fair last month when she entered one of her creations in the competition.

Lambert won a purple ribbon for &uot;Best of Show&uot; in the Home Furnishings category for an intricate hand-crocheted bedspread she submitted, which is the highest possible recognition to be awarded under the crocheting and knitting section.

&uot;I couldn’t believe it,&uot; she said. &uot;This was only my second time competing at the fair, so I was very surprised.&uot;

The Home Furnishings class, which is comprised of four artistic sections including quilting, needlepoint & cross stitch, crochet & knitting and weaving, offers participants the opportunity to take home one of the 12 blue ribbons designated for each section or the coveted purple ribbon, a special award signifying the most superior entry.

In her 2003 debut at the fair, Lambert brought home a blue ribbon for a hand-sewn patchwork quilt she designed herself.

&uot;I was told that most people win ribbons in their 80’s, but I’m only in my 50’s, so when I found out that I won, I was very excited,&uot; she said. &uot;I thought maybe it was beginner’s luck.&uot;

But, after six years of practice in quilting and a lifetime of discipleship and training in the Chinese art of crocheting, Lambert is no stranger to creativity.

&uot;I like to challenge myself to do things I don’t think I can do,&uot; she said. &uot;Crocheting is very big in Chinese culture, so I learned how to crochet at a very early age, but quilting is a Western art that I picked up along the way.&uot;

As she walked through her home, clad with marvelous hand-made designs, giant wall hangings and custom framed quilts, Lambert confided that most of her projects take her between six months to a year to complete.

&uot;It really depends on the design, but when I’m working on a project I usually set aside about two hours each day to concentrate on it,&uot; she said.

Yet despite her natural talent, Lambert attributed her knowledge of quilting to a class she took several years ago.

&uot;Ninety percent of what I learned about quilting, I learned at a class offered through the Hertford County Office of Aging and the other 10 percent I learned through research on line,&uot; she said. &uot;I find that I can print some great patterns directly from the internet, but a lot of the time I enjoy making my own.&uot;

This September, Lambert hosted a Collector’s Forum at her Murfreesboro residence where she gave nearly 60 admirers a tour of her home and shared her most breathtaking work.

In a thank you letter from the Murfreesboro Historical Association regarding the forum, Carole Farnham, Site Manager of the Roberts-Vaughn House and member of the Murfreesboro Women’s Club, stated, &uot;Everyone was so impressed with (her) work…we are especially grateful to (Julie and) we feel very fortunate to have such a talented and generous person in our community.&uot;

Lambert has also been known to bless others with her unique creations and recently donated a custom-made hand sewn patchwork quilt to Murfreesboro United Methodist Church to commemorate their bicentennial celebration.

&uot;Each patch took me about 40 minutes to stitch by hand,&uot; she said, &uot;but I find great joy in donating my work for others to enjoy.&uot;

Lambert said her family has already laid claim to some of her exquisite pieces.

&uot;I have many nieces and nephews that have already told me which ones they want,&uot; she said laughing.

Although Lambert wasn’t aware of this fact when she first entered the contest, she was intrigued to learn that Hertford County was rated number one for quality quilting in the state.

&uot;According to the Hertford County 4-H Extension Office, the county is known for its quilters,&uot; she said, extending gratitude to the agency for the help they provided in transporting the crafts to Raleigh. &uot;We would not have been able to do it without their assistance because it takes about three hours to get to Raleigh from here, not to mention the time it takes to set up for the event.&uot;

Melanie Chevalier, Secretary for Family Consumer Science and Agriculture at the Hertford County Extension Office who physically transported Lambert’s award-winning bedspread, expressed honor at delivering the work of art to the fairgrounds and referred to her work as &uot;absolutely beautiful&uot;.

&uot;Quilting is a dying art,&uot; said Lambert who explained that only 10 percent of quilters actually quilt by hand. &uot;Next year, I think I’ll enter one of my needlepoint pieces.&uot;

As a result of her winning recognition at the state fair, Lambert received a $60 financial gift. She has also donated quilts to Elizabeth Sewell Parker Memorial Library and the Watermelon Festival among other beneficiaries.