A Few Words About Judged Quilts Part 3 – Don’t Hold Me Back!

This is my 3rd and final post about having my quilts judged. You can read part 1 and part 2 here.

Once I realized I love showing and sharing my quilts, it was time to find my “voice” or quilting style that most appealed to me. Enter… modern quilting! Finally I found a way to merge what I loved – bold fabric colors and graphic designs with intense machine quilting. Although rooted in tradition, the modern quilting movement and the judging that went along with it have finally freed me to go my own way.

So here are a few more quilts I finished within the last year that I entered into competition. I’ve included the judges’ comments once again and my thoughts.

Girl Baby Bricks

Baby Bricks in Pink and Green by Christa Watson, Desert Quilters of Nevada Show 2013 – Baby Quilt Category

I originally made Baby Bricks as part of my quilt along series, completing it in time to enter it into my local guild’s show. Though it didn’t win aΒ  ribbon, it was still gratifying to watch people ooh and ah over it at the show.

From the judge, “Good variety of pink and green fabrics. White sashing allows them to shine. Piecing techniques are good but there is some distortion of the top caused by machine quilting. Changes in quilting thread is effective.”

Hugs 'n Kisses

Jenna’s Hugs ‘n Kisses by Christa Watson, Desert Quilters of Nevada Show 2013 – Holiday Category

From the judge, “Gradation of fabric works well. Dense quilting in negative space seems to give fullness to the pieced blocks. Quilting should be evenly distributed throughout the quilt.”

The judge was right about the Double Flowersquilting for Hugs ‘n Kisses. I spent so much time machine quilting the flowers that I did not allow enough time to fully quilt the X blocks.

Instead of rushing to finish this quilt in order get it in the show, I should have taken more time to finish and then saved it for next year’s show.

But my daughter was still pleased with it and she was ready to have it NOW, so that’s ok, too. πŸ™‚

One quilt that I did take my time with was Roses for Katelyn, based on the fabulous French Rose Buds pattern. My time well spent was rewarded with a second place ribbon.

Roses for Katelyn

Roses for Katelyn by Christa Watson, Desert Quilters of Nevada Show 2013 – 3rd Place, Applique

From the judge, “Soft color palette makes for a restful quilt. Raw edge applique is well handled. Straight lines and border are straight. Quilting stitch is good and quilting design adds texture.”

And then finally, my favorite quilt of the year and the one you guys are probably tired of me blogging about – Charming Chevrons. I included it because it was my first “real” modern quilt and it was the first time I took a leap of faith and sent a quilt out of state for judging.

Charming Chevrons

Charming Chevrons by Christa Watson
Blogger’s Quilt Fest 2013, Machine Quilted Category, Viewer’s Choice
Desert Quilters of Nevada Show 2013, 2nd Place Modern Category
QuiltCon 2013, Modern Traditionalism Category

Charming Chevrons Back

Charming Chevrons Backing

Here are the judges’ comments from QuiltCon:

“Quilting and quilt is beautifully made. Overall workmanship is excellent. Piecing is accurate. Quilt is straight and lies flat. Binding is well executed.

Areas for improvement – thread choice is distracting on the back, pebble quilting pattern feels unrelated. Would love to see this quilt with a more narrowly focused palette.”

Since I also entered this in my local guild’s show it was interesting to compare the judges’ comments.

From an NQA certified judge, “The soft grey is a good background for the bright solids. Quilt has great texture, quilting design choices are very good. Multi-colored pebbles are well done.”

The best thing I learned from entering this quilt in 2 different judged shows was that opinions vary widely and that’s perfectly ok!

In both cases they applauded my workmanship. However, I’ve learned that I need to go perhaps a little more bold and a touch more artistic with my designs. So look for more of that from me in the future!

29 thoughts on “A Few Words About Judged Quilts Part 3 – Don’t Hold Me Back!

  1. farmquilter says:

    Quilt judging is so subjective and totally depends on a judge’s own preferences on so many things. Personally, I love your quilting on the Hugs n Kisses quilt – I like the way the X pops out with the heavy quilting in the white. Take what you want from the judge’s comments and don’t stress about their opinions. I do like that most judges will point out a couple of things that the quilter did well, as well as suggestions for improvements, especially when the improvements are about techniques. Hope you aren’t baking too much in the heat you are currently experiencing in southern Nevada!

  2. J Lee Bagan says:

    Hi Christa, I have enjoyed your blog on judging quilts. I too belong to Desert Quilters and am a very non-traditional quilter. I certainly don’t have your years of experience and totally envy your meticulous quilting. I absolutely love your Roses quilt. It seems very old fashioned and modern at the same time. Not easy to do. I entered my first quilt for judging at the 2011 show and got Kudos for the binding but they seemed unimpressed with the theme and said I should have chosen a different category. Doesn’t matter that it did’nt win anything. I was proud that I put it out there and got my feet wet. How else will you really learn how to navigate it all. I do agree with you that when you put your heart in it and maybe it’s only special to the one you really made it for, that’s a real accomplishment. Though I like all types of quilts, I love the colors of the modern movement and you do it well. Right now I am buried in a wall art phase and busy working on next years entry. I must try to arrange to meet you personally at next show.
    J Lee Bagan

  3. The Sassy Quilter says:

    Loving these posts. I am curious what judges are thinking. I entered one in my state fair last year and got an honorable mention, which I was pretty happy with for a first time. It was nice to know what to work on.

  4. Shelley says:

    I take extreme exception to the judge that commented on your “Hugs and Kisses” quilt regarding the alleged inconsistency of the quilting: Balderdash. Utter poppycock.

    I *LOVE* *LOVE* *LOVE* the difference in the quilting! It absolutely *makes* the quilt. The way the white negative space depresses the quilt *allows* the “X”/Kisses part of the quilt to puff up … and that looks absolutely delightful! I adore the 3D effect.

    It’s *your* quilt. Make it for you; not for some anonymous judge’s opinion on what the quilting “should” be. Who *says* the quilted must be evenly distributed?? Your deliberate uneven quilting was expertly done so that the finished quilt *still* lays flat … that’s important, too. (You wouldn’t want uneven quilting to pull or bunch a quilt .. but that is quite a different circumstance from what you have done).

    So …. take what you want from the judges’ comments. I think it’s perfectly fine if you disagree with an opinion on a particular quilt. You know what you wanted to have as a finished quilt; the judge did not.

  5. Debi Bielawski says:

    OMG! I wish I had your skill, knew your technique and could just do what you do. Every quilt I have seen from you here or on your entire blog just make me swoon. BUT I will keep reading, stitching and re stitching until I get to your skill level or am not physically able to continue. My daughters say they plan to bury me with all my quilting supplies. LOL. Two points I must ask about: 1. I love the double wedding ring quilt in the blog. I have done the same pattern for a table runner..but looking at that pattern from a modern view: Is it possible to modify it and use a NY Beauty pattern for the rings ? If so how would you approach it?
    2. Distortion of shashing and at the top of one of the quilts: Explain what the judges meant? Thanks dear..

    • Christa says:

      You will get there – it just takes practice! The double wedding ring quilt I made was actually a kit so all of the pieces were precut – it made sewing it together a breeze. I’m bummed that they don’t make that kit any more. It sold really well in my shop.

      The distortion of the quilts was caused by the quilting stitches moving the piecing out of alignment. I’ve corrected that in future quilts by starching and using many more safety pins when I baste my quilts for quilting.

  6. barb price says:

    thanks Christa for sharing these 3 posts, i haven’t ever enter a quilt but i do plan to one day. it is interesting to see what they are really looking for in a show quilt. btw all your quilts are winners because you put your heart and soul in your work

  7. Barbara Sindlinger says:

    Keeping a positive attitude and open mind about the judges comments is great. It is all subjective as much as some judges try not to be. I don’t always get positive comments but I look at those comments as areas I need to work on.

  8. Michele says:

    Thank you so much for this series. It was very informative. Learning what judges look for is important. Congrats again on your ribbons. I hope to earn one or two one day myself.

  9. Ann Pugh says:

    There is often more than one choice that can be made in making a quilt…color and quilting pattern are but two choices. In judging, the final standard is…Did you execute your choice well? I think you do execute your choices well.

  10. Jeri Niksich says:

    I may be partial to you Christa but I love all your quilts but being a Chevron lover That’s my favorite and I wouldn’t change a thing! This is for sure on the top of my “bucket list” as soon as I finish a baby “puff” quilt, my DH’s lap quilt, my sons quilt another baby quilt in “chevron” from a kit and a double sided Minky blanket…..But someday I WILL make this quilt. Maybe even use the Aurifil thread I won from you on it πŸ™‚

  11. Melissa Brown says:

    Hi Christa, I can’t remember if you mentioned this before, but I think your Charming Chevron quilt is pictured in the Martha Stewart Living Magazine, July/August 2013, on page 4 in the lower left-hand corner of the page. So you can blog about the Charming Chevron quilt all you want! Congratulations.

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