Abandoning a design at making stage seems to be my thing when it comes to competition quilts. It’s not something I normally do, nor would recommend. I know many quilters have UFO’s, quilts they have not finished, but for me, as a designer, I’m not into abandoning a design. Yet each time I have designed for competitions, it has happened.
So my FOQ quilt is the latest victim. I love my idea, but it is rather complicated and there are silences in the quilt room – no whirr of the machine, no progress. I loved the hand quilted section, and this will be used in another quilt. Everything else was not gelling and I realised this morning that although the difference in scale still meant that the hand quilted section matched up with the machine quilted ones eventually, when I came to do the top quilting, it was not going to look right. There were also numerous problems yet to solve. So I called it a day, having thought of another idea to pursue.
I have already made a start on the new quilt and four small blocks have been joined into one. Although this is a much simpler design than the one I wanted to enter, at least it will not cause long periods of no progress. And there is a lot to be said for that. The fabrics will not be wasted. If I work at this a few hours a day, it will be finished in 10 days maximum. So that’s perfect too and I can get back to the quilting I want to do.
However, it has left me wondering if this is really for me or if this is my last quilt competition entry. Only time will tell, but I have not made a very auspicious start. Designs for sale are here
Tips for quilt competitions including FOQ.
I know a lot of quilters at some point decide to enter a competition, so I wanted to offer some sound advice as a teacher and designer.
1. Follow the competition guidelines.
2. Ask the organisers if you are unsure about anything.
3. Design for the category you are entering – some shows will re-categorise your quilt if you did not get it right, others will simply reject it. So read the description carefully and follow accordingly. Here are the categories for FOQ 2018, check that they do not change. Other shows have very similar categories.
4. If it is not all your own work, if you had help in some way – say so.
5. If you used a pattern name the designer and pattern.
6. Understand the system of judging. Here is the link for judging for FOQ for example.
7. Take note of the way your quilt will be hung.
8. Check postage and insurance (these are sometimes included in the cost of entry.
9. Check the deadline for entry.
10. Check the deadline for submitting your quilt and for picking it up.
Ask yourself if you are ready to make a competition quilt. The standards are high.
1. How long have you been quilting?
2. Are you neat, accurate and precise?
3. Can you make a straight quilt with equal sides?
4. Can you design? Ok you can use a pattern, but in my book that is cheating!
5. Be honest about your abilities and work to your strengths.
6. Have you exhibited a quilt before?
7. Can you do it in the time available? It is best not to overstretch yourself.
8. Look at past galleries of quilts from previous shows, especially winners. It will give you an idea of the standard expected.
Tips for quilt size
Each category in a competition has a size to work to. Measure carefully including binding if your quilt has it. For mini quilts or wall hangings, you could make a card template and check your size. Ensure if they are working in inches that you measure in inches, or in centimetres if that is what they have stipulated. Conversion can lead to inaccuracies. For example 12 inches (the size for miniatures) is normally taken to be 30cm, but accurate measurement means it is more than this, only marginally, but worth checking.
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