I've put a lot of work into this quilt over the past week, culminating in sewing the sections together this morning.
Here is what's been happening.....
Have a look!
May the cat helped me out the morning I painted.
When those were all completed (and some more raingdrops added), I put the finishing touch on the center.
I do still want to add some more raindrops, but the quilt had to be assembled for me to do that, as the beading will go between sections. So, time to sew the quilt together!
Rather than sewing the whole long seam and hoping for the best, I pinned each "intersection", sewed about 12 machine stitches (set at 3.0) over it, then opened up the quilt to see how I did.
I was feeling quite smug and pleased with myself....
I will say here that having the blocks interfaced, trimmed, and their edges zigzagged really simplified this task. There was no shredding or distorting of the blocks as I manhandled them with seam ripper, iron, more pinning and sewing.
I'm going to live with it up on the designwall for a few days to see what else comes to mind...I know I need some more raindrops but don't want to add too much more. It is feeling pretty complete.
I probably won't do the finishing until later in the fall, as I will be taking this with me to a couple of teaching engagements, and it will pack much easier as just a top than as a finished quilt.
It has been so much fun and did truly get me through my rainy spring!
Now......some brief thoughts about judging CQ's in competition....
I went into detail above about lining up my intersections for a reason: when you enter a quilt in a show, the craftsmanship has to be as perfect as you can possibly make it. It doesn't matter how gorgeous your stitching is, if your blocks don't line up you will not win. Or if your binding isn't "filled" and those miters in the corner at a perfect 45 degrees, you are out. When the quilt is folded into quarters, all four corners must meet perfectly. Competition is fierce, and judges sometimes have no other way to choose between two fabulous quilts than by scoring these technical details. You absolutely cannot ignore them.
As an aside, speaking of binding, I hate it. I use the French Facing technique to get around it, and I think binding often doesn't look right on a CQ anyways. Go here to read it an article I wrote about it.
Judges are actually quite helpful in their comments, if you can learn to take them as the constructive criticism they are meant to be. I know, it stings. Believe me, I know! But I will never forget a simple "Design lacks focus" comment on a small quilt that truly helped me change my orientation to my work. I have put much more structure into my quilts since then, to good effect I think.
We care about how much heart, soul, and passion we put into our quilts.....and that can shine through, of course. But judges are looking for what kind of a visual impact the quilt has, how well the embellishments serve the overall design, if it hangs straight, use of color and so forth. They don't have the emotional attachment to our quilts that we do.
Personally, I think the quilt competitions have raised the bar astronomically in the quilt world and they are a true force for good. Sometimes judges make wacky decisions but overall, I think they push quiltmakers to constantly improve and innovate. This applies to us crazy quilters too!
Well, the sun's out....
Isn't the summer grand?