Saturday, August 13, 2016 more ways than one.

This has nothing to do with quilting but everything to do with being a woman who quilts.
I have been finishing up some of my beach quilts and getting them ready for upcoming shows but today I had to stop and take care of the dreaded task of dyeing my hair. Yes, I dye and cut my own hair. I can’t seem to keep a regular appointment with a stylist since I'm on the road so much.  So today was dye day.

I like it when my husband is not home for this activity, but today, and now most every day, he is home.  I think he is tired of looking at me with the same ponytail I have been sporting to hide the telltale signs that, yes, I have gray hair. I have found that if I twist my hair just the right way I can cover up one graying spot and it looks OK for a few more days.

So I told him just stay downstairs until I am done. He said OK, because he doesn’t want to see me with dye in my hair anymore than I want to show him.  So the process begins by laying out the tools, covering up the counter and putting on my gloves.  Now the dye is in and I ask Joe to set the timer for 25 minutes. While my hair is curing I go into the studio and work a little more on my beach quilt.  I can feel that it’s going to be a hot day today and go to turn on the air conditioning and then hear Joe saying Really? Do you have to turn that on now?  YES, I scream back, as I feel something dripping down my face. Of course, the dye is melting on my head this hot day (but it's a dry heat - or so I've been told since we moved here in 1996).

The timer rings, he calls out Time's up!  and I go to take a shower, knowing I will come out looking hot and young again for my cute stud muffin.  Well, maybe.  I precede to get dressed and think about wearing something cute but first, let's try on my new undergarment I got from Spanx yesterday.  Yes, that will make me feel sexy. The new underwear goes on first and I feel that it may be a little tight but they go on and are a cute peachy pink color which makes me happy except for the top of the undies, which  keep rolling down under my mommy bump.  Which is really is a big fat roll.  I pull them up, they roll down, I pull them up and hold my breath and the minute I breathe, they roll back down. Well, this is not good.  Off they go and back to the good old reliable Fruit of the Looms.  Now for the new sports bra.  This can’t be as bad, and it’s in a cute color, too.  I give it a good stretch and pull it over my head, where it gets stuck on the wet towel that my hair is wrapped in.  Oh, no.  Spanx and water is never a good combo.  I stretch it a little more to get it down over the girls and it snaps back into my face.  I try and reach up to put it down again and it gets stuck in a tight roll at the base of the back of my neck.  I can’t reach it.  It’s too high.  I twist and turn to try and grab it and it's just STUCK.  Stuck on my wet, hot body!   I can’t get it on or off!   A panic flashes across my mind. What if there’s a fire?  I would be trapped like this.  I can see the headline, Famous Quilter Found Topless with what Looks Like a Wet Pink Rubber Band around her Neck.  I do not want that to be my legacy.

I can’t get this alleged bra down, so I have to do the unthinkable, and call to Joe for help.  I tried to cover my body with a small towel but it’s no help.  I saw my refection, that I was trying to avoid,  in the mirror.  Oh, God!  I was just standing there when he enters the room and says,”Now what have you gotten yourself into?  Help, I say, I'm trapped in my new bra!  He shakes his head and rolls the bra down over my back fat and then,  just for fun, he gives it a big snap into place and suggests that maybe I need to get a bigger one.  I tell him it's my size, it’s just a Spanx.  Yes, Spanx, he says, I remember cutting you out of that after your son's wedding.  Yes, I said.  He leaves without further comment.

So today I have a new bra on that I may not be able to get off without help but maybe I can work that to my advantage later tonight.  Hope you have a great weekend!

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Big Winners in Syracuse NY

I get asked about judging all the time and thought I would spend this blog time talking about how judges make decisions and how it all works.
Judging a quilt show is never easy. In fact, it downright crazy hard. There are so many top of the top quilts in the show it can get very overwhelming at first look.  
The quilts have been categorized and juried into the show before we even get there to start judging.  If you have 2 quilts in the same category one has to be move to another category.  Which throws the judges a curveball as we walk by and say, this should be in another category.  All this pre work has been done before we the judges arrive. 
AQS has a stickers system that is so amazing on how it all works.  Many years ago Bonnie Browning went to Japan for AQS and learned all about this respected system of judging. The Japanese think these thing out in detail.  This system takes all egos out of the game and makes the cream rise to the top.  
Now, hear is the hard truth, your idea of what is best and my idea of what is best may differ on any given day.  That is why all shows change judges all the time.  The judge’s they pick have quilting knowledge in a verity of techniques and styles.  3 judges all knowledgeable.   One maybe is a long arm quilter, one in traditional and home machine and one is more arties-farties with a traditional back ground.   It’s a good mixture of skills always.  But it still is a little subjective.  Because I can’t control the other judges nor can they control me.
How the stickers work.  Each judge is given a sheet of sticker in a certain color. We go around the first category and put our stickers on all the quilts that we like, that represent the category and we think personally are worthy, until all our stickers are gone.  The number of stickers very in each round and I don’t know how they, AQS, decide that part.  As we move around and around the quilts, over and over, looking at everything, we don’t talk to each other.

In next round, you put a sticker on a quilt that already has been sticker-ed in the first round.  Now we are down to all the quilts that have 2 rows of stickers on them.  It’s a process of limitation.  Finely the last round we can talk to each other.  And as a group we decide who will be # 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 place.  This part can get a little animated and passionate. We share our expertise and it always seems to work.  Then from the first place in all the category’s and we have picture of each of those quilts. We then choose the best of show and the best quilts in that category’s.  Not necessarily the best in that technique. It the best overall quilt the knock our socks off. We are looking a color, design and workmanship, all of these elements as a whole. 

If you are one of those people that has and over whelming drive to keep putting the same quilt in 4-5 shows in one year where one award is not enough for you, that OK, but don’t  think we don’t know that?  And what is to say there isn’t something more well executed in the next show?  So don’t get you panties in a wade or get hurt feeling.  Under your name in the quilt books it will always say "award winner" even if you just won 1 ribbon! Funny how that works.

Here is the top of the top quilts in this year’s AQS Syracuse show for 2016. And I will comment on why they won. Because the best part of judging is we get to touch the quilts, lift them up into the light and look at there backs.  And they are Spectacular!  We never know who made them.  Then when we see them hanging in the round at the Winners Circle, we know we picked the right quilts.

 Best of Show-  JANET STONE! Janet's quilt, Ewe Are My Sunshine, 
 The detail on this quilt is overwhelming. Beads, trim embroidery. 
 This is an original design. 
 Up against the black and white strip is a thin blue silk cord that lay in the ditch. Amazing!

Flora Joy of Johnson City, TN,  SLEEP, PRAY, SCREAM
Who isn't amazed by Flora's work! but when you can touch it you see so much more going on!

 The engineering of this quilt and her technique is mind blowing. On each layer in-between the quilt there are embroidered saying and beads and its just takes your breath away.

 HAPPY HALLOWEEN 2, Aki Sakai, Hachiouji, Tokyo, Japan
The detail in this quilt was truly made by a master of hand stitching.  She had even made the beads that dangle from its borders. It is made up of 11 little quilts all finished and bound and held together with tinny little orange yo yo's.

The more we looked the more we saw. So well executed and fun to look at!

    BAILANDO EN LA NOCHE (DANCING IN THE NIGHT), Shelly Stokes, Alexandria, MN

Very unique design!  The hand work on this quilt was spectacular! The subtle changes in the color blew us away and her hand embroidery was perfect.

HOPELESS, Janneke de Vries-Bodzinga, Kollumerzwaag, Friesland, Netherlands
 Beautifully executed quilt with spectacular color that knocked my socks off the minute I saw it. The quilting was fabulous.

 SILK ROAD SAMPLER, Melissa Sobotka, Richardson, TX 
I real have no words except Amazing!  This is not painted! Each color has been cut out and fused.  Great job at shading with fabric and bring this subject matter to the forefront. 

SHELLABRATION, Christine Wickert, Penfield, NY
This is all done by hand. I thought the composition was fresh and modern even thou it was a classic design. The rich color change is elegant and each row of clam shell have an alternating pattern  design. Beautiful.

 These are the top award winners but there was so many award winner in the show it was hard to break it down to these top 7.  Congratulation to all in the show.  And for those of you that have never entered your beautiful quilts in a show. I  say, Stop It.  If God has giving you a gift, share it with the rest of us.  That's why he gave it to you.