Monday, July 28, 2014

Maine Quilts 2014

Today (and probably half of this week) I will be recuperating from having been on vacation.   Being away is supposed to rejuvenate you, but I find that I have just come home overtired, and with, as usual, too much to do.  The family went to Hershey, PA - did the chocolate eating, roller-coaster riding thing for a week.  While there, I did get to attend the Quilt Odyssey show, which I had 2 winning quilts in.  I will save that post for another day this week though.  It's a fabulous show considering how small it really is.  We drove 9-10 hours home Saturday so that my boys could start a baseball camp yesterday, and I could go retrieve quilts that I had at the Maine Quilt show.

This show was visibly smaller this year.  I counted only 59 judged quilts, which is a good 30 less than the past few years.  They cap the judged entries at 100, so this is WAY off of what it has been.  Each year I hear rumors that this show is in jeopardy of not happening the next year.  I actually believe that now.  I had 2 quilts of my own in the show, and it turns out that I had 3 clients that had quilts in the show too.  All of them did wonderfully.

Here's Wendy's gorgeous blue and white quilt.  For more pics, go here.  She got a great blue ribbon, plus a judge's choice from one of the NQA judges.  This quilt nearly didnt get into the show on account of the shows completely ridiculous rules requiring written approval from a pattern designer. Yes, she used a purchased pattern for a seemingly simple 9-patch Irish chain, which is a well known, traditional pattern.   No, the pattern was not necessary.  I think a monkey could create this type pattern on its own.  BUT Wendy was too honest when she first sent in the application, and then the show coordinator made her get the written approval.  But the designer had gone nearly AWOL, and never responded to emails.  Wendy sent in another application stating that this is a reproduced traditional pattern at the same time I attempted to contact the designer.  It's not that I carry any more clout than she does, but I can be more direct and blunt.  She needs this, please provide it. NOW! Approval arrived via email the next day.  Phew.  It is far prettier in person than my bad-light photo shows, so have a look at the link.
Here's another blue ribbon-winning quilt that I quilted.  Sharleen brought me this last summer.  I really hate when a client brings you a top and says she wants quilting that will win, and not a 3rd place ribbon like her last quilter.  Seriously, folks, I am not the only variable in this equation.  Your piecing, and binding have a good deal to do with it in generic (aka non-machine quilting shows) shows.  Furthermore, how well a quilt does ought to have something to do with it's originality too, but not always, and certainly not at Maine.  This is a pattern that unless you live in a Siberian cave, you have seen many times. Judy Neimeyer patterns are prolific.  Many quilters love to make them.  They look complicated (heck, many really are!).  And I have quilted quite a few of them myself.  This one is the Amazon Star.  I absolutely loathe quilting this particular pattern because ditch stitching those long outer triangles is a chore, even on a 24" machine.  The pattern was clearly not designed by someone that longarm quilts and knows the limitations of quilting (machine hates to go 2' to the left, and some triangles are SO long that they can barely be stitched w/o moving the sandwich.  So, as a result of doing two of the Amazon Stars, and cursing considerably, I no longer accept this quilt.  I am much happier with some simple boundaries :-)  Anyhow, the quilt did earn a blue ribbon.  On top of that, it took home the viewer's choice yesterday.  I am happy that I contributed to a client doing well.  Many people commented to me that it was the quilting that won the awards, which is reassuring.  But, it's a bitter pill when the client is there and doesn't have the dignity to say a word to me.  This quilt also ribboned at MidAtlantic, and she didn't mention it then either.  I know that they aren't under obligation, but seriously, it was a team effort.  She didn't win it on her own.
This is Sue's wall hanging, which I quilted about a year and a half ago.  It's just darling; I loved it before I quilted it.  Here are pictures... She was timid about doing the binding, so it didn't go into last year's show.  So glad to see it this year.  It has some small piecing issues, but is so lovely finished.
My 2 quilts that were in the show both earned exceptional merit.  I have always loved this quilt.  It is relatively simple piecing compared to what some of the show quilters do, but the colors sing to me. The piecing is all large enough that quilting designs can be developed on it.  Sometimes pieces are so small that there's not much you can do on it.  Not here.  This is one of two exceptional merit ribbons at the show, so I am happy.  Two and a half years after making it, it still hangs well too.
 Here's my Springtime in the Geisha's Garden, Best of Judged.  I am constantly amazed at the people that look at something with dense, intricate quilting and automatically assume it is computerized.  I can't count the number of ladies I expained that it was NOT computerized to yesterday.  "But how do you get it so small?", it must be.  Sigh... I don't know a whole helluva lot about computerized systems but I have to believe it would be a complete pain to program it to stitch around all of my appliques! It's now at home resting, awaiting its trip to Houston next week!!


Tami @ Lemon Tree Tales said...

It's always great to see your quilts winning awards. And that's sad that the ribbon winner didn't acknowledge that it was a team effort. Now as for the people saying that your quilting must be computerized, well phoey on them. (But I would take it as a compliment on how precise your quilting skills are.)

I'm still learning my computerized system and already I can tell you that the amount of time it would take to program around every little teeny tiny applique is a lot. For some of those areas it would make more sense to just hand guide it. But it is nice for E2Es.

Quiltdivajulie said...

In my case, people look at my free-piecing and automatically assume it was paper-pieced.

Great post - congrats on your many successes!

regan said...

Congrats, Margaret! As we toured the show, at each of these quilts, without looking at the tag, we said, "Just look at that gorgeous looks like Margaret's work!" And sure enough, it was! Well done on your own ribbons, and the contribution to the others!

Rebecca Grace said...

Margaret, you crack me up. I love that you speak your mind and tell it like it is. Good grief -- Sometiimes you have to wonder about whether people can hear tye crap coming out of their own mouths! Give me Blue Ribbon quilting? Must be computerized?! How can you respond to these people without losing your temper? No computer could ever do what you do!

Jane said...

Well, I hope that you don't have too many more clients that don't acknowledge your amazing work!! I think that you should win an award to when you work on a quilt and they win something :) like you said, a team effort. :)

Loon Song said...


Thanks so much for quilting the First Snow (first show quilt). It was one point shy of a Second Place. You should have gotten the ribbon, because it is the quilting that makes this quilt!

Thank you.


Anonymous said...

Wow, this blog post could have been written by me. Just about every comment you made is so much like what I've said and the ways I've been treated over my 32 years of being a professional machine quilter. (Recently retired.) Just last month a customer asked me to quilt her quilt so it would win a ribbon at the fair like the one she did last year. Yeah, it don't work like that.

Congratulations on your wins and thank you for showing them to us. Maybe sometime you can write a post to describe the way to went about creating your quilts for the big shows? Did you make them specifically for the show or did the quilt happen to fit a category?