By Jen Bakken
DELANO, MN Janet Day of Delano began sewing at the young age of 6 years old while in 4-H, and admits she hasn’t stopped since.
Growing up west of Glencoe in Browntown, sewing was not only a hobby, but a necessity.
“I used feed sacks to make a lot of my own clothing back then,” Day said. “At 8 years old, my mom thought I was too young to use her sewing machine, so I sewed my first dress all by hand with French seams.”
Over the years, Day has continued to enjoy the creative part of sewing and has entered the “Make It With Wool” contests about nine times. This year she received first runner up.
The Minnesota Make It With Wool contest takes place in conjunction with the Minnesota Lamb and Wool Producers Annual Conference. This year it was conducted at the Best Western Victorian Inn in Hutchinson Dec. 6.
There were 28 entries in four age divisions this year. Categories included wearable accessory and made for others. More than 100 yards of beautiful wool fabric were used to create the garments.
“My sister and I entered the contest together this year,” she said. “I’ve always liked to use wool but it can be hard to find since some stores don’t carry wool anymore.”
Using a pattern she altered to fit, Day spent a couple weeks working on the two-piece dress and jacket. She used brown wool crepe fabric to create the plain straight, back-to-the-70s style dress. The straight jacket consists of two buttons and a rolled collar.
“At the contest they judge how you model it, how accessories are used, and the construction of the garment,” she said. “It’s fun to see a finished project.”
Day has lived in Delano with her husband, Mike Day, who is a retired Food and Drug Administration investigator, since 1960. Linda and Donavan, their two children, graduated from Delano Public Schools. Linda is a theology professor in Louisville, KY, while Donavon lives in Sacramento, CA, with his wife, Cathy, and children, Rachel and Zachary.
For two years, Day was a home economics teacher in Delano, and for many years, a substitute teacher for area school districts. The Days are long- time members of the Delano United Methodist Church.
With her beginnings in 4-H, it seems fitting that her children grew up in the organization as well.
“Marlys Wheeler and I started the Mighty Crow 4-H group,” she remembered. “We were always very involved with it.”
Mike and Janet has been married for 48 years.
“Wow, time flies,” said Mike Day. “And she can still go downstairs and disappear for hours. She’s always got something going.”
Downstairs houses more than 10 different collected sewing machines, and though they all work, Day admits to using only one of them. Along with the sewing machines, she collects thimbles and other sewing items.
Upstairs, proof of another of her hobbies, collecting crystal, shines throughout her living room.
Day admits the Make It With Wool contest was fun, but she’s glad she didn’t take first place.
“Adults who go on to nationals have to make a video,” she said, “and my brown wool just wouldn’t film well, but it is my color.”
The purpose of the Make It With Wool contest is to focus attention on the beauty and versatility of wool, to encourage the use of wool fabric or yarn in sewing, knitting, or crocheting fashionable garments.
Contestants must use fabric or yarn of at least 60 percent wool. Beautiful wool prizes were awarded to each contestant.