Monday, March 29, 2010


So, where were we?  Oh - we were talking about entering quilt shows. Well, I thought that I had this great piece - it was borderline, falling somewhere between traditional and art quilt. I had NO idea what category to place it in. My friends were little help.  So, I took this huge leap and went for - what DID I go for?  I can hardly remember, but what I DO remember is that it was, sadly, out of its element, sandwiched in between a Log Cabin and a Double Wedding Band.

I spent soooo much time finishing this piece.  It was hand-quilted, using a splendid woolen batt and a very spidery slippery variegated quilting thread (which made me weep with frustration over the knots) and THOUSANDS of Czech glass beads in the margins.  TONS of hours, hand quilted.  I had an esoteric title for it too, 'Duffer's Fortnight', which is a magical time that any good fly fisherman worth his salt would understand.  It went right over the heads of my collective judges.  They gave it an Honorable Mention.

I was ok about the award.  Disappointed, but holding my own.  The thing is this - walking out of the exhibit I had the opportunity to speak with my icon - Ms. Joan Lintault.  This woman truly defines quilting and if you don't believe me, go check out her website.  She had come along with some of us to see this show, which was, to my mind, even more exciting than attending the show!  Anyway, leaving the pavilion I fell into step with her and she turned and looked me right in the eye and chuckled.  She said, "want some advice?" (I almost fell to my knees) I managed to squeak out a timid 'yes'.  "Lose the ties", she said, and walked away.

The ties.  I had tied certain areas of the quilt, thinking that it added to the theme (fly fishing, hand ties....) I thought that it was a clever addition to an already over-embellished quilt.  And, in my defense, I happen to LIKE ties.  I like the old-fashioned application - I like the little hills and valleys and puckers that occur - I like the vast array of threads available to choose from.  I like that Joan was so succinct.  

How did it go so wrong?
I mean, just LOOK at the detail (and those ties - those lovely ties!)
I used hundreds of Miyuki glass beads to embellish several of the trout bellies!  (It was great fun and when over, I had graduated to the next level in corrective eye wear)
I truly love this quilt - hands down, my all-time favorite.  Flaws and all.  Kind of a self-portrait.
Fish, fireflies, sunrise, deep liquid pools and even a bee - all of the elements for a perfect day on the water -

Thus, the beginning and end of my quilt show career!


Exuberant Color said...

If it was sandwiched between 2 traditional quilts it had to be in the wrong cagegory. It is a BEAUTIFUL quilt, and all of those beads, WOW! It has a lot of character, beautiful colors and design. Maybe the whole show was too traditional for this.

soggybottomflats said...

What an awesome quilt! I love it. One of the first quilts I made, a gillion years ago, was a baby quilt for a EMT that had tried for years to have a baby. When she finally became pregnant, she was all excited. So I decided to make her a quilt. I pieced the top, sandwiched it and took it to work (a very busy ER) and had nurses, doctors, firefighters and police officers put a few stitches in, just for Carla. I entered the finished quilt in our little county fair, with the story, and got 3rd place. It was the binding! What?! I was kind of ok with that until my dh pointed out that there were only 3 quilts in the baby quilt category.
So, might I suggest something? Dance with your quilt, put it in a place of glory in your home and put neon lights on it, declaring the masterpiece it is! The symbolism is worthy of praise in itself. Great job, Elaine

Anonymous said...

I put one quilt in a show. I designed the whole thing and it won second place. The only comment was, "Nice binding". I'll never do a show quilt again. Who cares what some anonymous judge thinks?

MeinSie said...

amazing piece! not sure what you mean by "flaws"....anyway, it was clearly a quilt operating in a different dimension - your soul! And...judges in that type of venue are going to be the technicians, I believe. I once was almost disqualified in a 4-H sewing exhibit because the judge thought I had used a machine to hem my skirt - my 4-H leader assured her that I had done it by hand! So, you see, manual perfection is not even recognized and anyway, who cares - your ties are sweet and apropos...I think quilters tend to be a sniffing persnickety bunch (sorry). think of Kaffee Fassett's unfinished needlepoints - creativity is the point! My aunt Betty who has quilted plenty says that a conscientious quilter always has a "humility" square in homage to our creator because no one but God is perfect...a homely New England sentiment but one worth thinking about...perfection as word, really means "complete". You did it, perfectly.

Mary Anne Rittenhouse said...

OMG! This is absolutely magnificent. Did the judges have some sort of retinal disease? Breathless...beautiful...I am so in awe.

nicole said...


Bea said...

Its gorgeous. Really really fabulous. Wow.