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Do You Enter Quilt Shows?

Do you wonder what happens when you enter a quilt show? Some smaller shows hand out ribbons, some you're awarded a ribbon and cash prize. Some of the big quilt shows will give out thousands of dollars in awards.



When you want to enter a quilt show go to their website and print the entry form and rules. Different shows have different rules. I've never entered a show where you don't need a 4" hanging sleeve. The hanging sleeve I like is called a "D" sleeve. When you lay the quilt so the back is face up it looks like a "D". There are many YouTube videos showing how to make a "D" sleeve.



The next thing is your quilt must have a label. The label will need the quilt name, your name, the quilters name if different than yours, and year the quilt was completed. Some quilters embroider their label, some hand write it with an archival pen. The label gets covered up for judging. Depending on the show rules some want it covered with their paper or some I have had to loosely hand sew muslin over the label. The label is covered so the judge has no idea who made it.




You have to mail or drop off your quilt. Just follow the rules. If you have a question there's always a contact person. On the entry form you'll have lots of information you have to fill out, name, address, who made the quilt, who quilted the quilt, measurements and a lot of other information. There will be a list of categories and descriptions. You will need to pick what category you want to enter your quilt in. Some shows have many categories, others just have a few. The usual ones are bed quilt pieced, bed quilt applique, and bed quilt mixed techniques. Then there's the same for small quilts, wall hangings, art quilts, whole cloth quilts and many others depending on the show. Sometimes your quilt might fit under a couple categories. Choose the one that it fits under best. If you're not sure, call the contact person and they can help you figure out what category it should be entered into.

Some shows hire a judge from the organization, National Association of Certified Quilt Judges. Other shows will ask a few of the teachers that teach at the show to judge. I prefer that they hire a certified judge that has many, many hours of training and many quilt shows under their belt. They have the experience to judge every type of quilt.


When you receive your quilt back you'll get a critique sheet that has the judges comments. When they are judging they don't pick out every little thing you've done wrong and that's it. They want to encourage you to continue to improve and succeed. They will point out things you've done well and also things you can strive to improve. I usually know when I enter a quilt what I didn't do to the best of my ability. So it's usually not a surprise to me when I read the judges comments. I try to improve those things on my next quilt.

I hope you think about entering a quilt show just so you can have the experience of the process. My next blog post will be about what the judge looks at when they are judging the quilts.



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