What made you decide to join Project QUILTING? I have judged a few quilt show before and participate in getting many of my own quilts judged. I have considered going to be a certified quilting judge, but WOW the time and expense to get your certification. I was so excited when Kim accepted my begging to be a judge. I am a full time long arm quilter, host a quilt retreat weekend each year and teach quilting classes at venues and Expos throughout Wisconsin. This was a wonderful mix with my business, Quilts by Barb. What is your favorite part about Project QUILTING? Even though Diane Lapacek and I are sisters, I have NEVER discussed the projects with her before or after she comes up with them. Any talk we have done has been AFTER the judging. I just can’t wait to see what new she comes up with every two weeks. I imagine in my mind what I would do if I made a piece. I am just blown away with what is submitted. I would like to make a few pieces this season. They won’t be judged but I will have Kim put them up with the other pieces. What are you looking for when people complete the challenges?
- I believe all pieces should have a purpose along with following the rules. Where will the piece be displayed? Will it be sold at a craft sale or on Etsy? I feel this is important. I have been to many quilts shows and thought, just what will they ever do with that quilt. I believe all pieces should have a purpose. Tell us what it is in your story. Sell us on your piece.
- Did the contestant follow the rules? I think this is VERY important.
- I also believe the piece has to be finished. That means the binding, edge treatment, quilting and EVERYTHING must be completed by the deadline. If not, I do mark down on the score.
- Is it original? An example from Season 1: The first few bags were fine then when I got to another bag; not so original. If it is going to be another bag, it had better really be a WOW bag! Keep thinking outside the box. Be original. Show us something we haven’t seen before. Twist those rules to the max BUT follow the challenge rules.
How has Project QUILTING made you a better Quilter? Since I have started judging I make a point to really think before I start a new piece and I use my favorite pieces of fabric instead of saving them for later. I love red, black and brown. These are the colors I use the most often. The different techniques and shapes and sizes and textures used and introduced in Project Quilting always get me thinking, what if I incorporate these with my favorite colors and fabrics. It has really gotten me more excited about the “artsy” side of quilting. Just how difficult is it to critique someone’s work? Be honest. I believe critique is important. I have a lot of my quilts judged and I don’t only like the “fluff.” I never want to hurt anyone’s feelings when judging their pieces but I do try to be very honest. I will try to include more “to improve” this season. BUT there are many times when the piece doesn’t need any improvement (we are only looking at pictures) but still may not be a “winning” piece. By the end of Season 1, the pieces got to be FANTASTIC. Because you didn’t get any negative feedback doesn’t mean your piece wasn’t good. It probably was, but someone else may have been more clever. We can’t really judge on the workmanship because we can’t see the actual piece. Photography is very important. Try to take at least 4 or 5 pictures. I look at every picture when judging. Also, the written story is important. It tells your story. As I mentioned in an earlier article, I love a piece to have a name. What was your top three favorite pieces that someone else created for the Season 1 Project QUILTING challenges? My number 1 favorite was Moran Quilts from the Road Trip challenge. I thought this Route 66 quilt was PERFECT for the theme. This is the only piece that I gave a 10 all season AND the piece came in second. Loved this wall hanging. I can just see it hanging in a den or office. My second piece I really loved was from Kelsey Rose, “The Monkey Who Fell Off the Bed.” My grandson, Joey’s nursery is done in a monkey theme and it would look as adorable in his room as it does in Kelsey Rose’s nursery. Congrats to Kelsey Rose’s new baby. My third piece was from Kim’s Crafty Apple and was the “Rows of Circles.” I thought the grommets were so original and the rod that ran through the back of the quilt to make it hang straight was so fun. I got to see this piece in person long AFTER the judging and it is even more creative in person than in photos. A side note to these three pieces: They may not have been my highest scored pieces in their challenge but I just have a special place in my heart for them as some of my favorites. Is there anything you’d like to add or comments you’d like to share with me and my readers? Don’t worry too much about winning with the judges. Prizes are also given randomly and also with viewers votes. You will get a critique that will make you a stronger, better quilter. If you have questions for the judges after we have judged your piece, submit them through Kim. We will be glad to try to answer them. And, finally, remember this is all fun. Everyone is a winner; you have a new, fun quilted item every time you enter. See you in Season 2 of Project Quilting! Barbara Raisbeck Owner of Quilts by Barb