Courage and bravery in the face of competition…

…two elements of a person’s character that you don’t know are there until they’re called upon.  I first began submitting my quilts for judging with the Connecticut Piecemakers Quilt Guild…”my” guild.  The women, and 3 men, in this guild represent some of the most encouraging and talented quilters I’ve had the pleasure to work alongside.  Their desire to share their knowledge, resources and, believe it or not, their fabric is unparalleled.  That said, I challenged myself to volunteer during the judging for the 2016 guild quilt show so that I would hear the critique of the judges as they held my quilts in their hands.  I actually stood next to the two judges and heard their whispered comments to each other.  Yikes! Four of the six quilts I entered subsequently won ribbons but what I really won was the perspective of two judges as they held my quilts in their hands.  I had a lot to think about…particularly whether I was quilting to please me or them.  The comment of “needs more quilting” in certain areas rankled me as I had planned the stitching very carefully.  It took a few days for me to “hear” what they had said.  I laid my quilts on the bed one by one and allowed myself to consider…possibly…what they had been referring to…maybe.  It took a few weeks for me to realize that what I in fact wanted more than anything was to “measure up” alongside quilters I held in high regard.  I began to think about adding more stitching…and believe it or not I liked the results.  I took out the comments I had saved from the judges and took their suggestions to heart.  When I had finished I liked what I had done.  Ultimately I chose to enter 3 of the 6 quilts in the Eastern States Exposition and each of them won ribbons amongst hundreds of quilts from 5 eastern states…a first place, a second place and a third place ribbon……but I love challenging myself.  I determined to participate in the 2016 Row x Row Experience.  I traveled to 8 different quilt shops to collect the patterns I found the most charming and went to work.  I hardly left my sewing studio for the months of July and August last year….and again I took the judges suggestions to heart.  Each of the 8 rows was quilted with a different stitch pattern with a variety of threads.  I designed and quilted the 9th row myself.  What I loved most about the entire experience was taking the basic look of the patterned row and making it mine with embellishment, quilting and threads.  Out came the bravery and courage and I entered it in the Big E…I’m proud to say it won Judge’s Choice!….the elusive ribbon I’ve been reaching for!
Here is a photo of my 2016 Row x Row quilt …
What fun I had designing embellishments and making the patterns my own.  The fabrics on the design wall are all from my Dad’s shirts, the window view in the sewing room is a winter scene rather than a tropical one.  All of the buildings in the 4 corner blocks were fussy cut, rearranged and quilted to create a small town feel.  My older son, Mark, designed the fencing in the top row on his CAD program and I used confetti quilting to create the autumn trees…and if you look closely you’ll find Snoopy running for his life in the Halloween scene.
Never have I enjoyed making a quilt so much!  If it’s one thing that excites me it’s using a variety of techniques and materials in the creation of one quilt!
So be brave and courageous…and give “it” a try…whatever your “it” is…

 

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