Monday, May 17, 2010

Quilts UK 2010 - Malvern

This is the first of our quilts at Malvern this year. I say our as this one isn't mine, it's Tet's. This is his first quilt which was made to test my book. He had promised to edit the book for me, and boy did it need it. Ever seen the unedited writings of a dyslexic? He has. After reading and correcting a large section of the book he realised he what he was doing wasn't really going to check the book. He needed to follow the instructions too. Of course if you follow the instructions in a quilting book you should end up with a quilt, and as you can see, he did.

Next we have Leather Star. I nearly didn't enter this and even after doing the forms I very nearly forgot to send it. I had the boxes sealed before I realised I was missing a quilt. I'm very glad I spotted the error, as it came third in it's class. It also collected a judges choice from Susan Briscoe.

I was amused to find that she had checked it was really a quilt when judging it. It is. It has one layer of 80/20 wadding in it and a batik backing. I am very keen for all my quilts to be true quilts, as traditional as I can get them whilst pushing the boundries.

I was also pleased to see she really gets leather. Her comments are in the image below. I think the risk is part of what I really enjoy about working on leather. It is scary. Really really scary, but very wonderful too. I know one day I will have a piece go wrong, and I will have to throw it away, but it's a risk I am happy to take. I love working on leather and I can't wait to get to the 4 half hides I have just waiting for projects for the NEC.

Remember you can click on any of these images to see a bigger version. You should be able to see the detail of the stitching and read Susan's comments if you do.

I suppose this is a good point to comment on judging. I used to think that maybe judges really didn't know who's work they were looking at, but as I've gone to more shows I know I can recognise a lot of peoples work. I also know I am terrible at remembering names, so if I can do it other people can. I have only judged one quilt show. It was a fantastic experience and very enlightening. You really can judge impartially if you want to. A good judging form helps too, as it gives you a list of technical items you can consider and give marks too. It can mean that a quilt you really don't like gets an award based on technique. I'm not going to tell you it's perfect or always fair, but it's possible.

I have now had the chance to talk to several judges, and that seems to be about what they say as well. Some say it is harder to be impartial about techniques they really dislike, but they try. Do they know who made the quilts they are judging? Yes, often they do recognise the style. However sometimes they can be mistaken and yes, sometimes they haven't read the book a given quilt has been taken from and not credited too. Does this mean I agree with all the judging decisions? Nope, and I doubt I ever will. Especially where the judging sheet is used (yes I did just say they are a good idea). A quilt may score well on the items on the sheet, but not push my buttons an overall winning quilt. There is still luck here. I've heard more than one judge say how thrilled/disapointed they were by which quilts came out on top in a category they had judged. The judge doesn't always know how the results will pan out. I have a suspicion it also depends on how much they need food drink and a loo break as well but I can't get anyone to confirm or deny that. It also has a lot to do with why I place a very high importance on a judges choice award. It is the one award they realy do have absolute control over.

I did notice this year a lot more people were giving full credit to the books, patterns and kits that inspired their quilts. I can't begin to tell you how much that means to me. It's lovely to see so many quilters sharing the glory with everyone involved it the quilt. I hope it will continue, and that it might inspire visitors to the shows to try similar patterns.

Here is my quilt based on a kit by the Starr fabric company. They call their version Starrfire, and as I made mine for a holiday after the Festival of Quilts last year mine is Holiday Starrfire. I had been looking at the kit for a while but talked myself out of buying it because it was too small. It was only supposed to be a twin. I have a kingsize bed and I wanted a quilt I could use. Eventually it got too much for me. I had to have the quilt. I bought the kit and worked on ways to extend it.

Everywhere I have black fabric there was supposed to be a raspberry fabric. I only had the correct amout of that so I couldn't use it (it is in the binding of the quilt). I thought balck would make the colours really pop and I had a lovely batik that would suit the hand dyed fabrics. The internal sashing bars are about twice as wide as they should have been, as is the narrow black border. The quilt should have ended there. Fortunately there were enough scraps of the bright fabrics to make another narrow border, then I was able to add another wide black one. I think the coloured strip stops the quilt looking too much like it has been extended. Without it the outer border would have been huge.

I had intended this quilt to go straight on the bed. Tet felt it aught to see the sights before it settled down, so if you missed it at Malvern keep an eye open for it at Sandown next year.

I don't know if you remember, but earlier this year, this quilt was penalised for bad applique technique. I think I am supposed to satin stitch over the edges or something, which would ruin the effect, so it isn't going to happen. Anyway, that trophy and the pink ribbon are the award for machine applique! Yay! At least some judges get it. I suspect you can guess how pleased I am. The red ribbon was a complete surprise. It's a judges merit award. I had no idea I had won that and actually thought it was a ribbon for the judges choice and had been put on the wrong quilt. Not so. It really was a bonus extra.

Finally Greek Fossils. As you can see from the picture, this quilt was well recieved. The trophy is the Fran Jones award for stand up quilting. It's a very special award to me. Fran went out of her way to get me started in longarm quilting when she was really ill. I hope she would approve of the quilt. I know she used to check every quilt the judges chose for her award. One of the red white and blue awards goes with it. The other ribbon is for coming 2nd in the large wall hanging category. However below the ribbons is the other (to me) really important award. It's Judges choice from Sandy Lush. I am so flattered when hand quilters appreicate my work, especially wholecloth quilts. I think the more traditional hand quilters get wholecloth quilting in a way that misses most others. For her to say it's good means a lot to me.

This post has got rather long, and I've now finished lunch so the frame is calling. I am so desperate to get the quilt on the frame finished. I want to start working on my leather that I bought last week, but I can't until I clear some more customer quilts. ARGH! It's good to be busy, it's great to be able to pay the bills, but I want to play now.


Anonymous said...

Hi Ferret,
I was at Malvern yesterday. I saw you talking with Susan Briscoe. Your Greek Fossils is absolutely amazing!!

Emma said...

Well done! I just love your Greek Fossils!

Susan Briscoe said...

Great photos!

funny that you nearly missed sending Leather Star, just as I managed to drive half a mile from home without The Denman Kannon...

I knew Leather Star had the requisite layers for a quilt of course (it wouldn't look like that otherwise) but felt I had to have a sneaky peak at the back so I knew exactly what was there and could fend off any smart asses who might want to argue about my choice for Judges Choice!

I don't think I actually complimented Tet on his quilt, I was too busy talking about yours... Sorry, it is a great interpretation of your "ferreting".

BTW, Grosvenor keep the judges well fed and watered, with a loo break whenever you want, nice biscuits with the morning coffee and a judges lunch, so we don't have anything to distract us from the quilts.

Vicki W said...


Ferret said...

I will take that as an official statement then, the judges here are not desperate for the loo :) I do wonder at some shows where there is a huge time pressure. It has to effect how you feel about quilts if you are just thinking about finishing so you can get to whatever it is you need. Maybe 'proper' judges are better at not being distracted I am pretty sure it would get to me. So I guess the advice to shows is look after your judges, and indeed any other helpers :)

There are just some quilts that try to avoid some shows. Don't know why but they do.

Jeanne Turner McBrayer said...

Congratulations on all the fine awards and lovely quilts. I would never have imagined longarm quilting on leather. I have an old leather coat that may have to become an experiment.

My favorite is Greek Fossils. Just amazing!

Anne said...


How did you do the back of the leather star?

Unknown said...

Congratulations Ferret, the quilts looked amazing and I love the Leather Star, where do you get the hides?


Anonymous said...

You're having an awesome month!

Congratulations on the awards!


Ferret said...

The back of the leather star is trimmed and being hand appliqued to the back of the leather without going all the way through. It is a very slow job.

I got those hides from Berwick street in London. I can't remember which shop, but several do have them.

I also get hides from Walter Reginald Group, in Wapping.

They are really nice to do business with and have a huge range of hides.

Jo Hopwood said...

Oh Ferret, the most wonderful and glorious things and so many well deserved ribbons!

Tet did so well too - I am impressed, and your instructions must have ended up pretty good for that lovely quilt to come out of them.

You are inspiring me, I only hope I can live up to the challenge!