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EAA AirVenture Quilt Block Contest

2009 Quilt Block Contest Winners

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First Place Winner
Name: Karen Davisson, Edgewood, NM
Title: Louise Thaden, Pioneer of the Air

Story: On August 27, 1929, Louise Thaden made history as the winner of the first Women's Air Derby, beating out well-known names such as Amelia Earhart and Pancho Barnes. The transcontinental race started in Santa Monica, California on August 18, and ended nine days and more than 2,800 miles later in Cleveland, Ohio. Dubbed the Powder Puff Derby by humorist Will Rogers, it was this race that changed forever the view that women were too delicate to withstand the rigors of flying. Thaden set many flying records during the course of her life in addition to co-founding the 99s with her friend and colleague, Amelia Earhart.

In this quilt block, Thaden's plane soars over the Fields and Furrows of the Log Cabin pattern. I used this pattern in an effort to represent the hundreds of miles of farmland that the women in the race would have flown over while navigating their way to Ohio. As a pattern that is associated with the American Pioneer, it is a fitting tribute to Thaden and all of the pioneering women of aviation.

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Second Place Winner
Name: Elli Wollangk, Oshkosh, WI
Title: Avitor Hermes, Jr.

Story: On July 2, 1869, the 1,360 cubic foot Avitor Hermes, Jr., was tested under power just south of San Francisco. The airship was powered by a steam engine inside the belly which drove two two-bladed propellers, each mounted within one of two flat wings. At 37 feet in length and 14 feet in width it was designed as a test version for a future passenger-carrying airship. The test flight reached a speed of 5-6 m.p.h. Frederic Marriott, the designer/builder, had proven flight capable for a heavier-than-air airship. The Avitor weighed 84 pounds when not inflated and between 4 and 10 pounds when inflated. Marriott, who emigrated from England in 1850, is also credited with being the first person to describe the entire machine as an "aeroplane."

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Third Place Winner
Name: Jeanie Eatherton, Piedmont, SD
Title: B/W + 1: Learn to Fly Here

Story: In designing my quilt block, I chose to include a current trend in quilting, the "Black and White Plus One" theme. The black and white represent the many books, maps, charts and other documents that are required reading when learning to fly. Even after ratings have been acquired, pilots still spend many hours reading, charting and filing flight plans before they climb into their aircraft and fly into the blue sky.

The Airport Diagram represents the airfield as seen from the sky, and it is also one of the main black and white charts/maps that pilots use in their flight preparations.

The airplane depicted in this block is a Piper J3 Cub, the type of aircraft my husband owned when we first began dating. As a pilot's wife, I consider it especially romantic that my "fiancé" sold his J3 Cub and bought an engagement ring.

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Fourth Place Winner
Name: Patricia Massimini, McLean, VA
Title: Weltflug 1929: Around the World in the Graf Zeppelin

Story: This quilt block commemorates the around-the-world flight of the German rigid airship Graf Zeppelin in 1929. The historic event was sponsored by American newspaper icon William Randolph Hearst. The Graf departed Lakehurst, NJ on August 8; flew by the Statue of Liberty; and then continued non-stop to Friedrichshafen, Germany. The next flight was the longest, from Friedrichshafen to Tokyo, Japan, a distance of almost 7,000 miles. The third flight was from Tokyo to Los Angeles via the Golden Gate Bridge, and was the first crossing of the Pacific by an airship. On the final flight back to Lakehurst, the Graf flew over much of the U.S., including near Oshkosh, Wisconsin. The Weltflug (literally, "world flight") was completed on August 29, 1929 when the Graf returned to the Statue of Liberty.

The 21-day Weltflug stands out as one of the most amazing aviation feats of all time. The Graf carried passengers in a luxury setting, rarely flying above 3,000 feet or 75 mph. It encountered severe weather, navigation challenges, long flights over hostile, deserted terrain, and two oceans. No other powered, lighter-than-air airship has ever, to this day, repeated an around-the-world flight.

The historic Graf Zeppelin is depicted in original embroidery and trapunto on a classic Trip Around the World patchwork background. The globe is shown in embroidery, depicting the Graf on its last leg across the U.S.

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Fifth Place Winner
Name: Vicky Murphy, San Bruno, CA
Title: Harriet Quimby

Story: In 1911, Harriett Quimby (1875-1912) became America's first licensed female pilot. She went on exhibition in the US and Mexico wearing a wool-backed plum-colored flying suit of her own design and a scarf which trailed behind her to show that a woman was at the controls. On April 16, 1912 she was the first woman to fly solo across the English Channel. Only three months later at age 37, Harriet's eleven month aviation career came to a tragic end. On July 1, 1912, while on an exhibition flight at Squantum, MA, her airplane unexpectedly pitched forward, ejecting Harriet and her passenger; neither wore seat belts at the time of the accident.

Harriet never married or had children, and was a woman ahead of her time. Prior to becoming an aviatrix, she was a journalist and photographer. Amelia Earhart was inspired by Harriet Quimby, for Harriet was a true pioneer who helped break down stereotypes about women's roles in society, and who made it possible for them to achieve aviation careers.

The Harriet Quimby quilt block was designed by Ragi Marino, and featured in Quilters Newsletter magazine (October 1993) in the article, "Fly into the Quilt World with Airplane Blocks."

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Honorable Mention
Name: Julia Broomfield, Elgin, IL
Title: A Daughter's Quest

Story: In the spring of 1994 my husband, Donald, purchased a 1948 Navion based in California and flew it back to Illinois. During 1994 Donald received a letter from a lady who had flown in 4169K as a teenager when her father owned the aircraft. She dearly wanted to purchase 4169K but at that time he had no desire to sell. 4169K was flown every year to the EAA AirVenture fly-in until 2008 and was awarded "The Outstanding Navion" in 2004.

In 2008 it became necessary to sell this aircraft and Donald was able to reach the daughter who contacted him in 1994 and after some consideration she agreed to purchase the aircraft. The daughter and her husband came to Illinois, made the deal and Donald helped them return the aircraft to California, where it now resides in care of a loving family.

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Honorable Mention
Name: Delores Rector, Aurora, IN
Title: The Modern Aviation Family

Story: This quilt block was designed from pictures found in flight magazines. I love to embroider and was amazed at how with needle and thread the planes came alive on the fabric

My design depicts the brotherhood of aviation in the 21st century.

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Honorable Mention
Name: Julia Masters Deisinger, North Syracuse, NY
Title: Family Ties

Story: This block honors my family's long involvement with aviation and EAA. My grandfather, Bill Tiedeman, taught at Air Academy for many years. My father, Dale Masters, has been an Antique Classics volunteer long enough to need a second hat for his patches. Both my brother, Justin Masters, and my son, Jared Deisinger, have attended EAA Air Academy. The blue and gold colors represent Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, where Jared attends, and the colors of those many patches on Dad's hats. Pictured on the back is Jared in 1999, standing next to his great-grandfather's name on EAA's Memorial Wall.

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Honorable Mention
Name: Felicia A. Nievin, Ashburn, VA
Title: Flight School

Story: Knowledge is Power - Give a man a fish, you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, you feed him for a lifetime. - Education is the answer.

These sayings and other like them are woven throughout our daily lives; and yet, for whatever reason, many of us shy away from learning or trying new things. I am continually amazed at how many people are afraid of flying, despite - possibly because of - the fact that they do not understand the very basic elements of flight.

I created this quilt block as the owner of a small airplane and a person who loves to share knowledge. By identifying both the elements of an airplane as well as flight, I am attempting to provide the invitation to something bigger. I hope the viewer will look upon Flight School and ponder its message and engage in conversation to become educated on "how" we fly.

For those who do not fly, they will never understand the joys gained from soaring with the birds, dodging rain clouds, and experiencing Creation from on high. We can only hope to share our passion through education and understanding.

As the design for Flight School matured it became a family project that fostered many conversations on the elements of flight, how we fly, and the pure joy of flight. As a result, eventually more quilt blocks on topics like navigation, propulsion, and meteorology will grace our home.

To be able to successfully join this block with future blocks I decided to baste it together to allow me to easily disassemble it and integrate it into the final quilt. I serged the inner edges, blocked it, and then tacked the grid-like pattern to complete the design. I chose blue & white fabric to represent an engineer's blueprint and linen for its natural grid-like texture. Also, I learned that many years ago linen was used for blueprints. However, due to fabric limitations, it was short-lived.

The ideas for the images on Flight School came from the numerous flying books in our home library, particularly "The Little Airplane" by Lois Lenski.

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