Sunday, April 06, 2008

The loud blowing of many, many trumpets

Today was the Trentham Gardens Quilt show. I had three quilts in just to participate so that a show would actually exist. The most recently made was Rositha's world.
Imagine my surprise - this quilt scored 74/80 in the Judging! And yes, I cried when I opened the comment letter. I lost marks on the quilting design and quilting workmanship which is absolutely fair because the quilting plan was, 'Right, its under the needle, now how shall I scribble on it?' It was done in about 5 hours at Midsomer Quilting who lent me a room when I was on holiday and I was unable to maintain stitch regularity at the end because I was aching so much. I got 8/10 for each of those two categories which has determined that my next few months have to be spent practising quilting!!

The other quilts I showed were this one, 'She is more precious than rubies' made for my parent's anniversary.
and 'White women can quilt', made with the scraps.
This is of execrable quality (If one were to be controversial one might say 'inspired by Gees Bend in more ways than one'!) and I showed it only for the fun of hanging about on the otherside of the screen, peeking through the gap at the edge and eavesdropping on what people thought of it, as I knew it would be very different in style from all the others. ( The two hung together). The reactions were very different - people reacted to 'She is more precious' 'comfortably' - comments like, ' Oh thats pretty' or, 'I like the colours.' When they came to White Women, heads tended to go to one side and they examined it for longer and more thoughfully. ( On occasions there were signs of outright confusion / horror!)

I was partcularly amused by two comments on it:

"Thats too clever for me, that one."
Woman 1: Look at the fabrics. Why do you think she chose to put silk there?"
Woman 2 : For the effect of the texture. (Runs finger very close to it) See how it reflects the light and the crinkled look contrasts with the smooth of the cotton.
Ok, I'll go with that. In fact, it is cheap polyester and its in there because I was having a very very bad day at work in Macclesfield once, had had no sleep, needed both cheering up and keeping awake so went for a fresh air walk to a fabric shop where there was no cotton so I bought that and stuck it in that evening as quilting therapy needing only to sew and not caring about quality!

I know this is getting a long post but for those who have always wondered how Judges decide ( as indeed I did until I found out when collecting my quilts tonight that you get a comments sheet) and in the interests only of helping others know how to do well in a quilt show ( because until today I didn't know any of this) I set out below a list of the criteria and the marks given for each quilt (White, then Rubies then Rositha) . I hope this is not breaching any rule of ettiquette!

Design and Interpreation
Initial visual impact including the overall appearance and appeal. Interpretation of any chosen theme (5) (8) (8)

Design balance
Is the design balanced (6) (8) (10)

Use of Colour
Appropriate use of colour (7) (8) (10)

Precision of workmanship includng invisible appliqe stitches, precise piecing etc appropriate to the technique chosen (4) (5) (10)

Use of chosen materials
Have the materials chosen worked well in the design ( including appropriate use of challenge fabric in the special category (6) (8) (10)

Framing and finishing
Where appropriate the framing borders and edge finish pieces of the piece (5) (6) (10)

Quilting design
Appropriateness of the quilting design to the design of the piece (4) (7) (8)

Quilting workmanship
Evenness of hand quilting or regularity of machine stitches (4) (6) (8)

Total ( 41/80) (56/80) (74/80)

A handwritten comment on Rubies was ..."A charming quit with pleasing colour scheme. Do try to keep your applique stitches small and tuck under the raw edges. A good try!" Which is absolutely fair as the applique was mostly done in semi-darkness on a swaying train up and down to London and the stitches are less than fine. I was pleased to see I had improved by the time of the last quilt.
On Women : 'Interesting combination of fabric. ' (!!)

I was a little confused to get 6 for regularity of the stitches on Rubies as it was done with a longarm stitch regulator! It is clear that this category also included the wobbliness of the shape of the freehand feathers I over ambitiously attempted on my first longarm using attempt.

Finally this is the quilt - by Lesley Brankin- that won the special Water category that Rositha's world was in. (Incidentally it was a different Judge for this category than for the other two quilts.

This is the one, by Anja Townrow I would have voted winner but in fact it did not get a place at all.

I found the comments fair and useful to know what to focus my learning on and it was very fun to watch people looking at them. I hope they shed some light on the process for others. I'd encourage everyone to show somthing, somewhere, sometime. Not least because I love looking at other people's quilts whatever they are like.

And finally ( phew!) I might not have won a prize but I was stopped 4 times to have a photo of my applique coat taken by passers by. That will do me nicely thank you. And now, if I could only get my head through the door, I would go and start another.


Nellie's Needles said...

Kudos! and thank you for sharing all that info. I especially like the overheard comments. Your "White Women Can Quilt" has great appeal to me, although "Rositha's World" is marvelous and the anniversary one is beautiful like a lot of quilts are in that genre.

Brenda said...

Entrant feedback was a key focus of the quilt judging workshop that I attended last year. We trialled many different assessment systems and comment forms and some were very tricky to apply in any meaningful way. As far as I can tell, comment sheets are not common in Australian quilt shows so it was interesting to hear about your experience and was you got out of it.

Gina said...

Congratulations. Are you entering the a quilt at the NEC.

Thanks for the info although I still haven't plucked up the courage to enter a quilt in a big show

love and hugs xxx

Jennifer said...

Congratulations! One aspect of belonging to a guild that I miss is the every-other-year opportunity to hang my quilts in a show; the drive to have something new for each show was great incentive (for a slacker such as myself) as was the opportunity to watch people's reactions. Great stuff.

English Rose said...

oh Helen, well done, what fabulous marks, and thank you for sharing the judges comments and criteria for marking, it all helps to point us in the right direction, especially if like me you are still crawling along in the learners lane.