Certified Judges Program
A quilt is a labor of love into which the maker puts a considerable amount of time and effort. Some quilters are apprehensive about entering their quilts in judged shows and ask about what things will be examined during the judging procedure.
During the days just prior to the NQA Annual Quilt Show, a panel of three judges certified by the National Quilting Association evaluates each entry with the others in its category and selects the award winners. The judges do their best to comment on the best features of your quilt, as well as to give you a constructive evaluation within the time frame allowed for judging. Some of the criteria judges look for include:
- General Construction: Piecing should be precise; corners matched and points sharp using appropriate thread type and color. Seams should be secure. Borders should be straight and well executed with no ripples, puckers or stretching. Appliqué should be securely attached without puckers, using matching thread (unless stitches are decorative.) Curves should be smooth and points sharp, with no shadowing of dark fabrics under light.
- Quilting: Stitches should be even and consistent with balanced tension, front and back. No knots, backstitches, pleats or bubbles should be evident. Starts and stops should be unobtrusive. Amount of quilting should be sufficient and appropriate for the design of the quilt top with the consistency of quilting stitches reasonably maintained throughout.
- Finishing: Batting should extend to edge of binding with corners neat, well executed, and consistent. No wobbles or distortion should be evident on quilt edges. Stitching should be secure.
- Special techniques: Embroidery, embellishments, beading, overlays, trapunto, photo transfers, etc. should be secure, neat, effectively executed, and appropriate to the design.
- Unity and Design Elements: Design of the top, quilting, fabric choices, sashing, borders, imagery, and finishing should be well planned and integrated. Line, shape, color, texture and value should be effectively used to produce an interesting, balanced and well-proportioned design. Quilting pattern should complement the top design, fill the spaces well, and be consistent in proportion to the top design elements.
- General Appearance: Item should be neat, clean, and "show ready" with no visible markings, loose threads, bearding, soil, pet hair, odor or stains. No major distortion or sewing problems should appear on the front and/or back of quilt.