Friday, March 17, 2023

Judging, Scrapping, and Playing

QuiltCon emailed "Judge's Feedback" to those of us who had quilts in the show. Each quilt received positive comments.

I got a kick out of reading I have "great upper body strength." Ha, ha.

But two things are not clear: 1) what does N/A mean? Not applicable? Not available? Was there something I should have done differently to garner a comment in those areas? and, 2) "...may have fared better in Negative Space category." It's been my understanding that QuiltCon reserves the right to move an accepted quilt from one category to another, if it will "fare better." Couldn't they have done that?

I thought so until I read this blog post - My Experiences as a Juror - by Steph Skardal, who was a QuiltCon juror. She says QuiltCon does not move quilts in categories (unless it's obviously incorrectly entered) and she's as confused as I am about the difference between a quilt in the minimalism category and a quilt in the negative space category. Since I was part of an MQG committee that, last fall, reviewed the tenets (characteristics) of a modern quilts, I'm anticipating that in April MQG members will receive the updated definition in a "Modern Monday" email.

The upshot of reading Steph's article is affirming what I already believe... that in spite of every care and precaution to objectively select QuiltCon quilts,  a juror's task is subjective.

In my sewing room, I'm happily engrossed in a new project. Yes, I have about seven WIPs going simultaneously, but I function best like a hog in mud - deliciously wallowing in what feels good. 

I came across a tutorial for a scrappy quilt called Harvest Moon. Being well-aware that it's become more difficult to smash-down each of my scrap bins, to get them to fit into their cubbies, I decided to dive into getting them under control.

Working with scraps is inevitably a very messy task. 

I've spent more time pressing scraps than sewing.

My process is to press a few scraps at my TV tray pressing table, turn left to sew a couple bits together, turn left again to trim-up and square-off edges, and return to the pressing spot to prep more scraps for sewing. I'm also pressing pieces not being used. Those are stacked into separate color piles - whites and beiges; grays and blacks - all of which I consider "neutrals." 

The result of creating chunks of scrapped-together fabric is cutting out pieces from the two templates Megan provides in her Harvest Moon tutorial. 

These are finished blocks with many more half-circles made that I anticipate surrounding with a variety of colors.

Today I'm working on green. 

Not only are Harvest Moon blocks lovely, but so is the look of my scraps!

Here's my neutrals/yellow bin with everything all sorted - with space to spare in the bin! - and white neutrals ready to make into more half circles. Such a good feeling of accomplishment!

Do the pictures I've posted here look good? I think so! I couldn't be more delighted about them being from my new iPhone 14. After using an iPhone 8 for the past five years - and being so thoroughly dissatisfied with the poor quality of its pictures that I used a Canon point-and-shoot to take pictures - it's been a treat to now take photos that go directly into the iCloud without any need to finagle them there from a camera. I have an Apple Watch now too! I'm learning its capabilities, including a new way of taking a group photo. 

In the past, I've set up a tripod with the Canon camera, saved a spot for myself in a group picture, set the camera timer, and run over to be in the photo. With these new devices, I can set up my iPhone on the tripod, walk over to my spot in the group, then set my Apple Watch to take a picture in three seconds... and.. 

Bob's your uncle!

Such great birthday presents, right? On March 18 - also National Quilting Day! How perfect is that?! -  I'm 70. I couldn't feel any better about being this age, and it's definitely "old age." I don't feel it my age, and I hope I don't act it either! 

Book Recommendation

Because I haven't yet read a Charles Martin book I didn't like, I've been taking my time reading each title, savoring the chance to delve into another charming story. Listening to Chasing Fireflies, a title published in 2007, I initially thought I was hearing a story similar to others, but then... I was happily surprised.

Chase Walker, a journalist for the local newspaper, has grown up an orphan. Living in foster homes, and plagued by the fleeting remembrance of a father he cannot picture, he is finally taken in by a family who loves and cares for him. When he's assigned to suss-out a story - about a six year-old old boy who's been found near the site of a smashed-up Impala that's been hit by a train - he finds himself reliving his own, lonely past. Chase's foster dad, Unc, is quiet about his own troubled upbringing, and Chase's childhood friend, Mandy, has finally returned home though not quite person she used to be. 

I thought I had this story figured out, but again, Mr. Martin surprised me in a delightful way. 

Linda's score: 4.3/5.0



  1. Good for you busting those scraps. I'm thinking of starting a leaders and enders project with some scraps based on the "Unallocated" quilt by @mckillopmichelle. The judging feedback is interesting. I was wondering what the NA meant too as I usually assume it means not applicable. Steph's blog post about the jury process was interesting. I think my days of making quilts to enter in shows is done. I'm far more interested now in using up my stash for quilts that can be used. I'll be adding Chasing Fireflies to my reading list.

  2. Very interesting comments, including upper body strength! And apparently I'm not alone in not quite understanding what goes in the negative space category. Harvest Moon is looking good- that is one whole pile of bits and pieces. You'll be spinning left and right between the machine and the iron for awhile. But it's going to be a wonderful quilt. Nice you've mastered the technology of your watch and new phone to get some great pics!

  3. Great job on the upper body strength, Linda! Your quilting is above and beyond others!!! I totally get it--scrap quilting is more pressing than stitching! At least the stitching comes at the end and is like the icing on the cake! Love the harvest moon block. And a big happy birthday!!! And national quilting day!!! What a perfect pairing!!!

  4. Very interesting to read the feedback from the judges on your quilt entries, never come across the N /A item before, certainly not here in New Zealand. I was considering taking on the Harvest Moon, moons are my other passion after quilting, I'l see whether it will fit into my schedule. iPhones - I decided to upgrade my iPhone XS Max, took a deep breath and went with the 14Pro Max, I agree 100% with you on the quality of the photographs Linda.

  5. Very interesting info about quilt judging! I don't feel my quilting is show worthy so I will leave that to you more skilled ladies! I do enjoy making scrap quilts even if it does require a lot of pressing. Your Harvest Moon blocks are great! I am in agreement with you about Charles Martin books. I hadnt heard of this one so will have to give it a shot! Thank you for the recommendation!

  6. Yes, the judging comments were interesting. Your harvest moon blocks look exciting! And, I've often thought my phone pics don't look good, the colours not quite right somehow, so I've resorted to using my small canon camera and am much happier.

  7. I like your scrap blocks! And a common observation around quilt shows I've attended is, "Don't take the judge's comments too seriously. It's just that particular person's opinion on that particular day." Nevertheless, I thought you had some nice positive comments.

  8. Happy Birthday! Very good to know at 70 years old you still have commendable 'upper body strength'! (Incidentally my Dear Mum celebrated her 84th birthday on 18th March).
    I've been working my way through my scraps too - I know what you mean about spending more time pressing than sewing :-D

  9. Scrappy quilts are filled with happiness and interest. Your circle block is a great use of your scraps.
    Just ordered several of Charles Martin's books. Your book recommendations are excellent.
    Belated birthday wishes for a year filled with creativity, success and joy that will last a lifetime. My husband also turned 70 on 3/10.
    Hope you are healed from your recent fall.
    Sunshine and Smiles,
    Donna Weeks

  10. Those scrappy moon blocks look great! It will be a fun quilt


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