Great conversation! 7-30-21

I have so enjoyed our discussion on binding and judges – I’ve been thinking of making a check off sheet for future judging. One of the readers, Kathy W. I think, had such a list for fair entries and I think it’s the answer. You can help me by giving me YOUR list of absolute must-sees and I will post the sheet here when I finish. I think I should go to the state fair to look at the quilts – except you’re not allowed to touch them so Im not sure I’d be able to see those corners. Maybe a “quilt watcher” with gloves on could show me? What do you think?

Another thing she didn’t like was raw edge applique that wasn’t done with a solid satin stitch. I have done machine applique with a tiny zigzag stitch on top of fused pieces but she’s probably right that it won’t hold up for repeated washings. I personally don’t like satin stitch applique – it shrinks up the applique area so the quilt does not lay flat.

Areas north and east of us are getting rain this morning – none for us. It’s amazing to me that my grass continues to grow! And I mowed it yesterday again. After lunch my friends Darwin and Betsy came with their goat “lift” to trim those bad hooves. She’ll have to learn to walk straight again!

This is what greeted me yesterday morning – it’s fair week so that means my orchid cactus is blooming!

Each time it blooms I am once again astonished at the size, the color, the beauty of this flower!!!

Reader quilts:

One more comment about the judge and then I’ll shut up – I was so glad I was there to explain the Bullseye quilt and process to her because she took one look at a lovely bullseye quilt and pointed out that the quarter circles didn’t match. UGH!!! I took complete credit for the technique and tried to justify it to her but she didn’t like it – of course the maker got a blue ribbon from her anyway which it deserved.

It’s back to work on my Tilda fabrics this morning as soon as I finish doing the barn chores. In my next post I’m going to ask for updates from specific readers whom I have kept notes on regarding health or family issues. I’d like to think we’re our own little prayer chain!

Heads up for next post!!

36 thoughts on “Great conversation! 7-30-21

  1. Rhoda

    That orchid cactus is spectacular.
    You did great interceding with the judge. I think she needs to broaden and update her judging criteria.

    You would be a very good judge.

    She needs to appreciate what people accomplish and finish in this day and age!! It is not easy!!!!

  2. Lynn in Scottsdale

    Thanks for another great post Mary.

    The orchid cactus bloom is wonderful.

    Love the idea of a prayer chain.

  3. Joyce from NY

    That orchid cactus is beautiful. I don’t have any desire to have my quilts judged. I just do it for myself & family, when I do it. Thanks for the post Mary. Beautiful DD quilts too! Cooled down here, feels good, I agree seems like all I do is mow lawn!!

  4. Mary Kay Parshall

    The orchid cactus is beautiful! I do enjoy all of your posts. Thanks for sharing. We have had plenty of rain here in NE Pennsylvania. It’s coming down from Canada instead of across the Midwest. Hopefully you will get some relief soon.

  5. Charlotte Shira

    Wow! That orchid cactus is beautiful! As are all the DD quilts.
    And you would make a great judge!

  6. Carol Garverick

    Remember that she is just one person’s opinion. What are her qualifications? When I worked at Red Rooster Quilts in Dublin Ohio, a customer came into the store and was asking for any one of us to judge at the neighboring county’s fair. Just because we worked at a quilt shop did not mean we were qualified to judge.

  7. Mary Says Sew!

    There are many quilt-judging checklists online; use your favorite search option. i’d avoid the ones that assign points – you spend too much time on how many point to assign rather than looking at the quilts. And the practice is called quilt judging for a reason, and not quilt scoring.

    Also, you can search for info on judging criteria. Here’s a good place to start:

    To me, raw edge applique is the technique you use on your Bullseyes quilts. If the applique’s edge is completely covered with satin stitching, it’s satin stitch applique. Most of that is done by machine, but can be done by hand. Yes, sometimes a very narrow zigzag stitch doesn’t hold, but if done right it will. It does take some time and experimentation with thread, stabilizer and a machine foot with the cut-out ‘tunnel’ to avoid the puckering, but it can be done.

    When I’ve judged, I do my best to accept each technique for what it is.

    I wrote a big honkin’ post yesterday about judging, but it all disappeared as I was about to send it – reminded me all too well about when that has happened to you! Hope this posts!

  8. Donna Petersen

    That is why I will not enter a quilt to be judged…you are always at the mercy of what the judge likes & doesn’t like…you never know what they will be picky about…

  9. Diana in Des Moines

    I must be a glutton for punishment. I have entered quilts in the Iowa State Fair for years, this year being no exception. I have had judges tell me not enough quilting, too much quilting, love my applique (like you – small zigzag), or not like my applique. I have a mini this year that I have put a lot of work into. We’ll see. Wish I could attach a photo.
    Hoping we get some rain soon, much needed!

  10. Karen Juergens

    I like what one reader said: making quilts for the love of the creative work, and for friends and family.
    It reminds me of a quote from a famous Oregon pattern maker and quilter, Roxy Burgard, who sadly died
    of Covid in March 2020, at the age of 74:

    “I think we are just visitors here for a short time,” she said. “I want to leave something beautiful in the form of flowers and quilts when I am gone.”

  11. Joyce

    I can see why quilt judges are hard to come by… I’m thinking that a judging two-some would be fairer as the quilt are seen by 2 sets of eyes and tastes. It would be so hard to remain neutral when judging a color you don’t care for.. or technique you’re not familiar with. Hopefully you brought to light another quilting technique to that judge.. but somehow I’m thinking she’s pretty set in her ways 🤷🏼‍♀️

    1. Mary Says Sew!

      Having two judges would be great, but that’s double the expense for the show or the fair board and could be a problem if and when judges disagree and cannot reach an agreement.

      Also, discussion between two, or more, judges slows down the process. Time is a precious commodity when putting on shows and fairs.

  12. Cathy D

    The cactus orchid is just beautiful Mary!! Such a big bloom and gorgeous color!!

  13. Jean

    Can I just say that judges should be certified so that they know what they are doing. Quilters work very hard on their projects and deserve to have knowledgeable people judging. I find it incredible that she took exception with the quarter circles not matching. Has she never seen a New York beauty quilt?! And what’s the purpose of a ribbon of everyone gets one?

    1. Mary Says Sew!

      There is a certification program for quilt judges. It is now run by the National Association for Certified Quilt Judges: Formerly, it was a program of the now-defunct National Quilting Association.

      It’s a rigorous program consisting of classes, experience and an application. To apply for certification, you must already have judging experience. Most of us start at local shows and fairs.

      It takes a lot of travel, time, money and dedication to become a Certified Judge. i looked into the program a number of years ago, and decided I could never earn back enough money to cover the cost of the certification process, much less the time involved in the procedure. I’d rather sew!

  14. NancyTD

    Cactus orchid is beautiful. You sure do have a green thumb.
    I entered things in the County and State Fairs until I decided the judges needed to know more about what they were judging. The worst was someone got a blue ribbon for an appliqué quilt that they marked the appliqué placement with a Sharpie pen and their appliqué pieces didn’t cover the pen marks. There needs to some standards for judging.
    I just quilt and sew for enjoyment. I love what I do.
    The finishes are great. It is so fun to see what everyone is doing.

  15. Jo in Wyoming

    That cactus is gorgeous!
    I loved the discussion on ribbons. I’ve felt a little hard stating “if they don’t deserve a ribbon, they don’t get one”.
    Because binding is my favorite step in making a quilt, I naturally notice the binding first. However, I’m not a judge. Constructive criticism should always be welcomed. If you don’t have a solution, don’t point out the problem!

    On another note, anybody watching the Olympics? Without fans there, they are still great. They have worked so hard to get there.

  16. Wanda in W. TX

    A couple of years ago I entered my Bull’s Eye quilt in a local quilt show. I was very pleased with the quilt and the work I had done and had had such a fun time making it. Before the show I put the quilt in the dryer for a few minutes to fluff out the raw edges a bit. The judge’s comment was that the quilt was not quilt show ready because it had loose threads on it. I laughed about her comments. Apparently she had never seen a Bull’s Eye quilt before and did not understand the concept of the pattern. Later I learned that she was not a certified judge but a quilt appraiser.

  17. Mary Gillette

    The comment I got from a judge was “stitch in the ditch should be IN the ditch.”

  18. LaNan Eldridge

    Your cactus is beautiful! I entered some of my quilts in our fair and the one that I had hand embroidered, many multi pieced blocks to accent the embroidery and I put it in the category of machine quilted by professional and I got a red….her comment was she thought my workmanship was exceptional but didn’t care for the quilting🙄….I entered it to be judged for my work not my quilters!!! And I’m fine with the quilting !! Oh well…I did get three grand champions and one reserve on my other quilts🤗. I do fair judging and I do my very best to be objective even if I hate a certain color😂😂😂 but I am a stickler on binding and I’ve seen some horrible attempts! I do enjoy the judging experience and I hope I’m viewed as a fair and objective judge!! (I’ve been asked back☺️)!!! Enjoyed your post.

  19. Launa

    Lovely huge bloom. Great to share it, too!

    I only entered quilts once as they were folded here n there in booths and not hung up! Lesson learned!

    Sat out on the deck this morning and National Forest big red pick up dropped off two fire fighters to walk up to our pond and start their pump motor…then turned it off….chatted a few with my husband and left to check two other residences’s pumps on our road. We had some rain last night! Haven’t heard any progress on Trail Creek Forest Fire 🔥 this morning. Appreciate the prayers n concerns from all my quilting friends, Mary!

  20. Teresa from Port Coquitlam, BC

    Mary that cactus is beautiful. Can you tell me how big the flower is, it looks like it is about 8” across.

  21. Beverly in Texas

    We have 2 unpaid quilt judges at the State Fair of Texas each year. The system works well. Judges are changed every few years. Works well.
    Love your blooming cactus- wish I had your green thumb!!

  22. Kathy B

    I don’t know if this is allowed but I am asking prayers for my son. We found out on Tuesday that he has bladder cancer. He has a 4 year old daughter and a 5 month old daughter.

    1. Sheila in WI

      Sending love and prayers at this special time, Kathy B. Praying for grace and strength to meet each day.

  23. Sandy

    Hi Mary, tears in my eyes already for Kathy B ,s son, of coursewe will pray for you! Our love and prayers to you, best wishes from sandy

  24. Sherrill

    So did just one goat need a hoof trim? I’ve seen same really bad hoof issues on Dr. Jeff, Rocky Mountain vet. I love that show. Your orchid cactus is STUNNING? Is there only one bloom or does it wind up with more?

  25. Li

    Although I don’t care for zig-zag applique myself, I have seen exquisite machine applique. Perhaps the checklist should judge if the applique is tidy or well done. That way, either choice could be given a more even weight and not judged harshly. Good use of the proper thread and good tension is merited.

  26. Kate

    Just proves all judging on quilts is according to the judge’s taste. But since everyone gets a trophy, who cares! I would not want to enter a quilt in a contest where everyone wins. But that’s the way things are right now. I love all our Bullseye quilts. Each one is unique and special. So Ptooey to that judge. Hope she’s not a friend. Kathy B., I will say a prayer for your son and his family.

  27. Sheila in WI

    Your orchids cactus is beautiful, Mary!
    The quilts are all fun to look at too. A mini quilt show without judges. 😂
    I love your idea of asking readers about updates on concerns they’ve shared in their comments. This is another great way to support each other. Thank you!

  28. Laura

    Mary if you enter something in the Iowa State Fair you are invited to a preview the evening before the opening day. Also, you could probably go to their website and ask questions of the Superintendent of Fabric and Threads. The year I went to preview night the superintendent was available and I asked her to turn one of my quilts since they had hung it backwards. There was wonderful piecing on the front of the quilt and the back I used was a panel, not even centered when it was professionally quilted. Anyway, my point is she was accommodating and might allow you to examine quilts prior to the fair opening.The winners are shown on the first floor in a separate room and maybe more accessible.
    Another resource about this matter would be to inquire of your local Iowa State Extension employees. One would think that judging quilts of those learning in 4H would have a different purpose than the open class. I believed the judging to be an unpaid position at the county level since it is not a sought after position. After having shown quilts at the fair and in unjudged shows locally I have decided I share my quilts to inspire others to give quilting a try and not to earn awards. If everyone had to make a quilt of award winning quality few would even try.

  29. Mrs. Goodneedle

    The orchid is absolutely SPECTACULAR. I took an NQA Judging Course many years ago. It was an introductory course to their NQA Certification Program. I took the course just for my own knowledge of what judges look for. The instructor recommended that I pursue the actual certification program but that was of little to no interest for me, so much of the process is subjective, it can’t help but be; even though all aspects are supposed to be based on complete objectivity as long as you have humans with opinions judging the quilts it won’t, and can’t, be totally objective! Now: why would there even be judging at the show there if everyone gets a blue ribbon? I’m confused.

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Mrs. Goodneedle – and that’s my point! Why bother?

  30. Holly in Two Harbors

    I made a quilt years ago with quarter circles appliqued with Lite Steam a Seam 2 and then machine blanket stitched. I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve washed that quilt and none of that fabric is going anywhere. I think the look of satin stitch on applique detracts from the piecing because it draws the eye too much. I entered a quilt at a county fair years ago and when I saw how they were judged I was done entering anything. I’m much happier making things I like and never mind what others think.

Comments are closed.