Dallas Quilt Show – Traditional Versus Artisan Quilts

One of my goals this year was  to attend the Dallas Quilt show.   We arrived in Dallas on Thursday and the show was Friday, Saturday and Sunday.  I was so excited because I have always heard excellent comments regarding their show.  I joined the Guild (from afar – about 300 miles away from home) for the last 3 years.  I had considered entering the 2018 Show and wanted to have the experience of attending before I did that.

Today I am going to share pictures of a few of the quilts that were awarded ribbons at the show.  As a traditional quilter, it is apparent to me that the quilting world has gone nuts and about as far left as one could go!   Quilters who read my posts know that the last 3 years have not been the best as far as my quilting goes and it has put me out of the mainstream as far as shows.   What a shock I was in for at this show.  What a change!

First of all, I am a traditional and purist quilt maker.  I do not use glue, thangles, kits, jelly rolls, precut, laser cut, and the things where the math is not required to make a quilt.  I love to make quilts the old-fashioned way.  I love to work on quilts that are challenging and keep my brain sharp (LOL).  NOW, this is MY choice and preference and I am not trying to be negative to anyone who prefers using all the tools available for all quilters.  I also love the autumn colors, batiks and reproduction fabrics but not Kaffe Fassett fabrics as they are just too busy.  I have made one quilt using his fabric when they first came out and it is still waiting in line to be quilted!  Think I would go blind quilting that one.  But 3 months ago I decided if I was going to do scrappy and fussy cutting I probably needed some of his fabrics to include as a ‘zinger’ in my quilts.

I am trying to learn how to work with scrappy quilts, but for some reason it is really a challenge for me because my eyes focus on the pattern and not the colors. This is why I label myself as a Traditional Quilter.  It takes time to make my quilts because of the complexity and especially when appliquéing and because I am so the perfectionist.

During the last 3 years, the Modern Quilt movement started just as the “Contemporary” quilts became popular in 2004 where fabric designers like Kaffe crept into our quilt world, adding different fabrics to traditional ones.  For awhile, the traditional remained popular.  But now the Modern Quilt movement has appeared to take over at the quilt shows.  These quilts consist of very loud colors (very bright) and patterns that have no reason or rhyme to me.  They can be made in less than a week as color is the most important point in these quilts.  So now we have Artisans taking over the quilt world.

I am not being critical of those who love these quilts, it is just not my idea of a quilt. The Art quilt does not have a main focus color, thereby not drawing the eye to the theme of the quilt.  It is understand this would not apply to animals and/or people in quilts.

To conclude, I also understand that to stay in business (fabric and quilt shops) they must continue to bring new and innovative ideas in order to stay in business.  But I feel that they have forgotten the Traditionalists.  Missouri Quilt Company does seem to mix both and mostly with the “louder” fabrics.  Hats off to them.

So here we go – I will let you be the Judge of some of the quilts that won ribbons and the Best of Show.  What are your thoughts?  Are you a Traditional (purist), Modern Art, or Contemporary quilter?  Please no nasty comments – I respect individual preferences.  I am just wanted to share my experience with others.

I will start with the Modern/Artisan quilts that won ribbons.

This quilt could give  me a headache!  What is it all about anyway?  Color?


Nanette being Nanette I stopped and spoke with one of the Judges that was “traditional” and asked him what were the Judges thinking when they awarded this quilt Best of Show!  Mostly no response he just kept smiling, but did say that the appliqué quilts were not good this year!  You can be the judge of his statement as you look at some pictures of the appliqués quilts.  I forgot to mention that the Judges in this show were 100% bias in awarding ribbons.  Two of the Judges were Fiber Artist and the one gentleman was a Traditional quilter!  Easy to see who was in control of the Best of Show decision!

The quilt above was made by a woman who discovered her heritage through a DNA test and it took 2 years to make this quilt that represents her Heritage.  Here are a few close up of a few blocks.  There is some broidery purse within the quilt, but these flowers are done with individual petals – great gradation of color!  So beautiful!  I am not certain, but it appeared to be needle turn appliqués.

This is a quilt called Nearly Insane and received a Blue Ribbon and a ribbon for hand quilting (if my memory serves me correctly).  Gretchen is making this quilt in blue and yellow and is doing a fantastic job.  It is a very difficult quilt and takes a lot of time to make a block with all the pieces in each block!


Nice quilt.

This is a pretty red/green baltimore style quilt and it won the Past Show Chair’s ribbon.  If you look closely on Row 2, the vase block is not straight.  I spoke with the quilter and she indicated that she did not catch it in time to correct the problem, but has won a 2nd place ribbon at another show.  She also has a quilt entered in the Paducah Quilt Show.  Good for her!

This is a pretty quilt, but the scrappy distracts from the block centers.  Too busy for my pea brain to handle.

This quilt took some time to study the color and make those points on the stars come out perfect – no ribbon. It could have been the colors.

The last quilt (below) is a Di Ford pattern called ‘Phoebe’.  The lady had some problems with the quilt, but still received a blue ribbon.  This is a very difficult quilt to make and she did well!  She indicated on her card that she had a lot of problems with it and it easy to see how.  Every piece has to be squared in order for the quilt to work well.  If you study the picture carefully you can see she had problems on the right side along with the sashing between the stars.

Well, I have had just too much fun today.  TV problem resolved, and Lincoln is going to inspect the Navigator and hopefully they will realize it is a defect!  Fingers crossed.  Now I am ready to go sit in my chair and finish the binding on my Oh Glory.

Have a wonderful day and enjoy some stitching!

17 Replies to “Dallas Quilt Show – Traditional Versus Artisan Quilts”

  1. I also attended the Dallas show and was disappointed to see so many quilts that did not interest me. There were some very nice quilts but I could not believe the “Best of Show”.


  2. Believe me – I will not join Dallas guild again, and I will not enter a quilt.
    I see that the Houston Show has 9 categories for Art quilts, and one for Piced and one for Applique, so no entry this year! I do not think many enjoyed the show and it was expensive to go for 3 days only to


  3. I’m a fairly new quilter and Jenny Doan from Missouri Star taught me to quilt on YouTube – there are thousands of us out there in quilt land in the same boat. I was never a traditional quilter and imagine I never will be. I’m definitely not a fan of the modern quilts you’d find at a QuiltCon or those favored by a modern quilt guild. I’m also not a fan of anything that looks “Pennsylvania Dutch”, could have been Amish, or contains the fabrics that everyone loves from Kansas Troubles. KT is definitely a personal choice but to me they are dull. Maybe one day I’ll get there. I’m also SO over the red/teal combos from Lori Holt. I do love happy quilts, but I’m sure that’s subjective as well. Patriotic, functional, and children’s quilts are up there on my list too. Have you seen the lion or the elephant? Love them but they are way out of my league. I simply don’t have the patience for applique – wish I did but while I’m still working, that’s out. Isn’t it wonderful to have so many options to choose from? That’s why I love quilting!


    1. She is a good instructor to learn from. When I started in 2000 I watched Alex Anderson on PBS. Great designer’s back then. I learned all about the different fabrics, techniques, designers, etc. That is so important as a beginner. I do not do animals, etc. I love the Reproduction Quilts (1800’s) and traditional like Log Cabin, Stars, etc. I think that it is important for the quilting world to help the newbies get started and then it is up to them as they learn more and more as to whether or not they want to work on more technical quiilts.
      Have a great day and thx for the comment. Did you get your machine frame working?

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Thanks for the quilt photos. I am more of a traditional quilter also. I loved the picture of the red & white NI. I checked it out closely. Enjoy relaxing with your binding.


  5. I am a traditional quilter with occasional small pieces being modern. I was totally amazed at what one that show and disappointed when there were obviously so many quilts that in my opinion were better. Of course we all have our likes and dislikes – so we all have our opinions on this subject.


  6. I’m with you, I like to make traditional, lots of pieces, difficult, hand quilted quilts 🙂 having said that I have bought Jelly Rolls and other pre-cuts and I find them really useful for quilts I want to give as gifts, I normally use a traditional pattern with them 🙂


    1. I learned something about jelly rolls the hard way – Batik jelly rolls are hand cut – they are NOT precision cut, therefore issues can arise if one needs the full 2 1/2″….Now if it is laser cut like most of the moda regular fabrics there is not supposed to be a problem, but I quickly decided to not test that one. Thx for the comment.


  7. I agree with everything everyone before me has said. I love bright colors, but when I think of a making a quilt for myself it is a traditional. I have started doing more hand work now that I am retired and have more time.
    My son has been in martial arts for 30 yrs and when he was younger we took him to “BIG Regional Tournaments” and he never qualified (sometimes it was his fault), once we talked to the judges they told us “we don’t score on traditional, we look for the flash and what you see on tv” We quit spending our money on those. Potolics
    Just a persons opinion…Judges can be very bias and usually are. Loved the majority of the quilts.


    1. I learned that one also, along with the guilds who tend to have their favorite Judges over and over again and those Judges learn quilter’s work eventually and tend to gravitate toward those favorites. Thx for commenting


  8. Thank you for the personal survey. I do agree that shows have gone pretty much contemporary. The traditionalist are pretty much in the shadows but hang in there we will return to the light soon. I think the modern quilters need their own shows independent from the traditional but that is just my opinion. They seem to be feeding off the traditional and not stepping out on their own. Lovely selection of the traditional that were hung.


  9. I am not much in favor of the modern looking quilts. Some are interesting to look at but not something I would have a desire to create. I have seen the shift away from traditional quilts being the star of quilt shows for many years. It used to be that Baltimore Album style quilts, if done well, were the best of show winners. For a couple years, at a guild show I attended, thread painted scene quilts were best of show (and that same quilt maker was a winner in the Houston show a year or two ago. I have seen painted quilts win. For me, I am not making quilts that I am wanting to enter shows for the desire to win something. That said, I have won ribbons in the past. I am no longer a guild member and have not put any of my quilts in a show for a long time.
    You already answered my question about whether you still intended to enter a quilt in the Dallas show. My thought is that people still deserve to see the style quilts that you make. There are people who, like you, want to see more of them in the shows.


    1. I will not do Dallas because of the expense. I am going to see what Houston does this year.
      I am going to enter the San Antonio show because the Quilt Show Chairman is a friend and I want to support her. I have some quilts that are “fresh” and will help the show. Lately there has been issues with the guilds not having enough quilts to fill spaces so they go out to the members and let them enter older quilts. I like to enter quilts that have never been shown before.
      I have decided to continue on with my tastes in quilts and show them in the local shows. Now we will see where Houston is going in 2017 before I think about 2018.
      Have a great day and hope all is well with you


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