Friday 30 June 2017

How to enter a quilt show - finding the right quilt show for you

Thank you for all your lovely comments and kind thoughts on my last post. I'm still getting used to the idea of being a winner, but I picked up my new Bernina 215 yesterday and can't wait to open it at the weekend.  Bernina was so generous to provide three sewing machines as prizes at the show.

This week a quilter on Instagram asked me to write about how to enter a quilt show, so here are my thoughts.

1.  Do your research.  Be sure your quilts are good enough to hang in a quilt show. You can really only do this by attending some shows in person.  Photos do not show quilts accurately enough.  You need to look at the quilts from a colour and design aspect, and you also need to get up close and study the technical aspects - look at how the seams meet, how the binding sits, how the quilt hangs etc.  Then think about your own quilts.  How do they compare? Are you ready to enter a show yet, or do you need to keep working on your quilt making skills for another year or two?

2.  Investigate local shows.  Attend a few local shows and find out who is entitled to enter those shows.  Maybe you have to join a guild to enter.  There's a lot of work that goes into organising a show, so it's fair enough that the guild restricts entries to guild members. The good thing about guild shows is that they often guarantee that each member can enter at least one quilt into the show.  This is a good way to enter your very first quilt show. I would recommend starting small and joining a local guild if at all possible. People in guilds can be very helpful and are often willing to share their knowledge about quilting techniques and shows.

3.  Investigate shows that are further away.  You can find out about other shows and their entry requirements online.  In New Zealand we are having our Quilt Symposium soon.  It's a national event that happens every two years and you don't have to belong to guild to enter a quilt. However, you do have to pay registration fees and entry fees, and your quilt might not even be accepted! If your quilt is accepted you will have to pay courier fees to and from the location of the show. If you want to see your quilt in the show you will have travel expenses too.

4.  Read the rules of shows very carefully. Each show makes their own rules and they can vary widely.

- Is there a maximum size for quilts?

- What category would your quilt fit into?

- Does your quilt have to be an original design or can it be made from a pattern?

- Does it have to be all your own work?

- Does your long arm quilter need to belong to this guild too?

- Are you a professional or an amateur for this show? (each show defines these terms differently)

- Is there a date after which the quilt must have been finished?

- Can you sell your quilt at this show?

- Do you have to sell your quilt at this show? eg.  This extract is from a 12x12 mini quilt competition Entries must be for sale at $125. The Entrant will receive $100 and Aotearoa Quilters will retain $25 if the quilt is sold.

- Look for rules on photography and social media.  Some shows will not accept a quilt if any part of it has been shared online!  Another extract from the 12x12 mini quilt competition No photographic images of entries or part of the entry are to be made available for public viewing prior to the opening of Quilt Symposium Christchurch 2017. 

5. Be aware of all the deadlines around quilt shows.  I had to photograph my quilts and enter the QuiltNSW show online in February, even though the show wasn't until June.  The guilds receive hundreds of entries, so they need time to conduct pre-selection, and devise hanging plans for the show.  Once you receive notification that your quilt has been accepted, you might only have one week to post it.  I recommend attaching a hanging sleeve before you finish the binding.  That way your quilt will be ready to post off as soon as you receive notification of acceptance.  You can always take the hanging sleeve off at your leisure if your quilt doesn't get accepted.

6.  Be prepared to volunteer at the show if your quilt does get accepted.  Each participant in the QuiltNSW show was asked to do two duties over the four days.  I did white glove duty on Thursday for 1.5 hours, and sold raffle tickets on Friday for 1.5 hours.  I saw photos of people hanging the quilts up on Wednesday and they worked extremely hard all day.  Other committee members were at the show from 9am til 5pm for four days in a row.  Without volunteers there would be no show!

7.  Be prepared for rejection. You might think your quilt is good enough for a particular show, and other people might have told you that too, but the judges decision is final and they might not select your quilt for their show this year.  There could be too many red quilts this year, too many hexagon quilts, or maybe you just haven't reached their required standard yet. Rejection is hard, but learn from it and try again next year, or try a different show.  Don't let one rejection put you off quilting or exhibiting your work.

Disclaimer: I have no idea about how to get a quilt accepted for QuiltCon - The Modern Quilt Guild's annual show in USA.  I see lots of quilters desperate to get their quilts into QuiltCon each year, and they are devastated when their quilts aren't accepted.  I look at photos of the quilts on display each year and really can't work out why some were accepted and others weren't.  It's a mystery to me, so because I don't understand what they are looking for, I won't ever make it a goal to get a quilt accepted into QuiltCon.

I hope these pointers help you if you're thinking about entering a show.  It's a long drawn out process, so start doing your research now, and maybe make 2018 the year you enter your first show.

Sunday 25 June 2017

QuiltNSW - Sydney Quilt Show - I'm a winner!

Wow!! What a crazy few days that was!

Many of you know that I entered my la passacaglia into the QuiltNSW Sydney Quilt Show in Australia.  I was there for the prize giving on Thursday and was totally stunned when I won the top amateur prize!!

Yes, I won the Bernina Amateur Encouragement Award and the prize is a Bernina 215, very kindly donated by Bernina Australia.

Bernina Australia are lovely and they are sending a machine to Nancy's Stitch Studio in Wellington for me to collect.  I didn't want to have to try and bring it home on the plane yesterday.

I also won a Judges Commendation in my category - Pieced Quilt and Hand Quilted (Amateur). That's the blue ribbon pinned on my quilt.

So it was an amazing day which seemed to just fly by after the prize giving.  The congratulations kept flying in on Instagram and Facebook.  If I haven't replied to you personally, please accept my thanks now.

I met so many people who follow my blog, facebook or Instagram at the show! Thank you all for coming up and saying hello.  My friends were laughing that every 10 minutes or so someone would say, "Are you Wendy? You don't know me, but I follow your blog."

The first kind lady approached me on the first morning at 8.55am before the doors even opened to go in, and it continued until I was walking to the exit at 4.30pm closing on my last day.  You're all so kind and it was lovely to meet you all.  Thank you for reading my blog and being interested in what I make. I don't do selfies, but if I did I could post at least 30 selfies here with blog followers I met at the show.

So now my quilt is showing on the QuiltNSW page of winners.  What an honour.  You can click here to see more winning quilts from the show, and I'll post some of my favourites in a separate blog post soon.

If you'd like to know more about how I made my la passacaglia quilt, you kind find all my previous blog post on the tab at the top of the page, or by clicking here.

Final advice:

This success is a story in not giving up. Many of you have told me my quilt is beautiful and it has inspired you to start making your own la passacaglia.  I've also been told many times that I must enter it into a show and let other people see it in real life.

My own guild (Capital Quilters) hasn't had a show since I joined because the hall we would use has been demolished and is being rebuilt due to earthquake risks.

Our national show - Quilt Symposium - is only held every two years, but they require all quilts to be original designs, so I couldn't enter la passacaglia in that show because it's from a pattern by Willyne Hammerstein.

Last year I applied to have my quilt included in the Quiltmania exhibition of 20 la passacaglia quilts at the Houston quilt show in 2016.  My quilt wasn't selected and I was naturally quite sad about that. I would have loved to have had my quilt at Houston, even though it would have been for exhibition only, and not judged.

So then I emailed the Auckland Quilt Guild to see if I could display it at the Auckland Festival of Quilts in November 2016, even though I'm not a member of that guild.  I said it could be for display only, and not judged.  But they came back and said they only allow entries from people who live north of Taupo - and unfortunately I don't.  That's fair enough, it's their guild and they make the rules.

Undeterred by two rejections, I joined QuiltNSW because they allow international memberships, and allow each member to enter two quilts into their show each year.  I'd seen photos from their show in previous years and knew their quilts were beautiful.  I just wanted my quilt to hang in a show and let other people see it in real life. So I joined QuiltNSW a year ago, and entered my first quilt show.  And look at the result!! I won the top amateur award.

So the moral of this story is, don't let a rejection put you off.  If you think your quilt should be in a show, keep trying until you find the right show for you.

Thank you to QuiltNSW and Bernina Australia.

Friday 16 June 2017

Millefiori Quilts

This week I started something new.  It's Ballet avec Kaffe Fassett from Millefiori Quilts 2 by Willyne Hammerstein.  Yes, it's another epic English Paper Pieced quilt with a gazillion pieces to glue and stitch together.  Madness, I know.  But it's going to look fantastic (I hope).

When I found out that Willyne Hammerstein is releasing a third Millefiori Quilts book in September, I thought I needed to get a move on and use the paper pieces and acrylics I had bought for Ballet with Kaffe last year.  I tend to put these silly restrictions on myself about not starting something new until I've finished what I've already got.  I know most quilters don't abide by those rules, but somehow I feel compelled to keep my stash under control and finish what I've already purchased.

I've started a whole new tab to keep link all my posts about this quilt.  I know it's going to take months, or maybe even a whole year, to complete, and people who embark on this pattern in the future like to see how other people have approached it.

my inspiration fabric by Cotton + Steel

 You can see more photos about my approach for Ballet avec Kaffe Fassett here on the new tab.

I know many people have read my page about my la passacaglia quilt and found the information useful.  It's here if you're looking for information about la passacaglia.

Friday 9 June 2017

Tussie Mussie - a finished quilt top

Last weekend was our Queen's Birthday holiday weekend.  It wasn't the Queen's real birthday, but in New Zealand we always celebrate her birthday on the first Monday in June.  Unfortunately the weather was wet and cold, but that was a good excuse to stay inside and quilt!

I joined up the last few rows of my Kaffe Fassett Tussie Mussie quilt and now I have a finished quilt top. (I'd started this quilt back in February - you can see my first post about it here.)

I was going to use a big piece of Kaffe wide backing I bought for another quilt and didn't use, but when I realised this top was only 60" x 60" and the backing was much bigger than that, it seemed like a waste.  So instead I pieced a back out of some of my bigger remaining purple and green Kaffe pieces.  I'll show you the backing when the quilt is finished.

This pattern is from Kaffe's book Quilts in Italy.  I modified the size of the blocks because I had a 6" Bloc Loc HST ruler.  The Bloc Loc rulers are great for trimming HSTs neatly. You can read more about them here.  Lots of local quilt shops stock them.

Friday 2 June 2017

Finishing takes so long....

Do you find that? You start new quilts with great gusto, and think they won't take long to make, but somehow when you get to the finishing stages you get distracted by new ideas, and the pile of unfinished quilts gets bigger and bigger.

I've accepted that April and May just have to be my finishing months this year.  This year I've entered three different shows!! Yes, from never having entered a show to entering three in one year.  It's just the way it's worked out.

1. Capital Quilters 12 x 12 Exhibiton

We're having a 12 x 12 exhibition at Capital Quilters from 2-12 August this year, and I handed in my three entries on Saturday.  I can't show you them yet because the quilts are being judged and I have to keep my entries secret until then.

If you live in Wellington, or even further afield like Levin or Palmerston North, do come for a look.  It's fee entry and from the few I saw on Saturday there's going to be some great minis on display.  We already had over 30 entries on Saturday and the main hand in day isn't for another month yet.

2. Sydney Quilt Show - Quilt NSW

I'm a member of Quilt NSW in Australia (New South Wales).  It's a huge guild that welcomes overseas members too.  Their annual show will be held at the Sydney Convention Centre from June 22-25 and two of my quilts will be in the show! My la passacaglia and Oh! Christmas Tree will both on display.

I'm very excited because I'm going over to Sydney for the show and it will be the biggest quilt show I've ever been to.  I've made lots of online friends who live in Sydney, and it will be nice to meet them face to face.  I hear the stalls at the show are great too, so I better put my credit card on hold until then. I'll be there on Thursday and Friday if you're looking for me.

3.  Quilt Symposium Christchurch

Our national symposium is in October and entries close on 13 June.  I've been working furiously on two quilts for most of this year.  One is a secret and I won't post any photos until the exhibition in October, but the other is my Possum Magic quilt which everyone has seen throughout it's three year life.  There's one category for quilts totally made by one person (which I'm entering) and then another category for quilts made by more than one person.  Possum Magic will be in the second category because it's a group effort.  You can read more about the round robin I was in here.

My centre block that I made

I'm still hand quilting the final sections of the quilt, but I really hope to have it ready for photographing this coming weekend.  I'm using Aurifil 12wt and 28wt on this quilt.  I use the 12wt for all the visible decorative quilting, and 28wt for when I'm quilting in the ditch. The red spools are 12wt and the grey ones are 28wt.

I'm not aiming for prizes, but just having my quilts hanging in the show would be great.  It's a juried show, so not every quilt gets accepted.

I always use a hoop when I'm hand quilting.

So that's what I've been up to lately.  I'm really looking forward to starting something new once all these deadlines have passed.