May 6, 2017: Updates; Quilt shows and judging!

Greetings!  Warning! This post is word intensive, but I’ll start with a few pictures showing my progress this week.  I added to the silk star quilt:

It’s looking better bigger.  Also, a reader mentioned a preference for not adding circles in the centers of the stars as I’d mentioned last time I was considering.   I’ve also been questioning this – simpler may be better.   I want to see the quilt bigger first so will keep making stars for now.  I am also adding the interfacing to the backs of the blocks one by one which takes some time as I have to carefully remove the paper first.

In the design wall pic above you can also see that I have finished the middle of the Amish doll quilt:

I will add a narrow red border and a wider black border with red corners.  Its current size is 13 X13 inches.

And here is Stardust on my dining room table spread for the marking of another fan.  I am now just more than half way finished with the fans – 29 1/2 out of 56!

I added the hanging sleeve to the Japanese quilt and here it is laid out on one of our guest beds:

Working on the quilt has prompted thoughts of quilt shows and judging because it has been accepted into the Vermont show and will be judged.  The mostly heavier authentic Japanese fabrics made hand quilting harder and my stitches are bigger and more uneven than usual.  Because of my knee and arm injuries, I was physically unable to block and straighten the edges of this quilt so there are some waves when it hangs.  They aren’t too bad, but are sure to be noted by the judges.  I’m OK with that because I don’t make quilts for show and don’t expect awards.  Any awards are icing on the cake, so to speak.  I enjoy the process and enjoy sharing my work.

I wonder sometimes if the major quilt shows have become more like beauty pageants with one standard of beauty that is difficult for the majority of quilters to approach.  Right now heavily and intricately machine quilted quilts seem to have the spotlight.  These are beautiful, but many of us are not aiming to make those kinds of quilts.   I’ve been thinking of some new categories that might make shows more welcoming to the rest of us.

There could be an award for a technically imperfect quilt, but one that has a lot of “soul”.  It could be called the “Wabi Sabi Award.”

How about a “Comfort and Beauty Award” for the best hand quilted quilt in a traditional style that is meant to be used to snuggle under – could be bed or lap sized.  The quilt could have (but doesn’t have to have) “big stitch” for the quilting.  A lot of people are using “big stitch” quilting but don’t feel these are good enough to enter shows.  Even tied quilts could be considered.

I like the idea of a “World Textiles Use Award” for best use of ethnic fabrics and textiles from around the world.  The quilts could incorporate other textiles like lace, ethnic embroidery, etc. in addition to using ethnic fabrics.

How about an “Heirloom Quilt Award” which honors traditional hand quilting and excellent overall craftsmanship and design.  (Thankfully, some shows do give awards for best hand work, but seems to me there are far fewer categories in which hand work is honored.)

I’m sure there are others, but that’s what I’ve come up with so far.  I’d love to hear other ideas from readers!

On a more serious note, my pet peeve is a judging system that awards points for overall design to a maker who has used someone else’s design.  This just isn’t right.  Design points or credit can be given for choice of colors and fabrics and overall visual impact for those quilts, but not for the overall design itself.    The design category should be broken down into parts – overall impact, use of color, use of fabrics, etc. and give credit for those, but there should be some points in this category that are given for the overall design and only given to those who designed their quilt themselves.  I generally feel that Best of Show quilts should reward original design.

I’ve been going through a stack of old magazines – time to get rid of these and rip out only what I think I might use in the future.  And I am being RUTHLESS and saving very little.  It’s fun to see the featured quilters and projects of the past and contemplate how things have changed.   A lot of quilters who were well known have dropped out of sight – are they still alive and, if so, are they still quilting?  Do they lose interest as they age or do they become physically unable to do it?  I’d like to see some info on this topic.  Meanwhile,  I came across an article in which Mary Mashuta (a big name from the past!) wrote her thoughts about judging and I would like to end this post with a quote from her which sums up my feelings:

“Along the way, I have won some ribbons, though some of my personal favorites have never won awards…Visual impact is most important….When you win a prize, rejoice, but when you don’t win, don’t let that stop you from sharing your work…Even if you never win a prize, sharing your work is what is really important.  The judges may pass it by, but there will be viewers who notice it and enjoy what you’ve done.  It may offer color or design solutions to other quilters or just encourage them to keep trying with their own work.  And, best of all, you know what you’ve learned by creating the work and only you can be the judge of that.”

I might add that, unless making competition quilts is your thing,  it is important to make quilts for yourself, that you enjoy the process and that the design and colors you use are enjoyed by YOU!

By the way, the PT on my knee is going well and I am gradually getting back to where I want to be though it’s still going to be a while.

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




10 thoughts on “May 6, 2017: Updates; Quilt shows and judging!

  1. Mrs. Plum

    Your quilts look terrific! I agree with you on original quilt design being rewarded in shows. Though constructing someone else’s design can certainly be challenging, designing one’s own is certainly more so.

    1. gladiporsche Post author

      Thank you for commenting. There’s nothing wrong with making a quilt from a pattern created by someone else, and I agree they can be complicated, e.g. some of Judy Niemeyer’s patterns. My bias, though, is to reward original design work in shows, at least the major ones. An attraction of quilt making right from the beginning for me was the ability to express myself with my own take on traditional block and appliqué designs and I encourage others to try it as it is so rewarding! Gladi

  2. Julee Prose

    I agree with your thoughts on judging…if you look at the big shows the best of show usually is original….I remember when the first AQS BOS went to a machine quilted quilt…everyone growled about it but how it has turned…long time since a hand quilted won BOS.

    1. gladiporsche Post author

      Yes, I think most of the big shows, most of the time, reward original design, but I have seen some exceptions over the years. I have nothing against machine quilted quilts – some of them are truly stunning. I just don’t think hand work is rewarded/appreciated enough these days. Gladi

  3. Susan from Germany

    Thank you so much for expressing these thoughts, which I fully share. I’m an unapologetically imperfect handquilter. Although I admire “perfect” craftsmanship, I also find it somehow intimidating and not as easy to love as quilts that are unmistakably made by the human hand.
    Your quilts are so beautiful!

    1. gladiporsche Post author

      Thanks for commenting. So glad you like my quilts. It’s good to hear from another dedicated hand quilter! Gladi

  4. Barb Vedder

    I agree with you on your thoughts about judged quilt shows. I too have written a blog post about the subject after being rejected by AQS for 2 of their shows. Bye Bye $50 entry fees. I am holding back now from AQS because the are not taking care of quilters and I don’t want to add to the prize money for the elite quilts at the top that win over and over again.
    I agree about sharing work to inspire others and I plan to continue to do that on a more local level. The Vermont show is so great in that you are not competing with anyone but yourself. Also they don’t jury the quilts – it is by postmark lottery.
    I also agree about original work. Unfortunately AQS uses teachers instead of judges and they don’t have the same knowledge about patterns. They pick what they like – which of course promotes their own style and the style they are teaching. sigh…….
    I plan to include a link on my blog to yours to share your thoughts. I hope that’s okay.

    1. gladiporsche Post author

      Hi Barb. I agree with your comments. The machine quilted quilts featured in the big shows are so technically perfect that those of us doing hand work are becoming intimidated and afraid to enter, especially when machine made quilts and hand made quilts are competing against each other in the same categories. I’m also not a fan of seeing the same quilts win in show after show after show. I like the Vermont show for the same reasons you do, esp because it’s not juried. Please feel free to link to my post! By the way, I’m looking forward to seeing more of your one block wonder! It looked great last time you shared. That’s one that is on my “to do” list, but who knows if I’ll ever get to it! Gladi

  5. Wendy C. Reed

    Oh Gladi, I couldn’t agree more about today’s big quilt shows and the judging process. Barb V. and I have commented about this a few times. There really is so much involved in my “feeling” process. I want to promote quilting in any way that we can and I understand that AQS is a business and needs to promote what “sells” in order to keep the industry thriving. But, I can’t help feeling left out in a world of longarm perfection when all I want to do is see a few humble and “simply” beautiful quilts. I’m with Barb in that I am giving AQS shows a rest for a while. Those entry fees add up and after being rejected a few times and then attending the Lancaster show only to see row after row of heavily machine quilted quilts it became evident that traditional hand work is not what they are looking for. The hand quilted quilts that were there were outstanding, but far too few. You and I know it isn’t our workmanship that is lacking having won several best hand quilting and exceptional workmanship awards. I think your “new” categories would make lots of sense since one of the reasons I think they reject quilts like outs is that we do “not” use published patterns and thus the industry has no chance to make money. Oh dear, I am rambling! Suffice it to say that I wholeheartedly agree with you! But, just one more not… One thing that really bothers me is seeing a beautifully hand appliqued quilt that is randomly longarm quilted all over it. I have seen some lovely and simple machine quilting on hand appliqued quilts, but far too often it looks as if the machine quilting was an afterthought on top of a glorious traditional quilt. Every time I see one I think of the scene in “To Kill A Mockingbird” (one of my favorite movies) where the little farm boy (Walter) is eating dinner with the Finches and he has been served a beautiful dinner only to pour syrup all over it. I have always related to “Scout” anyway and this scene just makes my point perfectly. Sorry for the longwinded reply! I think if I would have to vote for one particular category it would be “Wabi Sabi! Thanks for listening.

    1. gladiporsche Post author

      Hi Wendy. Thank you for taking the time to respond in detail! We are of the same mind on this. And I agree with you in that, I too, dislike seeing lovely tops, either appliqué or pieced, that are – in my opinion – almost ruined by poor machine quilting. I rarely see a hand quilted quilt in which the hand quilting detracts from the overall appearance. Gladi


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