Gyleen's Tessellations

The IHQS was last week. As you probably recall, I entered my Grassy Creek quilt. 

It did not receive any ribbons, nor did I expect it to. Here is the feedback from the judges:

1. The pieced border is a visual element that adds movement to your central design. (Ugh, that stupid border. I knew it needed it, but as you know, I did not enjoy its creation.)

2. Strive for precision in piecing. (Totally fair. There were a lot of mismatched points in this one that I either couldn't get to match or just gave up on caring about. This is a busy quilt and I don't think it shows much unless you're really looking like the judges are.)

3. Quilt design is well chosen and evenly spaced. (Yay, me. I do do this for a living.)

4. Quilting technique is very good. (See #3.)

5. Excellent binding. (I was proud of this one.)

I think that I went in to viewing the show with a bit of an attitude. The IHQS does attract quilts from all over, especially from a few nationally well-known quilters. I understand this is part of their business model for drawing crowds to the show. I guess I have a problem with the same few big names who do not live in or near Indiana swooping in taking the top prize every year. I understand that the prize money is how these quilters make their living, but I also resent that 1. Quilters in the state don't have a shot at winning due to the same few people dominating year after year and 2. these "top" quilters seem to be in a circuit and you end up seeing the same quilts over and over if you go to bigger shows such as AQS. It gets really boring, especially when their new quilts look virtually the same as all their previous quilts, some of which are also in the same show. I saw this on the back of a quilt and felt some rage and disgust. It had already been in at least eight other shows. Like I said, I had an attitude about it. Sorry. 

Here are the only pictures I took. An art quilt I liked and two that I quilted for others.🤷🏻‍♀️

Made by Catherine Carvey

Made by Haley Hatton

Made by Sue Connell

Something I really enjoy about the show is the classes. They are certainly not as inexpensive as they were pre-Covid, but they are close by and generally offer really good teachers. I took the Anything Goes Star Tessellation class with Gyleen X. Fitzgerald on Friday. It was really fun! The day flew by. I brought in around 70 sets of pre-cut fabric (she said up to 100 sets). I got a few sewn--I think 21 fabrics? She gave us a two-hour lunch break and that is when I viewed the show and also shopped. I added four more pieces of Kaffe fabric to my pile of fabrics for this project because I felt I was lacking prints. I also had to buy more sewing machine needles--oops.

This is the tool that was required for class.

Closer view of my blocks.

The whole thing so far. You have to pin your extras on so you don't lose track.

She said she was going to steal and toss our trimmings, but she didn't. LOL. I'm glad, because I use them for leaders and enders. They will be super-cute 1" HST someday. Maybe I should incorporate them into the backing.

Gyleen shared many stories from her early life during class and also told us about her binding technique for show quilts--apparently you get more judging points if you use a fabric that wasn't in your quilt top. Here's a tip that she learned from Diane Gaudynski: to make your show quilts really flat, place them under a mattress. Gyleen is no longer doing show quilts, but is doing a lot of teaching, including lots of virtual. You can take her classes on Facebook.

I was in love with this quilt of Gyleen's:

I wanted to buy the pattern--turns out it was a book. The book said you needed two templates of hers. Of course after I purchased everything, she told me that you need a different template set for the version I liked. I will buy that sometime in the future because I have really blown my budget lately.

What I bought.
The set of templates needed for the smaller version of the quilt.

Thankfully, my workload has really increased over the past few weeks. Pat P. sent me three patriotic quilts. The first one is quilted with Ashley's Star Echo.

I used Star Spangled on the second one.

And Shooting Star on the third. 

These all need to be fully bound, as do many of the quilts in my queue right now.

I also quilted Identity on Carol H.'s two-sided quilt.

I carefully marked everything to get it as close to centered as I could. I was so glad when I advanced the quilt and found the center top and back pins were very close! I always tell people I'll try my best, but I cannot guarantee a perfectly centered backing. It's fabric; sometimes it shifts or shrinks up differently than you expect during the quilting process.

I neglected to share my PHD progress report for February, so here it is:

Sadly, I missed the window for the link up in February. I'm hoping to finish at least one more quilt this month, so I feel like I'm in pretty good shape to to finish the PHD this year.

This month's RSC color is purple. I had my purples and pinks mixed in one basket, so I sorted them out and separated them into two baskets. The more I use my scraps, the more they seem to multiply. Some of my purples are very close to my pinks. I think they could go either way, depending on what else is with them.

Out in the garden, the first of the daffodils bloomed on February 28. Many of them are starting to bloom now, after rain and warmer temperatures. 

I follow our local-ish Goose Pond fish & wildlife area on Facebook and they show a livestream on YouTube of a pair of nesting barn owls. While watching that, I clicked on Big Bear Bald Eagle Live Nest--Cam 1 video from California. I am now obsessed with watching the feed! I even had it pulled up on our TV the other night! Hopefully there will be chicks any day now.

Have a wonderful week.


  1. I've noticed the same as you at quilt shows. If you look on line and follow different bloggers that go to the shows and post photos they all see to be of the same quilts. I don't enter shows and have only entered 2 times at the local county fair years ago when I was also helping set things up in the quilting area. I overheard 2 judges fighting over 2 quilts and which would get the best of show and in that case it wasn't the best one - it was which judge had been judging the longest and she loved Hawaiian quilting so it didn't matter which quilt was actually done the best she wanted that one to win so it did and the other judges opinion didn't seem to matter. That kind of ruined it for me and I never entered again after hearing their professionalism

  2. Thanks for the quilt show rant, here, here!

  3. I'm with you on big name quilters from out-of-state that send their show quilts into circulation! That happens at the Minnesota Quilt Show, too, as is evidenced by the label of 8 quilt shows that quilt has attended--one is the MN Quilt Show! Your Grassy Creek is beautiful hanging there!!! Great job, especially on the quilting and binding! And, I totally get the purple/pink thing--I'm experiencing the same thing going through my purple scraps--is this purple or pink?!!!

  4. I agree with you about how allowing out of state entries into local and regional shows is not in the best interest of local quilters or show attendees, but it’s not the fault of the faraway quilters who are entering. Blame lies with the Quilt Show Committees of the local and regional guilds, who are more interested in using their quilt show as a fundraiser than as a vehicle for lifting up and encouraging the work of their own membership. They can charge higher entry fees to nonmembers, they don’t have to worry as much about whether or not their own membership will enter enough quilts to make for a decent show, and if “big name” quilters’ masterpieces are included it sort of raises the caliber of the whole show and encourages more people to travel to the show (and pay for admission and buy raffle tickets etc) knowing they will see some incredible quilts on display. The guild of which I was previously a member had the judging stipulation that the “judge’s best” awards could only go to quilts that were quilted by a member of the guild, but since there was only one guild member who did custom long arm quilting for hire anymore that created the unintended consequence that everyone who “quilts by check” had to hire that one quilter if they wanted to be eligible for top awards. I would really like to see more guilds put a hard separation between quilts that were completed by one maker vs quilts with any amount of work for hire. What we have now is like the equivalent of letting Serena Williams travel around the country competing in high school tennis tournaments.

  5. I loved your grassy creek - and I like the borders too ;-) Your class sounds like a lot of fun, and the one you want to make will be awesome!!!

  6. Yes, quilt judging can definitely be subjective. I remember reading an account by an accomplished show quilter who noted that one of their quilts entered into three different shows got three very different results: in one show it didn't ribbon, in another it took 2nd or 3rd place and in one won Best In Show! That person also reminded us that in every show entered you may be up against different people in each show and that affects what your quilt gets measured up against. I always thought most shows limit quilts that have been entered into other shows from competing but clearly from your picture that is not the case! Well, no one thought a machine quilted quilt would ever win Best In Show at AQS until Caryl Bryer-Fallert did it so there's always a chance that one day one of the local quilters will out do themselves and make a creation that is so much undeniably better than the pro quilts competing against them that they will take the top prize. Keep hope alive!!

  7. There are daffodils coming up all over in our new yard, some blooming. Grr, I totally understand what you are saying about quilt shows.Some would say you are jealous but since I feel the same and it doesn't feel like jealousy, your points are valid. One of my patterns wasn't accepted for publication, I was beat out by a well known. We both had the same medallion, my quilt had a more decorative border unlike her border that is in virtually every quilt she designs. Your quilt is lovely and that is all that matters. I guess names sell publication.

  8. Love the bird cams, they are now my new nighttime viewing! I too feel that about professional quilters. Even more so for someone like me who is a bit of a hack but has a lot of fun. My guild show is just a show with only one winning best in show vote, no judges. Nice for me so I put in a lot of quilts.