Northeast Iowa Quilt Guild's 2008 quilt show was judged by Cynthia Drajna, owner of Iowa Star Designs. I would like to share some notes I took during the judging process. These are meant to help you with your quilt making.
1. Bindings - Bindings should be full and corners should be tacked on both front and back. This squares up the corner of the quilt and also helps the corners of the quilt to wear better.
Cynthia stated she is "old school" and believes binding should be finished by hand. If you choose to finish your binding by machine, it should be even and the binding should not ripple from the machine stitching.
2. Applique - Light colors should have no show through from darker fabrics underneath. Double the white fabric or line to prevent show through. She suggested using a 60 wgt thread to do invisible hand quilting.
3. Hand quilting - Hide all quilting knots in center of quilt. No knots should be present on the back of the quilt. Quilting stitches should be even. If your stitches are even, the you will soon develop smaller stitches.
4. Markings quilts - All markings should be removed from the quilt.
A side note from Barb on this - If you use a wash away blue marker to mark your quilt, add baking soda to water and spritz lightly on the marks. They will disappear with no rubbing. If they reappear after the water dries, re-spritz again and they will be gone. Washing the quilt in cool water will permanently remove the marker.
5. Keep your quilt "in balance." An example of this: If you are making an alternating block quilt, all our corners should be the same block. This helps the "balance" of the quilt
6. Invisible thread can appear shiny and be distracting. Cynthia suggested a monofilament thread called Sew Art. I haven't had the chance to try this thread yet, but I will let you all know what i think of it when I do.
If you have never had a quilt judged, I suggest you do. It is very interesting and can also be a great boost to your quilt making. The following are from my comment sheet. There were two parts to the comment sheet.
Katrina's Log Cabin
General Construction: "Some blocks do not meet at corners; great color choices"
Quilting: "Quilting adds to quilt. Lots of thought put into the quilting"
Finishing: "Full binding and corners tacked - good"
Special Techniques: "Very interesting pieced border"
Appearance and Design
Unity and Design Elements" "Very graphic - nice look"
General Appearance "Very nice choice of colors and fabrics"
Mariner's Compass on the Nine Patch
General Construction: "Applique is good contrast with squiggly circles. Piping is tiny and precise. Lines mostly straight; one block off slightly. Piecing good. Paper piecing, good with no points lost."
Quilting" "Curvy stitching on square blocks, straight stitching on curved blocks is good contrast. Good thread choices."
Finishing: "Fun, funky border. It fits! Symmetrical and flat."
Special Techniques: "Scalloped border, done well."
Appearance and Design
General Appearance: "Fun, judge likes!"