July 4, 2016: Vermont Quilt Festival Pictures, Part 3 and some comments on judging

Greetings!   I always try to do at least 3 walk throughs of the quilts at the Vermont show and each time see things that I previously missed.  Yet, looking at pictures that others have posted, I still see pictures of quilts that I swear I never saw and I don’t know how that happens!  Anyway, here are a few more quilts that caught my eye at the show (click on pics for enlargements so you can appreciate the details!):

This quilt won the award as best quilt from Vermont and it was lovely!

7416 stars#1 7416 stars#2 7416 stars#3 7416 stars#4 7416 stars#5

I like the sunflower block and making a quilt using it has long been on my “to do” list so I enjoyed seeing this one:

7416 sunburst#1 7416 sunburst#2 7416 sunburst#4

Hope Johnson has done a whole series of quilts depicting bees and I look forward to seeing each new creation at this show.  Her special award was for “Just Bee-cause!”

7416 bees#1 7416 bees#2 7416 bees#3 7416 bees#4

This next quilt was the only quilt I saw in the show that comes close to qualifying as a Baltimore album style quilt.  I think the craze for/revival of BA quilts has significantly subsided but I know there are quilters out there still taking on the challenge and these will never go out of style and continue to be appreciated.

7416 album#1 7416 album#2 7416 album#3

The next quilt won the “Founders Award” given by Richard Cleveland, the founder of the festival, to his favorite quilt and it was a lovely traditional quilt:

7416 peony#1 7416 peony#2 7416 peony#3

I loved the owls in this next quilt.  My granddaughter, Sveta, likes owls so I have in mind to make something with owls some day:

7416 owls#1 7416 owls#2 7416 owls#3

This quilt won the award for best use of color.  I think one of the reasons I like this is that she uses gray as a background.  For the first time ever, I am using gray as a background color for the circle quilt I am currently making and I’m exploring how to mix various grays with color.  This quilt does it very successfully!

7416 kingwell#1 7416 kingwell#2 7416 kingwell#3 7416 kingwell#4

I still have quite a few quilts to show in another post or two so stay tuned!

I have a few comments on judging – it goes on for a while so skip if not interested!.

My “mantra,” which I believe with all my heart and which I have stated before, is that one should make quilts for the joy of doing it and one should make quilts to please oneself, not for judges!  I think we should always try to do our best work both in design and in construction, i.e. we should strive for excellent craftsmanship.  However, life is short and we should not let perfectionism become an obsession that interferes with our enjoyment of quilting and other aspects of our lives.  Some imperfections need to be fixed and others are minor and not worth the time and trouble in the overall path of our lives!  If judges deduct because of these, c’est la vie!!!!  Most of us are not trying to make a living with prize money from quilt shows!

Do not depend on judging results to dictate how you feel about your quilt ( or even worse, how you feel about yourself!)!!!  Judges are subjective – there’s no getting around that!   They each have their own standards by which they judge and they each have their own preferences for color, type, etc. that probably influence how they feel about any particular quilt and those preferences most likely play a role even when judges try to suppress them.

At Vermont there are 3 judges for the larger quilts.  One judge gave me the equivalent score for a blue (first) ribbon for “Stella Nova,” one gave me the equivalent of a red (second) ribbon, and one the equivalent of a yellow (third) ribbon.  The judge who would have given me a blue ribbon said my quilting stitches were “truly well done and complement the design”; the judge who would have given me a yellow ribbon said, “hand quilting stitches should be consistent.” The judge who would have given me a yellow ribbon said, “Strive for sharp points and matched intersections.”  I do!!!  It’s not easy with numerous tiny pieces and I’m not re-doing them when you have to inspect very closely to see the SLIGHT imperfections!

2 judges mentioned that some of the blocks might have benefitted from higher contrast or different value placement in the star blocks.   I lost a total of 9 points on use of color and design and visual impact from those 2 judges; the judge who would have given me a blue ribbon did not deduct any points for color, design, and visual impact.  I agree with the latter judge personally!  i actively made decisions about the value changes in the stars and chose not to separate them with sashing to create a “massed” effect of the stars and to add – in my opinion! – more interest.  The ” blue ribbon” judge saw it my way.  I am NOT ranting or whining and hope I don’t sound like it!  I love my quilt the way it is and am totally satisfied and have no need to have a blue ribbon to validate my work.  It’s just interesting that the judges can see things so differently!

Where I do have an issue with judging at Vermont is that 20 points out of the 100 are given for use of pattern and design and 2 of the aspects judged are “has unity, rhythm, and balance” and ” design is proportional to quilt size”.  How can this be judged if the quilter uses someone else’s pattern?!  No credit is given for original design, for one creating one’s own patterns!  I don’t really know how to fix this with the current point system but feel that something should be done.  Canada, for their national show, has a category for quilts made from already available patterns.  Or, could we consider giving extra credit for original design?  For example, 3 extra points to the final score for an “exceptional” original design, 2 points for ” very good”, one point for “good” and none if the design isn’t judged worthy of extra points.  Any other ideas out there?

Have started to hand quilt one of my doll quilts:

7416 handquilting#1 7416 handquilting#2

the back (can’t get my camera to pick up the rich gold color!):

7416 handquilting#3

I finally got another block of “Sweet Journeys” started!  I used pictures of antique quilts for inspiration.  the stems are stitched down and the leaves are basted, waiting for stitching.  Berries and a bird will eventually be added:

7416 sweet journeys

The grandkids are staying with us a couple days a week this summer (to help out my daughter while she works and they are out of school for summer vacation).  Sveta has started stitching on her quilt and sewed her first “long” seam successfully.  We’ll work on this bit by bit over the summer:

7416 Sveta's quilt

I have 10 leaves and 6 berries to go to finish border #3 on Stardust and have the stems for the 4th border stitched down and the leaves cut and ready to baste on.  It’s amazing how much quicker I am getting these done (and other projects!) since I am not working at all this summer!

7416 Stardust progress

I have finished all 72 center blocks for the 2 baby quilts and cut the backgrounds and pieces of fabric for the circles I’ll applique onto the 56 (28 each) border blocks:

7416 dollquilts progress

That’s it for today.  Hope you all have a great holiday.

Be kind, be grateful, and cherish each day,  Gladi






13 thoughts on “July 4, 2016: Vermont Quilt Festival Pictures, Part 3 and some comments on judging

  1. Stephanie

    I’ve enjoyed your pictures from the Vermont show. Thank you for sharing your judge’s critiques with us. My mantra is: It’s your quilt; do what you want.

  2. Mrs. Plum

    Thanks for the great quilt show photos. I also agree with your comment about original design–I think there should be a separate category for quilts made with someone else’s pattern. I design most of my own quilts, which adds a whole other dimension to the making of the piece. I sometimes do other patterns, and while they can be challenging, it is a very different level of creativity and execution.

    1. gladiporsche Post author

      Thank you for adding your thoughts. I recently saw that another show – I think one of the AQS shows – has an original design category for entering. I have absolutely nothing against creating a quilt from an existing pattern and have done this myself and tried to be creative in choosing fabrics and colors and sometimes even tweaking or changing some of the things in the pattern to make it more my own. However, original design needs to be recognized and rewarded. I wonder if the point system of judging is obsolete? Gladi

  3. Rose Orr

    The point spread on my quilts was only 7 this year which is much less than in past years. I cringe when thinking of shows with only one judge as we can’t be sure it’s the one who liked my quilt the most, ha. Two things along this line came up at the judges panel. One was the judges were asked about how they consider whether a quilt is from a pattern. The judges
    held up the VQF criteria sheet and said as there is nothing on the sheet regarding that, no. They look at the quilt itself, and award points based on the sheet. Someone else brought up the copy quilt that was awarded a major award at Paducah a few years ago, two years after the original quilt had won a major award at the same show. The judges commented that it is an area that needs improvement, but didn’t have any suggestions. I think it is an issue that could be easily solved by having quilts from patterns be in a separate category. The wheel doesn’t need to be reinvented, just fix the part that isn’t working.

    1. gladiporsche Post author

      Thank you for your comments. I wish I had had time to go to the judges’ panel discussion but had to leave the show earlier than that. Maybe if enough of us keep bringing this issue up, change will occur. I think when the Vermont show originated 40 years ago this wasn’t as much of an issue and the system hasn’t been updated since then. Gladi

  4. Wendy C. Reed

    Oh Gladi, I am so thrilled with this post. I have tried to encourage people to enter contest regardless of what the judges think. Judging is so very subjective, otherwise no one with eyes in their head would take points away from Stella Nova for “visual impact” or “color/contrast” choice! Obviously, Gerald Roy agrees with me! I am actually surprised that you did not get a ribbon for “best use of color”. And, I wholeheartedly agree that contest need to make some sort of category for “original design”. I have been saying this for years, but I haven’t seen any changes yet. No ranting here either, just agreeing with you and countless others who agree with us! I got a blue from two judges and a low enough score from the other to make my overall total a red. No complaints, just an observation. Thanks for posting!

    1. gladiporsche Post author

      Wendy, thank you so much for your kind words about my quilt! It’s so nice to know that others feel the way I do about this issue! Hope to see you in Maine at the end of the month, Gladi

  5. Janet

    I agree with you wholeheartedly, but I don’t know how to fix it. At least VQF has 3 judges, although there always seems to be that one judge who is different.

    Thank you for the eye candy.

    1. gladiporsche Post author

      Thanks, Janet. The judging differences prove that there’s a lot of subjectivity, especially regarding design and use of color. I agree that if you’re going to use this type of point system it is more fair to average at least 3 scores. Gladi

  6. Quilter Kathy

    I enjoyed reading all your posts about the quilt show. It was very interesting to hear about the experience from an award winner’s perspective.
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this process!


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