Is it ~REALLY~ a 'Quilt'?

bee0hioJuly 23, 2012

My guild's quilt show was this past weekend... a great show & a fun time. For the first time we had paid certified judges (as opposed to ribbons bestowed in the various categories by vote of the viewers).

One of the members who helped the judges during their process told me that a judge told her that her tied quilt (bed size) was in the wrong category.... that it should be in the Potpourri Category.... and that it "wasn't really a quilt". I was taken aback with that statement! Not really a quilt? That's a very old time ~traditional~ quilt, imo. (The gal who told me this didn't seem to be the least bit nonplussed by it.)

I know that categories can be sliced & diced many different ways (maybe not in the big quilt-world, but at least in our guild we've had many a debate on how to do it & where to put what.)

It's possible the gal misquoted the judge, or misunderstood. But at any rate, I am wondering if anyone knows if there is any validity to a tied quilt not being a "real" quilt?

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Please see link below. This is from the National Quilting Association and it lists several types of quilts they say should be entered under the miscellaneous catagory......some I never would have considered such as crazy quilts, tied quilts, embroidered quilts and whole cloths. If you hire judges who abide by these criteria yes, it's a quilt, but it should have been listed in the miscellaneous catagory. The criteria should have definitely been posted before the quilts were entered, because if something is in the wrong catagory, they are ineligible for a ribbon. sad.

Here is a link that might be useful: National Quilting Association Guidelines

    Bookmark   July 23, 2012 at 8:56PM
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calliope, Thank you for the NQA guidlines, it was a very interesting artical as well as informitive. I would never consider entering competition but it is nice to have guidlines to aim for.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2012 at 11:44PM
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In my opinion, that judge needs to go back and get some more training in what is and isn't a quilt! Most of the quilters I know would not make such a statement. Maybe tied quilts, whole cloth and other entries would be categorized as "other" in some shows, but not in my guild's show. We've had to move an entry because the quilter did not follow the size limits for the category, but in the same show, a whole cloth quilt was judged right along with other bed quilts and won a blue ribbon.


    Bookmark   July 24, 2012 at 8:18AM
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Thanks for posting the NQA guidelines! I don't quilt for shows but it's interesting to see the rules. I will think of them the next time I'm at an NQA-judged show.


    Bookmark   July 24, 2012 at 8:38PM
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This depicts the very reason why I never wanted to be involved in 'judged' shows. How dare a group of people get together and say what is or what is not correct to be called a quilt! Make another category for Tied Quilts if they don't want to judge them with the quilted quilts, and then have separate categories for hand-quilted and machine-quilted.


    Bookmark   July 24, 2012 at 9:22PM
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teresa_nc7 guild and another local guild are going through this question of home machine quilted vs. professional longarm quilted this year. Don't get me started on this question......


    Bookmark   July 24, 2012 at 10:23PM
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There is a very good reason for judging criteria to be 'standard' and if one is a quilter who enters in shows, know your piece would be held to the same standards at each competition. It's no different than a school sports team who will only use referees who carry a specific credential at their play-offs. I have never, nor do I ever expect to enter any of my quilting into a competition, though it would be fun to do a county fair and that has crossed my mind. I would want to know EXACTLY what they are looking for so that I wouldn't have wasted my time by entering something they'd automatically disqualify I would have no clue about. I remember looking at the quilts displayed at our last county fair and thinking that most I'd have given ribbons to were much more well-made, prettier, and harder patterns than those who did win......and really wondered how their decisions were made. Having guidelines like this would really help before the fact. I have been wondering if quilters who send their pieces out to be long-armed are even permitted to enter a quilt? How does that work?

    Bookmark   July 25, 2012 at 1:03AM
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In our area, a quilt entry had to list if the quilt top was made by one person and the quilting done by someone other than the "owner" or quilt top maker. We have so many quilters who just make tops and pay a longarm quilter to do the quilting. There is nothing wrong with that, but now the show committees are not differentiating between quilting done on a home machine and quilting done by a professional on a long arm machine. They are not even calling a professionally quilted quilt a "group" project.

It is all very confusing and it seems to favor the longarm quilter community.


    Bookmark   July 25, 2012 at 7:05AM
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I wonder if the old-time farm-women had their "quilts" dismissed because they tied or tacked them to get it done in time to keep their loved-ones warm in the winter. I guess if you want to get technical about it, the word "quilt" really means to stitch layers of fabric together rather than the finished object but I still call a tied multilayered bed covering a quilt. This is why I hesitate to join a guild, I hate rigid rules and politics.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2012 at 7:31AM
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It might be an idea to have any guild/show post their particular guidelines PRIOR to their shows. That way quilters know before entering where their quilt would fit in any given category. It would save misunderstandings & hurt feelings. A backup suggestion - ask your judges prior to judging, what THEIR criteria is.


    Bookmark   July 25, 2012 at 9:52AM
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If an NQA judge presides at your competition, it's stated in the policy their criteria must be given out before the fact. It's not optional.

I have, out of nineteen quilts, only had one sent out to a long-arm to be done. The rest have either been hand-quilted by myself, or machined by myself, or tied by myself. I would think that a top sent out to be done by what does indeed qualify as a professional should be presented as such. The actual quilting is part of how it's judged. Not only would one have to list the person who machined the quilting, I would assume it would be proper protocol to ask the person permission to show their work and put their name on it. I do some arts, and if any of my work is shown ......not only would I expect to get credit for it, but if that person was to get a ribbon for something I'd worked on, I'd also expect them to ask me if I give my permission to use my efforts for their personal recognition.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2012 at 12:18PM
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That is exactly how it works, Calliope.

Quilts pieced by one and quilted by another are collaborative works, and must be entered into any quilt show under the proper category. Any prizes are shared, and a ribbon is given to the LA quilter as well, even if s/he doesn't "own" the quilt. Many LA quilters display ribbons and photos of award-winning quilts on their websites and in their studios.

And any "judge" disdaining a tied quilt needs a bit more education. But I do understand that it should be entered into the correct category. It's difficult to judge apples vs. oranges.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2012 at 12:54PM
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I agree that quilts belong in categories. How else can they be judged? Surely there is no comparing tied, hand, machine and computerized machine quilting. All have their place but not together. This goes for pattern selection and style as well. One needs to know rules before playing the game and shouldn't be offended if reminded or educated to them.
A quilfied judge should do just that, being objective virus subjective.
I know that tied covers are quilts (3 layers) but tend to think of them as comforters.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2012 at 2:57PM
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Yes.....but.....what about a quilt show committee that changes the categories just before the show (the other guild) or...changes the categories (after they have been decided) to judge home machine quilted entries in the same category as the professional longarm quilted entries (my guild)????

    Bookmark   July 25, 2012 at 3:10PM
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I'd be very reluctant to accept this as protocol for either situation if I wanted to put a piece of my work into competition. I can't think of a quicker way to have the participants cry 'unfair' and without participants there isn't going to be much interest in a show, is there? I would expect even more. I would expect the criteria not only to be available before I entered my quilt, I'd also want it available before I MADE my quilt. For instance, I saw mention that quilts without borders might be disqualified. I just birthed a quilt for the first time, and I did it specifically because I did not want binding on it, and there have been designs I have done where I also did not want borders because they would have interferred with the integrity of design. (Listen to me, rofl, I sound like some sort of master quilter, and that's really far from where I am at in quilting). However, I can play by any rules, but the only fair way to do any contest is that the rules are known well before the fact. That's one reason I haven't entered into the County Fair. The quilters who have done so, likely found out the criteria from experience and I can't find it and don't even know who judges it. I'm not guild related, or networked to any groups. This is what puts off novices and would-be participants and breeds ill feelings.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2012 at 3:26PM
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My first quilt was entered into a county fair and I was so green I had no idea there were rules to be checked lol!!!!

Sometime in my future I would like to make another quilt to enter and I will surely check out the competition and categories before hand.

One I attended had the tied and raggedies in the 'folk art' category. To me they are quilts. I can see where the area would affect the categories too, here the 'artsy' quilts are not popular.

It has gotten more complicated hasn't it??

    Bookmark   July 25, 2012 at 4:12PM
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That's just it, there are no rules for quilts I can find. There surely must be, because there are pretty specific ones posted about flower arrangements, and pickles. LOL.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2012 at 5:18PM
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Thanks, Calliope, for the reference link. I think I found the answer there to my question: Is a tied quilt a quilt? At the NQA site in the info on categories they refer to "tied quilts" as falling in the Miscellaneous category. So they are using the words *tied* and *quilt* together. I think the person who told me the statement in my OP has misspoken or misunderstood what the judge said.

The discussion here of tangential issues related to judging quilts is interesting & thought provoking. The gal who won the most ribbons (6) @ our show had several of her quilts quilted by a professional long-armer. They were beautiful, but...... I think it takes ~something~ away from the competition that you compare/judge my quilt pieced and home machine quilted totally by me to one that is pieced by a guild member & quilted by an outside professional. I "heard" she paid $750 for the quilting on one of her quilts. If so, I think she paid a lot for the "satisfaction" of a ribbon. Our show requires participants to give attribution to the quilter if different from the maker/entrant/owner. This particular professional long-armer had MANY quilts with ribbons in the show, but ribbons are only given to the member who enters the quilt.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2012 at 7:23PM
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