More excuses and some lessons learned…

So excuse No. 2 for my slack posting last week was that I was working helping set up the Quilt Knit Stitch Exhibition in Portland. It was two exhausting full days but lots of fun hanging quilts, knit bombing bits and pieces and generally helping when needed.

This was the first time I had hung quilts for an exhibition and the first time I had a quilt hang in an exhibition.  I learnt a lot during the process and thought I would share some of my revelations…


Please note the photos are all from my phone so not brilliant….

Number One… the importance of the hanging sleeve.

All quilts selected for display need to have a quilt sleeve SEWN onto them.  The details of the dimensions needed are usually included in the instructions that come with your acceptance into a show…but most shows require a 4 inch sleeve.

I learnt the hard way last week that if your sleeve is too small the show will pin a proper sleeve to your quilt BUT it is not the optimal solution as the quilt can and will hang strangely.

If your sleeve does not have much slack in it, your quilt will also hang strangely.

The Blue Moon River has a great tutorial on how to attach a sleeve…check it out.

                        Detail of Polka Dot Bikini by Sharin McConnell

Number Two… the importance of squaring up your quilt

Several of the quilts that we hung last week were not properly squared up.  Usually this is not too big a problem when the quilt is going to be loved and washed and loved some more…but when you are trying to hang the sucker on a wall it becomes almost comically painful.

Quilt with Aimee has a fabulous video on how to square up your quilt… you can find it here.

tuning fork
                   Detail of Heather Pregger’s “Tuning Fork #11”

Number Three… the importance of carefully folding or rolling of your quilts when you ship them

If you are like me, I fold my finished quilts up and stack them in cupboard, not paying too much attention to how I fold them or store them.  My quilts always have a fold line in them when I pull them out.  This also happens if you do not pack your quilts off to the Exhibition with care.

Sacred Threads Quilts has a great PDF which shows you several options for packing off quilts….

When the Exhibition ships your quilt back to you they take incredible care, using acid free tissue paper and special boxes. I spoke to one of the Exhibition curators about how she ships and stores her quilts and her advice was lots of acid free tissue paper to pad out the fold, bulking the quilt up so that there are no harsh creases.

Aussie blocks
                      Detail of Jennifer Bowker’s “The Quiltmaker”

Number Four…. trim those threads

Seems simple right, but we found a lot of loose threads when hanging.  The Exhibit can not do anything to the quilt, they can not trim them so they are just there for all to see!

                      Quilting detail of Helen Godden’s “Zen Magpies”


Number Five….hand bind your quilt if you can

Most Quilt competitions require hand binding but not all exhibits do.  We found when handing the quilts that machine binding made the quilt a little stiffer and they did not hang as well as hand bound quilts.  If you have the time, hand bind.

               Detail of Carol Morrissey’s “Roses in the Window”

The respect that Quilt International, the team that put on Quilt Knit Stitch, showed to the quilts was amazing.  Every quilt was handled carefully and only with white gloves.  Each quilt was inspected and photographed, marking any damage or issues before being hung.  It was such a wonderful experience to be a part of the process and it was a thrill to see two of my quilts hanging in the Exhibition.

14 thoughts on “More excuses and some lessons learned…

  1. Another thing a friend of mine found out – when listing a quilt as Hand-pieced/Hand-quilted, the show may reject it if everything was done by hand except – when making the binding either the strips were stitched together by machine or if the binding’s first stitching was done by machine but the finished binding was done by hand. In my friend’s case, the quilt was reclassified as ‘machine’ and she won a blue ribbon.

  2. I don’t think I’ll ever be brave enough to submit one of my quilts to a big exhibition – maybe the local show, where I stand a fair chance of not being laughed at – but the advice is excellent nonetheless. It sounds as if you had fun as well as a learning experience.

  3. Nice pictures for phone pics. Thank you for all this information and for supplying the links. I’ve saved everything! Not that I’ll EVER have a quilt that is show worthy, but still good information to learn from.

  4. Those quilts are really amazing! I don’t think I’ll ever enter a quilt for a show but I think the tips are useful for quilts that were made for your own home as well.

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