I just received comments back from having a quilt judged at a competition.  The comment was that lattice should be straight.  That straight lines should be straight.  I have had this comment on other quilts in other competitions and I am uncertain what the comment means.  The blocks in the quilt were set on point and the lattice (which I am taking to mean the sashing) was cut on grain but would be sitting at a diagonal in the quilt and the sashing would be at a bias to the quilt edge.  Should I have cut the sashing on the bias in order to have the the grain straight to the sides of the quilt?  In most of the pattern directions that I follow, the pattern designer would cut the sashing on the straight of grain and use to sash the on point blocks so what is the best choice for a competitive quilt?? Or does this comment refer to something else??  Any help or insight to this judges comment would be appreciated.

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Ijust found this post. Maybe I think sideways, instead of vertically like everyone else, LOL, but if it was me, I'd take it as a comment on the QUILTING STITCHES, not the construction seams.Have a closer look at those:)

Another thought , were the seams all pressed uniformly in the right direction? ie; no "flip-flops", 'cause this can make anotherwise straight, flat line appear off, both in looks and texture when running hand overThis even effects the quilting stitches, both machine or hand.

First of all, it is a pleasing quilt. I am a judge and will try to answer.

First we look at the Visual impact of a quilt. Are the colors pleasing. Do you have enough contrast, so that the whole quilt does not just mush together. You have a nice compliment of light and darks, and use of color. Secondly we look at Mastery of techniques. Do your lines/ points match up? Are the lines straight. NO do not cut your lattice on the bias. That would make it worse. It probably was all very straight until you quilted it. (Sometimes there is distortion cause by steaming and ironing seams) but quilting is often the culprit. Especially if the density of quilting is different in areas of the quilt top. On this quilt I would probably have  quilted int the ditch around the lattice work first... to stabilize those straight lines. Then quilted within the framework of that lattice. Even then, I tremble when starting to quilt every quilt. Block what you can to make everything lay flat at the end.  Lastly we look at Originality. 

The most important part about quilting is to have this amazing craft that brings us so much joy and serenity. I try to set myself one goal for every quilt. Do I want to really work on the machine quilting this time, or on a new color pallette or technique I am not comfortable with. That is how we all get better. If you try to do too many new or as close to perfect things  as you can in one project, it most likely will not be fun anymore.

Judging comments can help you improve and see things in a new light. They should never be taken as the gospel truth. I have had totally opposite judging comments on the very same quilt after entering it in different national shows. Quilt for yourself always, but consider entering shows (even when it is very scary) because you do want to continue on the journey of learning this wonderful craft. Kathy McNeil www.kathymcneilquilts.com

Kathy, I think everyone who's commented on this blog will be happy with your information and advice, not just Colleen. I'm a firm believer in doing artsy stuff for yourself, the minute you start trying to please anyone but you, or worse, try for perfection; that's when it's no longer any fun and your hobby turns into a chore.

wow, for myself, who doesn't enter my few quilts in any exhibits other than small community "show & tells", i thank you for your input here on this subject. i have been following all responses since colleen first posted. your quilts and your website are both inspiring & intimidating! :)) so, to read your comment "..i tremble when starting to quilt every quilt." does make it a little easier to see master works and not feel like "sigh! will i ever be even close to that good?"

thank you.

Rogue, first off, almost every quilter gets anxious at some part of the quilting process. I have been quilting for 36 years, entered MANY shows, have lots of experience and I STILL get intimidated and nervous every time I finish a quilt and have to trim it square. Makes me a nervous wreck! Here I've worked so hard on a quilt and now I have to cut into it? Drives me insane...lol.

Next, you CAN enter shows and be a master quilter... yep, you can. You just have to believe you can do it. Just sit at your machine and practice as much as you can and make as many quilts as you can with good quality and technique. You WILL improve. Believe me, at some point you will go to a show, look at a quilt you love, and say to yourself "you know what? I can do that!". You will look at that quilt and know exactly what techniques were involved to construct it and how it was quilted.

Some people LOVE doing show quilting, but it doesn't mean their quilts are any better than what you see at local show & tells. I've seen amazing quilts done by guild quilters who will never enter shows. But their work is just as good as Best of Show winners I've seen. It just depends on what you want to do. If you make quilts you love and are proud of, AWESOME! THAT'S the main part. How far you want to take is up to you.

Don't judge your quilts based on what you see at shows and don't judge where you are at in your quilting based on what you see at shows. It's just a different part of the quilting world. I hear SO many times at shows "I could never do that." Well, with that attitude you are probably right, you won't. Do you think show quilters started making show quality quilts right from the start? NOPE. They sure didn't. They were ALL beginners once.

First Colleen, CONGRATULATIONS on entering your quilt in a show! It's a big step and you should pat yourself on the back!

Now, I won't comment on your straight lines as I haven't seen your quilt and don't know what the judge had in mind. Other people have posted great comments on what it could be but until you actually talk to the judge, you just don't know sometimes.

What I will comment on is this. I have entered many shows, some on a national level and let me tell you, sometimes the most frustrating thing is trying to figure out the judges comments. At one show a judge will have positive comments on a quilt and the next show they will slam it. It really depends on the judge, what they look for, and quite frankly what kind of day they had. I know judges will say emotions don't tie into it, they have standards to go by, but they do. They are humans, not robots. If they don't see your quilt until the very end of the day when they are tired, they may not give it the attention it deserves as if they saw it at the beginning of the day when they are fresh.

There is an old rule of thumb: Give your your quilt three shows, then average the judges comments among the three to get a better assessment.

I had a comment on a quilt that still puzzles me to this day. I have an art quilt of a door (50"x60") that I made and entered into a show. At one show I received Judges Choice, at the next I was slammed because a judge said my binding strips should be diagonal as I attach them to each other. Normally this is true but I continued my art out to the binding and wanted to make the binding part of the design and also make the binding blend in with the design.  There are areas on my quilt where a brick building meets a sidewalk. I wanted to continue the straight line out and into the binding. If I was to make the binding diagonal at those area, it would disrupt the design. (I hope this makes sense...lol) . The judge apparently didn't see that (which kind of shocked me) and gave me negative comments on the binding. I didn't win anything in that show.

At those moments, you just have to shrug it off and not take it personally. It's not a personal comment about you or your art. You just have to enter it in another show.

Sometimes comments just don't make sense. Let them go and move on.


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