Don't get me wrong--I love my sewing machine and use her almost every day. Her name is Jessica. She's a 1951 Singer Featherweight, named after my grandmother who gave her to me. But I still enjoy doing handwork and belong to a group on Facebook that promotes hand quilting.
When the Colonial Needle Company started to award the prize for the prestigious Handmade Quilt category at the International Quilt Festival, held once a year in Houston,Texas, I knew I'd hooked up with the right folks. By recognizing excellence in handwork, Colonial actively supports the craft while awarding a handwork artist.
To enter a quilt, the quiltmaker must be a member of the International Quilting Association (that costs $25) and make out the entry forms, pay a $20 show entry fee, and provide digital photos for the jurors. But if you win, it's well worth it. Winning a top IQA prize is like adding PhD in Quilting to your resume.
Just what is defined as 'handmade quilt'? Here, quoting from the IQA Entry Form:
Quilts in this category must be sewn by hand with the exception of the first stage of the binding and the
backing seams. Quilts may be any style except wholecloth, which must be entered in Merit Quilting. Quilts
in this category may be any size within the rules except miniature.
You'll be able to download the rest of the form in mid-January since of course, the quilts for 2012 have already been juried into the show. Here's the link to the International Quilt Association website: www.IQA.org. . Shortly (in September) four judges will gather to award all the prizes and ribbons for 2012. This is done in Houston at the IQA/Quilts Inc. offices and is top-secret. The volunteers who help are sworn to silence thus adding to the mystery and tension of the upcoming event.
Here are photos of the Handmade Quilt category winners from 2010 and 2011. (photos by Jim Lincoln.)
Spring Full Bloom by Michiyo Yamamoto Tenderly Embraced by Mieko Kotaki