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Stitched and Bound 2003

QUILTWEST 2002  2003 2004


Quilt of the Month Dec. Jan/Feb. March/April

What The Judges Look For

by WAQA Accredited Judge Melodie Slatter

With much interest in the judged section at the WAQA exhibition, many people are asking just what is it that the judges look for in a prize winning quilt. It is not a new interest, because many of you have been asking this for years. Since the introduction of the judges workshop in 1995, we have tried to set up guidelines for judges within Western Australia. Here in a nutshell is what the judges look for in a judged quilt show.

Colour and design play a very big part when presenting a quilt to be judged. This creates the impact and interest. They should complement each other and – it is a combination of the two, design and colour – which will catch the judges eye. The quilt has to grab the judges to want to have a second look. How have you used the colour and does the colour flow? Do the colours blend or complement? If it’s a traditional quilt, have you done anything innovative with the traditional pattern? How have you used the design and does the quilting complement the design? Is it insufficient or does it over-complicate the pattern?

Then there’s the workmanship. The piecing must be accurate. If there are points make sure they are sharp and the lines follow through and match up. There should be no stretched seams or puckering and no threads showing or pulling away at joins.

If applique is used, make sure the curved shapes are smooth and the points are sharp. The stitching should not be seen unless it is part of the design. No matter what method is used to secure it, it should be well executed.

When it comes to quilting, the stitches, no matter what the size, must be even and consistent, and even on the back as well. The quilting design should be in relation to the pieced design and you should not be able to see where the quilting stops and starts – ie no knots or oversews to be seen.

The quilt should lie flat and there should be no visible marking signs. If the quilt is machine quilted, be careful that there are no puckers on the back or top and make sure it doesn’t push the piecing design out of shape.

The borders should be even and neat. If it’s a traditional quilt, both sides should be even. If it is mitred, it should be crisp and not distorted. The batting should flow into the binding. The binding should enhance the quilt, not distort it.

Finally, the quilts should be presented in a neat condition – ie no loose threads showing and it should be clean with no obvious things such as animal hair evident.

These are just a few of the guidelines that the judges use. The WAQA intends to encourage a high standard of judging here in WA by continuing to hold workshops in this area.

Email Melodie.

Copyright December, 1999.