- Associated Press - Saturday, September 26, 2015

FORT GAY, W.Va. (AP) - When lifelong Fort Gay resident Dorothy Stewart isn’t teaching people how to can vegetables or grow the perfect tomato, working in her garden or at the Wayne County Farmer’s Market, she’s crocheting.

In fact, you can call her the best crocheter in the state.

Stewart took home the top prizes at the West Virginia State Fair for two years in a row for her crochet tablecloths, winning first place, best in show and best of the best.

With her 2015 creation, Stewart was able to support a cause dear to her heart after it sold at auction for $1,100, which created two agricultural scholarships from the West Virginia Conservation Agency Guyan District, of which Stewart is a member.

“We live on a farm, and I was always a farm girl myself,” Stewart said of why agricultural education was important to her. “My husband and I are just really concerned about food supply and changing things that are happening like global warming. Then survival. These kids don’t know how to garden, they don’t know anything … “



She said she entered in 2014 for the first time after winning at the Wayne County Fair. She said she figured she could win again, so she entered this year.

“When I went to the fair to check it out, they had a first-place ribbon on there and I thought ‘Well, somebody beat me out. I wonder who,’” she said. “I was looking all around for the big ribbons, and I couldn’t find it. So I went and asked the girl who won best of show and best of the best. She said ‘I’ll just have to show you. We ran out of ribbons to put on everything this year.’ And she took me over to my tablecloth. And I went ‘Yes!’ It’s always fun to win.”

Stewart’s mother taught her how to crochet when she was five.

“She had the patience of a saint,” she said. “When I was so frustrated and my thread was tangled, she would calm me down and set me straight, and I’d be back at it again. You make a lot of mistakes when you are learning stuff like that.”

She said she still makes mistakes today, sometimes having to unravel 20 hours worth of work.

“My husband says ‘I’d throw that thing away! I wouldn’t miss my time,’” she said. “I just pretend I never got that far. Because each round fits in another round, and if it’s wrong it just won’t fit together. It has to be done right. If you keep plugging at it, you’ll get it done.”

Her creations take her all year to finish, but it’s what she loves to do in her spare time. She calls it her therapy.

“It keeps your mind active because you have to concentrate on it because you have to count every stitch in it,” Stewart said. “That’s what gets your design. You do so many stitches, then add it together to make a little pattern. So you have to count every one.”

Stewart is working on a king-size bedspread for next year’s fair. She also said she’s thinking about entering in some of her canned foods.

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Information from: The Herald-Dispatch, https://www.herald-dispatch.com

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