TwitterPinterestInstagramGoogle PlusMembers login

Archive for the ‘Entering Quilts’ Category

What Do Judges Look For?

Wednesday, February 27th, 2013

20100827_checking-out-a-quilt_33You’ve just finished your latest quilt, are proud of your accomplishment and want to show it off. You first share it with your family, then with your small quilting “bee” and finally take it to show and tell at your next guild meeting. For some quilters, this is enough. For others, it is not. Many quilters want to see how their quilts stack up against the competition, whether that is hanging the quilt in a local, non-judged show or entering it in a major juried and judged competition. In addition to gaining recognition for your quilts, you also educate other quilters and the general public about quilting and its standards. For local guild shows, this is often a primary reason for holding a show. Additionally, if your quilt is entered in a judged show, you can set goals for improvement based on feedback from the judges or your own comparison with winning quilts. And, of course, you might just win a prize, either a ribbon, cash, or merchandise.

Impartiality in judging is important and one way this is done is through use of a panel of independent judges, usually three. Judges can be trained and certified by the National Quilting Association, or they can be trained through experience. They all adhere to similar standards of judging, although final results will be varied based on the individuals.

Judging can take place either before or after the quilts are hung, and each method has advantages. Judging quilts after they are hung allows the visual impact of the quilt to be better appreciated. Judging quilts before they are hung is usually faster, but visual impact takes second place to the ability to view the workmanship.

Judges often use scorecards or evaluation forms and either a point system, an elimination system or a combination of the two to evaluate the individual entries. The point system uses a predetermined maximum number of points to judge specific areas, for example, up to 20 points for the color and design, up to 20 points for construction, up to 15 points for finishing, etc., with the total equaling 100 points. Each quilt is judged on its own merits, and the quilt with the highest total number of points is awarded the first place.

The elimination system, on the other hand, allows each judge to evaluate a quilt, make comments on its technique and offer feedback for improvement. If the judge feels the quilt should be held for ribbon/award consideration, it is put aside. If not, it is released from the competition portion. After the quilts are judged in this preliminary fashion, the held quilts are compared to others in its category and the winners are determined.

Neither system is perfect. Regardless, judges evaluate quilts against the same standards. Here are just a few of the commonly held standards that judges use:

General Appearance

  • The quilt makes an overall positive statement upon viewing
  • The quilt is clean and “ready to show,” i.e., no visible marks, no loose threads, no pet hair, no bearding, no offensive odors.
  • The quilt’s edges are not distorted. This is easier to gauge when the quilt is hung.

Design and Composition

  • All the individual design elements of the quilt – top, quilting, choice of fabric, sashes, borders, embellishments, finishing – are unified.
  • The design is in proportion and balanced.
  • Borders or other edge treatments enhance the quilt appearance.

Workmanship

  • Piecing is precise, corners match and points are sharp.
  • Seams, including those of sashing and borders, are secure, straight and flat.
  • Quilting stitches are straight where intended and curved where intended.

As noted, judges consider certain “standards” when evaluating quilts – and the list is really quite extensive – but how do they decide which quilts are the prizewinners? And what is more important, design or workmanship? In the end I think it comes down to design, the quilt with the greater visual impact. But even the quilt with the greatest visual impact cannot rescue poor workmanship

The Professional Quilter has an ongoing column geared just for judges, but it’s useful for those who are entering shows. Scott Murkin, NQA Certified Judge, writes those columns. We also offer three resources recommended for those in judging programs. You can learn more about The Challenge of Judging by Jeannie Spears, Judging Quilts by Katy Christopherson, and a audio recording of a conversation on “The Judge’s Perspective” between Morna McEver Golletz and judges Jane Hall and Scott Murkin on our resources page. We also offer a package with all three of the resources. See the Resources for Judges page on our website. Use code Judge when you check out to save 15% on any of these resources through 3/15/13.

Please share your thoughts on support systems on the blog

 

Judging Garments

Wednesday, August 17th, 2011

In the Summer issue of The Professional Quilter, NQA certified judge Scott Murkin shared his thoughts on judging garments. Here’s an excerpt from that article:

Many quilters either started out as garment sewers who later developed an interest in quiltmaking or conversely, after mastering many quilting techniques, decided to apply them to garment making. Whichever came first, a significant number of quilters participate in garment making to various degrees.

In response to this trend and to showcase the creativity and talent of these skilled sewists, a significant majority of quilt shows have either an associated garment show or categories for garments within the judged show. This means that the active quilt show judge is going to be called upon at some point to judge garments. For the judge who has experience in garment making, this may pose no great challenge, but the judge who does not have this experience will need to seek out continuing education experiences to prepare for this eventuality.

A good starting place for assessing the completed garment is to consider the quiltmaking techniques that were used in the construction. Techniques such as piecing, appliqué and quilting are judged by the same criteria of design and workmanship as they are in quilts. Surface design techniques are also held to the same standards as they are in quilting. Embellishments are seen quite commonly in garment making, and they should be well secured and integrated into the overall design and construction of the garment.

In addition to the traditional quiltmaking skills, a number of specialized skills are required to turn this constructed fabric into a three-dimensional object that can be worn on the body. The garment field has its own specialized terminology, such as French seams, a Hong Kong finish and frog closures. Specific resources will allow the judge to become fluent in the language of garment making. Being able to use these terms properly when providing feedback to entrants will enhance the judge’s credibility inestimably.

The final, and arguably most important, element of judging garments is the aspect that makes them most unique from quilts. Because garments are designed and constructed to be worn, the drape, wearability and appearance on the human form become paramount in the evaluation. The fact that quilted clothing is meant to be presented in three dimensions affects both construction and design decisions.

The amazing inventiveness and creativity in today’s quilted clothing world, along with expert sewing skills and cross-fertilization between garment and quiltmaking, provide an exciting opportunity for quilt show judges to be involved in assessing this art form. If this is not your area of expertise, find a mentor from the garment field (in addition to one or more of the listed resources) so that you can carry out your responsibilities with aplomb. A working knowledge of the language and skills of garment making will serve you well throughout your career.

Please share your thoughts on judging garments as a judge or garment maker in the comments below.

If you would like to read more of Scott’s article, including details on the terminology of garment making and resources to build your knowledge, it’s included in our Summer 2011 issue of The Professional Quilter and available to IAPQ members. The International Association of Professional Quilters offers resources and networking opportunities for you to create a success from your quilting business. Learn about all the benefits of IAPQ membership and join here.

 

What Do Judges Look For?

Wednesday, September 15th, 2010

You’ve just finished your latest quilt, are proud of your accomplishment and want to show it off. You first share it with your family, then with your small quilting “bee” and finally take it to show and tell at your next guild meeting. For some quilters, this is enough. For others, it is not. Many quilters want to see how their quilts stack local, non-judged show or entering it in a major juried and judged competition. In addition to gaining recognition for your quilts, you also educate other quilters and the general public about quilting and its standards. For local guild shows, this is often a primary reason for holding a show. Additionally, if your quilt is entered in a judged show, you can set goals for improvement based on feedback from the judges or your own comparison with winning quilts. And, of course, you might just win a prize, either a ribbon, cash, or merchandise.


Impartiality in judging is important and one way this is done is through use of a panel of independent judges, usually three. Judges can be trained and certified by the National Quilting Association, or they can be trained through experience. They all adhere to similar standards of judging, although final results will be varied based on the individuals.

Judging can take place either before or after the quilts are hung, and each method has advantages. Judging quilts after they are hung allows the visual impact of the quilt to be better appreciated. Judging quilts before they are hung is usually faster, but visual impact takes second place to the ability to view the workmanship.

Judges often use scorecards or evaluation forms and either a point system, an elimination system or a combination of the two to evaluate the individual entries. The point system uses a predetermined maximum number of! points to judge specific areas, for example, up to 20 points for the color and design, up to 20 points for construction, up to 15 points for finishing, etc., with the total equaling 100 points. Each quilt is judged on its own merits, and the quilt with the highest total number of points is awarded the first place.

The elimination system, on the other hand, allows each judge to evaluate a quilt, make comments on its technique and offer feedback for improvement. If the judge feels the quilt should be held for ribbon/award consideration, it is put aside. If not, it is released from the competition portion. After the quilts are judged in this preliminary fashion, the held quilts are compared to others in its category and the winners are determined.

Neither system is perfect. Regardless, judges evaluate quilts against the same standards. Here are just a few of the commonly held standards that judges use:

General Appearance

· The quilt makes an overall positive statement upon viewing
· The quilt is clean and “ready to show,” i.e., no visible marks, no loose threads, no pet hair, no bearding, no offensive odors.
· The quilt’s edges are not distorted. This is easier to gauge when the quilt is hung.

Design and Composition
· All the individual design elements of the quilt – top, quilting, choice of fabric, sashes, borders, embellishments, finishing – are unified.
· The design is in proportion and balanced.
· Borders or other edge treatments enhance the quilt appearance.

Workmanship
· Piecing is precise, corners match and points are sharp.
· Seams, including those of sashing and borders, are secure, straight and flat.
· Quilting stitches are straight where intended and curved where intended.

As noted, judges consider certain “standards” when evaluating quilts – and the list is really quite extensive – but how do they decide which quilts are the prizewinners? And what is more important, design or workmanship? In the end I think it comes down to design, the quilt with the greater visual impact. But even the quilt with the greatest visual impact cannot rescue poor workmanship.

The Professional Quilter has an ongoing column geared just for judges, but it’s useful for those who are entering shows. Scott Murkin, NQA Certified Judge, writes those columns. We also offer three resources recommended for those in judging programs. You can learn more about The Challenge of Judging by Jeannie Spears, Judging Quilts by Katy Christopherson, and a audio recording of a conversation on “The Judge’s Perspective” between Morna McEver Golletz and judges Jane Hall and Scott Murkin on our resources page.

The International Association of Professional Quilters offers resources and networking opportunities for you to create a success from your quilting business. Learn about all the benefits of IAPQ membership and join here.

Book Review: One-Block Wonders Cubed!

Sunday, August 15th, 2010

One-Block Wonders Cubed

By Maxine Rosenthal & Joy Pelzmann
C&T Publishing; $22.95

Following up on the success of their earlier One-Block Wonder books, Maxine Rosenthal and Joy Pelzmann tackle adding graphic elements to their hexagon blocks. The previous books showcased techniques for hexagonal and octagonal kaleidoscope blocks from a single fabric and then adding cubes as a design element and additional fabrics. In this book, you’ll add triangles, including interlocking ad hollow triangles, and you’ll create illusions and add appliqué. The book includes 10 projects to reinforce the techniques. I loved the chapter on what to do with the leftover kaleidoscopes from your projects. One-Block Wonders fans enjoy.

Here’s a link, if you’d like to add it to your library.

Entering Quilt Shows

Wednesday, April 28th, 2010

Barbara Dann/FSQ ShowAttending the Friendship Star Quilters show over the weekend reminded me of the variety of reasons quilters have for entering shows. For many,  it’s a chance to share what they’ve accomplished with others.  It’s a chance to support your guild’s efforts, and for many guilds this is what pays for lectures and workshops.  For teachers, it’s a wonderful opportunity to share what their students have accomplished. If you are a professional, it’s a chance to get your work seen by a larger and potential buying audience or to increase your exposure in the quilt or art world at large. For some entering a local show is a stepping stone to a larger show.

Do you remember the first time you entered a quilt in a quilt show? I do.

I was a member of the Charlotte Quilters Guild in 1977, and several of us decided to enter our work in the annual NQA show, which was held at Georgetown Visitation Prep in Washington, D.C. Of course, it wasn’t enough to just enter, we had to go to the show. It was very exciting stepping into this larger venue. I remember that my grandmother met me at the show. I was thrilled she could see my work, and she was quite impressed with all the variety of quilts. (Of course, she did cast her viewer’s choice for one of my quilts!)

Of all the reasons to enter a show, though, I think the best is the opportunity to grow as a quilter and an artist. Why do you enter shows and how does this stretch you?

The International Association of Professional Quilters offers resources and networking opportunities for you to create a success from your quilting business. Learn about all the benefits of IAPQ membership here.

Book Review: 100 Tips From Award Winning Quilters

Saturday, May 2nd, 2009

100 Tips from Award Winning Quilters

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ann Hazelwood
American Quilters Society; $12.95

This terrific little collection of tips is broken into sections for the quilter as a student, tools, designing and working styles, stash savvy, techniques, quilting, finishing touches and show etiquette. You’ll find something to use or pass along. But the best advice, as Zena Thorp says, is “remember that it is YOUR quilt.”  Here’s a link if you’d like to add it to your library.


How & Why to Enter Quilt Shows

Saturday, March 28th, 2009

In the Winter issue of The Professional Quilter, NQA certified judge Scott Murkin took a look at why and how to enter quilt shows. The reasons for entering for professionals are as personal as the entrant, but in many cases it’s to increase your exposure in the quilt world at large. Longarm quilters might enter to attract the attention of quilters looking to hire a quilter. Pattern designers and teachers look for ways to get their name to a wider audience. Quilt artists may want to get exposure to collectors. And, the icing on the cake comes with additional exposure if you are a prize winner.

Scott offered some tips for entering a judged show. Here are just a few:
  • First and foremost, read the rules. Read them more than once and contact the show coordinator if you have questions.
  • Determine if your quilt is eligible for the show. Some shows may require membership in an organization; some may require completion of the quilt within a certain time period.
  • Determine the correct category for your quilt. Read the rules for definitions of categories. Some shows disqualify you if your quilt is in the wrong category.
  • Meet the deadlines!
You can read more about the how and the why of entering quilt shows in the Winter issue of The Professional Quilter.
Entries (RSS) and Comments (RSS).