Quilt Shows, Judges, New Goodies, and Awaiting the Beginning of my Year – October 1, 2017

I attended a local quilt show yesterday and again I was again disappointed!  The show consisted of  pretty quilts and plenty of old quilts that were showcased in order to have an adequate number of quilts to show to the public.   I had attended the Dallas Quilt Show this year for the first time which was a very EXPENSIVE trip and a show that I have no desire to return to.  There were some beautiful quilts that were totally ignored by the Judges only to award a Modern quilt the Best of Show.   For some reason entering quilts in show is no longer desired by traditional quilters because of the bias Judges, not interested in competition, or there are fewer quilters that want to participate in a Guild.   I am also very concerned that the Vendors participating in the Quilt Shows will become extinct because it is difficult for them to financially break even at shows due to having to complete with On-Line Quilt Shops.  This is the way the world is going and I guess we must all adjust to change – whether we like it or not.  I happen to be a “shopper” and if I can save some $ and buy more fabric or tools for my quilting projects, I will.  We have all seen some of our favorite quilt shops closing because of the low volume of sales.  It is sad to see these changes.  But when we are having to pay $12 – $13 a yard for our fabrics, paying less means more for the customer.

NOW, having said all of this,  do not take my opinion as a negative because it is just a fact of life for Traditional Quilters like myself.  We are old relics to the quilt world, we do not understand the “Modern” quilt, do not understand why a quilt has to be quilted by a long arm machine that leaves little of the craftsmanship covered up and why hand work is no longer valued!  I do not want my quilts to be so stiff with quilting that they can stand up by themselves!  I say that there should be a Modern Quilt Show and a Quilt Show that showcases REAL quilting!  Keep them separate and do not continue trying to eliminate all traditional quilts.  Young quilters need to learn the basics of quilting, then branch out into the field that intrigues them the most!  Just like learning the history of our country first, then move on to current times!

We quilters who love to enter Quilt Shows wonder lately, “what were those Judges thinking”?  Well wonder no more.  It is important to read the bio of each Judge to see what quilts will be winners.  Here in South Texas, a Reproduction quilt does not have a chance in winning, nor does the traditional needle turn applique quilts.  If it is not an Artisan quilt, a machine embroidery quilt, or a long arm “heavily” quilted with feathers and other “fill in all spaces” quilting, there will be no ribbons for your quilt.  I began to see this change in judging in 2012.  The machine work is more valued than the hand work.   The Long Arm business is booming, but the shows are really suffering because those who are the traditionalists are not going to participate in a show where it is well-known that the judges are biased toward machine work only.

In my opinion, Modern quilts are quilts that are made by quilters who want to make a quilt a week without having to think, enjoy math, or dive into a challenging quilt pattern.  Kits are another way to circumvent the joy of selecting the fabrics, feeling the quality, cutting the fabric, and then sewing it together.  Accuquilt machines might be great for some but is robbing the young quilters of the basics of quilting.  Modern quilts are in the abstract, and to me they have not reason or logic in the pattern or selection of fabric.  AGAIN, I am not being critical of anyone who prefers the Modern quilts.  It is just my opinion of the Modern quilt world.

I have only been quilting since 2003 and in 2006 I began to enter my quilts in the local quilt shows for the sole purpose of helping me become a more precise quilter.  Yes, I am retired and have a lot of time (LOL – not this past 5 months though) to quilt each day.  I still enjoy the challenge in the entire processes involved in making a quilt.  I had entertained the idea of one of those Go Cutters, but quickly realized that I would never be being able to make a quilt that would turn out 100% square.  For a show quilt it is one of the most important rules when a quilt is judged!  It took me a couple of times to really think this through, but when making a quilt, I always add 1/8″ to the cutting directions.  To be held to a definite 2 1/2″ strip would be devastating to me.  One can only do so much with a scant seam line to make up the difference when squaring each HST, etc.

In 2003 I attended the Houston show for the first time.  By then I was very familiar with the Designers at that time and the fabric lines.  It was also a time when “Contemporary” versus “Traditional” quilts was a very popular discussion.  Neither a Contemporary or Traditional quilter understood the other!  Artisans became involved in our little “traditional” quilt world with their loud splashy colors.  It took me some time to make a quilt using Kaffe Fassett fabric and I have not made another, although I did purchase some fat quarters in the last year for a specific quilt and will probably never buy anymore.

There are so many wonderful techniques to learn in the making of a quilt.   When the Reproduction Era started I was slow in buying in to that, but now that is all I want to make along with my beloved Batiks.  I just knew that Batiks were a “fad” fabric when they came into the quilting world, but I started working with them and fell in love.  I only subscribe to Quiltmania magazine and purchase a lot of books from the Australian quilters/designers.  The quilts are mostly based on reproduction quilts and are very unique and highly challenging.  The regular US magazines became too “easy” and “no challenges” in making them.   The bottom line to this ranting post is to bring to light the path that the Quilt Shows and Guilds are heading and it is not a pretty one at the end.  Maybe in 2076 there will be another revival of quilts like 1976!  Think So.

Now on to the positives of the show yesterday.  I purchased some background fabric from Moda for $8.50 a yard and happy with that purchase.  I believe it is from E. Sitar’s Snow collection.

Next I purchased some new stamp pads from By Kate (a dear vendor friend) and have one of her new patterns that supports the Millefiori  book pattern, La Passacaglia.  I have decided to play with a block and let Kate know if there are any problems. This is Kate’s 28th year in the quilt world, by providing an alternative to paper piecing.  She uses rubber stamps that stamp the design on the back side of the fabric and then hand sew the block.  Please check out the web site – she has a link to show her technique.  She is one of my favorites.  Of course, I did not have the Millifiori Book 1, 2, or 3, so I went to  Paper Pieces and purchased Book 1.  I  like the pattern, but not so many different colors that are in the original quilt.  There is nothing to draw the eye to the quilt – the fabrics are just too busy for me.

I visited Memories By the Yard quilt booth and they were showcasing the CutterPillarGlow – LED light pad for Crafters.  This is a new product and I ended up purchasing one!   Take a minute and look at the video – I did not purchase the one that can be run on a battery because there is not a way to change the battery if it dies!  Neat product.  I also ordered the glass cutting mat that will be sent to me in a week or so.

All in all, I visited with Kate,  Rosie , and J. Michelle Watts  all of whom I have supported throughout my quilting years!  Great ladies!  Michelle designs the most wonderful Southwest patterns, Rosie carries so many beautiful Redwork patterns and Presensia embroidery thread, and of course Kate does some fantastic things with her stamp technique.  Hoping to see them all next year at the New Braunfels and Austin Shows.

AND by the way – I have no more hands to be operated on!  My plan is to be back to the serious quilting no later than the first or second week of October.  I call this time the “Beginning of my New Year”.  Well, it is the beginning of the 4th quarter of 2017, so I am a few quarters off who cares!  We will see what I can accomplish with two hands again.  All Unforeseen Requirements since May are resolved and the path is open to a “no stress” remainder of 2017!

Happy Quilting.


31 Replies to “Quilt Shows, Judges, New Goodies, and Awaiting the Beginning of my Year – October 1, 2017”

  1. Interesting observations. I went to a local quilt show in Ocala a few years ago and there was a nice mix of artistic and traditional quilts with lots of hand quilting. There was some machine quilting but it was a good mix in the show of all. I was of course drawn to the traditional and hand quilted ones but there were some beautiful ‘picture’ quilts as well. So happy you will be able to enjoy hand work again. I have been tempted to buy some stamps for hand quilting… it is a toss up between those and Inklingo whenever I decide to pick up the hexagon project again. Thanks for sharing her link and info in case I decide to go that way.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I am so sorry you are not able to embrace some of the newer trends along with traditional quilting. I have been hand piecing, hand quilting etc. for over 50 years and love some of the new modern designs and longarm quilting which I also do to supplement my retirement income. I love how some of the young mothers and working women can also enjoy our craft and accomplish beautiful pieces with their time constraints. I see more of them entering our craft and perhaps can keep it from becoming a lost art as I so feared for many years would happen. Although I only make about 30% of my present quilts in the modern style, I love quilting and enjoying their designs in my business. But then I quilt for enjoyment, never to be judged. If my customers, family and friends use and enjoy the quilts I give them–I have made over 300 in these many years and only have a few for myself–that is all the satisfaction I need or want.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Nanette – I love to buy things in person and at trade shows. One of my favorite things. Hate to think everything is going online. But, I believe you are, We have had two quilt shops near where I live and both are closed. I do mostly traditional stuff and am a big believer of doing my own quilting. So many, one person pieces, and then another quilts. Never understood how that worked in contests, because it is not about one persons skills/talents. I am not against the modern quilts, I like some of them, but in a contest, there should be separate categories, so every type is recognized. Quilting is very personal for me, which is why I think I need to do all pieces and parts.


  4. I agree with a lot of your comments – but then I am a traditional quilter and always have been – made my first quilt back in 1974 and cut with scissors and stitched by hand and quilted by hand – that being said I still quilt by hand do some of quilts by hand piecing, needle turn applique and EPP – I do use a rotary cutter but sometimes my accuquilt and scissors. (when I machine quilt it is straight lines only do not care for free motion) I buy a lot on line because I have no quilt shops near by – to me 85 miles away in any direction is not near by. But when i go to a quilt show – I buy! I love looking and feeling and putting away the memories so I know which fabric felt good so when I have extra money I can order. I do not like the machine quilted quilts that have every spare inch full of machine quilting – just my preference but I like the look and feel of hand quilting. I don’t care for Kaffe Fasset and do not buy his fabric – in fact when we turned a corner at the last quilt show and there was his booth – I told my husband to get his sun glasses out – but I know a lot like his stuff I’m just not one of them. I make quilts for my enjoyment and my families enjoyment I could care less to show a quilt – I just do not care to because it will be hand quilted and won’t be in the category to win a ribbon anyhow. So I guess I better end here as I have already said enough LOL


    1. Thank you or your comments. I know I said too much, but sometimes I do speak out about my hobby. I have not been able to enter a Show since 2014 due to family issues, but do believe that now I can pick up where I was in 2014 and make a few quilts to enter in 2018. I love the shows and visiting with other quilters.


      1. Nanette, you have not said too much. Positive criticism and discussion is a good thing! We are all unique (thank goodness) and it is wonderful to see the freedom in artistic expression. I am not a modern quilter, but I have seen some very well done original modern designs. And, yes, we do need to be sure to pass on to future generations all of the many options available to them, without sacrificing the knowledge of basic skills.

        Welcome back to quilting…looking forward to your accomplishments!


  5. I can certainly appreciate your views, but I have to be honest. If Moda had not come up with pre-cuts, I’d of given up quilting long ago. I cannot match colors (which is why I joined the military so I didn’t have to choose my clothes each day…really). Having a precut of a couple of pieces of each fabric in the line guarantees my matching and color success. When I go on my own, it’s a disaster. I actually emailed Missouri Star Quilt Co and asked them to add a suggested pattern to make with their Daily Deal and to suggest coordinating solids and borders because I can’t tell colors well online. Now they do that (they emailed me and thanked me for the suggestion) and today they are the largest fabric re-seller in the country/world. They saved a dying town! The post office was going to close and now they make 5 stops a day to pick up/deliver and had to add more postal workers. Their average Daily Deal sale is 7,000 units…every day. If that isn’t a boon for quilting, I don’t know what is. Nanette, you have to look at quilting like cars. If Ford had only stayed with the Model T, they’d of gone out of business in a decade. So not only did they create cars for everyone, other manufacturers got on board and now there are trucks, sedans, jeeps, and SUVs. There’s tiny, tinier, ginormous, and limos. There’s a car for every shape and size. And I admire those who keep the antiques running but one day there will be George Jetson zooming around. As I started this, I appreciate your traditions and desire to keep them alive. But times change, cars change, music changes, and so does quilting. Unfortunately, a Classic car won’t judge well with muscle cars. And while I can’t stand “Modern Quilts”, I love the other artisan quilts that inspire me but I know I’ll never be good enough to make. You keep being you!


    1. Thank you for your comments. I understand changes and keep up with changes that make sense, especially technology. I also understand the business aspect, but, it is very difficult to compete now with someone who uses glue, starch, pre-cut applique pieces, etc in quilting when a traditional quilter does all the work to make the quilt by hand. I also understand that some quilters have issues in selecting fabrics and color. The Civil War Era quilts have now become very popular but not in South Texas. I need to move up North where all the traditional quilters reside. LOL


  6. I am also especially fond of batiks, reproduction fabrics and scrappy traditional quilts. I am also glad that there is enough diversity in our craft that younger quilters are finding their own niche. Like you, I do wish there was greater appreciation of the traditional way of making quilts and more balance at quilt shows. BTW, I do believe I visited the same show on Friday.


    1. Dallas was such a let down. It is difficult now for Guilds in this area to achieve their goals for show quilt entries. This started in 2014. I think it is sad as we used to have such beautiful quilts and the majority were “fresh” quilts. Thank you for commenting.


  7. I haven’t been to a quilt show in a good while so I don’t really know what is winning and what is not….except when I see someone’s blog post that shares them. Are you going to the Houston show this year? I always enjoyed it…..even the art quilts.


  8. Houston is out. For me it would not be a healthy journey into the land of Mesquitos and a Convention Center still housing people impacted by Harvey. Funny, this was the year we were going. Glad I changed my mind in May! We will miss the trips to Rockport for the Holidays but such is life. Thx for commenting Karen


  9. I agree with you about the quilt shows and the “modern fabric lines”… those quilts will look VERY DATED in a very short period of time. Whereas using 1800’s reprints could be made any time for any body, and still be “very in trend” for our homes today.
    Too many people do not appreciate what came before… grandma an grampa… and lose a whole lot of history on the way.


  10. I went to the Dallas quilt show this year as well as three local small shows that always teach me something or show me something. This year Dallas as well as the smaller shows were flops. I had not thought about the judge aspect of deturring really good quilters. This may be part of what is happening. But I really want to believe that the really good quilters are busy making their intricate quilts which take longer, therefore causing a slump in the algorithm of quality as well as quantity. I also think the more advanced we get in this craft, we are not in awe of it as much, because we have seen it done somewhat before. I know many years ago I submitted my drunkards path quilt to the county fair. The rules were amateurs only. I was beat by the lady that has the long arm business in town who does not do pantographs, she only does loopdeloops called meandering. Her quilt was hand embroidered but just simple squares sewn together. That deterred me from entering again. And then I go to these lack luster shows and wish I would have submitted something.


    1. What is happening is that the Modern quilts take no time, no brains, no thinking, and just slap something together. The Guild and Shows know that quilters are not interested in doing detailed quilting. So they are catering to the machine work, the long armers, and the modern easy peasy no thinking quilts! I am going to still make an attempt to have quilts ready for the 2 shows closest to me. I am considering joining the Hill Country guilds. Missouri Quilt Company is a great example of this. I do not do jelly rolls, or all the precut pieces. They cater to the quilts who have trouble with selecting color and fabrics. OK – I had better shut up! My day is not going like I planned – LOL. The key is to find out who the judges are and what is their bias in the quilt world!!!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. The more I have thought about this, well, you have turned the lights on. The internet is all about visual. The more contrast and simplicity of a quilt, the easier it is to photograph. I have a couple traditionally pieced quilts and they are not photogenic. The modern quilt movement is happening. I think part of this reason is because of the internet and the people behind the scenes of the internet. I know running my blog, I have learned that the high profile bloggers probably have huge UFO piles because they keep switching gears and showing new fabrics to get you to spend money. And the quilts they do finish are simplistic, because their blog would not survive if they sewed one project until completion. And the modern/art quilts are spit out quickly. They are the fast food of quilts. I am thankful for people like Bonnie hunter who show us time savers, simplicity, and teach us what is really important. She does not have any fabric manufacturers supporting her site. Kudos to her for HER hard work to get where she is


  11. I think you pretty much said what we traditionalist have been thinking for quite sometime. Our local show has been taken over by the inner group of ART quilters and it feels like thier show. They also need thier show but can’t afford to be separate so we are thier vehicle. I believe the pendalem will swing back to the center but by then I’ll be too old to quilt and there will be so many new quilters who have no knowledge of quilt history. What they don’t know I guess they won’t miss unless pointed out Humm? I hand and machine piece and hand quilt on a Mennonite style frame (it is now 40 yrs mine) and love what I do. I do have utilitarian quilts and Quilts of Valor machine quilted because of the volume needed. There is a reason but not my first love. We must preserve the art and skill of quilting and needlework.


  12. What a resounding support of my ranting. I also believe that this too will change. But not if the Judges continue bringing their bias to the shows which cut out some wonderful work. Can you believe that a Sue Garman Afternoon Delight received NOTHING – Not even an Honorable Mention. Made me ill! After 5 months of limited time and hands to quilt, I am back! I will continue on with my special quilts! It is so nice to have other traditional quilters leave comments. Have a great day Jaydee!!!


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