Quilting on the Next Level: What are the Judges Looking For?

Klaudeen Hansen, May 2014, National Quilt Association Show, Columbus OH Quilt in background Saffron Splendor by Pat Holly

Klaudeen Hansen, May 2014,
National Quilt Association Show, Columbus OH
Quilt in background Saffron Splendor by Pat Holly

So, what are the judges looking for? To figure that out, we turned to Klaudeen Hansen, who has judged over 38,000 quilts. Nancy Zieman credited Klaudeen with the standardization of quilt judging, and called her the “mother of modern quilt shows.” Klaudeen is in the Who’s Who of American Quilting, and her quilts have been in invitational shows in the US and Europe.

Klaudeen says, “I grew up with 4-H, and was used to having my work judged. I was the helper person at the county fair, pinning on the ribbons, etc. I often thought the judging was completely arbitrary. There really was no rhyme or reason to how they picked the winning quilt. Even as a kid, it seemed to me there should be criteria.”

In the 1980’s, Klaudeen was teaching quilt making and encouraging her students to enter quilt shows. The AQS began to offer some very big prize money. Klaudeen was making quilts and entering them into contests. The National Quilting Association wanted to develop a pilot program to certify judges, and Klaudeen submitted a syllabus. She spent the next twelve years teaching people all over the United States how to judge quilts.

In an interview with Nancy Zieman (https://wpt.org/SewingWithNancy/Video/nancys-corner-klaudeen-hansen), Klaudeen discussed the judging process for quilts and the five basic things judges seek:

  1. Cleanliness
  2. A balanced composition with a sense of proportion and scale
  3. Quiltmaker’s expertise
  4. Alignment – straight
  5. Finishing features

So, are you ready to take your quilting to the next level? You may be surprised to find out what’s in it for you.


Quilting on the Next Level: Enter a Quilt Show

Quilting on the Next Level: How Do You Start?

Quilting on the Next Level: What are the Judges Looking For?

Quilting on the Next Level: Example Quilt Exhibits, OSQE

Splendid Sampler II

Rhonda Pierce Holding SCHMETZ Super Demo NeedleHello dear Splendid Sampler II fans! My name is Rhonda Pierce and I love to sew & quilt. I am spokesperson for SCHMETZ home sewing needles North America. Yes, in this pic, I’m holding a giant needle, the SCHMETZ “Super” demo needle. We travel together when I give SCHMETZ classes. In The Splendid Sampler 2, you will find my block Get To The Point on page 111.

To complete Pat Sloan and Jane Davidson’s sentence, I’m living my best quilting life when… I’m sharing needle facts, and at the same time learning from my awesome creative sewing public. That little 2” piece of steel, the SCHMETZ needle, has provided me with an awesome career and friendships around the world. I am forever grateful. Because of listening to YOU, I pushed SCHMETZ to color code needles by needle type and size. Color bands make needle identification so much easier. No longer do you need to squint to read the size imprinted on the needle shank. Check out the chart below. The upper color band identifies the needle type (left column) and the lower band identifies the SCHMETZ Needles Color Code Chartneedle size (right column). Universal needles have only one band of color to identify size. Feel free to download this handy chart: https://www.schmetzneedles.com/schmetz-color-code-chart/

SCHMETZ Microtex NeedlesMy favorite needle is SCHMETZ Chrome Professional Grade Microtex size 80/12. Using the chart to the right, the top color band is purple for Microtex and the bottom color band is orange. On this project, I first used SCHMETZ Chrome Microtex 80/12, but found the needle a bit heavy, so switched to a smaller needle, size 70/10, lower green. SCHMETZ Chrome Microtex 70/10 and Aurifil are perfect partners with Moda Fabrics.

On this project, what needle type are you using? What size? Popular needle types are Microtex, Quilting and Universal. Popular sizes are 70/10 – 80/12. With SCHMETZ you have options! Post pics of your Get To The Point block on the Splendid Sampler website to be in the running for a SCHMETZ giveaway. Sew SCHMETZ!

Get To The Point Block, SCHMETZ Chrome Microtex 70/10, Aurifil, Moda Fabrics
Congratulations to Pat and Jane for another awesome Splendid Sampler! Thank you everyone for making SCHMETZ needles a sewing room essential.

PS: Two more things –

  • Enjoy my free monthly SCHMETZ newsletters. Each issue includes new products in the marketplace and a needle fact that you can copy & paste into your own newsletters and websites. Sign up here: info@schmetzneedles.com.
  • Check out my new personal blog: www.sewmorestitches.com/blog. Get a glimpse into my world with creative & awesome friends… sew like you! 😊

Here is a link to their website. Enter the giveaway and learn more about their project:

The Splendid Sampler ™ 2 sew-along and giveaway Feb 21

Sew SCHMETZ & Grabbit® Too!


Design Stars – Frieda Anderson

Design Stars

From left to right: Scott Wernet, Frieda Anderson, Angela Wolf, Reen Wilcoxson, Rita Farro, Cheryl Sleboda, Ebony Love, Rhonda Pierce, Rolando Bohlemann, Pete Janss

From left to right: Scott Wernet, Frieda Anderson, Angela Wolf, Reen Wilcoxson, Rita Farro, Cheryl Sleboda, Ebony Love, Rhonda Pierce, Rolando Bohlemann, Pete Janss

Early this year, we had visitors from the Industrial Division of SCHMETZ Germany. To help SCHMETZ executives better understand the consumer market, many activities were arranged. Yes, we had traditional meetings and visited retail shops, but we also toured Modern Quilt Studio with Weeks Ringle and Bill Kerr and ended the week with a star studded designer showcase with five designers from the Chicago area. Each designer presented their special niche in the marketplace. The result was aptly described by SCHMETZ as “astonishing!” The day was laced with energy, talent, savvy and a passion for creativity. These five business women demonstrated grit, talent, creativity and strategic work. With hard work, that never goes out of style, they make awesome contributions to the sewing industry that we love. Meet, or re-meet, because several ladies have already been featured in SCHMETZ Inspired to SEW: Cheryl Sleboda, Ebony Love, Reen Wilcoxson, Frieda Anderson and Angela Wolf. Five shining stars that make sewing even more fun!

Frieda Anderson

Frieda Anderson is a self-employed quilt artist, who has earned just about every accolade and award the great big colorful world of quilting has to offer. (www.friestyle.com) Even though she has a degree in art history and an associate degree in fashion design, by 1992, she realized all she wanted to do was make quilts — and that’s been her focus ever since. Her one-of-a-kind art quilts are usually machine quilted and often inspired by nature. She hand dyes her own cotton, silk and linen fabrics, creating an intensity of color and texture which make her quilts unique and recognizable. Her quilts have been exhibited and won awards at the biggest quilt shows in the world.

Frieda designs her own art quilt patterns, and has written several books on the subject:

  • Art Quilter: Fusible Collage, Laura Wasilowski & Frieda Anderson with Nancy Zieman
  • Fabric to Dye For, C&T Publishing
  • Fun Fast Fusies, American Quilter’s Society
  • Frieda’s Fun Fast Free Motion Machine Quilting, Self-published

Frieda also teaches Craftsy classes, and sometimes vends at international shows selling her hand dyed fabrics and quilt patterns. Because she is one of the most popular speakers on the quilt guild/show/ event circuit, she travels extensively, teaching her techniques to quilters all over the world. She may be coming to a venue near you. Here’s her busy 2018 April schedule:

  • April 4-7 Original Sewing and Quilting Expo, Cleveland OH
  • April 10 – Heritage Quilt Guild, Lockport IL
  • April 12-14 International Quilt Festival, Chicago IL
  • April 24-28 American Quilt Society, Paducah KY

If you’d like to have Frieda visit and teach at your guild, contact her at: frieda@friestyle.com.

Jenny Doan – Missouri Star Quilt Co. – Part 1

Missouri Star Quilt Company LogoWith hundreds of millions of YouTube views, Missouri Star Quilt Company is to quilting what Henry Ford was to automobile sales. Yes, it is THAT BIG . . .

So, how did tiny Hamilton, Missouri, a sleepy little town full of abandoned buildings, become the highly unlikely epicenter of a world-wide quilting revolution?

Jenny Doan - Quilting is a Sweet Journey.

Quilting is a Sweet Journey.

It was the 1990’s, and Jenny and Ron Doan were living in California, raising their seven children, Darrell, Natalie, Sarah, Hillary, Alan, Jacob, and Joshua. After realizing all her children learned differently, Jenny decided to try homeschooling. When she takes on a new job , she is 100% ALL IN. The school district provided them with lesson plans, but her kids whizzed through the material. So Jenny added “themes” to their schooling. “If one of the kids asked a question about the space shuttle — that was it. We’d go to the library and get books about space. We’d make field trips to the local observatory, and they wrote reports on astronauts. Maybe two weeks later, one of the kids would be interested in whales — so then it was all about ocean life.”

Ron & Jenny Doan.

Ron & Jenny.

In 1995, Jenny and Ron decided it was time to leave California. Ron was a mechanic/machinist, and figured he could get a job anywhere there was a factory. For a more affordable quality of life they decided to move to the Midwest. Their oldest child was in college, and their youngest was 8 when they packed up four vehicles and drove across the country to Hamilton, Missouri. When they arrived, they knocked on the door of a local realtor. He informed them that there was no motel in town, and it would take some time to find a rental house — so maybe they should just stay with his family until they could work things out. “They pulled out mattresses and took care of our family for a week until we found a place to rent.”

On that first day, Jenny cried, “WHAT HAVE WE DONE? It felt like we had stepped back in time. There was one gas station, one blinking stop light. When I went to the grocery store, a man carried my groceries out to the car. As I fumbled to unlock the door, he said… You must not be from here…” But, by the third day, the kids were walking down the street with their new friends, with fishing poles over their shoulders.” Jenny told Ron, “you could just bury me here.” They found a rental house on a farm outside of town that hadn’t been lived in for years. Jenny cooked, canned, and had a garden. The kids could ride their bikes for miles, go fishing, or just play or explore around the farm. It felt like a dream come true!

The first rental house.

The first rental house didn’t even have a key. They lived in that home for five years, but by then all the boys had jobs and Jenny didn’t want to mow the lawn three days a week. So, in 2000, they bought an old Victorian that needed new plumbing, new wiring, a furnace . . . the renovation took two years.

Ron Doan got a job as a machinist for a newspaper in Kansas City. By 2008, the newspaper had laid off so many people, Ron was back to working the night shift and his children believed their parents would soon be destitute. Their son Al called his sister Sarah and said, “we’ve got to get Mom a job. If we don’t do something — they’ll be living in our basements.”

At the same time, Jenny had made a quilt for one of her grandchildren (she now has 22), and told her son Al it would be “coming back from the long arm quilter in about a year.”

Al: “Are you kidding me? Is that a thing?”
Jenny: “Yes, because all the long-arm quilt ladies are so busy, they have long waiting lists.”
Al: “Could you learn how to do that?”
Jenny: “Well, I suppose I could . . . .”

Al called Sarah and said, “We’ve got to get Mom one of those quilting machines.” The $40,000 quilting machine was too big to fit into the house, so they also bought an abandoned auto dealership building for $20,000.

That was just the beginning . . . .

(To be continued.)


Jenny Doan – Missouri Star Quilt Co. – Part 2


Which needle is your favorite for piecing quilts?

Which SCHMETZ needle is your favorite for piecing quilts?

Use SCHMETZ Chrome for smoother stitching.

Why Chrome?

· Less friction on thread passing through eye ·
· Penetrates fabric with less resistance ·
· Smoother stitch creation ·
· Resists hear for improved durability & performance ·
· A premium performance needle ·

SCHMETZ Chrome is available in eight needle types in a variety of sizes.

Available online at www.SCHMETZneedles.com
or at local quilt shops and sewing machine dealers.