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Number Thirty-Nine * April
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QUILT SHOW REVIEW: MAQF 2000
By Carol Miller
Show time! The end of February rolls
around and it must be time for the Mid-Atlantic Quilt
Festival in Williamsburg, VA. This commercial show is run
by David and Peter Mancuso, who also sponsor the World
Quilt and Textile Show in North Carolina, Pacific
International on the West Coast and the Fort Washington,
Mid-Atlantic is always a highlight of my year
but this year it was particularly welcome after a brutal
winter featuring record snowfalls and killer ice storms.
As a special reward, Mother Nature arranged for spring
weather - even long sleeves were too warm!
My local guild is having our quilt show October 13-15 and
for the first time we are having a judged section. To
help us understand the process, I volunteered to be a
scribe for the judges. I thought you might like to know
about my day behind the scenes.
We began at 7:30 (in the morning!) with a brief meeting
over breakfast. We were given our forms and a list of all
the quilts in each category. For those of you who wonder
why certain shows have more traditional quilts or more
contemporary quilts, it depends completely on what is
sent in. Even on a show like this one where the staff
looks at the slides and sends acceptance letters, the
actual proportion of quilts is determined by the quilters
who choose to participate.
The amazing truth, here in the land of conservatism, is
that there are many more contemporary quilts being sent
for judging than traditional quilts. In the Traditional
Wall category, there were only 5 entries!
Another problem is that the entrant must decide for
herself whether her work is traditional or innovative.
That word "innovative" seems to cause all kinds
of confusion. The rules clearly state that this does NOT
refer to methods used, such as fusing, beading or raw
edges, yet it is the method of working which seems to be
what people think about when choosing their category.
Innovative work should show a new and creative idea. It
does not mean a traditional pattern done with modern
fabrics. Sadly, there were at least half a dozen quilts
in the innovative category which were clearly
traditional. The judges are NOT allowed to move the
quilts between categories. If they were to move a quilt
and it did not win, the entrant could claim it would have
done better in its original category.
background note: quilts should be shipped in regular
cardboard boxes, NOT tubes. Tubes are being touted on
some lists I belong to as better protecting the quilts.
The truth is that tubes are awkward for the show sponsors
to handle, cost double or triple the postage and are
difficult to store for return. They are also hard to open
and to reseal since the ends are often contrived by the
entrant and are not part of the original package. The
Mancusos pay the return postage and they find this new
trend very expensive. If it gets too expensive, I suspect
they will stop paying return postage and everyone will
For those who DO send their quilts in boxes, you should
leave your piece unfolded until shipping and try to use
some material in the folds to minimize crease lines. The
show organizers cannot steam your quilts. They are hung
the day before the show and do not have much time for the
folds to hang out. If they have spent a month or more
folded up, especially if they are under other quilts, the
creases become very noticeable. The judges did their best
to determine if the quilts were actually hanging straight
or if it was just the fold causing the distortion, but it
is hard to do. Look carefully the next time you are at a
show and see for yourself how distracting the wrinkles
Back to the show. We are all pleasantly stuffed with
breakfast and holding our box of sharpened pencils and a
stack of clean, blank forms. Off we go to the Traditional
Bed Quilts. The three judges (Charlotte Warr Andersen,
Alice Kolb and Barbara Barber) stood in front of the
first quilt and discussed it. The scribes stand back, not
allowed to talk, and wait until the judges say,
"Okay, write this down." They are supposed to
make a minimum of 3 comments on each quilt. The idea is
that their comments will help the quilter to understand
and improve on any defects.
In fact, the judges are very aware that the quilter will
get that piece of paper and read it over and over. She
will take each criticism to heart. If it is harsh, it
will be like a stab wound. They don't want to hurt anyone
or to discourage people from entering competitions. The
result is that all criticism is watered down and covered
in cotton wool to cause the least amount of hurt and,
inevitably, the least amount of good. On those quilts
which were in the middle range of skill, the judges
attempted to say helpful things like "Machine
quilting skills could be improved, quilting patterns
should be varied more, quilting should be more evenly
distributed over the face of the quilt." They might
comment that the composition was not satisfactory,
needing more balance in the upper quadrant. What they did
not say was "Why did you use this appalling color
Some quilts left everyone speechless - perhaps the idea
was flawed or the execution was not done well - maybe the
quilter's reach exceeded her skills. But in these cases
where the only solution would have been to throw it out
and start over, they were painstakingly kind. I couldn't
fault them for that - I pictured myself reading
"your quilt left us gaping. We couldn't imagine what
you were thinking" and knew no one would ever want
to read such a comment.
The one thing I can tell you is that the judges never
counted stitches. They did feel some of the bindings to
see if they were "full." That means your
batting should completely come out to the edge of the
binding. Using a smaller binding (2" instead of
3") assures this, you know. You should have to tug
your binding around and pin it in place.
The three judges come from totally different quilt
preferences so there were no strong biases toward
traditional, innovative, pieced or applique. They tried
to dismiss their own prejudices, but they are human like
the rest of us and it's really hard to pretend you love
purple when you hate it and to get past that to fairly
judge a piece that is totally purple.
I use that as an example because one of the winners,
"A Tumble of Roses," was done totally in shades
of purple. The stencil like rose design crossed over from
the light to dark backgrounds and the roses changed color
so they would continue to stand out. The effect, for me,
was as if the background had a nap (velvet, terrycloth)
and the rose shapes were shaved into the surface! It was
a spectacular quilt and won a ribbon. But one of the
judges thought it would look good in a funeral parlor.
She voted for it anyway because she recognized the design
skill and the excellent applique.
Another totally unavoidable problem is that many of these
quilts have already hung in other shows. I recognized
several myself. Then there are the pieces made by artists
whose work is distinctive. All of us instantly recognized
the work of Caryl Bryer Fallert. They are not supposed to
know and they are not supposed to let it influence their
decision - but put yourself in their place. Can you
totally divorce yourself from all knowledge of the
quilter when you look at her work? When you see a quilt
made by a woman who has just lost a child, don't you take
into account her emotional state? How about the quilt
made by the woman who works full time and has 4 kids -
you look at it and think "Wow. Where did she find
Looking at the quilts one at a time, marking favorites
and then deciding took hours. We realized that we would
never be finished by 6:30. (The show opens for a preview
at 7:30 and the winners are usually moved into a special
area, plus all the ribbons have to be pinned on.) So the
method was changed slightly. The judges walked around,
looking at each quilt, but saving all commentary. They
marked those pieces which were contenders for the
ribbons. Then they narrowed the list until the winners
were selected. After this, we walked around and they
dictated the remarks on the critique sheets. I don't know
why this works better but it does.
The system is flawed and I certainly don't have
any answers. The problem is that there are a handful of
truly outstanding quilters whose work always deserves a
ribbon. Their quilts are head and shoulders above the
pack - every time. People like Michael James, Caryl Bryer
Fallert, Hollis Chatelaine, Libby Lehman, Elly
Sienkiewicz and Jinny Beyer blow everyone else out of the
water. Their work is distinctive and perfectly executed.
They sell their work for thousands of dollars (and more
power to them!). It just seems unfair that they are
judged as professionals alongside people who have taught
two classes in their local shop.
I learned a couple things from helping. I would never
want to be the one doing the judging. It is a tough job.
Being a scribe and not talking was excruciating. I don't
think I would want to be judged. My own work is done with
a passion for design and color and only the necessary
amount of attention to detail. I'm not willing to spend
the extra time it would take to perfect the mechanics of
my art to please the judges.
What about the rest of the show? Well, we finished after
7 p.m. - the crowds were pushing against the doors,
anxious to get in and see the quilts and the vendors. I
just wanted to go back to my room and soak my feet.
I had plans for dinner with some online friends. We ate
in the hotel dining room so they could attend the
preview. I fail to understand why it took 45 minutes to
get food in a dining room that was nearly deserted. The
service was uniformly slow at every place I ate all
weekend. Don't they know we are coming? Can't they hire
extra help? What do they do during the tourist season
when it is busy all the time? Wouldn't they make more
money if they could turn over the tables faster? Why am I
not in charge of the world? I know I could run it better!
The other problem was the temperature in the main
ballroom. It was stiflingly hot - as it is every year.
This is a convention center - isn't it supposed to be
filled with people? Doesn't the air conditioning work?
Houston manages to keep their quilt show cool. Why is it
impossible in Williamsburg?
Thursday, I did the quilt show and merchants mall at the
Marriott. I made a beeline for my favorite vendor - My
Hands to Thee - on the far left corner of the room,
abandoning my previous practice of working my way through
the room until I get to them. It occurred to me that this
is not dinner and I don't have to eat my beets first. I
filled my rolling tote with fabric. Then I began the
search for inexpensive door prizes for our guild's
National Quilting Day celebration. That kept me busy for
the rest of the day - with frequent breaks outside to
cool off and lots of chatting with friends.
Friday, I took a class with Charlotte Warr Andersen on
how to put buildings in quilts. We also had lunch
together (as if we hadn't seen enough of each other on
Wednesday). She is a delightful lady and I really enjoyed
our time together. I only wish I could do work that
looked like hers. Sigh.
Then off I went to the Williamsburg Lodge for the
Wearable Arts Show. This venue is smaller and always less
crowded. The vendors are slightly different, including a
number who specialize in beads, trims, clothing patterns,
jewelry and needlework. Sew What from Wytheville, VA, is
another of my favorite booths and I damaged my credit
card again. I also treated myself to two Plexiglas stamps
from Primrose Gradations (aren't Joan and Charlie the
nicest people?) and will try some design work on my
hand-dyed fabrics and some discharge adventures. I've got
a couple old shirts I can't wait to experiment on. And if
I like the results, I can buy more stamps when I see them
There were some wonderful garments in the show - things I
could actually envision wearing in public. I know its
called Wearable ART but really, what's the point of
making some elaborate costume you can only display at
this show? I took lots of pictures and those are the ones
I am sharing with this article. I captured one vest as
the lady walked by me and it turned out to be Meryl Ann
Butler, a wonderful quilt designer. Another lady was
carrying the funkiest bag - with a lady's head at each
end and feet stuck out the bottom - I couldn't resist a
My spare time was filled with friends- people I have met
online and formed really close relationships with. Who
says the Internet is impersonal? Saturday, I was supposed
to go to lunch with a large group but I found myself
feeling walked out, talked out and spent out. I got up,
shoved my suitcase in the car and headed home - after
all, I hadn't seen my cats or my husband in three days!
Now, I can start counting the days until Lancaster.
Quilts shown above in order:
Double Wedding Ring with Four Hearts by
Dawn of Time by Linda S. Schmidt
Princess Katherine and the Pea by
Carol Miller is the Dean of Quilt University. You
can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org
Poppies Fabric, located on Orcas Island
in Washington, carries fabric, patterns and books, as
well as some locally spun yarns. Browse our internet
where you can find some of the widest selections of Moda
Marbles, Benartex Fossil Ferns, Hoffman Batiks, and great
deals on fat quarter packages of coordinating fabrics,
kits and notions. Our Photo board displays quilts made by
some of the finest quilters in the Pacific Northwest,
some of which are for sale. Come get ideas at our site,
and while you're there, visit our free pattern section!
72 ELMWOOD AVENUE, EAST AURORA, NY 14052
Quilt patterns include many lighthouses (North Carolina,
Montauk, Barnegat, Buffalo, West Quoddy, 30 Mile Point
and miniature) nurse, teacher, musical instrument,
Christmas paper pieced blocks, holly wreath, starry
snowman, paper-pieced borders, miniature star and
pinwheel. See web page for pictures. Patterns $6.75 ppd.
THE SEAGULL QUILTS TRADING NEWS (FOR QUILT BLOCK &
CHARM EXCHANGE) Quarterly newsletter for quilters who
wish to exchange quality, 100% cotton fabric and finished
blocks with other quilters. Send LSASE for sample issue.
Heartland Quiltworks asks:
Are you tired of basting your quilts?
Would you like a space friendly quilting frame?
Would you like to quilt and still be in the same room
with your family?
Does quilting aggravate your neck and shoulders or bother
your carpal tunnel syndrome?
Would your like to be able to put a quilt in the frame by
If your answer was yes to any of these questions--
The Heartland Quilting Frame Is the only frame you will
Call or write for more information Heartland Quiltworks
100 Cherry St. Cherokee, OK 73728 1-800-441-8112
MOTHER HEN'S QUILT
Quick, easy, machine embroidered quilt blocks to
embellish vests and jackets, towels, pillows,
wallhangings or create a quilt. Come and visit Mother
Hen's Quilt Embroideries and view the goodies! http://www.accn.org/~lildozer
NEW ENGLAND FABRIC
WE NOW CARRY AURIFIL
Home of the wide width fabrics. Specializing in one piece
quilt backings. All fabrics are 90" to 120"
wide, 100% cotton.
Imagine no more seams on the back of your quilt! End the
frustration of piecing your quilt back. Make that large
tablecloth you need for Holiday dinners.
We are now the Distributor in US for "Aurifil"
mako cotton thread. Made in Italy with the best Egpytian
cotton. Three different weights. Made for machine
embroidery, quilting, and all of your sewing needs. 154
colors (9 are variegated), high sheen and reliable
strength, and colorfast. The 50 wt is the most common for
quilting and most sewing needs. 50 wt has 1422 yards on
it's spool for $6.25! See website for colors available
and more information on other new products.
Come and visit our website. http://www.fabricloft.com
Secure online ordering. Samples available
CHECK OUT AND COMPARE OUR LOW PRICES WHERE YOUR MONEY
BUYS MORE FOR LESS!
Cathedral Windows Quick Method Quilt
This book will instruct even the novice sewer how to
create an heirloom quality quilt, entirely by sewing
machine, in a fraction of the time it would take to sew
by hand. Full color cover, clear concise illustrations,
yardage charts and many tips.
The possibilities are endless!
$8.95 per book plus $1.95 s&h
Please make check payable to 'Kimberly Nappier' and mail
to: Kimberly Nappier
6827 Sparkman St. Dept. tvq
Tampa, FL 33616
E-mail inquiries to: Bountipres@aol.com
Greenhaven, a bed and breakfast retreat especially for
Quilters, on the Olympic Peninsula.
Visit Washington State and stay with a quilter, and her
The Herbolds live just outside of Sunny Sequim. Their
home, set in the tall trees, is warm, pleasant, and
Norma can direct you to quilt shops in the area, plus the
natural wonders located on the Olympic Peninsula. For
those in the Northwest, Norma can also plan a personal
retreat for you and your quilting friends.
You are invited to visit the website for Greenhaven,
where you can check out Norma's quilts, learn more about
Sequim, and of course, see Oliver. The address is: http://www.olypen.com/normah
You may email Norma at email@example.com
or call 360-681-0364 for more information.
MY FAVORITE THIMBLE
Don't put it off any longer! Make your quilting much
easier with My Favorite Thimble. Our famous rubber
coating grips the needle for the best stitch control you
have ever experienced.
I know all of you are email users (or else you probably
wouldn't be reading The Virtual Quilt). However, there
are still occasions when only a handwritten card will do.
Special Thank You or Sympathy cards come to mind, and for
those times, I would love for you to consider using My
Favorite Fabric Note Cards. These handmade cards feature
swatches of beautiful fabrics, and I have just put
together a Cat Lovers pack. Just $8.00 for a package of 6
cards including matching envelopes.
Visit our web site at www.myfavoritethimble.com and
receive a FREE FABRIC gift with your order. I still have
some of the wonderful Swedish fabrics that have been so
popular. This offer is being made only to TVQ
subscribers, so be sure to mention TVQ in the Special
Instructions box on our Order Form.
Chris Hanner & Company 3687 Coldwater Lane
Snellville, GA 30039
THE CRAFT CONNECTION
The Craft Connection ( http://www.craftconn.com/
) is the most exciting place on the Internet if you want
to make or sell handcrafts. We sell quality cotton
fabric, Mettler and Sulky thread, and quilting notions,
all at a discount. Fabrics are linked to coordinating
fabrics, so you know your choices will look great
together. We try to find fabrics you won't see anywhere
else. And we'll package them into packets of fat eighths,
fat quarters, or 5" squares, so you can get a good
variety without a big cash outlay. Among our fabric
categories are florals, pictorials, and guy stuff, and
you should see the new Lost Fabrics of Atlantis
Every month some items are for sale at 20 percent off
our already discounted prices. You can use your credit
card online on our secure server to safely purchase our
fabrics and also our crafters' products. If you're a
crafter, you can sell here and take credit cards without
having your own credit card vendor account.
Check out our Free Stuff. Each month we offer a new
pattern and a new lesson. We also have a Calendar of
upcoming Quilt Shows. Come by our website at http://www.craftconn.com/.
THE QUILT BLOCK
We are a cottage industry located just outside of
Yosemite National Park. We specialize in clothing and
patterns for quilters and for people who love quilts.
We offer t-shirts and sweatshirts in sizes from medium to
xxx-large. All of our quilts are machine pieced. Most of
our patterns are easy enough for beginning quilters. Come
see what we have to offer at our website. We have a great
sale page, and we now offer secure online shopping!
Or e-mail for more information to
The Quilt Block
P.O. Box 127
Midpines, CA 95345
Fax: (209) 742-7662
SILVER DOLLAR SHEEP STATION
What is small, soft, and furry and kind to your sewing
machine and serger?
The MINI DUST-IT! Genuine sheepskin
duster on a 6" stick that is perfect for picking up
dust and lint from your sewing machine and serger. Soft,
beautiful sheepskin won't scratch polished surfaces.
Picks up the lint and tiny threads; doesn't spread them
around. Prevents lint build-up. Fun and handy to use.
Also works great on the computer.
ANNOUNCING: New colors -- white, black, navy, gold,
cocoa, taupe,teal blue, gray, charcoal.
Price: $3.50 each INCLUDING mailing.
To order send check to:
Silver Dollar Sheep Station 5020 Winding Way Sacramento,
CA 95841. Or call 800-887-8742. Or E-mail: :Sheep50@aol.com
Because we manufacture the Mini Dust-it to a very high
standard, we currently have a good supply of imperfects.
They may be thinner and not as pretty or have some other
defect, but they still work great!
And best of all we offer these to you for just $1,
INCLUDING postage. HOWEVER, minimum order is three (no
maximum). You can order them at the address above and
enjoy this wonderful product at a bargain price! These
will make wonderful stocking stuffers and you can request
red and green labels for the season.
PineTree Quiltworks is settling comfortably into its
new site and now frequently updates the "What's
New" link (so you can check on *new stuff* there.
The menu in the fabrics department also lists update
dates for your convenience!. Shopping Cart enables you to
add items to your basket with a click!
Recent, exciting arrivals include Shalimar II from
Northcott, Victoria Falls from RJR, *more* Fossil Fern
colors, *more* prints and batiks from Hoffman, new lines
from Moda, and more, more, more! Coming soon ... Kaffe
Fassett's yarn-dyed fabrics! Fassett's new book,
Patchwork and Quilting, Book #1, is now in stock! Please
stop by PineTree's new store at http://www.quiltworks.com/
, and don't forget to make a bookmark!
Amazing but true!
Gridded Geese(c) is a unique paper foundation method for
mass-producing Flying Geese units up to 24 at once (no
kidding!). Schoolhouse Enterprises, inventors and
manufacturers of this revolutionary product, offers both
a printed version of their catalog, and an on-line ( http://www.planetpatchwork.com/store/
) shopping cart service in conjunction with Planet
Patchwork. You can safely order online through Planet
Patchwork's secure server with your credit card!
The folks at Schoolhouse Enterprises and Planet Patchwork
search for items for quilters (and friends of quilters)
which are unique and often overlooked by other catalogs
you might connect with. Check out their on-line catalog,
which offers such interesting items as
Photos-to-Fabric(tm) photo transfer paper, Ott Lights,
beautiful embossed note cards, kaleidoscope pendants, and
much more! And while you're visiting, be sure to check
out the current Monthly $pecial!!
Schoolhouse carries the complete line of Electric Quilt
products, including EQ4 design software, and Sew Precise!
and Sew Precise with Shirley Liby. We also carry the
popular Quilt-Pro program. We offer some of the best
prices on quilt design software you'll find anywhere. EQ4
is only $86.88 and Quilt-Pro is an unbelievable $76.88 We
also offer some great package deals for even bigger
If you're having trouble deciding which program is best
for you, call our toll-free Quilt Software Hotline at
We also offer a large selection of Merry Mayhem's
Mystery Quilts. If you missed any of the Cases which were
previously online, you'll find them here!
If you're not able to access the web page, just e-mail
Schoolhouse Enterprises (mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org
) with your "snail mail" (post office) address
for your FREE CATALOG and Sample of Gridded Geese(c)!
(Sorry, but Samples are only available in the printed
PERFECT SQUARE and PERFECT TRIANGLE are tools that
help quilters make quiltpieces more easily and
accurately. Patterns have been written especially for
PERFECT SQUARE and the necessary sheets to make the quilt
are included in the pattern.
The PERFECT SQUARE website has been updated to include
information on all products and patterns complete with
pictures. Credit cards are accepted.
Also included are pictures of Monica's art quilts and
links to really cool quilt sites.
PCQuilt for Windows
PCQuilt for Windows is easy to learn and easy to use
quilting software. The block and the quilt are on the
same screen so you can see your quilt emerge as you
design and color your blocks. Combine blocks in a variety
of ways to see endless new designs. The program includes
all the features that have always made PCQuilt easy and
fun to use. Now with the new Windows version, PCQuilt
will help you estimate your yardage, print templates,
quilts and blocks, and has a friendly Windows interface
with easy to use toolbars. PCQuilt comes with a extensive
library of blocks, border, quilts, palettes and fabric
patterns. PCQuilt is also available for the Macintosh.
Look for PCQuilt at your local Husqvarna VIKING Dealer or
visit our website at http://www.pcquilt.com/
7061 Lynch Road
Sebastopol, CA 95472
18" pillows for sale: free-form patchwork
bordered by canvas duck on front and backed with burlap
($50), or patches of traditional knit or crochet patterns
in off-white cotton yarn bordered and backed with
upholstery fabric in natural shades ($75). All covers
removable and should be drycleaned. Include $7 for
shipping and handling. email@example.com
for questions. (530) 675-2899. Linda Gyulassy at P.O. Box
42, Brownsville, CA 95919.
ADVERTISING WITH TVQ.
Our advertisers, both here in the newsletter and at
the Planet Patchwork website, have found TVQ to be an
effective and economical way to reach thousands of online
quilters. Ads in the newsletter are only $5 each (up to
100 words, inquire about longer ads) or 3 for $10, and
there are also attractive packages available which
combine newsletter and website ads. For more information
or visit http://www.planetpatchwork.com/adcard.htm.
We specialize in helping small quilting-related
businesses gain exposure on the internet.
And here's what's inside!
Lynn Holland reviews the charming quilt stores in coastal South
Carolina. Charleston, Summerville, and Myrtle Beach share their
Co-Founder with her husband of The Kirk Collection, lover of
crazy quilts, and all old quilty things, Nancy Kirk provides her
unique perspective on the venerable craft. Find out about her new
COMMENTS, QUESTIONS, NEWS,
Like any news publication, TVQ is always
hungry for information about new developments in the area
we are trying to cover. If you have an idea for a story,
or want to tell the world about something you are doing
which relates to computers and quilting, we'd like to
hear about it.
We'd like news of new classes starting up to teach quilt
design on computers, or new approaches to that teaching.
New products, maillists, World Wide Web pages, etc., are
all fair game, and we'd appreciate any tips you can
provide. Send your tips by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you have a comment about an article, a complaint or a
correction, we're glad to hear that, too, and may publish
some comments as letters to the editor. Again, these may
be sent to email@example.com.
Editor and Publisher: Robert Holland,
© 1999 by Robert Holland. All rights reserved. This
file may not be reproduced in any form except to be
printed out for the personal use of its owner without
the expressed, written consent of the copyright