Friday, June 08, 2018

ain't life grand . . .

Liv just celebrated her fourth birthday . . . hard to believe! She had a marvelous time celebrating at the Bippity-Boppity-Boutique at Disneyland. Isn't she a darling Tinkerbell??
She'd just turned one (almost 1-1/2) when they moved to California. She's practically grown!
Gosh I've missed being regular part of this crew's growing up (that's my son tucked in there with them)! They'll be visiting at the end of July, so you know I'm looking forward to that!

And since Edith was the only grand I shared in my last post, let me add her sisters to the mix, too!
Love these precious girls! And I so cannot wait to have them ALL together this summer!

This week's "A Quilter's Journey" was featured in our October edition -- the month of our bi-annual quilt show, The Fanfare, so the theme is . . . well . . . quilt shows!

Mention “quilt show” and people are checking their cash flow, dumping all the pictures off their phones to make sure there’s room for more quilt pictures, and lacing up their walking shoes! Mention “enter your quilt in a quilt show” and reactions are wide and varied. From fright to excitement to hysterical laughter. Why is this? Why does the thought of entering a quilt in a show thrill some and fill others with dread? I chatted with a few of our members to see if I could figure it out . . .

Barbara Black, longtime Heritage Quilter (she’s in her 29th year of membership!), has entered quilts in every show the guild has held since it’s first in 1989. Including this year’s show, that’s FIFTEEN shows. She entered two quilts that first year (that year there were ninety-two quilts in seven categories – three of which were hand quilting) and has entered three to five quilts in every show thereafter. That’s somewhere between fifty and sixty-five quilts! Barbara is an avid supporter of the show and listed five reasons why she believes that members should strive to enter their quilts in the guild’s show:

1) You support the guild effort—if no one entered, we wouldn’t have a show.

2) You show your family that the work of your hands is valuable and worth displaying to the public. It is so good to see a child tell everyone who will listen “That’s MY quilt—my mom made it for me!”

Barbara's quilt, Red & White - By the Numbers, 
won first place in its category *and* 
Best of Show in the 2013 Fanfare Show
3) You learn something from the judge’s comments, even if you disagree with them. Comments are meant to provide praise for the high points and constructive thoughts for areas that need improvement—it’s not personal. (Indeed, the judging is done “blind”, meaning the judge has no idea who the quilter is when she/he examines the quilt.)

4) You share your work with the public, educating them about our art form and/or bringing back good memories for them of those who came before us.

5) Most of us will put just a bit more effort into our work if we know we are entering it in the show. This is the best way to improve; do your best at whatever stage you are in.

Barbara knows about doing her best. She’s won at least one award in each of the guild’s shows that have taken place so far, and has won “Best of Show” three times. She went on to say, “Sometimes I want to do the best I can on a quilt. Sometimes I put the most work into a quilt that it deserves. Not every quilt has to be top-notch—baby quilts, utility quilts, those going off to college—put as much work into those as you want and just be glad if the recipient likes it. As you enjoy the quilts that our members have made and been brave enough to enter, I encourage you to tell at least one person that you really liked their quilt—it will mean so much to them, especially newer members. We want the quilting tradition to thrive and grow, in many directions—there is room for all.”

One of HQH’s newer members is Gail Seemann. She joined the guild in the 2012-13 guild year, after taking a beginning quilter’s class early in 2012. Gail jumped right in, joining the board the very next year and being very involved . . . but one thing she hasn’t done yet is enter a quilt in the show. When I asked her why, here’s what she said:

"I am the turtle of sewing; I couldn't finish what I was trying to get done in time. I've only in the last seven months gotten good enough with my quarter inch seams that I could really rely on things fitting together. Then I ended up needing physical therapy for carpel tunnel, which slowed me down even more, and I want to quilt a king size quilt on my domestic. The only other thing I could have entered was my Challenge entry, and I didn't think it was 'show worthy'. I've only completed three quilts. I had never really sewn (except for one costume for my daughter) when I took that first class, so I really was drinking from a fire hose. I do have three quilts in partial completion stage."

Gail tells me she does plan to enter a quilt in the 2019 show. And evidently, not only is she the self-proclaimed “turtle of sewing,” but it’s a well-known fact in her stitching circles. Check out the sweet little quilted turtle gift from a fellow quilter!

Finally, let me share my own experience with the show. I joined the guild in 2008 after beginning my quilting journey in 2006. In the 2009 Fanfare I entered a quilt of my own design – not because it was all that great (and seriously, it wasn’t great at all – looking back at it, I have to laugh) – but because it was my accomplishment and it had value to *me* and I wanted to share it.

I wish I could say I faithfully entered a quilt in every show thereafter, but I’m wishy-washy at best. I entered one quilt in 2011, but never made it to the show myself (I’d just had surgery on my foot), then two small pieces in 2013, but nothing in 2015. I’ve entered one quilt in the 2017 show, and I’m going to share my dirty little secret. The thing that keeps me from entering more quilts (in addition to the fact that I have Quilter’s ADD and a serious pile of UFOs) is that I’m lazy and hate stitching on a sleeve to the back of my quilts. There, I’ve ‘fessed up and … unless you’re entering multiple quilts into the show, you can’t judge!

Seriously, though, this show is such a wonderful way to encourage and educate the general public about what quilting is and who quilters are. We’re young and old and every age in-between. We’re women and men. Our demographics are all over the place. We’re artsy, we’re traditional, we’re modern – and sometimes we’re a mixture. We’re at all stages of the craft; from novice to master quilter. Our first time quilts are how our visitors know they could quilt. And our “Best of Show” winner gives them something to aspire towards. It’s all about journey.

My name is Denise and I’m a quilter. :)

6 expressed . . .:

Denise :) said...

Every quilter has a masterpiece within. :)

Sarah said...

Your grands are all delightful and I just know they will love being together in July. I do hope your "boot" will be off to enjoy them all to the fullest. Your article is spot on about entering quilts. My guild doesn't do a show but I try to enter something in my county fair, even tho the judges seem to know NOTHING about quilting. It's quite frustrating so I was not heartbroken when I didn't haven't anything to enter last year. I'm hoping I can finish my Owls in the Mountains for this year...

Pamela said...

I always love seeing (reading about) a quilt show!

Kate said...

Oh my, those little girls have grown so much! I enjoyed the article about the quilt shows. I've done the county fair once, but never a guild show.

Barbara Black said...

Denise, there is an easy solution to the sleeve issue--I include a sleeve on every quilt I make, small wallhangings to king-size. The top edge of the sleeve is sewn into the binding, so only the bottom edge of the sleeve needs to be hand-sewn. Many quilters are up late the night before show drop-off, sewing on those sleeves.

Cheryl's Teapots2Quilting said...

Until this year (and I didn't know it was going to happen this year until show day) our guild shows weren't judged with comments, only first thru 3rd place in each category. I like it that way. I don't ever plan to enter a national show, so, I don't care about the judging comments. I just like to show off my quilts and enjoy the process. I don't like hanging sleeves, either, but, gotta have them (usually last minute). My quilts are made for using, not for judging. If the person who it is made for likes it, then I'm happy.