Wednesday, December 11, 2019

The Truth and Whole Story

My biggest dream is to have the modern quilts I make be modern enough to be accepted into QuiltCon. That's the truth of it.

But too often for comfort, I find out that I'm missing the mark. If my quilts aren't accepted into QuiltCon because QC receives too many entries, the fact remains that three jurors are choosing the quilts to be accepted. Many more quilts must rejected than accepted.

As much as I try to keep my expectations low, I've learned I'm going to be disappointed.

More than ever, I'm asking myself... Why do I enter QuiltCon? After my more than 40 years of making quilts, I think I enter to find out if my original designs are modern enough. 

This year I entered six quilts into QuiltCon 2020 at $15 an entry. While two entries were specifically designed to enter in the show, I submitted several entries because I thought: "What the heck? Why not try?"

QuiltCon accept/reject emails arrived this morning. It seems I must continue to look for that illusive "something" that makes for an amazing modern quilt. 

One quilt of my six entries was accepted.

It's the quilt I spent the least amount of time making! It's the quilt that thought I wouldn't make for our Central Florida MQG challenge!

It will be displayed at QuiltCon 2020, from February 20-23, in Austin, Texas. 

👍 "L Cabins" (name courtesy of my Ocala friend, Nancy) 43" X 48"
L Cabins is made entirely of solids, and is straight line, walking foot quilted. I like the way a picture makes it look dimensional, but in person I don't think it looks quite like this.

Five of my six rejected entries have already been seen in previous blog posts. 

👎 "Broke the Rule: Jewels" 32" X 39-1/2" 
This is the Indah batiks quilt I thought to make for the QuiltCon Challenge. Unfortunately, I didn't follow the rules - to add only solids to the prints that were provided. I added other prints. Too late I discovered my mistake, but entered the quilt into another category.

👎 "Artificial Sweetener" 31-1/2" X 31-1/2
I made this quilt for a Central Florida MQG challenge. It's the first time I've put together a truly improv quilt. I used colors I don't normally use, and some ombrés. It's ruler work and free motion quilted.

👎 "Carousel" 33" X 33"
This quilt is a result of playing with the ten degree wedge ruler and Christina Cameli's book Wedge Quilt Workshop. In fact, I've taught two workshops to make this quilt. I especially like this one because of the two-colors of hand-quilting in the center.

👎 "Owl Always Love You" 58" X 68"
This is the second time I entered this quilt into QuiltCon. It was also entered (and rejected) for the modern quilts display at the International Quilt Festival in Houston. 

Owl Always Love You holds a special place in my heart because it's based on grandson Austin's artwork. Here's the story behind it. I'll now finally give the quilt to Austin.

👎 "Motto" 63" X 66"
No one has seen this quilt. I made it in July and kept it completely under wraps because I knew its message would be controversial to some people. Whether QC jurors rejected it on design merit, or because of the message, I'll never know. But I am most proud of this quilt which was inspired after reading the news in June 2019, that South Dakota passed a law that our national motto was to be placed on public school walls by the fall 2019 opening of school.

Here's the description I submitted with this quilt:
In March 2019 South Dakota joined a growing number of U.S. states passing legislation that public schools are to prominently display our national motto. Visual reminders reaffirm our historical heritage, and encourage patriotism. Three fonts represent how we view these important words. Silver gray letters symbolize our nation's foundation; dark gray letters are those stenciled on public school walls; and green letters represent our currency. 
Motto letters are pieced and foundation paper pieced into an improv-pieced background. This is domestic machine quilted. 
I spent many hours making this quilt. The background is entirely improv-pieced. 

Two different fonts were foundation paper pieced. 

The currency print was the most difficult to make, as I used a basic foundation pieced alphabet and then individually added serifs to each letter.  

The quilting is a combination of walking foot quilting, ruler quilting, and free motion quilting. I used a difficult-to-quilt design as background behind each letter. Believe me when I say that I buried hundreds of thread tails because of so many stops and starts. 

In November I spent most of an afternoon taking photographs of my quilts for submitting to QC. No fancy equipment here! I sat the camera on top of a pile of containers to get it level with the center of the quilt. 

When I say I put my heart into my Motto quilt - In God We Trust - that's the truth. The whole story. In God I trust is who I am. That's why today isn't an easy day. 

These rejections have me thinking about what quiltmaking means to me, and why I continue to make quilts when I certainly don't need them - 80 to 100 quilts are in the top of our closet. Making a modern quilt challenges me, and I embrace that aspect of the process. Making quilts also, for me, is about fulfilling a relentlessly strong urge to create. Will that ever go away? I guess today has made me pause to realize that there's no need to enter my quilts into shows, and it's probably time to stop throwing my money away on entries. 

The truth is, that above all, making quilts is about interacting with people who make the process enjoyable. The very best part of quiltmaking is the friendships I've made through the years.

Bless you all! Linda


  1. I don't believe that all modern quilts necessarily fit the definition of QuiltCon modern. If your quilt has alternate girdwork, improv, uses negative space, is mostly solids, etc. it features modern design elements and all of yours do. I wouldn't let modern by QuiltCon standards become your goal. Am I making any sense? These are wonderful, creative, original, skillful, modern quilts.

  2. yeah.....
    If you had made a rainbow quilt that said "In Dog We Trust"
    Or something else that is "controversial".... wasn't there a quilt made by a certain quilter that had some very filthy word.
    Those kind of quilts attract some judges. If I was a judge, I would have picked all of your quilts because I love them and they are truly worth sharing

  3. I was looking forward to seeing ANY of your quilts at QuiltCon this year. I thoroughly enjoy your process; designs & finished art. You are a great inspiration.

  4. Gosh your quilts are so beautiful. In looking at all your quilts, maybe you sent the wrong ones. As talented as you are, you need to keep submitting them if you need verification of your talents. One of these days, they are going to take the lot of what you send.

  5. I think some of it is modern each year is a moving target because the MQG invites different people on the jury each year. I noticed many of the quilts this yeah have a bit of a folksy vibe and are less linear, I think that makes sense. You make beautiful quilts and I love the Motto quilt. I think you are doing great you consistently get quilts in the show and that is something to be proud of!

  6. I can't understand the judging sometimes, no matter where in the world we live. Also isn't it subjective? I had a quilt that received nothing at one show, but won first at another, because it appealed to a particular judge. Personally I like to enter a show mainly for the critique,(and hopefully a ribbon ) but again that's subjective. I think all of your quilts look Modern to me, and are all quite lovely. I also love your Motto quilt. One Symposium in NZ a quilt that won Best in Show, was a hand quilted old cream blanket with a large red plus sign in the centre. It had a deep meaning, which was lost on most people, and caused a lot of upset, when comparing it to beautiful quilts that people had spent hours making. Go figure!!

  7. CONGRATS on QuiltCon!!!! Woohoo....just need to remember...we are only asking for a person or persons opinion in judging. I showed horses for years and learned that quickly. You know your work is wonderful but maybe not for all 3 of the judges at one time! HA Glad you got one's wonderful!!

  8. I cannot begin to understand what constitutes a modern quilt, especially when it comes to Quiltcon! From this distance I also don’t see the controversy with “In God We Trust”. Your god may not be mine, but trust we must. The motto is worthy of consideration and would have been wonderful in Quiltcon. Don’t be too despondent, your quilts are modern in my eyes!

  9. I have to agree with another poster -- the QuiltCon team has a decidedly LIBERAL bias and I have yet to see anything positively patriotic there. They purposefully chose quilts that are controversial and anti-American every year. That is why I am no longer a member at large of the MQG.

  10. Your quilts are beautiful and congratulations on being accepted into the show! I feel like if I like my quilts that is good enough. They have very different sets of criteria for picking quilts unlike traditional shows. I think there are some growing pains for them to figure out........

  11. I absolutely LOVE that you made a quilt from Austin's artwork!! I've always wanted to do that, but haven't managed it (yet.) Congrats on having one of your quilts accepted into QuiltCon 2020!!!

  12. Congrats on having your L quilt accepted . . . I really love it! Please don't think you are missing the mark though. By all means, your quilts are definitely modern. More so than most of mine. I hope you can find satisfaction in the making and the exploring that you do both with design and in the quilting. You are a talented lady for sure so never doubt that. I'm so happy to know you and have the pleasure of following along on your quilting journey. Hugs : )

  13. My fav is Owl Always Love You especially since you stated the inspiration for the quilt. Sweet!

    And, yes, in God We Trust! Hooray for that quilt!

    I don't even pay any attention to QuiltCon. And I think the definition of a modern quilt is all over the place. What is the opposite of a modern quilt? An old fashioned one?

  14. Oh Linda. I really feel for you, because I know this means a lot to you. I've read all the comments above, and agree with what they have all said. I refuse to enter QuiltCon because I can't work out what they are after. I make quilts because I enjoy the process - finding the right fabric in my stash, doing the maths, learning new techniques, seeing it all come together. I would rather have 100 friends on Instagram say they like my quilt, than get it accepted into QuiltCon. Because even if it was accepted into QuiltCon, who knows what those judges are looking for! I can never understand the quilts they choose as winners. Maybe it's time to take a break, give away some of those quilts on your closet, and start again just doing what you love. Feel free to disregard all this if it's too soon. Lots of Love - Wendy. PS Thank you for linking up to the Peacock Party.

  15. Your quilts are modern, jazzy, colourful, beautifully designed and meaningful, Linda (In God We Trist especially). Not being chosen for Quiltcon doesn’t change that. Keep on creating the quilts you love, in your own style. They are already crowd pleasers! Xxx

  16. I so appreciate that you tell us your process. We learn from that. The hard junction here seems to be a change in the desire to make quilts. If you don't make quilts what will you make?? God has wired you to make....

  17. I'm thrilled to see L Cabins in Austin!

    QuiltCon is pretty much the only show I submit to. I like that submitting to that show challenges you as a maker, but I'd argue that QC has a specific aesthetic. If you're not being accepted to that show as you'd like, maybe there's a different show whose audience is more in line with what you create.

    I've had projects both accepted and rejected from QC. I am a proponent of resubmitting, and one project that was rejected in 2018 was accepted in 2019. I changed the category I submitted to, retook the picture, and submitted early. Did any of that make a difference? Who knows!

  18. L Cabins is stunning and I can't wait to see it in Austin! I sure was hoping your grandson's quilt would be jurored in, to me it fits the modern aesthetic. Thank you sharing all of these beauties!

  19. All of your quilts are gorgeous. I really like the "Owl Always Love You" and "In God We Trust" quilts you created. I appreciate your blog. You help keep me inspired. You do amazing work. If ever you have a quilt that needs a home, I'd be happy to give one a home. I have some of my grandmother's quilts and she would be well over 100 years old, if she was still around. I was 12 when she passed. She made me a strawberry quilt for my 11th birthday. I love that quilt. I love all different quilts. I'm not sure what quilt con is looking for exactly. I'm proud of you for all your effort and time though.You really do inspire me alot. Happy Holidays. angielovesgary2 atgmail dotcom

  20. Linda - I have to agree with the others. QC is a tough nut to crack. Seems like the quilts they accept are strictly within a certain style. With your quilts, I LOVE Carousel, In God We Trust and the quilt based on Austin's work. They are really wonderful. Be proud and enjoy them. You are a very talented quilter/artist.


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