Sunday, 11 May 2014

Sticks and Stones - the 8th Learning Curves in 9 Squares

After the excitement of my first ribbon, back to the next of the 'Learning Curves in 9 Squares' - Sticks and Stones.

I love this design. Quilted small the 'sticks' and 'stones' become the same size, creating a dense texture and making the colour seem darker at that point. Give it more space and the whole thing opens up and breaths. The spiral unwinds a little. The sticks protrude and acquire a cheeky curve at the base. It is excellent for going around curves, from the gentle meander to the absolute U turn, as demonstrated here. Despite the stitching being in a lovely deep buttery yellow, this colour suffers the same fate as the other pale ones, namely that it can not be seen from a distance. I'm sad about that because I love the freshness of the buttercup yellow on white.

Time too for another FMQ cameo.

Wimbledon - fmq Cameo 34
Wimbledon is a variation on a pebble stitch. but is actually easier because there is no travelling. After completing the circle at the top an S shape gets us to the bottom of the circle ready to start the next one - giving an impression of a tennis ball - hence the name. It is a great background stitch and when the size of the balls is varied, as here, it also gives a good textural variety.

And last but not least, I now have the judges comments on 'Square Spiral'. I unintentionally provoked quite a few comments about judges comments - and I've also meet other quilters deflated by the label 'satisfactory'. I've spent a lifetime in education and for me, the importance of feedback is not just to praise or criticise, but to encourage growth and signpost how to reach potential. But that takes a lot of effort and time - maybe more time than quilt judges have?

Square Spiral - detail

I'm pleased to say I got very positive comments this time: "Wonderful workmanship. A really lovely quilt thoughtfully executed." My grades have gone from 'satisfactory' to 'very good' and 'excellent'. What this really teaches me is the importance of design. I don't believe for a moment that my quilting has improved 3 levels in 6 months, or the execution of an identical binding was just 'satisfactory' on my first show quilt, yet 'very good' on the second. But what I can see is that the design and overall visual impact of the second show quilt was much better - and that obviously influences all the other categories in the eyes of the judges. Which also teaches me not to take it all too seriously. I do it because I love it - and in the doing, I continue to learn.

In the meantime, the next show quilts are underway and I will be blogging about them soon.

Quite a long post today - so if you are still with me you deserve a ribbon too - or a least a cup to tea/coffee!

Thanks for dropping by...

Hilary Florence

Please find below a list of linky parties. I may not link with all of the every week, but with some of them most weeks. Please go and have a look at some of the other wonderful quilts and quilters there.
Anything goes Mondays @
Linky Tuesday at Free motion by  the river­­­­ @
Fabric Tuesday @    
Sew cute Tuesday @ 
Show and tell Tuesday @
WIP Wednesday at freshly pieced   @
WOW = WIPs on Wednesdays  @  
WIP Wednesday at TN + TN  @
I Quilt Thursdays @
Really Random Thursdays @
Needle and Thread Thursday @
Off the wall Fridays @


  1. I love seeing your different quilting samples as well as hearing your thoughts on the judging process. I have yet to enter a quilt into any contest. Not sure I ever want to.

  2. I love your quilting. Very fresh! Best of luck with your next show entry. :)

  3. I think it's good to draw the viewer in for a closer look. The Buttercup Yellow would cause people to pause and take a closer look. I love Wimbledon and although I don't see tennis balls, I see something else that I can't seem to put a name too. I'll have to think on that one. I'm glad that you received comments of some worth. You are so right that comments should encourage growth. Unfortunately that only works if the judges are willing to take the time to give a helpful critique. Wouldn't it be nice if that happened at each and every show.

  4. Beautiful work and I would imagine that remarks would always vary quite a with different judges and shows. Thanks for sharing.
    Freemotion by the River Linky Party Tuesday

  5. I love both of your new designs. I can see where Sticks and Stones would be a great filler.

  6. This is such a lovely sampler of FMQ fillers! Very well done!

  7. I love all of your quilting..unique

  8. Very nice quilting indeed. Some very unique designs in there. I made it to the end of the post and agree with your assessment of the judges comments and your conclusion not to take it to seriously. The main thing is that you liked it and put it out there for comments.

  9. I'm starting to recognize your work when I see it, Hilary!

  10. Wonderful job on the FMQ! Also, many thanks for your commentary on judges' remarks--it's great food for thought.

  11. I really like your Wimbledon design, I will definitely be giving it a go - thank you for talking us through how you did it.

  12. Wow. Wow. Wow. This is my first visit to your blog, and I'm so excited to bookmark it. I love all your FMQ examples. I need to start some practice squares, but just haven't done it. Seeing yours makes me want to get going though. Thanks for sharing your work - I'm genuinely excited to come back and copy your techniques when I get my quilt sandwiches out together. You do beautiful quilting!!!

  13. Jo Ferguson, perhaps you're seeing the yin and yang?? That's what I see. I love your designs Hilary. It's fresh and invites the viewer to get a closer look and pay attention to the details! I also love reading your comments and history! Keep it up... I'm here having tea!

  14. Congrats on your "marked improvement" Hilary... Loving the beautiful quilting on your projects. I was just telling a friend this morning that I would rather enter a quilt into a juried show than not because at least you can get back some feedback - and take it for what it is worth. You go girl!

  15. Congratulations on your ribbon! Margaret Gunn talked to our guild recently about show quilting and spoke about the judging process, scores, etc, and it was my first peek into the process. It's interesting to learn about judging and hear from different quilters about their experiences. Thanks for sharing, Hilary!

  16. Perhaps the marks vary with the judges, too. Satisfactory here = excellent there. Claudia Pfeil enters her quilts in multiple shows, and sometimes a quilt that's won "Best of Show" at one wins absolutely nothing elsewhere! Lots of times the same quilt will place, but never has the same ranking from show to show. I've seen the same quilt win Viewer's Choice, first, and third place at different shows. Interesting. You hit the nail on the head when you remarked that comments are most useful when they guide or teach. When I feel ready to enter a show, that's what I'd hope for!

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