I had a most interesting time recently. I got to sit in on the judging of the 104 quilts at the Georgia Quilt Show which was presented by Original Sewing and Quilting Expo. The judges were Holice Turnbow and Beverly Fine who are both certified by The National Quilting Association. Holice was certified in 1978 and is the longest serving certified judge. Beverly was certified in 2003. It was good to get to listen and watch as they evaluated the quilts.
This was a juried show. There were three categories: Bed Quilts, Large Wall Quilts and Small Wall Quilts. The judging started with all of the quilts in a category lying on tables in one large pile. The judges flipped through them quickly to get a sense of what kinds of quilts were in the category. Then the real judging began. The quilt holders would hold up the quilt so the judges could see it better. Then they would talk about three specific areas; overall appearance, workmanship and design and color. Scribes would write down the judge’s comments. I think as a quilt maker I would love having the judge’s comments. What a good way to learn.
Let me tell you some of the comments I heard. If you are thinking of entering your quilts in shows, maybe this will be helpful. The judges commented on precise piecing, corners matching, points not being cut off, thread not showing and the shadowing of dark fabric showing through light fabric. They talked about quilting and how it should fill the space evenly and appropriately, match the style of the quilt and enhance the overall look.
Here are some specifics. Quilts should be squared with square blocks of the same size. Long, straight lines in a quilt should indeed be straight. Quilting should go to within ¼” to ½” of the edge of the block. Stabilizer should be removed in applique and paper piecing. Quilt marking lines should not be visible. And here’s a biggie that was frequently mentioned: the batting should fill the binding to the edge and the corners of the binding should be neatly mitered with the edges of the miters stitched shut. In art quilts, perspective was noted both in size of objects and the intensity of the colors used.
After the judges were done examining a quilt, the quilt was either held for further evaluation or released to be hung in the display area. When all of the quilts in a category had gone through the first step of the process, the judges went back to the quilts they had held earlier. They went through them and selected the top four quilts in each category. The quilts were then very carefully examined to determine which was first, second, third and honorable mention. There were also quilts that were judged for beautiful hand quilting, beautiful machine quilting and for the judge’s choice awards.
If you’d like to see photos of the prizewinning quilts, you can see them on Facebook.