Don’t Judge Me!


I always have mixed feelings about entering a quilt show. If it’s a juried show, I’m honored to have my quilt selected. But I also know that my quilts are not contenders for ribbons.

I entered two quilts in a recent show and was surprised by the judge’s comments. They seemed inconsistent and harsh. I will share one of the quilts judging sheets.

This is a photo of “Elemental.” I know, it photographs terribly. Within each square it says air, fire, water and earth. The quilting to the right of each element is reflective of air, fire, etc.


Here are the judges’ comments on the quilt:

Positive attributes:

  • Good use of color
  • Quilting design complements the piecing
  • Binding is well-executed.

Areas for Improvement:

  • Weak Visual Impact
  • Lack of balance detracts from the design
  • Ineffective use of contrast/value
  • Fabric choices detract from the design.
  • Binding is poorly executed.

Additional Comments;

We liked the direction you headed in with this quilt. Felt the quilting on the border took away from the overall design and made it too busy. Love the “elemental” quilting in the middle.

I read the comments and wasn’t exactly sure how to feel. I didn’t feel the judges really understood the quilt, which was in a category that was supposed to have a lot of open spaces for quilting. I was also confused that the binding was both well-executed and needed improvement. And there seemed to be a contradiction as to whether or not they liked the design and color. I did not feel like I’d done a very good job with this quilt.

And I felt like I was done entering in shows.

Last week, I mentioned my experience to a good friend who also entered the same show and got equally baffling comments. She told me that the show had not used certified judges. Yes, there really are certified judges and they go through rigorous training. You can learn more about AQS Certified Judges here.

I try to learn from all of my quilt show experiences. This time I learned the importance of only entering shows that use certified judges.


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