Why you should enter your quilt in a quilt show...

...even if you are a beginner

By Shruti Dandekar

Shruti Dandekar at Quiltcon

Quilt Shows happen all over the world. And as India gears up to host its very first India Quilt Festival, I want to touch a subject that has been asked a lot of times.

Should I enter my quilt into a show even if I am just a beginner?

Let me tell you about the first quilt I entered into a quilt show. It was back in 2013, when I had just been quilting for 3 years. I had made this quilt that I believed was the most stunning quilt ever. I had poured my heart into it. And to me, it was perfect and stunning. I entered it into the Road to California Show. I was so sure that, not only was it going to be shown there, but it also would win a ribbon. But it did not make a cut. Not only did it not win, it was not even accepted into the show!!! I was angry and hurt.

The next time I entered a quilt show was in 2014 when the Modern Quilt Guild sent out a call for entries for their ‘showcase’ quilts. I entered my White Rainbow. This time, I had no big ideas about it. It had taken me a full year to gather courage and enter my quilt again. So when the acceptance letter came I was over the moon!!! My quilt was going to Houston!!! It felt like a dream come true!!! That quilt was then displayed at QuiltCon in 2015 and it was sold there. It never won any ribbon. But it gave me the confidence to show off my work. And best of all, I got comments from the judges at QuiltCon telling me how I can improve my work!

After that, I entered numerous quilts in a lot of shows and have also won ribbons. But I realized that I should not have stopped entering quilts after that first negative experience.

So today I’m going to give you 6 reasons you should enter your quilts in shows especially when you’re a beginner.

1. You get a chance to win! This is the most obvious one, of course. You can never win if you don’t enter, right?

2. You will finish a quilt in time! Sometimes, especially when you are a hobby quilter, having a set deadline helps in making sure that you complete the quilt!

3. You will make a better quilt. When you are making a quilt for a show, you will pay more attention to your work and give it your best. The result will be a much better quilt!!!

4. You will get to know where you need to improve. The quilt judges usually give comments that are encouraging. It helps to know the best features of your quilt according to an experienced quilter. Sometimes, they even will write a couple of words of advice on how to improve your work. This depends on the number of quilts entered in the show. A smaller show is a good place to start.

5. Seeing your quilt hanging in the show is just so powerful. I remember when I first saw my quilt hanging at QuiltCon. I was looking at quilts by all these awesome quilters I had been following and seeing my quilt among theirs gave me sense of pride. The best moment was when I went to it one day and saw none other than Amy Butler spending a good 5 minutes looking at it!

6. You will set a good example for your kids. If your kid comes and tells you they don’t want to participate in a match because they know they are going to lose. Will you say “It’s okay” or will you tell them “Winning is not everything”. So enter the show to set a good example.

Trust me, when I say that entering a quilt show can boost your confidence. It will help you take yourself and your work more seriously. And it will also make you proud. Imagine bringing your family to see your quilt hanging in the show, standing next to it for a photo!!! And then imagine the expression on your family members faces! It will be totally worth every bit of effort and courage it took to enter that show!

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Chennai, India

23-25 January, 2021

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