CANFIELD -- Isabelle (Carlson) Sandquist won a trip to the Ohio State Fair with one of the first sewing projects she entered in the Canfield Fair. That was in 1923 or 1924 and her winning entry was a slip.
"In those days, all the girls wore slips under their clothes," she said.
This year, the 89-year-old grandmother traveled from her retirement home in Batavia, Ill., to enter two projects, a crazy-quilt-pattern jacket and a decorated sweat shirt. Both items won blue ribbons.
She won a red ribbon last year after her great-niece talked her into entering for the first time in decades.
"I've been entering sewing projects, crafts and candy for 18 years," said Gretchen Carlson, Sandquist's great-niece. "She got me started doing crafts and sewing," she said, motioning to her great aunt, "so I thought she should enter, too."
When Carlson was a child, she and her cousins learned to make Christmas ornaments under Sandquist's tutelage. Carlson lives in Canfield.
"She talked real fast and before I knew it, I was entering," Sandquist chuckled.
Biography: Sandquist grew up in Boardman and was hired as the first secretary of Boardman schools in the mid-1930s before going to work as a secretary at the Youngstown YMCA. A few years later, she relocated when her husband was named pastor of a church out of state.
Sandquist's husband was a minister who served as pastor of 10 Covenant churches during the course of his career. That took the family all across the country.
"I left here in 1941 and I've been traveling ever since. That's why I have children all over," she said, fondling her late husband's wedding ring with her index finger. She wears the ring and a shiny pearlescent shell carved into the shape of a heart on a gold chain around her neck.
Family: The couple's seven children live in five states -- two sons in Colorado, a son in California, another son in New York, two daughters in Illinois near where Sandquist lives and a daughter in Massachusetts.
Sandquist also has 20 grandchildren and sews year-round, making gifts for family members and items to sell at a bazaar that benefits Covenant Village Retirement Center where she lives.
The prize-winning sweat shirt on display at the fair is earmarked for the bazaar, she said, but the jacket is hers. She even sewed a recycled label that reads "Isabelle" inside the collar.

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