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Archive for the ‘Quilt Show’ Category

What Do Judges Look For?

Wednesday, September 12th, 2018


You have just finished your latest piece of art — your quilt. You 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 and fiber artists want to see how their work stacks up against the competition, whether that is hanging it 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.

Read more…

Quilting is a $3.7 billion industry

Wednesday, November 8th, 2017

HOUSTON- October 27, 2017- The results are in for the Quilting in America™ 2017 Survey. The survey shows that the annual industry value in terms of consumer spending is $3.7 billion. Quilting in America™ is presented by The Quilting Company and Quilts, Inc., but conducted independently by ORC International and Advantage Research, Inc.

Highlights of the Survey show an estimated 7 to 10 million quilters in the U.S., the total number of households with a quilter at 6 to 8.3 million, and an average dollar spending per quilting household at $442 annually- that’s a 48% increase over 2014. Modifications to information gathering for the 2017 Survey also reflect an even more accurate assessment than previous editions.

“Dedicated quilters are spending more time and money than in the past. It’s also exciting to see that over the past few years there has been a tremendous increase in the number of quilters who are utilizing websites, social media, and other digital resources to learn about quilting and buy quilting related products,” says John Bolton, Senior VP and General Manager, F+W Media.

“I know that quilters create with their hands, but they often speak with their dollars. And I am very glad to see that they are speaking loudly with their purchasing power,” adds Quilts, Inc. CEO and Founder Karey Bresenhan. “I am honored to be involved in such a creative and artistic community. An added bonus is that quilters are just some of the warmest and most generous human beings I’ve ever come across.”

Read more…

More from Quilt Market

Wednesday, November 4th, 2015

More From Quilt Market

Last week I shared some of what I found at Quilt Market. Since the show is so large, I couldn’t possibly cover it all in one newsletter, so I went back through my notes and stacks of literature to share more.

  • RJR was recognized for its outstanding booth winning the First Place Best Booth Award in the Multiple Booths category. The booth featured hundreds of beautiful Origami cranes made from the newest RJR collections. Collections included Safari from Jinny Beyer. Safari is designed to bring awareness to the seriousness of animal endangerment. Jinny says she was inspired by the brightly colored garments of the African Maasai tribe and the hues of the Serengeti skies. If you are looking for neutrals, Audrey Wright with Legacy Patterns designed a gray scale collection called Neutral Territory. I saw a few kitchen themed lines and Patrick Lose has designed In the Kitchen featuring designs with oven mitts, forks and spoons, mixers, coffee ups as well as some tone on tone and small scale prints. Also from Patrick is Millefiori, an addition to his Basically Patrick collection.
  • BERNINA introduced its Q-matic, its longarm automation system. The Q-matic is designed for the BERNINA Q series machines and features a 23″ all-in-one touch PC mounted to the side of the frame for easy access to designing. The Q-matic comes with more than 200 designs included. Bernina also announced its partnership with American Quilters Society and its initiative of online quilting instruction.
  • Moda celebrated 40 years in business at Quilt Market this year. Luke Haynes created his debut line, Dapper, with Moda. It includes 30 woven that have the quirky feel of a well-loved vintage shirt. Also new with Moda is designer Wenche Wolff Hatling of Northern Quilts. Wenche is a Norweigan quilt designer and introduced Jol, a collection of yule-themed graphics in gray and red. I’m a word person, and Sweetwater Designs know for its text prints didn’t disappoint with its Volume II collection.
  • On the pattern front, I saw lots of new patterns. Some that stuck with me were the collage patterns from Laura Heine of Fiberworks especially Pinterton, a pink flamingo, and Flaura Vintage Trailer, which is the vintage pink trailer that Laura uses to travel to shoos. I also saw that Joan Hawley had her two new patterns in a number of booths helping to showcase both the pattern and the fabric lines. Patterns included Sweetpea Pods, a small angled bag; and Fabio, a lanyard-style key fob.
  • Clover Needlecraft introduced a number of new products that quilters and sewists will enjoy. Added to the Press Perfect by Joan Hawley line is the Hot Ruler, a ruler that can be used with a hot iron. Clover also introduced a wedge iron that easily gets under layers of fabric with its narrow tip. And if you’re interested in adding crochet to your store, I loved the Jumbo Armour Crochet Hooks with the bright handles. Clover also has free project instructions for using fabric scraps with the hooks to make baskets and rugs.
  • New from Floriani (RNK Distributing) with Alex Anderson is Quilters Select stabilizers, fusibles and battings. The product line includes cotton and wool batts as well as a machine batt with a water-soluble fusible coating.
  • New from Michael Miller is Nature Walk by Tamara Kate. I heard Tamara talk at Schoolhouse where she shared that the inspiration for the designs came from family walks on the weekend. Part of the collection is a panel of the alphabet, each letter featuring something nature inspired. Into the Deep by Patti Sloniger features 27 SKUs shown in two colorways, Laguna and Tropical. Michael Miller also introduced some new flannel and gauze lines.

This was just a partial look at what I saw at Quilt Market. I can’t wait to see some of these fabrics in new quilts and garments. Please share what else you saw that was new.



Please do! Just use it in its entirety and be sure to include the blurb below:

Morna McEver is the founder and CEO of the International Association of Creative Arts Professionals where creative arts entrepreneurs craft business success. Her weekly e-zine offers tips, techniques and inspiration to help you craft business success from your creative arts passion. You can sign up for a FREE subscription at


See the ICAP blog at


What’s New at Quilt Market

Wednesday, October 28th, 2015

What's new at Quilt Market


If my math is correct, this is my 44th visit to International Quilt Market. I’ve been going since the fall of 1994, mostly with a booth and walking the floor for the last year. I always return invigorated by the sights and activities of Market and Festival. I love reconnecting with the friends in the industry I’ve made over the years. It’s like a family reunion! Here’s just a bit of what I saw that was new this year.

    • New from Andover is the Little House on the Prairie collection. Walnut Grove features prints from the era of Laura Ingalls’ childhood, Prairie Flowers is a rainbow of calicos inspired by the TV show, and Scenics and Icons features iconic imagery inspired by the novels. Alison Arngrim (Nellie Oleson) and Charlotte Stewart (Eva Beadle) made an appearance during the show to promote the line as well as the release of the DVDs of the restored and remastered original series and a recently released documentary. “The attic and the cellar were full of good things once more and Laura and Mary had started to make patchwork quilts.”
    • One of the hot patterns on the floor was Pop-Ups from Fat Quarter Gypsy. This 6″-tall collapsible container is created with a fat quarter, and the pattern includes the spring you’ll need to complete the project. A second pattern is available in 8″, 10.5″ and 15″ sizes. The designer, Joanne Hillestad, came up with the design at the Creative Arts Business Summit in 2015. She also teamed up with several designers to show you how to feature their designs in your Pop-Up.
    • Springs Creative introduced the Small Wonders fabric collection from Mary Fons. The Small Wonders debut line was curated from Springs vault of vintage art and fabric swatches, The Baxter Mill Archives of antique designs dating back to the 1800s. The line features six country collections each with distinct small prints.
    • In general as I walked the floor I looked for color trend and what came back to me again and again was the use of less pure white across the fabric lines and a move to more of a broader neutral palette in the white range. The motifs that stuck with me were elephants and bicycles.
    • Mary Ellen’s Products introduced two new scents to its Best Press line of clear starch and sizing alternatives: Winter Magic, an evergreen scent, and Frankincense and Myrrh. The product comes in a spray bottle, so it’s environmentally friendly and you can see how much product is left. Best Press doesn’t flake, clog or leave a white residue on dark fabrics.
    • Prym-Dritz introduced its espadrilles program so you can start making your own shoes! They offer everything from the soles and fabrics for lining and tops to the notions needed to sew your shoes. You can get an idea from the short video tutorial “How to Make Espadrilles by Dritz,” on You Tube. Seeing the options that you can make is fun.

I’ll share more from Market next week.



Please do! Just use it in its entirety and be sure to include the blurb below:

Morna McEver is the founder and CEO of the International Association of Creative Arts Professionals where creative arts entrepreneurs craft business success. Her weekly e-zine offers tips, techniques and inspiration to help you craft business success from your creative arts passion. You can sign up for a FREE subscription at


See the ICAP blog at


After the Show

Wednesday, August 13th, 2014

aftershowDo you ever go to a trade show, an event or even a show and come back with lots of notes, papers and business cards? Well, I know the answer is yes to that one. What do you do when you get back to the office? Here are some tips to make it easier:

    1. This first tip makes it easier because you do something at the multi-day event rather than waiting until you return. At the end of each day, go back through your notes and mark the top three as far as action items are concerned. Be sure to do this every evening. At the end of the event or the next morning when you are back in the office, look at your list for each day, prioritize and then narrow the list down to five overall. What actions can you take in the next 30 days to move these ideas to implementation? Schedule it.


    1. What about the mass of business cards? Ideally you do this as you meet the person, but it is not always possible. I like to look at each card, try to remember the interaction and what next action is necessary. I will write this on the back of the card. It might be as simple as the person wanted to start getting your weekly newsletter. It may involve additional follow-up from you. Whatever is required, take care of it or schedule it.


  1. Onto the handouts. I know I come back with flyers for products. Ideally you go through them in the evening and toss what you do not want. I have found that I may not have time for that and they end up in a stack. When I get back in the office, I toss out what I do not need. I sort other materials into what needs more information and what needs action. Then I schedule time to do this.

What are your tips for dealing with events? I know that it is very easy to let the notes, cards and flyers just stack up in the corner without attending to them.

Are You in a Trade Show Frenzy?

Wednesday, October 23rd, 2013

2013 quilt market IAPQ boothI will admit that I got in mini-one this year. And, I’m sure that many of you who do Quilt Market or Festival, or any creative arts show, have been in this position. You have a big list of what needs to get done before the show and you are trying to manage it all and something will go awry. For me, the last week has been filled with technology issues, from my email program not functioning and losing emails, to delays with outside vendors, to issues with my color laser printer. Naturally, they don’t happen in a good time frame. The key for me was to think about what I learned from this? I think you may be able to use these tips:

  1. Add more time into your plans. I actually got out the 2014 calendar and made notes as to when to accomplish certain tasks. Of course, I could not have anticipated the printer problem, though if I printed earlier, I would have had time for the repair.
  2. Be clear about what your intentions are for the show. I realized that some of what I was doing did not really fit with what I wanted to accomplish at the show.
  3. Remember that if something does not get done, it does not get done. In all likelihood, no one will know that but you.

Please share your thoughts about this blog below.

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.


  • 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


Should You Go To Trade Shows

Wednesday, October 24th, 2012

Quilt Market, our industry’s twice a year trade show, starts on Friday. I have the honor of being one of the kick-off lectures. My lecture is on Pinterest. Not everyone agrees with the value of attending a trade show. Here are my top six reasons to go:

1. You need to stay abreast of industry trends. Sure you can wait for your fabric rep or distributor to stop by and show you the new fabric or patterns. Going in person gives you a jump on your competition and puts you in the know sooner than others. Plus lots of different fabrics or patterns, (i.e., the big picture), makes it easier to focus on the trends.

2. You make some fabulous connections. The networking opportunities are endless. You will never meet more people who are interested in your business than at a trade show. And, these people will be life-long connections and lead to more connections, all to the good of your business.

3. Attending or exhibiting builds your reputation. Many of us, other than shop owners, work in an isolated environment. Getting out and being seen by others in the industry lets them know who you are and builds your name recognition.

4. Trade shows gives you a chance to capture leads and follow-up with attendees. If you are exhibiting in a booth, you want to be able to make sales in your booth. Not everyone will buy and your next best option is to sell to them later. This is a great opportunity to gather names of potential buyers so you can contact them when you have a new product or to let them know of a sale. Be sure you have a system in place to collect those names.

5. Knowledge. Trade shows often have lectures and classes. You have a chance to learn how to market a particular product from its designer or learn about a topic that’s new to you.

6. Serendipity. You’ve heard me talk about the “bright, shiny object” syndrome. Well, here’s your chance to actually find some of that BSO; whether that’s the unsuspected new product you’ve been looking for, or the tchotchke you just happen upon, or the new contact you make on the shuttle bus.

What is your reason for attending trade shows?

Please share your thoughts below.

Use systems to ease the stress of shows

Wednesday, October 10th, 2012

Each year as I get ready for Quilt Market, I tend to get a little crazed. Have I ordered the electric? Do I even need electric? What about the booth equipment? Do I have time to hem the drapes? And, where is the fabric for the drapes? And, did I get a hotel room and airline ticket? What about handouts?

It’s so easy to get overwhelmed by all you have to do. I find setting up systems is my answer. Here are just a few tips:

1. Once you get the contracts in for Quilt Market or any major show, put the important dates in your calendar. I like to put a reminder in a few days ahead of time, just in case I need more time. It’s too easy to miss an important date – and that costs you money. I also have a plastic portfolio where I store all the paperwork that comes in. That way when I leave for the trip, everything is in one place.

2. Start a master checklist to track all the tasks involved. What’s great about this idea, is that it’s a master. You get the list out for each show and adapt it. No reinventing the wheel each show. Make notes each year that might help you. For example, if you find that you need a specific type of electric, note that on your master. No more looking through past contracts to find that information. How many handouts should you print? Last year’s information should be handy.

3. Keep another master list of what you ship and what you take with you. I pull out this list each show and make adjustments. For example, I add the last few issues to my list and take off any that I no longer stock. It saves me time shipping.

4. Start early with whatever system you put in place. It’s not fun to be running to the local print shop at 9:00 the night before you leave because you forgot something.

5. Keep notes while you are at your show and then when you get back, find those checklists and make any notes you need to make. When you pull the checklists out next time, you’ll be set – and a little less crazed.

If you don’t have any systems in place for your shows, put some in place this year. It might take more time in the beginning, but you’ll be grateful come the next show!

Please share your thoughts below.


Meet Celine Perkins

Wednesday, August 1st, 2012

In the Summer 2012 issue of The Professional Quilter, Eileen Doughty profiled Celine Perkins, pattern designer and owner of Perkins Dry Goods. Here’s an excerpt of the article:

How else do you advertise your business?

I advertise regularly in American Quilt Retailer. At Market, I do Schoolhouse workshop sessions and contribute to the FabShop Dinner as a table sponsor. (The Fabric Shop Network is a trade association for independent quilt and fabric retailers; they publish FabShop News. They have a dinner for shop owner members right before Market opens.) I’ve been a sponsor for several years, usually donating prize bags for two tables.

I have also participated as an organizer for two Booth Hop events at the 2010 Minneapolis and Kansas City Markets. Last fall in Houston, I joined in the Aurifil Booth Hop.

What have you experienced as a vendor at International Quilt Market?

I have been to 13 Markets since spring of 2005. I try to go to every one, for several reasons. At Market, you have a unique opportunity to meet your customers, face-to-face. You have fantastic networking and educational opportunities. You see what’s new and trending. You get inspired.

After driving back from Kansas City this year, I’m not convinced that it’s easier to drive than to fly! I fly to the majority of markets with my “booth in a bag.” I get a half-booth space (affordable and manageable for one person). I share hotel and car expenses with two or three other designers that I’ve gotten to know. We make a trip to Sam’s Club and Target for booth accessories when we all arrive. I also request that my booth be placed near these designers so we can help each other during the show.

Once I vended at International Quilt Festival in Chicago just to see what it was like. I found that it takes a lot of single pattern sales to pay for a booth!  That convinced me that the independent quilt shop is my primary customer and that Market is the best place to sell my product, not at a retail venue.

How do you split your time between all the various tasks of running your business?

That’s a really good question. My husband has always been impressed with how many plates I can keep in the air. I think this is kind of funny since I don’t always feel very organized, and sometimes I think being “over organized” is a defense mechanism. I make lists, sometimes too many, but lists nonetheless. And I am constantly thinking about what comes next.

My routine is to be in the office by 6:30 a.m. At about 8:30 a.m. I take a break (errands or the gym), then come back and work from 11:00 or so until 4:00 p.m., when I go to the post office or UPS. I work seven days a week, but go from one thing to the next, in and out of the studio, especially on weekends.

I try to stay connected with others in the quilt world, whether they are designer friends or shop owners. It can be very socially isolating to work for yourself in a one-man shop.

I see “Studio and Family Time” on your website schedule, for June and July. Do you have “rules” for keeping your business and personal lives separate (and sane)?

At dinner time, the computer is turned off, and the sewing machine is off-limits.

To relax, I go to the gym at least three times a week and walk with my husband after dinner every day that the weather allows. I lost a significant amount of weight in 2010-11 and through that process have learned to make my health more of a priority. It’s pretty amazing what happens when you get a little selfish with that kind of thing.

I also started knitting more seriously when a close friend opened a yarn shop. It’s a great excuse to spend time away from work with a good friend!

The “Studio and Family Time” came from a need to clear the calendar of business commitments during summer months. The kids are home from school, and there is usually a family vacation planned. My dad passed away a few years ago, and my mother now summers in Minneapolis. We spend a lot of time together. It’s a priority for me to be able to spend time with the family, and blocking out those months seemed like a good way to make that “public.”

If you would like to read more of Eileen’s article on Celine Perkins, it’s included in our Summer 2012 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.

Please share your thoughts below.

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