Thursday, December 15, 2016

My Quiltcon 2017 Entry & Rant

As a lifetime Chicago Cubs fan, my euphoria of the Cubs winning the 2016 Major League Baseball World Series inspired The Wait Is Over quilt. This quilt was created on my long drive home from the Houston International Quilt Market on Tuesday, December 1. I sketched it out on graph paper while my wonderful husband drove us home. Then, I waited. I waited for the Chicago Cubs to win the World Series the following day, Wednesday, November 2, in the most dramatic game ever played in World Series history. 

The Wait Is Over is full of symbolism. It is designed with 108 windows to represent the 108 year drought of winning the World Series. The skyline are of actual buildings in Chicago. The large 'W' symbolizes the W flag flown at Wrigley Field after every Cubs victory. The red 'V' border symbolizes the red seams on a baseball. The machine quilting in the negative space symbolizes the movement of the bustling wind as Chicago is nicknamed the Windy City. 99% of the quilt was made from recycled dress shirts and dress pants from my husband, a die hard St. Louis Cardinals fan.

It is machine pieced, machine quilted on a domestic machine, paper pieced, and improvisational pieced.

Here's an image of my early sketch. Sorry, but it didn't scan in very well because it was drawn in pencil.

The next couple of days, I used Adobe Illustrator to formally draft the quilt while I prepped the fabric and determined measurements. Some more pictures of my drafting process:

Yesterday, I received an email from Heather Grant that said:

Dear sandra,
Thank you for entering your quilt to QuiltCon 2017.  There were many outstanding quilts submitted and unfortunately we couldn't accept them all.  We regret to inform you that your quilt, The Wait Is Over (1371), was not chosen by our panel of jurors to be included in the show. We received more than 1,500 quilt submissions and the jurors had to make many difficult decisions.
Thank you again for your submission.

Heather Grant
Director of Marketing & Programming
The Modern Quilt Guild

The good news, I waited 2 weeks to hear word of my rejection of The Wait is Over. Quilts were due November 30th, and my email came in December 14th. It wasn't a long wait, but then again, it wasn't a long wait.

I was disappointed that my quilt didn't make the show. I wanted to know why. In defense of the Modern Quilt Guild, when you submit a quilt you must certify that you understand you will not receive feedback notes from the jury. Technically speaking, there's no foul on behalf of the Modern Quilt Guild. However, it doesn't negate my desire to know a sliver as to why my quilt didn't get into the show. And yes, I listened to the podcast as to why the Modern Quilt Guild can't possibly make time to provide a sentence for each quilt rejection. The reason is they didn't want to ask for more time from the jurors. I suspect the problem lies in the notification process. Could you imagine 1500 unique emails being sent out? Though, I believe there's some level of common ground. An improvement to the system to record juror response and for it to be sent as an auto email notification. I hope the Modern Quilt Guild will continue to revisit this topic as i
t is good business practice to consider a response to better serve a positive membership experience. This has been a loud complaint among quilters over the years who have entered quilts in judged shows. The positive side is people want to improve. 

For me, I want to know if the Modern Quilt Guild felt that I was infringing on any trademarks, especially after the year they had on commenting about copyrights and derivatives on quilt designs. If you haven't heard, it was a disaster. They wrote a blog post and provided examples of infringements and when credit should be given for unoriginal designs. The membership came at them hard with criticism. The Modern Quilt Guild attempted to calm the waters by opening up a townhall style podcast. I truly felt bad for the Modern Quilt Guild and the people behind the post and podcast. I believe they had positive intentions to be transparent but it backfired. People have to understand the Modern Quilt Guild is 7 years young and they are motivated to keep the membership happy. Without the membership, they have no business. So they aren't trying to tick us off on purpose. Though, I admit there was a brief moment when I wanted to jump on the hater bandwagon, but I'm trying to stay upbeat, positive, and show my sincere congratulations to the quilters who were accepted.

If The Wait Is Over was rejected because of risk to trademark infringement, then I must believe in good faith I would have been notified to provide a response. 

Perhaps all of these words are proof I'm a sore loser. I know the quilt is a little wonky here and there. That may be the reason it was rejected. I used a variety of materials and things moved on me when machine quilting. If I had time, then I would have stabilized the fabric, and washed and blocked the quilt. Maybe they just didn't like it. O well, I'm going to love it anyways. I have the perfect spot for it. It will lay on my bed that I share with my husband, to remind him every day that the Chicago Cubs won the 2016 World Series. They are the best team in baseball.



  1. I've had quilts rejected and accepted into different shows. The only show I am aware of that provides jury feedback is Quilt Canada and they only do it because being on the jury is part of their certified judge training program. Entering a single quilt there costs several times more than QuiltCon (and that's after the required $50 or so membership fee.) They also get less than a third of the entries that QuiltCon does.

    I don't think QuiltCon rejected any quilts because of issues with it being derivative. My quilt was caught up in that craziness last year. I got an email when the quilt was juried in that it was considered derivative and that I would need to obtain permission for it to be shown. I still got the email saying my quilt had been accepted.

    QuiltCon accepts about 300-350 quilts.

    Enter other shows! Other shows get far fewer entries than QuiltCon, especially their modern categories, so your chances are much better. Plus, the aesthetic of every show is different and sometimes the only thing that causes your quilt to not be accepted is that it didn't fit in with the other quilts that particular year. I've had quilts juried into one show that were rejected by another. I know people who have had a quilt rejected one year but accepted the next by the exact same show.

  2. Thanks Jen for the comments. I appreciate it. It makes me happy knowing someone did read my post and care enough to comment. Though, sorry about the craziness last year. I did update the for to non profit about MQG, but I'm not sure about the number of quilts. I thought I heard on one of the podcast it was ~100 judged depending on venue. O, let me think about how to reword it, but thank you for letting me know.

  3. Hi Sandra, I'm also a huge baseball fan, and I grew up in northern CA, so you probably won't be surprised to know I'm a SF Giants fan. Now, I did not just get on the bandwagon in recent years. My family went to games since I was a kid, and I saw the likes of Willie Mays, Willie McCover, and even saw Hank Aaron hit one of his many homeruns. But I have to tell you the Cubbies are my second favorite team. I've even seen a game in Wrigley Field, and after they beat my Giants, I rooted them on with all I had, and that Game 7 was amazing!!! I think your quilt is awesome. I really appreciate all the detail and love you put into it. 108 windows--that's one of those details that just warms my heart. Thanks so much for sharing. Take care, Mary.

    1. Thank you for sharing. I'm in denver and we catch quite a few Giants games when they are in town.

  4. Hi Sandra,
    I just wanted to tell you that I really love the quilt you made. Quilts that commemorate historic events are so cool and will always have a certain special-ness you don't see in your everyday quilt. I also want to correct you on one point, which is that the MQG has only existed as a formal organization since 2013. Before that the guilds were all individuals doing their own thing, with no one writing rules and definitions for them. Keep up the good work!

    1. hello. thank you for the response. I took the 7 years base on the mqg website. I think 2013 is the year they received the trademark. I appreciate the clarity though.

  5. I just wanted to say thank you for writing your honest thoughts. Your quilt is amazing and hearing your design process just increases how much I see the parts :)


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