June 30, 2015: Best Hand Quilting award at Vermont Quilt Festival!

Greetings!  I’m proud to announce that Spring Sonata won the award for Best Hand Quilting at the Vermont show!  I also won this award at Vermont 2 years ago with “Feathering My Nest.”  Although I didn’t count, my impression was that there were clearly fewer hand quilted quilts in the show this year.  Of course, the number has been dwindling as machine quilting has gained popularity, but the drop this year seemed even more noticeable.  In any case, I appreciate the recognition!  Here are some pictures of my quilt at the show (click for enlargements):

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Spring Sonata received a red ribbon which means it scored between 92 and 95 out of a hundred possible points.  I’m eager to see the judges’ comments when the quilt arrives back from the show, maybe later today.  I know it isn’t technically perfect and already know where some of the flaws are.  However, based on some of the other quilts in the show that had blue ribbons, I thought my quilt was worthy of one too so will be interested in how they scored it and what they have to say. One particular thought that has stayed with me since the show is that I don’t feel enough is done to reward original design.   I saw major awards and blue ribbons hanging on quilts in which the maker used other designers’ patterns.   Vermont uses a strict point system for judging.  45 points for workmanship, 15 points for visual impact, and 40 points for design.  Within the design category one can get 20 points for “use of pattern and design,” 10 points for “effectiveness of color in overall design,” 5 points for “suitability of materials”, and 5 points for “border treatment.”  When one makes a quilt using someone else’s design and pattern, the originality lies only with choice of materials and colors and the rest is technique.   There is absolutely nothing wrong with making quilts from others’ patterns, but in that situation I’m not sure one should be given the full 20 points for “use of pattern and design” when basically that person didn’t have any role in creating that design or pattern.  Choice of materials and use of color are rewarded with points elsewhere so shouldn’t be counted again in that section.  This system is skewed toward the potential of rewarding strict workmanship and technique over original design, thus devaluing the personal artistic component of the quitmaking process.   At the very least, if you don’t want to deduct points, then bonus points – or some other special consideration – should be given for original design, especially for award winners!  Rant over!!  ( I think I’m going to send the VQF a letter with my thoughts on this.) I’m going to show you what were probably my 3 favorite quilts at the show, any one of which were more deserving of Best of Show in my opinion than the one that won it.  If I had been a judge, I would have picked one of these as my Judge’s Choice – it’s supposed to be the quilt one would choose to take home if one could! First up is Christine Weickert’s wonderful silk quilt “Le Jardin Joyeaux.”  Christine won Best of Show last year with a similar quilt in silk.  This one has wonderful colors, fabulous applique (and won Best Applique award) and wonderful hand quilting as well:

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Next is “Springtime in the Geisha’s Garden” by Margaret Solomon Gunn.  This one is a fabulous blend of applique and piecing and Margaret is a true master of long arm machine quilting.  I love the colors in this one as well and it’s a medallion quilt, one of my favorite styles.  Definitely click on pics to see the quilting!!!:

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And the third of my 3 favorites is a contemporary art quilt by Ann Feitelson.  I so look forward to seeing Ann’s quilts in this show every year.  She is a master of use of color and shape and I wish I could make quilts like this!!!  Her quilting is by machine is minimal, but complements the overall design.  This year she used circles – perhaps my favorite shape.  I also love how she added interest by putting a couple of birds in the quilt:

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The winner of Best Miniature quilt was well-known George Siciliano who makes unbelievable pieced minis – I don’t think anyone else is doing what he does.  This quilt has over 6200 pieces in it and is small!  I don’t think the actual size was listed but minis have to be no larger than 24 inches square, I believe, and I think this was smaller than that.

62915-bestmini1 There was a fabulous exhibit of antique quilts at this year’s show!!  Somehow Vermont always seems to come up with a wonderful exhibit of antique quilts every year – it’s one of my favorite things about the show.  I attended the Gallery Walk as the owners talked about the quilts.  I have lots of pictures but am only going to show one today.  I totally fell in love with this antique quilt and really would like to reproduce it:

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I have many more beautiful quilts to show you from the festival, as well as updates from my own projects, so stay tuned for future posts! Thanks for visiting.  Cherish every day!  Gladi


19 thoughts on “June 30, 2015: Best Hand Quilting award at Vermont Quilt Festival!

  1. Margaret Solomon Gunn

    I completely agree with you on the judging comments. I found a surprising number of high ribbonning quilts that were, well, bland. There is no credit given to an original design, or difficulty. I could rant about the judging for ages, but it wouldn’t get me anywhere…Congrats; I enjoyed seeing your’s. The colors are pretty.

    1. Kristy

      Congratulations on your win! And thanks for the lovely pictures. I was so excited to see the antique applique quilt, as it’s incredibly similar to one from Locust Grove mansion in KY featured on page 172 of the book BH&G American Patchwork and Quilting, 1985. I have wanted to make this quilt since I saw it in the book, but it would be such fun to stitch all those berries along with you, if you are able to re-create the pattern. Can you share additional info about the quilt? I am amazed that the two quilts are so similar; perhaps it was made in the same region. If you don’t have the book, I’d be happy to send a photo.

      1. gladiporsche Post author

        Hi Kristy. Thanks for commenting! I believe I may have the book you are referring to and will check and see. It will be a challenge to draft the blocks and border designs, but it seems do-able. The description in the show catalogue says only “circa 1850” and has nothing else about previous owners, who made the quilt (probably unknown!) etc, I don’t even have the size of the quilt so first thing to determine would be what size to make the center 4 blocks – ? 24 inches each. I made a rough estimate of how many berries there are in the quilt and came up with a little over 2000!!!!!! We could go crazy if we commit to doing this!! Gladi

    2. gladiporsche Post author

      Thanks Margaret. Your quilt was gorgeous! Your work is amazing and I admire your original designs! Judging is so subjective and my main goal is to share my work, not to win prizes; nevertheless, artistic originality should be rewarded!! I wrote a letter to AQS in 2004 when they moved my quilt “Keeping Autumn With Me” from the “first time entry” category (which it was) to the “Professional, Mixed Technique” category. They said I was a “professional” because I had won awards at Vermont and Quilter’s Gathering, both “regional” shows in my mind and that was their definition of “professional.” I wasn’t a “professional” quilter then and am not now either! My letter caused them to entirely change their categories of quilts the following year – no more separation of “amateur” or “professional” quilts since then. I honestly think I would have won a first prize in the “first entry” category if they hadn’t changed the category on me! Anyway, this is an example where a letter from me had an impact so maybe I will try again – at least at Vermont if not the larger shows! Gladi

    3. gladiporsche Post author

      Thanks Margaret. See my response to you below – somehow posted it in response to the wrong comment! Gladi

  2. Rose

    If you’re going to send your letter to VQF board, send it also to AQS and Houston. Not to mention all the other established shows. I’ve had that conversation over the years when I see judges walking around the show. Why isn’t originality being rewarded? I don’t get a straight answer.
    My quilt got a yellow, and I was expecting to get reamed in the judges comments, especially since one judge doesn’t like thread painting. But the 3 that commented were positive, which was a pleasant surprise.
    Did you go to the judges panel on Friday? I always try to make that and the originality issue would have been a good question for them.
    Your quilt was beautiful by the way!

    1. gladiporsche Post author

      Thanks Rose! See my reply to Margaret above re the judging. Unfortunately I was unable to make it to the judges panel on Friday and agree that the question about originality would have been a good one! Gladi

  3. Janet Atkins

    Congratulations on your ribbons – they are well deserved. I agree with you about the judging. I’ve always felt you should get extra for not using some one else’s pattern.

    1. gladiporsche Post author

      Thank you, Janet! I have nothing at all against using patterns to make quilts – I’ve done it myself! But it’s good to hear that I’m not the only one that would like to see a little extra consideration for original design when giving out awards and ribbons. Gladi

      1. Janet Atkins

        On the other hand, what makes a show like VQF wonderful is the variety of quilts you can see there, and the variety of skill level. I think it’s charming that a first-time entrant won Best of Show, but then again, I didn’t enter this year.

  4. Wendy Reed

    First of all, congratulations. I saw your quilt, it is stunning and I too wondered why it did not sport a “blue” ribbon. I received a red as well. I got my comments back yesterday and the only slightly negative comment came from the judge who gave me a 96! I got 94 points overall. I was pleased to receive judge’s choice from Sue Nickels. She is such a machine queen that I was honored she chose my all hand done quilt. It was made in the potholder method too which is not well understood by most judges. Anyway, I totally agree about rewarding people for their own designs. Sometimes I see awards on quilts with no credit to the designer at all. I think shows try to discourage this but I’m afraid it is too hard to control. I’m sorry I missed meeting you and hope we will meet in the near future. Will you be coming to the Maine show? I’ll be there Friday, Sat. and Sunday. Thanks for sharing your wonderful quilt with the world!

  5. gladiporsche Post author

    Hi Wendy. Thanks so much for your kind comments about my quilt! I just got my quilt and the judges’ comments back this afternoon and also averaged a 94 ( a 92, a 94, and a 96) – one point shy of the 95 needed for a blue ribbon. Most of the deductions were for workmanship but honestly there wasn’t any consistency in how those points were deducted. The one judge who made very positive comments about my design and color choices took 4 points off for visual impact and design! Go figure! Loved seeing your quilt – lovely hand applique and hand quilting! Congratulations on your awards. I’m bummed that we didn’t get to meet! Gladi

  6. Carla Gay

    Congratulations on your well-deserved hand quilting award for Spring Sonata! What a beautiful quilt! Thanks for the wonderful photos you always share. Also, love what you’re doing for the back of Joyful Noise. Those fabrics are delicious, and I love the way you are using them. (Sorry I’m behind on reading my blogs; yours is one of my favorites, though, and I always make a point to read it.) Have a great Fourth!

  7. Janet Ann

    Congratulations on your ribbons!! Your quilt is absolutely Beautiful. I also agree with you on the aspect of giving credit for originality, and I’m one that generally uses someone else’s patterns (giving full credit of course!)!!! I’m just a slug right now! but plan on dreaming up a few original designs in the future! But those that do original work should be given extra points! Yes – write to Vermont and all the other major shows!
    Thank you for the pictures of other quilts at the show – always nice to see a mini quilt show on line!
    Keep up the wonderful quilting!

    1. gladiporsche Post author

      Thank you for your praise of my quilt and for writing! I am about to do a post today with another point of view on the topic of “originality.” There is definitely a place for using patterns and for “reproducing” the work of others! I sometimes use available patterns too. However, in judged shows in which prizes are given, some extra credit should go to those who have taken the time and effort to design something that expresses their own artistic vision. Thanks again! Gladi

  8. Margaret Solomon Gunn

    Original patterns and designs force a different level of creativity and pattern making. They force the maker to know how to draft blocks that go together properly. You must know how to lay out the applique and prepare it. Although there are some gorgeous recreations of other people’s work out there, and Christine W. is a perfect example, there are cases where an apparent monkey has copied someone else’s work. In the bigger, more competitive shows, it is nearly certain that original ideas do better (not always, but often). I’d like to see VQF’s opinion of themself as being a premier show in the US, be reflected in how they both choose certified judges (which they do not) and how they choose to judge quilts. Somewhere in that pot of “design” points, there ought to be at least 5pts for creativity. The judges should also be required to sign the forms so we know who each is.

  9. gladiporsche Post author

    I agree! Some points for creativity/originality in the points awarded for “design” makes a lot of sense to me! Gladi


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