WARNING….Judge in training (maybe)

From the first time that I helped in the show judging room I was enamored with the process and wondered if I would enjoy being a judge. The judge at our guild show told me about a two day seminar that was designed to give you basic information about judging and about the certification process. When I heard that it was being held in Atlanta (just over an hour away) I knew that this was my opportunity!!!

The seminar was held in conjunction with the East Cobb Quilt Guild show, “Georgia Celebrates Quilts”. Since I had to be at the venue early on Sunday morning to deliver the quilts that I had entered, I contacted the person in charge of receiving and judging and asked if I could help during the morning. She jumped at the prospect of having another volunteer so I happily joined the throng of women receiving the quilts and preparing them for judging. It was interesting to see the process that they used and see how it differed from the one that our guild uses.

I was also excited to be allowed to remain in the judging rooms as an observer. This show is half again as large as our show and was being judged by TWO judges which made things even more interesting.

The two judges were Scott Murkin and Cindy Erickson. I had seen them both judge our show over the years but it was fun to see them work together…..

In the categories with fewer quilts, they judged separately but the larger categories were split and each judged half of the entries, holding out the quilts that they deemed to be the best. Then they convened and selected the ribbon winners from the ones that had been held. I had never seen this process and found it extremely interesting to see how they worked together as a team.

Then, on Monday and Tuesday, I attended the initial Judge Training seminar. It was a VERY interesting two days as we discussed various aspects of the judging process….from preparation of contracts to handling special situations that arise in the judging room.

When we first started looking at the quilts and making judgements on them, it was hard to think about what you might say about each quilt but as we looked at more and more quilts, it became easier to see and verbalize what you were seeing. Much of the discussion centered around ways to make constructive, helpful comments rather than comments that would just discourage the quilt maker.

IF I go ahead with the process it will take 3 to 4 years to complete the training. The jury is still out on that right now (pun NOT intended but it works anyway!!!)……

So, how do I look in black????

cartoon judge drawing royalty free vintage drawing gerichtssaal stock images photos

Feeling Judged

This is one of those posts where I feel like I need to re-introduce myself….it has been far too long since I have posted anything.

There are several reasons for my absence including being super busy at work and preparing for my guild’s quilt show.  We are also struggling with some family health issues at the moment.  My husband has been diagnosed with Metastatic Melanoma which has included two surgeries in the last two months and now we are waiting to hear results of a Lymph node test to determine if additional surgeries will be required.   News like that really manages to slow life down to a crawl!!

There have been some fun times in the past two months, including our guild quilt show.  The quality of work in our show was wonderful and it was so inspiring to spend 3 days looking at these examples of fine quilting.  I will post photos from the show in the next week….I promise!!!

I was interested in the Judge’s comments about my entries…..

I was surprised that this piece received a 2nd place ribbon in the “Wall Quilt – Applique” division…..

I am NOT known for my hand work so was excited that this was received well.  The Judge felt that the small yellow border did a good job of suggesting a light source and the shadows on the table encourage that idea.   I REALLY wish that I had done it for that reason, but sometimes serendipity knows better!!!   She did comment that the points of my petals could be more precise and I totally agree with that comment.

The other quilt that received an award was my pineapple quilt….an Honorable Mention in “Bed Quilt – Pieced”…..

She liked the color flow and the use of the yellow in the pineapple corners but felt that the yellow border was too intense.   I hadn’t really thought about it, but now that I look at the quilt further, I can see what she means!! 

For this quilt…..

….she liked the lettering, the reduced Chroma in the photo and the focal point of the quilt, but noted that the photo could have been sharper.   I agree with this assessment but had just used the photo that had been given to me.  Next time I need to play with it more and see if I can use Photoshop to sharpen it up!!

She didn’t like much about this quilt…..

….saying that the fused edges were too frayed and that it was hard to read the landscape with the similar values.   I sort of agree with the value comment but I also like that it is a nighttime scene with the light seemingly coming from the buds on the tree. 

I fully agreed with one of the comments about this quilt…..

One of her first comments was that the perspective wasn’t quite right.  I felt this as well, wishing that I had made the windmill shorter and wider.  BUT, the exciting thing for me about this quilt was that I did almost all of it freehand and without a pattern and am just happy that it didn’t turn out looking like a Picasso!!!    She also felt like the eye was drawn too much to the flowers.   I dont know if I agree with that but am actually quite happy if your eyes go there first!!

Probably my biggest disappointment were the comments on the Himalayan quilt….

….but after I thought about them more, I can actually agree. She commented that the top part of the quilt was more effective than the lower part because of the value differences in the mountains.   She liked the flags, but didn’t like the lack of value contrast between the monument and the grass, and this is what I agree with.   I remember when I placed the monument on the finished background that I was concerned about this.  However, in my rush to finish the quilt, I didn’t listen to that niggily voice telling me to FIX IT!!!

So now I am trying to decide if I want to try to fix it or leave it the way it is.   I know that I could use some paint to darken the monument but I am afraid that I will have to get it REALLY dark to have enough contrast from the grass.  So instead, I am trying to think of a way to lighten the grass….maybe sponge a creamy, yellowy brown paint over the green fabric, especially directly around the monument.   I am also sure that I want to add some shading to the “steeple” and also to the inside side of the monument.

Now I just have to work up my courage and tackle it with a sponge and some paint….maybe I will wait for a while!!!

It was interesting to hear people’s comments about the quilt at the show.  Many had no idea what it was and couldn’t figure out why there was “washing hanging on the line” or “flowers inside the brick oven”!!!

I did buy an interesting book…..

She starts with plain white fabric, adds layers of textured fabrics, paints those fabrics to create a background and then thread paints over them.  I LOVE the texture and am anxious to try this technique!!!

One of our vendors presented an interesting method of using Derwent Paint Sticks…..

He would shave the sticks into a small jar, add some Aloe vera gel….

and mix it to form a paint consistency.   He said that using the gel helped to control the bleeding of the paint that you often get when you add water to it.   Again, I am looking forward to playing with this!!!

OK….I have done my duty and caught you up for now.   Hopefully there will be more to come soon!!!


On Thursday and Friday I was part of the judging process for our local guild show, which happens at the end of this week.  Since I am the Co-Chair for the show, I am REALLY looking forward to it…..and to it being over!!

Our judge was an NQA (National Quilting Association) certified judge named Mary Walter.  She was personable, wonderful to work with and a font of information!!

The judging process went this way…..

All quilts for an individual category are laid out on top of one another on a huge table.  They are then folded back  in half so that the backs are showing.

Once the judge has read the description for the category, the quilts are “fanned” by unfolding each one quickly back onto the table. 

This process gives the judge a quick view of all of the items that she will be judging in that category.

She then looks at each quilt individually, starting out by looking at the quilt as a whole,  commenting on the design, including fabric selection, color coordination etc. 


She also studies the quilt up close and comments on the technical aspects of each quilt, including quality of piecing, applique, quilting, etc.


As she comments, the scribes write down what she says.  These results sheets are given to the quilter at the end of the show….


After she finishes with a quilt, she will do one of three things……

  –  release the quilt which means that it is not in the running for a ribbon

  –  hold the quilt for the category which means that it “might” get a ribbon

  –  hold the quilt for one of the special awards (Best Quilting, Judges Choice, etc).


Now comes the fun part…..  after she goes thru all of the quilts in the category, the “holds” are returned to the table, and as you can see, EVERYBODY in the room gathers around to hear her choices. IMG_1183 At this point, she may release additional quilts until she has narrowed it down to the number of ribbons, or she may just immediately select 1st, 2nd, 3rd, etc.

IMG_1186 As you can see, it is not always an easy choice!!!!!

Bottom line, it was an exciting 2 days!!!!