I’ve had a few people ask me to go into detail about some of the comments I’ve received for quilts I’ve entered into quilt shows. I thought that would make a pretty good blog topic! It will take more than one post to explore this idea, so be sure to follow my blog for updates.
First, here’s a little background – I’ve been quilting off and on over the last 18 years, but up until this year have previously entered my quilts only in local shows. I have received my share of ribbons in this time and have earned a variety of critiques, most of which I never thought about keeping for “quilt posterity”.
I’m getting smarter now about keeping all the documentation relating to my work. I’ve also realized that if I want to enter my quilts in shows I’ve got to be able to take the heat, even if I don’t agree with a judge’s comments (but for the most part, good or bad, I do see their point!)
So here goes, I’ll start with some of my earliest competitive quilts and work my way forward. I don’t have the judge’s comments but I’ll share what I remember.
This mini quilt was the very first thing I ever entered, way back in 1997 – can you believe it? It was for a guild challenge and all that I remember was that we were supposed to use a a basket, a heart, and a flower.
It’s one of the very few hand quilted pieces I’ve done and my first attempt at mitering corners. Now I only use straight borders and I machine quilt all of my quilts. ‘Nuff said! But I did earn a second place from a vote of the members so that was my first taste of “competition”. I just ate it up!
Over the years I started getting better at my machine quilting and was pleased when my pieced heart quilt won a second place at my traditional guild’s annual show in 2002. I enjoyed adding lots of detailed quilting which has kind of set the stage for my style of quilting – more is more!
The big mistake that I made on this quilt was using too many busy prints, so that all my fabulous quilting was hard to notice! You just can’t see the gorgeous cabled border I quilted in metallic threads (really!) Hmm, maybe that’s why I’m so fond of solids now?
The 2002 quilt show was a banner year for me – nearly every thing I entered won a ribbon. I finally landed a first place with my original Hugs and Kisses. (I did a remake of this quilt recently for one of my quilt alongs). I remember only one written comment from the judge – “I love this quilt!” That made my day until I realized this quilt was the only one in it’s category.
This was the first year our guild started separating out professionally machine quilted quilts into their own category. Since I was definitely NOT a professional and I quilted this one myself, there was no competition in the home-machine quilted category, LOL!! But we’ve come a long way and more members are machine quilting their own quilts, for which I’m very proud! (And the organizers told me a judge won’t give it a blue ribbon unless the quilt deserves it – regardless of the number of entries).
You can see I was definitely a traditionalist here but these quilts are where I realized my techniques – small machine button hole stitches with matching thread and lots of quilting. Now to translate these techniques into more modern quilt designs!
After this I kind of took a break for about 8 years where I didn’t enter hardly anything. Sure, I taught a lot of quilting classes, made tons of samples and got into stipple-overload. I also started my fabric business, but the competition side of me really waned. I also sold quilts at a local craft mall for several years. This threw me into mass-production mode which really stifled my artistic spirit!
Tune in next Monday for part 2 of this (breathtaking) saga!