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