Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Local Quilt Show Recap - Why YOU Should Enter Your Quilts in Your Local Show

Back in March, my local quilt guild held our annual quilt show.  Just like for most guilds, the quilt shows raise a lot of money.  Some of the money is given to charity, some is used to fund the guild, pay for speakers and basically pay the bills the rest of the year.  It's a really important fundraiser.

The theme for our show this past year was "Not Your Grandma's Quilt" - so basically a modern theme.  I've only been quilting for about 2 years and I've only been a member of the guild for 1 year.  Most of the members of our guild have been involved in it for many years and have loads of quilting experience including hand quilting, applique and whatever else.  Their quilts are gorgeous and most stitches are perfect, or at least they seem to be perfect to a newbie like me.

Therefore, I had not planned on entering any quilts until the chairperson spoke with me.  She had heard that I was interested in modern quilting and wanted me to enter something in the show.  She is a dear, sweet lady and I could not turn her down.  I think she had guessed - accurately as it turned out, that most of the ladies in our guild didn't embrace her theme.  They didn't want to step outside of their box - they like their boxes.  Don't get me wrong, there were a handful of people who completely embraced the modern theme and their quilts were awesome.  Of course, I didn't get pictures of any of them. :(

I didn't win any awards for the 4 quilts I entered, but then I didn't really expect to.  I entered the show so that people could see my quilts, so that they could see something different than they had been seeing.  There were over 250 quilts entered and I'd have to say that I would have classified about 15 of them as modern.  That doesn't include the art quilts.  We had a few art quilts and they were lovely but in my mind, they are in a separate category.
That's why I'm making this call out.  To all modern quilters, or modern traditionalist, or traditional modern, or improv or whatever you want to call yourself.  


Let the world see something else other than traditional quilts, civil war quilts, Baltimore applique quilts and all the other stuff we've been looking at for years.  I want something different  and you shouldn't be afraid to show your work.

Hear are the reasons I used (and probably the same ones you are using) to not enter a quilt in a quilt show:
1.  my piecing isn't perfect.  I don't always meet my seams up
2. my binding isn't perfect.  I sew it on by machine and they will want hand sewn.
3.  my quilting isn't perfect.  I can't afford to send my quilts out to be long armed.  
4.  my quilting is too simple, the judges will want complicated motifs with feathers and blah blah
5.  I do improv piecing, the judges won't understand it
6. I'm afraid to enter.

Entering my quilts in our local show helped me to just GET OVER IT.  Our quilts are different, they are made with solid colors, or bold prints.  We mix colors that people might not normally see together.  We may not always follow all the quilting "rules" and are afraid that the quilt police will come take our fabric stash away.

But guess what?  When I took a chance and showed my quilts that were by no means, perfect, I felt better about my work and having it judged.  The judge was a nationally accredited judge and she really tried hard to say nice things about all my quilts.  Even my Giant Starburst quilt which I knew was a hot mess, she gave me a + for visual impact.  

But what really got me excited was that on all 3 of my other quilts, I got a + for precision of work on my piecing.  I almost cried.  I think that was the highest compliment I could have been paid at this point.  It's what I've been striving for since I started quilting.  It's the OCD in me :)

I hate this picture of me.  My smile is so forced and I look creepy.  Focus on the quilt :)

So, that is the rant for today.  This is the same rant I have recently given a friend who got discouraged and didn't think she was good enough to enter the Houston Quilt Festival.  How do you know until you try?  If they reject your quilt, then make another one and try again next year.  In the mean time, lets start entering all the small quilt shows around us.  The local ones and the ones in the next county.  Let's show them what Modern Quilting is, that it's important to us.  We can love traditional quilts and respect the love and workmanship that went into them and still have our modern quilts too.  There is room for all of us.  But first we have to try.

Deadlines to remember:  If you are a member of the MQG and are doing the Michael Miller Fabric challenge, the deadline has been moved to July 25.

The MQG is asking any members interested in displaying in the Modern Quilt Showcase at the Houston Quilt Festival 2014, the deadline to enter is June 27, 2014.  Click here for details.

The Houston Quilt Festival has a lot of special exhibits and the deadlines run through the summer.  Please check out their call for entries in their special exhibits by clicking here.

I'd love to hear your comments about entering local shows or any shows.  Did you feel the judge was fair?  Please share your thoughts in the comments section.

And one last thing.  We are starting a modern quilting group/bee in the Tyler, Texas area.  Anyone who is interested and lives close enough to Tyler to make it feasible, please email me at handmadewhimzy@gmail.com.  You do not have to be a member of the local quilt guild to join our modern sewing group although it is perfectly awesome if you are.  Thanks!

**Special thanks to Robyn for sending me the pics to use in this post.

**Linking up to Anything Goes Mondays and Sew Many Ways**


  1. Great post! You are so right about why we should put ourselves out there. Thanks!

  2. I wish I lived close enough to join you!! I could not agree with you more!! I was afraid to enter out local state fair (alaska) because all of the quilters are also long armers, and they do eachothers quilts, so I felt that my beginner work didnt have a chance. I was speaking to a friend while looking at the incredible quilts on display and the judges came up and told us that they WANTED new quilters and that there really werent strict guidelines for perfect seams etc, and that we definitely should join and send quilts in. I was so surprised and thrilled with their warmth. So see, you're right!!! XX!

  3. Great pep talk. Entering is such an unknown... it is intimidating and rewarding at the same time. The deadlines make me stress... but meeting them makes me feel fantastic.
    & while I may need a reminder from time to time...
    it's setting the goal, following through on the challenge, and being proud it's out of the UFO pile really do offer a wonderful sense of accomplishment.
    I am creating my first 100% modern quilt.... no commercial pattern, no pins & no stitch lines . WOW... I quilted today for 51/2 hours before my back hurt. (When I do precision work I get there in an hour or two!)
    The colors are bright & make me smile. I think I may even heckle the quilt police!


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