On the other side of the table!!

As I mentioned on the weekend, I spent 2 days helping to judge the quilts at the Georgia National Fair.

There were 6 judges…..

…and it quickly became obvious that we had our work cut out for us!!!

We first judged a practice quilt and were put into teams based on the scores that we came up with. This was one of the hardest things to do because we three new judges really had no idea what we were doing!!!

I was teamed with my friend Deb which was just fine with me!! I knew that she and I would work well together!! Each team was sent to their table which held approximately 85 quilts that we were to judge!!

It was a slow start, but I finally got the hang of how to judge the quilt and assign the score. After that happened, I started to enjoy myself!!!

It was fun to see the quilts “up close and personal” and to see the amazing creativity that exists in the quilting world.

It was also eye-opening to view the quilts from the “other side of the table”…..ie from the judge’s viewpoint, and I learned SO many things that I need to watch for in my quilts!!

First of all, when I sew those long lines of blocks together or attach them to a sashing, it is so important that the seam be straight!! This can be done with accurate piecing and especially with a good ironing technique.

Next, I am bad about piecing with whatever thread is on my machine but it makes a huge difference if the thread matches the fabrics (or at least splits the difference with two contrasting fabrics). Note to self…..change the thread!!!

I also need to watch for dark fabrics shadowing thru light fabrics and showing on the top. This was particularly distracting!!

The one thing that was hard for me was to see the number of quilts that were quilted with an all-over pattern that didn’t particularly enhance the piecing. It re-invigorated my desire to encourage others to do their own custom quilting!!

I also realized how important good tension is when machine quilting. I tend to “not worry about it”, but that is going to change now!!

Finally, I realize that it is important to apply the binding straight so that the sides of the quilt don’t wave!!

Once we had all finished, it was time to select the superlative awards for the show…..

This was the first time that we had seen many of the quilts and it was fun to listen to why each team had awarded their particular score. A consensus was quickly attained and it was time to attach the ribbons…..

I did find a minute to snap a photo or two along the way…..

And the quilting on this one was amazing…..

A big SHOUT OUT needs to be given to the volunteers who helped during this entire process. They were taking in quilts and laying them out until 10pm the night before, but were back and smiling happily at 9:00am on the next two days. When we finished, we left the building and headed home but they were all still working hard getting all of the quilts stored until the hanging days.

It was an amazing experience and I hope that I get to go back again!!!

Now I can head to the studio to go make BETTER quilts!!!!

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