Every two years the Glass City Quilt Commission puts on a show that’s judged by NQA accredited judges. This is the show that’s nearest to where I live. I try to go each time they have it and have found it to be a very good show, well organized and lots of quilts of high quality. This year I decided to enter some quilts for the first time, just to see how they’d do, for the comments that are sealed and given at quilt pick up time giving a “grade card” of your work and where they think you need improvement, and for the photo op. It’s hard for me to get a good full view pic of bed sized quilts and I wanted them for my records. I thought two of my quilts were pretty good..and the other two, as the maker… I knew they had flaws, but wanted the chance to get good pics so I entered them.
As I entered the Auditorium there were little wall quilts along the wall leading to the first row of the large quilts that were on display. The first quilt there was my Pine Burr. It was one that I didn’t think would win a ribbon, because here and there a point or two didn’t line up perfectly. I wanted this on display so I could get a good pic. It won a third place ribbon. I was stunned! I still didn’t get a good pic though. I tried all sorts of things and every time the pic turned out dark. I took close up pics and the colors look more true to life.
I continued on through the rows..and came upon my second quilt. It had a large group of people around it and I couldn’t get close at first. I was hearing all sorts of comments and ..”I wonder how she..” It was fun to hear what people were saying when they didn’t know who I was. After a bit the people thinned out enough that I could see the quilt. It had a ribbon too! It took a second place.
I kept hearing people say things like..”well if this is a second place quilt..what took first? How could anything be better than this?” Of course, as the maker I thought that..but others were saying it too. I milled around and sort of just listened to what people were saying..and one of the most common questions..was “how did she do the eyes”?
I couldn’t keep quiet any longer, so I spoke up and answered a group that were puzzling about it. I explained how I took a fabric that had Dalmatians printed on that had fairly good sized eyes and cut those out, leaving a ring of color around the pupil. I then held those eyes in place with my thumbnail and tucked the edges under with my needle as I stitched around the eye. I then took a black fine line marker and drew a ring just along the edge to give a little definition.
Once I had that done I put a dot of white on using fabric paint. The eyes are a little less than 1/4″ across. I had a lot of questions about the lettering too, so I explained..the Maggie Walker pattern comes with the names of the various birds printed on it. I laid that pattern on a light box, placed my appliqued block on top and traced the lettering with an acid free brown marking pen. I realized as I was getting ready to start the lettering, that I *probably* should have done the lettering first? If I slipped..or the marker were to blob the ink..I would have to do my block over. I gritted my teeth..and started. I was lucky. No mishaps.
The next quilt I came to..of mine..was the Flowering Snowball (Thirty Something). You’ve seen this one recently if you follow my blog. I thought this one was “pretty good” too? It won a first place ribbon. This was hung almost directly across from the Maggie Walker Country Journal quilt and I could hear the comments about it too. A lot of people liked it.
My final quilt was Cinco de Mayo. This one took a third place ribbon. The pic turned out dark and I couldn’t seem to get a more clear pic unless I took it close up? I didn’t think this quilt was really good enough for a ribbon either..because of all of those points I had a LOT of seams! It’s pretty hard to get a quilting stitch that’s even and the same size on the front AND the back with all of those layers and that’s what the judges are looking for.
Here in the close up the colors are more true. I was stunned that this took a ribbon too! The judges comments were: “Vibrant colors work well to create movement. Binding is excellent. Border is even and straight. Quilting stitches could be more even and consistent on front and back.” I learned a lesson here too. Both this quilt and the Flowering snowball were in the same category. It’s not smart to enter two quilts in the same category..because then you’re competing against yourself! I didn’t think both were ribbon worthy..but in the future..I won’t do that again. I milled around and met the makers of many of the prize winning quilts. It was so fun to talk to them and hear them tell details of the construction of their quilts. One of the highlights of my day though, was when they announced there was an AQS certified judge that was going to do a tour of the show for anyone interested, where she would go through and point out the various things they looked for on each quilt and how they did their judging. A group of around 10 or so of us went through and she repeated over and over..hands down the number 1 thing they look at and find problems with is the binding. They want the batting to fill the binding, they want it straight and even, they want mitered corners sewn shut and not just folded. She pointed out how a LOT of the bindings that were cut on the straight of grain get little wrinkles along the edges as they go along, whereas bindings on the bias tend to lay perfectly smooth. Not creases that are sewn in, but that form and keep the binding from laying perfectly flat and smooth. Once she told us that we started looking for it..and it seemed true in a lot of cases…but not all. I use straight cut binding..and mine wasn’t doing that..and another award winner that I hit it off with and sort of hung around with..hers was straight cut and wasn’t doing it. We talked about that point quite a bit and I wondered if it had to do with the type of batting? I used cotton batting and so did the other lady I was with. Who knows what others used? We also discussed whether it might have to do with how it was sewn on? I don’t use a walking foot..the other lady did..so that didn’t seem to be the answer? Anita Shackelford..who is a well known quilter/teacher/Author was there and got into the discussion. She said she noticed the “wrinkles” appearing on bindings that were wider..but then we saw a miniature quilt with a binding about 1/8″ and it was doing it too. I still think it has to do with the batting? IMO the cotton batting has a little more body and fills the binding better, whereas the poly..doesn’t? I’m going to be more aware of it now that It’s been brought to my attention that’s for sure! All in all…I had a very good time, although it would have been more fun if I had gone with someone I knew..but I met some wonderful, knowledgeable ladies while there. I’m already thinking about doing something to enter in two years, when they have the show again.