Should my quilt be judged?

I am the chairman of my local guild quilt show that is coming up in March.

Several of our members have expressed reluctance to have their quilts judged prior to the show…

This is what I wrote to them……

Many people are nervous about having their quilts judged. They may be worried that their work is not “good enough” or they may not be happy having someone else tell them what is wrong with their piece. Although these are completely understandable, I would like to encourage you to enter your quilts in the upcoming show AND to have them undergo the judging process!

When a judge looks at a quilt, she is an independent, un-biased individual who is looking at your quilt with the idea of ranking your quilt against the others in the category, but also with the idea of giving helpful comments that can move you further along in your quilting career.

In almost every case, the judge’s first comment is about something good in your quilt. It may be your design, your choice of colors, or the subject matter of the quilt.

She will then start looking at more detail, assessing the skill level that you have brought to your creation. Yes, she may say something that you do not like or agree with, but in most cases, she will give feedback that you can use to make a better quilt the next time.

In my own case, I have normally had a pretty good idea of what a judge was going to like about my quilt or what she was going to say needed improvement!!

My suggestion to each of you is that you make the very best quilt that you can make (knowing that your skill is slowly improving) and submit them proudly for judging. Remember that we all started out slow…even the judge!

If you are still on the fence about having your quilt judged, I love this flowchart from Jenny Lyon that wonderfully describes how we should feel about the process…..

How do you feel about having your quilt’s judged??

Laser Square Up Review

I have often struggled with squaring up my quilted projects. I start in one corner, using a large square ruler, line up my 24″ ruler and work my way around the quilt.

Unfortunately, many times I get back to the final corner and things don’t quite match up. And, when I say don’t “QUITE” match, I really mean that they are nowhere close!!!

Several years ago I was encouraged to try using a Laser Square.

My initial thought was “but I’ve never seen those in a quilting supply store”. I was quickly encouraged to forget the quilt store and instead head to the hardware store!!

There I found this Bosch Laser Square….

….also known as “Red 30-ft Self-Leveling Indoor Line Generator Laser Level with Line Beam”

Since using this tool, I have been able to easily and accurately square up any quilt!!

Let me show you how it works.

I place the tool on top of the quilt, in this case, squaring to a line in the quilt rather than to the edge…..

If you look carefully, you can see the red laser line running down the edge of the quilt….

Now I can place my ruler on the line……

….and carefully cut off the leftovers…..

I repeated this process on each edge and ended up with a perfect square at the end…..

I am fortunate to have a large cutting table so I can lay out much of the quilt at one time.

BUT, what if your quilt is WAY too big for your cutting surface?

You can easily lay the quilt out on another large surface (or even the floor) and use a marker to DRAW in your cutting lines first.

This is also a good way to test the lines BEFORE you cut!!! I used this method a BUNCH of times before I got comfortable using the laser square.

There is something about this line just instills confidence…..

I hope that this tool will instill the same confidence in you!!!

The Painter’s Tape Solution

In yesterday’s post, I described my newest piecing project…. a charity quilt using the “Whirlpool” block…..

I did make one change in the piecing layout. Instead of piecing the diamond blocks as two half-square triangle squares, I decided to piece them as one unit made up of a rectangle of the scrap fabric and two triangles of the background fabric…..

I was piecing these using the “snowball” technique where you place a background square at the end of the rectangle, sew on the diagonal, and press the resulting triangle over to finish the rectangle.

BUT, I was having trouble getting my lines to be straight!!

After some thought, I figured out a solution……

After I figured out how to position the tape, it was fast and easy to finish piecing the 80 required rectangles and get on with the design.

What would quilters do without Painter’s Tape!!!!

Do you have a favorite trick for using this special tool??

Do you “Quilt Float”?

Yesterday, was my birthday and it was the BIG……

My first reminder of my new age was getting on the Eliptical machine at the gym and having to input my age…..

The morning was spent in my studio, finishing the quilting for one project and getting started on two monthly challenge blocks (I am two months behind!!).

Then Fedex drove up……

….meaning that my birthday present had arrived!!!

My husband couldn’t believe it when I told him that I wanted a set of “dog grooming arms”….

….but he was a good sport and bought them for me anyway!!

You might ask, “how am I going to use these in my studio”?

The answer is that I am going to “float” my large quilts when I am quilting on them…. at least that is the plan.

I have read about this online and want to give it a try for myself. The two grooming bars are clamped to each side of my machine…..

……and the quilt is clipped to those bars, keeping it “afloat” and reducing drag when quilting…..

I don’t have a quilt to try it on right now, but it sure made this one easier to move around!! I can imagine that it will make a big difference when I am working on bigger quilts.

My only question is whether or not I am going to be spending an inordinate amount of time clipping and re-clipping the quilt so that I can move to the areas where I want to quilt.

Do any of you have experience with floating your quilts? Any tips will be HIGHLY valued!!!